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March 10, 1994 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-10

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, March 10, 1994-3

Last explanation of 'Christ'

BySCOTTPLAGENHOEF
Alas poor Marty, we knew your
film "The Last Temptation of Christ"
well upon release. However, what we
knew were the unauthoritative
rantings of fundamentalist preachers

unattainable. Scorcese created aJesus
who did not know whether he was a
prophet or a messiah from birth. He
did not know whether the voices in
his head persuading him to preach
were a divine message or a demonic
torture. Portrayed with an eerie
vulnerability and a curious
awkwardness by Willem Dafoe,
Scorcese's Jesus shares the same
earthly temptations as all humans, yet

remains faithful to his divinity.
In addition to the depth of Paul
Schrader's ("Taxi Driver," "Raging
Bull") screenplay, the film succeeds
on virtually every other level as well.
It features the richly textured
cinematography of Michael Ballhous,
the always excellent editing of Thelma
Schoonmaker and an eclectic
ensemble cast featuring Harvey
See VIDEO, Page 4

i

The music of legendary R&B artists Freddy King and Roy Brown is now available on compact disc under Rhino label.
*Rhno Records reissues record gS
King label back in forefront of Rhythm and Blues

ByTOM ERLEWINE
More than most forms of history, popular music is at
the mercy of those who compile it. Important artists can
fall through the cracks because certain writers have chosen
not to write about them, or because they recorded for the
wrong record label. Due to the CD revolution, most music
that never would have seen the light of day again has come
Ehack into print, often in the best possible package. This
week, Rhino Records released three more installments of
reissues from the vaults of King Records; while some of
this music has been available on disc before, most of it
hasn't and it is some of the best, most influential R&B and
blues ever to have been recorded.
Out of the Cincinnati-based record label's roster, only
James Brown became a superstar, but the label boasts a
This week, Rhino Records released
*three more installments of reissues
from the vaults of King Records;
while some of this music has been
available on disc before, most of it
hasn't and it is some of the best,
most influential R&B and blues ever
to have been recorded.
number of legendary R&B artists, including Freddy King,
Hank Ballard, Little Willie John, the "5" Royales and
Billy Ward & His Dominoes, as well as country artists
Hawkshaw Hawkins, the Delmore Brothers and the
Maddox Brothers.
Under the direction of Sydney Nathan, King had a
number of hit records across the country - an impressive
feat for an independent label in the late '40s and '50s. And
the records that were hits helped define what rock 'n' roll,
country and R&B was.
A quick scan of Rhino's first eight volumes (which
concentrates solely on R&B and blues performers) of the
"King Masters" series shows how far-reaching these
artists' influence was. Elvis Presley picked up "Good
Rockin' Tonight" from both Roy Brown and Wynonie
Harris; Fats Domino covered Brown's "Let the Four
Winds Blow" and almost 30 years later, the Honeydrippers
recorded his "Rockin' at Midnight." After Detroit-born
singer/songwriter Hank Ballard had a series of hits with
the "Annie" singles ("Work With Me Annie" and "Annie
Cad A Baby," among others), Chubby Checker Xeroxed
his "The Twist" and had a national sensation. The sublime
soul singer Little Willie John saw "Fever" become a huge

