Posted in Classic Rock, Uncategorized

DAVID BOWIE & TREVOR JONES’ ICONIC LABYRINTH SOUNDTRACK TO BE RELEASED ON SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION COLORED VINYL PRESSINGS ON AUGUST 4 VIA UMe

1500 COPIES EACH OF GREEN & LAVENDER VINYL ONLY AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT UDISCOVER

HIGH QUALITY 120-GRAM BLACK VINYL RECEIVING SECOND PRESSING DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND

 Los Angeles – June 27, 2017 David Bowie and Trevor Jones’ iconic soundtrack to Jim Henson’s mesmerizing and enduring fantasy classic, Labyrinth, will be released on limited edition green and lavender vinyl on August 4 via UMe. Limited to 1500 copies of each worldwide, the special colored vinyl variants are available exclusively at UDiscover and now available for pre-order. Additionally, a second pressing of the album on high quality 120gm black vinyl will be made available the same day due to popular demand following the incredible response from the album’s release on May 12, which marked the first time the album has been released on vinyl since its original 1986 release. Long out of print, the album was remastered at Capitol Studios and includes the faithfully replicated original jacket and artwork, including the original EMI America logo and the printed inner sleeve featuring photos of Bowie from the film. Pre-order Labyrinth here: https://UMe.lnk.to/LabyrinthLP

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Praised by film critics and moviegoers alike for its astonishing imagery and distinct characters, Labyrinth has been celebrated for being wildly ahead of its time. Directed by Jim Henson and executive produced by George Lucas, the film, which stars David Bowie as Jareth, The Goblin King, is full of memorable creatures brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, working closely with acclaimed artist and conceptual designer Brian Froud.

 

In a 1986 interview with Movieline, Bowie recalled his first meeting with Henson to discuss the film: “Jim Henson set up a meeting with me while I was doing my 1983 tour in the States, and he outlined the basic concept for Labyrinth and showed me some of Brian Froud’s artwork. I’d always wanted to be involved in the music-writing aspect of a movie that would appeal to children of all ages, as well as everyone else, and I must say that Jim gave me a completely free hand with it. The script itself was terribly amusing without being vicious or spiteful or bloody, and it also had a lot more heart than many other special effects movies. So I was pretty well hooked from the beginning.”

 

Described by The Atlantic as “101 minutes of Bowie rock opera and Hensonian spectacle,” Labyrinth was the second major soundtrack that Bowie worked on, falling between his 16th and 17th studio albums, Tonight and Never Let Me Down. He wrote and recorded five original songs for the film, including “Underground,” “As The World Falls Down” and “Magic Dance” with its famous oft-repeated opening: “You remind me of the babe/What babe? The babe with the power/What power? The power of voodoo/Who do? You do/Do what? Remind me of the babe.” All songs were performed by Bowie except “Chilly Down” which was sung by Charles Augins, Richard Bodkin, Kevin Clash, and Danny John-Jules, the actors who voiced the ‘Firey’ creatures in the film. In the aforementioned interview with Movieline around the film and soundtrack’s release, Bowie revealed an obstacle he encountered while recording. “With ‘Dance Magic’ – the song for Jareth and the baby, sung by them and the goblins in the castle throne room – I had problems,” Bowie explained. “The baby I used in the recording studios couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put more than two gurgles together, so I ended up doing the baby-gurgle chorus myself! It’s an up-tempo song, and visually exciting.”

 

The 12-track soundtrack is rounded out with Trevor Jones’ memorable score. The synth-based instrumentals, described by All Music Guide as “synthesizers blended cautiously into orchestral ensembles to provide a suitably ethereal tone,” represent pivotal moments from the film and include “Into the Labyrinth,” “Sarah” “Hallucination,” “The Goblin Battle,” “Thirteen O’Clock” and “Home at Last.” Jones and Henson previously worked together on the live action fantasy classic, “The Dark Crystal.”

 

Labyrinth celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and the film and soundtrack have only grown in popularity since its release on June 27, 1986. Last year, a newly restored 4K version of the movie was released back in theaters with a limited engagement theatrical run in the United States giving fans the opportunity to see it back on the big screen. On September 20th, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray, next-generation 4K Ultra HD™, and as a multi-format 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition complete with unique “mirrorbox” packaging that included a mini replica of the film’s climactic and iconic final scene. All versions include a host of all-new bonus content and a gorgeous 24-page Digibook filled with rare photos and a look behind the scenes.

