Rhino, Warner Records’ Black Sabbath Re-issues Are Mostly Successful Presentations

Courtesy: Rhino Records/Warner Records

It goes without saying that Black Sabbath is one of the most important and influential bands in the modern history of music.  The same can be said easily of its second front man, Ronnie James Dio.  The two sides came together to craft only three albums – Heaven and Hell (1980), Mob Rules (1981), and Dehumanizer (1992) – amid their tumultuous relationship.  Now thanks to Rhino Records and Warner Records, the first two of those three records are newly available.  Released Friday through Rhino Records and Warner Records, the re-issues will find appeal among audiences, though are imperfect.  The imperfection comes from concerns raised through the incongruence of the bonus content between the re-issues’ platforms.  This will be discussed a little later.  The re-issues’ most important positive comes in the form of their liner notes.  They will be discussed shortly.  That the re-issues are available on two platforms each is its own important element that will be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the re-issues’ presentations.  All things considered, they make the re-issues mostly positive additions to any hard rock and Black Sabbath fan’s library.

Rhino Records and Warner Records’ new re-issues of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are interesting new presentations of the iconic albums.  The records’ re-issues stand out positively in large part due to their liner notes.  The liner notes featured in the Heaven and Hell re-issue were crafted by Rolling Stone magazine writer Kory Grow and artist Lynn Curlee, who created the album’s original cover art.  The duo’s notes create a solid framework for the record.  One of the most interesting items that Grow points out in his notes is that apparently, Ronnie James Dio was not immediately on board when the vocalist opening came up with Black Sabbath.  Grow cites comments from Dio’s wife Wendy, writing that she said of this item, “When Ronnie went into Sabbath, I don’t think he was elated about the job at first…he was more of a melodic  singer and writer.”  Grow goes on to note that Dio eventually found his place within the band.  This is information that audiences are not going to find on Wikipedia when researching Black Sabbath, and just one of Grow’s most notable reflections.   He also points out how the job of firing Ozzy Osbourne from the band ended up on then drummer Bill Ward.  Grow cites Ward in the liner notes’ opening page as saying of the unenviable duty, “Sometimes I don’t know if I’ve ever actually gotten over it.”  That statement would make sense, considering Ward’s own unceremonious departure from the band.  The guilt he felt likely led to Ward’s own alcoholism, and the fight that led to his split from the group.   As if all of that is not enough, Grow also points out that Dio’s famed devil horns sign rose to fame during his first-ever live run with Black Sabbath.  The story is so interesting because, as Grow points out, the development of the hand gesture was in fact part of Dio’s much bigger attempt to separate himself as a personality from Osbourne.  It shows how deeply Dio thought about making sure he was not compared to Osbourne.  This is one more item that is sure to engage and entertain audiences in regards to the liner notes.  When the rest of Grow’s notes are considered along with the items pointed out here, the whole of his work in this case makes for a fully engaging and entertaining introduction to the album.

Staying on the note of the liner notes, Curlee’s recollection of how she was picked to create the Heaven and Hell cover art makes for its own interest.  Curlee points out that until having been commissioned to create the cover art, she had never even listened to Black Sabbath.  That admission will generate its own share of laughs and appreciation for her work.  Audiences will be just as interested to learn the back story on the art.  She points out that it in fact was a painting that she had already created prior to having been commissioned for the Heaven and Hell project.  In other words, she did not have to do but so much to create the album’s cover art.  Even more interesting here is Curlee’s note that she has only listened to Heaven and Hell maybe twice in her life.  There is no disrespect aimed at the band, just admission that she is more a fan of 80s new wave than metal.  Curlee’s overall reflections, together with those of Grow, form a solid foundation for Heaven and Hell.  They collectively show so much why the record’s liner notes are so important to its whole.

Grow also crafted the primary liner notes for the re-issue of Mob Rules.  In the case of these notes, audiences will be interested to learn of the connection between Black Sabbath and The Beatles in this record.  Grow tells the story here that in writing the title song for Mob Rules, the band actually used instruments that were themselves used by The Beatles at a house previously used by that band in record.  As Grow points out in his liner notes, the instruments were “found lying around.”  He later points out that when the band later relocated to the U.S. to finish crafting Mob Rules, the title track had to be redone because as Grow notes in using The Beatles’ old equipment, “the sound of the track was completely different from the rest of the record.”  He cites bassist Geezer Butler as saying that the amp that he used at Lennon’s mansion led to sound problems.  This story alone is enough to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  When it is considered along with the rest of Grow’s notes, the whole makes Grow’s notes in this case just as entertaining and engaging as those that he crafted for the Heaven and Hell re-issue. 

Artist Greg Hildebrandt, who created the cover art for Mob Rules adds to the engagement and entertainment through the liner notes.  He points out in his commentary that as with Curlee, he knew nothing of Black Sabbath when he was tapped to create Mob Rules’ cover art.  The difference here is that being commissioned for the project, his fandom for the band grew.  Additionally, Hildebrandt points out in his notes, a nightmare that he had was the inspiration for the Mob Rules cover art.  That anecdote will be left for audiences to learn themselves.   He explains how that painting went on to become the album’s cover.   Here’s a hint:  It happened when Black Sabbath’s members made the first move.  That will also be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  Between these stories and those shared by Grow, no doubt is left as to the importance of this re-issue’s bonus liner notes.  Keeping in mind the importance of these notes and those featured with the Heaven and Hell liner notes, the overall liner notes clearly prove to be an important aspect of these re-issues.  They do a lot to make these re-issues a joy for audiences.  For all the good that the liner notes do for the re-issues, there is one negative to the recordings.  It comes believe it or not through the bonus content.

