The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky on July 1, 1989 · Page 15
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The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 15

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Louisville, Kentucky
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Saturday, July 1, 1989
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Page 15
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TRACKS BULLETINS, BLASTS AND NEWS BITS Rappers Public Enemy are disbanding for "an indefinite period of time" in the wake of a controversy over anti-Semitic remarks made by their "Minister of Information," Professor Griff. The group dismissed Griff June 21 because of comments he made in a May 22 interview with the Washington Times, parts of which were reprinted in the June 20 Village Voice. Among Griffs observations was that Jews caused "the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe." (Griff didn't perform on the group's records, but he often warmed up the crowd at their concerts.) In the June 21 press conference, group leader Chuck D said that the group had tried to deal with Griffs mouth in private, but the Voice story made it a public issue. "The offensive remarks made by Professor Griff over the past year aren't in line with Public Enemy.... You cant talk about attacking racism and be racist" Then last Wednesday Russell Simmons, president of the group's label (Def Jam) and management company (Rush Artists Management), released a statement announcing the group's decision to disband. It said that "Public Enemy will use this time away from the spotlight to reassess their plans for the future." This isn't the first time Griffs opinions have gotten the band in trouble. Last year he charged that white people are natural-born murderers and cheats and that ancestors of whites mated with animals. The group's song "Fight the Power" is featured In Spike Lee's controversial and acclaimed new movie, "Do the Right Thing." As folks who attended last weekend's WLOU Summerfest know, advertised headliners De La Soul canceled their appearance at the last moment According to WLOlTs Ange Canessa, the festival appearance was booked a month before Tuesday's LL Cool JSIIck RIckDe La Soul show at Louisville Gardens, but the group's management didnt decide until Friday to cancel a free show so close to that date. Taking that into account it is with trepidation but firm assurances from the sponsors that we announce that the three rap groups will appear Tuesday afternoon at a 1 p.m. picnic and anti-drug rally sponsored by WLOU, the mayor's office and the city Office of Human Services. The groups will not I repeat, WILL NOT perform music, but they'll give speeches against drugs. There will also be a butt contest that's the dance, not the anatomical designation in honor of LL's song "Big Ole Butt." Branford Marsalis plays a peck of reeds tenor, baritone and alto sax, as well as clarinet and he's done duty with everyone from Lionel Hampton to Sting. Thursday he brings his own group to the Phoenix Hill Tavern, 644 Baxter Ave., for shows at 8 and 11 p.m. Tickets are $16.50, on sale at Ticketron outlets. Phoenix Hill, Ear X-tacy, Four Seasons Records and the Kentucky Center for the Arts. And now, as is traditional at this time of year, we share with you the identity of the city's Rock and Roll All-Star Band, as selected by ballot and as appearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday outdoors at Phoenix Hill In the tavern's Fourth of July celebration. The group is dominated by the Boyz, who landed four members on it vocalist Ban Graves, bassist Wayna Carver, keyboard player Ben Graves and drummer Mike McDowell. They're Joined by vocalist PatU Hagewood of Pattl and the Hoods (who replaces top vote-getter Barbara Carter of Shaking Family); lead guitarist Allen Needham of Fire Department; rhythm guitarist Phil Bowling of Ransom; saxophone player Ed Humphries (replacing winner Michael Murphy of the Mighty Water Kings); trumpet player Tommy Jolly of Cosmo and the Counts; and harmonica player Jimmy Vanandlngham of the Hammerheads. Danny Flannigan of Hopscotch Army was selected best songwriter. Get 'em while they're hot Tickets are now on sale for the Replacements' show Aug. 6 at the Phoenix Hill Tavern. They're available at Ear X-tacy Records, Ticketron outlets and the Kentucky Center for the Arts; they won't be available at Phoenix Hill until July 10. Store owner Marvin Maxwell reports that at last month's National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention, Mom's Musicians General Store on Frankfort Avenue won the Best Community Service Program Award for its sponsorship of the Musicians Emergency Relief Fund. This week's shows of note Include: Dayton's Tooba Blooze tonight at Uncle Pleasant's, 2126 S. Preston St The Buzzard Rock String Band will open the show at 9:30 p.m. Admission is J4. Walk the West, which reportedly is skewing its countrynew wave hybrid away from the leopard-skin side of its heritage and toward the overalls side, Monday at Tewligans, 1047 Bardstown Road. October's Child from Carbondale, 111., opens at 10 p.m. Admission is $4. Axis, kicking off a series of jazz Wednesdays at Tewligans, at 9 p.m. (sharp, they claim). Admission is $3. James Nold Jr., Contributing Critic REVIEW By MARK CLARK Staff Critic "WALKING WITH A PANTHER" LL Cool J (Def Jam) Formats: LP, cassette, CD Rap music is a bizarre and vicious business. The young genre is growing, musically and lyrically, at a dizzying pace. Stars rise to the top and are quickly forgotten if they are unable to keep up with the changing tastes of the rap