The Michigan Daily
Thursday, July 9, 1981
Duke proves to
be little more
than a jester
By KEN FELDMAN
Daily Arts writer
Duke Tumato and the All-Star Frogs.
A name so ludicrously colorful that it
stands comparison with the likes of The
Morose Toilet of Cosmic Slop. It's the
kind of name that promises something
Wrong. Tumato fronts a mediocre
blues-based boogie band that provides
background music for dancing and not
much else. Like many other boogie out-
fits, the band relies on the fact that its
audience is usually a bit soused and
willing to indulge in what would other-
wise be obnoxious or simply boring.
Daily Photo by KIM HILL
Duke Tumato leads his band, the All-Star Frogs, with some of the stage
histrionics that have made him a local club favorite of many concer-
tgoers ... not including our reviewer.r
THOUGH THE fair-sized crotd at
Rick's Tuesday night yelled, danced,
and hopped to the Frogs, the fun was
due more to the audience's desire to
have a good time than the quality of the
The main problem was the vocals.
This kind of music (50s and early 60s
R&B) is overly familiar, requiring a
commanding singer to rejuvenate its
Unfortunately, Tumato is not the guy
to do it. Though technically a fine
singer, he had virtually no control. He
punctuated every phrase with ob-
noxious shouts of "Hey" and im-
provised in an irritating falsetto as if he
were a supercool jive cat.
This took much of the punch out of the
material. The great "Barefoot in',"
which is usually indestructible, was
here a casualty of Tumato's indulgent,
sappy vocal. In a way it was a shame
because the band was as tight as they
come and had the perfect feel for the
blues, but in song after song Tumato's
vocals reduced potentially engaging
material to formulaic dance music.
CONSEQUENTLY, the best thing
about the band's show was the in-
strumentals. Though several of
Tumato's guitar solos were long and
unidentifiable, they showed Tumato to
be a unique and sometimes compelling
stylist. The old Booker T and the MGs
standard "Green Onions" was done
beautifully, with the Hammond organ
and guitar blending well. Even in this
department Tumato was sometimes
obnoxious, but at least he was taking
chances, using notes not quite in key
and attempting licks that were almost
out of his reach.
Still, obnoxiousness won out due to
Tumato's ridiculous stage persona. His
fake enthusiasm and constant remin-
ders that he was "a crazy man" were
inane. When the band and the audience
shouted "I'm gonna tie you up," during
the song of the same name, Tumator's
drooling faces and running comments
("I am a sex machine" he claimed)
were embarrassing and about as
believable as if they had been made by
TALK . TALK. TALK.
The Psychedelic Furs. "Talk Talk Talk"
The new album available now. Produced by Steve Lillywhite.
On Columbia Records and Tapes.
Appearing at Nitro Spit, July 14
This is the bottom line with Tumato
and it accounts for his strange nom de
guerre, he is trying to project an image
that is not even close to what he or his
music is like. My advice is to stay
KOOL IT .
Rent an Air Conditioner
ANN ARBOR RADIOE&,T.V.
.- ,> . 69034 %115 S. Ashley -
Downtown 'Tel.769042 't, BIN. ofliberty
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