Typically when one thinks of bonus content, such content is considered a good thing.  For the most part, the bonus content featured in the re-issues is good.  The problem comes in comparing the bonus content featured in the re-issues in their CD and vinyl platforms.   The CD platforms present more bonus content than the vinyl presentations.  In the case of the Heaven and Hell re-issue, the live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London between Dec. 31, 1981 and Jan. 2 1982 are featured in the re-issue’s CD platform, but not the vinyl presentation.  Everything else is there on each platform in terms of the primary and bonus content, but that one aspect separates the two platforms’ presentations.  In regards to the Mob Rules re-issue, there is a discrepancy in the bonus content here, too.    In this case, the discrepancy is even wider.  The bonus live content from the band’s Apr. 22, 1982 show is presented only on the re-issue’s CD platform.  Why the incongruence happened with the re-issues’ bonus content happened is anyone’s guess.  It is not explained in either record’s liner notes.  Regardless, it is a limitation that rewards only those who buy CDs versus those who prefer vinyl.  It is a weird direct counter to Niji Entertainment’s recent re-issues of Dio’s Evil or Divine: Live in NYC and Holy Diver Live.  Those re-issues were clearly aimed more at Dio fans who prefer vinyl to CD.  These Black Sabbath re-issues, which feature Dio fronting the band, are aimed more at CD aficionados rather than vinyl fans.  That there is a certain bias (intended or not) here detracts from the re-issues’ overall presentations.  Of course even as much as it detracts from the re-issues’ presentations, it is not enough to make them failures.  To that end, there is one more positive to note here, that being that the re-issues were made available on both platforms.

It would have been easy for officials at Rhino Records and Warner Records to limit these Black Sabbath re-issues to just one platform or another in deciding how to release them.  That the decision was made to offer the records to issues on both sides of the “musical aisle” showed that those officials meant to reach as many audiences as possible.  This may seem inconsequential on the surface, but the fact of the matter is that there are labels that to this day, release albums, EPs and re-issues strictly on one platform or another.  Doing so limits record sales, and in turn, appeal for records and acts.  So in providing the re-issues on both platforms means that equal numbers of audiences will get to experience them.  It is just too bad that all of the bonus content was not presented in each platform.  Even with that one negative in mind, the wide availability of the re-issues in terms of platforms, and the liner notes that accompany the re-issues more than make the re-issues positive presentations.  They make the re-issues presentations that hard rock fans and Black Sabbath fans alike will mostly appreciate.

Rhino Records and Warner Records’ brand new re-issues of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are largely successful offerings for hard rock and Black Sabbath fans alike.  That is due in part to the extensive liner notes that come with the re-issues.  While the re-issues’ liner notes make for plenty of engagement and entertainment, the re-issues do have one notable negative, the incongruence of certain bonus content between the platforms on which the albums were re-issued.  There is some bonus content featured in the re-issues’ CD presentations that was not featured in their vinyl presentations.  Why that is the case is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, it is not enough to make the re-issues failures, though it is a matter that one cannot ignore.  The very fact that the recordings were re-issued on CD and vinyl ensures a far reaching appeal and potentially high sales for the records.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recordings.  All things considered, they make the recordings welcome additions to any hard rock and Black Sabbath fan’s library.  The re-issues are available now.

More information on this and other titles from Rhino Records is available online at:

Websitehttps://www.rhino.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/RHINO

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

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Rhino Records To Re-issue Two Classic Black Sabbath Albums

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Two classic Black Sabbath albums will get the re-issue treatment this winter.

Heaven and Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981) are scheduled for re-issue March 5 through Rhino Records. The albums were the only Black Sabbath records recorded with Ronnie James Dio during what would be his first stint with the band. Dio’s second stint in 1992 was shorter, resulting in the album Dehumanizer.

The forthcoming re-issues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules will release on separate 2CD sets and 2LP sets. The 2CD sets will retail for MSRP of $19.98 and the 2LP sets for $31.98. The vinyl sets will feature the same bonus content that is featured in the 2CD sets.

The full track listing for the CD and LP sets is noted below. Audiences can download a live take of the song ‘Heaven and Hell‘ and a previously unreleased live version of the song ‘The Mob Rules‘ as digital singles now.

HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
5.       “Wishing Well”
6.       “Die Young”
7.       “Walk Away”
8.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980)
4.       “Neon Knights” *
5.       “Children Of The Sea” *
6.       “Heaven And Hell” *
7.       “Die Young” *
Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982)
8.      “E5150”
9.      “Neon Knights”
10.    “Children Of The Sea”
11.    “Heaven And Hell”
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
 
Side Two
1.       “Wishing Well”
2.       “Die Young”
3.       “Walk Away”
4.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Side Thee
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
4.       “Neon Knights” – Live 1980 *

Side Four
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live 1980 *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live 1980 *
3.       “Die Young” – Live 1980 *
 
MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
6.       “Country Girl”
7.       “Slipping Away”
8.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
9.       “Over And Over”

Bonus Tracks
10.    “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
11.    “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
12.    “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
13.    “Country Girl”
14.    “Slipping Away” 
15.    “The Mob Rules”
16.    “Voodoo”
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982 
17.    Intro **
18.    “Neon Knights” **
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982
1.       “N.I.B.” **
2.       “Children Of The Sea” **
3.       “Voodoo” **
4.       “Black Sabbath” **
5.       “War Pigs” **
6.       Drum Solo **
7.       “Iron Man” **
8.       “The Mob Rules” **
9.       “Heaven And Hell” **
10.    Guitar Solo **
11.    “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
12.    “Paranoid” **
13.    “Children Of The Grave” **
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
 
Side Two
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away”
3.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
4.       “Over And Over”
 
Side Three
1.       “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
2.       “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
3.       “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
4.       “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
 
Side Four
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away” 
3.       “The Mob Rules”
4.       “Voodoo”
 
* previously unreleased in North America
** previously unreleased 

More information on this and other titles from Rhino Records is available online at:

Website: http://www.rhino.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

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

Dio Cancer Fund Marks Famed Front Man’s 78th Birthday With Special Video Presentation

Courtesy: Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund will mark what would have been the late, great rocker’s 78th birthday today.

