PBS Announces Release Date, Specs For New NOVA DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has been one of the world’s most polarizing points ever since it was first started up in 2008. While the concerns that so many people had have been allayed since then, the LHC still has not revealed the long-speculated Higgs-Boson Particle, or “God Particle” to researchers. Though, researchers have found a particle in their efforts that is a starkly close match to the Higgs-Boson Particle. Now this spring, scientists with CERN are set to restart the LHC and restart their research. As they prepare to start what is the world’s largest atom smasher, PBS will release NOVA: Big Bang Machine.

NOVA: Big Bang Machine will be released on DVD Tuesday, March 17th. The hour-long episode of PBS’ hit science-based series looks at the LHC, its history including what made it such a hot button topic, and expectations for its next startup. Audiences can check out a clip from this episode of NOVA online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfJBUJMywPs. The DVD will retail for $24.99. It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store fora reduced price of $19.99 at http://www.shoppbs.org/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=nova%20big%20bang%20machine&origkw=NOVA+Big+Bang+Machine&sr=1. It can also be ordered in a combo pack that also includes a wristwatch for $49.99. The combo pack will retail in stores for $68.94.

More information on NOVA: Big Bang Machine and other episodes of NOVA is available online now along with all of the latest NOVA news at:

Website: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

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

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PBS Kids Celebrates WordWorld Next Month With New DVD

Courtesy:  PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS/PBS Kids

PBS Distribution announced this week that fans of the PBS Kids’ series WordWorld will see a brand new collection of episodes on DVD next month.

WordWorld: Birthday Party! will be released on DVD Tuesday, March 7th. The DVD will feature five episodes from the family favorite PBS Kids series, all of which focus in one way or another on birthdays. It all starts with a surprise birthday party for Dog in “Happy Birthday, Dog.” The WordWorld gang is planning a surprise party for Dog in this episode. But there is just one problem: There is no cake. It’s up to Frog to get the cake to the party in one piece without Dog finding out about the cake or the party.

“Pig’s Present” comes second on the disc. This is an especially important episode because not only does it teach the word “Jet,” but it also teaches an important lesson about patience. It teaches that lesson about patience as Pig can’t fight his curiosity after his nephews, The Three Little Pigs, make a secret present for him.

“The Rainbow Birthday Cake” is another important addition to the new PBS Kids DVD WordWorld: Birthday Party! This episode teaches an important lesson about recycling and conservation. This lesson is taught as Duck decides he wants to make a really big birthday cake for Frog. He wants to frost the cake in the colors of the rainbow. Duck learns that once he uses the cans of frosting, he can’t just toss them anywhere. He has to recycle them. And the result of that recycling ends up becoming part of Frog’s very special cake, proving the good that can come from recycling.

In the disc’s penultimate episode “Bit By Bit,” WordWorld’s writers teach young viewers a valuable lesson about handling big words when Duck and Bug have to take Frog’s present for Monkey–a banana–to Monkey’s birthday party. The duo is so excited about taking the banana to Monkey that they accidentally drop it and break it into lots of letters. So it’s up to Elephant to help Duck and Bug put the banana back together and get it to Monkey.

Ant has to enlist the aid of his buggy buddies in “Bugs to the Rescue,” the final episode featured in WordWorld: Birthday Party! He has to get the help of his friends after the balloon that he built for his friend Bear accidentally floats away with Bear in it.

WordWorld: Birthday Party! will be available on DVD Tuesday, March 7th. It can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=57493336&cp=&kw=wordworld&origkw=wordworld&sr=1. More information on this and other WordWorld DVDs is available online now along with all of the latest WordWorld news at:

Website: https://www.wordworld.com

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

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ESPN’s College GameDay To Air Live From Wichita State For The First Time February 28th

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Next Saturday’s broadcast of ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm is another big one for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Next Saturday, ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm will broadcast live from the campus of Wichita State. The broadcast will marks the first time ever that College GameDay Covered by State Farm will have ever broadcast live from the university’s campus. Saturday morning’s edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm will kick off live at 10am ET on ESPNU and will continue at 11am on ESPN. It will precede the matchup of No. 13 Wichita State ad No. 11 Northern Iowa. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 2pm ET.

