First, I would like to thank the editors of The Fifth Estate for asking me to contribute. Folk music and the new music, called Folk-rock are my own areas of endeavor, and I hope I will be able to add something of value to these already diversified pages. In coming issues, I will try to pass along news of interest in these areas, including record reviews, articles on the artists appearing in Detroit, and news in general.
I would like to present a few of my thoughts on the newest Bob Dylan album, Blonde on Blonde, but I would rather wait until the next issue and take time to do a comprehensive review. Among some other new records of interest: “WHAT’S SHAKIN” on Elektra includes cuts by the BUTTERFIELD BAND, THE LOVIN’ SPOONFULS, TOM RUSH, AL KOOPER, and England’s ERIC CLAPTON—another Elektra Sampler, this seems to have the quality of being put together out of “leftovers” from other sessions. All the sides do not appear on other albums, so the real collector may find something.
“FREAK OUT’ by the “MOTHERS OF INVENTION,” a double album on Verve comes on visually, but really doesn’t make it. The “MOTHERS” seem to rely too much on their appearances and their “bag” to carry them. There are occasions when the music starts to cook, but they wind up screwing it up with mishandled effects. Sorry folks, but under all the seemingly hip noise, there is really nothing happening…Just that tacky old Southern California bag in disguise…
Here in Detroit: The SPIKEDRIVERS have recorded JOEL MEYERSON’S “HIGH TIME” to be released for their first single. Went to Chicago for their session at Chess studios, and finally got the good tape they were after. Now they’re on the way to New York to work on an album. Coming in to the CHESSMATE: July 26th “SPIDER JOHN KOERNER for one week; August 2nd –
JIM AND JEAN return for two weeks with bassist HARVEY BROOKS. Next in Line: JACK ELLIOT followed by TOM RUSH. Also look for the SOUTHBOUND FREEWAY for guest appearances on Fridays and Saturdays.
A few final thoughts: The “folk-rock” thing seems to be where most of the best action is taking place. Good musicians with a solid folk music background are finally overcoming some of the really artificial musical barriers that so carefully separated things a few years back. The mainstream of rock and roll seems to have been given new life. Now it’s possible to have fun playing the music, take a chance on getting into the big money and at the same time say something of value with the words. Particularly because of Dylan, the music begins to take on some of the aspects of the “jazz-poetry” scene of a decade ago. (A decade is a period of time established for the purpose of measuring decadence.)
The difference now is that everyone has access to what’s happening, even the “teenie-boppers” and it can he danced to. As a friend of the great and the near great, I will try to pass along to you in this column whatever I can of interest both to the in- and outsiders around this very exciting new music. Keep those cards and letters coming, folks…
(Larry Miller is heard on WDTM-fm, 106.7 weekdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays from Noon to 3 p.m. He is also a member of the SOUTHBOUND FREEWAY.)