Roy Orbison To Receive New Award

Photo Credit: Janet Macoska

Photo from “The Last Concert” Credit: Janet Macoska

Legendary musician Roy Orbison is gone but definitely not forgotten.  The legendary musician will posthumously receive an award from the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.  Orbison will be awarded the Iconic Riff Award.  The award, which is being awarded for the first time, is being awarded to Orbison for his hit 1964 song, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song would go on to become a number one single after its original release.

Heads of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum said the reason that Orbison was chosen as the first recipient of the award because of the riff that opens ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song itself has been covered by countless artists. It rose to its biggest fame thanks to rock band Van Halen’s cover of the song.  It was also the inspiration for the hit 1990 rom-com, Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.  The song itself can even be heard in the movie’s soundtrack.

Along with its numerous covers and use in movies, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ the song is also included a new live concert recording from Legacy Recordings titled Black & White Night.  The DVD recording was released this week.  It was recorded in September of 1987 and includes the likes of: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Brown, JD Souther, and Tom Waits joining the star for his hit song.

Roy Orbison is one of the music industry’s most well-known and respected names.  He started his career in 1956.  He was signed to the famed Sun Records at the time.  The label also boasted the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash on its roster.  It wouldn’t be until he signed a deal and recorded for Monument Records in the early to mid-1960s that his career truly took off.  The release of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ marked the peak of his career at the time.  The song, which Orbison co-wrote with Bill Dees, would go on to sell seven million copies and spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  It also peaked at number one on the British charts for three weeks.  This was an unprecedented feat for any American recording artist at the time.  That is because The Beatles were dominating both countries’ charts at the time.

A new collection of Orbison’s hits titled The Monument Boxset will be released November 26th.  The collection is a vinyl only package that includes three of the most well-known and beloved albums that Orbison recorded during his time with Monument Records.  Those records are: Lonely and Blue, Crying, and In Dreams, which was also just recently re-issued on CD.  The new box set also includes a fourth album that had not existed until now.  The album will be centered on ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ and will be comprised of five tracks.  The album’s songs were chosen by Orbison’s own sons, Alex, Roy Kelton, and Wesley Orbison.  Orbison’s suns have maintained their father’s legacy, running Roy’s Boys LLC, which is responsible for managing their father’s likeness, image, and musical releases.

Roy’s Boys LLC and Legacy Recordings are set to release one more live Roy Orbison concert before the year ends.  The Last Concert25th Anniversary Edition chronicles what would be Orbison’s final concert before his death in 1988.  The concert was recorded on December 4th, 1988.  That was only two days before he would suffer a fatal heart attack.  The fact that he would pass away only two days later is only part of what makes the upcoming concert so important.  Orbison commonly closed his shows with a performance of ‘Running Scared.’  But recording engineers ran out of tape that night before Orbison performed the song.  The result of that shortage is that ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ would end up being the final number from his final ever concert.  More information on all upcoming Roy Orbison releases is available online at http://www.royorbison.com and http://www.facebook.com/royorbison.  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.

Rockshow Another Welcome Live Release For Fans of McCartney AND Wings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment has for some time, been the place to go for anyone wanting to learn anything about the history of modern mainstream music.  The company has released live recordings from greats such as: Ray Charles, Miles Davis, The B-52s, Deep Purple and more over the years.  It has even ventured into the realm of newer music with live releases from artists including: The Raconteurs, Stone Temple Pilots, Alanis Morissette, and even Slipknot.  Now Eagle Rock has taken music lovers the world over back in time once again with yet another impressive live release from another of music’s greatest names in the form of one Sir Paul McCartney.