The eveing edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm will come live at 4pm ET on ESPN. It will come live from Lawrence, Kansas ahead of No. 8 Kansas taking on Texas. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 5pm ET. Saturday evening’s broadcast from Lawrence marks the sixth time since 2005 that College GameDay Covered by State Farm has broadcast live from the University of Kasas. The last time that it originated from Lawrence, Kansas was 2013.

Stephen A. Smith will appear alongside host Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg, and Jay Williams for the A.M. edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm. Once they finish with the morning edition, Davis and company will pack up and head to Lawrence for the evening edition. Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas will have the call for the Jayhawks-Longhorns game while Rich Hollenberg, Seth Greenberg, and Mark Adams will have the mic for the matchup of the Shockers and Panthers. Shannon Spake will be on the sidelines for the Kansas-Texas game.

All customers with access to ESPN3 will be able to watch that game with ESPN3 Surround featuring in-arena natural sound and exclusive views from high above the rim at each end of the court.
More information on next Saturdays’ broadcasts of College GameDay Covered by State Farm and all of the ESPN networks’ college basketball coverage is available online at:

Website: https://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball

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

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Boardwalk Empire’s Third Volume Is A Wonderful Musical Love Letter To Music’s Golden Age

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

HBO’s hit drama Boardwalk Empire wrapped up its fifth and final season late last year. the series, which starred veteran actor Steve Buscemi, wrapped up after five seasons. The series’ final season. With the series at its end, its final season was released on DVD last month alongside its soundtrack, Boardwalk Empire Volume 3. It is still very early in the year. But it is safe to say at this point that Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of this year’s best new overall albums. The reason that it is deserving of such high honor is the fact that listening to this record is like taking a musical trip back in time. And while that phrase is tossed around sometimes too often by critics (this critic included sometimes), this compilation of songs is one of those rare pieces that truly is wholly deserving of such note. The collection resurrects some of the greatest jazz songs of all time, reaching all the way back to the 1920s ad 30s for its track listing. The catch is that each of the record’s nineteen tracks is recorded by a modern act. Yet none of the songs has been updated. It would have been easy for the acts in question to put their own spin on each song. But they didn’t do that. They recorded the songs exactly as they were recorded so many decades ago. The only thing that the songs on this record is missing is the static of an old vinyl. If that had been there, it would have pushed the record over the top. Even without that static, the songs still comprise a record that any true lover of jazz will appreciate and one that should be on every critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall come December. That is just part of what makes this record a must hear for any true-blooded lover of jazz. Another reason that audiences will appreciate this collection so much is the fact that while classic jazz songs make up the majority of its body, there is also a light touch of the blues and even some classic Latin-tinged pieces, too. That mix of musical styles coupled with the fact that the songs themselves are true classics makes Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 all the more enjoyable. Last but not least worth noting of this collection is the fact that while it is a soundtrack, the songs that make up the record make it just as solid a stand-alone collection as a companion to the series’ recently released fifth and final season DVD box set. Listeners can enjoy this record without having to have any prior knowledge of Boardwalk Empire’s five-season run on HBO. Rather they can just enjoy it as the collection of classic jazz tunes that it is. It is just as important a factor in the record’s success and enjoyment as the songs themselves and their renditions. All things considered, Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 proves in the end with its full complement of songs to justifiably be considered an early contender for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall.