The anniversary will be commemorated with a new video.  The video features a compilation of interviews with celebrity guests at past Dio Cancer Fund events, including this year’s 10th annual gala.  Among those featured in the video are fellow rockers, such as Rob Halford, Dave Grohl, and Glenn Hughes.

Highlights from this year’s event were compiled into a separate video that is streaming here.  Merchandise from the gala, such as posters, t-shirts, and programs is available to buy here.

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  It was founded following Dio’s death in 2010 from gastric cancer.  In the now decade since its foundation, the fund has raised more than $2 million to fight gastric cancer.

In its early years, the RJD Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund committed funds to specific gastric cancer research at M.D. Cancer Center in Houston, where Dio was treated over the last six months of his life.  In the years since, the fund has also provided research funding to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN through the fund’s partnership with the T.J. Martell Foundation.  The partnership was established to research blood tests to detect gastric and esophageal cancers.

The partnership and research led to the acquisition of a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Donations to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund can be made online here.

Over the course of his professional career, Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Heaven & Hell, and even his own band.

More information on the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is available along with the organization’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.diocancerfund.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DioCancerFund

 

All of the latest RJD news is available at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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

Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue Of Dio’s ‘Master Of The Moon’ Is One More Strong Tribute To Dio’s Legacy

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Dio’s final album Master of the Moon is a fitting tribute to the band and to the legacy of its namesake founder, Ronnie James Dio.  Re-issued Feb. 21, the album’s latest presentation will appeal just as much to the most devoted Dio fans as its counterparts – Angry Machines, Killing The Dragon and Magia – which were re-issued alongside this recording.  Just as with those noted albums, the primary reason for that appeal is the re-issue’s bonus content, which will be discussed shortly.  The production of the bonus live content plays its own important role in the presentation of this re-issue and will be discussed a little later. The presentation of the primary album content couples with the secondary content and its production and mixing to make the album’s presentation whole.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of the re-issue.  All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Master of the Moon one more work that the most devoted fans of Dio will appreciate.  Together with the company’s other re-issues, it makes the group in whole a welcome addition to not just any truly devoted Dio fan’s music library, but that of any hard rock purist.

Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of Dio’s 2004 album Master of the Moon is yet another positive offering for the band’s most devoted fans and for any rock purist.  That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with the re-issue.  The bonus content in question is a group of four live recordings captured during Dio’s tour in support of Master of the Moon as well as one studio song – ‘Prisoner of Paradise.’  The latter of the material is important to note in that previously, it was available only in the album’s Japanese release.  So, to have that song finally available for audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere is something in itself that is certain to appeal to those noted audiences.  Two of the four live songs featured in the bonus CD – ‘Heaven & Hell’ and ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ – are featured in Niji Entertainment’s re-issues of Angry Machines and Killing the Dragon, but audiences should once more remember that even with that in mind, the performances themselves are different from one another, because each was captured at a different point in the life of Dio.  The other two songs – ‘Rock and Roll Children’ and ‘The Eyes’ – are not featured on any of the other three Dio re-issues.  ‘The Eyes’ is one of the songs from Master of the Moon, so not only do audiences get a studio performance of said song here, but a live performance to boot.  ‘Rock and Roll Children’ is featured in Dio’s 1985 album Scared Heart.  ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ is from Dio’s debut 1983 album Holy Diver.  ‘Heaven and Hell’ is a work that Dio recorded with the members of Black Sabbath.  All of this is important to note because while maybe not illustrative of Dio’s catalog up to the point of Master of the Moon, the cuts featured in the bonus disc still give audiences a clear picture of the band’s catalog regardless.  What’s more, having that material in a live setting serves even more of a bonus for audiences.  Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the bonus material featured with Niji Entertainment’s Master of the Moon re-issue is so important to its presentation.  The production and mixing that went into the live cuts adds even more engagement and enjoyment to that material.

The production and mixing that went into the re-issue’s bonus live content creates a largely engaging and entertaining experience for audiences.  The keyboards, guitars, drums and vocals are well-balanced in the band’s performance of ‘Rainbow in the Dark.’  Much the same can be said of the presentation of ‘Rock and Roll Children.’  Audiences get the best seat in the house in this performance.  It is easily the most well produced and mixed of the bonus live performances.  The only one of the performances that stands out for the wrong reason is the band’s performance of ‘Heaven and Hell.’  That performance sounds, sadly, like it was a bootleg in every sense of the word.  Its audio was questionable in terms of its quality.  Why that is the case is anyone’s guess.  Luckily though it is, again, the only negative presentation of the re-issue’s bonus live performances.  The bonus Japanese bonus track ‘Prisoner of Paradise’ proves to be its own engaging and enjoyable power metal style studio track that is just as well-produced and mixed as its live counterparts.  All things considered here, the quality of the presented bonus content builds on the foundation formed by said content and makes the bonus content that much more important to the whole of the album’s re-issue.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus content is just a portion of what makes the re-issue of Master of the Moon another positive presentation from Niji Entertainment.  The album’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.

