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Dolly: The Ultimate Collection 19-Disc DVD Review: The Queen of Country Conquers TV

This set showcases that Dolly Parton's musical talent, charisma, and spirit have remained a constant over the decades.
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The first four volumes of Dolly: The Ultimate Collection from Time Life contains a massive amount of TV appearances across 19 discs and over six decades. This set showcases that Dolly Parton's musical talent, charisma, and spirit remained a constant while her appearance frequently changed. Volume 1 contains 6 discs. The first three discs contain eight episodes from her eponymous 1987 variety show that aired on ABC. The shows are packed with guest stars and hokey humor, but the songs are what's worth watching. Disc 3 focuses on Christmas with a Dolly episode paired with Bob Hope's Jolly Christmas Show

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind DVD Review: Something Very Special

If you aren't already a fan, this documentary makes the case for what an immense talent he is.
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Named after Canadian troubadour Gordon Lightfoot's 1970 breakout hit in the United States, Martha Kehoe and Joan Tosoni's biographical documentary makes mind reading unnecessary because what his songs don't tell you about the man, he and the other interviewees fill in the rest. Right from the start, it's clear that the man from Orilla, Ottawa remains a perfectionist about his work, as revealed by other musicians later in the film. “For Lovin' Me” was released on his debut album in 1966, but it had already been recorded by folk artists Peter, Paul, and Mary and Ian & Sylvia and would

Burt Sugarman's The Soul of The Midnight Special: Volume 1 (1973-1976) DVD Review: A Soulful Nostalgia Trip

Be instantly transported to soul, funk, and disco's golden era in this five-DVD set.
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Long before MTV, if you wanted to see your favorite artist perform their latest hits, you had limited choices: see them on American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Tonight Show, or on variety shows. Many of these programs, however, featured artists lip-synching their newest singles. During the 1970s, The Midnight Special, along with Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, stood out for having completely live music in front of a studio audience. NBC’s The Midnight Special, which aired from 1973-1981, kept music fans up late with current and classic artists from the rock and soul fields. Time Life has compiled some of the

The Rolling Stones: Steel Wheels Live (Live From Atlantic City, NJ, 1989) DVD Review: Sucking in the '80s

In 1989, the Rolling Stones played New Jersey. It was a night to forget.
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In 1989, the Rolling Stones returned to the stage from a seven-year touring hiatus. They needn’t have bothered. Ok, so before we go any further, a word on my loyalty to the Stones. I’ve never seen them live; I’ve only seen video clips. I’m a millennial but traveled through the Stones discography at an early age. Cassette-tape-recording a radio broadcast of their 1972 double LP, Exile on Main St., I felt I’d stumbled onto a different band, a weirder band, than the one I’d heard on FM. Exile blew me away. It led me to each of their albums from

The B-52s: Live at US Festival DVD Review: Will Make You Feel a Whole Lot Better

A fantastic snapshot of the band's original line-up at their peak and it serves as a very good entry point for those new to the band.
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In 1982, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, with the help of concert impresario Bill Graham, spearheaded the US Festival, a three-day music festival held in San Bernadino, CA on September 3-5. Although it had an impressive roster of bands, it reportedly lost $12 million. On the opening day, the line-up of New Wave bands featured Gang of Four, the Ramones, the English Beat, Oingo Boingo, the B-52's, Talking Heads, and The Police. Shout Factory! is releasing the B-52's 13-song set on DVD, the first concert DVD from the band's classic era. Like many in 1979, the B-52s' first single “Rock Lobster”

Suzi Q Movie Review: Looks at the Groundbreaking Career of Rocker Suzi Quatro

Quatro's success inspired the Runaways, Chrissie Hynde, and many female musicians to pursue careers in hard rock.
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Australian director Liam Firmager spent four years working on Suzi Q, the definitive documentary of Detroit-born rock star Suzi Quatro, who rocketed to fame in the UK and Europe in the 1970s. His modus operandi draws heavily on Quatro’s sometimes difficult relationship with her sisters, as well as her music and indefatigable spirit. Even after over 50 years as a rock star and musical icon, it took almost a lifetime for Quarto to acquire perspective and peace about her relationship with her parents and siblings. Through original and vintage interviews, film clips, and a slew of newspaper and magazine clippings,