Soundtracks for movies and television series far too often are little more than a bunch of songs tossed together for the purpose of bringing in extra money for a given movie studio or television company. The mass of soundtracks that meet that mantle is so extensive that it would be impossible to name all of the soundtracks that never should have seen the light of day. For all of the forgettable soundtracks that are churned out each year, there are actually some rare diamonds in the rough among that mass. Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of those rare diamonds. It proves to be one of those rare diamonds first and foremost because of its songs. The songs collected for this latest (and final) volume of songs from HBO’s hit drama is a wonderful arrangement of songs that any true lover of classic jazz will appreciate. The songs that make up Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 reach all the way back to the 1920s and 30s, music’s golden era. From Elvis Costello’s take of Harry Barris and Gordon Clifford’s timeless I Surrender Dear as the record’s opener to Margot Bingham and David Mansfield’s take of Ma Rainey’s blues classic ‘Farewell Daddy Blues’ to Bingham’s cover of the equally timeless Fabian Andre/Wilbur Schwandt/Gus Kahn song ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me,’ to all of the record’s other songs, the record in whole presents itself like a musical trip back in time. That phrase is thrown around sometimes too often by critics. But in the case of this record, it is deservedly used. From start to finish, every one of the songs that makes up the record’s body was recorded in the exact same fashion as in their original recordings. There was no attempt by any of the artists to put their own spin on the songs. This makes the songs feel like they were pulled right from the original masters instead of having been re-recorded by modern artists. The only thing that is lacking in the presentation of the record’s songs is that classic sound of static. Even without that sound though, the quality of the songs is reduced by a factor of zero. That is how incredibly believable these songs are in their presentation and why the songs and their presentation combine to make the most important part of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3’s enjoyment and success.

The songs that were chosen for Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 and the uncanny similarity to their original recordings are collectively the most important part of the record’s enjoyment and overall success. For all of its importance, just as important to note of the disc’s success is its overall makeup. Classic jazz songs make up most of the record’s body. But they are not all that audiences get in this collection of songs. As noted perviously, there is a touch of the blues in Margot Bingham and David Mansfield’s cover of Ma Rainey’s ‘Farewell Daddy Blues.’ It is an acoustic performance that must be heard to be fully appreciated. There is also a Latin-tinged piece in ‘Son Que Quita Las Penas,’ which translates roughly to ‘They are that it removes penalties.’ And ‘The Yodeling Chinaman’ offers its own interesting sound that adds even more interesting musical variety to the record. The combination of those varied sounds across the album’s nineteen songs and sixty-two minutes coupled with the incredible presentation of each song makes even more evident why any jazz purist will love this record and why it is one of this year’s best new albums overall.

The songs that make up the body of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 display a wonderful window into the music industry’s past. They take listeners on a musical trip back in time to the business’s golden era more so than any classic collection since. Making this collection of songs even better is the fact that the artists that re-recorded them for the collection didn’t try to make some artsy remake in their own vision. Rather they stayed true to the original rendition of each song. Save for the static in the background, the end result of the recordings is a group of recordings that sounds like it was lifted right from the original masters. Both aspects of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 are of equal importance to the record’s presentation. As important as each element proves to be to the whole, the fact that audiences don’t have to have any knowledge of Boardwalk Empire’s televised side in order to enjoy these songs. Unlike so many other soundtracks released every year in partner with their movies and television series, this collection of songs wasn’t aligned in time with its show’s episodes. So there’s no need to have any background information on the show in order to enjoy the songs. A basic understanding and appreciation of jazz history is all that audiences need. And even for those lacking even that understanding and appreciation, it makes for just as solid a starting point for anyone wanting to learn about the history of both music and jazz more specifically. It’s yet another way that Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 proves to be one of this year’s best new albums overall.

Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of this year’s best new albums overall. Given, it is a soundtrack for all intents and purposes. But it is still deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall. That is because the songs presented on the record make this recording more than any before, a musical trip back in time to a better age. The renditions of the presented songs pay full tribute to the original songs. And audiences don’t even have to have any previous knowledge of the series in which they are utilized. That’s because the songs aren’t used in that same chronological fashion as songs that comprise other soundtracks. They are just great classic jazz tunes. They are a window into a better era of music. Because audiences don’t have to be fans of the series from which they were lifted, and because of the fact that they weren’t altered in their new versions from their original performances, they are made all the more enjoyable. The very fact that they have been resurrected for a whole new generation of music lovers is the ultimate statement of love and respect for their legacy. Whether for one of the aforementioned reasons or all of them, any listener that gives this recently released soundtrack/compilation will agree that it is indeed one of the best new albums of 2015. It is available now in stores and online.