Eagle Rock has just released a new live recording from Sir Paul McCartney and his band mates in Wings, titled, Rockshow.  It would be so easy to state that this performance presents McCartney and company at the top of their game.  But the reality is that McCartney himself has always been at the top of his game.  This performance is just one more example of his and his band mates’ talent.  There are those that have complained about issues with audio in the transfer from this performance’s original VHS recording to the DVD and Blu-ray format.  One can’t help but wonder if this was a mostly isolated problem.  The Blu-ray screener viewed by this critic didn’t seem to have any audio issues whatsoever.  And for those that complained about the video quality, one must remember that this concert was originally recorded nearly four decades ago.  So yes, it is going to be grainy.  Fans of the music icon should be appreciative that the effort was even made to transfer the masters from Betamax to DVD and Blu-ray.  Considering all that could have gone wrong with the transfer, the grainy footage is just one more part of the whole that makes this another success for Eagle Rock Entertainment and for Sir Paul’s fans.

Having tackled the elephant in the room, the next logical step here would be to take a look at the band’s performance overall.  Whether one is a fan of McCartney’s time with The Beatles or more of his work away from the band that helped him launch his career, both sides will be equally impressed by the set list of this concert.  It all kicks off with the crowd pleaser, ‘Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet.’  Throughout the course of the roughly two hour-long recording, McCartney and company cover largely material from Wing’s catalogue.  Though there are some Beatles tunes peppered in for good measure including: ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Blackbird’, and ‘The Long and Winding Road.’  They intentionally avoided the Beatles material as much as possible during this and other performances intentionally in order to separate the two bands.  As author/media personality Paul Gambaccini writes in the included liner notes, “In the early seventies McCartney did not perform Beatles songs in concert, wanting to establish Wings on its own.  Now, in 1976, the group is in full flight, and Paul can use some of the songs he wrote in the sixties to spice up the set.”  It really was a logical plan of action for someone that had built his name with such a big band.  And it helps to make this performance so much more enjoyable.

Staying on the matter of Gambaccini’s writing, this is another positive factor to the whole that is Rockshow.  His writing style is less journalism and more storytelling.  Set alongside the photos of the band, the pair takes viewers back in time.  He doesn’t try to write above himself.  And he doesn’t try to write above the heads of those that would buy this new release.  It’s easily accessible for general audiences.  Because of this, the actual concert experience is that much richer whether one was actually there or not when this performance was originally recorded.

Getting back to the actual concert experience, the band covers more than its own material and that of The Beatles.  Audiences will enjoy the inclusion of the Moody Blues classic, ‘Go Now.’  This song about lost love is ironically one of the whole performance’s highlights.  It’s a highlight not so much because of the music, but because of the sight of Paul and his then wife Linda performing side by side.  There is something so contradictory about this sight set against a song about lost love.  Audiences can see just how in love the couple was.  Sadly, she would pass many years later.  Knowing this, it makes this moment all the more special.  It makes the final two pages of the included booklet all the more touching as a closing gesture, too.  The booklet’s penultimate page features a concert poster for the original 1976 tour with Paul’s face there.  The final page is a picture of Linda exactly as she looked in this recording.  She was one of the ones for whom this re-mastered recording was dedicated.  While McCartney himself might not have had a hand in this new re-issue, he surely had to have seen this touching gesture.  Fans will see it too, and hopefully be just as moved by this and the sight of her performing with her then husband.  It’s a touching final moment of what is another enjoyable live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The DVD and Blu-ray are both available now in stores and online.  They can be ordered online direct from the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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Fans Get Quite An Anniversary Gift From The Rolling Stones In New Documentary

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records/Eagle Vision

The latest release in the ongoing celebration of The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary is another welcome addition to the library of any fan of this legendary veteran rock act.  The new DVD and Blu-ray release covers the band’s formative years during the 1960s and 70s.  There are those that have criticized this new release, comparing it to the likes of The Beatles’ Anthology.  But let’s be realistic, considering the price of that set and the price of the Stones’ previous box set, Charlie is my Darling, this latest release is just as good.  Would it be nice to see the importance of the band throughout its care, considering that the world is celebrating its 50th anniversary?  Yes, it would.  And hopefully Eagle Rock will follow up this release with one that follows the second half of the band’s storied career.  But in the meantime, this volume will do just fine.

