- U- -~ -~
SEPTEMBER 1988 Life And Art
U_ THE NATIONAL COLLEGE NEWSPAPER'
JBootleggers skirt the law for unique recordings
into folk scene
By Hillary McMahan
The Daily Texan
U. of Texas, Austin
Lately a lot of folk music purists have
been complaining that most artists of
the recent "new folk" boomlet lack the
conviction to take on the social and poli-
tical issues that the genre addressed in
its heyday, the 1960s.
Of course, these so-called folk artists
should not have to address social con-
cerns if they don't feel the need, but one
new artist who does is Tracy Chapman.
Her self-titled first album shows com-
mitment to '80s social issues without
becoming a preachy bore.
In a deep, husky and expressive alto,
Chapman sings songs about racial in-
justice, domestic strife and the cycle of
poverty. Her lyrics are simple and
straightforward, so direct they would
seem heavy-handed if not for the au-
thority with which she sings them.
Musically, the few spare acoustic-
oriented songs are interspersed among
more fully fleshed-out numbers featur-
ing catchy synthesizer and steel guitar
Chapman's weakest point seems to be
overgeneralization. Her utter convic-
tion in the material, however, upholds
On his new album Conscious Party,
Ziggy Marley's voice closely approxi-
mates his father's - partly because of
the true similarities between the two
voices and partly because of the power
of suggestion. But the sound similar-
ities shouldn't really matter. What
should matter is that Ziggy Marley and
the Melody Makers are reviving true
reggae and making it a force in today's
syntho-glamour rock world.
The title Conscious Party is appropri-
ate, as the songs beckon the listener not
only to be aware of the ignorant and
dangerous state of the world around
him, but also to tap his foot and cele-
brate life's potential beauty.
The songs on Conscious Party seem to
come in complimentary pairs. "New
Love," a wonderful and optimistic song,
contrasts the realistic and cynical "Lee
and Molly," a minor tune about an in-
terracial relationship. Rastafarianism
is reaffirmed in a pair of songs named "A
Who A Say" and "Have You Ever Been
To Hell." Ziggy's poetry is not meant for
Marley has enough talent and meaty
material to launch a reggae assault
on the too often formulaic content
, of FM radio. The album's few
faults seem to rest in the
production, headed by Talk-
ing Heads bassist Tina
Weymouth and drummer
Chris Frantz. The two trail
the white college student
brand of funk and soul,
which at times takes away
some of the music's poten-
But Conscious Party
is not an ineffective
collection of songs. There
is enough of Ziggy Mar-
ley's true spirit pouring
out to make the pop
world sit up
for lots of time
on the turntable
By Shawn Gillen
The Minnesota Daily
U. of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Nothing But The Truth is Panama-
nian-born Ruben Blades' latest release
and his first effort in English.
It also serves as an excellent intro-
duction to Blades' songs for American
listeners. Songwriting credits by Sting,
Lou Reed (who also produces), and Elvis
Costello will also bring new listeners to
Blades, whose early reputation was
staked on a string of critically acclaimed
albums (sung in Spanish) that dealt
with social and political issues.
Blades' early concerns are still pre-
sent on Nothing But The Truth, but this
time out there are more songs about
them. "In Salvador" and "Ollie's Doo-
Wop" deal with politics explicitly, while
the other politically-oriented songs tell
stories with an intelligence, compassion
and humor that's rare in pop music.
Blades' world is a harsh place where
political assassinations and disappear-
ances are everyday occurrences, so it
takes a political consciousness to inter-
pret what's happening on the street.
Blades also shares an interest in
smarmy pop love songs. Usually his dis-
tinct phrasing and heartfelt lyrics can
bring this genre to new heights, but
here, the love songs, including Sting's "I
Can't Say," are ruined by the record's
sugary slick production.
All told, though, Nothing But The
Truth is a good, sometimes great, album
that will please Blades' fans while it
introduces him to new audiences.
By Steven Langer
The Oklahoma Daily
U. of Oklahoma
Al is a bootlegger. Unlike the bootleg-
gers of the Prohibition Era who dealt in
illicit booze, he bootlegs cassettes on
high-speed tape recorders in his living
room and sends them across country
through the mail.
Al deals in a specialized product not
available in record stores. He collects
and trades tapes of music performances
that are unauthorized by the artists and
their record companies. He said he does
it because he is a rock and roll fan.
"Listen," he said, popping a bootleg
cassette of Bruce Springsteen into one
of the four cassette decks in his living
room, "this is Springsteen playing 'Born
in the U.S.A.' with a reggae band."
On the tape, Springsteen sounds like
he has dropped his E Street Band and
gone Jamaican. In the background you
can hear the rattling of glasses.
