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September 22, 1989 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-22

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 22, 1989 - Page 9-

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Brendan Croker and the
Five O'Clock Shadows
Brendan Croker and the Five
O' Clock Shadows
Silvertone Records
The immense specter of Van
Morrison haunts Brendan Croker's
debut album. It's not that both of
their faces perfectly exemplify the
whiskey-soaked barfly, or the fact
that Katie Kissoon, a frequent col-
laborator with Morrison, sings back-
up on "Shine On." You see, like
Morrison, Brendan Croker absorbs
the enormous sense of joy in
American music that allows the per-
former to overcome the difficulties
in his life. In this case, Croker deals
with his feelings of insignificance
and powerlessness.
Croker lists Elvis, the blues, and
Cajun music as his primary influ-
ences. While this doesn't really
show in his music, his delight in
singing is irrepressible and this al-
lows him to "walk down this road/
and turn the next corner/ And it will
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all disappear." Soundwise, the record
has as much to do with Croker's in-
fluences as late '70s Paul Simon has
to do with his folk background. The
album is ultra-slick, and although
this kind of production gives the
music a very lush feel, it sorely
lacks a sense of authenticity. The
record's strongest songs are those
that maintain the closest ties to their
roots, like the horn-fueled blues
romp "You Don't Need Me Here" or
the honkytonk tear-jerker "Just an
Old Waltz."
Like that of his country and
western mentors, Hank Williams and
Johnny Cash, Croker's songwriting
is somewhat sparse, relying more on
imagery than on storyline. This is
nonetheless the album's major
downfall. Croker's songs focus too
much on the chorus without devel-
oping the rest of the song, leading to
repetition without any depth of ex-

ploration.
Van Morrison's songwriting tal
ent does not preside over this album-
like his jubilant performing does,
but Brendan Croker has more,-
promise than anyone else on they
contemporary music scene to pre-
serve and extend the boundaries of
traditional American music. He has a-
firm grasp on the music's basic ele-
ments; the horn section is under-
stated but still manages to provide a
significant punch, and his voice is~
capable of both serene beauty (his
duets with Tanita Tikaram and Eric
Clapton) and gutsy bar room R and"
B ("You Don't Need Me Here" and
"All Mixed Up"). Brendan Croker
and the Five O'Clock Shadows is
not a great album, but it has more.
potential than any other record in the,
"folk-rock" genre since Michelle
Shocked's latest -Peter Shapiroa

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COMEDY.
COM PANY,
To audition you must attend
Tuesday
SEPT 26
at 7:30
The Union Ballroom
Accepting
Applications for
ACTORS
WRITERS
Production Staff
Info regarding these and other
positions available at UAC office
2105 Mich Union. 763-1107.

4,

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FAX: (313) 665-3507

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BEHIND EVERY
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THERE'S'
SOMEONE
WHO SAYS IT
WON'T WORK.

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When Columbus claimed the world was
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Order your college ring NOW.
Stop by and see a Jostens representative,
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AND SOMEONE:
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I.

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