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November 12, 1982 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-12
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Curtain
call
By Michael Baadke
Nylon Curtain
Billy Joel
CBS
T HE TENSION on Billy Joel's new
album, The Nylon Curtain, is so
thick you could cut it with piano wire.
And that's just what Joel does, chop-
ping out tunes with such a bitterly hard
edge that it seems as though someone
other than him has a hand in it.
For all of his rock 'n' roll tough-guy
stances, Joel is still one of the
acknowledged masters of the pop
melody, a reputation based mainly on
the world-wide success of his single,
"Just The Way You Are." His last
studio LP, Glass Houses, was an at-
tempt to build Joel's street-rocker
image, and although it was at least par-
tially successful in that attempt, the
songs still featured a pop smoothness
in production that has been Joel's
trademark.
With Nylon Curtain, Joel turns his
back on all that to create a new field for
himself, one which cannot be described
in simple formulaic terms. The album
fairly shouts with rebellion and a sup-
pressed anger which seems to stem
from feelings of guilt and apprehension.
The concept of sin is mentioned in three
of the album's nine songs, and even in
the sole love song on the album ("She's
Right On Time"), Joel describes him-
self as "a man with so much ten-
sion/Far too many sins to men-
tion. "

All of the songs work to express
universal concerns at a purely personal
level. "Allentown," the album's
opener, conveys the stinging
frustration of unemployment with
stunning exactness. Joel is successful
in making the listener feel the sense of
betrayal and broken dreams which the
song attempts to communicate.
"Goodnight Saigon," which closes
side one, addresses with blunt direc-
tness the physical and emotional
devastation caused by the Vietnam con-
flict. In each of these songs Joel acts as
narrator, bringing the anguish to gut
level, and each taut emotion is for-
cefully felt as Joel makes a hero of the
abused.
The tension which underlies the whole
album is brought out most dramatically
in "Pressure." The driving beat of the
song backs Joel as he throws life's
nasty truths into the listener's face:
But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face,
And you'll have to deal with
Pressure.
Like so many of the songs on Nylon
Curtain, "Pressure" relies heavily on
Liberty DeVitto's relentlessly pounding
drumwork, and Joel's own keyboard
virtuosity. These elements, combined
with Billy Joel's hard-edged vocals,
create an album which is musically
stark, but beautifully so.
The familiar band is there, with
David Brownband Russell 0avors on
guitars and Doug Stegmeyer on bass,
but their roles are played down on this
album. The few embellishments to
these tunes are scattered string
arrangements, eerily reminiscent of
the late-era Beatles. Some of Joel's
background vocal arrangements (par-
ticularly on "Laura") also bring this
image to mind.
This sense of musical starkness is
equally conveyed by Billy Joel's lyrics,

A f iner,
di n er
By Diane Pa wlo wski
Central Cafe
332 S. Main
Hours: 7 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thur-
sday; till 4 a.m. Friday, Saturday; till 9
p. m. Sunday.
C ENTRAL CAFE is the kind of
restaurant you want to share with
your best friend. Although many
customers do eat alone, it seems a
shame to waste the atmosphere, and
the food, on one person. This is a place
to sit and talk. It is a place to pour over
your studies while discussing them with
your friends.
At the Central, no one rushes you.
Your coffee cup is refilled without
asking, and the corn chips that come
with your dinner seem to last forever.
The Central Cafe's wrap-around win-
dows, cluttered bulletin boards and
pine wainscotting add up to a country-
down-home atmosphere. It is the sort of
place where you really should keep an
eye out for someone you know, someone
who will come bounding through the
door at any moment to share conver-
sation and plans of good times to come.
In fact, you can never be quite sure
who will walk in the door. In the past,
customers have included Ella Fit-
zgerald, members of Fleetwood Mac
and the jazz group Sun Ra as well as
Andy Warhol and Walon Jennings. s
The Central is an example of
customized and evolved diner chic. Ac-
cording to owner Raul Perdomo, it
originally was built in 1930 as a diner.
The restaurant had classic design with
a horseshoe-shaped counter, grill, and
plastic-covered menu's listing of an
array of dishes ranging from hot dogs
and hamburgers to the classical diner
sandwiches and dinners such as hot
turkey, roast beef and chicken.
In 1976, though, the sign atop the
diner proclaimed Goebel's Snappy Ser-
vice. In the window, another small sign
in the window announced, "For Sale."
"The place has always been a diner-
type of operation," Perdomo says. "It's
been either an Andy's or a Joe's or
something like that."
Perdemo bought the restaurant in
1976. He had worked most of his life in
the food service industry, holding jobs
as dishwasher, busboy, pizza delivery
man and eventually, restaurant
manager.