The Vinyl Revival DVD Review: A Loving Look at the Resurgence of Vinyl Records

Pip Piper takes a look at vinyl's unlikely comeback.
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In 2011, director Pip Piper read Last Shop Standing (Whatever Happened to Record Shops) by Graham Jones and it struck a nerve. Independent record stores were dying off, and quickly. Piper wanted to find out why and he and a film crew visited 23 shops across the UK, buying records in all of them, and interviewing a number of shop owners and musicians. Those visits made up the acclaimed documentary Last Shop Standing. Several years later, something happened that neither Jones nor Piper could have predicted — vinyl came back in a big way. Piper decided to document this phenomenon

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice DVD Review: A Fantastic Appreciation

It's so easy to fall in love with Ronstadt and her music.
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Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice is a biographical documentary that Ronstadt was involved with as she introduces the telling of her story and reveals she no longer sings because she has Parkinson's, although she was later diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy. As I put the disc in the player, I realized I hadn't heard much of Ronstadt's music on the radio in years. As I watched the film, I couldn't understand why because she has a collection of hits that should be staples on rock and country radio stations. But don't take my word for it as the

Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets: Live at the Roundhouse Movie Review

Fans of early Pink Floyd should be very pleased.
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Pink Floyd was formed in 1965 by Syd Barrett (guitar, lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass guitar, vocals), and Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals). A few months after the release of their debut album, psychedelic-rock classic The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in August of 1967, David Gilmour (guitar, vocals) was added to augment and then replace the erratic Barrett, who left the band in March 1968. They would go on to have massive success in the 1970s, creating two of the best-selling albums of all time with Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. By the

ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas Blu-ray Review: The Rise of ZZ Top

A very good introduction to the band and their music.
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ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas is a documentary that tells the story of the band, from their origins through to 1983's Eliminator, their eighth and most commercially successful studio album. Guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard sit for separate interviews until finally being gathered together for the final few minutes of the film. Throughout, there's a lot of cool archival footage and famous fans such as Billy Bob Thorton, Josh Homme, Steve Miller, and Dan Auberach also share their thoughts. Dusty Hill, an Elvis fan, grew up in Dallas. While kids, he started

Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll Blu-ray Review: It's Good to Be the King

Hail! Hail! tells an important, albeit incomplete, story of an American music legend.
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Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll pays tribute to the man many consider the King of Rock 'n' Roll, through testimonials from peers and famous fans, from a drunken Jerry Lee Lewis, who makes the claim for he and his mama, to John Lennon appearing through archival footage on The Michael Douglas Show. The film also documents the 60th birthday celebration concert held in his honor, which takes up the last half of the film. Unfortunately, it doesn't paint a complete picture of Berry's life as he cuts interviews short when touchy subjects are broached. In 1986, Berry was

Best of 2019 Assorted Lists

I appreciate your patience with me through the year with my silly little projects.
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From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of best-of lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017 and 2018. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. BEST OF THE REST 2019 BY THE NUMBERS 5,004,620 steps taken this year (2,425 miles) 365 days walking over five miles in 2019 Three days not walking over five miles since 1/1/15. 28 days with over seven hours of

Concert Review: Art Alexakis - The Wayfarer, Costa Mesa, CA - 11/15/19

Alexakis took his audience through an intimate evening of songs interspersed with personal stories and anecdotes.
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I've been an Everclear fan since the beginning. I have all the albums, a ton of rare singles, and even some bootlegs. I've also had the opportunityto see Art Alexakis play solo a number of times. His songs, energy, and passion for music never disappoint and Alexakis's solo show on November 15th at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa, CA was no exception. On tour to support his new solo album Sun Songs, Alexakis played a wonderful mixture of old and new songs, popular and deep cuts, band and solo work. He took his Wayfarer audience through an intimate evening of

The Cure: 40 Live - Curætion-25 + Anniversary Blu-ray Review: A Black Ruby Jubilee

A must-own set for fans and a perfect introduction to the band's great talents.
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The Cure: 40 Live collects two outstanding concerts performed in the summer of 2018 as founder Robert Smith, bassist Simon Gallup (1979-1982, 1985-present), drummer Jason Cooper (1995-present), keyboardist Roger O’Donnell (1987-1990, 1995-2005, 2011-present), and Reeves Gabrels (2012-present) celebrated the band's 40th anniversary, Disc 1 contains CURÆTION-25: From There To Here | From Here To There, a concert held on the 10th and final night of Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival on June 24 at London's Royal Festival Hall, an intimate theater with a capacity of 2,700. The lucky group of fans who attended got to hear a retrospective 28-song set that

