StarVista’s New Carol Burnett Set Is A Good First Set For Any Fan’s Collection

Courtesy:  StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: StarVista Entertainment/Time Life Entertainment

StarVista Entertainment released its latest collection of classic episodes from The Carol Burnett Show last week in the new single-disc DVD presentation The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again.  The DVD features three classic episodes from what is one of television’s greatest sketch comedy/variety shows.  While the episodes have already been presented in StarVista’s previous Carol Burnett Show box sets, there are those audiences that have not picked up said box sets to this day or have not been able to add those box sets to their own personal collections.  Keeping that in mind, The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again proves to be a good starting point for any viewer regardless of said viewer’s familiarity with The Carol Burnett Show.  While it is for all intents and purposes a re-issue of three previously released episodes the episodes presented on The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again serve as a good starting point for anyone that has yet to start their collection of Carol Burnett Show episodes.  The reason that the episodes included on this disc prove to be a good starting point is the collective work of the show’s writers and its cast.  The largely family-friendly sketches will leave audiences of all ages in stitches at some points and move them deeply at others thanks to the work of all involved.  And the inclusion of a fully in-detail episode guide completes the presentation.  The guide in question has been a standard of every one of StarVista Entertainment’s Carol Burnett Show releases.  They have always been a highly important part of each presentation, too.  That is still the case even in this presentation.     Because it has been included once again here along with so many wonderfully entertaining moments, it is one more part of the whole of The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again that makes this DVD a welcome watch for anyone looking to start their Carol Burnett Show collection.

The episodes that have been collected for StarVista Entertainment’s new Carol Burnett Show compilation are nothing new for many fans of the classic sketch comedy/variety series.  There are those out there that have wasted no time criticizing StarVista for this.  Those same people have not taken into consideration that not every fan of The Carol Burnett Show own any of StarVista’s previous Carol Burnett Show compilations or even the show’s complete series collection.  Anyone that takes this into consideration will hopefully see that even though the episodes on this disc have been previously released, they make for a good start for any Carol Burnett Show fan that has yet to start their collection of episodes.  Because the episodes culled for this compilation have already been presented before, it can obviously be said that they are presented exactly as they were presented in their original broadcasts on CBS back in 1973 and 1978.  And just as in their previous resurrections, all three episodes look and sound just as good as they did in their original broadcasts.  So anyone that has not yet started their collection will understandably be impressed at least by this much.

The quality presentation of the episodes chosen for The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again is by itself plenty of reason for the series’ fans to pick up this DVD or order it online.  It’s just part of the reason for fans that are looking to start their collection to purchase this collection.  The work of the writers across all three episodes gives even more reason for fans to pick up this DVD if they haven’t already purchased any of the series’ previous DVD sets.  Even roughly thirty years or so after their original broadcasts, these episodes will still have audiences laughing uproariously at some points, and moved almost to tears at others.  Some of the laughs even come as a result of the writers’ tributes to Hollywood’s golden era as in the set’s final episode “High Hat.”  The skit pays homage to the great films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  It actually takes its name directly from the pair’s 1935 hit film Top Hat.  Ken Berry even provides a surprisingly entertaining tap number and his own singing performances.  Anyone that is a fan of Top Hat or classic song and dance films in general will truly appreciate this sketch for both its historical and its comic value.  The sketch “Raised To Be Rotten” offers just as many laughs as it spoofs all of the trashy soap operas of the day.  Ironically enough, it could even be considered a spoof of many of the soap operas of the past twenty years or more.  That continued relevance and comic value make it yet another prime example of how the work of the writers on this show makes these episodes so entertaining even today and in turn why their work makes this collection so enjoyable for anyone looking to make the first of maybe many additions to their Carol Burnett Show collections.  On the opposite end of that spectrum, Carol’s portrayal of her beloved Charwoman character in Show # 705 is certain to put both a smile on fans’ faces and maybe even a tear in their eyes.  The Charwoman discovers in this episode’s sketch “Silence is Golden” an old seemingly abandoned room loaded with classic silent films and even a projector that magically seems to work.  When turned on, the projector seems to transport the Charwoman into what is supposed to be a classic Charlie Chaplin film.  In this case, actress Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard) plays the part of Chaplin.  And she does so quite convincingly, too.  There’s something about both Swanson and Burnett’s acting here that makes this sketch enjoyable and charming in so many ways.  The Charwoman’s reaction in realizing she might actually have been in the film and her interaction with “Chaplin” in realizing it makes for a truly sweet moment that is sure to have any viewer tearing up at least a little bit.  Whether for that moment and the more lighthearted laughs offered in the sketch, the smiles and laughs brought on by the tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or any of the laughs and smiles brought on throughout the presented episodes, every single episode and every sketch proves in its own inimitable way why the work of the writers behind The Carol Burnett Show makes this compilation just as worth the purchase as any of the show’s previous DVD releases.  This is especially the case for anyone that has yet to start their collection of Carol Burnett Show collections.

