PBS, PBS Kids Re-Issuing Compilations From Four Family Favorite Series

PBS Kids is starting off the new year with a bang.

On Tuesday, January 13th, PBS and PBS Kids will release four new DVDs—Caillou: Caillou’s Garden Adventures, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Welcome to the Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train: Eggstravaganza, and Super Why: Jack and the Beanstalk. Each of the DVDs listed has been previously released. However, in their upcoming re-issues, each one will come with a bonus puzzle for kids to assemble.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Caillou: Caillou’s Garden Adventure teaches young viewers about the importance of nature and ecological preservation. In this DVD, Caillou learns about the value of nature and the environment as he goes on a hike with his grandfather to Blueberry Point and helps his parents plant a tree in their garden. In features six episodes at a total run time of fifty minutes.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Welcome to the Neighborhood was the very first of the DVD releases from what is the first TV series inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The DVD features three episodes—“Daniel’s Birthday,” “Daniel’s Picnic,” and “Neighbor Day.” It runs a total of fifty minutes.

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Dinosaur Train: Eggstravaganza features eight episodes from the family favorite hit series about a family of dinosaurs and the family’s many adventures. Among the eight episodes included on this disc are “The Egg Stealer?” and “Hatching Party.” In the first of that pair, Buddy and Don have a mystery to solve when they happen on a group of unhatched eggs on their beach. In “Hatching Party,” Buddy, Tiny and Mrs. Pteranodon ride the Dinosaur Train to an egg hatching party. These two episodes along with the disc’s remaining six bring its total run time to 100 minutes.

 

Courtesy:  PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Kids

Super Why: Jack and the Beanstalk sees Wyatt and his friends jump into the worlds of Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the Pea, The Three Little Pigs, and Little Red Riding Hood. The total run time of the disc is 100 minutes.

More information on these and other titles from PBS Kids is available online at:

Website: http://pbskids.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Boys From Brazil To Be Released On BD For The First Time In 2015

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory has proven throughout 2014 to be one of the leading providers of quality home entertainment releases. That’s thanks to releases such as Mr. Ed: The Complete Series, Hey Arnold!: The Complete Series, and a number of stand-alone DVDs and Blu-rays for the whole family. With the start of the new year, Shout! Factory will pick up where it left off this year—at the top of the home entertainment world. On Tuesday, January 6th, Shout! Factory will re-issue on Blu-ray, the 1978 classic movie The Boys From Brazil. The movie is based on the novel by author Ira Levin (Rosemary’s Baby) and stars screen legends Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird, The Scarlet and the Black, Roman Holiday), Sir Laurence Olivier (Rebecca, Spartacus, Clash of the Titans), and James Mason (20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, North By Northwest, Thunder Rock).

Olivier stars in the movie’s lead role as elderly Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman. Lieberman has spent the better part of his life hunting down the last remaining pockets of the Third Reich. Now in his waning years, Lieberman uncovers a secret plot to assassinate nearly one hundred unconnected men around the world as he hunts for any former Nazis. Having made the discovery, it’s up to Lieberman to stop the plot in question, which could have very bad results for the entire human race. His efforts to keep the plot from happening eventually leads to a confrontation with the man behind the plot, Dr. Josef Mengele (Peck).

The Boys From Brazil’s upcoming January re-issue marks the first time that the movie has ever been released on Blu-ray. It will retail for MSRP of 24.97. Audiences can pre-order the movie online via Shout! Factory’s online store for a discounter price of $19.97 at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/the-boys-from-brazil. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Secret’s Out: Nikki Yanofsky Proves She’s Ready To Break Out On Her Latest LP

