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May 06, 1981 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

To wnshend
leads 'Ball'
The Secret Policeman's Ball -
The Music (Island)-The Secret
Policeman's Ball was a 1979 London
stage performance given by a group
of musicians and comedians (in-
cluding the show's director, John
Cleese, and three other members of
Monty Python) to benefit Amnesty
International. A film of this stage
production has been released as well
as separate comedy and musical
soundtrack albums. The par-
ticipating musicians are Peter
Townshend, Tom Robinson, Neil In-
nes, and John Williams.
The most interesting portion of the
music album are the three Who
songs Townshend performs solo, ac-
companying himself with acoustic
guitar. The much-abused "Pinball
Wizard" gains a good deal from this
simple treatment. Townshend once
claimed that he wrote the song in or-
der to con then-influential rock critic
and pinball fanatic Nick Cohn into
writing a favorable review of Tim-
my. Considering the heavy spiritual
significance the song has been laden
with, it is indeed surprising that the
pinball wizard "never tilts at all."
The less grandoise treatment makes
this pleasant but light-weight num-
ber more palatable.
On the Quadrophenia version of
"Drowned" Roger Daltrey sounds
consistantly on the verge of being
inundated in a sea of guitars, piano,
bass, and drums; "set me free"
equals suicide as release. Townshend,
on the other hand, is blissfully adrift,
yearning to "drown in your love."
Townshend is joined by classical
guitarist John Williams on "Won't
Get Fooled Again," and this weighty
Who standard is transformed in
being liberated from the
snythesizers of Who's Next.
Tom Robinson (now of Sector 27)
also uses only an acoustinc guitar on
"1967 (So Long Ago)" and "Glad to
Be Gay." Here the acoustic sound is
reminiscent of the folk
singer/protest movement of the
'60's. In the context of an Amnesty
International benefit, the ironic
"Glad to Be Gay"-"I don't believe
that sort of thing happens here'-is
a gentle poke at smugness when tor-
ture allegations come from Irish H-
blocks, and gays and other minority
groups are still subject to political
persecution in so-called free coun-
tries like England and the U.S.
There are two tracks from
classical guitarist John Williams,
each pleasant listening if nothing
wildly exciting. The remaining song
comes from Neil Innes, occassional
Python sidekick. "Spontaneous" is a
mildly amusing parody of a night-
club entertainer, replete with
swelling horns, oozing piano, and
nauseating vocal inflections.
If you're interested in hearing
Pete Townshend's solo inter-
pretations of well-known Who songs,
this album is worth your time. You
can also feel good knowing that
profits from the album go to Am-
nesty International, an organization
which aids and defends prisoners of
conscience.
-Karen Green

The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, May 6, 1981-Page 7
Kingbees - '60's redux

The Kingbees-'The Big Rock'
(RSO)-What do the Kingbees, Knack,
and Romantics all have in common?
Besides the fact that their music is
repetitious, all three bands secretly
wish that they could have been playing
in those topsy-turvy Sixties. At least
that is where their music is most of the
time.
The Kingbees ache to be Buddy Holly
and the Crickets; in fact, they do quite
well covering Holly's "Wishing." The
vocals and guitar on this song
remain true to the spirit of the master
himself. It's in the way that they attack
their own material, on this their second
album, that they falter.

TO PLAY the type of Be-bop rock that
this group would like to conquer
requires great amounts of enthusiasm
for the music. But on The Big Rock it
seems as though they're only going
through the motions.
It's not that they don't try to pull it off
with feeling-one can tell how hard
they're trying on the first listen. It's
just that they don't succeed. Groups
like Rockpile make this genre of music
into good, fast fun; the Kingbees make
it hard work, with a tenseness that
drains all the necessary spontaneity out
of it.
Many times the lyrics don't help
either. "You plug in your electric

guitar/You're halfway there to being a
star," and "I'm ready/And I hope
you're ready too/to keep rocking/rock
away all my blues," are lines one could
come up with in the shower.
Uninspired production and cliched
guitar solos mark almost three quar-
ters of the album. Their first album
would have made an excellent EP. I'm
afraid their second effort delivers no
better than a single's worth of good
material-that being the title track and
"Stick It Out!" And those two songs
could never have competed with any
Holly single.
-Ed Mandel, Jr.

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