 

LABYRINTH OST TRACK LISTING

SIDE 1

  1. Opening Titles Including Underground
  2. Into The Labyrinth
  3. Magic Dance
  4. Sarah
  5. Chilly Down
  6. Hallucination

 

SIDE 2

  1. As The World Falls Down
  2. The Goblin Battle
  3. Within You
  4. Thirteen O’Clock
  5. Home At Last
  6. Underground

* * *

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Posted in blues, Music

Blues Music Award-Winning Band, The Nighthawks, Display Their Versatility on New CD, All You Gotta Do, Coming July 21 on EllerSoul Records

It’s always good news for their fans when the Nighthawks release a new CD and now, from Mark Pucci Media comes word that they are about to release a new one  All You Gott D9. Here’s the press release.

WASHINGTON, DC – Legendary blues and roots band (and Blues Music Award winners) The Nighthawks, announce a July 21 release date for their new CD, All You Gotta Do.

The band is also enjoying critical acclaim for Michael Streissguth’s award-winning documentary film about their history, The Nighthawks – On the Blue Highway, which is now available on DVD from the group’s website, as well as Amazon.com. The film will also be screened prior to the ‘Hawks’ June 30 performance at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore.

Eclectic? All over the map? The material on All You Gotta Do, The Nighthawks’ latest release, can certainly be described in these terms. Yet, throughout the nearly five decades of its career, the band has sourced songs from everywhere and anywhere. The prototype recording, Rock and Roll, although it had no originals, established this template in 1974. Three years later, Sidepocket Shot, showed the band capable of nearly all original material and spanning an even wider range of genres, this time in an array of production styles a la the Beatles’ Revolver. All You Gotta Do does not have any outside players, only the band itself, with a minimum of overdubs. Yet the band still sounds like a hard Chicago Blues band from the mid-1950s, adding the vocal harmonies that Miss Honey Piazza once dubbed “the Doo Wop Blues.”

The new disc opens with Mark Wenner’s rocking version of Brenda Lee’s title track, the kind of pop rockabilly that was in full swing at the end of the ‘50s. Mark Stutso proceeds to give a moving interpretation of Levon Helm’s personal farewell, “When I Go Away.” Wenner follows with the always mandatory Muddy Waters song, with no attempt to be anything other than the Chicago Blues.

Randy Newman’s “Burn Down the Cornfield” was learned by the band for a D.C. multi-band performance of his songs for band house gigs. Johnny Castle steps into the fray with “Another Day” that can only be described as a modern day protest piece from his own pen, and Stutso follows with his own tale of the tortures of love with “Voo Doo Doll.” Wenner gives a thumping take on the Sonny Boy Williamson rocker, “Ninety Nine,” using the big C 12 hole Marine Band harmonica honking in the lower register. The heart-wrenching ballad, “Three Times Your Fool,” gleaned from his solo CD and written with his Pittsburgh collaborator, Norman Nardini, is sung as only Mark Stutso can.

Mark Wenner got a chance to sit in on Jesse Winchester’s “Isn’t That So” at a casual jam. Remembering almost all the lyrics, he tried singing it. At the next Hawks’ sound check, the harmonies fell right into place and it became a part of the repertoire. The band takes a fun romp of R.L. Burnside’s “Snake Drive,” changing the groove from Hill Country Mississippi to D.C. Go Go, followed by a funny take on “Frere Jacques,” titled “Blues for Brother John.” This melody is one that Wenner uses to teach precise note bending in cross harp position. The final track shows off Johnny Castle, for all the styles he has played, to be the true King of Garage Rock in his salute to Washington D.C. on “Dirty Water.”

Although he sings no lead, Paul Bell is a major voice in the harmonies and shows off his ability to function freely in any of style of picking, from the snazzy jazzy licks on “Brother John” to the screaming slide on “Cornfield.”

But before we take any of this too seriously, in the famous words of Hound Dog Taylor, “Let’s have some fun!”

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Gina Sicilia: ‘Tug of War’

sicilia

Everybody seems to love Gina Sicilia’s new album, Tug of War. Me?I just like it. On a scale of 1-5  stars,I would give it 3 1/2/

In its favor, Sicilia has a beautiful voice. Her songwriting is strong, especially on the song, “I Dont Want to Be In Love.” which she co-wrote with producer Dave Darling, and the next song, “Damaging Me.” She says she has been through a lot in the last three years, and that emotion comes through in the lyrics in this mostly tear-themed album,

That’s OK. Thats what the blues us about: singing from the heart. My problem is that Gina is such a technically  proficient singer, who admittedly likes to modulate her vocals, that even though I know her emotions were rel, they don’t sound real. I want to hearsome rawness, some loss of control for at least a few seconds. And I don’t. The closest she comes to breaking out is on the anthem, “I’ll Stand Up” which is pretty powerful.

An example of what I mean is Sicilia’s cover of “He Called Me Baby,” a Patsy Cline song. I quite like it,  but  when I think of the passion in Cline’s version, I like it better.

