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October 04, 1991 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-04

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The Michigan Daily

Friday, October 4, 1991

Page 8

Rati onals rejuvenate
respect with reunion

by Greg Baise
So it's the future. (Aw, come on
now! Play along!) So it's the future
and rock 'n' roll is something you
can major in in college, if you're hip
enough. Kind of like math or some-
thing. And you're lucky, since
you're majoring in it, because in-
stead of writing 57-page theses on
stuff like why Brian Wilson, Van
Dyke Parks and Don Van Vtiet are
the quintessential American rock-
ers, you can provide some kind of
proof or theorem for your under-
graduate years of rock-study beatin'.
Scott Morgan is your proof.
Morgan began rockin' back when
Richard Starkey hadn't had a name
change. With his band, the
Rationals, Morgan had a couple of
local hits throughout the '60s. In
the pre-punk '70s, he hooked up with
veterans of great Detroit proto-
punk bands in Sonic's Rendezvous
Band. He continues to garner ac-
claim with the Scott Morgan Band
in the '80s. And now, in these
nascent '90s, as well as continuing
with his own band, Morgan makes
history repeat with a Rationals re-
History? Yo, ask your Detroit-
area parents and they'll tell you: the
Rationals? Yeah, they were the ones
who iad the hit with Otis Redding's
"Respect" before Aretha made that
tune lher signature song. Legend even
has it that it was the Rationals' ver-
sion, that opened Ms. Franklin's ears
to the power of the tune. But in any
case, it was the Rationals who cov-
ered "Respect" first, probably even
before the Vagrants did their ver-
sion of it and had a hit with it some-
place else, back in the days when it
was possible to have a tasteful re-
gional/local hit.
In the early 1960s, Morgan and
Scott Correll got together at Ann
Arbor Pioneer High School to jam
on some of the rock-chop instru-
mentals of the time - stuff like
"Walk, Don't Run," "Memphis,"
and Link Wray tunes. They soon
added bassist Terry Trebandt and
drummer Bill Figg. Thus the
Rationals were formed.
"Once we got the nerve to start
singing, we would sing R&B kinds

of stuff," explains Morgan. It
wasn't long after this that the
British Invasion began, and the
Rationals gained new influences,
just like any other rock 'n' roll band
at the time. "We started writing
our own material," Morgan contin-
ued, "which was heavily British-in-
fluenced at that point - kind of a
cross between the garage/R&B that
we had started out with and the new
British thing."
Then they discovered R&B
proper, courtesy of hooking up with
their manager Jeep Holland,
YMCA hop-master, Discount Re-

testified Morgan. At that point,
though, the Rationals had firmly
established the autonomous band
identity that they had been cul-
tivating since '63, and they weren't
about to give up that identity in or-
der to gain some hit action
(although that would've been quite
the hit!)
So the Rationals passed on be-
coming band-snatched, and soon
went into the studio to record their
first and only album, an eponymous
one at that, for Crewe Records. The
album runs the gamut, from a cover
of Robert Parker's "Barefootin"' to
Dr. John's "Glowin'," from the
West Coast downer-tinged Ratio-
nals original "Sunset" to the West
Coast mellow-delica of the 6:38
"Ha-Ha." And of course, one cannot
overlook one of the Rationals' best
non-R&B tunes that you can still
boogie to anyway: "Guitar Army."
The song was a response to the
White Panther politischticks, but
that didn't really seem to bother
John Sinclair, who appropriated the
song title (crediting the Rationals,
as Sinclair is the gentleman) for the
title of his street writings/prison
Then, in 1970, the Rationals
thought they called it quits. "We
never expected to get back together
in the first place, and once we did
get back together, we never expected
to go on for more than one or two
dates," said a surprised and per-
plexed Morgan. Since May of this
year, the Rationals have played sev-
eral shows and have now augmented
their live show with a horn section
and a keyboard player. "That makes
it sound fuller," Morgan said,
"more texturally dense," thus al-
lowing the listener to groove to the
rhythms and dance away the blues.
And aren't you lucky? Yes, you
are! Because Scott Morgan has come
full circle by partaking in a
Rationals reunion. After about 21
years, his original rockin' rock and
rollin' r-and-b'in' rock band is back
together, and playin', and kickin' out
the jams like it was Ann Arbor,
specific-date, but it was a time when
the good ol' R&R was imbued with
See RESPECT, Page 10


Carl St. Clair conducts the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra with musical intuition and t

