THE COAT PULLER
The question most heard in our modest Kulchur office is why don't we provide more coverage of the white rock scene, its records, concerts, personalities, epiphanies. tragedies, and all the rest, like every other such paper in the country does? This question has been asked so often that we thought we'd better come up with the standard reply in order to clear the air, so here goes:
First of all, we are still a small paper in terms of pages available to the editorial staff; thus we have to limit our coverage severely until we have more pages to work with. Record and concert reviews, interviews with musicians, industry news shorts, colorful features and the like are obvious casualties of this situation, and we intend to expand our coverage of the music scene- as well as the fine arts, theatre, books, films, televisión, and other media-as we grow in size. Until then we must stick close to what we view as essential and print only a small fraction of that, leaving the rest until we have space for it.
Which brings us to the second part, "what we view as essential." It is our understanding that the creative wellspring of music in this country lies deep in the black community; that racism is a central characteristic of this country and works to obliterate, obfuscate, and otherwise distort the role of the black community as the prime creative force in American music; that coverage of black music, contemporary and historical, in the myriad white publications which deal with popular music is pitifully inadequate, both in quantity and in quality; and that white and white-oriented performers, particularly at the "superstar" level, enjoy the most exhaustive coverage ever given musicians in all of human history, while black musicians of superior merit are not deemed worthy of anything approaching equal space in the white press. The result of this unhappy situation is that rock readers know everything there is to know about Mick Jagger and Grace Slick, for example, as well as the latest rock entries out of England, Europe and America, and almost nothing about the black musicians and creators whose contributions are the absolute basis of rock and roll.
It is our intention, and our practice, to feature black music (and other black arts) of many disciplines in our limited pages, even when it means denying equal space to white music and musicians - not only to help rectify the situation outlined above, but equally because black music - taken as a whole - has more to offer our readership than white music does. And even where it doesn't, we believe that our readers have a right to be exposed to the entire spectrum of Afro-American music, whether it's pop-oriented or not, so they can make their own personal programming (and buying) decisions for themselves. As it is now, people's choices are incredibly narrowed without their knowledge by record company executives, radio programmers, magazine and newspaper editors, and other white power wielders.
When we do feature white performers in Kulchur, we place them in the context of black music - where they actually exist - and not merely in the pale universe of white pop music, which is where the world of the rock press begins and ends. Thus we believe we are doing you a service, not a disservice, in offering the kind of perspective and music coverage in genera! which is not otherwise readily available. If it doesn't suit your fancy, we suggest that you keep reading the many other publications which stick to the white line in the middle of the pop road - they'll give you just what you want...
AROUND TOWN: Probity Productions reports a sure sell-out for their Billy Cobham/George Duke concert at the Showcase Feb. 27, with tentative plans to add a second show that night still being kicked around as we went to press. The crucial success of this sure-fire offering means that the fledgling east-side production company will be able to keep setting out the shows into the spring, which is good news for music lovers all over town. Coming up: Tim Weisberg and a supporting act to be announced, March 6 ... Albert King and Koko Taylor, March 27 ... Larry Coryell plus Jean-Luc Ponty, April l0th . . . and contemplated for Easter Sunday, Oregon and Ravi Shankar . . . The Motor City Blues Revue, with Little Junior Cannady, Jesse Williams, Nelson Sanders and a