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The Coat Puller

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MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT: The Howlin' Wolf is dead at 65, victim of a protracted heart ailment which has had the blues giant tied to a pacemaker for the past few years. Born in Aberdeen, Mississippi, June 10, 1910, the young Chester Burnett adopted the name "Howlin' Wolf" early in his career to describe his uniquely powerful singing and playing (guitar, harmonica) approach. A full-time farmer and part-time professional bluesman until 1948, the Wolf soon howled his way to fame via a series of recordings for Modern/Flair/RPM Records in Los Angeles, produced in Memphis by Ike Turner at the beginning of his own career. Also recorded by Sam Phillips for his Memphis-based Sun label (first home of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and others), Howlin' Wolf signed an exclusive contract with Chess Records of Chicago and moved to the Windy City in 1952, where he has reigned supreme as one of the central figures in the blues world ever since.

The Wolf s master work was done for Chess in the early and middle 50's, including "How Many More Years" and "Moanin'at Midnight"( 1951); "No Place to Go," "Forty Four," "Evil,"and "Baby How Long" (1954); "Smokestack Lightnin'" "I Asked for Water" (1956); "Somebody in My Home"(1957);and "Moanin' for My Baby" ( 1958), all of which were big radio and jukebox hits in black communities all over the U.S.

A major idol of the early British rock groups of the sixties, the Wolf lived to see a number of his tunes sell millions of copies for Eric Clapton and Cream, among others, and even recorded a session with a collection of British rock "superstars" in the early 70's (The Howlin' Wolf London Sessions, with Stevie Winwood, Eric Clapton Mick Jagger, and others). A large exuberant, wall-shaking performer who maintained one of the toughest blues bands in the business, Howlin' Wolf continued to work steadily in blues clubs and college concert halls until shortly before his death on January 11, 1976. His huge, beautiful presence will be sorely missed by everyone who loves the blues...

ON A HAPPIER NOTE, Probity Productions made its concert debut with an excellent presentation of vibist Gary Burton and guitarist Ralph Towner at the Showcase Theatre, Harper & Van Dyke, Jan. l0th. Attendance was highly encouraging, and those who braved the North Pole weather that night were well rewarded by the Probity people: Chris Jaszczak, Mike Jeaufuenat. and Gary MacDonald, three under 30 natives of Detroit's jumpin' east side. Rolling Stoners Howard Kohn and David Weir. both former Detroiters themselves, popped into the Showcase for Probity's first lecture event Jan. 14th,and modern saxophonist Anthony Braxton and his all-star quartet (Leo Smith, trumpet; Dave Holland, bass; and Phillip Wilson, drums) makes his first Motor City showing Saturday, January 24th. Probity's first film screening follows - Wednesday, Jan. 28th, is with the block busting Jamaican flick The Harder They Come, starring reggae master Jimmy Cliff with an all-reggae soundtrack and action you won't believe. This movie should run at 5 or 6 theatres a week and on TV every night too, but it will definitely be shown at the Showcase Jan. 28th, and producer Perry Henzell will be present to discuss the making of The Harder They Come. Congratulations, brothers!...

EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS from WDET-FM (101 .9), the Public Radio station with a difference: a new transmitter, some exciting new programs, and another chance for listeners and supporters (Friends of WDET) to pledge sustaining funds for the station coming up in February. More details on the up-coming Marathon exist, but the new shows are on the air already: Bud Spangler's "New Jazz in Review," Fridays at 10:00 p.m. (repeated Saturday at midnight); the Famous Coachman's "Blues After Hours" blues program, Saturday nights at 2:00 a.m. (and look here, Coachman, if you ever need someone to fill in for you, please give me a call!); "Women In Music," Thursday nights at 10:30, hosted by Judy Adams and Ann Weitzel and featuring "a cross-section of women in all fields of music"; FORUM, a community access program designed to provide free airtime to non-profit organizations, which hits the air Saturday afternoons at 3:30. Non-profit organizations of 25 members or more will be given the opportunity to ' produce a program for airing on WDET, and you should contact the station at 577-4146 to find out more about this innovative program. Also, "Jazz Yesterday" has moved to Friday evening at 7:30, "For My People" (produced by Project BAIT) moves to Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and a new BAIT (Black Awareness in Television/Radio) program, "The City," can now be heard Tuesdays thru Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Bud Spangler's popular "Jazz Today" show remains a high point of Detroit 's week every Monday night at 10:30, and Geoff Jacques plays more of the real thing on his "Kaleidophone" program, Saturday afternoons. With commercial radio as boring as it is these days, it's well worth writing shows like this down and remembering when to tune them in...

