The Michigan Daily
Sunday, January 15, 1984
Hot time in the ol' town
By Bill Orlove
T IS A frigid January in downtown
Ann Arbor these days but at Rick's
American Cafe last Friday and Satur-
day night, it felt as if we were in a hop-
pin' Chicago bar where the heat was
supplied by the fiery sounds of the Son
Before Son hit the stage, his band got
to business and put the audience in the
right mood for the show. The group,
consisting of Laurie Bell on rhythm and
lead guitar, bassist Nick Charles, Carl
Shneider on keyboards and drummer
Clyde Tyler, proved to be a tight combo
even without Seals. The blues in-
strumentals and songs that the band
pumped out, primarily driven by
Shneider's rollicking organ and Bell's
mad strumming, got the crowd up on its
feet and dancing.
When Son finally did appear from
behind the stage to grab his guitar, the
dance floor was full of people. And that
was the way it was throughout the en-
One of the elements that makes Son
such a fantastic performer is not only
his over abundance of talent but his
style of playing. It seems as if the man
was born with a guitar in his hand. He
just picks up the instrument and plays
it as if it was second nature to him.
Although he plays his guitar quite laid-
back and easy going, the man is serious
about the music he is playing. The solos
he performs are effortless yet tough-as-
nails as his hands ramble up and down
the fret board. And backed with the
solidarity and unquestionable talent of
his band, Seals can switch from song to
song witp ease and without long pauses.
Throughout the show, that lasted for
more than two hours, the Son Seals
Band played nothing more than first
rate, top-notch, danceable blues. Each
musician played with all of his soul and
tremendous vitality. No matter who
was soloing in a particular song, the
remainder of the band would give the
soloist full room to do his own thing
while playing the rhythm of the song as
a solidified unit. And the crowd kept
calling for more.
A reviewer's words can only go so far
and only say so much. The real proof of
a band's talent and energy can only be
experienced live. Son and his band are
one of only a handful that truly fits the
MUSKET ANNOUNCES ITS WINTER PRODUCTION:
,%C 0ic.J /I
THE FOLLOWING STAFF POSITIONS
Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
The sizzling sounds of Son Seals and his band made Rick's one hot place on a cold Friday night. Guitarist Laurie Bell
(above) jams the night away, lending credence to the old saying, "all you need is a little help from your friends."
Applications are available in the UAC OFFICES on
the second floor of the MICHIGAN UNION
CALL 763-1107 or stop by.
Born to play
By Joseph Kraus
OME PEOPLE are just plain built
to do what they do. For instance Dr.
J just plain looks like a basketball
player and Mick Jagger just plain looks
like a rock star.
Well, Dave Van Ronk was just plain
built to be a blues guitarist. His right
shoulder is bigger than his left and so it
forms a pocket just the right size for a
guitar. His face is weather-beaten and
he looks like he's paid his dues, and his
voice is raspy enough to turn the hap-
piest song into the blues.
Van Ronk was at the Ark on Friday,
and while he put on a good show there
were a few flaws.
The music was, of course, fantastic.
He did some folk tunes and a little jazz,
but the bulk of the evening was devoted
to the blues: Van Ronk's.blues are sim-.
ply amazing. He can make you feel A
single note somewhere in your spine
and then move it up, down, or both ways
In talking about the sources for most
of his blues, Van Ronk cited Josh White,
Jellyroll Morton and Leadbelly as his
greatest adolescent influences. He said
he'd first begun to play the guitar when
he was only 13 or 14 years old. "Jazz
was what I was interestedi
then...I started out learning o
Van Ronk said he learned al
late that the great bluesme
youth were accessible. "I ne
Lead(belly), he died in 1949."
However, as he became mor
his art, he began to approach
its stars. "I met Gary Dav
on...," he said, and it was fro
that Van Ronk learned "Coca
arrangement of which has
countless musicians to perf
song. Among these musiciansI
Jackson Browne, who recorde
Running on Empty LP.