Crossfire Hurricane is such an impressive work because it in fact does cover a specific portion of the band’s career.  It covered the band’s career during what was one of the most turbulent times in the modern history of the world.  Mick, Charlie, Keith, and the late Brian Jones are all presented here in their highs (both metaphorically and literally) and their lows.  From dealing with public perception versus the perfectly proper “Fab Four” to becoming the voice of a disenchanted youth to dealing with the loss of a brother, it’s all here.  Audiences see the band’s meteoric rise to fame, and hear direct from the fans and the band itself what made the band so important even in its infancy.    Viewers even get to hear what the band had to say about working with one another, too, which leads to another positive in the presentation.

Audiences get so much out of the history presented behind the band in Crossfire Hurricane.  Directly related to the band’s history is the video footage presented in this release.  Fans that bought the recently released DVD, Blu-ray or complete box set presentation of Charlie is my Darling will recognize some of the footage included in this presentation.  There is far more footage included here that wasn’t included in that presented in that set, too.  Together, the final product will take fans of all ages back in time to the band’s younger days.  While Mick’s look hasn’t changed much since the band’s initial performances, drummer Charlie Watts is almost unrecognizable.  Parents should be warned that among the footage, there is some nudity throughout the expertly re-mastered footage.  So parents who perhaps want to introduce their kids to one of rock’s greatest bands should take this into note before watching it with younger viewers in the room.  That aside, it is still an impressive look back on what are some of the most important years in the history of The Rolling Stones.

If the history lesson on The Rolling Stones’ early years isn’t enough for viewers, then maybe the bonus live performances included will entertain audiences.  After all, Eagle Rock continuously proves itself to be a leader among companies putting out live releases.  Just as the footage compiled for the documentary will take viewers on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, so will the bonus live performances.  The earliest of the performances included in this release date as far back as 1964.  Considering that nearly half a century has passed since these performances were recorded, the footage has stood the test of time quite well.  Both the audio and video sound quite impressive.  They sound just as good as any of today’s recordings.  As good as they sound and as much of a resurgence as vinyl has had today, it would be even more amazing for nostalgia’s sake to see Eagle Rock release those performances on a complete vinyl release, too.

So much more could be noted of this new release.  But it goes without saying that as already noted, it is one more impressive way for fans to celebrate the career of a band that is simply put, rock royalty.  Who knows, maybe Eagle Rock will even follow up this presentation with another celebration of the band’s career with a feature on the second half of the band’s career.  Fans can be the first to find out when they “Like” the Eagle Rock Entertainment Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  The DVD and Blu-ray are both available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

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Recess Monkey Returns With More Fun On New LP

Courtesy:  Recess Monkey/Waldmania Publicity

Courtesy: Recess Monkey/Waldmania Publicity

Recess Monkey is back!  This kid friendly Seattle, WA based trio of teachers has released yet another album that both kids and adults will enjoy.  Its mix of sounds and equally fun and funny songs are sure to get younger listeners moving and parents tapping their feet.  One part Jack Johnson and one part Presidents of the United States, the band’s new album is a good introduction to the band for any first time listeners.  This time out, the band—Drew Holloway (guitar, vocals), Jack Forman (bass, keys), and Korum Bischoff (drums)—presents audiences with fifteen tracks of seaworthy silliness and some more serious subjects handled in a wonderfully family friendly fashion.  Having listened through this whole record, it stands out as one of the year’s best children’s albums.

Deep Sea Diver, the newest album from Recess Monkey, opens with the silly song, ‘Tambourine Submarine.’  While it may not be entirely intentional, this song is sure to conjure up instant comparisons to The Beatles’ famed ‘Yellow Submarine’ as well as certain compositions by Jack Johnson with its poppy grooves.  Younger listeners likely won’t get the references.  But the silly lyrics combined with the up-tempo music make together, for a solid opener to this album.  Holloway and his band mates sing on this song, “Hear the jingle jangle beat/That gets the big propeller spinning around/The periscope’s up.  We’re looking for a crew/Could it be you/To dance around to the sound/Down, down, down we’ll go/To move and shake/And make some waves/On the ocean floor below.”  It’s just a fun, happy song that will, as the lyrics note, get young listeners to dance around and have a fun time.  Those same young listeners will have just as much throughout the course of the album’s tracks, including what is sure to be a hit with both parents and kids alike in ‘The Deep End.’