The episodes that StarVista chose to include as part of the whole that is The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again, their presentation, and the work of the writers in each episode collectively shows why this new DVD release is a good starting point for anyone looking to take the first step in starting their collection of DVDs from what is one of the greatest series in the modern history of television. While the noted elements each make for so much enjoyment, one more element should be noted of the whole package that adds to its enjoyment. The element in question is the disc’s companion booklet. The booklet included with the DVD is, like the episodes themselves, nothing new for StarVista’s Carol Burnett Show DVD sets. The companion booklet outlines each show in just enough detail to give viewers a relatively vivid idea of each episode and sketch. It outlines the highlights of each show and notes the title and cast of each sketch within the episodes. It even notes each show’s original air date as part of the full outline. All of the details noted of the disc’s companion booklet are also part of the booklets included with each one of StarVista’s previously released Carol Burnett Show collections. This is so significant because it shows once more the careful approach taken by those charged with assembling the episodes and the package in whole. It shows that those people wanted to pay proper respect to the show and its legacy one again as well as to the show’s legions of fans, too. So many television shows’ DVD collections either come with standard, straight-forward episode listings or nothing at all. Those that do include the list include no background or any other extras for fans. That’s not the case for any of StarVista’s Carol Burnett Show DVD sets including this single-disc presentation. And it continues to show in this situation, too. The end result of such lengthy efforts being taken to honor both the legacy of the Carol Burnett Show and the fans of The Carol Burnett Show is one more layer of depth to what on the surface seems a simple DVD yet is a DVD in which audiences and critics alike will find plenty to like.

The fact that those charged with assembling The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again would go to such lengths to continue paying homage to both the legacy of what is one of television’s great modern series and to its fans says plenty about those individuals and of StarVista in whole. The same can be said of all involved merely by examining the episodes included in the set in terms of their writing and their production values. By themselves, each of the noted elements plays an important role in the enjoyment and success of the DVD in whole. Collectively, they prove once and for all why this disc is a wonderful starting point for anyone looking to take that first step in building their Carol Burnett Show collections. The Carol Burnett Show: Together Again is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles available from StarVista Entertainment is available online at:

Website: https://timelife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimeLifeUS

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Datsik Announces Additions To Schedule For Upcoming “Ninja Nation Tour”

Courtesy:  MSO PR

Courtesy: MSO PR

 

Dubstep artist Datsik announced last week new additions to his current “Ninja Nation Tour.”

Datsik announced additional dates in Chattanooga, TN, Urbana, IL, Iowa City, IA, Lincoln, NE, Milwaukee, WI, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Riverside, CA, Asheville, NC, Raleigh, NC and Murfreesboro, TN. The tour kicks off Thursday, January 22nd at the House of Blues in Boston, MA. It is in support of Datsik’s recently released EP Down 4 My Ninjas. Audiences can stream the EP now online via Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/datsik/sets/down-4-my-ninjas-d4mn. It should be noted that there is some explicit language in some of the music. So listener discretion is advised.

ETC! ETC!, Kennedy Jones, Trolley Snatcha, Truth, Barely Alive, Bear Grillz, Fox Stevenson and Twine have all been tapped to join Datsik as special guests on select dates throughout his tour. Loudpvck will also be on the bill beginning with the tour’s opening night performance. From there Loudpvck will serve as support act in Washington, D.C. on February 6th and in New York City on January 24th.

The current listing of dates for the “Ninja Nation Tour” is noted below.

Dates for DATSIK’s Ninja Nation Tour thus far are:

DATE CITY VENUE
Thu 1/22 Boston, MA House of Blues
Fri 1/23 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Sat 1/24 New York City, NY Terminal 5
Sun 1/25 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
Wed 1/28 Buffalo, NY Town Ballroom
Thu 1/29 Syracuse, NY F Shed at The Market
Fri 1/30 Hartford, CT The Dome
Sat 1/31 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
Wed 2/4 Knoxville, TN The International
Thu 2/5 Norfolk, VA Norva
Fri 2/6 Washington, DC Echostage
Sat 2/7 Richmond, VA National
Sun 2/8 Pittsburgh, PA The Altar Bar
Mon 2/9 Pittsburgh, PA The Altar Bar
Wed 2/11 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
Thu 2/12 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s
Fri 2/13 Atlanta, GA Opera
Sat 2/14 Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
Tue 2/17 Chattanooga, TN Track 29
Wed 2/18 Urbana, IL Canopy Club
Thu 2/19 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room
Fri 2/20 Chicago, IL Concord
Sat 2/21 Chicago, IL Concord
Tue 2/24 Iowa City, IA Blue Moose
Wed 2/25 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Theatre
Thu 2/26 Milwaukee, WI Miramar Theatre
Wed 3/4 Aspen, CO Belly Up
Thu 3/5 Grand Junction, CO Mesa Theater
Fri 3/6 Denver, CO Ogden
Sat 3/7 Denver, CO Ogden
Wed 3/11 San Diego, CA Soma
Thu 3/12 Los Angeles, CA Exchange
Fri 3/13 Riverside, CA Riverside Auditorium
Sat 3/14 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Sun 3/15 Reno, NV The Knitting Factory
Wed 3/18 Victoria, BC Distrikt
Thu 3/19 Edmonton, AB Encore
Fri 3/20 Vancouver, BC Commodore
Sat 3/21 Calgary, AB Flames Central
Fri 3/27 Seattle, WA Showbox Sodo
Sat 3/28 Portland, OR Roseland Ballroom
Wed 4/1 Lubbock, TX Wild West
Thu 4/2 San Marcos, TX The Marc
Fri 4/3 Houston, TX Stereo Live
Sat 4/4 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls
Wed 4/8 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
Thu 4/9 Raleigh, NC The Ritz
Fri 4/10 Charlotte, NC Fillmore
Sat 4/11 Murfreesboro, TN Tempt

Audiences can join Datsik’s fanclub online now at http://www.datsikninjas.com/. Once there, audiences can purchase a limited number of specialty-priced $20 tickets to the “Ninja Nation Tour.” Fans can also win special prizes after joining Datsik’s fan club and get in on all the events going on around each show. Tickets to the shows are available online now at http://datsik.com/tour/.

More information on Datsik’s upcoming “Ninja Nation Tour” and all of the latest updates from Datsik is available online at:

Website: http://www.datsik.ca

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/datsik

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/djdatsik

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.