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June 02, 1989 - Image 10

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-06-02

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, June 2,1989-Page 10

continued from p. 9
from Riffs' toe-tappin' sessions.
But it is the juxtaposition of the
music and spoken words through
which Riffs opens up the promis-
ing opportunities for dramatic con-
trast which make it so special. Be-
tween song sets, the bar regulars
chill out amongst one another in
this quintessentially social envi-
ronment, where people take a little
comfort in a sense of community.
During casual conversations about
personal problems, subtle gestures
hint at burning truths stirring be-
neath the superficial level permitted
by the deliberate nonchalance of the
bar atmosphere; "Riffs" is the place
to go where everybody knows your
name... but no-one knows you.
And when the burden of con-
cealed identity builds to a breaking
point - prompted usually by
challenges to the character's in-
tegrity - the audience suddenly
becomes the confessional, the mir-
ror of a labored conscience, and is
distinguished from the stage audi-
ence, who are oblivious to the rev-
The frank solilioquies stun-
ningly contrast the realism of the
bar as a public place and our
strange access to the bar-goers' in-
ner selves. During a shocking
monologue, the convin-cingly
powerful Jonathan Smeenge - as

the wife-beater Charlie - considers
the recoiling from public facades to
private honesty: "It's like diving in
a public pool... and when you
come up, you're all by yourself in
the middle of the ocean."
And the total strangers who sur-
face before us out of this theatrical
bar are transformed by brilliantly
detailed acting into irridescent, un-
forgettable personalities struggling
to reconcile their identities with
public images, not without ironic
humor over their own insecurity.
Wren contemplates how the
characters populate the bar to "soak
up alcohol and blues through our
fractured roots": the joy in the mu-
sic comes through the sense of
community established in voicing
common feelings of sorrow and
yearning, of the problems that
drive Riffs' customers into the bar
in search of sanctuary from inti-
macy (see today's Muddy Waters
LP review to the right for more on
the basis of blues).
Exactly. For a few short hours
here, we share in the release of au-
thentic feelings as great music and
acting merge, and nothing else
matters. Except the choice of our
own to follow these entertaining
characters - right out loud - and
stomp to our own blues.
RIFFS resumes at the Performance
Network, 408 W. Washington, at 8
p.m. Wednesday, June 7 and
Thursday the 8th. Tickets are $9.

Muddy Waters long players in their original sleeves. Also out is Etta James' The Sec-
M a hThey're not the best of the Chess ond Time Around (1961), an unchar-
Muddy, Brass and the Blues back catalogue, but are worth acteristically subdued album of bal-
Little Milton investigating for their insight into lads. Rather than belting out the
If Walls Could Talk the career moves of premier blues/R blues, Etta's plaintive voice delivers
Etta James & B artists. torch standards, swathed in strings.
c TIn Muddy Waters' case, the in- These are songs of pain and lost love
The Second Time Around tense recordings of the early fifties completely in contrast to the robust
Chess Records have been replaced by the laid-back, R & B hits of later years.
The African-American writer rolling rhythms of Muddy, Brass & Together, these blues records
Richard Wright put the American The Blues (1966). A collection of banish the old adage, "it all sounds
musical form into a nutshell when he blues standards, including "Corine, the same"; the Chess re-releases doc-
wrote: "...the most astonishing as- Corina" and "Sweet Little Angel," ument an influential musical tradi-
pect of the blues is that, though re- this record is Waters on auto-cruise, tion which, despite its unique histor-
plete with a sense of defeat and down- hardly extending himself; pleasant ical origins, is always changing and
heartedness, they are not intrinsically listening, but lacking the passion and never in the same place.
pessimistic; their burden of woe and diabolical fervor of his earlier discs. - Nabeel Zuberi
melancholy is dialectically redeemed Blues & Brass resonates with the in- The Flaming Lips
through sheer force of sensuality, fluence of the Atlantic soul sound, Telepathic Surgery
into an almost exultant affirmation and seems to be Muddy Waters ad-
of life, of love, of sex, of movement, justing to the new course of black When I listen to this, I feel weird.
of hope. No matter how repressive music. The record's a little disap- The clstesrti ter I can
was the American environment, the pointing, but worth purchasing for dclosest descriptive term I can
Negro never lost faith in or doubted the heavy, brooding, sexually charged find, studied apathy, comes from
his deeply endemic capacity to live. version of "Black Night." the press release. I just don't know
All blues are lusty, lyrical realism, The most essential release in this anymore. Are birthdays after your
charged with taut sensibility." series is Little Milton's If Walls t really necessary? What I do
know is that if you have ever won-
The blues in all its various tones Could Talk , recorded in 1969. Little dered what Barrett-Waters-Wright-
can be found on the legendary Chess Milton's voice bears the pain of Lit- Mason's "Interstellar Overdrive"
label of Chicago, the city where delta tie Willie John's rasp:Here is an al- would sound like with lyrics, you
blues became electrified and more bum of classic southern soul; songs can check out "Right Now." Aside
rhythmic. At Chess some of the of cheating, adultery and ripping out from that, Telepathic Surgery offers
most influential blues recordings a loved one's heart and then immers- some soothing punk blues. I think I
were made, reshaping the form, and ing yourself in the masochism of need another Mountain Dew. Fuck, I
affecting the development of rock 'n' self-laceration. Great fun! The ar- can't afford one. I guess I'll have to
roll in the mid 50s. The label has rangements are funkier than one is listen to this tape again instead.
just re-released some of its 1960s used to from Chess. -Brian Jarvinen


