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From Ben Vaughn's rather inauspicious beginnings (the Ben Vaughn Combo originally consisted of Vaughn and a guy on snare) the pride of Camden (New Jersey) is now rock's leading funnyman. He's not a parodist, exactly, and he's not really a wit, either. Mostly what he does is construct effortless pop ditties on such essential subjects as "Trashpickin'." Often, Vaughn is simply brilliant, as on "Daddy's Gone for Good," in which the bad news is broken to the kids via a gorgeous Beach Boys groove, or on "Rhythm Guitar," a long overdue tribute to every rock band's drone ("If you listen real hard / Y'know you might hear me"). His new record, Dressed in Black, is full of the usual nonsense, from the plaintive "New Wave Dancing" to the appropriately loud "Big Drum Sound." A hoot: and along the way he picks up a little help from some friends, including Foster and Lloyd, Peter Holsapple, Alex Chilton, Gordon Gano, Marshall Crenshaw, and John Hiatt. The literate, countrified Bucket Number Six opens. Tonight, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/George Moore.

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