‘The Deep End’ is a fun, beachy tune about a family trip to the pool.  Though its tropical vibe mixed with the topic of swimming is sure to invoke images more of a family beach trip than to the pool.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.  Considering this combination of sound and images, one could close one’s eyes and see images of a pool with palm trees rising around as the sun shines overhead.  This is one of those songs that simply shout music video.  Parents will especially appreciate ‘The Deep End’ because of its horn section.  The backing horn section plays a rhythm that sounds oddly like a certain 80s tune titled, ‘I’m Walking on Sunshine.’  Keeping this in mind, this song is another hit both for kids and parents.  Kids will enjoy the tropical rhythms and the lyrical expression of a child’s excitement over going swimming on his or her own early on.  Parents will enjoy it for the tropical rhythms and for the nostalgia generated by the horns.  And of course, as fun as this song is, it’s a wonderful candidate for a music video.  All of this combined proves even more what makes Deep Sea Diver such an enjoyable album.

Deep Sea Diver boasts loads of fun, beachy and summer themed songs throughout the course of its fifteen songs.  For all the fun songs included in the album, Recess Monkey also touches on more serious issues without being too serious in a handful of songs.  One of the most notable of those songs is ‘Shrimp.’  This funky song touches on the ever growing epidemic of bullying in our country through the concept of kids picking on other kids for their height. This may seem a trivial issue.  But for children it is a very serious topic.  In an age when words really can hurt, kids need to be able to express themselves.  And they need encouragement from adults that it’s okay to be who and how they are.  Enter, ‘Shrimp.’  This song offers that reassurance in a fun fashion that even parents will appreciate.  Hollway and company do a little “rap” session here, writing, “Don’t look in the mirror/And wish you grew/Gotta love everything you see about you/Instead of staying home/Crying boo hoo/Start thinkin’ ‘ bout the things/Only you can do.”  This verse alone exemplifies everything that children need from adults.  It is that encouragement.  From here Holloway goes on to describe the things that smaller people can do such as: not worrying about hitting one’s head on the trees in the forest, or on a funnier note, not having to eat much to be full and thus being able to get to dessert quicker.  Now, who wouldn’t love that?!  Who doesn’t love dessert?  Exactly!  There’s also mention of smaller individuals being able to get into tighter spaces that taller people wouldn’t stand a chance of getting into and so much more.  In short, this whole song is all the inspiration that young people need even if only in this one area.  And what starts as a tiny bulb can grow into a giant tree.  Confused yet?  Simply put this one song could be the seed to having great confidence later, no matter what bullies may try to do to knock one down.  So kudos are in order in the biggest way, to Recess Monkey for including this song on the band’s new album.  It’s one more of so many songs that parents and kids will love to listen to again and again when the album drops on Tuesday, June 18th

While families await the release of this enjoyable album, they can also check out the guys live.  A handful of performances around Washington state have been posted to the band’s main website, http://www.recessmonkey.com.  The first of those dates is a duo show with Jack and Drew at the Everett Family Fun Fair next Saturday, May 4th at 1pm.  Fans can check out the full list of performances and all the latest Recess Monkey tour dates and news on the band’s website as well as the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/recessmonkeytown and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/recess_monkey.  And to download the band’s music—including its upcoming release—fans can get to it via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/recess-monkey/id434955671.   