Mountaintop Movie Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Reunite in 'Colorado'

It is an inspiring delight to see these old men still with a creative drive to make new music.
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At Studio in the Clouds, Rocky Mountains, Colorado, 8750 feet above sea level, Neil Young reassembled his backing band Crazy Horse to record Colorado, his 39th studio album (and first with Crazy Horse since 2012's Psychedelic Pill), available on October 25, 2019. Crazy Horse has been playing with Young since his second solo album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (May 1969). They are bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina, and multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren, who can be heard on Young's After the Gold Rush (1970), had short stints with Crazy Horse in the early '70s, before returning in 2018 to replace

Blade: Original Motion Picture Score Review: Hauntingly Unclear

The score of the cult classic Blade from 1998 is getting its first LP release, and what a beautiful vinyl it is.
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Blade is a cult classic for a reason. It features a jacked-up Wesley Snipes, loads of vampires, buckets of blood, and action scenes that purr because of the speed of the swords. It came out in 1998, and it was ahead of its time for comic book heroes and the success they would soon enjoy. Over twenty years later though, we have received the most underrated part of Blade in physical form: an LP of the score by Mark Isham released by Varèse Sarabande It's a score that doesn't immediately jump out at you. It refrains from massive builds and

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Eight 'Don't Get Above Your Raisin'' (1984 - 1996)

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so we get the final chapter in Ken Burns's outstanding documentary.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Seven 'Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way' (1973 - 1983)

In this episode, we see the biggest stars of this era are the folks who got successful doing things their way and expanding the genre's perceived boundaries.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Six 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?' (1968 - 1972)

During this era, the country found itself in a turmoil that affected everything, including country music. But as some were facing division within the business, others were coming together and uniting.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty

TV Review: Country Music: Episode Five 'The Sons and Daughters of America' (1964 - 1968)

In this episode, Burns shows that the country's societal upheaval made its way into the music.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews by country artists like Loretta Lynn and Charlie Pride; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much like Shelby Foote served as a frequent contributor to Ken Burns's The Civil War, Marty Stuart performs the same role, sharing stories, offering

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: In Concert DVD Boxed Set Review: Tell Tchaikovsky the News

It makes a very convincing argument that those pesky rumors of rock's imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. Tell Tchaikovsky the news, indeed.
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With the passings of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek this past week, aging music fans received not only the latest reminder of their own mortality, but that of their beloved rock and roll as well. Which is why it is so comforting to know that another closely related, aging institution - The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - contnues to preach the word that although rock's commercial viability may be on life support these days, its continued artistic and creative vitality is anything but. Musical historian and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt makes specific reference to this

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes Three and Four

An intriguing concept presented is that in addition to talent, chance encounters can be just as important to an artist's career.
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary airing on and streaming through PBS. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of beloved musicians. Much

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside DVD Review: Offers Little New Information

New or casual Beatles fans may find the documentary to be interesting only if they are largely unfamiliar with the group's history.
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In 1964, Americans viewed the Beatles as seemingly coming out of nowhere, rapidly scoring hits and inciting Beatlemania. In reality, the group painstakingly learned their craft, toiling in Liverpool and Hamburg clubs until finally signing with the EMI label in 1962. The documentary The Beatles Made on Merseyside attempts to trace this early period, following them from teen years through 1962. Now available on DVD, the film may appeal to casual Beatles fans, but hardcore enthusiasts will find little new information. Wisely dispensing with narration, The Beatles Made on Merseyside relies on interviews with Beatles insiders and archival footage. Beatles

Echo in the Canyon Blu-ray Review: You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears

An important chapter in the history of rock is examined by those involved with it and those influenced by it.
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The “canyon” in question is Laurel Canyon, located in the Hollywood Hills of Southern California. With Jakob Dylan as host, Andrew Slater's documentary looks back at some of the musicians who lived, thrived, and influenced each other in that neighborhood, creating the folk-rock California Sound of 1965-67. The oral history is told through interviews of those who were there, such as David Crosby, Michelle Phillips, and producer Lou Adler; the next generation of musicians who were influenced by them, such as Tom Petty and Jackson Brown; and later generations who appreciate their accomplishments, such as Beck and Regina Specktor. The

