Santana Shows The Way In The Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live CDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Experiencing a live performance of one’s favorite act(s) is a very special event.  That is because it serves to help fans and their favorite acts connect in a way that taking in said acts’ studio releases just can’t.  What’s more attending live concerts isn’t always easy or inexpensive.  Between the cost of tickets, food, souvenirs, gas, and lodging, attending concerts can cost almost as much as a used car sometimes, depending on the act.  In other cases, one’s favorite acts might never even come near one’s town.  So what is a person to do to experience one’s favorite acts?  The answer is simple: the live recording.  That brings us to the topic of today’s “Best Of” list.

Today, Phil’s Picks presents its list of the year’s Top 10 New Live CDs.  Everyone should understand this is distinguished from the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs.  That’s because some recordings come only on CD while others are only presented on the latter format.  Others are also presented in both formats both separate of one another and collectively.  The recordings included in this list include both standalone CDs and CDs included in complete DVD/BD/CD sets.  One of the standalone live CDs included in this list is ZZ Top’s new live recording Greatest Hits Live.  The Outlaws’ Legacy Live is another of those standalone CD recordings.  Joe Bonamassa also has a new live recording in the form of Live at the Greek Theatre that is available on separate CD, DVD, and BD platforms.  It’s on this list, too.  Suffice it to say, there’s a healthy mix of new live titles here both in terms of genre and platform.  So, enough rambling.  Presented here for you is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live CDs.

It should be noted here again that the list includes the Phil’s Picks Top 10 new Live CDs as well as five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

 

  1. Santana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
  1. ZZ TopGreatest Hits Live
  1. Judas PriestBattle Cry
  1. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
  1. Joe Bonamassa Live at the Greek Theatre
  1. The OutlawsLegacy Live

  2. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon

  3. Motley Crue – The End: Live in Los Angeles

  4. SaxonFeel Your Power

  5. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live

  6. Iggy Pop Post Pop Depression

  7. Ayreon – The Theater Equation
  8. Pete Townshend’s Deep EndFace The Face

  9. Wacken 201526 Years Louder Than Hell

  10. LeprousLive at Rockefeller Center

 

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Stone Sour Announces 10th Anniversary ‘Come What(ever) May’ Vinyl Re-Issue

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Stone Sour will re-issue its 2006 album Come What(ever) May next week.

The band’s powerhouse record will be re-issued Dec. 16 on a special 10th Anniversary edition double LP in a special 180-gram black and gold pressing.  The set’s lead disc features the album’s original presentation.  The second disc includes previously unreleased live and acoustic takes of songs such as ‘Through Glass,’ ‘Wild Horses’ and ‘Zzyxx Road.’

Speaking of the latter song, the audiences can view the song’s companion video online now here.  It has been made available as part of the celebration of the album’s upcoming 10th Anniversary re-issue.

 

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

Courtesy: Roadrunner Records

 

The record’s full track listing is noted below.

 

LP 1

 

SIDE A

 

  1. 30/30 150
  2. Come What(ever) May
  3. Hell & Consequences
  4. Silly World
  5. Made of Scars
  6. Reborn

 

SIDE B

 

  1. Your God
  2. Through Glass
  3. Socio
  4. 1st Person
  5. Cardiff
  6. Zzyxx Rd.

 

LP2

 

SIDE A

 

  1. Through Glass (Live Acoustic)*
  2. Wicked Game (Live Acoustic)*
  3. Wild Horses (Live Acoustic)*
  4. Cardiff (Acoustic)*
  5. Zzyxx Rd.(Acoustic)*

 

SIDE B

 

  1. Suffer
  2. Fruitcake
  3. Freeze Dry Seal
  4. The Day I Let Go
  5. The Frozen

 

Come What(ever) May will be re-issued Friday, Dec.16.  It can be ordered online now here.  More information on the record’s upcoming vinyl re-issue is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.stonesour.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/stonesour

 

 

 

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The Okee Dokee Brothers Lead The Herd In Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Children’s Albums List

Courtesy:  Okee Dokee Music

Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music

Children’s music has a terrible reputation in America.  The cause of that reputation is pretty easy to figure out.  Certain children’s shows such as *coughs* Barney and others have created that stereotype.  The reality of children’s music however, is that it is anything but what people believe it to be.  If anything, the world of Children’s music is one of the most diverse within the larger musical universe.  This year’s field of new children’s offerings is proof of that.  New offerings from the likes of the Okee Dokee Brothers, Niss Nina and the Jumping Jacks, Dr. Noize and others is proof of that.  Speaking of all of those artists, they are all on this year’s Phil’s Picks top new children’s albums.  They and so many others have made this list another tough one to compile.  But it has been done.