The primary content featured in Master of the Moon is so important to discuss because stylistically, it is such a change of pace for Ronnie James Dio and his fellow musicians.  There are a number of slower, sludge rock style arrangements throughout this album than are present in past Dio albums.  That is not to say that all of the album’s entries present that sound, but the majority do take that approach.  ‘Death By Love,’ which comes late in the album’s 46-minute run, is a bit more up-tempo than its counterparts.  Lyrically, it seems to deal in that all-too-familiar topic of a woman’s power over a man.  ‘One More for the Road,’ the album’s opener, is another of the album’s rare up-tempo works.  This work really takes listeners back to Dio’s early days a la Dream Evil and Sacred Heart.  ‘Master of the Moon’ is another of those slower, sludge rock works, but it also boasts a lyrical theme that is familiar in its mystical theme.  Between all of this and everything else featured in Master of the Moon, the whole of the album offers audiences just as much to appreciate as the bonus content that comes with the album’s re-issue.  Sure, the album is a stylistic change for Dio as a band, but it is a change of pace that works.  Considering this and the impact of the already discussed bonus content, the whole of Master of the Moon becomes a fitting tribute to Ronnie James Dio that hard rock purists will appreciate just as much as Dio’s most devoted fans.  When it is considered with the new re-issues of Magica, Angry Machines and Killing the Dragon, they collectively become a fitting tribute to the never-ending legacy of Ronnie James Dio.

Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Master of the Moon is a work that hard rock purists and Dio’s most devoted fan base will appreciate.  That is due in large part to the bonus content that is featured in the album’s re-issue.  The production and mixing of that material adds to its own appeal.  The presentation that is Master of the Moon’s primary content adds even more engagement and enjoyment to the album’s re-issue.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue.  All things considered, they make Master of the Moon’s re-issue another positive offering for audiences.  When it is considered along with the re-issues of Magica, Killing the Dragon and Angry Machines, they collectively become a strong statement about RJD and a fitting tribute to his legacy and that of his fellow musicians.  All four albums are available now.  More information on these albums is available online along with all of the latest RJD news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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

Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue of Dio’s ‘Killing The Dragon’ Cannot Be Killed

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Dio’s classic album Killing the Dragon has officially been resurrected again.  The album, originally released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and again in 2007 with Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of Dio’s 2000 album Magica, was re-issued Feb. 21 through Niji Entertainment, which is owned by Ronnie James Dio’s wife.  The latest re-issue marks  at least the second time that Killing the Dragon has been re-issued.  Its latest release is marked most notably by the inclusion by a handful of live performances that will be discussed shortly. While the bonus content featured with the re-issue does a lot to make this presentation appealing, it is just part of the recording’s positive.  The production and mixing that went into each of the lives tracks is worth noting, too.  It will be addressed a little later. The concept at the center of the album itself is yet another key to the whole of the presentation and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Killing The Dragon another work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciate.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Killing The Dragon is another pleasing presentation for the band’s most devoted fans.  That is due in no small part to the bonus content that is featured with this re-issue.  The bonus content in question is a group of live performances that was captured during Dio’s 2002-03 “Killing The Dragon Tour.”  The collection is short, featuring six songs at a total of 25 minutes.  While the collection is brief, it should be pointed that that this material was also not featured in the 2007 re-issue of Killing The Dragon.  That re-issue, in fact, was a companion release to Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of another of Dio’s albums, Magica.  Also, of the six bonus live recordings featured here, two of the featured songs – ‘Holy Diver,’ Rock and Roll’ – are repeated here from any of the other three new Dio re-issues.  The only of the re-issues that features the songs is Angry Machines. ‘Heaven & Hell’ is featured on that recording and as a bonus live performance on the new re-issue of Master of the Moon. The thing is that while the songs are repeated, the performances are not repeated.  The performances were captured during different tours, meaning the performances themselves are different despite the songs being the same.  The other three bonus live recordings featured with this re-issue ‘I Speed at Night,’ ‘Killing The Dragon’ and ‘Stand Up And Shout’ come from different points in Ronnie James Dio’s career.  ‘Killing the Dragon’ obviously comes from Killing The Dragon.  ‘Stand Up and Shout’ is taken from Dio’s very first album Holy Diver.  ‘I Speed At Night’ Dio’s 1984 album The Last in Line.  Here is what is important to note here:  When comparing this collective content to that of Dio’s other latest re-issues, that cross section, brief as it may be, makes even richer the overall picture of RJD’s life and career.  To that point, this bonus content – again as brief as it may be – proves in the immediate picture to be valuable, but in the bigger picture, far more valuable.  To that end, this bonus live content gives audiences, actually, a whole lot to appreciate.

While the bonus live recordings featured in this re-issue of Killing The Dragon does a lot to make the presentation appealing, it is just one of the positives of this presentation. The production and mixing that went into each performance makes each performance engaging and entertaining.  Everything that has already been noted of the bonus live material by this critic in the reviews of Niji Entertainment’s other new Dio re-issues applies here, too.  Each element of each performance is expertly balanced throughout each performance.  The sound levels in whole are at just the right volume to the point that listeners will rarely have to adjust the volumes whether on their computers, smart phones, CD players or even stereos.  In other words, the sound balance was handled with expertise in every aspect of that element.  Keeping that in mind, the content and its aesthetics go a long way toward generating plenty of engagement and entertainment for audiences in this bonus material.  It makes the bonus content, again brief as it may be, still valuable in itself and in the bigger picture of Niji Entertainment’s latest Dio re-issues.  Again, it is only part of what makes this re-issue so important to the whole of this album’s re-issue.  The lyrical concept at the center of Killing The Dragon proves invaluable in its own right.

