The Michigan Daily
gets into the mood
Thursday, October 25, 1990
When you hear the first cut on
this album, the song "I'm Free"
makes you want to get up and move.
by Ilene Bush
"M y vision for this particular
production... was to open it up so
that more people would be able to
participate... I wanted it to have
more of a community feeling," ex-
plains director Linda Spriggs, a local
artist and and member of the Univer-
sity dance department. A previous
viewing of Ain't Misbehavin', an
upbeat musical featuring the music
of Fats Waller, has helped Spriggs
and musical director Calvin McClin-
Won add their own creative touches in
the Ann Arbor Civic Theater produc-
tion this week.
As Spriggs reflects upon Waller,
the famous piano player/ songwriter
from the age of swinging Harlem in
the 1930s, she explains that he
didn't care what anybody thought as
long as they enjoyed his music. "I
didn't have any preconceived no-
Otions, so I felt free to do what I
wanted to..... He was very real and
sincere and those things come across
in the songs and also in the mood of
Spriggs' principle aim is to
eliminate the barriers between the
spectators and the performers, for the
audience to feel part of the '20s and
'30s Cotton Club or, honky tonk
.lives where Waller's music was
performed. She invites the audience
to dress in clothing appropriate to
the era. Spriggs hopes to "make
people feel like they are going to the
club and they are partying uptown
during the renaissance in Harlem."
In order to enhance this club-like
atmosphere, Spriggs has added six
players to the original five-member
cast. Some of these performers sit at
tables on stage, as if watching the
show, and occasionally participate in
the musical numbers. Spriggs also
allowed each cast member to use his
or her own name and create a history
for each character. She hopes to for-
tify the show's verisimilitude this
way: "The things that happen are an
outgrowth of the relationships that
all the different characters have... It's
like being at a party...."
Waller was non-judgmental says
Springs, and had a "lust for living."
She believes that he would have
wanted people to experience his art
in their own individual way. "If [the
audience] feels like jumping up in
the aisles and dancing when [the per-
formers] are jumping, that's what
they should do...they are part of this
club like everybody else...."
It features Junior Reid doing some
guest reggaeing and a choir-like
group effort on the chorus. After lis-
tening to the rest of the album, you
realize that the band is only accept-
ably decent for two or three songs
and "I'm Free" is the best they get.
Of course, it's a cover song. And the
gospel bits made me think that they
want to be Foreigner.
Is this supposed to be the next "I
Want to Know What Love Is" or a
poor imitation thereof? I hope not.
But dammit, I always wanted to be
Lou Gramm too. I mean, it has its
hooks and all but it's too bad the
Soup Dragons couldn't actually
write something as pleasing as this
cover tune and copy Foreigner at the
Considering that the band places
themselves in the middle of heavy
pop overtones replete with heavy
drums and synthy clatter, they have
nice guitar bits. But when they
claim "Call me God and you'll be al-
right" in the title track, I really want
to puke. They also have a lot of
stupid boy-girl lyrics throughout,
but then this is power pop, right?
Okay, I admit "Backwards Dog"
is a damn fine piece of intense Cult-
like pop, almost as good as "I'm
Free" and the band members even
wrote this one (but it doesn't sound
like Foreigner). "Crotch Deep
Trash," a bonus track on the CD,
has a good lot of oohoohs and guitar
for a pop band. But when they wah
wah wah wah wah in "Sweetmeat,"
the Soup Dragons seem like they
think they are really inventive. I not
only wish I was Lou, I wish I was
one-dimensional in every song too.
Not to be sycophantic, but be-
sides those sex packets that some-
body sent me last week, Deee-Lite is
the best high I can get nowadays.
Their aesthetically perfect CD,
WoHd Clique, is easily the most
sensuous thing in rotation at the
moment. Lady Kier Kirby plays the
discotheque diva role impeccably
with an exquisite voice. And the cast
is excellent as well: James Brown's
old brass section of Fred Wesley,
Maceo Parker and the one and only
Parliafunkadelicment bassist Bootsy
Collins are all present. The horns
are, well, really horny for a house
album that simply bellows at the
standard of house music as being
sterile and sensuous, but completely
See RECORDS, Page 7
Sushil Dade, on the far left, of the Soup Dragons looks like Jackson
Brown (not Lou Gramm).
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