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.

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.

Bonz Speaks Loud And Clear On Broken Silence

Courtesy:  Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Twenty years ago, Stuck Mojo released its first ever full-length album. That album, Snappin’ Necks would be only the beginning for the Atlanta, Georgia-based rap-metal band. The band would go on from there to release five more albums an EP and a hits collection in the form of Violate This (2001). Of those recordings, front man Bonz handled vocal duties on all but two. That is because after the release of 2000’s Declaration of a Headhunter, Bonz parted ways with his band mates in what was allegedly a less than amicable split. He would go on to be replaced by Lloyd “Lord” Nelson on Southern Born Killers (2007) and The Great Revival (2008). Late last year though, Bonz and his band mates seemingly buried the hatchet and reunited for what many thought would be a one-time only show in Atlanta. Though, now the band also has another show planned for April 17th in Charlotte, North Carolina. Word is that this reunion is in fact just temporary as Ward and company still have their own projects going on as does Bonz.  Bonz has his own band bearing his name and a new album to boot titled Broken Silence. That album was released last week via Pavement Entertainment. And for anyone that is familiar with Stuck Mojo’s sound, those fans will especially appreciate Broken Silence as it stylistically bears quite the similarity to Stuck Mojo’s ’95 debut from beginning to end. That is clear right from the album’s lead single and title track in which Bonz tackles the fallout from his split with his brothers in the self-proclaimed four piece of doom in the early 2000s. ‘Sinister Grin’ proves to be just as deeply personal in examining its lyrical content. There is a lot of pent-up emotion behind this song. He even goes after his naysayers in the heavy, headbanger ‘Take It Personal,’ essentially saying he isn’t ignoring them and that it’s them that makes him stronger. It’s another piece proving that regardless of whether he is recording and performing with his brothers in Stuck Mojo or with his new family in his own band, Bonz hasn’t lost any of the fire that was there nearly three decades ago when Stuck Mojo first formed. Whether for the songs noted here, for those not noted, or for the record in whole, Broken Silence proves to be a record that any long-time fan of Stuck Mojo and/or Bonz himself will appreciate.

Broken Silence is, as noted, a record that any long-time fan of both Stuck Mojo and Bonz will appreciate. That is due in large part to the coupling of a sound that harkens back to Stuck Mojo’s 1995 debut Snappin’ Necks and lyrical content throughout that exhibits quite the emotion and depth. The album’s title track is a prime example of how that mix of musical firepower and lyrical depth makes the album worth the listen. ‘Broken Silence’ utilizes song titles and lyrics from all of the albums that Bonz recorded as a member of Stuck Mojo to take on the fallout from his split with the band after the release of its album Declaration of a Headhunter in 2000. Right from the song’s outset, the similarity to Stuck Mojo’s early days becomes fully evident through the work of guitarist Curt Taylor, drummer Erin Stagg, and Bonz’s own vocal delivery style. The anger and frustration that obviously built up after Bonz’s split with his former band mates is just as evident in the ferocity of his delivery. He raps in this song, “Who’s the devil/On a pigwalk/Crooked figurehead saying it’s all my fault/Been violated/Even changed my ways…snappin’ necks from beginning to the end…Mental meltdown/Twistin’ my game/Monkey behind the wheel deciding my fate/Don’t get started/You left that out/Step up, step up what’s next out your mouth.” Bonz continues in this same fashion, citing Stuck Mojo’s body of work to verbally assault one of his former band mates. Anyone with any knowledge of the split between Bonz and the rest of the band can only assume that the target of Bonz’s lyrical attack here is guitarist and Stuck Mojo founding member Rich Ward. Making the song even more interesting is the very fact that now Bonz and company have reunited at least temporarily. So one can’t help but wonder if the animosity expressed by Bonz has been tempered at least to a point and the proverbial hatchet buried. Regardless it makes for a solid anchor to Broken Silence and an equally look into the fallout from Bonz’s split from Stuck Mojo for any fan of both sides.

