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September 26, 1990 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-26

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, September 26,1990

Rock music: a
by N.M. Zuberi
Genetically speaking what pro-
duced Elvis is quite a mixture. At
the beginning, to French Norman
blood was added Scots-Irish blood.
And when you then add to these the
Indian strain supplying the mystery,
and the Jewish strain supplying
spectacular showmanship, and you
overlay all this with his circum-
stances, social conditioning and re-
ligious upbringing- specifically his
southern poor white, First Assem-
bly of God upbringing - you have
the enigma that was Elvis.
- Peter Guralnick, writer
He started from the blues. If he
stopped, he stopped. It's nothing to
laugh at. He made his pull from the
blues.
- Howlin' Wolf, bluesman
Give me the ability to rage cor-
rectly
- Joe Orton, playwright

bastard form

RECORDS
Continued from page 7
section.
Repeater also includes a new
version of the song "Provisional"
originally released on the Margin
Walker EP. This version has much
more of p live, unproduced sound.
It's less poppy, lacking the lushness
of guest guitarist Edward Janney's
playing.
There are critics who, because of
the band's strongly political nature,
have a tendency to pigeonhole
Fugazi as preachy and pompous.
These criticisms completely ignore
some of the band's more thoughtful
work. The last song, "Shut the
Door," comes to mind. The song,
dedicated to MacKaye's brother, is
about a young woman who gasses
herself to death and the shock of
finding her remains. The immediacy
of personal experience almost invari-
ably makes for more inspired writing
and performance. Live, this song is
chilling. True to form on vinyl, its
ultimate dynamic control reflects the
emotional mania and emptiness of
such a traumatic experience.
Fugazi seem on their way to be-
coming not only the band for the
'90s but the Grateful Dead of the
punk world to boot.
Rush -Geoff Sanoff
Chronicles
Mercury
Ok, generally there isn't a lot to
say about greatest hits records, espe-
cially one by a band as widely
known as Rush. Conceivably, I
could just sit here and list off the
songs and add a few comments like
"the liner notes are pretty extensive"
or "this record clocks in at just under
two and a half hours" and y'all
would have a pretty good idea of
what to expect from this. But I think
Chronicles warrants a few com-
ments.

The band then went through its
bombastic science fiction concept
album phase, but its real break-
through came with 1980's Perma-
nent Waves and its catchy single
"The Spirit of the Radio." Hearing
this song in the context of this al-
bum accentuates its break with the
past and hints at better things to
come. While much of the early stuff
was a bit overblown, this was where
Rush became a somewhat scaled-
down version of themselves and hit
FM paydirt. For the most part, this
was a good change, and resulted in
tight records like 1981's Moving
Pictures and memorable tunes like
"Tom Sawyer," "Limelight" and
"Subdivisions." The band harnessed
its excessive musicianship and Lee's
piercing high notes to become more
refined and ultimately better focused.
Chronicles probably won't win
Rush many new fans (not that they
really need them). And most Rush
fans probably have most of the orig-
inal albums from which these songs
came. Also, it's a bit pricey. But it
captures the essential (if not consis-
tently high-quality) history of this
long lived and, as many would agree,
important band.
-Mike Molitor

Hey guess what? I look through
the Daily yesterday and what do I
see? Yes, yet another music writer
taking cheap shots at the legacy of
Elvis Presley, the most important
popular musician of the century.
"Elvis was a dim-witted charlatan
who stole the soul and then pushed
it for every boffo he could get,"
writes the raging Forrest Green, go-
ing on to blame Mr. Presley for the
"absolute theft of the Negro soul of
the '50s." Haven't we heard this all
before in that gross misrepresenta-
tion of history that tells us that rock
'n' roll was sitting in the belly of
the Black man waiting to be cut out
by the white man, grilled and then
served up on a kaiser roll (with hon-
eycup mustard) to the wimpy white,
Eisenhower-doting public?
So ok, Elvis was no Ph.D, but
to call him a faker and a racist is
plain ignorant of his life and music.
And where did Green dig up the in-
flammatory quote that I, as an Elvis
scholar and anti-racist, have never
seen in any text: "The only thing
niggers can do for me is buy my
records and shine my shoes." There's
no evidence to proveElvis ever said
this.
And Mr Green, have you ever ac-
tually listened to The Sun Sessions?
America is racist and, yes,
African Americans have been ripped
off by white people in the arts as
they have in most other spheres, but
to see Elvis as symptomatic of this
tendency generalizes his work for the
purpose of notching up didactic

The Glove
Blue Sunshine
Rough Trade
Robert Smith said that he wished
he could have enclosed a hit of acid
with every copy of thisrecord. The
Glove, a psychedelic collaboration
between Smith and Steve Severin of
Siouxsie and the Banshees, was orig-
inally released in 1983 and was
available only as an import in the
U.S. until now. Since The Cure is
now big business, Rough Trade
probably figured that this would be a
good time to cash in on this little-

Elvis fan and fellow Sun recording artist Howlin' Wolf once remarked that Elvis "made his pull from the blues."
And if anyone should know about the blues, it would be the Wolf himself.

