Friday, January 23, 1981
The Michigan Daily
Bestin' the blues with Pinetop Perkins
By FRED SCHILL
During their three sets at -Rick's
American Cafe Wednesday night, the
Legendary Blues Band resurrected the
spirit and integrity of the finest blues
innovators, the men who established
the form. They played the music that is
the fundamental basis of all blues-and
most rock-being played today.
The band quite simply resurrected
the most classic of blues with
exhilirating precision: Sonny Boy
Williamson came back in. the form of
mouth harpist Jerry Portnoy, whose
thick, solid harmonica solos pierced the
rumbling background of Calvin Jones
with nostalgic glee.
Portnoy simultaneously recreated
and challenged those fat Williamson
solos and the memorable masterpieces
of Slim Harpo, reproducing the styles
with flawless precision, all the while
adding his own innovations within the
format. Each of the shows began with
setpieces for Portnoy's solos, which
roared into consciousness like a blast
out of hell.
Portnoy has totally enslaved the
harmonica. He can make it quaver har-
shly, slide into smooth wails, and
whisper hushedly in a series of fluid
movements. His work and the heartfelt
moody vocals of lead guitarist Louis
Myers evoked the emotional en-
thusiasm that was part and parcel of
even the oldest and most overworked
blues standards (like "Got My MoJo
Working" and the inevitable "Sweet
Jones, meanwhile, gave a vocal tex-
ture to old classics like "Loudella,"
"You're So Fine," and "Sweet Sixteen"
that can only be created by a man who
But, for a' that and a' that, the star of
the show was the incomparable
Pinetop Perkins, quite conceivably the
finest blues pianist of all time. Perkins,
who says he took his name and much of
his style from boogie-woogie pianist
Pinetop Smith back when the world was
young, dominated the show with an ef-
fortless subtlety even when taking a
back seat to other members of the
Pounding the keyboards with ham-
merfisted rhythm, producing shim-
mering solos with quicksilver abandon,
raking the keys in startling apreggios,
Perkins astounded a roaring° audience
that had the highest expectations to
The University of Michigan School of
Music recording of Menotti's The'
Unicorn, The Gorgon, and The Man
ticore has received a Grammy
nomination for Best Choral Perfor-
mance, Classical (Other Than Opera),
from the National Academy of Recor-
ding Arts and Sciences.
The performance by the University
Chamber Choir and Chamber Ensem-
ble, conducted by Professor Thomas
Hilbish, is the only college or university
entry honored as a nominee in any of
the 60 categories in which Grammys
The Grammys will be awarded
February 25. Professor Hilbish will be
in New York City and will be attending
the award ceremony.
The list for the initial balloting to
select the nominees is open to entries
from any member of the Academy.
University Professor Abe Torchinsky,
who was executive producer of the
Unicorn recording and is a member of
the Academy, entered Unicorn on the
The other four nominees in the
category of Best Choral Performance,
Classical, include recordings by the
Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Or-
chestra; the Philharmonia Chorus and
Orchestra; the London Symphony
Chorus and Orchestra; and the
Tanglewood Festival Chorus accom-
panied by the Boston Symphony Or-
Daily Photo by MAIJREEN O'MALLEY
The Legendary Blues Band, featuring Pinetop Perkins (seated), recreated
the blues as they were meant to be played in their Wednesday night sets at
Rick's. And they didn't forget the wit-Perkins, guitar smilingly in hand, is
Mitch Ryder-Perhaps the primary, driving force behind the whole
working-man mythos of Detroit rock and roll, Ryder has long been
acknowledged as a huge influence by those who've channelled his urban
aggression toward a mass audience-Springsteen, Nugent, Seger, etc. He's
going through something of an attempted-comeback stage now, hampered
by the general weakness of his recent material; but the oldies are still as
good as gold. Monday, January 26, Second Chance.
The Urbations-Word has been getting around fast that this rhythm-and-
blues outfit is fast becoming one of the very best homegrown Ann Arbor ban-
ds. Catch them in a natural environment at East Quad's Halfass Inn, Friday,
Homegrown: Women's Music Series-The folk group, Herizons and Joyce
Schon and Cheryl Peck are the featured performers in this Sunday's con-.
cert. A bimonthly series at the Canterbury Loft, 332S. State. January 25 at 7
Picnic at Hanging Rock-Peter Weir's venture into ambient filmmaking
may strike some as maddeningly decorous and affected, but there's an iron
undertow of sensuality and evil lurking beneath the rosy posing of its
beautific surface. Based on a historical incident in which three turn-of-the-
century schoolgirls disappeared while on an outing, it's anything but a
documentary replay of known events. The result is.disturbing not in its am-
biguity but in the perverse flashes of a mystical solution to the mystery that
t the director teasingly cultivates. Friday, January 23, 7:00 and 9:00, MLB 4.
The Magic Flute-Ingmar Bergman's long but delightful film of the Mozart
opera, an interior-set-bound production lit by the-director's unexpectedly
sunny sense of comedy. Wade through the dreary prologue, and you'll have a
great time. Saturday, 7:00 and 9:45, Aud. A.