The Okee Dokee Brothers top this year’s list of top new Children’s albums with their new album Saddle Up.  Also included in the list are those new titles from Dr. Noize, and Miss Nina. Also on this year’s list are The Holow Trees, The Sugar Free All Stars, and The Not-Its among others.  As a reminder, Phil’s Picks lists feature the year’s Top 10 new albums plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  So without any further ado, here are the Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Children’s Albums.

 

1) The Okee Dokee Brothers – Saddle Up

 

2) The Not Its – Are You Listening

 

3) Dr. Noize – Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony

 

4) The Deedle Deedle Dees – Sing-a-Long History Volume 2

 

5) Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys – Wonderful You

 

6) The Whizpops – Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix

 

7) Sugar Free All Stars – Sugar Free All Stars

 

8) Liz De Roche – Club Called Awesome

 

9) Eric Herman & The Thunderpuppies – Bubble Wrap

 

10) Miss Nina & The Jumping Jacks – Every Day’s Your Birthday

 

11) Hulaballoo – I Chew

 

12) The Hollow Trees – Hello Friends

 

13) Recess Monkey – Novelties

 

14) Nathalia – When I Was Your Age

 

15) Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – Press Play

 

 

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Every Dark Comedy Fan Should See ‘Men & Chicken’ At Least Once

Courtesy: Drafthouse Films

Courtesy: Drafthouse Films

The dark comedy is one of the movie industry’s least appreciated genres.  That is likely because it isn’t a genre targeted at widespread audiences.  It is very much a niche genre.  Movies such as Fargo, The Cable Guy and others of that ilk are prime examples of that.  They are movies that will not appeal as widely as general comedies and rom-coms.  So it’s understandable that when Men & Chicken (from M&M Productions and DCM Productions) was imported to America early this year, it didn’t exactly make a big splash.  It had the cards stacked against it being an import and a foreign language flick and being a dark comedy.  But suffice it to say that fans of dark comedies whose minds are open enough will appreciate this movie.  It is potentially the most bizarre dark comedy that the genre’s fans will ever see, but still one that any dark comedy fan should see at least once.  That is due at least in part to its story, which is definitely original to say the very least.  The work of the movie’s cast can’t be ignored here either.  It is just as important to note.  The movie’s packaging in its recent home release (via Drafthouse Films) is also important to its presentation.  One could also note the bonus booklet and bonus digital download provided in the movie’s home release in examining its presentation, too.  All things considered, Men & Chicken shows itself to be a bizarre work of a dark comedy, but a work nonetheless, that every dark comedy fan should see at least once.  Fair warning to those fans, though:  Once it’s been seen, it can’t be unseen.

Late this past October, indie movie studio Drafthouse Films released the Danish dark comedy Men & Chicken for American audiences on DVD/BD/digital combo pack.  The movie was originally released in its home country early last year and imported to American theaters early this year.  In other words, it has been a long road for this movie to finally be available for American home viewers.  Truly open-minded dark comedy fans will agree that long wait was well worth it, too.  That statement is supported primarily via the movie’s story.  The story centers on two brothers, Gabriel and Elias, who find out that they are not related by blood after the death of their father.  As the duo heads out together in search of their birth mothers, they meet three other men who turn out to be half brothers, too.  However, the trio isn’t what Elias and Gabriel (or audiences) expect.  The men—Gregor, Franz and Josef—live in an empty mansion where they grew up.  When any of the trio does something really bad, he is put in a cage (yes, a cage) on the mansion’s property or is beaten with a random blunt object.  The physical comedy is disturbing to say the very least.  At the same time, one can’t deny the similarity between the trio’s physical comedy to that of the Three Stooges.  Sure, the comedy here is a little bit more violent to say the least.  But the similarity is there regardless.  It can’t be denied.  That’s just part of what makes the movie so bizarre and entertaining all at once.  The secrets that are revealed as Gabriel and Elias investigate the mansion will leave dark comedy fans laughing just as much as they will be left scratching their heads.  It sounds confusing, but that is perhaps the story’s purpose; to entertain dark comedy fans in a way that no other dark comedy ever has.  Throughout the process, audiences will laugh uproariously at the dinner scenes in which the brothers quarrel over (of all things) the dinner plates.  What is interesting here is that in hindsight, there is actually a connection between the plates and the secrets revealed through Gabriel and Elias’ investigation.  Audiences will only catch the connection if they make themselves sit through the entirety of the nearly two-hour movie.  That shouldn’t be tough for real dark comedy fans to do.  As an added note, audiences who watch through the whole movie will also agree that while the movie’s story is extremely bizarre and twisted, it also has a certain heart about it, too.  That is exhibited through the story’s emphasis on family.  There is a lot noted here in regards to the story presented in Men & Chicken.  Even with everything noted (and everything not noted) it should be clear that the story at the center of this movie is undeniably important to the movie’s presentation.  It is just one of the movie’s key elements.  The cast’s work on camera is just as important to note in examining the movie’s presentation as its story.