Courtesy:  Caroline Records

Courtesy: Caroline Records

At only 19 years old, Canadian-born singer Nikki Yanofsky has already recorded and released three full length albums and gained a fan base from around the world.  So it goes without saying that by and large Yanofsky, who has worked with big names including: will.i.am, Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone, and Elton John just to name a few, is anything but a secret to audiences.   This summer, Yanofsky released her aptly titled fourth full-length studio effort Little Secret.  The little secret revealed in this record is that Yanofsky isn’t just a jazz singer.  Just as Norah Jones eventually branched out, so has Yanofsky.  And just as Jones’ fans became divided when she started branching out, so have Yanofsky’s, too.  Fans have either gotten totally on board with this record or they have completely disavowed it.  Those fans that disavowed Little Secret have obviously failed to see…er…hear that she has not abandoned her jazz roots on this record.  Rather, she has taken those roots and shown her ability to grow as an artist while maintaining them.  That is evident more than once throughout the course of this album’s dozen tracks.  One of the songs that proves this is her take on David Houston’s 1967 hit single ‘You Mean The World To Me.’   There is also a retooled version of the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ simply titled ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0′ that audiences should take into account.  Whether for the re-tooled take on ‘Jeepers Creepers’ or her take of ‘You Mean The World To Me,’ audiences that give this record a chance will hear and agree that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots.  At the same time, they will also agree that she has grown and branched out.  That is evidenced both in the album’s fittingly titled opener ‘Something New’ and its closer ‘Kaboom Pow.’  These songs by themselves prove that Yanofsky has not forgotten her roots but rather taken them and grown with them.  And together with the album’s remaining songs not noted here, audiences new and old alike will agree that Little Secret is deserving of far more credit than some have given it.

Little Secret has proven to be quite the divisive record among Nikki Yanofsky’s fan base.  There has been no gray area with this record.  Audiences have either hated it, claiming that Yanofsky has essentially sold out and forgotten her jazz roots or they have loved it noting her growth.  This critic chooses to take the side of those noting her positive growth.  Yanofsky shows on this record that she hasn’t forgotten her jazz roots.  She has merely taken them and grown with them.  One example of that display comes in her rendition of the jazz classic ‘You Mean The World To Me.’  This song is a  wonderful and beautiful break from the album’s more pop-centered songs.  It is a slow, gentle song perfect for a romantic moment with yanofsky singing, “I think about you all the time/I think about how you’re all mine/How only I can hold your hand/And you’re the one I call my man/And you mean the world to me/Everytime I feel your touch/Boy it gives me such a rush/And every time you stroke my hair/It sends shivers everywhere/I think about you and your smile/I think about the longest smile/Then I would run to get to you/I know that you would do that, too/Cause you mean the world to me.”  The gentle strains of the piano and laid back beats make the song even more enjoyable.  Regardless of the occasion, this is a great song for that special, romantic moment.  And it is one piece of evidence in the argument that Yanofsky hasn’t lost her jazz roots on this album.

Yanofsky’s take one ‘You Mean The World To Me’ is solid evidence that she has not lost her jazz roots on this, her latest full-length studio effort.  Those perhaps not yet convinced need look no farther than her updated take on the jazz standard ‘Jeepers Creepers’ for even more proof that she has not lost her roots, but used them to grow as a performer.  ‘Jeepers Creepers 2.0′ takes the jazz standard and brings it into the 21st century with her take of the song here.  She sings alongside jazz legend Louis Armstrong who popularized the original Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer tune in this rendition.  The pairing of the old and new is enhanced even more with the placement of some decidedly poppy beats over the whole thing.  The end result is one more song proving how much Nikki Yanofsky has grown on this record.  It’s also one more of the album’s songs that proves why Little Secret is a great candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new pop albums.

Despite what so many would like to believe, Nikki Yanofsky proves more than once on her latest full-length studio release that she has not lost her jazz roots. Rather she has shown how much she has grown on this album.  That is evident in both of the already noted songs.  While she proves that she has not forgotten her jazz roots, she also proves just how much she has grown as an artist and branched out as she has gotten older and more experienced with her craft.  She proves this just as much as she proves her continued connection to her jazz roots.  One of the best examples of that growth comes in the form of the album’s aptly titled opener ‘Something New.’  This song is right up there with songs from so many of Yanofsky’s bigger name counterparts that currently run on the nation’s biggest radio stations.  Audiences that give this song a chance will recognize a very familiar sample used as the song’s backbone.  It is the same sample used as a music bed in actor Mike Meyers’ hit Austin Powers movies.  The album’s closer ‘Kaboom Pow’ is just as aptly titled.  That’s because it closes out this surprisingly impressive album with a bang.  As with the album’s opener, it is catchy enough that it could easily hold its own against any major song playing across America’s major Top 40 station’s today.  Yanofsky’s vocal abilities are incredible to say the least, especially when she hits the high notes in this song.  It is truly something that must be heard to be fully appreciated.  Those talents, the talent exhibited in the album’s opener, and that of her jazz renditions show collectively a solid balance of Yanofsky’s past, present and future.  They prove together that she has not lost her roots nor has she forgotten them.  She has simply taken those roots and grown with them and released an album that is far more worthy of praise than some would seem to believe.