"This is in a bar in Asbury Park, New
Jersey," Al said. "CBS (Springsteen's
record company) would never release
anything like this."
Instead of relying on the studio his-
trionics that Springsteen resorts to on
his CBS releases, the reggae version of
"Born in the U.S.A." is alive with the
personality and atmosphere of an im-
How does Springsteen feel about
illegal recording? "I know he doesn't like
people making records out of tapes," Al
"It has been going on a long time," he
added. "A friend of mine had a bootleg
record. After a concert he got Bruce's
band to sign it, but Bruce refused. I can
understand why he wouldn't, but fans
have rights, too. It's like a double-edged
Dylan slips out
of the 'Groove'
By Marc Callan
Indiana Daily Student
Indiana U., Bloomington
When you hear the punchy guitar and
harmonica that jump starts the new
Dylan album, don't get your hopes up.
In terms of material and musi-
cianship, Down In The Groove lacks uni-
ty and direction.
Consistently, Dylan's best albums
have been almost entirely self-
composed, giving them a coherent vi-
sion not evident here.
The credits on the new release in-
clude Eric Clapton, Ron Wood and ex-
Sex Pistol Steve Jones. However, they
and the half-dozen other notables play
only cameo roles. The personnel is com-
pletely different on every song on side
one and only a few repeats are on side
The result is a musical rummage sale.
There's a sizable amount of junk, but
there are some real gems to be found,
too. "Let's Stick Together" and "Had a
Dream About You, Baby" are gutsy
rockers. "Silvio," the album's standout,
shows that Dylan still hasn't lost his
The reassuring thing about Down In
The Groove is that Dylan's vocal per-
formance is his best in years. He is re-
laxed and confident. That in itself is a
Al got into bootlegging af- =
ter he became a die-hard
Bruce fan. After buying all
of Springsteen's CBS re-
leases, he was not satisfied.
He then met some other
fans that were part of a
nationwide network trad-
ing in bootlegs. Al has since
expanded his catalogue to
include audio cassettes by.- 1
U2, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan,
Eric Clapton and The Bea-
tles. He has also begun to
collect bootleg video cassettes.
Al said he doesn't feel he is doing any-
thing wrong because he only trades cas-
settes and buys bootleg records.
"I would never sell anything or have
any records pressed," he said. "That's
profit. Both pirating and bootleggi
are illegal and violate U.S. copyrig
laws. However, bootleggers such as
say bootlegging is much the lesser
Even so, the music industry ofte
sends conflicting messages to the pub
about its stance on bootlegging.
Ellis Widner, entertainment editor
the Tulsa Tribune, said the Grate
Dead, for example, encourages its fa
to tape its concerts.
CBS Records maintains that bootle
ging is "a form of thievery." Robe
Altschuler, vice president for pub
affairs, said the company works wi
law enforcement agencies across t
United States in an effort to stop bo
illegal, and I don't want to go to jail."
Al said that bootlegging should not be
confused with pirating, which is manu-
facturing counterfeit copies of record
company releases and selling them at a
@1988 Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee.V
Punk blasts back to life with new LPs
By Leland Rucker
U. of Colorado, Boulder
KUSF named country's best station
.. Noted for innovative and unique music and
programming, KUSF 90.3 FM was named the best
college radio station in the nation by the Gavin
Report, an authoritative national publication which
reports on the radio industry. Ballots were sent to
record companies and radio stations nationwide,
and a panel of judges from the record industry
picked the winner from the top five nominees. During
the 1985-86 year, KUSF was also named the top
radio station by the New York-based College Media
Journal. Willis Lam, San Francisco
Foghorn, U. of San Francisco, CA
Party time! It's the best of "Louie,
Louie" ... It is one of the most enduring,
unintelligible, and most covered songs of all time.
"Louie, Louie" has since become a staple at fraterni-
ty parties, happy hours and beach barbeques. The
Los Angeles Daily News calls "Louie, Louie" the
"song that wouldn't die." And Rhino Records has
now come out with The Best of Louie, Louie, which
includes the original track by Richard Berry, the
Kingsmen's famous version, the Sand Pipers and
even punk rockers Black Flag. The company also
helps promote "Louie, Louie Day," on May 22nd,
which benefits the Leukemia Society of America.
Bruce Beckwith, The Technique,
Georgia Institute of Technology
Why have we spent $50 million to
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Most beers are heat-pasteurized.
And that can affect a beer's taste.
But Miller Genuine Draft isn't
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We spent a lot of time and effort
to develop the cold-filtered. process.
AS REAM ITES
It's an exclusive method that doesn
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Cold-filtered,. Miller Genuin
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you is a beer that's as real as it gel