Billy Joel: No more pop
which are characterized by a descrip-
tive directness which forces the
listener's attention to the song's
meaning. The music seems to act only
as a vehicle for the lyric, and this is a
dramatic reversal from Joel's previous
efforts.
"Scandinavian Skies" is a song at od-
ds with the rest of the album. There is
no apparent explanation for the uncon-
nected imagery throughout the song,
but the distorted strain of Joel's voice,
combined with the vague and

"I can remember the day I bought it:
July 4th. I had gone home early from
work the night before, and stopped off
for a beer. Someone I was talking with
told me about the diner. I called the
owner the next day. I remember it so
well because there was a family picnic
that I had to pull him away from," Per-
domo says.
After extensive renovation and
remodeling that included the removal
of that classic counter and grill set-up;
he and an ex-partner opened the Cen-
tral on October 29. This past week an
autumn-colored floral arrangement on
their counter near the cash register
proclaimed, "Happy Sixth Anniver-
sary."
Perdemo began to change the menu
shortly after the restaurant was
opened. Hot dogs were the first item to
go.
Although he noticed that some items
on his menu sold better than others, he
couldn't spot a trend-a definite
preference on the part of his customers.
Then, one evening he was home wat-
ching TV. As Perdemo recalls, that
night the main characters in three dif-
ferent programstdid the same thing:
they went or sent out for food from a
Mexican restaurant. Perdemo began
adding Mexican items.
"I felt that if television is some sort of
reflection of the culture and wishes of
the American public at large, then this
was a type of food perhaps people might
be interested in," he states.
Perdemo, who is from Venezuela,
formulated his own recipes based on his
experiences. He feels one of the benefits
of this menu is its versatility. Both
vegetarian and non-vegetarian
burritos, tacos and tostadoes can be
prepared. Also, because of the menu's
simplicity, customers can purchase
menu items at any time.
0rt
This weekend:
DETROIT BLUES
BAND
the finest cappucino ...
the best wines, beers and
liquors ...
For further information call
996-8555

Central's menu includes standard
Mexican-American fare. Sandwiches,
side orders such as hash browns, french
fries and cole slaw. In addition,
Hungarigan goulash is available, the
recipe for which was developed as
customers voiced their opinions on its
authenticity. It is not the standard
macaroni-and-hamburger mixture
many label as goulash. Instead, meat,
potatoes and green pepper are served
in one dish, a broth from the stew-like
mixture is served in another.
A combination plate of one taco, one
enchillada and one tostada cost $6.25.
The dinner comes with refried beans,
rice, chips and a homemade Ranchero-
type hot sauce. Three different hot
sauces are available at the Central, and
two (the Ranchero and a green
Jalapeno sauce) are Perdomo's own
recipe, made fresh as needed.
The refried beans served with the
dinners are almost bland. Perdomo ex-
plains that they are not cooked with
bacon or other heavy oils, as is usually
the case. Also, he explains that most
dishes are prepared so that they will be
mild to the taste, rather than over-
spiced, as is often the case in Mexican
restaurants.
Perdomo has a good point. Although
Mexican food can be delightful and a
pleasant change of taste, in too many

mysterious lyric, gives the song a dif-
ferent kind of tension all its own.
The Nylon Curtain is an album that
hits hard, very hard, and that comes as
a shock from Billy Joel. But it also hits
with a consistent directness which
gives the album a definite validity. He's
handing us a slice of life in its nuts-and-
bolts state; considering his fame as the
king of mainstream pop, this makes
The Nylon Curtain a peculiar, but
definite success for Billy Joel.