Nikki Yanofsky proves with Little Secret that she is more than just a jazz singer.  She is a multi-talented vocalist that could go any direction that she wants in her future releases. Regardless of the direction that she chooses or the support (or lack thereof) that she gets from America’s Top 40 stations, this record has proven that the secret is out.  Nikki Yanofsky is one of the best young vocalists in American music today.  Audiences that give Little Secret a chance will agree with that sentiment, too.  Yanofsky is currently touring in support of Little Secret.  Audiences can check out her latest tour schedule online now and keep up with her latest news updates online at:

Website: http://www.NikkiYanofsky.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nikkiyanofsky

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NikkiYanofsky

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dec III Exhibits True Talent And Versatility Both Musically And Lyrically

Courtesy:  RADDIST

Courtesy: RADDIST

Jon Haber has spent the better part of life selling and making music.  Ironically, the music that the now 49-year old has crafted and sold isn’t what one might think.  Haber put his professional music career somewhat on the back burner years ago in favor of running his own chain of instrumental music stores called Alto Music.  He also serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), and even runs his own label.  So despite not being a professional musician in the sense that some might think, Haber has never been far from the business that he loves.  Now finally after years of putting it off, Haber’s dream will finally become reality.  His debut album Dec III will be released Tuesday, September 30th via Raddist, Haber’s own record label.  The new twelve-track record is a good, solid rock and roll record that is especially of interest for anyone that is a fan of King’s X and the solo work of the band’s guitarist Ty Tabor.  While the album boasts a familiar sound for some listeners, what really makes it stand out is its lyrical variety.  Haber and company run the gamut, lyrically speaking throughout the course of the album’s twelve tracks and roughly forty-five minute run time.  The band offers a deep and thought provoking piece in the socially conscious ‘Black Kid on a Pink Bike.’  There is also something more light hearted in the album’s rather suggestive opener, ‘Put Some South in Your Mouth.’  And on the exact opposite side of the coin is the politically charged ‘Red Line,’ which tackles the subject of the Syrian civil war.  For those that want to just turn off their brains, there are plenty of pieces centered on love found and love lost along the way, too.  It just goes to show the true depth of this debut and that this record is more than worth the listen by any true rock and roll fan.

As already noted, Dec3 is a record worth taking in at least once.  It may not be one of the biggest or most anticipated albums of the year.  But audiences will agree that it is still an enjoyable record from start to finish given that one listen.  One of the best pieces of evidence supporting that argument is the seemingly socially conscious ‘Black Kid on a Pink Bike.’  Front man Chris Saulpaugh sings in this sobering song, “I went to school each day/The old folks never hid their dislike/The other kids would point/And stare at the/Black kid on a pink bike/So off I go/With this double whammy all can see/Battling this war and peace/That’s raging all around me/All around me.”  The gentle strains of Haber’s acoustic guitar accents the pain in Saulpaugh’s voice as he sings.  One can almost instantly see this young, inner city kid who obviously doesn’t have much, being ridiculed by everyone around him.  The very image of a black child on a pink bike paints that picture vividly.  It is meant to bring attention to the struggles of young people living in an inner city setting.  It is such a real situation for so many today that this picture could have been lifted right from the pages of a book illustrating the civil rights era or even from today’s society.  Instead of just hearing lyrics, listeners can almost see the boy in the song singing Saulpaugh’s words in this bittersweet song.  As painful and bittersweet as the song proves to be, it is one that needed to be presented.  It forces listeners to look at one of those things that they would rather not see because it is not so pleasant to have to think about.  And that in itself is what gives this song so much power.  Together with its simple musical backing, it becomes even more powerful and important to the whole that is Dec3.

