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November 05, 1982 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-05
Note:
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Cllff
hanger
By Philip Lawes
Special
CBS
JIMMY CLIFF is a special case. The
surprising commercial success of
the Jamaican feature film, The Harder
They Come catapulted him into the in-
ternational spotlight, making him the
first reggae star of any real significan-
ce outside the island.
The tremendous advantage in
visibility Cliff derived from the film
seemed to guarantee him the dominant
position in the emerging music, the
Prime Minister of Reggae, if you will.
Of course, Cliff never maintained this
position for any meaningful length of
time. After the success of the singles
"The Harder They Come" and "Many
Rivers To Cross," he was quickly sur-
passed by The Wailers, Toots and the
Maytals, Burning Spear, et al., on the
Jamaican and international stages.
Cliff's musical talents have never
equalled his acting abilities. Con-
sequently, he has failed to develop any
unique voice or distinctive persona
musically. Marley is the firebrand
prophet. Tosh the rudeboy bon vivant.
Burning Spear, didactic rootsman.
Toots Hibbert, James Brownsian
shaman. Jimmy Cliff has alwasy been
undefinable, non-committal. Constan-
tly wavering between styles, his
albums have always been composed of
whatever was happening in reggae at
the time, from simple good-time songs
to gloomy quasi-militant world views.
In any case, his vocal and musical
delivery are consistently unconvincing.
Special, Cliff's latest album, is
distressingly typical of previous effor-
ts. The songs range from the banal to a
couple of unsatisfying near-misses. In
no case do they ever come close to

being memorable or merely good.
Here Cliff displays three problems
which combine to keep this album, like
the majority of his work, firmly imbed-
ded in mediocrity.
Firstly, it is difficult to find words
which accurately describe his lyrics:
childish, simple-minded, banal, come
to mind. Most of the things he attempts
to say here have been said before, and
more articulately. This album's songs
are characterized by simplistic, predic-
table couplets, repeated ad nauseum.
On the basis of the eight songs for which
he is credited here, (out of a total of
eleven), one is forced to conclude that
Jimmy Cliff is not a songwriter.
Secondly, Cliff is accompanied by a
group of musicians of proven
capabilities, but who on this record
seem to be resting up between impor-
tant recording dates. The rhythm sec-
tion seems totally enervated, playing
with an unaccustomed lethargy which
probably indicates a significant lack of
interest in what they were doing. Sticky
Thompson's percussion and Ranchi
McLean's bass have seldom ever been
so muted. There is also a horn section
which sounds sappy and flat. Simply no
musicianship of any real merit (this in-
cludes Sly Dunbar's sitting in on one
cut) is displayed on this album.
Thirdly, Cliff's straining, limited
tenor leaves a great deal to be desired.
This criticism goes beyond merely
liking or disliking the voice-Cliff sim-
ply refuses to sing with any particular
conviction or expressiveness. The case
can be made that the quality of the
vocals is limited by the material, but in
almost every case, the singer is also the
songwriter.
The singer consistently misses the
mark, though in unpredictable ways.
On "Love Heights," a song about
orgasmic passion, it is not
unreasonable to expect an exuberant
delivery. Evidently, Cliff disagrees. On
"Originator" (which comes close to
approximating the rootsy Rastafarian
sound instrumentally) he employs a
plaintive, somewhat effeminate tenor
which is totally inappropriate for the
song.
Since lyrics, vocals and music are
substandard on this record, the whole
reason for releasing it is a rather
elusive one to pinpoint. I have narrowed
the possibilities down to these two: it

Pizza
p arlour
By Diane Pawlowski
Cottage Inn
512 E. William
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-
Saturday, noon-1 a.m. Sunday
T WENTY YEARS ago, George Pet-
ropoulos delivered pizza to Univer-
sity dorms.
"Oh, I really remember West Quad.
In those days we didn't wait at the front
desk. We ran up and down those stairs
and spent a lot of time wandering in
those halls finding the correct room,"
Petropoulos says.
Today, West and South Quad residen2
ts still buy pizza from Petropoulos,
even though they don't realize it.,
Petropoulos together with Nick Mc-
Michos and Sam Roumanis own the
Cottage Inn.
On a Saturday night, when a group of
students wander out to cure a critical
case of The Munchies, those who have
been in Ann Arbor for more than one
semester suggest the Inn. This repor-
ter, returning from a study session,
tags along.
At the Inn, there is no wait for a table.
However, after the order is placed,
someone moans, "We'll have to wait a
half hour for pizza."

"If we do, it's worth it,", a second ad-
ds.
A third joins in, "Hey, look, there is
only one place I know where you can get
better pizza-Chicago."
The pizza arrives sooner than anyone
expected. Everyone is surprised at its
size, the quality, and the amount of the
cheese as well as the way in which the
waitress remembers who requested
which item on which half of what pizza.
Everyone settles down, ingesting
both the pizza and the easy, cheerful
comfort of friends. There aren't many
superlatives passed around. They
aren't needed. The restaurant is
evaluated quickly, with nods and smiles
of approval.
Before they leave, there is almost an
understanding that everyone will
return again-with the group or on their
own.
Lisa Grossman, Inn manager says,
"We still get customers who have been
here 20 years ago. They remember the
Inn as a small campus hangout. When
they are in town for football games or a
homecoming weekend, they come to eat
here. This is a regular, recognizable
crowd.
"There is a sense of continuity, also,
between people who once were students
and who now bring their kids, who are
now students at the university, here to
eat.Jtbecomes something of a school
and family tradition," Grossman says.
The Inn has come a long way from its
modest, diner-like beginnings. Opened
in the early fifties, the Inn is reputed to
be Ann Arbor's first pizza place.
Petropoulos worked here at the time as
a busboy. The Inn changed hands in
1954 and in 1961, Petropoulos and his
partners purchased the Inn.
"It was just a one room restaurant
then. There were 65 seats. Just a nor-
mal pizza place," he recalls.
Today, the Inn is composed of three