pop hit for Peggy Lee; later, the Beatles performed his
"Leave My Kitten Alone" in live sets and also recorded a
version of it which featured a blistering vocal by John
Lennon (it's available on several bootlegs). Blues guitarist
Freddy King's "Hideaway" became Eric Clapton's
signature piece in the '60s and Derek & the Dominos
covered his "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" on their
landmark "Layla" album.
More than any other of King's artists, the "5" Royales
suffered from a lack of hits, but that didn't diminish their
influence at all. With their astonishing, gospel-based
harmonies and leader Lowman Pauling's burning guitar,
the group paved the way for the soul music of the '60s, as
well as British blues hot-shots like Clapton and the Rolling
Stones. Pauling was as fine a songwriter as R&B has ever
had, and such songs as "Dedicated to the One I Love" and
"Think" became hits for the Shirelles and James Brown;
those two songsjust scratch the surface of the "5" Royales'
considerable talents. And here is where Rhino's King
reissues are particularly rewarding. Many pop music fans
have heard of the "5" Royales, but most have not heard
them - their recordings have been out of print for years,
or only available on extremely expensive imports.
Thankfully, the two-CD set, "Monkey Hips and Rice,"
puts it all together in a terrifically annotated, compulsively
listenable package that helps reclaim their rightful place
in musical history.
While "Monkey Hips and Rice" is the crown jewel in
the "King Masters" series, it is by no means the only
essential volume. Little Willie John's "Fever: The Best of
Little Willie John" shows that he was one of the finest
R&B/soul singers, able to handle both rough blues and
smooth strings with equal flair. Ballard's "Sexy Ways" is
also tremendous, proving that he was not only a gifted
songwriter, but also an incredible singer. King's "Hide
Away: TheBestof Freddy King" isessential forhis highly
influential guitar work. With its early performances from
future Drifter Clyde McPhatter as well as Jackie Wilson,
"Sixty Minute Men: The Best of Billy Ward & His
Dominoes" is full of scintillating vocals and risque rhythms.
Also gloriously ribald is "Bloodshot Eyes: The Best of
Wynonie Harris," and Roy Brown's "Good Rockin'
Tonight" is nothing less than 18 tracks of prime, swinging
jump blues.
It may sound hyperbolic, but these eight CDs could not
have been.produced any better; the remastering is stellar,
the liner notes are informative and the art-work evokes the
style of the original records. Without a doubt, the "5"
Royales, Ballard, Little Willie John, Billy Ward and
Freddy King discs are among the most essential, important
reissues of the past few years - it is timeless music that
is finally available again.

and the Moral Majority, who chose to
blackball the film without ever seeing
it (but isn't that the fundamentalist
way, to shoot first and ask questions
never?). Unfortunately, in this
instance it worked. A work of
considerable breadth, depth and soul
is relegated to social and moral
leprosy. You would even be hard
pressed to find a copy at a video store
without having to go to an independent
one such as Liberty Street.
The film is, if anything, a very
religious and very Christian text.
Unlike most films about Christianity
or the Bible, such as "The Ten
Commandments" and "The Greatest
Story Ever Told," this is no sprawling,
empty epic. Scorcese's work is not a
lavish retelling of the classic Sunday
school tales. It is much more powerful
because, unlike most of these epics, it
is about religion and faith.
Martin Scorcese's film is an
adaptation of the also controversial
Nikos Kazantzakis novel of the same
name, not the gospels, and Scorcese
tells us immediately where the film's
origins lie. Ironically, Kazantzakis
was an atheist, quite unlike Marty,
and this may have been the source of
many of his problems with the
protectors of morality in this country
who knew of the novel and its so-
called godless source.
Yet, Scorcese's film is not godless.
He simply creates a more accessible
Jesus, portraying him struggling with
the same choices regarding religion
that each individual "mortal" faces in
their own lives. The primary Christian
attribute of Jesus is that he walked the
earth as a man butretained his divinity,
disallowing himself to be swayed by
that which is earthly and not heavenly.
Yet, was he not tempted? If it is a
given that he would remain divine
because of his origin then what type
of role-model is he? He would only
serve as an example of the

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Martha CoolJhAlding /
906 South U'&$versity
(corner of S University-and Tappan)

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Casual Dress Free of Charge

Open to the Public

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Thinking about applying
to Graduate School at
the University of Michigan
School of Education?
If YES, come to a meeting
TODAY, 6 p.m.
Room 1322 (Tribute Room)
School of Education Building
Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions
about programs, financial aid opportunities,
and admission requirements.

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If you have questions, call:
OFFICE OF STUDENT SERVICES
(313) 764-7563
1033 School of Education Building

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Sratgt erin

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