The lyrical theme at the center of Killing the Dragon focuses on the dangers of technological advancements, according to Dio himself in an interview about the album.  He pointed out in the noted interview, that the songs that make up the body of the album are focused on the damage that technology will pose to the world.  Of course he was not the first person to ever make such statement.  Even in 2002, it was a familiar theme, considering that Isaac Asimov warned the world about the dangers of technology decades ago, as did the late physicist Steven Hawking and famed industrial metal outfit Fear Factory in every one of its albums.  Even other bands have addressed the matter before in records that preceded Killing The Dragon.  That aside, it is as relevant today as it was almost two decades ago.  He even went so far as to point out in the noted interview, that one part of the album was a warning against humans becoming essentially slaves to technology.  That is exactly what has become of society.  Just look at how humans have become so dependent on social media in order to emotionally and physiologically survive on a daily basis.  Keeping that in mind, that underlying lyrical concept in the album (and the album’s musical content) does more than its share to make the album engaging and entertaining.  When this is considered alongside the value in the re-issue’s bonus content, the whole of the re-issue proves to be one more work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciate.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Killing The Dragon is another welcome addition to the music library of any of the band’s most devoted fans.  That is, as noted here, due in large part to the bonus content featured with the album’s re-issue.  Both by itself and along with the bonus live recordings in the company’s other Dio re-issues, it presents its own share of engagement and entertainment value.  The production and mixing that went into that bonus live material proves important in its own right.  The primary content in this album joins with the previously unreleased bonus live content to make the whole even more enjoyable for the noted audiences.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Killing the Dragon.  All things considered, they make this re-issue one more offering that is certain to appeal to Dio’s most devoted audiences.  More information on this and Niji Entertainment’s other new Dio re-issues is available online along with all of the latest Dio news at:

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue Of Dio’s ‘Angry Machines’ Will Make Dio Devotees Very Happy

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Ronnie James Dio’s classic 1996 album Angry Machines is available again.  The album – the seventh of his 10 total studio recordings – was received to mix reception in its original release.  Now with what is at least its second re-issue – it was also re-issued in 2018 by Niji Entertainment (which is owned by RJD’s wife) – the album is certain to get more cheers than it did in its original release.  That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with its presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of content, content also is the source of the re-issue’s one negative.  The content in question is the presentation’s primary content.  This will be addressed a little later.  While there is one negative to the presentation, it is not enough to ruin this re-issue.  There is one more positive to note, that being the production of the bonus content.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Niji Entertainment’s latest Angry Machines re-issue.  All things considered, they make this take on the album its best presentation to date.

Niji Entertainment’s 2020 re-issue of Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines is the record’s best presentation to date.  That is due in large part to the bonus content that is featured with the re-issue.  The bonus content in question is a series of live recordings captured during Dio’s 1997 “Angry Machines Tour.”  Audiences get in this bonus content what was at the time, a healthy cross section of Dio’s catalog up to that point.  The 12-song compilation reaches all the way back to Dio’s debut album Holy Diver and as then recent as Angry MachinesStrange Highways is represented, too, with a performance of ‘Jesus Mary and the Holy Ghost – Straight Through The Heart.’  Dio’s own work with Black Sabbath is even represented here with a live performance of ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven & Hell.’  As if that is not enough, even RJD’s work with Rainbow is represented with a live performance of ‘Man On the Silver Mountain.’  Simply put, audiences get in this bonus content, a good portrait of RJD’s career.  At the same time, this collection of live performances also serves the purpose of giving audiences something live in a time when every scheduled live performance right now is on hold around the globe.  It serves as a positive enjoyable live recording in itself, and one that was not featured with the recording’s 2018 re-issue.  To that end, it becomes that much more valuable to the whole of this presentation.  It makes this re-issue that much more worth the price whether audiences already own the album’s previous presentations or not.

While the bonus content featured with this new re-issue of Angry Machines does so much to make it appealing, the release’s primary content brings up its lone negative.  The negative here is that whether this is the record’s second re-issue or more, it is notable that the bonus track featured in the album’s Japanese release – ‘God Hates Heavy Metal’ – is once again absent from the album.  Perhaps there is a copyright issue preventing its inclusion in the album.  That the album was released via Mercury Records in Japan and through Mayhem Records in the U.S. in its original release, that would seem to be the only feasible possibility.  That’s even with Niji Entertainment being owned by Ronnie James Dio’s wife.  Given, the song is readily easily to find online thanks to YouTube, but if even for the sense of completion, it would have been nice to have had the song at some point featured with the American release of this record.  That’s especially the case considering the value in the song’s collective musical and lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full, heavy horn raiser that sarcastically goes after the religious right that had at that time (and sadly still does today) claim that Dio was in league with Satan.  That obviously is anything but true for anyone who knows anything about him and his career.  Keeping all of this in mind, the lack of that one song in this latest re-issue is not enough to ruin the re-issue by any means.  It is just a minor negative that hopefully when and if this album receives another future re-issue, will be addressed at that point.

Moving on from the one minor negative that is the lack of the bonus track ‘God Hates Heavy Metal,’ it is a minor con to the whole of this re-issue.  Moving back to the positive, the production and mixing of the re-issue’s bonus live content couples with the songs themselves to add even more appeal to the collection.  As with the live material featured in the re-issues of Magica, Killing The Dragon and Master of the Moon, the sound of each performance is spot on.  Dio’s vocals expertly compliment the guitars of then band mate Tracy Grijalva.  Grijalva’s works is just as well-balanced with drummer Vinny Appice’s time keeping and bassist Jeff Pilson’s low-end.  That is the case just as much in the collection’s more upbeat performances and the slower works.  Each performer’s work gets just as much attention as that of his bandmates throughout the course of the 72 minute compilation of live performances.  If one closes one’s eyes, it’s as if one is right there.  If a live DVD or Blu-ray has not already been released that compliments this set, then it certainly needs to be released.  Doubtless that top notch production and mixing will join with the set list itself to make for just as much of an enjoyable presentation.  Keeping this in mind, the production and mixing that went into these live performance recordings couples with the expanse of content to make this bonus disc more than enough reason for the most devoted Dio fans to own this re-issue, especially if said fans do not already own the album’s previous releases.  Even taking into account the lack of that one bonus track with the main album, the recording in whole is still that worth the addition to any Dio devotee’s library.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Angry Machines is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the most devoted of Ronnie James Dio’s fans.  That is due in large part to the extensive and well-recorded live content featured with the album.  That 72-minute (one hour, 12-minute) collection of songs presents a rich picture at that point, of Dio’s career.  Its production and mixing add even more engagement and enjoyment to the collection.  Even with the lack of one bonus track to the recording’s primary album, that bonus content couples with the primary album to make this a fully appealing presentation for Dio’s most devoted fans.  The re-issue is available now.  More information on this and other RJD releases is available online now along with all of the latest RJD news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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