I think I prefer Sicilia’s voice on the more upbeat tunes. “Never Gonna End,” while the lyrics still refer to the trials of recovering from heartbreak has a great, classic soul sound  and it is a great song. And my favorite song on the album is her cover of The Excuters’ “Tell Him” from 1962.  I would love to hear her do more vintage soul and pop like that.

The song that I dislike most is her version of Lennon-McCartney’s “All My Lovin'”This is probably a personal thing also, because I am a life-long Beatles fan and while I don’tmind when artists change the arrangements, but turning that happy, hopeful song into a slow, sad ballad just does not work.

So for me, it’s just good, but not great. I will still listen to it sometimes, but it’s not in my favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Music

Music Review: Tunes From the Tombs, Atlanta, June 10, 2017O

Photos by Takesi (Ken) Akamatsu

Last Saturday. Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta presented its 7th Annual Tunes From the Tombs. Oakland Cemetery is a beautiful space in the middle of Atlanta covering 48 acres and eternal home to 70,000 “residents,” including Boby Jones and Margaret Mitchell among them. The  many fascinating stones and beautiful statues and mauseleums need constant care and upkeep, so the Oakland Fouindation holds a number of events to raise money during the year. Tunes From, the Tombs us one of those.

There is music at three stages during the event: the main stage at Lion Square, the Creative Loafing  stage at North Public Square, and the Porte-Cochere  stage at the Bell Tower. There  were also “buskers” performing among the tombs. Due to my limited mobility, we stayed at the Main Stage the whole time, since there was  no way my husband and iwere not going  to be there for Delta Moon and Tinsley Ellis with his group Blues is Dead, both acts we love dearly.

Lion Square has been a pleasant place to spend a sunny afternoon since Victorian times  when families and other genteel  folkwould spread picnics on the ground.  They would not quite have pictured it the way it was Saturday with lawn chairs and men and women in shorts. They might have approved the longer flowing skirts some women wore, but been a bit shocked by the sleeveless tops!

The Square is shaded by huge trees that provide blessed shade and graced by the Lion who gives it its name:

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The Lion

 

When we arrived, it was only 12″30 and the crowd was fairly small. When the music started, only two brave peoople (I was going to say “spirits,: but that might be confusing here,) came out to dance:

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That changed as the day went on, as you can see from the photo my husband took of me and the growing crowd enjoying the music a little later, and the number of people increased to the point that it was packed for Tinsley and his band.

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The first group we heard, Tray Dahl & The JugTime Ragband, were very good,  playing nostalgic, good-time, jazzy music that captured the feel of the jazz years even in theo original tunes.

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Next up were Cadillac Jones, a jazz funk band who were also just right to set the vibe for the afternoon.

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The third group, Secondhand Swagger, had a great female vocalist, Abby Wren, and a vintage soul/funk/ Southern Rock sound that got the audience up and moving:

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Then Delta Moon hit the stage! We were so happy to see them! They played some old fan favorites, like “Black Cat Oil” and :Hot Coffee,” and a few from their new album, Cabbagetown, which was very appropriate since Cabbagetown is the neighborhood right next to Oakland Cemetery, where lead singer Tom Gray is from. They sounded great, as you will hear in the video below

 

Next, it was time for Tinsley Ellis and Blues is Dead to present their tribute to col. Bruce Hampton, beloved Atlanta musician who died in May. All of the groups had acknowledged the Col., but this was the official trbiute.

I have been a fan of Tinsley Ellis since the 80’s, and he looks and sounds just as good now as he always has:

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The whole set was great, but my favorite part was when drummer Yonrico Scott got up and sang Col. Bruce’s song. “Basically Frightened.” In Atlanta, Yonrico has meant “drummer” for a lot of years but not everyonreknows he can sing:

 

The entire event was wonderful. I love Oakland, and love to visit just to see the magnificent tombs and akk the flora and fauna. But Tunes From the Tombs is the best.and I like to think some of the “residents enjoy the music too!

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Posted in Music, Uncategorized

The Gospel According To Al Green

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Gospel According To Al Green
coming to Blu-ray, DVD, and digital formats on July 7th

“A unique and fascinating glimpse into the life and memory of one of soul music’s
most perplexing figures. Quite shocking in its intimacy. Essential viewing.”
– New Musical Express (UK)

“One of the most powerful ‘live’ performances ever captured on film. It’s frightening. Electrifying.”
– Toronto Star

“You’ll probably never hear a more powerful vocal spectacle; it’s James Brown times ten.
This is an amazing movie, packed with astonishing music.
It’s also a riveting exploration of the psychology of pop ambition.”
– Los Angeles Herald Examiner
After filmmaker Robert Mugge produced BLACK WAX with Gil Scott-Heron for Britain’s new Channel 4 Television in 1982, he and Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor for Music Andy Park wanted to collaborate again. Park suggested Mugge create a portrait of African American gospel star Andraé Crouch. But Mugge, a longtime fan of soul and pop singer Al Green, countered that Green’s rejection of soul music to become a Memphis-based preacher and gospel singer perhaps made him a richer potential subject.