Children of Paradise-Ordinary screen romances may seem as exotic as a
burger at Mac's after you've seen Marcel Carne's sumptuous spread of spec-
tacle, suffering and unrequited love. Detailing an epic triangle between a
beautiful woman, a Parisian mime and a bad guy, it's all champagne and
tear-stained windowpanes and swelling strings-kitsch whipped up to such a
sophisticated level that Carne almost eliminates the guilty-pleasure factor
from hockum. It's pleasurable, to be sure, and maybe it is some kind of
masterpiece too. Sunday, January 25, 8:00, Aud. A.
The Tin Drum-Volker Schlondoriff's adaptation of Gunter Grass' bizarre
novel about a five-year-old German boy who refuses to grow up (and suc-
ceeds, for nearly 20 years) as a sign of contempt and fear towards the pre-
Hitlerian adult world of 1930s Europe. Brilliant in nearly every respect:
marked by an admirable visual clarity, at once appalled and cynical, both
shrewdly surreal and charmingly sympathetic in its outlook. The only real
puzzle is why, for all of its successes, the movie remains a bit distant-it
never quite achieves the immediacy of a true masterpiece. Still, as good as
anything released stateside last year.
Saturn's Young-An original play by Hopwood Award winning playwright,
Albert Sjoerdsma, Jr. that explores the age-old conflict between father and
son. A rare opportunity to see a production by a local writer. Looks
promising. By the Canterbury Loft Stage Co., Canterbury Loft, 332 S. State.
January 29-February 1 at 8 p.m. with a Sat. matinee at 3 p.m.
the group's pianist.
And when his supple. fast-sales-artist
vocals slyly romped through
"Caledonia," rambled coyly through
the classic "Kansas City," rasped
resiliently through song after set-
concluding song-well, you just knew
the man had the music of generations in
It is not even fair to compare the
Legendary Blues band with other
recent artists at Rick's. While the
shows have consistently been of
remarkably fine quality, this band
knows the blues thoroughly and from its
exquisite beginnings. Blues of this
calibre is rare indeed.
Which leads to the question: What
happens to blues when Perkins, Muddy
Waters, Albert King, and their contem-
poraries are no longer with us?
"Who's gonna carry it on?" Pinetop
repeated during a break in the show.
"Why, them white kids will keep 'em
alive." Like who? "Well, the
(Fabulous) Thunderbirds, the
Nighthawks, Eric Clapton. But I'll keep
playing myself as long as I feel good."
"You know, I never decided to play
the blues. I was born with 'em, I had
'em all my life. I turned professional
because people started paying money
to hear me play," he recalled.
"And now you're a legend," one of the
hangers-on stated. "Yeah, I'm a
legend," sighed Pinetop bemusedly.
CINEMA I presents
FRIDAY Jan. 23 7:00 & 9:15 pm Aud. A Angell
DE RSL UZA LA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975)
In this brilliant Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Film
of 1975, Kurosawa brings us a great adventure story filmed
entirely in Siberia, amidst beautiful thickly- forested moun-
tains and endless plains. A Russian expedition trying to chart
and map this vast wilderness meets Dersu Uzala-a hunter
who becomes their guide and savior. "Dersu Uzala has pas-
sages of tremendous power and great warmth"-The N.Y.
Times. 35 mm. (137 min.)
SAT. Jan. 24 7:00, 8:45, 10:30 pm Nat. Sci. Aud.
REAL LIFEANN ARBOR PREMIERE
(Albert Brooks, 1979)
Possibly the funniest man in the world . . . probably not. Still,
Albert Brooks could give it a good shot. In his first feature,
Brooks stars as a documentary filmmaker who descends on
a typical American family in an effort to record real life.
Brooks established his reputation doing routines on Johnny
Carson and making films for Saturday Night Live. Also starring
Charles Grodin (99 min.)
SUN. Jan. 25 8:00 only Aud. A, Angell Hall
- -- - - 9
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CHILDREN OF PARADISE
In 35 mm (Marcel Carne, 1945)
Capturing the essence of romance and the intrigue of the
19th century French theatre, this film remains a classic of the
modern cinema. Jean Louis Barrault (Marcel Marceau's teach-
er) delivers a brilliant and touching performance as the
mime who is fatally drawn to Garance, "commella fleur."
Filmed in Paris in the midst'of the German occupation. A
treat for all romantics. French with subtitles. Shown in a fresh-
ly struck 35 mm print. (188 min.)
Next Weekend: NO'NUKES
CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH
MUSKET AllStudent Theater
Jan. 26: AUDITION & CREW INFORMATION
7:30 P.M. Michigan Union - Pendleton Room
for more info: Call UAC 763-1 107
' The secret is a sense
Sun Times, Chicago
Music From Marlboro
Beethoven: Trio in B-flat,
Op. 11 (clarinet, piano, cello)
Martinu: Trio for Violin, Viola, & Cello (1936)
Brahms: Quartet in A major, Op. 26
for Piano and Strings
Thursday, Jan.29 at 8:30