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November 21, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-11-21

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily
X-Clan
samples
a rich
hi~story
by Forrest Green Ill
G rand Verbalizer Brother J.,
announcing the X-Clan on their de-
but album, To the East,
Blackwards., in the song titled
"Funkin Lesson," "Where you
goin'? What's your speed?/ What's
your pleasure? What's your need?/
Trees and branches, roots and seas/
forwards, backwards, many degrees/
questions, answers, what's the sum?
We have come."
J. can kick these melodramatic
ballistics if he so desires. Besides his
talent for understated, flowing rap de-
livery, Brother J. taps the pulse of
collective young Black America like
no other. While flowing over
grooves largely taken from the col-
lected works of Parliament-
Funkadelic, J. draws on an amaz-
ingly extensive gamut of sources and
references when dropping vainglori-
ous science.
Patrice Lumumba, Marcus
Garvey, Osiris, Mattin Luther King
Jr. and Queen Nefertiti are frequently
mentioned in the swirling sea of ref-
erences that J. draws on. This is well
represented on the cover of To the
East, Blackwards, which shows the
foursome in a pink Cadillac, headed
on a direct course to the Crossroads
J. refers to. The faces of the X-Clan
- J., Professor Overseer X, rhythm
provider Sugar Shaft and Architect
Paradise, have been neatly juxta-
posed within a collage of African
figures, the aforementioned as well
as so-called subversives Angela
Davis, Adam Clayton Powell and
W.E.B. DuBois. Even as they give

Wednesday, November 21, 1990 Page 5
Waterboys' great Scott gets back

by Michael Paul Fischer
461 was denying myself that plea-
sure (playing electric guitar) for three
or four years," explained chief
Waterboy Mike Scott recently in
Musician magazine, regarding his
lengthy immersion in the acoustic
world of Irish folk.
Denying us the pleasure too,
some would say; the release of a
complacent, mediocre new album,
Room to Roam, had turned many ad-
mirers impatient with the oddity of
one of rock's greatest spiritual con-
tenders selling himself short. The
good news for them is that Scott is
finally charting the course of
"moving back - rockwards" out of
perhaps the strangest rock 'n' roll de-
tours since Bob Dylan's "born-
again" phase in the late '70s.
It was just five years ago that
Scott stood on the verge of immi-
nent rock 'n' roll stardom: the epic
sound and visionary zeal of 1985's
This is the Sea left critics on both
sides of the Atlantic uttering his
name in the same breath as those of
Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Van
Morrison. But the purist Edinburgh
native had always exhibited reserva-
tions about commercial success, and
after bassist/keyboard player Karl
Wallinger left .in 1986 to form
World Party, the beatific rhythms of
fiddler Steve Wickham began to de-
fine a new sound in the Waterboys'
live shows. Scott's heart - and his
group - drifted gradually westward,
first to Dublin, then to Galway.
The result was 1988's remarkable
Fisherman's Blues, a triumph not
only in the way it negotiated Scott's
path out of following an un-follow-

Ireland's Waterboys hit the road with a bare-bones lineup -drummer
Ken Blevins, bassist Trevor Hutchinson, leader Mike Scott, and saxman
Anto Thistlethwaite - after dismissing four Gaelic instrumentalists.

X-clan know their history and they'll be happy to tell ya all about it.

uppable success, but also its
development of a new rock-roots
raison d'etre that never patronized.
But Blues' Yeatsian promise of
blissful artistic escape becomes
parodic on Room to Roam - the
album contains a cut called "Song
from the End of the World," and
Scott's music itself seems to have
had hit a creative dead-end. The rest
of the album equally flouts' all
expectations.
But as 1990 draws to a close,
Scott has suddenly regained his
senses and finds himself scrabbling
his way through musical arrange-

ments for an autumn American tour
backed now by only the
sax/bass/drums core left in the wake
of the sudden departure of half his
eight-piece Irish-based ensemble.
As word in the British press has
it, Scott's "Big Music" - bolstered
by the recent addition of a three-piece
brass section - is ready to make a
long-awaited comeback.
THE WATERBOYS play at the
Royal Oak Music Theater Friday at
7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.50 (plus
service charge), available at
TicketMaster.

credit to the Nation of Islam as well
as El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, the X-
Clan does not crumple under the
weight of its many references.
Rather than falling into some
liberal scheme of collective struggle
however, Brother J. utilizes a tone
somewhere between Chuck D.'s re-
bellious determination and Ice
Cube's relentless, nihilistic anger. In
"The Ways of the Scales," he ad-
dresses various perpetrators didacti-
cally, "Now I see children of
Originals doomed to lose/ teachers
and preachers remain confused/ talk

about humanists and true black
ways/ talkin' revolution when you're
out to entertain/ ignorance you're
talkin' in your crackhead neck/ take
you back to Egypt where you learn
respect." The track utilizes the Tom-
Tom Club's "Genius of Love," with
Tina Weymouth singing, "There's
no beginning and there is no end," to
outline the sense of 360 degrees of
existence.
Moreover, Brother J. is not the
diplomat Chuck D. tries to be, but
instead rages along with his people.
See CLAN, Page 7