Broken Silence’s title track makes for quite the introduction to Bonz’s new album. This is especially the case for any fans that might have wondered what Bonz has been up to and where he has been ever since the two sides split. It serves as such a solid introduction (or re-introduction) for audiences because of it searing honesty and equally powerful musical side. For all of the musical and lyrical punch offered throughout the course of the song, it is just one of the album’s songs that exemplifies the emotions that Bonz has felt over the years. The album’s opener ‘Sinister Grin’ displays just as much musical and emotional power. Bonz raps against Curt Taylor’s full throttle shredding and Erin Stagg’s machine gun-precision drumming, “How do I smile without a sinister grin/I grab my pen and then the lyrics begin/How do I smile without a sinister grin/The enemies used to be my friends/How do I smile without a sinister grin/I grab my mic and the lyric then begins/How do I smile without a sinister grin/Friends, success imagine my chagrin/I’m reminiscing about those b!&@%#$/Steady a$$ kissin’ always on a mission/I hear ‘em hissin’, swearin’ and wishin’…” He goes on in this similar fashion through most of the song, even going so far as to verbally stand up to the subject(s) of his verbal punches saying that he has nothing to hide unlike said figure(s). It could easily be a misinterpretation on the part of this critic. but considering the venom that he spit in the album’s lead single, this song seems to lyrically follow the same pattern, attacking his former band mates in Stuck Mojo. Of course that is again merely the interpretation of this critic. It would be interesting to find out the full story behind this song and see if it gels with that interpretation. Right or wrong, it still proves both verbally and musically to show even more just how much power Broken Silence boasts both musically and lyrically. And considering that, it shows even more why Broken Silence proves to be a good introduction and re-introduction to Bonz.

Both ‘Broken Silence’ and ‘Sinister Grin’ show in their own way what makes Broken Silence a solid introduction and re-introduction to Bonz and the music that he’s crafted since splitting from Stuck Mojo. They also tell quite the interesting story of what he’s gone through at least emotionally since those days. That is thanks to their mix of music and lyrics. Both songs serve as excellent examples of what audiences have to expect from Bonz and company on the band’s debut release for Pavement Entertainment. While both songs serve as excellent examples of what Broken Silence has to offer in their own right, the band offers another equally solid example of what makes Broken Silence a solid return for Bonz just past the album’s halfway point in the song ‘Take It Personal.’ Rather than focusing his pent-up emotions on his former band mates here, he puts his crosshairs on his naysayers in general. The musical backing offered by Bonz’s band mates in this song will make the purest of purist headbangers happy. [Curt] Taylor’s guitar line and Erin Stagg’s drumming in the song’s chorus conjure thoughts of certain sludge/doom bands while Don Leslie’s bass work expertly accents Bonz’s own verbal skills in the verses. Speaking of those verbal skills, Bonz adds his own impact to the song as he raps, ‘Here’s a middle finger/Now you got a clue/That I don’t give a damn who the hell are you/B-O-N-Z man you cannot boo/No we ain’t goin’ down and play the fool.” Bonz goes on in similar fashion throughout the course of the song’s nearly four and a half-minute run time, shooting verbal missiles at his critics and at those of his new band. Bonz’s stylistic approach in this song is almost methodical in the verses. He makes his point entirely clear throughout the verses without having to be forceful, saving his energy instead for the song’s chorus sections. The juxtaposition of the two vocal styles coupled with the work of Bonz’s band mates leaves no doubt as to why this song is one more solid addition to Broken Silence and one more part of what makes Broken Silence in whole an album that any fan of Bonz and/or Stuck Mojo will enjoy.

