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September 29, 1984 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-09-29

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ARTS
Saturday, September 29, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

A return walk on the wild side

...
6s:

By Byron L. Bull
W HEN LOU REED hits the stage
at the Royal Oak Music Hall
tonight, all eyes and ears will be turned
forward in expectation.
It's been six years since Reed and
company last embarked on an
American tour, and in that interim one
of rock's most influential and
fascinating figures has undergone some
radical changes.
From despairing nihilist to sensitive
but embittered romantic to his newly
revitalized, reaffirmed self that some
people still insist must be a passing fad
or even contrived image.
While any of these possibilities seems
ridiculously remote, the acid test is
tonight when Reed, known for his on-
stage soul purging, will put all
questions to rest.
Reed's career has been one of the
most intriguing and convulted of all
rock figures. He found legendary im-
mortality purely for his grounbreaking
work with the legendary avant-punk
band, Velvet underground.
Velvet broke more conventions and
rules in their three short years than
most bands ever accomplish.
With John Cale's adventurous
musical experimentation, and Reed's
innovative and delicate guitar work,
The Velvets were far too adventurous
for ears grown staid by late sixties
folksiness and soppy psychedelia.
The Velvets broke and battered all
the pop/rock convention that would
have gone unscathed until the advent of
punk in the mid-seventies.

Lyrically, the band waltzed through
taboos as nonchalantly as if they were
nonexistant. Their squalid, hopeless
explorations of street life and human
depravity in songs like "Heroin" and
"Waiting For The Man" rank as some
of the most startlingly despairing
pieces ever recorded.
The post-Cale albums - in which
Reed focused the band more toward his
own sordid visions - were where their
most influential work was done.
Reed's eclectic tinkerings have been
the source of constant irritation to his
tirelessly loyal following and to the
critics.
When Reed flirted with a sexual am-
biguous personae (encouraged by then
reigning drag queen David Bowie) on
Transformer, with songs like "Make
Up" and his one hit, "Walk On The Wild
Side."
Likewise his inability to decide if he
longed desperately for or viciously
disdained love turned many a shy
listener off.
While ambitious in his plans, Reed
always seems to have a proper outlet.
His conceptual Berlin, full of literary
pretentions and overwrought emotional
gestures, never held much narrative
weight.
Instrumental experiments like the
brutally offensive electronic noise
collection, Metal Machine Music and
the muzaky The Bells, were admirable
for their attempts to push their creators
limits, but still failures.
Despite some classical training, Reed
has always had trouble locking onto a
melodic muse. His music often has a
choppy, unfinished feel, and for a while
Reed had to turn to friend Nils Lofgren

to set his words to music.
Now, quite surprisingly, Reed's
recently released expurgatorial New
Sensations finds him wiser, more
assured, and in full control of his art.
The music is simple, rhythmic rock
and blues, with light synth and horn ac-
cents. More hardcore afficianados
might be turned off by its warmth and
find it too tame and accessible, but it is
perfectly in touch with his new tone.
Aside from a few typically quirky
character sketches (one about a club
weilding psycho. and the other a disen-
chanted starlet) New Sensations is a
collection of unabashed confessionals
sans the expected cynicism and self-
loathing.
With its uncompromising honesty and
well measured sense of dry humor, the
album ranks as the most affecting self
portrait by a songwriter since Pete
Townshend's 1979 Empty Glass.
Reed's current band features two of
the musicians from the last album
sessions (bassist Fernando Saunders
and keyboardist Peter Wood), with
Lenny Ferrari replacing Fred Maher
who's gone back to drumming chores
for Material.
But the most significant member of
the band - other than Reed himself -
is Robert Quine. Quine, who was absent
from the album, will return to the stage
with Reed for some invigorating duel
guitar work. Quine's return also
squelches nasty rumors of a rift bet-
ween the two musicians.
The show at Royal Oak opens with
The Swimming Pool Cues - who have
been opening for Reed on this leg of the
tour - at 8:00 tonight. Take a walk -
you know where.

Lou Reed plays in his first U.S. tour in six years at Royal Oak on Saturday.

Abbey Lincoln

.. .delivers 'The Word'

By Marc S. Taras
ABBEY LINCOLN Aminata Moseka.
The very name shimmers with
etic strength and magical charm.
Strength and charm are but two of the
endearing, utterly human qualities that
Abbey Lincoln brings to her music and
song stylings. To glimpse some of the
others, read on.
But to realize the power and ex-
cellence of the woman, and the artist,
be sure to attend one or both of Lin-
coln's shows at the Michigan Union
Ballroom this evening at 8:00 and 10:30.
There and then the mysteries will be
revealed in all their simplicity.
A woman began life in Chicago as
Anna Marie Wooldridge. She came as a
child to rural Michigan with her paren-
ts and eleven siblings. She grew up in
the Jackson area where she attended a
one room schoolhouse. She recalls fin-
ding "her power at the piano, doing
something for myself."
Abbey has always been alert and
responsive to her background. "I
believe that people who do not respect
&heir ancestry are doomed to perish.
We live through our ancestors," she
said.
She was familiar with the works of
her contemporaries through the radio
and was strongly influenced by Billie
Holiday. "If it hadn't been for Billie
Holiday's work, I wouldn't have known
where to begin."
A major turning point in her life came
when she met Max Roach. Roach had
been a key figure in the development of
he new music that was called bebop.
He was convinced of Abbey Lincoln's
genius and introduced her to many of
the music's pioneers and current
luminaries ranging from Coleman
Hawkins to Eric Dolphy.
She and Max were married for a
decade, through the turbulent sixties,
and parted amiably. Their musical
career together was long- and fruitful
though unfortunately under-recorded.
This was in part due to the fiery,
political nature of their music. Recor-
dings like "The Freedom Now Suite -
We Insist!" raised eyebrows and even
concern among some of the white-ruled
recording establishment.
Lincoln has never seen her art as
'political' per se. Demonstrating what
is for her a typical wisdom of the heart,
she insists, "I have never been political.
I am social. People take social things
and make them political, but I am not