ome Jo.
Restaurant Pub
330 S. State Street
full Maine lobsters
t single, double
r all y an e prices1
a ar e pr
ri a a ur a
ue 9 & 10; 16 17; 24
11 for reservations 996 -9191

and Ford might similarly be described
in d y as contrived. While Lucas and Spiel-
continued from p. 9 berg could not be accused of being
until Dad disappears while searehing preoccupied with character in the first
unrtl GadiappearlyndeIadyrbeins film, they are even less concerned
for the Grail in Italy, and tndy begins here. The father-son motif, which-
his search for both missing artifacts. offers the opportunity to give flesh
The trail starts in Venice, goes to Ford's fantastical character, falls
through Austria, Berlin (oooh, the flat; the relationship hinges solely on
heart of Nazi Germany), and endswitreae.Dungoepntf
somewhere in the Middle East. witty repartec. During one point of
Casomesre indted lnEast.rprpersonal revelation between the two.
Chases are conducted in all four pi-~ they argue about who was better it
mal elements (earth, fire, water, air) bed with the heroine. Cute...
in every popular World War II vehi-
cle you can name - including a The stunts in Last Crusade are
zeppelin. Plenty of adventure ensues impressive; had it been the first of
en route, but scenes like the face-to- the series, it might have received as
face meeting with Hitler are just too much acclaim. As it stands, the film
contrived. is a pleasant-enough two hour es-
The relationship between Connery cape. For a remake.
M ~93
laundry and garbage disposals.
Call Prime Student Housing '761-8400* 610 Church Street

Michael Colina
Shadow of Urbano
Private Music
If you're the type who gets turned
off by the out of control, bizarre
electronic quibble that clutters much
of today's pop music, you're in for a
treat with Michael Colina's solo de-
but album, Shadow of Urbano. The
electronics in this record are tamed
and enhanced by the jazzy sax family
from tenor to soprano, a singing, not
whining electric guitar, and occa-
sional saucy brasses. Textural con-
trast and image painting replace the
monotonous drum track characteristic
of electronic instrumentation. Colina
spent some time as a film scorer in
New York, and this is evident in his
picturesque compositional style;
Colina orchestrates where others
merely program. This is especially
evident in "Hong Kong Flew,"
whose flavor is further enhanced with
an electronically produced voice track
and characteristic parallel lines that
are cleverly incorporated. While
some of the melodic riffs are redun-
dant, the shape and color of the mu-
sic provides plenty of interest and
variation. -Sherrill L. Bennett
Liberty Vff State 668-9329
Maple village 761-2733



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