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The Music News of Madison County : 'Bridges' fades as Mailer goes C&W with 'Ancient Evenings'; Didion's 'Slouching' 12 with bullet; Welty to switch labels? : Robert James Waller ruled the best-seller list with his "The Bridges of Madison County." Now the author has released an album called "The Ballads of Madison County." Is this the beginning of a trend?

August 22, 1993|Bruce McCall | Bruce McCall is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker

NEW YORK — Mannered guitar riffs aside, Updike & the Uptights score with Run Li'l Rabbit Run, recorded live at Breadloaf . . . Phil Roth, back in the studio to remix Newark Days, Newark Nights, Newark Days, jammed til the wee hours at NYC's Elaine's with Saul (Mellow) Bellow, who is telling pals he's lined up with Alan Ginsberg (W.S. Merwin and Gordon Lish were already aboard) for a Super-Group Salute to the legendary Delmore Schwartz. All that while exec-producing (with perennial no-show Salman Rushdie) P.E.N.'s all-star "We Are the World" double-CD benefit album. . . Who else?--Joyce Carol & the Wild Oates kick off the 23-college Waldenbooks Ennui and Alienation Tour at Bennington, Sept. 3. . . Alice Munro, Nadine Gordimer and Toni Morrison stopped by after the Marty Amis concert at London's Albert Hall to catch up with pal Sir V.S. Pritchett--and found themselves doing backup on the Pritchman's new Short Stories comebacker. . . Prose-rapper Jay McInerney blowing the cobwebs away at NY's Century Club . . . Erica and the Jong Americans send up the diet craze with their edgy CD single "Fear of Frying" . . . Whodunit? The Elmores, Leonard and James, have split up over "creative differences" . . . High Vitality, Gore Vidal's follow-up to Rotten to the Gore, uses a Greek chorus led by--natch--Gadge Kazan . . . Cocteau's '50s reissue a bomb: existentialism and xylophones just don't mix . . . Mega-hitmaker Grisham's Law to headline the '94 ABA Convention . . . Anybody else think Tom Clancy's techno-pop "We All Live in a Yellow Submarine" a mite too heavy on the concussion? Speaking of remakes: Catch Michael Crichton's redo of "McArthur Park," Stephen King's "Monster Mash" cover on his own DOA label, Clive Cussler's sensitive rendition of the Donovan underwater smash "Atlantis" . . . Was that Artie Schlesinger & The Messengers doing a 2 a.m. walk-on at a certain Cambridge, Mass., coffee house? Was headline act Kenny Galbraith miffed? Garry Wills' "Gettysburg Address" ("Four-score and twenty years ago/where she lived I didn't know") biggest lump-in-the-throat ballad since his "Poor Richard Blues" ("I'll resign from your front door/So you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore") . . . Larry McMurtry guests on Cormac McCarthy's new Jim Harrison tribute album and Tom McGuane does ditto for Cormac McCarthy on the Harrison salute to McMurtry's first 10 platinum books . . . Europop sound of Gunter Grass & Grassfire wowed Frankfurt Book & Song Fair . . . FYI: the name is now just plain Halberstam, now playing to sold-out NYC Town Hall crowds--but wha' happens when the '50 sound fades??? Just asking . . . You got to love the ethereal Hawking & the Space Hawks sound--but come on now, does anybody actually understand the lyrics??? . . . Judy Krantz guest-producing Jackie Collins' Hollywood Bowl Tribute to Gabe Marquez . . . Le Jacqueline's advance on the "Hollywood Vibes" double-CD let her buy herself a nice present: Viking Books . . . Doris Lessing-Don DeLillo reunion CD now in the mixing stage; Dodo and Don At The Ryman is Barnes and Noble's most requested album . . . Meanwhile, the release of long-awaited Salinger-Solzhenitsyn "Cabin Tapes" was put on hold again.

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