audience. These days fans seem most interested in intricate, hard-edged funk with witty, street-wise lyrics. Among the once-hot acts that have fallen from grace are Kurtls Blow, Doug E. Fresh and The Fat Boys. Even rap giants Run-DMC have waned in popularity. Which brings us to superstar LL Cool J, who kicks off his Nitro Tour at 8 p.m. Tuesday In Louisville Gardens. Tickets are $16. Cool J's 1987 effort, "Bigger and Deffer," is arguably the best album in the short history of rap. Unfortunately, "Walking With a Panther" might be better called "Even Bigger and Even Deffer" because much of the material seems recycled from Cool J's last LP. "Bigger and Deffer" broke ground with "I Need Love," the first rap ballad. "Walking With a Panther includes three ballads "You're My Heart," "One Shot at Love" and "Two Different Worlds." The gimmick isn't fresh anymore. It's as if Cool J hopes to make up for the album's lack of inventive material by stocking it with plenty of stuff that would have been news two years ago. With the first rap ballad already on his resume, Cool J might have stayed in front by trying to write a rap folk song or (I'll probably regret asking for this) devoting a side of the album to a rap opera. There are other problems too. With "Fast Peg" and "Crime Stories," Cool J shows that he lacks the flair for street-smart material popularized by some of his current rivals, such as Ice-T and Eazy-E. , But even a bad LL Cool J album is better than 90 percent of the rap records. And, despite its faults, "Walking With a Panther" isn't a bad record. There's plenty here to delight hard-core Cool J fans. "I'm That Type of Guy," the first single, is clever, cool and witty, sure to join "Goin Back to Call," "I'm Bad" and "Can't Live Without My Radio" in Cool J's growing repertoire of rap classics. "It Gets No Rougher," "Big Ole Butt," "Droppin Em" and "Two Different Worlds" help strengthen "Walking With a Panther." There are only two or three real dogs among the album's 18 tracks. (The compact disc includes two bonus tracks, the cassette four.) The problem is that as good as the new album is, Cool J could have done better. That leaves the door open for would-be heirs to the rap throne, notably Public Enemy, DJ. Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince and Tone-Loc Rap audiences simply will not tolerate artists who stand still. It isn't good enough to repeat a successful album, not even an album as good as "Bigger and Deffer." That's what keeps the music fascinating. It's also what keeps the genre from developing lasting stars. Rap may never be able to claim a star the stature of, say, Stevie Wonder, but then maybe it will never get as stale as contemporary soul. Cool J had better be looking over his shoulder Tuesday at the Gardens. His Nitro Tour also includes former Doug E. Fresh sideman Slick Rick and Rhode Island crew De La Soul, hot newcomers with an eye on Cool J's crown. Slick Rick's debut album, "The Adventures of Slick Rick," is No. 1 on the black chart De La Soul's stunning debut album, "3 Feet High and Rising," is one of the best albums of the year. iff LL Cool J MUSIC WEEK REVIEWS OF THE WEEK'S POP-MUSIC CONCERTS Willie Nelson in concert, last night By RONNI LUNDY Pop Music Critic If you were looking for fireworks to set a holiday tone for the weekend, you would have been disappointed with the Willie Nelson concert at Cardinal Stadium last night To be sure, Nelson is as pure Americana as you can get, and it was surely in the spirit of the season to have his country music concert follow that other great American pastime, a baseball game. The Redbirds did their part by beating the Nashville Sounds 5-3. But there was little pop, spark or crackle to Nelson and his band's performance. Instead the evening had a laid-back tone that was sweetly languid in its best moments, but disappointingly rote at its worst It wasn't an unpleasant show for a summer evening, but it certainly wasnt the full-bodied treatment Nelson's fans deserved after waiting nearly three years for a performance in Louisville. Nelson coursed through all the old favorites, starting as he always does with "Whiskey River" and moving right along through "Crazy," "Georgia on My Mind," "Always on My Mind," "On the Road Again," "Blue Skies" and "Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain." The opening notes of each familiar tune were enough to draw rousing cheers from nearly 14,000 fans. Nelson has a new album due out at the end of the month, and it's full of reflective, melancholy ballads. Last night he performed little from It choosing to stick to the tried and true. But the mood of last night's show was, like the new album, a bit blue and contemplative. It was a performance that cried out for more intimate surroundings and was not served well by a stage stuck way out in centerf ield of a huge stadium. The most personal moment of the night came when Nelson entered the arena on the back of a convertible and cruised past his fans. Those in the front rows could see the wrinkles and crinkles on his tan face; nothing else in the evening quite matched that moment for warmth and personal touch. A poor, tinny sound system made the band seem even farther away and contributed to the evening's lifeless feel. Nonetheless, the audience cheerfully ate up every note of Nelson's hour and fifteen minute show. And the WAMZ Country Dancers, a troupe of about 60 couples clad in cowpoke duds who provided a pre-show warm-up and danced In formation in front of the stage through the show, appeared to be having a glorious time. Saturday. July 1, 1989 SCENE Page 9

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