‘Black Kid on a Pink Bike’ is not the easiest song to take in by any means.  But it is an important piece to take in.  It touches on one of those topics that people would much rather ignore, sort of like a homeless person on the street.  Haber and his band mates are to be hugely commended for tackling the subject and doing so in such an impressive manner.  It’s just one part of the whole that gives this album so much heart.  Those looking for something more peppy need look no further than the album’s not so subtly suggestive opener ‘Put Some South in Your Mouth.’  This straight forward rock song mixes a solid 4/4 time with lyrics that leave very little to the imagination to make quite the opener for this first effort from Haber and his band mates.  Haber writes in this song of a man in a bar that meets a woman that is obviously ready to go so to speak.  He writes, of the couple’s meeting, “There I was/A New York boy/Drinking beer in some BBQ joint/A band out back with Tele twang/Thought I’d see out what kind of game I brang/There she sat on a torn up couch/With glassy red lips that screamed out loud/Put some south/In your mouth/I’ll show you/What the fuss is about/You northern guys/Think you’ve got clout/But I can chew you up/Make you close your eyes and shout/She said push my hair back/I’m no girl scout/Put some south/Put some south in your mouth.”  That’s just the song’s first verse and chorus.  Things get pretty interesting from here.  It’s definitely quite the first impression from the band.  But when set alongside the album’s other compositions, it becomes clear why it was chosen as the album’s opener.  Understanding that, it makes the album once again all the more enjoyable for listeners.

The members of Dec3 show quite a bit of talent and versatility throughout the course of its self-titled debut record.  That’s evident through both the album’s not so subtle straight forward opener and through the more socially conscious ‘Black Kid on a Pink Bike.’  The combination of the songs’ music and lyrics exhibits that talent and versatility.  Just as much proof of that talent and versatility is the politically minded ‘Red Line.’  The song centers on the Syrian civil war and comes from the vantage point of a civilian caught in the middle of the conflict.  Again the band has shown a full understanding of a song’s impact by mixing together a somber yet somewhat heavy musical side with rather thought provoking lyrics.  Front man Chris Saulpaugh sings in this song, “There’s not a lot left to shell/Not much standing here in hell/Watch where you get your oxygen from/A simple breath might be your last one.” The song also makes mention of the United States government’s involvement or lack thereof in the conflict. Saulpaugh sings of that issue, “The leader of the whole free world/Said that he’d help rescue me/But he ain’t tryin’/He’s just coloring lines/He said he’d be coming soon/His mind changed by the afternoon/Now he’s working on a deal with the man/Whose guns are shooting at me/Shooting at me/I tried to believe in him/But hiw words were just a fading whim/Someday he’ll look back and say/He should have stuck to his guns that day.” One must remember that this is being sung from the standpoint of a Syrian civilian caught up in the nation’s civil war. To an extent, it could be argued to be a protest song of sorts being written by an American. But at the same time, it could also be just a song meant to raise awareness of the conflict in Syria, and the overall human cost of the conflict. Regardless of which side one takes on that discussion, one thing on which both sides can agree is that it is one more example of what makes Dec3 an album well worth at least one listen. Audiences can check out the video for the song now online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19wi2J–DHQ.

Whether it be for the socially conscious ‘Black Kid on a Pink Bike,’, the not so subtle ‘Put Some South in Your Mouth,’ or the politically minded ‘Red Line,’ Dec3 proves to have quite the diverse lyrical content. And the King’s X style sound of the record will definitely resonate with some audiences. If the songs noted here aren’t to some audiences’ liking, worry not. There are also the songs steeped in the standard relationship topics, too (E.g. ‘Simple Mess,’ ‘In Front of You,’ and ‘Sunshine’). Regardless of which songs listeners choose as their favorites, every listener will agree once more that having gone through all twelve songs featured on this record, there is something for everyone both musically and lyrically. Such versatility and talent makes this a record that any pure rock fan will want to hear at least once. Dec3 will be available Tuesday, September 30th via Haber’s own label, Raddist. While fans wait on the record, they can keep up with all the latest from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/decband and http://www.dec3band.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Orioles To Host Yankees On Sept. 14th Edition Of Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Football season is officially underway.  College football and NFL stadiums alike are now rocking every week with rabid fans on both sides of the ball.  While football has taken center stage, audiences should be reminded that the 2014 MLB season isn’t over just yet.  With time ticking away before the playoffs start, ESPN has announced that the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees will face off live on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell on Sunday, September 14th.

