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February 02, 1980 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-02

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, February 2, 19804-Page 5

MUSE LPs: an anti-nuclear waste

By DENNIS HARVEY
No Nukes - From the MUSE Concer-
' for a Non-Nuclear Future offers the
most elaborate packaging job of an
album set since Fleetwood Mac' Tusk
- and that's a significant comparison,
because the No Nukes LP's are, despite
scattered moments of emotion and in-
spiration, finally as disappointingly
hollow as the Fleetwood Mac set, and
the lavish trappings only make the let-
down more complete. It's a particular
pity, because while Tusk was in the end
"ust another commercial product and
he listener didn't really expect much
more, the MUSE project was born out
of unusually noble intentions.
The five Madison Square Garden
concerts last September presented at
least the illusion of a re-emergence of
the communal spirit: eighteen groups
and artists devoting their time and
talents solely to raise money for a cause
that they presumably believed in.
There may have been a few flaws in the
picture (very mixed reviews, and the
realization that most of the audience
Wembers were just there for the music,
and couldn't have cared less about the
message), but the general idea had a
reassuring aura of cooperation about it.
For once, it seemed, star egos had
taken a backseat to something of
genuine importance.
Well, so much for that particular
illusion. Woodstock is dead, intentions
aren't always enough, and the three-
album MUSE set emerges as a sadly
umbled, frustrating and even irrele-
ant package. The presence of all those
southern California music grads, all of
them doing their damndest to spread
good vibes and ressurect the '60's (led,
for better or worse, by Jackson
Browne, CS&N, Jessie Colin Young, Ma
and Pa Taylor, Poco and the deathless
Doobies), is nostalgic, but somewhat
disconcerting. Doubtlessly the'r inten-
tions were high, but the feeling of deja-
vu renders the whole effort a little silly,
especially when the set includes a fif-
teen-page, slick-papered anti-nuke
magazine that combines perfunctory
propaganda articles with alarmingly
idiotic True Confessions from the per-
formers. Their naivete in stating their
political convictions is so acute that it
borders - no, it plungesright over the
edge - on unintention comedy.
* AIR TRAVEL
WASHINGTO (AP)-Sixty-five per
cent of all Americans over 18 years of
age have flown on a commercial
airliner, according to a survey done for
the Air Transport Association.
The 65 per cent figure represents 101
million people, a 7 per cent increase
over 1977 when the last survey was
made.
The survey also found that while men
account for the great majority of
business trips-82 per cent-women ac-
count for the majority of personal-
pleasure trips-58 per cent.

HERE'S THE stunning truth of the
matter from discophile Chaka Khan:
"Three Mile Island was my first glim-
pse of the nuclear thing. I was in L.A.
watching the news and seeing those
really incredible shots of a little girl on
a swing with huge towers in the
background and people evacuating. It
was obvious to me that nuclear power is
a blatant, outright threat toward
humanity." Wow-ee-wow.

Says Rusty Young of Poco: ". . . . the
people operating the plants scare me,
too. I'm not sure they know what
they're doing. I think we saw from
Three Mile Island that if something
goes wrong; we're in big trouble. Add
the radioactive waste issue, and you've
got some real problems. It sounds real
1984-ish to me." Carly Simon adds this
major statement: "Which reactors
scare me the most? All of them." Ray
Parker Jr. of Raydio ominously offers,
"Remember ex-President Nixon?"