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Beatallica Celebrate Abbey Load Release With Special FB Chat Sessions

Courtesy:  Oglio Entertainment Group

Courtesy: Oglio Entertainment Group

Members of Beatallica will hold a very special live chat tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16th.  The chat will be held on the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Beatallica.  It will be held alongside the release of the band’s third full length studio release, Abbey Load.  Kliff McBurtney will chat with fans from 1:00pm/12pm CT  – 2:00pm/1pm CT.  Jaymz Lennfield will chat with fans from 7:00pm/6pm CT – 8:00pm/7pm CT. 

Fans will have the chance to ask both band members a variety of questions, including where the record was produced, how the band chose songs for the record, how each song came to life and more.  Kliff McBurtney will offer fans the chance to discuss more in-depth concepts such as tablature.  More information on tomorrow’s special chat and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/Beatallica.  Fans can order Abbey Load now online via Amazon at www.amazon.com/Abbey-Load-Beatallica/dp/B00BD4K142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365340477&sr=8-1&keywords=beatallica+abbey+load    

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Beatallica’s Abbey Load 2013′s Most Intriguing Record

Courtesy:  Oglio Entertainment Group

Courtesy: Oglio Entertainment Group

Beatles cover band Beatallica officially has crafted in Abbey Load what is the most intriguing record of 2013.  The band’s latest collection of Beatles cover songs is one of those albums for which there is no grey area.  It is an album that listeners will either love or hate.  The question is who will love it and who will hate it.  That’s left up to the listener.  The album—which largely covers The Beatles’ Abbey Road–opens with a cover of ‘Come Together.’  It’s amped up, needless to say.  But there’s a certain something about it which makes it a rather interesting take on the classic.  Perhaps what makes this cover so interesting is that while it is a cover, it does stay at least somewhat true to the original, if only slightly.  One can only wonder considering this, what Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would think if they were to hear this cover, or if they have heard it. 

Another high point of this rather peculiar album comes in the band’s cover of ‘Please Please Me.’ While this song isn’t on Abbey Road, the band’s cover is pretty interesting.  For the most part, it covers the song pretty closely.  Fans of Metallica’s album, Load will recognize elements of the band’s song, ‘King Nothing’ mixed in.  The mixture of the amped up Metallica cover with the more poppy Beatles cover makes this one of those songs that simply has to be heard in order to be believed.  Regardless of which band one supports, it actually is a pretty interesting mix of sounds and makes for a song that the more open minded audiences on both side might surprisingly find equally interesting and worth checking out.

For all the raucous, up-tempo covers of the Beatles’ classics offered on this record, it does actually have quite an interesting softer moment.  That moment comes in the form of guitarist Jaymz Lennfield’s cover of ‘Blackbird.’  Even though it is one of the record’s few softer moments, it has still been given its own identity.  Unlike The Beatles’ original, Lennfield has taken the song and tuned it down and put it in a minor chord.  The vocals from the original song are also noticeably absent on this cover. Considering the original song’s history, the cover may even lead to discussions of a comparison to A Perfect Circle’s cover of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’  APC did something much the same with that song with much the same result.  It definitely is one more piece that audiences of both The Beatles and Metallica will want to check out on this album.  Of course, there are plenty more songs for fans of both bands to listen to and discuss.  But that will be left up to them to decide how they feel about this collection of double covers that will be released April 16th.  It will be released via the Oglio Entertainment Group.  The band currently has no tour dates listed.  But fans can keep up with all the latest tour announcements and news on the band official website, http://www.beatallica.org, via Facebook at, http://www.facebook.com/Beatallica, through MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/beatallica and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beatallica.

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Live Kisses Another Gem From McCartney

Courtesy:  mpL/Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: mpL/Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Former Beatle and veteran musician Sir Paul McCartney has proven once more on his new release, Live Kisses, why he is still one of the music industry’s most respected names.  This live in-studio performance presents McCartney from Capitol Studios as he recorded the tracks for his most recent release, Kisses on the Bottom.  The recording session was recorded on February 9th of this year.  A lot went into making Live Kisses the enjoyable in-studio performance that it was and will be for any McCartney and Beatles fan this holiday season and well into the New Year.