running for office. I'm interested in
mores and social standards because I
live here."
She began her film career in 1956 in
The Girl Can't Help It. In 1959 she
toured with the national company of the
Broadway musical Jamaica playing
the lead part. She continued her acting
throughout the sixties considering her
co-starring with Sidney Poitier in For
Love of Ivy to be her most significant
work.
It was through an agent, Bob Russell,
that she became Abbey Lincoln.
She has reemerged more bright and
beautiful than ever. She has been given
a new name; Aminata Moseka. This
name was conferred upon her by two
African heads of state while she was
visiting and vacationing there with her
friend Miriam Makeba.
The name Aminata Moseka is the
feminine of an African god in the form
of a maid and is appropriate for one
who is so acutely aware of the in-
terrelationship of man and woman.
"There's a war between men and
women because men don't see women
as they see themselves, and vice-versa.
The concept of God is worshipped as a
He....I am a she-God, and when I find a
he-God, we'll get along just fine."
Like Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln
always begins with the words. "I sing
the words, I want the words to be heard.
Sometimes maybe I will sacrifice a
sound for the spoken word."
Perhaps. But not much is sacrificed
in the way of sound, I assure you. Her
voice has grown deep and broad, and
full of emotional conviction. She can
whisper and roar, cling to one vowel so
clearly you could cry, or holler from the
bottom of her soul so as to make you
shake.
Abbey Lincoln delivers the word!
Her art is visual as well. She frequen-
tly wears African apparel in perfor-
mance and never forgets that she is on
stage; never forgets that she is an ac-
tress and that people come to see as well
as hear her.
"A lot of times you have to tell
musicians, 'Put on your best, you're
coming to the Holy Temple, the Inner
Sanctum. Bring the best of everything
you have."' She is always conscious of
and deliberate about the quality of the
images which she presents whether she
is selecting a song or considering a role.
She never forgets her artistic respon-
sibility. A responsibility to the people
which she is able to view in religious
terms.

Abbey Lincoln will perform at the Union Ballroom - not U-Club, folks - on
Saturday night.

"I've always tried, like the ancient
ones, to use art as a tool to develop
character. We live a universal life, and
it's possible to speak to everybody on
some level. I try to remain observant of
everything, and I sing about what I like
in my life -- when you hear certain
things over and over again, it becomes
a kind of prayer."
As Abbey Lincoln Aminata Moseka,
the artist has arrived.This is her time of
fulfillment. "I am in my golden years
on the planet and I'm aware of my own
increased sensitivity to life. I have
discovered the scope, vastness, and
perception of people I come from, and
it's given me a way of seeing myself in
direct relationship to who we come
from and who we are."
This evening offers each of us a rare
opportunity. The artist reveals herself
that we may recall ourselves. She is
seen that we may see. She delivers the
word that it may be heard!
Even her name speaks of the long
path travelled and the many mysteries
revealed. She is Anna Marie
Wooldridge Gaby Lee Abbey Lincoln
Aminata Moseka. Come. Share with
her, with all of us, the music of life it-
self.

RNN
5th Avenue at Uibertty St
7 6 - 70DA IL Y 1 s t M A T IN E E $ 2 0 0
"Rare and Exemplary
-REX REED. N Y POST
W ENDY H UGH E'S
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FR. D 20 0 2930 1130PM.
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-NEWSWEEK
ANOTHER
COUNTRY

John Lee Hooker in the Soup Kitchen

By Howard Stern
JOHN LEE HOOKER, a legendary
figure in the field of authentic blues
and earthy rhythms, will be making his
way to downtown Detroit for two
special engagements at the Soup Kit-
chen Lounge tonight at 10:00 and

later migrated north to Chicago and
Detroit, creating the unique blend of
country and urban blues.
John Lee was a pioneer in this step-
ping-stone of blues music. He left
Mississippi, moved to Memphis, and
later settled in Detroit, where he
worked as a hospital orderly and in an
automotive plant to finance himself

denied. His classic "Boogie Chillin"
was redone by Canned Heat, who did a
thirty minute version of it live in con-
cert. In 1965 the Animals redid another
classic of his "Boom-Boom." His style
of playing his guitar and singing vocal
riffs in unison an octave or two apart
has also been copied by several blues
artists including Johnny Winters who

W.uI .] f r U- Vu ri ".V L 1 J.T I "IW U. ! .' 1JM1

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