host of others is also bidding for a date at the Showcase, following up on the Detroit Jazz Showcase concert on Valentine's Day which featured the Lyman Woodard Organization and Tribe . . . Speaking of Valentine.'s Day, the last-minute cancellation of the Van McCoy/Donna Summers Disco Spectacular at Olympia, produced by New York's Richard Nader, was a monument to the good taste of Detroiters, only 200 of whom (as reported in the Free Press) bothered to secure tickets to this turkey. Keep that crap in New York City, where it belongs . . . And speaking of Lyman Woodard, the popular organist/composer/bandleader and the lovely Cynthia are the proud parents of a baby boy, born early in February and known as "Little Lyman to his friends . . . Woodard celebrated by taking his Organization into the Boogie Down club on the far west side, Greenfield between Plymouth Rd. and W. Chicago, Monday and Tuesday nights . . . Tribe, Griot Galaxy, and special guests at the Langston Hughes Theatre March 21 - a "Time Is Now" Production . . . Also at the Langston Hughes, the Afro-Centric Theatre Company in Ed Bullins' "The Fabulous Miss Marie," Thursdays thru Sundays until April, and a new children's play, "And Mr. Kingsnake Was a King," by Dorothy Robinson, Mondays thru Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. . . . WCHB now known as "Disco Radio" in Detroit, kickin' 'em out like crazy . . . Mickey's Pulsating Unit, a hot young improvising band from around town, at the Delta Lady, Woodward and 9 Mile, Weds. thru Sats. . . . The new phone number for Glen Arbor Rolling Mills Recording Studio, up in the north woods, is (616) 334-3223, and ask for Fred Ball . . . Personal to Bobby Bass: John Klemmer Week? Tony Bennett Week??? What it is, pardner? . . . Jaan Uhelski, the absolute cream of CREÉM, Birmingham's teen rock rag, is leaving the fair northern suburb for sunny Southern Cal. Who knows, but maybe garbage like this had thing to do with it: "The combined phenomena of Patti (Smith) and (Bruce) Springsteen alone are indication that there is at last a sense of artistic and spiritual rebirth in this decade . . ." (from the intro to the CREEM Reader's Poll Results). Haven't these characters ever heard of Earth, Wind & Fire? Stevie Wonder? Gamble & Huff? We know there aren't too many "coloreds" out there in B'ham, but this is ridiculous . . . Grosse Pointe's favorite son Michael Quatro slips into the Poison Apple, in the western suburbs, for a one nighter March 3rd, featuring material from his forthcoming UA album Dancers, Romancers, Dreamers and Schemers . . .
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THE COAT PULLER
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"Source Detroit," a massive exhibition of more than 220 works of art in various media by some 125 Detroit, national, and internationally - based artists - including Motor City favorites Sheldon Iden, Lester Johnson, McArthur Binion, Nancy Brett and many more - opens at the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum March 2nd and runs through the 21st, sponsored by the Detroit Art Dealers Association (DADA) . . . The all-star Motown rock & roll combination of Jim McCarty, Rusty Day, John Fraga and Johnny Bee made its public debut last week with a stand at the fabulous Red Carpet, out on the east side, under the moniker "Honey Boy" . . . Meanwhile, primo guitarist Dallas Hodge unveils his new aggregation at J.C.'s Rock Saloon, March 10-14 and 17-24 . . . and another potent rock alliance - Fred Smith, Scott Morgan, W.R. (Ron) Cooke, and Scott Asheton - is now accepting work under the name "Sonic 's Rendezvous" . . . Judge George Crockett, Dr. Charles Wright, and Willis Patterson are the featured speakers at a "Tribute to Paul Robeson" held at the Community Arts Auditorium, Wayne State University, Feb. 26, sponsored by the WSU Association of Black Students, Wayne's Center for Black Studies, and the Grosberg Religious Center . . . Little Junior Cannady's nëw single, "Helio Baby," can be heard on the Fabulous Coachman's "Blues After Hours" show on WDET, Saturday nights at 2:00 a.m., and elsewhere around town . . . The Detroit Blues Club Revue bangs 'em out at Ethel's Lounge, Mack east of Grand Blvd.,every Thursday night, with the likes of Bobo Jenkins, Chicago Pete, Willie Warren (newly arrived from the Windy