Niji Entertainment’s Latest ‘Magica’ Re-Issue Will Appeal To RJD’s Most Devoted Audiences

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Ronnie James Dio’s classic concept album Magica has gotten the re-issue treatment again.  Originally released in 2000 through Spitfire Records, the 13-song concept album was re-issued again Feb. 21 through Niji Entertainment, as with its 2013 and 2018 re-issues.  Yes, the album has now been re-issued no less than four times since its original release, and each re-issue has presented something different for audiences.  That extra content on the album’s latest re-issue is one of its most important elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The concept at the core of the original album is something well worth noting, too, and will be addressed a little later.  The sequencing of each portion of the re-issue rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Magica another intriguing tribute to a true rock legend.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Ronnie James Dio’s 2000 album Magica is an intriguing presentation.  That is due in part to the bonus material that is featured with this latest re-issue of the album.  The bonus content featured with the album this time is the most important of the presentation’s elements.  In comparison to the album’s 2018 re-issue, that presentation was extremely limited on any bonus content.  It featured only live takes of the songs ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Magica Theme.’ The 2007 re-issue included Dio’s 2002 album Killing The Dragon.  That album is also among Niji Entertainment’s latest round of Dio re-issues, and will be discussed another day.  Getting back to the latest re-issue of Magica, its 2013 re-issue was a bit heavier in the way of bonus content, featuring eight official bootlegs that were recorded during Dio’s 2000-2002 Magica World Tour.  This latest re-issue pulls from that tour again.  What is important to note though, is that the live material featured this time is not just a re-hashing of the live material featured in the album’s 2013 re-issue.  Rather, audiences get not eight, but 10 (yes, 10) of the 13 songs featured in the original recording.  The only difference here from the actual album is the omission of the songs ‘Turn To Stone,’ ‘As Long As It’s Not About Love’ and the album’s closer, the reprise of ‘Lord of the Last Day.’  Other than those omissions, what audiences get in this live recording is almost the entirety of Magica live in its original sequence.  This is crucial because of the general effect that it has for listeners.  This was an artist performing an album virtually in its entirety before it became the cool thing for acts to do.  What’s more getting to take in the album nearly in whole in a live setting makes the experience that much more special.  As any one can tell a person, live shows are special experiences for audiences.  So getting to experience the album in two different settings in nearly the same order makes for quite the extraordinary experience for audiences.

Now, keeping this in mind, the automatic rebuttal to this statement becomes why should one own the same album twice over just because the bonus content is different (I.E. the 2013 and 2020 re-issues).  The answer there is that while this latest re-issue may feature Magica almost in its entirety in its near exact sequencing both times, the album’s 2013 re-issue does feature the live take of ‘As Long As It’s Not About Love.’  Given, ‘Turn To Stone’ and the reprise of ‘Lord of the Last Day,’ it does feature a live version of the primary take of that song.  The 2013 re-issue also features a hint at what would have been Magica 2 & 3 in the form of the song ‘Electra.’  To that end, that content, along with a telling of the Magica story by RJD himself adds even more interest to that presentation.  So, keeping all of this in mind, the album’s 2013 and 2020 takes feature varying bonus content, the 2020 re-issue proves enjoyable in its own right for the most devoted RJD fans just as much as the album’s 2013 re-issue.  The 2007 and 2018 re-issues meanwhile prove less valuable and worth replacing among those listeners who may have one or both of those re-issues.

The bonus content featured in the new 2020 re-issue of Magica is clearly important in its own way to the re-issue’s overall presentation.  It is just one of the re-issue’s key elements.  Looking at the concept behind the album itself, that item is well worth discussing.  Dio actually discussed the album’s concept prior to his death.  He pointed  out in an interview that the album focused on a standard battle between good and evil.  The twist is that while so many stories of good and evil are told from the vantage point of the heroes, this story was told from the vantage point of the villain; something which is rarely if ever past and present.  He pointed out during the noted interview that he left the album ending how he did because “evil always exists, good doesn’t always triumph, and that’s the universal balance.”  Given, LucasFilm’s Star Wars franchise did have some chapters in which the bad guys won.  That was a movie, though.  In the real world, we are seeing daily that evil does win considering who is running America today in the form of a crooked businessman who is also a xenophobe, homophobe, misogynist and racist.  So while the concept at the center of Magica might still be very rare to this day in the world of music and entertainment in general, it is something that is very much real in the real world.  Now, Dio was not advocating for the bad guys to win in making the noted statement.  That needs to be clarified here.  Rather, he was pointing out that the concept that the good guys always win is not a reality.  For that reason, RJD is to be commended highly for taking what was then and is still today, the road less traveled.  Keeping this in mind with the bonus content featured with the album’s re-issue, the two elements go a long way toward making this latest re-issue of Magica a welcome addition to the libraries of the most devoted RJD fans.  They are not the album’s only notable entries.  The production and mixing of the bonus live content is worth its own mention.