Mostly Mozart again?
St. C lair begins season with bravado (& Brahms)

cords employee, and owner of the A
Square recording label. "He had this
great record collection, with all of
these R&B songs that we had never
heard," Morgan said, "like Otis
Redding's 'Respect.' We learned it
because we liked it."
Although "Respect" was the
closest the Rationals came to na-
tional fame (it floated in the lower
third of the Billboard Top 100 for a
little while in 1966), history could
have been different. The Rationals
could have followed through with
an enticing Stax recording deal,
which would have involved the
group covering George Clinton's "I
Wanna Testify."
But that would have meant
bowing to the whims of big-wig
record company bureaucrats and
allowing Booker T. and the MGs to
do the backing music for the cut.
"We were like a complete band, and
we didn't really want to do that,"

by Roger Hsia
The Ann Arbor Symphony launches into a new classi-
cal season under the skillful baton of Carl St. Clair
with a "Mostly Mozart" concert this weekend. In
what will be his sixth and final season as music direc-
tor of the AASO, St. Clair will conduct Mozart's in-
spired Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Or-
chestra in E-Flat major, along with the mighty
Brahms' Symphony No. 1.
The Sinfonia Concertante will be performed by the
AASO's own concertmaster, Stephen Shipps, and prin-
cipal violist Koery Konkel. As the concertante, they
will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities
in the demanding and prominent solo parts. In this
piece, the orchestra provides a rich backdrop for the par-
ity between the two soloists. The glorious work is in
three movements and ends with one of Mozart's most
joyous passages, a rondo refrain.
Both Shipps and Konkel are beginning their second
seasons as principal players for the AASO. Shipps is on
the faculty of the University's Music School and has a
Grammy nomination to his credit as well. Konkel is a
viola professor at Bowling Green University and is a

member of the Bowling Green String Quartet. Like
Shipps, he's had substantial experience playing with
major orchestras. In Chicago, he was also the winner of
the First Annual St. Paul Federal Viola Competition .
Also on the program will be Brahms' First Sym-
phony, which he wrote late in his career at the age of 43.
As accomplished a composer as Brahms was, he still
felt haunted by Beethoven's ever-present shadow. As a
result, the work in many ways pays tribute to the
brooding genius, especially in the main body of the fi-
nale, which unmistakably echoes the finale of Beet-
hoven's Ninth Symphony.
No one can deny St. Clair's influence in enlarging
the AASO's already enthusiastic audience. His dedica-
tion to nurturing a well-rounded classical repertoire
for the symphony deserves to be lauded. One can only
hope that the AASO will be able to find an artist of
equal caliber and stature to continue the tradition.
perform tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $15 and
$12. Discounts are available for children, seniors and
students. Call the Michigan Theater Box Ofice at 668-
8397 for tickets.


Liverpudlian boys on the
Farm: Workers or rockers'?

by Annette Petruso

"Well, the Farm's been going for
about seven years now, seven or
eight years. Started off in Liverpool
as a four-piece band... Our influ-
ences at the time were bands like the
Jam and the Clash... (the) kind of
groups that we thought had good at-
"r ' -
titude to life and to the business
that they were in. You know, really
not interested in being pop stars or
whatever," explains Steve Grimes
on the telephone from his home in
Liverpool. Grimes is one of the
Farm's guitarists and the band's
quietest member. "There's, like,
two original members. There's me
and there's Peter (Hooton), he's the

singer... The rest of the line-up
(which also includes Keith Mullin
on guitar, Carl Hunter on bass, Roy
Boulter on drums and Ben Leach on
keyboards), they've kind of joined
up along the years. We've had a lot
of, like, ex-members of the Farm."
After all these years and all
these members, the Farm has just re-
leased its first album, Spartacus. A
solid pop album replete with gui-
tar-based grooves and accented with
synth sounds, tonal repetition and
Paula David's soulful backing vo-
cals, Spartacus has moved the Farm
into the major label league. Grimes
adds that the album has a major
booty-shaking element to it.
"There's more of a dance element
to the music (now than in the
past)," he says. "We've always kept
the same kind of structure when we
work with songs. We always like to
have a good strong chorus, good me-
lodies, good structured songs, you
know? I mean, people have always
danced to the Farm, but never in so
obvious a fashion as, like, the drum
beats we're using now."

This description most accurately
fits their single "Groovy Train,"
which features an amazing hook in a
simple, oft-repeated guitar riff and
some "hoo-hoos," filled in by a U2-
like atmosphere. Scratched beats and
wavy electronic noises mesh to
make the beat more prominent and
complete the sound.
"I think ('Groovy Train') was an
impression of people (Hooton) used
to know in school, who were very,
kind of, deeply political," Grimes
says. "And suddenly, like, with the
House Revolution in England, you
know, the Acid House thing in nine-
teen-eighty-eight, they've just for-
gotten about all their politics and
just thought, 'Sod this! Let's just
have a good time...' They're just say-
ing, 'Oh, let's get on the Groovy
Train,' you know?"
The accompanying "Groovy
Train" video is just as funky as the
song. There are two versions, one re-
leased only in the UK and the other
shot in an American, MTV-friendly
style. Grimes comments, "(In) the
UK version, we're all on trains, and
(in) the American version we're on a
bus, so maybe we should call it
'Groovy Bus."
Many of the band's other songs
share the people-conscious attitude
of "Groovy Train." "I think they're
See FARM, Page10


Plan a future that soars.
Take your science-related degree
into the Air Force, and become an
officer in the Biomedical Sciences
Corps. You'll learn more, you'll grow
faster-you'll work with other dedi-
cated professionals in a quality envi-




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