points. Green forgets that rock 'n'
roll is a conflation of the blues,
country and pop.
Elvis was influenced by Tony
Bennett as much as by Arthur "Big
Boy" Crudup. Rockabilly was born
in the Sun studios in Memphis
where country musicians and blues
musicians had been recording for
years. Music was one of those areas
where segregation was less severe
than in the rest of Southern life.
Elvis had a deep, abiding admiration
and affection for the blues, gospel
and, later, soul music. He never aped
the music of Black America, but
took blues tunes, mutated them to
create a virulent new strain. Being
white obviously helped him to sell
records to a white (racist) public, but
to forget that Elvis and his music
had an aura, mystique and Dionysian
power all its own is tantamount to
saying that James Brown has no
sense of rhythm whatsoever.
Mr. Green, have you ever listened
to "Heartbreak Hotel"?

The fact is that Elvis' version of
"That's All Right (Mama)" runs
rings around Big Boy Crudup's limp
original, and his "Mystery Train" is
at least as good as Junior Parker's
version. As the great Howlin' Wolf
said of Elvis, "He got his pull from
the blues." Just like those other
founding fathers of rock 'n' roll,
Chuck Berry, Big Joe Turner, Little
Richard and Bo Diddley.
In his iconoclastic article, Green
tries to erect racial boundaries in
music. He laments Sting and Paul
Simon "going African," and that
such forays threaten "cultural authen-
ticity." Arguments around the myth
of authenticity usually smell of the
same kind of crap as those surround-
ing the notion of "purity." The crux,
Green seems to feel, is that white
musicians dilute the "Blackness" of
African-American music.
Remember that hoary old chest-
nut: "Can white singers have soul?"
Presumably, we are to think that
Van Morrison shouldn't even at-
tempt a Jackie Wilson song. Simi-
larly, are we to assume that A Tribe
Called Quest are culturally
"unauthentic" because they sample a

sitar riff on their latest fab release
"Bonita Applebum"? Are they rip-
ping off Indian culture and depriving
Ravi Shankar of a deserved rupee or
three?
Popular music, thankfully, is a
bastard cultural form, a mixture of
cultural, ethnic and musical influ-
ences. The more racial blurring the
better. The whole notion of
"Blackness" is a dodgy one; firstly,
who defines it? Public Enemy? Can
any one voice represent "a whole
race of people," as Green would have
us believe? Surely not.
Much African-American music
has been on the "cutting edge" be-
cause it brings disparate influences
into the eye of its storm; white mu-
sic has benefited from its engage-
ment with traditionally Black forms.
This interaction should continue for
the future health and funkiness of
popular music and the betterment of
the human race. Elvis Presley is just
one example of Oedipal fixations,
cultural miscegenation and the guile-
less, but incredible talent of a kid
with sideburns, melding together to
create music that changed the world.

I Rea therts-Daly
R a thAAM ERICAN SUBS
715 N. University (next to Supercuts and Aphagraphics)
663-0069
" FREE POP (medium) with purchase of sub or
sandwich at regular price
" Compare our Ptis and Quality
Now We Deliver - 10:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Offer Expires October 15, 1990

I,
Let Thein'Know
How you Feel 1I
- DAILY PERSONALS 764-0557
Need the hot news fast?
Find it in the Daly.,

change makes one wonder if Lee re-
ally likes (or understands) Peart's
lyrics.
First of all, no one in their right
mind would accuse Rush of not be-
ing able to play their instruments.
This is especially evident in the ear-
lier stuff. However, much as one
may appreciate good playing, some
of the early work does gets a bit
ridiculous. The all-too-frequent stops
and starts make some of the songs
so herky jerky that they're just plain
annoying.
In the very beginning, before
drummer Neil Peart joined the band
and began writing the lyrics, Rush
was as loud and as stupid as most
early '70s heavy metal came. (It
probably wouldn't be hard to con-
vince someone that "Finding My
Way" was a Led Zeppelin outtake).
Then came Peart and his lyrics.
Geddy Lee changed from singing
about ice cold beers to singing about
personified trees. Such a radical

known record. Sure, some of the re-
ally hardcore Cure fans may have al-
ready bought it, but they're just a
fraction of the millions of
Cure/Smith fans with an extra eight
bucks or so to plunk down for this
platter.
It's eight bucks well-spent, even
without the acid, and it's better than
anything The Cure or The Banshees
were doing back in 1983. Landray,
an excellent female singer, handles-
most of the vocal chores on the
record, although Smith gets two
songs. The music is a cross between
the best elements of the the two
bands, with a healthy dose of
psychedelia and middle eastern influ-
ences as well. Songs like "This
Green City" and "Like an Animal"
sound every bit as good as
"Inbetween Days" did before you
heard it ten thousand times. Basi-
cally, Blue Sunshine is as good as
early eighties euro-pop came.
-Mike Molitor ,

r , f 1. .} .-;{intf iih; '_'$t>! 1t)K - 4

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