The long-awaited indictments for alleged payola practices in the record and radio industries were handed down this week by federal grand juries in four cities. Grand juries in Philadelphia, Newark, Los Angeles and New York handed down lengthy indictments listing more than 200 counts relating to alleged bribes of radio station disk jockeys. Named in the indictments, however, were record company personnel and record promoters, mainly from soul music companies, and not the disk jockeys who allegedly received the payola.
The SUN got through to Gamble, Huff, and Bell, the creative and business mainsprings of Philadelphia International Records, whose only comment was, "We deny all charges". Clive Davis, former head of Columbia Records and currently head of Arista Records, was also named in the indictment, on charges of evading income taxes. Davis is known industry-wide as a particularly creative and perceptive businessman and is currently marketing black music, and commentary, via Gil Scott-Heron, Anthony Braxton, and The Head Hunters, for example, of a particularly strong character.
Long-time observers of the music scene have remarked that the major musical development of this decade is the extent to which Black musics have infiltrated the pop sphere and if, as seems likely, these payola investigation continue to involve more and more of the black record industry, the political and cultural consequences will be enormous, if unpredictable.
The Lyman Woodard Organization, Mojo Boogie Band, The Rabbits, and Eric Glatz played to 4500 happy music lovers at the second Sunday Free Concert June 29. The concert, which collected $560 in self-sustaining funds from folks in the audience, was also broadcast live over WCBN-FM, Ann Arbor, 89.5 MHz, a regular weekly feature from 2-6pm. Speaking of CBN, Chris McCabe, until recently a dj at WIOT, Toledo, will begin a weekly show at CBN.
Prepare yourself for a major musical production to be played beginning July 17, at East Quad auditorium. U's been co-written by Peter Anderson, responsible to a greater or lesser degree for many of the PEACHY Cream Productions that played in the area during the last two years, including Fever Pitch, and The Zazzuzoo Revue and Warren J. Hecht, Senior editor at Street Fiction Press, Inc. Steven Schwartz, a local composer, wrote the score. The play, which takes place in a bathroom is reportedly "full of the heartaches, belly lauglis-, and coffee breaks of honest people at real work". For ticket information call 761-7831.
Elton John, that prince among popstars, is donating all the money from his next appearance to charity. Elton expects to gross S85.000 from three nights work at the Troubadour Club in LA and plans to give it all to the Jules Stein Eye Clinic at UCLA.
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Ann Arbor's own, are in the studio working on their next album, right on the heels of the success of their recent disc for Warner Bros. "Producer Alan Douglas is pulling together an album of jazz and blues sessions by Jimi Hendrix which have never before been released. Among those appearing on the new LP with Jimi will be drummer Buddy Miles, bassist Dave Holland, and possibly guitarist John McLaughlin." The long-awaited third effort by Bruce Springsteen is slated for July release, and followed by a tour to support the album. Laura Nyro has finally returned to the studio after a three-year layoff. The fight for singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow between MCA and Columbia has been resolved in Columbia's favor. Phoebe will be recording shortly.
Proctor and Bergman, of Firesign Theatre fame, are set to record their next album live as part of their current tour (they were mind-blowing, as usual, in Detroit at the Showcase recently). The album, entitled "What This Country Needs," will be available in September, one month after the next Firesign Theatre LP. "In The Next World You're On Your Own." Drummer/jazz-rocker Tony Williams is currently recording his debut album for Columbia Records, his first in about 2 years.
Finally, the second part of the SUN investigation of WIQB Ann Arbor does not, as promised, appear in this issue. Deadline problems have pushed it back two issues to July 30.