City), Charlene Newkirt, and numerous of others . . . Out on the west side, the Starwood Lounge (Joy Rd. at Burt, 2 blocks east of Rouge Park) is hosting open sessions on Saturday afternoons starting at 2:00, with blues, rock, jazz, and combinations thereof predominating . . . The Northwest Activities Center (formerly the Jewish Community Center ) has a dynamite program of music, dance and theatre coming up, starting with the Peddy Players' product ion of "The Great White Hope" Feb 27-29 and March 24; Count Basie and His Orchestra, March 17; the Detroit Dance Co. March 27; Dizzy GilIespie, April 14; and the NAACP's "Fashions For Freedom show , April 19 . . . The New Horizons Bookstore (21865 Harper, St. ClairShores) is offering an International Women s Day Book Fair the week of March 8-14, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily . . . The Associated Black Publishers organization of Detroit sponsored their own Book Fair and poetry reading Feb. 22 at the Alexander Crummel Center in Highland Park, with poets Yusef Hakim Ali, Pamela Cobb, Agadem Lumumba Diara, Schavi Mali Diara, Frenchy Jolene Hodges, Naomi Long Madgett, Ade Olatunji, Nubia Kai Salaam, Demon Smith, Mwalimu Edward Vaughn, and Paulette C. White. Publishers included Agascha Productions. Black Graphics International, Edward Vaughn & Associates, Lotus Press, Pamoja Press, Pan-African Congress Press, Project BAIT Press, and Tibi Productions. And you thought Broadside Press was the only major black publishing house in town, right? . . . Little Mack Collins brought the original Partymakers back together for a Sunday afternoon bashilast month at the Parrot Lounge, out on East Forest. On hand were organist Sonny Allen, bassist Champ Dog, tenorist James Chaney, and special guests Junior Cannady, Nelson Sanders and Jesse Williams. Whew! . . . Tribe's Wendell Harrison reports that drummer James Brown has opened a new musician-run jazz room on Gratiot, Jazz East, which features Brown's group Thrust and other Motor City luminaries. It's iust down the street from Marcus Belgrave's Jazz Development Workshop, a training group for fast young musicians from all over the area . . . Tribe Records artist Doug Hammond and David Durrah hit town in the latter half of March for a stint at the Jazz East, stopping in Ann Arbor for gigs at the Blind Pig (Mar. 19-20) and the Del Rio (21) ... Ann Arbor's Creative Music Center sponsors a gala affair at the Schwaben Hall Feb. 26, with the Dance Percussion Ensemble, the Giant Jazz Orchestra, and the Rabbits ... Jim Dulzo is back on the air with an all-night jazz show on WAAM, 1600 AM, five nights a week. Word has it that he's selling the time himself, always a brave and praise-worthy approach - we hope he stays on forever! . . . Premier drummer Danny Spencer has left Ann Arbor to settle in San Francisco - and the word is, permanently. The young Dan will be sorely missed around here . . . Lightworks, the free Ann Arbor arts tabloid, is out again with its second issue, from 118Glendale, AA 48 103 ... Boogie Woogie Red continues to tickle the ivories at the Blind Pig every Blue Monday night in downtown Ann Arbor . . . And Art Worlds, Treetown's non-profit creative arts center at 213 1/2 South Main Street, is accepting registration now for over 80 different classes (in dance, photography, fine arts, and physical arts) beginning the week of March 15. While you're there, check out the photo exhibit by Howard Bond, "Retrospective-30 Years," which is showing thru mid-March at Art Worlds' Studio "B" Gallery . . . Up in East Lansing, the Creative Arts Collective Sextet will be featured in a concert at Wonders Kiva, MSU, March 5 at 8:15 p.m . . . and at Oakland University, trumpet star Clark Terry will appear with the Oakland U Jazz Band, directed by Marvin "Doc" Holliday. March 10 in the Varner Recital Hall . . . Not to be left out, the UM's Dearborn campus offers a short, sweet series of jazz performances and workshops with Harold McKinney (March 10), Mixed Bag (March 12), and the Matt Michaels Jazz Ensemble (March 15) . . . F1NALLY, our deepest condolences to the families of Ms. Florence Ballard, formerly of the Supremes, who passed away on Feb. 22nd at the age of 32, and David Bathey, our dear friend in Traverse City, who took his own life early this past month. He was 21. Rest In Peace . . .