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November 11, 1983 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-11
This is a tabloid page

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.:...:. .. .... . . . ... .... r.:. . .....: : . . . . ...... .. . ... ... :

The Ark
1421 Hill Street

By Joseph Kraus
IF IT WERE lost you might raid
If it were raining hard you might
flock to it in twos.
But the Ark, Ann Arbor's premiere
folk music showplace, isn't lost, and
you shouldn't wait for a rainy day to
stop by and hear what it has to offer.
From the outside the Ark looks very-
much like any of the other houses on
Hill Street. It would be easy to pass by
without notice - but none of its neigh-
bors have quite the entertainment that
it does.
The Ark has music. Mostly folk, but
folk is such a broad category that no
two shows are similar. Don't be sur-
prised if one evening offers wild har-
monica playing, the next guitar-
accompanied protest songs and the
night after that old-fashioned country
The oversee/selector of all of this
music is Dave Siglin, the Ark's director
for the past 15 years. Siglin stressed that
there are a lot of talentend young folk
musicians who lack nothing more than
exposure on some of their seasoned
"Five years ago we started to make
an effort to hire young bands," says
Siglin. Case in point is last
weekend's highly successful concert by
Claudia Schmidt, a young singer and
The Ark was originally founded in 1965
at its 1421 Hill Street location, by a
coalition of four churches. Its original
purpose was to serve as a church cof-
feehouse and showcase for local bands
of any type. Two years later, Siglin and

Si mon
Paul Simon
Hearts and Bones
Warner Brothers
By Michael Baadke
Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, Paul
Simon's solo work continued with con-
sistenly high quality. Although his first
solo effort was a stylistic break away
from the studio perfection of Simon and
Garfunkel's last LP, Bridge Over
Troubled Water, each successive
release Simon further developed his
sense of musical sophistication and
remarkable originality.
His progress hasn't sparked an over-
whelming output - Hearts and Bones,
Simon's latest release, is only his fifth
album of new material in a dozen years
- but it is a colleciton of breathtaking
stature. Simon has again reached the
peak he accomplished with Bridge
(coincidentally S&G's fifth album), by
achieving virtual perfection in both
material and performance.
A songwriter first and foremost,
Simon constructs his images with laser-
like precision. Emotion is caught in the
framework of each song with every
nuance intact, no matter what form
that emotion assumes. His use of
language borders on phenomenal,
evoking an imagery which is both
tightly compressed and stunning in its
attention to the finest detail.
Simon first announced his plans for
this album two years ago, at the time of
his reunion concert with Art Garfunkel
in Central Park. As that one concert
developed into a worldwide tour,
Simon's LP, nearing completion,
evolved into a Simon and Garfunkel
album entitled Think Too Much. War-

ner Bros. Records went so far as to
issue pre-release information which
stated, in part, "An album like his can
get a lot of mileage out of historical
momentum alone."
Simon decided that the songs on this
projected LP were of such a personal
nature that he should perform them
solo. As a result, Garfunkel's tracks
were removed from the final version of
the LP, now entitled Hearts and Bones.
Subsequently, it is no surprise to fine
that a theme of romance is woven
through most of the compositions.
Simon's courtship and recent marriage
to Carrie Fisher inspired the album's
title cut. One and one-half wan-
dering Jews. . . .On the last leg of
the journey/They started a long
time ago. He describes their position
in the relationship as the "arc of a
love affair, "as they separate to think
things through, but the realization
strikes them that Their hearts and
their bones. . . /They won't come
There's a sense of completeness in
"Hearts and Bones" which turns the
song into an eloquent musical fable. In
a very different vein, the two songs
which share the title "Think Too Much"
are deliberately unfinished, under-
scoring the fact that for all his
ruminations on the head and the heart,
Simon's thoughts on the topic are still
incomplete. The songs comprise the
album's focal point, placing the
emotional and the cerebral in conflict,
and viewing the struggle first from the
outside, and then from within.
"Think Too Much (b)," which the
listener encounters first, is a passive
observation of the thoughts and feelings
around him. When it is suggested to him
that he gets some rest, Simon agrees:
Yeah/Maybe I think too much.
It only takes the space of one tune for
him to realize he'd been taking the
wrong aproach to the conflict.
In "Song About The Moon" his
aggressiveness is sparked: Wash
your hands in dreams and light-
ning/Cut off your hair/And
Whatever else is frightening.
This active approach punches a hard-
edged power into "Think Too Much