The production is important to note because of the resultant sound quality of the live material.  The term bootleg is used for these recordings, but the production and mixing used in these official live bootlegs has left the sound just as clear, engaging and entertaining as any other act’s live recording past or present.  The guitars, the symphonic elements, the drums, everything is balanced so well throughout each performance.  RJD’s vocals are perfectly clear, too.  In other words, while the recordings may be marketed as “official bootlegs,” they are anything but bootleg.  If any one thing can be said of the bonus content, it would be that to this day, RJD’s 2000-2002 “Magica World Tour” has  seemingly never has received one full live recording either on CD or on DVD or even Blu-ray.  If Niji Entertainment wants to truly impress RJD’s fans, that would be a wise choice.  Again, going back to the previous discussion on bonus content, Magica’s 2013 and new 2020 re-issues each features content from that tour, but it is all spread against two different recordings.  Why has no single recording been released featuring nothing but that performance content?  Officials at Niji Entertainment and other companies need to keep that in mind.  That aside, the production and mixing that went into the official live bootlegs featured in this recording – as with the album’s 2013 re-issue – resulted in a wonderful experience that will appease any rock fan pining for a live experience in this age of bacterial spread.  To that end, it proves its own importance to the recording’s latest presentation.  When it is considered along with the re-issue’s other elements, the whole of the re-issue proves to be its own positive presentation for the most devoted fans of Ronnie James Dio.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Ronnie James Dio’s 2000 album Magica is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the legendary performer’s most devoted fans.  That is proven in part through the re-issue’s bonus content, which is distinct from that of the album’s previous re-issues, as is noted here.  The very concept at the heart of the album is important in its own right to the presentation.  The production and mixing that went into the presentation of the re-issue’s bonus content is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue, too.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Magica a work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciated.  The record is available now.  More information on the album is available online along with all of the latest RJD-related news at:

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

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

Jamieson’s New Comedy Album Is Another Reminder Of Why He Is Still One Of Today’s Top Comics

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Comedian and television personality Don Jamieson will release his fourth comedy album next week.  Jamieson, known for his time as co-host of VH1 Classic’s hit series That Metal Show and as host of SportsNet NY’s game show Beer Money, will release his new comedy album Denim and Laughter Feb. 21.  The album’s title and cover art is a direct tribute to Saxon’s 1981 album Denim and Leather.  The performance, captured Oct. 19, 2019 at an undisclosed location, is another example of why he is one of this generation’s top comic talents.  That is due in part to the content that makes up the body of his set.  This will be discussed shortly.  The pacing of the set is also important to note in examining the recording’s overall presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  Jamieson’s stage presence rounds out the most important of the performance’s factors.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of Denim and Laughter.  All things considered, they make this latest stand-up offering from Jamieson another work that will bring any listener to tears of joy well beyond its first listen.

Don Jamieson is one of the elite comedians of this era. The three stand-up albums that he has already released – Live & Hilarious, Hell Bent For Laughter and Communication Breakdown – more than do their share to prove that statement.  His latest album Denim and Laughter cements that reputation even more.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of the presented set.  Jamieson takes on a variety of topics,  including political correctness, bands who claim they are reuniting “for the fans,” and even VH1 Classic’s placement on most cable providers’ lineup and how that played into the show’s eventual demise.  As if that isn’t enough, he also takes on a familiar topic in the division between craft beer and original beer.  This bit immediately lends itself to comparisons to Denis Leary’s bit about beer.  It would be interesting to know if that bit played any part in Jamieson’s own bit about the topic.  Along with those topics, Jamieson also takes opportunities to poke fun at Sebastian Bach and  very famous song from 80s rock band Warrant among so much more.  Put simply, Jamie’s set runs the gamut from start to finish, even taking on media bias and politics, hinting that he might be a Trump supporter.  Hopefully he isn’t, but that aside, the hint alone that he might be is enough to warrant a notice for audiences.  Even with that in mind, Jamieson, again, presents a wide range of content throughout his set, most of which will still generate plenty of laughs from audiences.  To that end, the content alone makes this performance well worth experiencing.  It is just one of the aspects of the performance that makes it worth taking in.  The set’s pacing adds its own engagement and entertainment to the performance.

Jamieson’s set in this recording runs a total of 44 minutes.  Throughout the course of that run time, He never once goes too fast or too slow.  Rather, he finds just the right moments throughout the give audiences moments to take in the various punch lines and to prepare for the next bit.  That ability of the audience to prepare for the next bit is controlled by Jamieson himself as he works through each transition on his own time.  Case in point is his transition from his bit about tea tree shampoo to his jokes about the National Football League  and how it has changed over the years for the worse.  The two topics are completely unrelated, so Jamieson gives just enough time between the topics to make sure audiences make the transition with him.  As he makes his way through his ruminations about the NFL’s negative changes, the transitions from topic to topic are themselves just as smooth.  Another good example of the success of the pacing in Jamieson’s set comes as he transitioned from an anecdote about touring with Zakk Wylde to jokes about Black Sabbath, Gwar and how a Gwar concert tied into an alleged experience on a flight.  Jamieson’s timing and pacing throughout the roughly seven-minute-plus span is seamless, ensuring audiences’ engagement and entertainment in its own right.  In yet another example, Jamieson transitions just as easily from his joke about the impact of a celebrity roast involving Sebastian Bach to an equally funny bit about a well-known song from Warrant.  That bit, by the way, really leaves one wondering and laughing in hindsight.  It really is timely in a weird way.  Getting back on track, the examples presented here, when considered along with the rest of the show, make clear why the pacing of the set is just as important to its presentation as the set’s material.  It is not the last of the recording’s most notable items, either.  Jamieson’s stage presence throughout the performance rounds out its most important elements.

From start to finish, Jamieson’s presence in his performance is just as solid as his pacing.  He presents a certain confident swagger, even connecting with certain audience members directly.  On the surface, that doesn’t seem overly important.  However, on a deeper level, this is important to note because it says to the rest of the audience that Jamieson wants to make sure his audiences knows that he cares what the audience thinks.  He does so by acknowledging those specific audience members.  That interaction, in its own way, translates to the rest of the audience, letting them know that he is not just up on stage, but on stage and really interacting on a personal level, as if the audience members were his best friends.  That personalization of the set, of sorts, reflects back on Jamieson, encouraging his confidence that much more.  The end result is a presence that, again, throughout the set never falters.  That confidence plays back into his pacing, and in turn, makes the performance that much more entertaining.  When this is considered alongside the overall content, the whole of the noted elements makes Denim & Laughter a presentation that ensures laughter from audiences.