Live Kisses takes audiences not so much behind the scenes of the recording of Kisses from the Bottom but into the recording process as it happened.  Watching the recording process at work is just as entertaining as listening to the finished product.  The whole mood of the “performance” is set through simple factors such as lighting, the use of older style microphones, and even recording pieces of the session in black and white.  That alone really helps to elevate the nostalgic vibe of the classic standards included in the record as each is being recorded.  If that isn’t enough, the very setting of the recording room at the legendary Capitol Records adds even more to the throwback feeling of the music.  Especially those who have any knowledge of the history behind Capitol Records will appreciate the session being filmed at the company’s headquarters.  There is even a note about the space in which the recording session took place in the booklet that accompanies this recording  Along with the session’s other factors, they all come together to make a performance that will create a strong sense of nostalgia in any listener’s mind.

The setting and general effect went a long way toward making this performance something very special.  They were just part of the overall enjoyment of Live Kisses though.  While enjoying the songs performed in this session, audiences are also presented with images of his own childhood as he sings, ‘Home (When Shadows Fall).  The combination of the two adds a truly emotional moment to McCartney’s performance here.  Famed jazz musician Diana Krall’s inclusion on the piano on this song makes it that much more of a joy to experience. 

Speaking of Mrs. Krall, both she and her husband Elvis Costello play a role throughout the recording session presented on this Blu-ray disc.  Costello shares with viewers both an introduction to the performance and a transcript of the conversation between himself and McCartney in the accompanying “book” in which the disc comes.  There’s even a joke shared between the two veteran musicians about the inclusion of Krall in the performance.  Of course, the comments regarding her are nothing but positive.  Audiences can find out for themselves what the pair discuss, and can also experience this amazing performance when they pick up this brand new Blu-ray release in store or online.  Live Kisses can be ordered direct online via Eagle Rock Entertainments, website, http://www.eagle-rock.com/product/EVB334289/Live+Kisses and at McCartney’s own official website, http://store.paulmccartney.com/livekisses/usd.php

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Frampton Not Just Alive But Rocking On New Live BD

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Music legend Peter Frampton created what is one of the most talked about live albums in modern music history in Frampton Comes Alive in 1976.  Thirty-six years after the release of that landmark live release, the guitarist has shown that old dogs can indeed learn new tricks.  For that matter, he also shows that he’s got plenty of new tricks to teach his audiences on the new live release, FCA!35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton.

FCA!35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton was filmed during the band’s 2011/2012 tour celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the album’s release.  It was filmed at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee and at New York’s iconic Beacon Theater.  The two shows come together for a performance that’s just as enjoyable and impressive as Frampton’s original live release.  The first half of the show features Peter and company performing that album in its entirety and in order.  Audiences will be amazed at how strong classic standards such as ‘Doobie Wah’, ‘Baby I Love Your Way’ and ‘Do You Feel Like We Do.’  And just as impressive is the band’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  Being that the Stones are now celebrating their 50th anniversary together, it was likely just coincidence that Frampton decided on this cover.  But the timing of having this cover is pretty interesting.  It goes without saying that Peter and company paid proper honor both to the song and the Stones with his take on the song.

The band’s cover of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ isn’t the only cover included in this standout collection of performances.  There’s also an incredible cover of Ida Cox’s blues standard, ‘Four Day Creep.’  Frampton shares vocal duties here with band mates Rob Arthur (keyboards) and Adam Lester (guitars).  All three do an impressive job in their turn, too, sounding like seasoned blues vocalists.  Peter even shows that while he has definitely gotten older over the years, he can still smoke the strings.  That is for certain.  Viewers’ jaws will drop seeing the control he has over his instrument. 

