October 28, 2020

1981-04-12 – The News Journal

1981 04 12 The_News_Journal_Sun__Apr_12__1981_

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Sunday News Journal, Wilmington. DoL. April 12, 1981

Pete Townshend, Who
have no cause for worry

Message to Pete Townshend.
composed after spending an after
noon holed up with a copy of the new
album by Townshend and his group
The Who "Stop worrying“

Despite hts frequent pUblH‘ tits
tress over the subject Townshend is
not too old to melt 'n' roll There's
nothing silly about middle—aged
guys rocking out if they do it with
as much energy and professmnal
ism as The Who

The new album. Fave Dani‘es
tWarner Bros HS 3.31M. is the best
Who album of new material since
“Who's Next" and "Quadrophenia"
in the early '70s It eonfirms the
evtdenee of renewed vigor seen tlur~
ing the last Who concert tour. which
brought the group to Philadelphia 8
Spectrum late in 1979

Pop muste trends come and go
but they produce bands of lasting
worth like The Who, part of the
mtd-‘GOS Mod movement So Town-
shend is aware of the healthy lerr
ment of new styles, We should be
glad. Too many rock stars are eon»
tent to lie back in a comfortable
niche and never grow.

This awareness may have led to
the movement by Townshend. the
chief songwriter. toward the t-risp
contemporary pop sound on last
year's fine solo album. "Empty
Glass" That pop tendency remains
on “Face Dances."

However. it is combined With the
power and strongly felt emotion

lways found in The Who at their

st. The songs are delivered with
force. sometimes staggering lort-e
Roger Daltrey. The Who's regular
lead singer. belts out the vocals with
more power and expression than
Townshend manages as 3 Singer

On the last Who album. 1978’s
“Who Are You." the songs were
somewhat amorphous. and heavy
use of synthesizer tended to (log
things up. This time. the synthesizer
lS downplayed. The melodies.
always a Who strong point. are bet-
ter Most of the tempos are up

Pop music

by Gary Mullinax

Four or five of the nine songs
approat-h top-ol-the-line “ho a
good percentage on any given
album "You Better You Bet" ts
tight ax a emled spring and features
the slow-down speedup dynamics
that works With The Who and tends
to sound pretentious when other
groups try it. In “(‘aehe ('aehe."
Townshend offers touches of "The
Kld Are Alright"~era jangly guitar
and the refrain has an trresrstible
melodit- hook

"Ilatly Reeords” has a toueh of
Latin in the ryhthm provided by
drummer Kenny Jones and basstst
.lohn Entwistle. whose two hard-
roeking songs are less focused than
Townshend's it sounds a little like
Latinrbased New York soul from
the late ‘50s With more urgent
rhythm “Another Tricky Day" is
the one most completely in the elas-
ste Who mold. It incorporates Town-
shentl power ehords (as well as some
of those jangly Merseybeat notes).
the stopand-go dynamics. at great
melody anti an “anthem" mootl

In this one. Townshend's lyrics
present a dialog between frustrated
adolescence and more fatalistit'
maturity The lyrics reflect The
Who's ability to appeal to both youn-
ger and older listeners. as well as
Townshend's own split concerning
his career

Townshend seems troubled in
other l)’I’l(‘S_ too. they're filled Wllh
frustration and insecurtty While
these are elasste themes in rock 'n'
roll - a eonvention that may over-
ride the more personal feelings of
the artist it's still too bad Town-
shend doesn't ltghten up

He should stop worrying about

being an aging rock star, He's got it

Brain leader too smart?

When Atlanta‘s Brains released
their ltrst album last year. (‘l‘lllCS
raved But it didn‘t get on the radio
and most people never heard it Too
bad It was a great blend of Roxy-
style progressive rock and Byrds-
ltke pop

A second album. called Electronic
Eden tMert'ury SRM-1~4012) is just
out. and leader Tom Gray hopes it
fares better It‘s like the debut. but
eloser to familiar mainstream

"This one has a brighter sound.
but I don't know if it was a conscious
effort to make more of a radio
sound." said Gray by phone last
week. “It was a little annoying not
to have the first album sell. We're
livmg in the real world We've got to
sell albums"

Gray thinks the group's name
might hurt “It wasn't really my
idea, Somebody just said to me.
"Why don't you start a band and call
it the Brains"' Some people don‘t
know what to think if the names all
they have to go on."

The name isn‘t inaccurate
though. Gray has a eollege degree in
English and has been a court
reporter Does all that literacy

“It makes me more conscious of

The Who tfrom left) is composed of Roger Daltrey, Kenny Jones, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle

my lyrics," said Gray in his Georgia
draw]. "The musical ideas are a
snap but the lyrics are harder Do I
know too much? Maybe. Sometimes
I can get too high-flown."

The Brains play Philadelphia‘s
new Ripley Music Hall Tuesday.

Garland Jeffries clicks

Artist (Epic JE 36983).

This should be Jelfries' break-
through album. It‘s about time. In
the '705 he made several records
filled with a gritty urban blend of
soul and rock. But few were sold‘

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Jeffries had to go to Europe to be
appreciated on a wide scale. He
spent much of the past two years
there. coming back not only with a
more gratified ego but with some
new musical ideas. He has adopted
the Graham Parker pub-rock style,
singing with renewed authority and
expressiveness and rocking harder
than ever. He's also added a touch of

It's an outstanding package, not
least because of the slightly eccen-
tric cover of “96 Tears" included.
He's at Emerald City in Cherry Hill,
NJ.. Saturday.

Shaw peeves club owner

Wade York at the Flight Deck is
mad at jazz trumpet player Woody
Shaw, who played last weekend at
the club. “He was a half-hour late
the first two nights." said York. “He
said people could wait till he was
ready And he wouldn't do an inter‘
view with the press Usually people
who play here are gentlemen." He
said the band eost $2.400 for three
nights. Shaw and his quartet were
top-noteh in performance. though,
as even York admitted. Centre-
Peace is there Thursday through
Sunday nights