AROUND TOWN: WDET's Mike McCoy and Dennis Hemdon host their second "Disco Detroit" jamboree on January 24th, this time at the fabulous Latin Quarter. First 300 people get in for $3, everybody else pays four at the door... More disco in the 20 Grand's Bonfire Room every Fri. and Sun. night as Jim Ingram's Disco-1976 takes off, with the Candy Man at the controls... and the Jazz West, next door to Watts' Club Mozambique, is now playing records for the disco dancers from midnight to six-there's food there too... And while you're cruising around the Motor City, as so many of us do, look up and smile at the Aretha Franklin billboard on 1-94 coming into town from the west...

Mojo Boogie Band makes a rare Motown appearance this weekend at the notorious Red Carpet, E. Warren at Outer Drive... Fito and his Salsa Hustle Band is now cooking like crazy at Dirty Helen's, downtown, in fact right beneath our new offices here in the Leland House Hotel (Cass & Bagley, a block from the Michigan Palace)... And speaking of beneath our noses, J.J.'s Lounge has quietly passed into the past, with its space in the Shelby Hotel scheduled to revive the old Anchor Bar, home of all sorts of disreputable characters... and John Salvador, with the Showcase safely sitting in the capable hands of Probity Productions, has turned his attention to the Savoy Room. now operating under his direction as a downtown disco hotspot-just what the Ross family had in mind the first time! Unfortunately, they've managed to close the hotel itself twice already, but if they concentrate on just one or two rooms maybe they can get it right for once... Sam Sanders & Visions close out the excellent "Detroit 's Jazz Today" concert series at Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum on Sunday, February 1st, at 3:00 p.m.... and while you're there, check out the "Karl Struss: Man With a Camera" show (Jan. 13-Feb. 15), featuring photographs from 1908s-1930 by an early American

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master of the art... The Detroit Repertory Theatre (Woodrow Wilson south of Davison) mounted Bruce Millan's "Whip-Poor-Will" on Jan. 15. The "brand-new mystery drama" written, directed and produced by DRT energy Source Millan and featuring Delores Andrus, William Boswell, Renata Walker, Fred Burnett, Jack Slater, and Robert Williams, will run thru March 7th at the Repertory... The Clifford Fears Dance Theatre had their current work videotaped by Channel 56 last week as they prepare for their first concert of the year. Shot at Lowman's Westside, where the company rehearses, the program will be aired as the Sun hits the streets, Jan.15th, and they can probably be persuaded to run it a few more limes if you let them know how much you liked it.. Tribe magazine, under the dynamic direction of tenor saxophonist Wendell Harrison, now appearing monthly, all over town... Shoo-Be-Doo and his Principles of Utility played one of the "Community Music for Community People" concerts at the First Unitarian Church, Cass & Forest, Tuesday Jan. 13. Ann Arbor listeners can catch the Shoob at the Blind Pig now and again, with the occasional Trotter House appearance to add to the fun... a group of Ojibwa Indians, led by project director Victor Nahmabin, have opened the Father Gabriel Richard Bicentennial Center, an oddly-named aboriginal art and cultural center in the Trapper's Alley area on Monroe Street (Greektown). While Detroit celebrates its 275th birthday in 1976, thanks in part to Fr. Richard, it must be noted that the so-called "Indians" (named by Christopher "Wrong-Way" Columbus) have inhabited the area for at least 12,000 years. Put that in your pipes and smoke it.... Ran into Ralphe Armstrong at the Gary Burton concert and got the word he's joining British guitarist Jeff Beck for Beck's next U.S. tour... Also saw Vivian Nance, the most-talked-about young drummer in town, who says she and her brother Michael have a new band, Tungk, which is ready to strut its stuff. We'll sure be lookin' for it... Guitarist Earl Klugh held down the Pretzel Bowl for a week or two around the turn of the year. followed by organist Jack McDuff and his band. The Highland Park showplace with the best hamburgers in town is now featuring name jazz entertainment from out of town on a regular basis. Congrats to owner George Ansen, and more good listening for area music fans... 