Just as interesting as the cover of ‘Four Day Creep’ is the band’s cover of Soundgarden’s (yes that Soundgarden) ‘Black Hole Sun.’ This cover is a full on instrumental cover.  There are no vocals here, although the original has vocals.  Frampton’s take on this grunge classic is original to say the least.  His band mates show they’re just as praiseworthy as Frampton on this cover.  That’s especially the case with drummer Dan Wojciechowski.  His performance would make Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron proud.   Add in some rather interesting visuals on the video screens behind the band, and audiences get what is definitely one of the standout performances in this new release.  Yes it seems minor, but even the visuals play a role in the performance.  The visual here is a large mass of what is perhaps a sun like object exploding.  As it explodes, it changes color and shape throughout the song.  It’s a rather subliminal visual.  But it works to help add that extra something to the song.

The band’s covers of ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Four Day Creep’ mixed with the performances of its own original works goes a long way toward showing the band’s versatility.  It proves that not just Frampton himself, but the entire band still has some new tricks.  So much more could be noted of the songs included in this collection.  But that would take far too long as one should also note the video and audio quality of the performances included here.  The picture and sound are both crystal clear.  And those with Blu-ray players and HD TV’s will especially see just how clear the picture is.  Combine that with expert camera work and the equally expert performance from the band, and home viewers get yet another outstanding live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

FCA!35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via Eagle Rock’s website at http://www.eaglerockent.com.  And for all the latest from Peter Frampton, fans can check out his website, http://www.frampton.com or “Like” him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PeterFrampton.  Fans can also get the latest news and more from Peter on his Myspace page, http://www.myspace.com/peterframpton

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New Eagle Rock DVD, Blu-Ray Presents The Life Of One Of Music’s Greatest Producers

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Andy Wallace.  Rick Rubin.  Bob Rock.  To most people, names such as these mean very little to most music lovers.  The names in question are those of some of the music industry’s most well known and respected producers.  Just as the director is the head of a movie, the producer is the head of a popular record’s creation.  Wallace, Rubin, and Rock are just three of a slew of other very famed names behind the boards.  Every generation has had its share of famed producers.  One of the most famous to this day is one George Martin.  Don’t know who he is?  Then a journey back in time in the brand new DVD, “Produced by George Martin” will introduce audiences…or rather re-introduce….them to a man who is perhaps one of the greatest producers ever.

George Martin is known largely for his work with one of rock music’s greatest bands ever.  The band in question is none other than The Beatles.  In the new DVD and blu-ray, audiences get a glimpse into how Martin rose from an impoverished youth to become an employee of Parlophone Records, and eventually the label’s head.  In between, he shares stories of his time serving in the military.  Under Martin’s leadership, Parlophone Records became one of Great Britain’s leading labels during the 1960’s.  And that was by and large due to having signed not only The Beatles, but also the lies of Peter Sellers (of the Pink Panther movie franchise) and Millicent Martin. 

One part documentary and one part video bio, “Produced by George Martin” tells Martin’s story through his own words and those of former Beatles, Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney.  The presentation spends an expansive amount of time on Martin’s relationship with The Beatles early in the band’s career.  One of the funnier moments in Martin’s discussions with Ringo and Paul was that while he liked the band, he didn’t like the band’s original drummer.  Unknown to him though, while he was looking to get a session drummer to replace the band’s original drummer, the band had already replaced him with Ringo.  His wife is along for the ride, too for many of the stories, laughing and joking with him all the while.  As a matter of fact, the entire piece starts off by telling how George and his wife, Judy, met.  It’s set against the music of one of Britain’s greatest pop singers, Matt Monro.

For anyone who is an avid Beatles fan, or wants to even learn about one of the music industry’s most famed producers, “Produced by George Martin” is one of those pieces that’s worth the watch.  The actual presentation included on the DVD and blu-ray runs just short of an hour and a half.  However, there is nearly an hour’s worth of extra material that fans will love.  It should be noted though, that there is some brief language and nudity.  So some moments may not be suitable for some younger viewers.  That aside, it is still an interesting piece of music history for any fan of classic rock or music in general.

“Produced by George Martin” is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.