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It’s hard to keep up with Elton’s record ’cause he seems to issue them weekly bu the worst two, in case you’re keeping score, are Tumbleweed Connection and Friends. The former was a laughable attempt to sing about the American West and the latter is the phonographic equivalent of drinking a quart of syrup. I will have to concede one point to Elton: his panegyric emetics are as good as anyone’s, comparable even to Eric Segal’s. Stephen Dimitri Georgiou \(a/k/a Cat self-indulgence as the above-named, but he is still self-centered, sentimental, and sticky-sweet enough to deserve the back of someone’s hand. Stevens was a pop star in his teens with such great hits as “I Love My Dog” and then he had to sit out for a spell of TB. While in a hospital, he found himself: “It just happened. You reach that moment and you see it and you say, of course.” Once found, he hustled back for the slop explosion. He’s a true credit to his race. When he performed in San Antonio, Stevens exploded when the promoter walked out on stage to check a security problem: “Did he really walk across my spotlight? He was in the fucking spotlight, wasn’t he? Who the fuck does he think he is to walk across the stage during a fucking song?” Stevens doesn’t do interviews, so you have to keep an ear cocked to catch his sub rosa comments about himself.. All of his comments, as a matter of fact, are about himself: “Sometimes when I look in the mirror and I see myself, I really do and I say ‘whew.”‘ or, “Wild World’ was written about me. I was writing to myself, saying that I knew I was going to turn into what I was before, a pop star.” “Morning Has Broken,” indeed. He should have called it “Breaking Wind.” Which leads us to Melanie Safka. She didn’t like her last name too much so she tried to hide it. Melanie \(next to John the epitome of the gushing pop star, the notice ME, feel ME, listen to ME ego-stripper. Melanie has said that she now and then stops eating meat \(as a sop to the natural rear-view of her at a festival and that was enough to make me swear off too. She’s a real trouper, though. At that same festival, she swallowed a bug during one of her offerings but didn’t stop smiling for one minute. “Gather me,” she simpered. I would’ve, Mel, but you’re just too heavy for me. Melanie is really thoughtful of her fans. On the back of her first album, she printed a detailed birth chart for anybody who wanted to check her astrological qualifications for being a success. She’s one of those Shhh! singers. If anyone dares say anything at her shows t she just smiles sadly but tolerantly at the offender and those around him/her smother him/her with loud shhh’s, because we’re Melanie’s disciples, dig, and we don’t want to miss none of that wisdom and truth she’s gonna lay on us, dig. Enduring truths, such as, “And it’s sad that we weren’t born like horses and sheep to know where we’re going to know what we need.” As if she didn’t have a crowd of sheep in front of her. ANOTHER shhh singer is a real puzzler. Carole King, back when she was just a little thing, co-wrote \(with her classics of pubescent rock: such gems as “Up on the Roof,” “Locomotion,” and “He’s A Rebel.” Then about four years ago she recorded with a group called City. She later toured with Sweet Baby James as his piano player. At a show in Carnegie Hall, she got up and sang “Up on the Roof” and boffo! The rest is hysteria. She worked on the Sweet Baby James album and gave James the saccarine “You’ve Got A Friend” and then he worked with her on her first solo album, which stank. Rock’s upper crust is very incestuous. After Carole’s second album Tapestry began selling 150,000 copies a week, she refused to grant interviews. Said her producer, Lou Adler, “Carole is incredibly warm and intelligent and living a nice life. Why jeopardize it?” Why, indeed? So she let her music speak for her. Music like, “Thinkin’ alone on a Thursday morning/of peace and love and the war/I still don’t have any answers/but I don’t get high anythore.” Swell, Carole. Far out, even. It takes a very, very hip person to confess that she’s so hip she doesn’t need to get high. Carole King has written some dynamite songs but so much of it lately seems so unpretentious that it becomes pretentious. Come to think of it, a lot of her stuff is wretched. She don’t sing so good, neither; kinda like sugar dancing on piano strings. Before Carole clammed up, she dropped a few quotes, one of which is preserved for you here: “I never wanted to be an artist, but it has become the most efficient way to get songs to people.” Couldn’t agree more. Lessee. That should just about cover the perpetrators of the cults of sharing and grooviness and warmth \(dispensing hollow more boring are Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in all their various crippled permutations, the Moody Blues, America, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner, Jerry Garcia, Paul McCartney, Harry Chapin, Don McLean, and John Lennon. They’re all more trouble than they’re worth, these pointy-head stars. three might have ended up in some state charnelhouse which would certainly have influenced their delicate art in other directions. But they got out O.K. and James became a star and then Livingston and Kate and even older brother Alex decided that they needed to cut albums too and become part of the new royalty. James, meanwhile, soured on his old lady, Joni Mitchell \(another crowned one of Joni’s heiresses apparent, Carly Simon. That kinda stuff happens all the time in the rarefied atmosphere of the stuporstars. Just ask Steven Stills about it sometime. Carly Simon is well-bred and well-groomed and sings songs that are pretty and empty. Joni’s songs are prettier and less empty, her masterpiece being “Both Sides Now.” “I’ve looked at life from both sides now,” she sang and all the counter-consumers ate it up without stopping to consider that life doesn’t have just two sides; certainly not just a “hip” side and a “straight” side. She also sang, “I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you.” That’s more like it. Chauvos like Joni. ACROSS THE pond \(as we vets was just gurgling into infancy in London. .Liberty Records posted an ad for songwriters and a kid name of Elton John saw it and sent in his resume, saying that he could write music but not lyrics. A lad named Bernie Taupin didn’t see it but his mother did and Mom Taupin wrote in for her Bernie, who was aiming for a career as a famous lyricist. So Bernie and Elton became a team. Their first hit was Three Dog Night’s “Lady Samantha” and it’s been uphill for the duo commercially and downhill qualitatively for them ever since. 12 The Texas Observer Bookkeeping & Tax Service 3201 GUADALUPE, AUSTIN 78705 OFFICE HOURS: 9 A.M. TO 1 P.M. AND BY APPOINTMENT ANYTIME MARTIN ELFA NT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686