Park agreed, though Mugge then needed thirteen months to secure Green’s approval, getting his okay only days before the planned Seventh Anniversary Celebration of Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle. The Sunday afternoon church service would feature not only Green’s usual church choir and musicians, but also a second choir from Ellington, South Carolina and most of Green’s touring musicians and backup singers. Mugge arranged to document that December 18, 1983 service with three 16mm cameras and a 24-track audio recording truck, making it the first (and reportedly still the only) Al Green church service to be committed to film.

While in Memphis, Mugge and his crew went on to film an interview with legendary Hi Records producer Willie Mitchell who had produced and co-written Green’s commercial hits of the 1970s, a studio rehearsal featuring Green and his musicians, and finally a long interview with Green himself. In Green’s interview, he explored his early days in the music business, his creation of such popular hits as “Tired of Being Alone” and “I Can’t Get Next to You,” the traumatic events that led to his abandoning of his successful soul and pop career, the purchase of the Memphis church building which he transformed into a church of his own, and the ways in which his soul and gospel backgrounds had each informed the other.

Perhaps the most emotional part of Green’s interview was his discussion of the so-called “hot grits incident,” wherein a spurned girlfriend assaulted him in the shower with a pot of boiling hot grits, then ran to another room of his house where she shot and killed herself. This interview, conducted two days after his church service, was the first occasion on which he discussed this experience publicly, and he included facts that even his own band members had never heard.

In February of 1984, Mugge also filmed Green and his band in concert at the Non-commissioned Officers Club of Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., this time utilizing four 16mm cameras and the same Nashville-based 24-track recording truck he had hired to record the Memphis church service. It should be noted that, at that point in Rev. Green’s career, he had embraced the Southern fundamentalist notion that blues, rhythm ‘n’ blues, and rock ‘n’ roll were “music of the Devil,” and that, therefore, he should now perform only gospel music. However, among the numbers Green performed at the D.C. concert was Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” which exists somewhere between soul and gospel. In addition, during the staged rehearsal in Memphis, Green agreed to perform “Let’s Stay Together,” which had been one of his biggest commercial successes and now represented a recurring theme in the film.

Along with fragments of a few more hits he performed during his interview, these songs helped to depict “Al Green the pop star” who had preceded “Al Green the pastor.” While editing the film back in Philadelphia, Mugge also decided to interview writer Ken Tucker who was then chief music critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Tucker skillfully summarized Green’s place in the evolution of American soul music and outlined the ongoing conflict between the secular and spiritual sides of pop music, both of which provided welcome context for Green’s unique spiritual journey.

Among the top Memphis musicians who appear in this film are, number one, Lawrence H. “Larry” Lee, Jr., who was best known for touring with Green and for performing at Woodstock and elsewhere with Jimi Hendrix’s Gypsy Sun and Rainbows; and number two, Mabon Lewis “Teenie” Hodges, who co-wrote Green’s hits “Take Me to the River” and “Love and Happiness” and toured and recorded widely as a guitarist with the Hi Records Rhythm Section. Lee can be seen performing in the church service and rehearsal sequences of the film, and Hodges can be heard, and briefly seen, playing incidental guitar behind Green during much of his interview. Sadly, both men are now deceased.

The resulting 96-minute film, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO AL GREEN, had its world premiere presentation in the summer of 1984 at Filmfest Munchen (a film festival in Munich, Germany), its television premiere over Britain’s Channel 4 later that fall, and its U.S. theatrical premiere at Justin Freed’s Coolidge Corner Moviehouse in Brookline, Massachusetts a year later. After each of the two opening night screenings on October 25, 1985, Green sat on the Coolidge Corner stage and, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, freely offered the commercial hits that he had mostly refused to perform during the making of Mugge’s film, thereby demonstrating his storied unpredictability. Naturally, audience members at both shows were enchanted by his presentation, and since these and other premiere screenings, the film has been in constant release around the world. As to Rev. Green – now Bishop Green – this past December, he and his congregation celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his Full Gospel Tabernacle church.

For MVD Visual’s new worldwide Blu-ray and DVD releases, director Mugge has overseen 4K remastering of the film and created a new 17-minute video titled SOUL AND SPIRIT: Robert Mugge on the Making of GOSPEL ACCORDING TO AL GREEN. Other bonus features include audio of Green’s entire 1983 interview, audio of the climactic final hour of Green’s seventh anniversary church service, an extended film version of a key song from the church service, and the personal telephone answering machine message Green recorded for Mugge in the mid 1980s.

Order online at the MVD Shop or on Amazon