Rock Arvund the Worid November, 1976   3

ROCK AROUND

THE WORLD

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—Pete Townshend

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Contents

Hot Happenings    5

London Notes   6

L.A.Getaway   

Manhattan Madness   7

Graham Parker   10

Bonnie Bramlett    11

Al Stewart    12

Jeff Beck    14

Up & Coming   18

Best Sellers    . . 19

Black Hole Star    

Jazz/Rock    21

The Honor Roll of Soul    22

Folk    23

Blast from the Past   

Fashion    25

Off The Shelf   

Reviews   26

NewsYouCanUse   Danny Schechter News Dissector

"1 thought people'd had enough of silly love songs

I look around me and see it isn't so

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs What's wrong with that

I need to know

'Cos here Igo again"

—Paul McCartney and Wings

And here I go again, a monthly sermon from Mount Prudential, a corporate monument-skyscraper in Boston which houses as part of the great American contradiction, the city's most progressive radio station. (And I am not referring to the all ncwsak AMer that rents space there along with WBCN.( In fact, it is a host of contradictions that I come before you this month to puzzle over.

For those who have been following these columns, you may have detected an undercurrent of not too well concealed hostility towards the corporate consciousness that so pervades the business of Music. I have asserted, perhaps

with insufficient evidence, that the profit motive is too often subversive of Music's potential as a tool of personal and collective liberation. I have railed against the money changers in the Temples of Joy, and offered my two bits to the evolving critique of how cultural energy is co-opted and channeled in the direction of conservative values, while cooling out rebellious possibilities, and making a whole lot of money for moguls, manipulators and hustlers with accountants. I have, to reroll an old Stone "painted it black."

But despite my thunderous declamations, the Capitol tower is still standing in Los Angeles, and those Warner Brothers expect a better year than ever. Perhaps I've overdrawn my verbal sword. Robert Cristgau, the rock critic of New York's Village Voice sprang to the industry's defense, or at least asked us to "make do with the music biz" in a recent issue. He is worth quoting, if only for the marvelous density of his prose: "In their sanctification of the artist beset by profiteers—and their de-

monization of the crass administrator (distributor) (publicist) (money man) (even technician)—aesthetes and politics do an injustice to the material base (not only the labor but the cogitation of others) on which their imaginative efforts depend." To translate: the musician needs the business as much as the business needs the musician.

After unravelling his psuedosophisticated apologia, Cristgau goes on to raise an interesting possibility; "You have to admit it." he writes, "the smug hip schmucks who now permeate the music industry have a proud tradition to point to . .. but . . . they are a disgrace to this tradition .. . you could write a PHD thesis about why, but for the moment, I'll boil it down to this: the logic of profit has created a market too large for the genre,"

What I think he is saying here is very much to the point: it is that the drive for more and more profits have turned musicians into mass marketers and radio stations into homogenized schlock purvey-

ors. As the market gets bigger and bigger, the pressure is on to be more and more commercially acceptable. That acceptability is measured by the bottom line and the bottom line alone. It is as if some economic law springs into action. insuring that the industry's very success guarantees its demise. This is what I mean by contradictions.

Another contradiction is that politically conscious music does manage to get pumped out by the profiteers and their growing apparatus. Just a perusal through my record pile discovered:

  1. Gil Scott Heron—and Brian Jackson living up to the charismatic name of their company. The Bicentennial Blues is a classic.

  2. The O'Jays providing some of the best political disco to dance to. There is indeed a "message" in their music.

  3. On the folk front, here's Arlo Guthrie singing about his late and murdered Chilean

counterpart Victor Jarra on his latest while Ry Cooder revived the still relevant Lead-belly tune. "It's A Bourgois Town." Judy Collins pays tribute to working women with her version of "Bread and Roses." but I was haunted by her singing "Everything Must Change."

  1. Jazz releases are still charged with the angry edge of overt consciousness. Charlie Haden who gave us the Liberation Music Orchestra, offers "For A Free Portugal" on a handsomely packaged new release for A&M's Horizon series. This is a composition that Haden dedicated to the peoples of Angola. Mozambique and Guinea who were then struggling against Portuguese colonialism while playing at a festival in Por tugal back in 1971. His bravery won him immediate de portation from Lisbon. Among recent releases. I also

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