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November 28, 1988 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-28

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40

Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 28, 1988

I

Cowboy Junkies
The Trinity Session
RCA Records
The best non-bottled Canadian export since Joni
and Neil is a group with an uncharacteristically stupid
name and a unbelievably original sound.
Call it post-apocalyptic hillbilly. I picture this
Toronto quartet perched on the wreckage of a rusted-out
Buick in the middle of a vast nuclear wasteland,
spinning their haunting ballads of love and loneliness
t9 an audience of radioactive tumbleweed and dusty-
faced orphans.
*The Cowboy Junkies dare to cover the Velvet
Underground and Hank Williams on the same record, a
move which speaks of their taste as wells at their
ambition. They recast these disparate traditions into a
singular, visionary whole. Sparse instrumentation - a
mandolin jangle here, a harmonica wail there -
percolates beneath Margo Timmins' husky whisper to
create a highly personal style at once familiar and

uncommon.
The pink sticker slapped on the shrink-wrap of this
record quotes Lou Reed marvelling, "The best and most
authentic version of 'Sweet Jane' that I have ever
heard." Reed, the song's author, should know of
course. While dozens of bands have recorded shit-
kicking interpretations of the Velvet Underground
anthem, the Junkies bathe it in their silver light of
understatement and arrive at a brand-new conclusion.
Not to be overlooked, their originals are lean, tasty
slabs of hillbilly woe. "200 More Miles," stands tall in
a long tradition of lonesome highway laments.
"There'll be no warm sheets welcoming us to fall into
tonight," Timmins warns, suggesting that our journey
has just begin. "To Love Is To Bury," with its
accordian and dobro flourishes, languishes in murderous
morbidity without sinking to self-pity or cheap humor.
Finally, a band that speaks softly and carries a big
stick. One hit of Cowboy Junkies and you'll be
hooked, too. -Mark Swartz

Big Audio Dynamite
Tighten Up Vol. '88
CBS Records
Mick Jones, lead singer and
guitarist of Big Audio Dynamite,
has now proved to the music
community that no depth is too
low for him to stoop in the quest
for financial security. His Clash
bandmates obviously discovered
this a half a decade ago when they
booted him from the group.
Worse yet, Jones has now
become so absorbed in his own
self-worth that his over-inflated ego
has phagocytosed any of his
remaining creativity. The latest
B.A.D. LP, Tighten Up Vol. '88 ,
comes with a record sleeve overly
adorned with pictures of the man in
a variety of different "Yes, I'm
Cool" poses. The back of the
album presents the senescent Jones
in a tuxedo and combat boots, one
foot on the ground and one on an
amplifier, a bottle of champagne in
one hand and a top hat in the other.
Strictly for the birds.
Musically, we must remember,
that Jones' more famous contribu-
tions to the Clash were those tunes
that Clash fans always hated (e.g.,
"Train in Vain," "Should I Stay or
Should I Go"). And thus, we are
faced with Tighten Up, yet one
more example of Jones' unin-

presumably named for the 1968
rhythm and blues song (and dance
craze) created by Archie Bell and the
Drells, the music contained therein
can hardly be described as similar. It
can be more adequately described as
slick '80's disco -- every song
sounds exactly the same as the one
that preceded it.
It would be nice to say that there
is one song on the record which is
even relatively decent, but to do so
would violate the record reviewer's
hippocratic oath of honesty to the
reader.
In addition, Jones has, once
again, filled the space between the
songs with his banal "signature"
snippets of conversations. It's only
after listening to his albums that I
can truly understand just how much
I have taken for granted those few
seconds' respite listeners usually
gets to rinse their palates between
cuts.
But, perhaps the biggest clue
that this record is, in fact, "B.A.D."
is the disclaimer Jones offers his
audience. In "Just Play Music," the
last song on the album, Jones
sings, "Just play music/ Critics,
mags and interviews/ Who cares
about bad reviews?" Hopefully, the
record-buying public does. This is
not only B.A.D., it's
R.O.T.T.E.N.
-Emily Porter

0

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c. .c.
D 0
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D 0SPECIAL NOTEo
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O As announced in the final fall 0
o term schedule and elsewhere, p
O classes for the Winter Term 1989 0
will begin on Thursday, Jan. 5,1989 p
o 0
0 0
o Office of Registrar 0
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00000000000000 0

Jones
...tightens up
triguing and momentarily fashion-
able works.
Though the album is

Clive Gregson and
Christine Collister
Mischief
Rhino
Christine Collister possesses
probably the best husky female voice
to come recently out of the British
"folk/acoustic" scene, and her consort
Clive Gregson (ex-Any Trouble)
plays a quality guitar. His Telecaster
is obviously indebted to Richard
Thompson (in whose band Gregson
plays, and Collister sings), and his
songwriting to Elvis Costello. To-
gether on stage they are an incredible
pair, a dynamic duo, just vocals and
guitar. What with the tiny and
unassuming Collister scorching the
living hell out of the audience, and
Gregson with his "stand back
everyone, I have my guitar" style,
it's little wonder.
They don't play folk, though they
often play to "folk" crowds. At their
best, they're a simple guitar pop duo
with better than most vocals and
licks.
Still, that said, this album is
terribly bland, and a damn sight more

boring than their first LP, Home And
Away (Flying Fish). Jazzy touches
to poppy songs, it's all okay, but
nothing reaches over to grab you.
The songs are cute, the singing
pretty and pretty good, ah, but
nothing memorable here. It should be
noted that the domestic Rhino release
is different than the Special Deliv-
ery/Topic import: two throwaways
were thrown out and replaced by two
better, though not terribly exciting,
songs. - VJ. Beauchamp
Death
Leprosy
Combat Records
I admit it, I love heavy metal. I
probably should have outgrown it a
lo-o-ong time ago, but something in
my psyche cries out for doses of
distorto screaming guitars, thunder-
ing drums, etc. - played LOUD.
It must be a sign of some kind of.
(gasp) maturity, though, when all the
posing and postulating pile up too
high and I have to laugh out loud.
Some bands take themselves too
seriously. Check it out: "...there's no
need to inflict grievous bodily harm
upon yourself, they're here to do it

for you!" "...capable of wiping ou
herds of stampeding cattle at 100
paces..." and my favorite, "... eight
tracks as subtle as bubonic plague"
- all from Death's bio.
It's true, too; there's no pretense
on this here album, only in the press'
releases. It all comes down to power.
All their rantings would fall on
unsympathetic ears if they weren't
one of the 'best of the rest' speed/-
thrash/death metal groups around.4
With a better producing job, cleaning
up their occasionally jumbled sound,
Death would stand right up there
with the MegaSlaythraxica boys.
Most of the songs were written
by guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuld-,
iner. Death built a following in the
metal underground, signed to Combat
Records, and released Scream Bloody
Gore, their first album. After touring
and stabilizing the lineup long
enough to write some new tunes,
Death recorded Leprosy, also on
Combat. Eight songs, only one over
five minutes long, and no wasted
See Records, Page 9

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