Don Jamieson’s new comedy recording Denim & Laughter is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran entertainer and television personality.  That is proven in part through the material that makes up the body of Jamieson’s set.  It ranges from the timeless to the random and riotous to even some more dated material.  That whole provides plenty for audiences to enjoy.  Jamieson’s pacing throughout the course of the nearly 50-minute set does its own share to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  The same can be said of Jamieson’s stage presence throughout his performance.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Denim & Laughter another positive performance from one of this generation’s top comic talents.  It will be available Feb. 21 through Metal Blade Records.  More information on the recording is available online along with all of Jamieson’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.donjamieson.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/realdonjamieson

 

 

 

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

 

 

Sherman’s Studio’ “Concert” Is A Performance Of A Lifetime

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

This year was another strong one for live recordings.  Between recordings released in bundles and those released either as standalone CDs or DVDs/BDs, the recordings that serve audiences who might have otherwise not been able to take in a live show, proved on both fronts to be largely solid offerings.  Given, there were some disappointments including Jane’s Addiction’s latest live recording Alive at Twenty-Five and the archived Les Paul tribute concert Live From Universal Studios Hollywood.  For the most part though, this year’s field of new live recordings — both on CD and DVD/BD — has proven to be quite impressive as has already been noted in the previous live recordings lists.  Keeping that in mind, it is only fair, having noted the best live CDs and best new live DVDs and Blu-rays to present one list of the year’s best new overall live recordings.

This year’s best overall live recordings pull from both audio and audio-visual fields, proving that recordings can be enjoyable in both arenas.  Topping this year’s list of best live overall recordings is PBS’ in studio “concert” from Richard Sherman, one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team, Songs of A Lifetime.  Slipknot’s new live recording Day of the Gusano is on this list, too thanks to the combined impact of its CD and Blu-ray presentation.  Of course while Alter Bridge, Jon Cleary and Experience Hendrix, LLC all released new recordings that were CD only, they deserve their own spot on the overall list.  Eagles of Death Metal’s new live recording Live at the Olympia Paris also deserves to be on that list along with The Rolling Stones’ new From The Vault offering Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015 — again because of the overall impact of its audio and audio/visual sides.  It’s just one more on that list.

As with every previous list, this entry offers this critic’s 10 best new titles in the category along with five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Enough rambling.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2017 Top 10 New Live Recordings.

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE RECORDINGS

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  3. Mumford & Sons — Live in South Africa
  4. Between The Buried & Me — Coma Ecliptic Live
  5. Jon Cleary — Live at Chickie Wah Wah
  6. Curtis Knight presents Jimi Hendrix — Live at George’s Club 1965 & 1966
  7. Eagles of Death Metal — Live at Olympia Paris
  8. The Rolling Stones — From The VaultSticky Fingers Live at The Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. Foghat — Live at the Belly Up
  10. Black Sabbath — The End
  11. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  12. The Who — Live at the Isle of Wight 2014
  13. The Winery Dogs — Dog Years — Live at Santiago & Beyond 2013 – 2016
  14. The Who — Tommy Live at Royal Albert Hall
  15. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder

That’s it finally for the live recordings categories.  Up next will be the year’s top new albums overall.  It’s going to be an interesting list, needless to say as it may well change before it even gets posted up in the next day or so, so stay tuned!  Also on the way is a handful of lists for the year’s new DVD and Blu-ray titles including box sets for families and for grown-ups as well as family DVDs and Blu-rays.  Stay tuned!

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PBS’ Richard Sherman Studio “Concert” Hits All The Right Notes For Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Experiencing a live performance by one’s favorite acts is a special experience.  The sights and sounds — from the performance itself to the enjoyment and excitement experienced alongside other fans — come together to make the live experience something almost as magical as it is memorable.  Of course it’s not always that easy to have that experience because of work, family or maybe other items.  Enter the live DVD and Blu-ray.  These recordings are pivotal for audiences the world over because people don’t always get to see their favorite acts.  They also often prove to give audiences an experience that is at least slightly different from that offered in their CD counterparts.  Keeping that in mind, it is fully justifiable for critics to present lists of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays as well as live CDs.  That is exactly what this critic is doing here.

This year, as with so many years past, Eagle Rock Entertainment has proven to have the majority of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays, once again proving why it is the leader in live recordings.  Of course it is not the only label represented in this critic’s list this year.  Live recordings from The Winery Dogs, The Dead Daisies, and even famed songwriter Richard Sherman (one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team) are all on the list, too alongside new material from Between The Buried and Me and Michael Schenker.  Those noted recordings are all from other labels.  In other words, this year saw a healthy range of new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  With that in mind, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.  As always, the list includes this critic’s Top 10 choices as well as five additional honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 titles.  Let’s go!

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS/BDs

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Live From The Fox Oakland
  3. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  4. Mumford & Sons — Live From South Africa
  5. Between The Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic
  6. Black Sabbath — The End
  7. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  8. The Rolling Stones — Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. The Who — Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  10. The Winery Dogs — Dog YearsLive in Santiago and Beyond 2013 – 2016
  11. Eagles of Death Metal — I Love You All The Time — Live at the Olympia Paris
  12. Sting — Live at the Olympia Paris
  13. Spock’s Beard — Snow Live
  14. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder
  15. Michael Schenker — Michael Schenker Fest Live Tokyo International Forum Hall

That’s all for this list and still not all for the live recordings.  Still to consider is the whole of the combo packs and the standalone recordings.  In other words, there is still a list of the year’s top new live recordings overall to consider.  Also still on the way are the year’s top new albums as well as a handful of DVD and Blu-ray lists.  As many as possible will be covered before the year lets out, so stay tuned for all of that.

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