The story at the heart of Men & Chicken is undeniably an important piece of the movie’s presentation.  That is the case even as twisted and bizarre as it is.  It is original.  There’s no denying that.  And it has a fair balance of heart along with its dark comedic elements.  While the movie’s story is clearly an important part of the movie’s presentation, it is just one of the movie’s most important elements.  The work of the movie’s cast in front of the camera is just as important to note in examining the movie’s presentation as the movie’s story.  David Dencik (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Royal Affair, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is outstanding both on his own and alongside his cast mates.  His very portrayal of Gabriel as the nerdy yet somewhat neurotic figure is so entertaining.  He makes Gabriel a fully sympathetic character as he has to deal with his newly found, almost feral (subtle hint here) half brothers.  Dencik’s balance of innocence and determination to find the answers about his birth mother is spot on from beginning to end.  Speaking of Dencik’s cast mates, they are just as entertaining in their own right.  Audiences will be especially interested to watch Soren Malling (A Royal Affair, Idealisten, A Hijacking) in the role of Franz.  Malling is a professionally trained comedic actor, so this role was a good fit for him.  He expertly tackles Franz’s serious demeanor in his portrayal.  At the same time, his tendencies toward using stuffed animals to beat his brothers (and apparently others) is just as hilarious, even as disturbing as it is.  It makes this seemingly serious character just as disturbed as his “brothers” and in turn, shows again the importance of the cast’s work.  Nicolas Bro and Nikolaj Lie Kaas are just as entertaining as Josef and Gregor, who live with Franz in the family mansion where Gabriel and Elias meet them.  The pair’s innocence and disturbed nature is handled just as expertly by Bro and Kaas as Malling’s take on Franz.  Mads Mikkelson’s take on Elias adds to the picture to make for even more hilarity.  Each man’s work is clearly important to the whole of the cast’s impact on the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, the cast’s work here proves to be just as important to the whole of Men & Chicken as the story at the center of the movie.

Both the story at the center of Men & Chicken and the work of the movie’s cast are important to the movie’s overall presentation.  That has hopefully been made clear by now.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the movie’s overall presentation, they are not its only key elements.  The movie’s packaging in its recent home release is just as important to note as its story and acting.  The movie was released late this past October on DVD/BD/digital combo pack.  The movie’s DVD and BD presentations each receive their own disc here.  The digital download is provided via a code included on an insert inside the movie’s case.  That is all well and good.  But what is truly intriguing about the movie’s packaging is the manner in which the movie’s DVD and BD discs are packaged.  They are packaged in a fashion similar to the older multi-disc packaging format, with one disc overlapping the other.  However, it is not directly identical to that format.  In fact the secondary package is placed in such fashion that while the primary disc still has to be removed in order to access it and replace it, that secondary disc won’t be damaged when replaced because of where the spindle is placed in comparison to the primary disc’s spindle.  It must be seen to be fully appreciated.  While the discs could have been better packaged (as in the form of most modern multi-disc DVD and BD sets), packaging the movie’s discs as they were handled here is still actually smart in its own way.  It still isn’t the last element that could be noted in examining the movie’s overall presentation, either.  The movie’s availability on digital download in the movie’s packaging and the companion booklet that comes with the movie’s packaging are both key in their own right, too.  All things considered, the overall presentation of Men & Chicken, with its bizarre yet original story and equally entertaining acting and packaging makes this movie a work that every dark comedy fan should see at least once.