TV Review: Country Music: Episodes One and Two

Harlan Howard declared, “Country music is three chords and the truth.”
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Ken Burns's latest examination of the fabric of the United States sees him focus on another musical genre, Country Music, in an 8-episode, 16-hour documentary that airs on and streams through PBS, beginning tonight. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote and supplemented by a wealth of interviews ranging from country artists, giants in the business like Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson to lesser-known artists keeping the spirit alive like Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show and Rhiannon Giddens; from those who lived through it like session musicians and radio DJ Ralph Emery to the children and grandchildren of

RUSH: Cinema Strangiato 2019 Movie Review: They Will Choose Farewell

One wouldn't know from how well they played music from all eras of their career that this would be their swan song, but they went out delivering a top-notch performance.
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In 2014, Rush (guitarist Alex Lifeson, vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee, and druumer Neil Peart) released R40, a collector’s box set that packed together recent concert videos, Rush In Rio, R30, Snakes & Arrows Live, Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland, and Clockwork Angels Tour, and according to their website, “a bonus disc of previously unseen and unreleased live material stretching from 1974 to 2013.” In the summer of 2015, the band hit the road for the R40 Live Tour, which was hinted at as, but never confirmed until it was over, their farewell tour. R40 Live is the title for both

Pretenders: With Friends Blu-ray Review: A Hits-Heavy, Star-Studded Concert

It is highly recommend for fans of the band and also makes a great introduction for those new to them.
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Decades Rock Live! was a VH1 Classic television series that gathered bands and guests to play a concert at Trump Taj Mahal’s in Atlantic City. Pretenders with Friends is an episode taken from that series recorded on August 11, 2006, and thankfully, the folks at Cleopatra Records and Rock Fuel Media have released the performance on a three-disc set (Blu-ray, DVD, CD). The 16-song set runs about 65 minutes. Led by Chrissie Hynde, the Pretenders at this time were original drummer Martin Chambers, guitarist Adam Seymour, and bassist Nick Wilkinson. They deliver a set mainly comprised of their greatest hits

The Quiet One Movie Review: Explores Ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's Life Through His Media Archives

Wyman's story is told through his extensive archive of film, photos, audio recordings and memorabilia.
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It’s been 26 years since Bill Wyman quit the Rolling Stones for civilian life in 1993, and the documentary The Quiet One fills us in on what Wyman has been doing since then. Wyman kept detailed archives of his time with the band, and the film begins with him sitting at his computer in an archive room filled with audio, film and other memorabilia. Director Oliver Murray takes a linear approach to Wyman’s life story with the archive as the crux, and doesn’t dig too deeply into any whys or what ifs of Wyman’s life. Original footage and photos from

Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home Blu-ray Review: A Look at the Love Affair Between the Singer and the City

New documentary takes a look at the life of Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs.
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Frank Sinatra was born in New Jersey and synonymous with New York City. He also defined what a Las Vegas entertainer could be. The place where he made his home, however, where he could be himself, was Palm Springs. Sinatra in Palm Springs: The Place He Called Home takes an excellent look at the California city where Sinatra spent the last half-century of his life. Directed by Leo Zahn, Sinatra in Palm Springs mixes archival footage with present-day interviews with many of the people who were around Sinatra during his time in Palm Springs. Sinatra’s third wife, Barbara, is interviewed

Foreigner: Live at the Rainbow '78 Blu-ray Review: On Their Way to Becoming Juke Box Heroes

The setlist is "Foreigner" in its entirety, out of sequence, and two songs from "Double Vision."
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Foreigner began as vocalist Lou Gramm, guitarist Mick Jones, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood and bassist Ed Gagliardi. Recorded on April 27, a year after their smash self-titled debut and about six weeks before the release of their second album, Live at the Rainbow '78 is a 75-minute concert film that spotlights a talented band on the rise. The setlist is Foreigner in its entirety, out of sequence, and two songs from Double Vision. The band opens with a boisterous “Long, Long Way from Home” getting fans enthused right from the start. At song's end, the

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