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Cottage Iin: Cheezing it

different rooms in addition to its
basement annex, The Cellar. In ad-
dition, a carry-out branch is located on
Hill and Packard. The Inn also has
three branches at locations on
Washtenaw, Broadway, and Stadium.
'At the E. William location, a medium
pizza is priced at $6.25. A luncheon
special of homemade chowder or
minestrone plus a salad and fruit costs
$2.45. The menu lists a number of Italian
dinners such as lasagne, ravioli,
veal scallopini, linguini, or manicotti.
Hamburgers, side dishes such as Greek
meat balls, homemade garlic bread or
cottage fries plus a number of san-
dwiches and dinners such as chicken or
shish kebab are offered.
Petropoulos recommends Apple
Mountain for dessert. For $1.33, the
customer receives a hot, spiced apple
mixture ladled over vanilla ice cream

and cake, an
cream. The d
to hot apple pi
no crust.
Over the
developed wh
successful res
best ways to 1
want is to spec
he says. "I as
What they tho
they thought w
"Also, we t
quality ingred
only dairy pro
a very good
people who ha
pizza. We war
that is not disg
"We want
equivalent of
That is our goa

Jimmy Cliff: Nothing special
was released as a challenging
marketing exercise for Columbia
executives, or it is intended to serve as
a sort of musical McGuffey's Reader
for new reggae initiates. The latter
possibility is supported by the inclusion
of the Roots Reggae imitation
("Originator"), the ersatz dance-party
tune ("Rub a Dub Partner"), and the.
approximation of a skank tune ("Love
Heights") among the near-misses in
this package. Possibly the record com-

pany will prescribe listening to this for
a few weeks before moving up to the
real thing.
Special may serve an initial introduc-
tion to reggae for those countless
suburbanites the record companies are
always trying to reach, though it may
turn off more ,people than it actually
converts. However, for those who ex-
pect real reggae from him, Jimmy
Cliff, as he is wont to do, disappoints.

A

. M. ..m._

i

rb

m

p ARTHENON GYROS
pistudf

Ann Arbor's Newest Korean Restaurant
K ANA
STUDENT 10% OFF
SPECIAL STUDENTS ONLY
Bul Ko Ki Bar-B-Q Sandwich 2.80

VI

Gold
dust,
By Mike Belford
Love Over Gold
Dire Straits
Warner Bros.
L OVE OVER Gold-the fourth Dire
Straits album, and one that sees
them unswervingly pursuing the main-
stream current of American Adult-
Oriented-Rock that formed the basis of
their last album Making Movies.
The first LP, Dire Straits, and parts
of the second had the sincereity that
comes from bands struggling to climb
onto the rock merry-go-round, but now
that they're actually there the band
don't appear to be willing to take risks
any more, and seem content to merely
6 Weekend/November 5,.1982.

relax and let the wheels carry them
around.
Love Over Gold opens with the four-
teen minute long "Telegraph Road," a
rambling mess of a song that all but
tells the history of the world from
beginning to (predicted) end, with the
lyrics painting a dewey-eyed picture of
the individual caught in the middle.
In fact this familiar struggle and final
disillusionment of the individual in a
changing society seems to be the cen-
tral theme of the album, but it's ddne in
such a predictable and ham-fisted
manner than only rarely do the songs
manage to carry themselves off
adequately. -
Some of Bob Dylan's lyricisms must
have rubbed off on Mark Knopfler
during their recent musical
collaboration, with "Industrial
Disease" on side two being little more
than a modern day reworking of "Sub-
terranean Homesick Blues." Although
the words are sometimes amusing, they
generally fall back into the familiar
cliches; and in any case I'd have hoped
that Dire Straits, in their current finan-

cial position were amongst the least
well qualified to write about working
industrial British society.
What rescues the album from com-
plete AOR mediocrity, of course, is the
guitar playing of Mark Knopfler him-
self. On either electric or acoustic
guitar he's always original and in-
novative once he manages to break out
from the rest of the band's lumbering
rock beat.
"Private Investigations," one of the
album's better tracks, features a
delicate sprinkling of flanged guitar
over slow melodic keyboards and
restrained percussion. No coincidence
that it's probably the track with the
fewest lyrics.
The title song is another highlight of
guitar and piano combination, with
John Ilselely switching to upright bass
and drummer Pick Withers providing a
steady unhurried backseat.
This is probably the one song that
comes closest to the smooth cruising
elegance that Knopfler intended on the
album; most of the others containing
only snatches -of originality within a

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Dire Straits: Solid Gold
staid rock framework that's getting
closer and more indistinguishable from
the likes of Springsteen, Petty, or any
one of a hundred others.
Maybe now's the time for Mark
Knopfler to pull out the rock race,
disband Dire Straits, and finally start to
record the great jazz guitar albums he's
so obviously capable of doing. E

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-------------------

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