Well, that must explain a lot, though
you may not be able to figure out just
what it is.
But the choicest comment of them all
is from Bernice Reagon of Sweet Honey
in the Rock: "In New York, when the
sun is shining, you see everybody
looking up. The sun gives us life, that's
what it's supposed to do. So why not call
on it now to give us some help. It has a
good record. It just stays there."
LIKE, MAN, that's really heavy
stuff, and if they believe it, I guess we
should. Are these performers as em-
barrassingly inarticulate as their
statements indicate? If not, why do
they feel they have to shape their
opinions into words intelligible to the
average junior-high school student
(maybe they think that's where most of
their audience lies,) but ridiculous to
any thinking adult?
The worst songs on the six sides are
all anti-nuke tunes, and they reflect the
apparent difficulty the performers
have in expressing a political stan-
dpoint in anything but the most cliched
and silly terms. Gil-Scott Heron's laid-
back (to the point of being comatose)
funk song "We Almost Lost Detroit"
can hardly be taken seriously with
lyrics like, "Yeah, but no one stops to
think about the babies" and "What
would Karen Silkwood say to you/I
mean, if she was alive. . ."John Hall's
idiotic mock-Caribbean melody
"Plutonium is Forever" succeeds daz-
zlingly in being even more pretentious
and asinine in content that in its title.
Another Hall expose, "Power,' is
somewhat saved by an all-star ensem-
ble performance.
THE RIvST of the record ranges from
the inept to the mediocre to the out-
standing. As in a badly cast film (and it
will be interesting to see if the project
gels any better in the upcoming MUSE
concert film), the conflicting interests
and styles of the performers prevent
the set from developing any kind of en-
semble strength or overall tone. The
communal flavor of the Woodstock
albums is replaced by a gaudy variety-
show atmosphere; it's all wildly
uneven, with fine tracks lined back-to-
back with disasters and a curious lack
of good sound quality on many tracks.
Whose bright idea was it to position
Raydio's strong funk piece "You Can't
Change That" and Chaka Khan's
mechanical disco fun-house "Once You
Get Started" right before one of James
Taylor's sweetest acoustic ballads,
"Captain Jim's Drunken Dream"?
Without any care for assembling the
tracks smoothly or for basic technical
competence, the 28 songs are sub-
merged in confusion.
,ONNig RAITT'S two songs,
"Runaway" and "Angel from Mon-
tgomery," are up to her usual standard
- good, but not quite goodtenough. She
remains caught in limbo between some
sort of individuality and being another
Linda Ronstadt clone. An unnecessary
all-star production reduces Taylor's
"Honey Don't Leave L.A." to attractive
but weightless fluff, though Carly and
James are unexpectedly energetic on
their standard duet, "Mockingbird."
Ry Cpoder and Tom Petty do passably

effective one-shots, but Nicolette Lar-
son remains one of the most colorless
singers around (backed by the Doobies,
yet - Miss Banality meets the Bland
Band), and "Lotta Love" remains
perhaps the dullest song Neil Young
ever penned. Sweet Honey in the Rock,
a quartet of female soul singers, is the
least-known act here, and judging from
"A Woman," a kind of gospelly "I am
Woman" ("Tote that barge and lift that
bail/Don't you know world I can work
like hell"), it's no surprise.
"Get Together," with Jessie Colin
Young making the unfortunate mistake
of asking the audience to sing along
(it's fun in concert, but a drag on the
turntable), is nostalgic enough to get
by. But Crosby, Stills and Nash's three
songs ("You Don't Have to Cry,"
"Long Time Gone" and "Teach Your
Children" - are an off-key disaster.
The threesome sound so quavery and
hoarse that their attempts verge on the
pathetic.
THE SET DOES have the novelty
value of grouping together interesting
combinations of artists on some cuts,
and sometimes the "result is fine music
as well as effective show-biz.
Simon, Taylor and Graham Nash do
an acceptably harmonic version of
"The Times They Are a-Changin',"
even if the sound quality on the track is
fairly appalling. Jackson Browne and
Nash do a beautiful turn on "The Crow
on the Cradle," though Browne's
"Before the Deluge" (perhaps the only
anti-nuke song around of genuine
musical merit) is weakly performed
here. Another pleasure is Michael Mc-
Donald's classic pop voice, which is
combined with a half-dozen others on
several cuts and always manages to
emerge as the winner.
THERE'S A rare sense of
exhilaration in the Browne-Bruce
Springsteen duet on "Stay." In fact,
there exhilaration in just about
everything Springsteen does, and
there's no surprise in the fact that the
two cuts he's involved with here - the
other is the "Devil With the Blue Dress
Medley" - make everything else on the
six sides look flat by comparison. The
medley may not equal the similar
recordings on various Springsteen
bootlegs, but it makes you jump, all
right. For those ready to hang them-
selves over the endless delay in the
release of Bruce's latest, it just might
be worth shelling out the bucks to
pacify oneself with these two tracks.
Despite its intentions, No Nukes is
finally no more than an even more
lavishly packaged ode to consumerism
than Tusk. It offers lots and lots of pic-
tures for you to look at while you play
the six sides. Sadly, the sight of Carly
Simon in a tight jumpsuit on the inner-
sleeves is considerably more in-
teresting than nearly anything on the
enclosed discs.