Broken Silence is a solid introduction and re-introduction to Stuck Mojo’s original vocalist. That is evident in the songs examined here. While all three songs play their own part in the success of Broken Silence, the album’s remaining seven songs–including the live take of ‘Take It Personal’ that closes out the album–each present their own examples as to why fans of both Bonz and Stuck Mojo will appreciate this record. Whether for those songs or the pieces noted here, the album in whole proves to be one in the end that any Stuck Mojo fan should hear at least once regardless of whether they are fans of the band or of its outspoken front man. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Broken Silence and any upcoming live dates from Bonz is available online now at:

Website: https://www.bonzband.com

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

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Say Hey For Hey Dude: The Complete Series

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

It has been nearly twenty-five years since the classic live action, teen-centric series Hey Dude wrapped up its five-season run on Nickelodeon. One of a small handful of live-action series on Nickelodeon during its time on the air, it was Nickelodeon’s answer to NBC’s Saturday morning kids’ series Saved By The Bell. In 2011, Shout! Factory resurrected Hey Dude, releasing the first of the series’ five seasons on its own stand-alone box set. Shout! Factory didn’t waste any time getting the series to its now grown up fans after acquiring its distribution rights, either. From 2011 to 2013, all five seasons were released in their own stand-alone box sets. Now as a final hurrah, Shout! Factory will release all five seasons in one complete series box set on Tuesday, March 10th. It is not the first of Nickelodeon’s classic series that Shout! Factory has released in full nor will it be the last. There is still at least one more set to be released in the form of The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series. And hopefully that box set will make its way out before the year lets out. That’s an issue for another time. For now, the fact that all five seasons of Hey Dude have been compiled into one box set is in itself a huge positive for fans. It’s not just about ergonomics, either. There is even more to it than that. And that will be noted shortly. Also worth noting is the writing that went into the series’ sixty-five total episodes. The show’s then younger audiences could just as easily relate to the stories behind each episode as those presented in Saved By The Bell or any other teen-centric series on television at the time. This is the case even though its setting was supposed to be a dude ranch. The writers were still able to craft a whole series of stories from the show’s premiere to its finale that were just as entertaining as they were accessible to audiences. While both the show’s writing and the box set’s full collection of seasons are equally important, just as important to note is that each of the discs that make up the show’s five seasons have been specifically marked within their respective seasons. This reduces any confusion for audiences. And together with the inclusion of a complete episode list inside the box’s cover (specifically on the front and rear cover), it rounds out all of the set’s positives. By itself the separation of the seasons (and the companion episode list) within the box is one of the strongest reasons for fans to pick up this Hey Dude: The Complete Series. Together with its full complement of episodes and the writing behind said episodes, all three elements together make Hey Dude: The Complete Series a must have for any fan of this modern classic series. They also collectively make it one of the year’s best new box sets for children and families.

When it was announced four years ago that Shout! Factory would release the first of Hey Dude’s five seasons, the show’s now grown up fans were understandably rather excited. That is because Shout! Factory had already released the first season of both The Wild Thornberrys and Rocko’s Modern Life with quite the positive results. And the first season of Hey Arnold!, CatDog, and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were all on the way, along with the first and second season of The Angry Beavers and the first season of Danny Phantom all within a matter of months. So it was obviously just one part of a virtual tidal wave of releases thanks to a deal struck between Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory. It was a deal that has since gone on to see the full series sets of almost all of those other shows see the light of day in stores and online. The only shows involved in that deal that still have yet to see full releases are The Wild Thornberrys and Hey Dude. But on Tuesday, March 10th, audiences will finally be able to strike Hey Dude from that list as it will finally see the light of day. Hey Dude: The Complete Series is just as impressive as the previous full-series box sets released by the partnership between Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon. The most obvious reason being that it is indeed the show’s full series run. All sixty-five episodes of Hey Dude are spread across ten discs in this box set. This is important for two reasons. The first reason that it is important is simply for the purpose of ergonomics. Instead of having to fill space with five separate stand-alone DVD box sets, all five seasons have been placed into one box. The one box saves space versus the five stand-alone sets. The reason that it saves space is the smart packaging of the series’ discs, which has for a long time been the standard for Shout! Factory’s multi-disc sets. The discs are placed one on the inside front of the box, another on the inside rear, and the rest on either side of a set of plastic “plates.” It saves space and protects the discs from scratching one another. On another level, the stand-alone season sets are not exactly easy to find unless fans order them online. With the upcoming release of Hey Dude: The Complete Series exclusively in Wal-Mart stores nationwide, fans won’t have to worry about hunting for this season or that one. They are all presented in the one box. As if the ergonomically sound box and the inclusion of all five seasons within the one box isn’t enough, fans are being given quite the price break with Hey Dude: The Complete Series. Each stand-alone season set prices at roughly $20 plus tax versus the approximately $30 price tag for the complete series set. It’s yet another huge positive for the set that is sure to make quite a few of the show’s fans very happy. It is hardly the last of the positives to the set, either. The writing behind the series is just as worth noting in its enjoyment and success.

