The Michigan Daily
Tuesday, January 29, 1985
Folk Festival is fatiguing but fabulous
By Andy Weine
aith all the scalpers around Hill Aud-
V itorium Sunday evening ("Hey
buddy, ya gotcher tickets yet?"), you'd
think it was a sporting event and not a
concert about to happen in the hall. But
folk it was, and a heavy dose at that.
The Eighth Ann Arbor Folk Festival
- the folk event of the year, and
perhaps the best folk show in Michigan
-- proved to be a night of surprises and
disappointments, an immensely en-
joyable show overall, if also a tiring and
First, the surprises. After a warm-up
of traditional, old-world music by the
Lost World String Band, Jim Post took
the stage and proved himself to be what
M.C. Tony Barrand called him: "one of
the funniest people in the whole of folk
music." The large space of Hill didn't
prevent Post from fostering the warm,
casual, and homey air familiar to
regular Ark attendants. "There's only
two things that money can't buy:
true love and home grown
potaters! "sang Post.
Post launched into a string of very
fun songs that also included an
autoworker's lament to go to Japan for
work, and a Steve Goodman song, a
late-night fantasy of buying all those
cheap mail-order trinkets from the
now-deceased Ronco. Viewers of Monty
Python's The Meaning of Life would
also have recognized Eric Idle's cosmic
satire, "The Galaxy."
An even greater surprise was the.
talent of Nanci Griffith, a young Texan
folkster with a beautifully high, clear
voice and fine guitar-picking fingers. "I
wasn't into Mickey Mouse and all that,"
she said, "but I was into Fidel Castro,
who was fightin' for the little Cuban
children until he fell from grace."
On that note she satirized the
American Dream in her Castro lament.
She moved from the humorous to the
sincerely sentimental in "The Blue
Moon" and then to the spunkily strum-
ming "Spin On a Red Brick Floor."
With such a range of tones and a solid
singing and playing talent, Griffith is a
folk figure to keep your eye on in years
Like Griffith, Bim was a first-timer in
Ann Arbor. The Canadian musician
Bim might have been a surprise, too,
but his soprano voice made his lyrics
slide together in a high nasal smear
that was hard to decipher. The sound
system and large-hall acoustics didn't
compliment the voice of Bim, who is
feistily talented but needs to cultivate
his voice more towards the clarity of
one like Neil Young's. Still, no one could
knock Bim's rendition of the Hank
Williams classic, "I'm So Lonesome I
The performances of New Englander
Tom Rush did not fall short of what his
fans know him to be: one of the war-
mest and most enjoyable figures in folk
today. "Beam Me Up Scotty" put the
audience in humorous jitters with lines
such as "I'm just a poor old Trekkie in a
world he can't afford..." On his more
reflective side was a moving song
about a farmer who wants to be a
sailor and - you guessed it - a sailor
who wants to be a farmer.
Folk music is full of talented sur-
prises, as seen with David Buskin and
Robert Batteau, who accompanied
Rush on bass, piano, and violin, and
were certainly an unexpected spark in
the show. Rush left them to spark the
show with two very different songs: a
musical parody of Death in Venice and
a soul-stirring, melancholic tune, "The
Boy with the Violin," in which Batteau
skillfully drew his violin bow.
New talents aside, the biggest sur-
prise of them all - one that drew in the
audience's breath - was Arlo Guthrie,
fresh from the Steve Goodman tribute
on Saturday night in Chicago. When
the tilundering applause subsided,
Guthrie played what this reviewer
found to be the best song of the night:
Steve Goodman's "City of New
Orleans," which Rush correctly
describes as the best folk song of the
seventies. As many of the performers
reminded us, Steve Goodman is a folk
figure not to be forgotten.
Yet can there be a "best" in a
musical array as diverse as folk music?
Who can say that Guthrie's "Orleans"
rendition was any better than Jack
Elliot's humorous, slurring stories
about truck-stops and memorable
showers he's taken in his life? Or
Irelander Tommy Maken's rousing
bonnie-and-lassie ditties? Or Sippie
Wallace's hoarsy tunes warning women
of the evils of men? These tested folk
veterans gave tastes of where folk has
come from and delivered great perfor-
See GUTHRIE, Page 7
_________ ____Mon. & Fri. Twilight ,*
M " " " " " Q$2.OO- ~~~~~Shows $2.50 til 6 P.M. $ 1 .O oS T* U . FRT AIE
* C~ ~ (. SAT & SUN FIRST MATINEE ONLY $2.00 . .
With this entire ad $1.00 off adult Evening admission.
" Coupon good for purchase of one or two tickets good all "
OFF features thru 1/31185 (EXCEPT TUESDAYS).
' FROM MARK RYDELL. ED"ThRS
" + THE DIRECTOR OF HE'S NOT JUST ANOTHER OUT-OF-TOWNER! *
J~ "On GOWENI POND"'"U
''-rrr; ,'' : DAILY 8:30 P.M. i
_ THE TALKING HEADS ;
4 CHANNEL DOLBY STEREO
SISSY SPAC;EK ME"inI rA K ULNG
* DAIL Y 5:00, 7:30. 9:45 * DIY50,6010:0PM
-ss U s *U* U4U U 0.. caeo ** meme tem mee meeme U@UU* @ U@U@ U*e
Daily Photo by KATE O'LgARY
A gathering of folk personalities created a miasma of enjoyable entertainment during the Ann Arbor Folk Festival 09
Sunday night.From left to right: Tony Barrand, Nanci Griffith, Bim, Tom Rush, Jim Post, and Robert Batteau.
jams without frills
By Richard Williams
In these days of musical pomp and cir-
cumstance I prefer to see a band go on
stage without silly apparel, gaudy
lights, or dumb effects. Like dry ice -
that shit gets in my lungs and makes
me want to throw up or drink a
strawberry daquiri. Why don't bands
just play powerfully without any frills?
Section 25 did just that Saturday
evening (more like Sunday morning;
hell, they didn't come on until about
2:30, but believe me it was well worth
the wait). They just came on and
played a compelling and powerful set.
Not once did they say, "Hello Detroit,
we love you." In fact, they didn't even
New Wave trendies call this arrogan-
ce. An acquaintance said to me, "God,
what's their problem? They act like
they're so great and they're treating us
like pieces of shit." I said, "So what?
Tonight we're the audience and they
are the band and that's how it is, so quit
whinnin!" As far as I'm concerned this is
pure honesty on their behalf. They liave
no right or reason to pretend they love
us. They were there on the mutual
assumption that their only obligation
was to perform live. No catering to:our
whims like such Rock Gods as, the
Talking Heads or Bruce Springstee4i.
So anyways, now that I've set the
record straight for the future gigs, let's
discuss the songs. They c tarted off with
"Reflection," which contained an ample
amount of changes 4rom the LP 'ver-
sion. It was much harder edged due to
Larry Cassidy's superb bass breaks
which turned the song into a powerful
dirge. In fact, all of the songs featured
See SECTION, Page 7
Spend a night at Ford Theater
"cet osF to a great start with FoMr"
now live in
the City of
We are winning.
aPR~l &9 P
D;e M g