Central Cafe
instances res
authentic by a
cayenne and
leaves the cu:
buds and an
thirst, rather
Mexican food,
some aficiona
food that you
while. At the
case. You will
for more.

New Gargoyle Films Presen
M*A*S*H-7:00
CATCH 22-9:15
Saturday, Nov. 13 & Sunday, Nov. 14
Movies shown in the Law School,
100 Hutchins Hall, (corner of State & Monroe)
We're Your Kind of Movie People!

Water
By Susan Makuch
H2O
Hall & Oates
RCA
THE PERFECT combination of
H & ° yields water. It also yields
something a little more rhythmic and
potent-the newest release from that
dynamic duo, Hall & Oates, entitled
H20.
The follow-up album to the enor-
mously successful Private Eyes, cap-
tures the same sense of adventure and
vitality that Hall & Oates are fast
becoming famous for. r His a com-
pilation (like all other, Hall & Oates
projects) of songs written by Daryl
Hall, John Oates, and Sara Allen. The
tunes present a uniform feeling that is
blusey, rhythmic, and smooth.
The LP begins with the new single
"Maneater." The producers of this
album (Hall & Oates) were smart to
choose such a catchy tune with which to

lead off. It grabs the listener's attention
with no problem whatsoever. The
evocative lyrics add to the allure of this
pulsating song.
This type of song is found more than
once on H20, however. "One On One"
contains more quasi-erotic lyrics (writ-
ten by Daryl), but this time to more
mellow, flowing notes. "One on one I
wanna play that game tonight," as the
chorus goes, makes the musical piece
one of the best on the entire album.
The nice thing about H20 is that every
composition is unique and different.
The duo can readily go from a song like
"Maneater" or "One On One" to
something a little more funky or bluesy.
This is illustrated when the pair begin*
singing such tunes as "Crime Pays" or
"At Tension." The latter number, writ-
ten entirely by John Oates, is very solid
in its rock 'n' roll background but adds
a little jazz and blues for good measure.
The song, about a soldier afraid to kill,
relates the story not only in powerful
words, but in throbbing beats as well.
The only really weak moment on this
album occurs when we get our usual,
obligatory John Oates ethnic com-
position. Last time it was "Mano a
Mano," this time it's "Italian Girls."
It's very trite, with lyrics like "Ooh but
where are the Italian Girls."
The remainder of the LP is aided

immensely by the presence of the first
solid Hall & Oates band. Charlie De
Chant on saxophone is fabulous. He
contributes such energy and en-
thusiasm on tracks such as
"Maneater," "Art of Heartbreak," and
"One On One." He is probably the most
effective member of the ensemble
besides Daryl and John themselves.
In addition to Charlie, G.E. Smith
(guitarist extraordinaire) has hooked
up permanently with the duo. His ex-
cellent solos lend a smoothness to the
album that was lacking in the old days
of Hall & Oates.
The group is rounded out with Mickey
Curry on drums and Tom "T. Bone"
Wolk on bass. This new band, which
began on the Private Eyes LP, is not
just a studio or touring group. They do
both. This is where Hall & Oates ran in-
to problems before. They'd have all
kinds of different musicians in on each
studio track and then get lost while per-
forming on the road with a new set of
players. With this vital new addition,
Hall & Oates have achieved the
prominence and excellence in one
album that has all but alluded them for
the past few years. The musicians on
this album do make the difference.
Hall & Oates began a new cycle in
their career about three years ago with
the Voices album. They were well on

Vi

Hall & Oates: Making waves
their way to new sounds and messages:
They almost made it to the finish line
with their last effort,. Private Eyes. But
they've reached the top of the mountain
with H20. A perfect mesh of old and new
styles, along with a cohesive musical
back up, make H20 as smooth as water.

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