Union Carbide
Productions
Financially Dissatisfied,
Philosophically Damaged
In the Air Tonight
skyclad
Sweden has never been known for
its rock music output. Actually, be-
ing of Swedish descent can be quite
embarrassing for a music fan when
you think about it, what with
ABBA, Yngwie, Europe and Roxette
being the country's most visible
exports. Until Union Carbide
Productions, that is.
This band is not only noticeable
because they're different, they're no-
ticeable because they are 1-o-u-d.
From this noise stems an abrasive-
ness that could teach some of those
other Swedes a thing or two. Unless,
of course, "The Look" and "Carrie"
* constitute good rock 'n' roll.
Basically what these guys do is
rehash the sentiment and the sound
of local legends MC5, an under-
standable undertaking but one that is
not all that original. The albums are
fast-paced, with Philosophically
being the more melodic of the two,
bringing back a musical era most of
us missed the first time around.
Detroit, Ann Arbor, Gteborg -'
it's all the same. Looks like angst is1
an international language.
Kristin Palm
Hindu Love Gods
Hindu Love Gods
Giant ,
You know guitar-obsessed Peter
Buck longs to do real rock 'n' roll, .
more R&B than R.E.M. Could ever
be with someone like Michael Stipe
controlling the vocals. Thus forms
Look Your Best!
- 6 Barber Stylists
For MEN & WOMEN H!!
DASCOLA STYLISTS
Opposite Jacobson's .
668-9329

the basis for latest incarnation of the
Hindu Love Gods - three members
of R.E.M., including Mike Mills
and Bill Berry, with stout-voiced
Warren Zevon singing and playing
guitar - covering tunes by people
like Prince, Woody Guthrie and
Robert Johnson.
Most of the blues covers sound
like R.E.M. doing blues with
Zevon's thick deep bellowing sound
that has just a little less captivation
than the songs need to gel. They
R.E.M.ed two Robert Johnson
songs, "Walkin' Blues" and
"Travelin' Riverside Blues" into
some simile of rock 'n' roll! The
latter's opening chords are played so
they resemble a Pylon song. The
songs reverberate with an intriguing
yet historical touch of white men do-
ing Black music and making it safe.
It is safe but swell.
"Raspberry Beret" and "Battleship
Chains" are more awkward- sounding
in comparison. The Gods turn
"Raspberry Beret" into a damn good
rock song with heavy guitars but
Zevon's vocals add an it's-all-right-
but-all-wrong tinge to the song. But
this very ungainliness fashions a dis-
tinctive quality making it the most
groping cover on the album.
Zevon's singing also shapes
"Chains" into a superficially gauche
tune but it doesn't have as much
charm as "Beret."
The Gods reach their pinnacle
during songs like "Mannish Boy,"
"I'm a One Woman Man" and
"Vigilante Man" where Zevon's old-
man singing style clicks with the
guitars and the tunes. "I'm a One

Woman Man" sounds kind of silly
when Zevon adds this coun-
try/mountain man tint to his voice.
But it works with the spirit of the
song.
This self-indulgent project suc-
ceeds only because it's simultane-
ously bad and good. Zevon and com-
pany chose some fairly sacred cows
and covers them in manners that
range from creatively interpretive to
downright annoying in fashion. The
Gods obviously like the music they
chose and they are properly enthusi-
astic. The mockery they, especially
Zevon, make within songs adds the
irreverent quality needed to do inter-
esting covers.
-Annette Petruso
The Grateful Dead
Without A Net
Arista Records
Among the clich6s coined about
the Grateful Dead, one holds that
their studio recordings are empty
blotter compared to their live sound.
Thus they have released nearly as
many live albums as studio efforts.
If you have never heard the Dead
live, this release is a good a place as
any to start (a cliche in itself). This
project is divided into two discs or
tapes, the "1st Set" and the "2nd
Set." (I don't know how they might
divide the three records in the vinyl
version.) The songs appear in
basically the same order as they
would at a.Dead show, with the ex-
ception of "Help On the
Way->Slipknot-+Franklin's Tower,"
which appears on the second disc
about where the Dead would play the

The Hindu Love Gods hang on a porch as bands from the South who appear in the Daily always seem to be
doing.

only pre-chosen improvisational
segments at a real concert,
"Drums-+Space."
The performances on this release
were recorded over a period from
October of '89 through this year's
Spring Tour which ended in April.
The opening song, "Feel Like A
Stranger," is from the legendary
Warlocks shows last fall in Virginia.
(Brent Mydland's "long long crazy
crazy tour" backing vocal gives this
one away). Local Heads may be in-
terested to know that the next num-
ber, "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown
Toodeloo," is from the March show
in Hamilton, Ontario, according to
the Dead fanzine Golden Road.
As they have done on previous
live recordings, the Dead have
chosen to redo their vocal parts in
the studio, though not on every cut,
such as the aforementioned
"Stranger," and "Althea," which still
See RECORDS, Page 7

5" Vaa

u

N

FOR JUNIOR NURSING STUDENTS

..

A SUMMER STUDENT NURSING
EXPERIENCE AT MAYO FOUNDATION
HOSPITALS
Here is your opportunity to work at Mayo Medical Center
for the summer.
Summer Illis a paid, supervised hospital work experience
at Saint Marys Hospital and Rochester Methodist Hospital,
both part of Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
You are eligible for Summer IlIl after your junior year of a
four year baccalaureate nursing program. It includes
experience on medical and surgical nursing units or in
operating rooms.

I

Application Deadine:

I

Benefits include:L;ecember 1,1990
" Hourly salary of $8.45
" Differentials of $.50/hour for evenings, $.60/hour for

nights
Subsidized apartment living

"

r

I

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