Big Bill Hodgson, Dave Opatik, and the original Shadowfax are holding down Cobb's Corner (Cass and Willis) Thursdays and Saturdays, with recent guests including Rusty Day, Wayne Kramer and a host of hundreds... Don't miss the new Muruga/Brubeck/Robinson trio at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, thru this weekend. Muruga, Steve Booker, keyboardist Darius Brubeck. and clarinet wizard Perry Robinson have one of the freshest sounds you'll hear, and Clarence Baker is to be commended for letting us hear them in his tasteful environment... Local bluesman Robert Evans has a new single, "The Ingredients of Love" (Parts 1 & 2), which has been getting some play over WGPR's Clarence Pace show, Saturday afternoons... Thanks to Bamboo Productions for trusting us with their advertising again... In Ann Arbor the AA Art Association is in the middle of an All Media Show by member artists, plus the work of Michael Mandzuik, in its new quarters at 117 West Liberty, thru Feb.4...

IN AND OUT: Lou Donaldson hits the Pretzel Bowl Jan. 28, stays thru Feb. 11... Radio King and his Court of Rhythm, in town for holiday get-downs at Chances Are (Ann Arbor), Lizard's (Lansing), and elsewhere in the area, will literally close down the Hill Lounge in Ypsilanti this weekend ( 16-18) before splitting back to Boston, their current home. Radio King has just released a single, "Magic City," a hip tribute to the streets of the Big D, on the Boston-based Jelly label... Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee to the Raven Gallery, Jan. 27-Feb. 2... Les McCann and his band, guest stars Mixed Bag, appear in a dance concert at the Union Ballroom, Ann Arbor, Wed. Jan. 21st, sponsored by UAC/Eclipse Jazz. Be there or be square... Dizzy Gillespie and his big band at Birmingham Groves H.S. Fri., Jan. 23... Woody Herman and his big band at Clarenceville H.S., Livonia, Sun. Jan. 18, 4 p.m., sponsored by Schoolcraft College... Marlena Shaw now at Watts' Club Mozambique, thru the weekend... Teddy Pendergrass and the new Bluenoters (sans Harold Melvin) at Henry's for two weeks, ending the 18th... Bette Midler and her show at Masonic for five nights, Jan. 28-Feb. 1 ... Les McCann hits EMU too. Thursday the 22nd... Songstress songwriter Carole King on one of her rare tours does two nights at Ann Arbor's Hill Auditorium, Jan. 26-27 ... The big pop events include Kiss's three nights at Cobo (Jan. 26-28), Peter Frampton and Gary Wright at Cobo Jan. 23 and 29th , and BTO ("for one night only") at Cobo, Feb. 6... Firesigners Proctor & Bergman at Ann Arbor's Matrix Theatre this weekend (Sun.-Mon., Jan. 18-19)... Cleo Laine at the Music Hall Jan. 27-Feb. 1 , with songs the first half and her portrayal of "Anna from Louisiana" in the Brecht/Weill classic "Seven Deadly Sins" (directed by Anna Sokolow) the second half... The mighty Leon Thomas and his band slide into Baker's Jan. 23rd for ten big days...

ON THE AIR: And off the air is WABX veteran Dick Thyne, who got the axe at New Year's along with chief engineer Jim Pfaffenberger, leaving former White Panther Dennis Frawley as the only Big X "original" left on the set... Anne Christ, one of the best air-persons around, is back on the air at WWWW for the 2-6 a.m. shift... WJZZ still shifting people around, trying to get that "jazzy sound" to sound right all the time. Jack Broderick, and John Hill, the tasty twosome, join Ed Love, Rosetta Hines, Herman Haines, and Gordon Edwards as WJZZ regulars, and the audience just keeps on growin'... Finally. the Coat Puller finds it impossible to keep from recommending John Sinclair's "Ancestor Worship" program on WCBN-FM (89.5) in Ann Arbor, Sunday nights from 11 :00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., which just completed a three-part, 12-hour series on the music of Charlie Parker. Have mercy!