The teams’ matchup on September 14th will be the last in a four-game series between the teams that weekend.  The series kicks off Friday, September 12th with a double-header between the AL East rivals. Whether or not audiences are Yankees fans, the scheduled game will be an important one as it is believed that it will be the last appearance by Yankees great Derek Jeter on Sunday Night Baseball.  It will also be the last for Jeter at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is itself celebrating its 25th season this year.

Dan Shulman will have the call for the game.  He will be joined live by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for additional commentary.  Fans that won’t be close to a TV to catch the game on  September 24th can still catch it on their local ESPN Radio affiliate.  Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call for audiences listening on the radio.  It will also be available online via WatchESPN and on TV and radio for Spanish-speaking audiences on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes radio.  As with every Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on ESPN, the matchup between the Orioles and Yankees will be preceded by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet live at 7pm ET.

Tomorrow night, audiences can catch the third game in a three-game series between the Indians and Royals.  The Royals currently sit atop the AL Central Standings while the Indians are third in the division, 3.5 games back.  Game two is tonight at 7:10pm ET.  Next Sunday night, September 7th, ESPN will carry the third game in a three-game series between the Giants and Tigers.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Every Family Will Enjoy Listening To Stacey Peasley’s Debut record “Together”

Courtesy:  Stacey Peasley

Courtesy: Stacey Peasley

Children’s entertainer Stacey Peasley recently released her sophomore full-length album Lucky Day to the masses.  That album proved to audiences why given the chance, Peasley could be one of the next big names in the world of kindie-rock.  Peasley’s 2011 debut Together is just as good as that album if not actually better than Lucky Day.  Together is anchored by Peasley’s funky, celebratory ‘Dance Party.’  The song harkens back to the days of Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Sly and the Family Stone just to name a few groups.  ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is an equally up-tempo piece that boasts a poppy 90s vibe.  And while hardly the longest song, its equally upbeat, optimistic lyrics will put a smile on the face of listeners of all ages.  Rounding out the whole album is a sweet, lullaby of sorts in the song ‘Snuggle Daddy.’  After all of the fun of the album’s previous group of songs, this song is a fitting closer.  It’s one of those songs that some parents might even find a guilty pleasure as it will make them think of their own children when they’re at school or asleep in their beds.  It might even bring a small tear of joy to some parents’ eyes.  And that’s perfectly fine, too.  That’s because it is just that wonderful of a song.  Of course it and the other songs noted here are not all that families will appreciate about Together.  There is also a fun little song about bath time simply titled ‘Soapy Bubbles’ and a bittersweet and somewhat heart wrenching song about a child in a broken family titled ‘Far Away.’  This song is especially interesting considering that so few kindie-rock entertainers delve into that topic.  It is a tough song to hear.   That song alongside the others featured as part of Together make this record quite the impressive first effort from Stacey Peasley.

Together is a wonderful first effort from Stacey Peasley.  From beginning to end, every one of the album’s offerings make the album a joy to hear in its own way.  The album is anchored most strongly by the funky and fittingly titled ‘Dance Party.’  This song will have parents, children, and even grandparents dancing and smiling, well, together.  Musically, the song harkens back to the days of musical greats such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Sly and the Family Stone, and even Kool and the Gang with its mix of horns, keyboards, drums and easygoing guitars.  Peasley herself even seems to channel some of the great vocalists of days gone by as she sings, “Come on everybody/We’ve got dancin’ to do/There’ll be no sittin’ down/We’ve got to get up and move/Listen to the instruments play their tune/They can play all day/Your imagination is all you need/Grab a microphone and you can take the lead/Go ask your mom and dad/And you know they’ll be glad/They’ll spend the day with you/Put on your dancing shoes/And have a dance party.”  It would be so easy to see this song in a live setting.  Both kids and grown-ups will be dancing and singing along so happily, the lights on the stage flashing in time with the band.  And even a music video in the same vein would make sense.  It’s just a fun, infectious song that will instantly get stuck in listeners’ heads and on their lips.  It’s just one of the songs that make Together such a fun album for the whole family.

