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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

Yessongs: 40th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-ray Review: For Fans Only

An enjoyable Yes concert but the audio comes close to the edge of unacceptability.
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Originally released on Blu-ray in the UK for the actual 40th anniversary in 2012, Yessongs, also the name of a live album with a larger selection of songs, is now available for the rest of us. The film presents the band playing at the Rainbow Theatre in London during their Close to the Edge Tour on December 15, 1972. The members are vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Alan White, replacement for Bill Bruford who quit eleven days before the tour was set to commence. After a brief "Overture" of some sort,

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World Review: Revealing a Lesser-Known Story of Rock 'n' Roll

The new documentary reveals the numerous contributions Native Americans have made to rock, blues, gospel, folk, and more.
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Just when it seems like books and documentaries have thoroughly covered the history of rock ’n’ roll, along comes a film that reveals a rarely told story: the influence of Native Americans on the genre. From Link Wray to the Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo, Native Americans have impacted rock rhythmically, vocally, thematically, and culturally. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World explores rock’s Native American roots through interviews and archival footage, demonstrating how the blues, jazz, and rock all owe a debt to Indian rhythms and vocal style. The documentary borrows its title from Wray’s seminal 1958 song “Rumble,” with

Best of 2018 Assorted Lists

In which Shawn ranks things that happened through 2018 and counts all the things in his life
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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. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. Here's the Return of the Jedi of my "Best of" trilogy. BEST OF THE REST 2018 BY THE NUMBERS 4,722,870 steps taken this year (2,290 miles) 365 Days walking over 5 miles in 2018 3 Days not walking over 5

The Public Image Is Rotten Movie Review: Traces the 40-year History of John Lydon and Public Image, Ltd.

What makes the film engaging is the no-BS honesty of all its interviewees.
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Near the beginning of The Public Image is Rotten, a young John Lydon is asked how long he’ll live. “I’m one of the very few people in pop history who will not go away.” Forty years later, he’s still capturing the attention of fans and the media, whether he’s onstage making music or simply walking through an airport. His band, Public Image Ltd., has been together in one form or another for forty years, too. The Public Image is Rotten, a documentary about the band, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year and is playing in limited engagement at

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) Blu-ray Review: Friendship in the Face of Evil

Heartfelt if slight documentary about a rock band's return to Paris in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
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Until the Paris Terrorist attack on November 13, 2015 where their concert at the Bataclan was targeted leaving 89 dead, for non-fans Eagles of Death Metal, if they had heard of them at all, were mostly thought of as Josh Homme's other band. Queens of the Stone Age, Homme's central musical outlet, has been a staple of the American hard rock scene for two decades, while Eagles of Death Metal was the weird side project where he co-wrote the songs, was the rhythm section, and hardly ever toured with the band. If the first third of Eagles of Death Metal:

The Concert for George: A Deeply Moving Tribute to a Multifacted Artist

To celebrate what would have been George Harrison's 75th birthday, the 2002 film is being screened in theaters and receiving a re-release in various configurations.
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George Harrison’s life and career may seem impossible to capture in just an hour and a half. Yet his friends and family managed to accomplished such a feat on November 29, 2002. Just a year after Harrison’s untimely death, Eric Clapton organized a concert at London’s Royal Albert Music Hall to celebrate his singer/songwriter friend’s life. “What I wanted to do was...just share our love for George and his music with the people,” says Clapton. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Jeff Lynne are among the numerous performers who turn in emotional renditions of Harrison’s best known Beatles and solo compositions.

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival (Remastered) Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review

While the video upgrade and single extra aren't worth a double-dip, this three-disc set is a must-own for fans of classic rock and the '60s.
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Previously released from Criterion in 2009, The Complete Monterey Pop Festival collects three D.A. Pennebaker film's: Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey. That version was previously reviewed at this site. On the weekend of June 16-18, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival helped usher in the "Summer of Love". Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and his team captured the event, which was edited down to 79 minutes. The participants included The Mamas and the Papas (John Phillips was one of the co-founders), Canned Heat, Simon & Garfunkel, Hugh Masekela, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Eric

The Tragically Hip: National Celebration Blu-ray Review: Armed with Will and Determination and Grace, Too

Ironically, the 30 songs played here make a brilliant introduction to the band as they said goodbye to their fans.
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As I wrote in my review of the documentary The Tragically Hip: Long Time Running, "On May 24, 2016, it was announced that the Tragically Hip's lead singer Gord Downie had incurable brain cancer. In spite of that, they intended to tour in support their thirteenth studio album, Man Machine Poem, set for release a few weeks later. They played 15 shows across Canada in just under a month, concluding with a hometown show on August 20, 2016, at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario. It was an unofficial, though presumed, farewell tour, which became official with the passing

Book Review: The Complete David Bowie (Revised and Updated 2016 Edition) by Nicholas Pegg

Expanded and updated with 35,000 words of new material, this edition is likely to be the last, until a number of the inevitable posthumous releases dictates another.
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"Complete" is an accurate description of this astoundingly thorough encyclopedia of Bowie's work. The book naturally opens with "The Songs from A to Z," starting with "Abdulmajid," an instrumental by Bowie and Brian Eno that appeared as a bonus track for a "Heroes" reissue in the early '90s as well as All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977-1999. Over the next 300-plus pages, readers are presented in-depth details about greatest hits, covers, and deep cuts, through to "Zion," a "rambling six-minute demo from 1973 which has also appeared on bootlegs under the various titles 'Aladdin Vein', ' Love Aladdin Vein', and '

D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage Blu-ray Review: Nevermind the Bollocks, Watch This Film

Seminal punk documentary finally gets a digital release.
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A few years back, maybe ten come to think of it, I was getting to know a girl, Pamela, who eventually became a good friend. I asked her, like I always ask people I’m getting to know, what kind of music she liked. She said she was a big punk fan. Intrigued, as she didn’t look like your typical punk rocker, I asked for details. “Who do you like,” I asked. “The Dead Kennedys? The Minutemen?” “Who?” she replied. Pushing further, I asked “The Misfits? Black Flag?” I got blank stares. “How about the Ramones or Green Day?” Nothing. “Well,

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