-
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Tobe Hooper's 1974
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
A lyric poem in gore, a hymn to hysteria, a monument to mayhem. A regis-
tered nurse will be in attendance but bring your own air bags. A cult film
that tests the endurance of his fans. Short: Charles Brauerman's TELEVI-
SIONLAND-a nostalgic evolution of television.
Sun: THE ANDERSON PLATOON and MAN OF IRAN
Mon: TRASH
Tues: AN ACTOR'S REVENGE (Free at 8:00 only)
Wed: HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER

MOMEMW

Join the arts page
Have you ever attended a concert, play, or film only to awaken the
following morning to read a review that seemed to be written by someone
who went to a different show of the same name? If you've ever said "I could
do that!" after disagreeing with an arts page review, it's time to put your
typewriter where your mouth is.
The Michigan Daily is looking for new staff writers. The only prerequisites
are a specific interest in writing and a general interest in the arts (use your
own definition). Beside the usual popular music-theater-film criticism, we
have an urgent need for writers interested in classical music, the visual arts,
and arts-oriented features. Thebottom line here is creativity; if you have
some insight or a new approach to offer, the arts page could be your outlet.
If you are interested, the first step is to prepare a sample of your writing.
Length isn't important here; we just want something representative of your
style and the subject matter you'd like to cover. Stop by the Student
Publications Building at 420 Maynard any afternoon and ask for the arts
editors.
A KNOCK-OUT COMEDY

CINEMA GUILD

TONIGHT AT
7:00, 8:48 & 10:30

OLD ARCH. AUD.
$1.50

rCINEMAII
~' presents -T II

I

PROVIDENCE
(Alain Resnais, 1977)
PROVIDENCE is Resnais' (Je T'Aime, Je T'Aime) newest film, complex
and shifting, a story within a story. A famous novelist, suffering from a
fatal illness, passes a terrible night hallucinating about various members
of his family. Believing they all hate him, he drinks to ease his pain and
twists this hatred into material for a new novel. With JOHN GIELGUD,
DIRK BORARDE, ELLEN BURSTYN. (104 min)
ANGELL HALL 7:00 & 9:00 $1.50

F

J

L.

Tomorrow: FAR FROM VIETNAM

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperat4ve Presents at MLB: $1.50
Saturday, February 2
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER
(John Badham, 1977) 7 & 9-MLB 3
Disco dance king in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn takes steps toward grow-
ing up. With no-holds barred language and a candid description of teenage sex,
this film is a mixture of entertainment and raw situations. A right-on-the-
target film with script by Norman Wexler (Joe, Serpico), with the ultimate
disco score by the Bee Gees and David Shire. All shot on location, unques-
tionably the best, steamiest disco scenes ever put on film. Starring JOHN
TRAVOLTA and KAREN GORNEY. "Outstanding film!"-CUE.
(Alfred Hitchcock, 1966) TOWN CURTAIN 7:00-MLB 4
A top-notch American physicist (PAUL NEWMAN) defects to East Berlin fol-
lowed by his bewildered fiance (JULIE ANDREWS) who finds him involved in
a complicated game of scientific intrigue. "A sophisticated statement on
American Cold War attitudes." Includes an incredible scene in which Newman

i r mU"i nm i- - EEIA\E EHI U t ... .. , .1 - M I U1

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