While it boasts a slightly different sound than ‘Dance Party,’ Together’s penultimate song ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is just as fun and memorable a song.  Whereas ‘Dance Party’ was more of a throwback to the great names of funk, ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ boasts more of a poppy 90s vibe.  The mix of the song’s piano line, guitar, and tambourine backed by Marty Beller’s drumming by itself makes the song so infectious.  Lyrically, Peasley perfectly captures the joys of childhood friendship as she sings, “When my friends and I get together/We always have a really good time/We laugh and play/And spend the day/With one thing on our mind/We have fun, fun, fun/As long as we can/When we get together/The day never ends/Fun, fun, fun/Until the sun sets/You’re my best friend/Til’ the very end.”  Kids will relate to these words just as much as parents to these words.  For kids, it celebrates the joys that they are currently feeling as they develop friendships and learn about the joys of having that social circle and those relationships.  For parents, it will take them back to their own childhoods.  What better way to get rid of the stresses of the work week than reminisce about better times? Kudos to Stacey Peasley for that.

‘Dance Party’ and ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ are two great examples of what makes Together an album that every family will in fact enjoy listening to together, thus the album’s title. The album’s gentle closer ‘Snuggle Daddy’ is one more example of what makes this album so enjoyable for families. It would be a surprise if this song doesn’t put a smile on a parent’s face and a slight tear of joy in said parent’s eye. Peasley sings of the joys felt by a young child spending those all-important minutes before bed with his or her father. What really makes this song great isn’t just the song’s gentle musical side or even its lyrical side, but the fact that it could come from the angle of a young boy or girl. The song’s gentle, almost sleepy vibe is a perfect complement to the lyrics. Peasley sings from the vantage point of the child, “AFtermy bath/Before I go to bed/I like to lay close/And rest my head/On my daddy/Snuggle daddy/Sometimes we hide/So mommy can’t see/Under the blankets/It’s just me and my daddy.” She goes on to sing of the child happily reading a bedtime story and more before heading off to dreamland. It’s such a short song. Yet it is so emotionally powerful. Being such a powerful piece, it is a wonderful finale from Peasley on her debut. And alongside the likes of ‘Dance Party’ and ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ it makes even clearer why any parent should listen to this record. It will bring such joy to not only children but parents, too.

The songs noted here are three fine examples of what makes Together such a standout release from Stacey Peasley. Especially being an independent release it is a surprise that none of the major children’s music labels picked her up. Perhaps after hearing the noted songs, those same labels will give her more of a chance. The same can be said of the heart wrenching ‘Far Away’ and the fun bath time song ‘Soapy Bubbles’ ‘Far Away’ comes across as delving into the difficult topic of a young child being stuck between two divorced parents. That’s a tough topic for kids, which is why so few children’s entertainers tackle the subject in their music. Mrs. Peasley is to be highly commended for such bravery. And on the totally opposite side of things is the much more lighthearted bath time song ‘Soapy Bubbles.’ This fun little romp is sure to put just as much of a smile on the face of any listener regardless of age. Peasley sings of the joys a child feels playing with bubbles in the bathtub. What parent can’t relate? This parent certainly can, watching his own son’s eyes glimmer with joy as he blows them around the tub. It’s just a fun song. And it’s one more addition to an album that while it has been out for a few years is still just as good as any album that has been released this year. As a matter of fact, had it been released this year, it might have even made this critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.