One of the songs Van Ronk pe
was an original composition a
Gaslight, a Greenwich Villagef
where he had performed wi
major artists from the folk re
the early '60s. "I wrote that s
rare fit of nostalgia back about
ago," said Van Ronk. In th
"(Bob) Dylan sang Bach, (Ph
lines all scanned... and Pogo (T
ton) was buying the next r
In talking about the folk rev
Ronk said, "It was an abno
unusual time, but I didn't feel
time...I was surprised it lasted
as it did."
in back Although Van Ronk never received
ff recor- the commercial success of many of the
other "folksies," he denies em-
most too phatically that he feels at all cheated.
n of his His own recording career, although not
ver met particularly lucrative, has seen 14 or 15
records, with yet another "in the can."
e sure of As for the flaws in his performance,
some of they weren't fatal, just a trifle annoying
'is early since they interfered with such a talen-
m Davis ted performer. For one thing, he stop-
ine," his ped four or five times in the midst of in-
inspired teresting patter to retune his guitar.
orm the Obviously the man has to have his
has been guitar in tune, but it broke the rhythm
ed a Van of the show and made the first set hard
on his to follow.
The only other flaw, which might
rformed even be interpreted as a compliment,
bout The was that the show seemed short. It was
folk club as if the second set had barely started
th other when it ended, but the hands on the
evival of clock had chocked off another hour.
ong in a As for his plans, Van Ronk has the
15 years new album coming out, but he said he
he song, hasn't decided which label will get the
il) Och's "...honor of losing its shirt." He's also
Pom Pax- thinking about pulling together an Off-
ound of Broadway show about the life of Bertolt
Brecht, but plans there are also vague.
ival Van In assessing his career so far, Van
)rmal or Ronk said, "I'm in an ongoing career
so at the and I have to tend to it...I never thought
d as long of it as anything more than a way to
make a living - I was right."
Tom Waits 'Swordfish-
trombones' (Island Records)
This is more than blues. This is .Tom
Waits. He takes a song, a song he wrote,
and scuffs it up. He roughs it up. Just so
you know that life's never easy. And
}then you've got to listen to it, if you're
tough enough to take it.
Well, are you?
Can you take "16 Shells From a 30.6,"
with that bell plate pingin' off your
h ad, those drums kickin' your ass and
that voice just ready to chase you into
your grave? It's doubtful. Y'see, Tom's
got hobbies. He puts it this way - "I'm
gonna whittle you into kindlin'/Black
Crow 16 shells from a thirty-ought-six."
And he means it.
If you can take that, Waits'll take you
places, maybe places you don't even
want to go. Like to a "Town With No
Cheer," where all ya can be is thirsty,
and there's a hummingbird trapped in a
closed down shoe store. And if he likes
you, maybe he'll take you on "Shore
Leave," shootin' billiards with a midget
until the rain stops.
But you gotta know this man's gonna
howl like younever heard..He'll tell you
how she left him for a "Gin Soaked
Boy," and he'll tell you the one about
the "Swordfishtrombone." And if
you're lucky he'll tell you about
"Frank's Wild Years." I could hear
that story a hundred times or more.
This is Swordfishtrombones. This is
more than blues. This is Tom Waits.
Who the hell are you?
- Michael Baadke
5'h Ae "' 'ber''y 7'61'9700
$2.00 SHOWS BEFORE 6:00 P.M.
Robert Altman Presents
MON. THRU FRI. DAILY
1:00 P.M. MATINEES
"Paul Cox's direction displays the ki
lunatic touches that virtually defin
comedy of Bill Forsyth (c'rgory- Gid:t
-Vincent Canby, Ne. York Times
"A pleasure to watch... Norman Kay
Wendy Hughes are both superb - warm.'
and funny." -Leonard Main. Enertanment T
"A movie you will lose your heart
oal Hero )."
"THE PLAY ISA MUSTSEE!"
I/ "N T
Jan. 17 & 18.
Alumni Center 7:00 pm
Student Alumni Council
PROSPECTIVE STUDENT SERVICES
A Itimn.~r~i rer Netfwork
This is afilm about two people
falling in love for the very first time
She's afraid it may be too soon.
He's afraid it may be too late.
* The Last Testament of Richard M. Nixon *
A Political Myth by DONALD FREED and ARNOLD M. STONE
A KNOCKOUT! THE BEST POLITICAL PLAY
OF THE LAST DECADE!"
Isaac, Eastside Express
THE PROFESSIONAL THEATRE PROGRAM
January 18 -21, 8 pm; January 21,2 pm
SAT., SUN. 1:00, 2:50, 5:00, 7:1
MON. 1:00, 7:15, 9:30
Best Picture " Best Actress-Shirley Mocloin(