The physical and financial elements of Hey Dude: The Complete Series by themselves make this new box west well worth the purchase. They aren’t the only reasons that fans of the classic Nickelodeon series will want to add the set to their DVD libraries. The work of the show’s writers makes it even more worth the purchase. Hey Dude’s writers keep their audiences fully engaged with a wide range of stories throughout the show’s five-season run. From a comical battle of the sexes early on in the series’ run to Mr. Ernst getting amnesia with comical results in the series’ final season to Danny having to make an important choice regarding his roots in Season Four’s “Do The Right Thing,” the writers showed time and again throughout Hey Dude’s five seasons that they knew how to move their audiences and make them laugh, too. They show that talent just as much when the ranch hands have to take care of a baby they think has been abandoned in “Baby” and in the comical Season Two finale “Take Me To Your Leader” in which everyone thinks that aliens have invaded the ranch. That episode is sure to have any viewer laughing with its old school comic elements. The episodes noted here are just some of the examples of why the writing behind Hey Dude makes the series’ upcoming box set so enjoyable. Every season of Hey Dude exhibits the talent of the show’s writers. And audiences will see that for themselves when they purchase Hey Dude: The Complete Series. They will see throughout the show’s five seasons just how many laughs and moving moments it offered then and still offer today. They will also see just how important the set’s physical and financial elements are to the whole package. In seeing all of that, audiences will agree even more so why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is indeed one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families.

The physical and financial elements of Hey Dude: The Complete Series coupled with the work of the show’s writers makes fully evident why every fan of Hey Dude should add the series’ full series set to their personal libraries. They show, too why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. For all of the value and importance of those elements, there is still one more element worth noting that makes this box set such a joy for audiences. That last element of this set that makes it so enjoyable and such a success is the fact that the discs from each season’s set are clearly marked. It would have been easy for the people at Shout! Factory to just toss all ten discs into the box and called it with the set’s companion episode list printed on the inside of the box’s cover art. But being that Shout! Factory is the leading name in the world of home entertainment, that didn’t happen. The discs from each season are clearly marked. That combined with the companion episode list wholly eliminates any chance of confusion for viewers trying to find specific episodes. The partnering of those two elements makes for one final, solid part of the whole that makes Hey Dude: The Complete Series a welcome addition to any family’s home DVD library. Combined with all of the other noted elements, they show in whole once again why Hey Dude: The Complete Series is so deserving of being called one of this year’s best new box sets for the whole family and why Shout! Factory remains today the leading name in home entertainment.

Hey Dude: The Complete Series is the perfect final statement from Shout! Factory for this modern classic live-action, teen centric series from Nickelodeon. Smart packaging, equally smart writing and a complete episode prove that argument. With any luck it won’t be the last of Nickelodeon’s classic series to be released by Shout! Factory. God forbid it is. But if it is, then it is a great way to go out as it shows once again what once made Nickelodeon so great and what still makes Shout! Factory the greatest name in home entertainment. Hey Dude: The Complete Series will be available on Tuesday, March 10th exclusively in Wal-Mart stores across the country. More information on this box set and others from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: https://www.shoutfactory.com

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

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.