The Ark: Crisler Arena it is not
his wife, Linda, took over the operation
and ran it as a team until last year
when she was forced to take on another
job for financial reasons.
The First Presby terian church still owns
the building and up until last year the
Ark was allowed to stay rent-free. Un-
fortunately the church owners then
decided to either sell or rent the
building. Although paying rent weakens
the existence of the Ark, it isn't moving
just yet. Siglin said "We stayed here
because we had been here 15 years ...
what we have to find out is, 'is this place
viable for the future.' If it isn't we won't
buy it." Acording to Siglin, the decision
on the purchase of the building won't be
made until this spring.
Financial crises are nothing new to
the Ark. "The Ark always was a small
business that was almost on the brink of
disaster; unlike other small businesses
it survived," says Siglin. Since
separating itself from the church,
the board of directors at the Ark has
taken a more active role than it had

previously, and the result has been a
more solid financial base. According to
Siglin, the Ark averaged 83 percent of
capacity last year. "I was thrilled. That
was very good and it was very steady."
Each year the Ark has a handful of
major fundraisers. The granddaddy is
their Ann Arbor Folk Festival. Next
year's festival is scheduled for
February 4, headlined by Dave Brom-
berg. Among the many other diverse
artists appearing are: Nakaber Feidh,
a jazz-fusion band that uses among
other instruments, two highland
bagpipes; Eclectricity, a two-man one-
woman trio that plays a bit of
everything; and Peter "Madcat" Ruth,
harmonica virtuoso and one-man band.
This year saw the birth of a new fun-
draiser - the Ark Pub Sing. Featuring
John Roberts and Tony Barrand, the
Pub Sing was an enormous success

bringing in over $3000. Siglin has plans
for an even lar'ger'pub stint this year.
November and December are par-
ticularly big months for the Ark. The
schedule is quite full, and the Ark will
be open almost six days a week.
Highlights include Tom Paxton on
December 3, and Chris Williamson in
an Ark-sponsored show at the Michigan
Theater on November 19.
Siglin doesn't foresee any major
changes in the Ark's future. He thinks
perhaps one day there will be a slightly
broader range of entertainment with
possibilities ranging from jazz and
classical nights to poetry readings.
For the most part Siglin seems happy
with the way things are now. "I think if
we can continue the way we are it will
be great . . . If I had an ambition it
would be to solidify the Ark so that it
would remain for 30 more years." r

Simon: Says it without Garfunkel
(a)." Simon picks apart his own
thought process and takes up the fight
himself. There's no real resolution, as
there never is between the head and the
heart, but Simon suggests there can
exist some degree of understanding. The
music on this version is like a melodic
jackhammer, stinging the senses and
kicking life into that fool who thinks he
thinks too much.
Thoughout the album, Simon's own
superb guitar performances are ac-
companied by a large and varied cast of
excellent musicians, including a sur-

as alv
else c,

----- -----

The Jam

Stew Art


By Ben Ticho
The bitterest pill is mine to take/IfI
sleep for a hundred years I couldn't
feel any more pain.
-"The Bitterest Pill"
OMETHING goes snap - you swallow on
Soo many, or one too few - and what is
left you, but a broken stick: missing
pieces, lost souls, meanings which stay
hidden. Some essential part is gone
forever and how to live without it?
The Jam's last true single (we won't
dwell on the empty epilogue of "Beat
Surrender") is not so much a surrender
as a statement of fact. The beat that
began in the city, burrowed un-
derground, -and surfaced inevitably in
one or another strange towns, sounds
beaten. Not beat-up, but beat-tender,
as if Rick Buckler beat the bass one
beat far enough.
Is this a play or a ploy? Is it a syntax
sell to sell all the singles in a double

album, complete with sinful excerpts
from "the authorized biography,"
wherein Paolo Hewitt sells us on the
coolness of Paul Weller? Well, Weller
is cool, where Hewitt is not.
The Jam were hot cool stuff even
before "Going Underground" became
Britain's #1 majority dropout anthem.
Weller, the hippest mod since '66 Town-
shend, knows all the rod cons, but he
won't beat you over the head with them.
Not, at least, with a broken stick. The
Jam beat the Beatles, not in mania but
despite mania. The key to anthem in
tandem is belief (Weller cries out on the
'82 live cry Dig the New Breed: "Belief
is all! "), not in anything, certainly not
in the parade of little boy soldiers.
Weller of the pop mop top still hasn't
the naivete of Mc Cartney; he might
wish he could be like David Watts, but
he couldn't stomach it if he was. And
the true believers, whoever they were,
didn't ask him to be the head boy; just
turn out an occasional track to the
modern world suitable for grave head
nodding, feet shuffling, and strange
Maybe that was the gift of the Jam
(hell, I don't know)-the chance to
drive the crossroads of inarguable con-
cordance and pithy vinegar acuteness
into the pubs, pretense places, and par-
ties, to burn the sky to the wasteland at
the funeral pyre with all the punk
people watching dumbfounded. It all
sounds so good. There is a sense of ab-
solute beginners knowing if not what to
do, then at least how to play it, if only


The Jam: Snap, crackle, and pop
"because love is in our hearts." The
Jam; make even lobotomy-losers feel
Then one day, you wake up and snap!
you're out of it. A long hot summer

but yo
sel frc

1421 Hill: Just like grandma's

4 Weekend/November 1,1--1983


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