Audiences will get a chance to hear all of the songs noted here and even more later this year when Stacey Peasley performs live at the Long Island Children’s Museum Show. That concert is scheduled for Saturday, December 27th at 11am. It is an all-ages show. To get more information on this show, more upcoming dates, and to keep up with all of the latest updates from Stacey Peasley, audiences can follow her online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Stacey-Peasley-Band/60359963730 and http://www.staceypeasley.com. Fans can also order both of her current releases through her official website. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Educators, History Lovers Alike Will Enjoy History Channel’s New WWII Documentary Set

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/History Channel

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/History Channel

History Channel’s new military documentary 75 Years of WWII is scheduled to be released this week.  The double-disc documentary is another nice addition to the library of any military history buff out there. Unlike its partner documentary, 100 Years of WWI was somewhat mistitled, the title of this feature actually works to a point.  That is because it actually takes into account the start of WWII in Europe, rather than from the point of the United States’ entry into the war.  So it is actually factually correct.  Another reason that audiences will appreciate this program is that while it does not present the depth of documentaries such as WWII in HD and Vietnam in HD, it is a good starting point for any discussion on World War II especially for any military history class or even history class in general.  And last but not least of all worth noting is the packaging for the double-disc presentation.  That packaging alongside the program’s content and smart title work together to make 75 Years of WWII another welcome addition to the library of any teacher, professor, or history lover in general.

The very first aspect of 75 Years of WWII that makes this latest set from History Channel work is its title.  Most audiences take far too often for granted the title of a given box set, movie, etc.  But the title of this release is quite important.  It is actually so important because this September marks the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII.  That is the 75th anniversary of the start of the war in Europe, not since America joined the war.  So it is a factually correct title.  Some might ask why this matter.  It matters in that unlike so many DVDs out there already, it doesn’t end up misleading audiences.  On another level, that factual certification also serves in itself as the basis for its own history lesson that is broadened quite well by History Channel’s other recent World War II documentary, WWII in HD and the network’s other WWII-based series, one of which sees a two-part episode included on this disc.  That inclusion plays its own part in the overall success of this set, too.

As subtle as it is, the title of 75 Years of WWII is an important piece of the whole that makes this latest release from History Channel enjoyable for history lovers, teachers, and military history lovers alike.  It is a subtle yet important starting point for any discussion point on World War II whether in the classroom or the living room.  Just as important as the presentation’s title is the actual content contained on the set’s two discs.  The material included on this presentation may not be as in-depth as History Channel’s previously released WWII box set WWII in HD.  However, it does collectively offer its own share of in-depth information making for even more solid starting points for many more discussions on the history of World War II.  It all begins with the two-part special D-Day in HD on the set’s first disc.  More than likely, this was chosen as the world stopped and observed the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the end of World War II this year.  It’s a fitting starting point for viewers considering the timeliness of the set’s release.  Disc II is anchored by the two-part Battle 360 episode that focuses on the U.S.S. Enterprise and its role in the battle of Guadal Canal.  There is also a short feature on the Top 10 most important pieces of military hardware that were developed over the course of World War II. This ties directly into History Channel’s previously released programs World War II from Space and 100 Years of WWI, which focused primarily on the military tech developed in World War I, rather than the war’s history.  The Germans, Japanese, and Americans are all featured in this countdown, from land to sea to air.  It’s a fitting finishing piece for a grouping of content that any history lover, military history lover and educator will appreciate.

Both the content included on 75 Years of WWII and its very title are key to the set’s overall presentation and enjoyment.  As important as both factors remain, there is still one remaining factor that audiences should consider when purchasing the double-disc set.  That remaining factor is the set’s packaging.  There are only two discs in this package.  But both discs are placed on their own spindle inside the case.  Disc one is placed on its own insert inside the case while disc two has been placed on a spindle on the back inside portion of the case.  This protects the discs from one another all while making them easily accessible.  The end result is a pair of discs that audiences will be able to enjoy time and again for years to come.

The packaging used to house the discs in 75 Years of WWII rounds out History Channel’s new presentation.  Together with the set’s equally important content and factually accurate title, the three factors noted here make 75 Years of WWII an even more welcome addition to any classroom or living room.  It can be ordered online now direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=577134&SESSID=a067958912a6f2c2d1ab21dca48b384a&v=history.  More information on this and other titles from History Channel is available online at http://www.facebook.com/History and http://www.history.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.