Men & Chicken is one of the most twisted, bizarre dark comedies to come along in a very long time.  It is a work that may even surprise American dark comedy fans.  That is thanks to the clear influence of not only the Cohen Brothers but also because of the classic slapstick elements of The Three Stooges in the brothers’ interactions.  The incorporation of the dark elements of The Island of Dr. Moreau into the story makes it stand out even more.  It is quite the interesting hybrid to say the least.  But it works here, and because it works as well as it does, it will leave American audiences agreeing it is a story that every dark comedy fan should see at least once.  The story is just one element to note in examining the movie’s presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here as the story itself.  Both by themselves and alongside one another the movie’s cast shines superbly here.  The movie’s packaging in its recent domestic release via Drafthouse Films is just as important to note as anything else in examining what makes this indie import such a surprise hit.  The companion booklet that comes with the movie’s home release and its digital download round out the most important of the movie’s elements in its home release.  Each element proves important in its own right, as has already been proven here.  All together, they make Men & Chicken, once again, a work that every dark comedy fan should see at least once.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via Drafthouse Films’ online store here.  More information on this and other titles from Drafthouse Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.drafthousefilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Drafthousefilms

 

 

 

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

Hayward’s Fans Will Enjoy His New Solo Career Compilation “All The Way”

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Records/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Justin Hayward has made quite the name for himself throughout the years as the front man for the legendary rock outfit the Moody Blues.  For all of his success with the veteran outfit, he has gained just as much success and respect for his solo work as for his work with The Moody Blues.  Late this past October, Eagle Rock Entertainment released a new retrospective on Hayward’s solo career in the form of the new compilation record All The Way.  The 15 songs that make up the body of the record are the most important piece of the record’s presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  They are, collectively speaking, not the record’s only important element.  The record’s companion booklet is just as important to note as its songs.  That will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Together with the record’s songs and its companion booklet, all three elements come together to make All The Way a compilation that all of Hayward’s fans will enjoy “all the way” through.

Justin Hayward’s new solo career retrospective record All The Way is a record that all of his fans will enjoy “all the way through.”  This includes fans of his work with The Moody Blues and fans of his solo recordings.  That is due in no small part to the 15 songs that make up the body of the record.  Hayward has released nine solo albums to date.  That is a lot of music.  So it goes without saying that yes, each album could have been represented through the record’s songs.  The problem however, is that mathematically speaking there is no way each album could have been equally represented here.  If each album had been represented by at least two songs, that would have pushed the record’s total tracks to 18.  Three tracks each would have pushed the album’s song count to 27.  So no, it wasn’t necessarily a good idea to have included each one of Hayward’s albums covers on this compilation’s cover art.  That aside, the songs included in the record’s body are still a collectively respectable group of songs.  Of course it does serve as even more reason for audiences to order the collection’s new digital presentation, which includes 15 additional songs, bringing the record’s total count to 30 exclusively through that digital release.  On that side note, the record’s digital re-issue can be ordered when more copies are available at https://shop.justinhayward.com/products/justin-hayward-all-the-way.  Keeping in mind all of this information, audiences will agree that for the uninitiated, All The Way’s song listing is a key component of the record’s presentation.  New fans will appreciate the physical record’s 15-song body while more devoted fans will appreciate the limited 2-disc, 30-song presentation.  Regardless of which platform one chooses, everyone will agree the record’s featured songs are collectively its most important element.  The record’s track listing is just one of its key elements, too.  The companion booklet that comes with the record is just as important to note as the record’s track listing.

The track listing featured in Justin Hayward’s new solo retrospective is in its own right, a key component of the record’s presentation.  The recording’s single-disc, 15-song presentation is a good start for those less familiar with Hayward’s solo career.  Its double-disc, 30-song presentation will appeal more to Hayward’s more devout fan base.  At the time of this review, the record’s double-disc presentation is sold out.  Hopefully more copies will become available for those more devout fans.  As important as the record’s track listing is to its overall presentation, it is only one key piece of the record’s presentation.  The companion booklet that comes with the record is just as important to note as the record’s songs.  The booklet is so important to note because of the history lesson that it provides audiences.  The lesson in question begins with Hayward’s beginnings with The Moody Blues in 1966.  From there the story, presented by Mark Howell—a close friend of Hayward’s—follows Hayward’s journey both with The Moody Blues and on his own.  Howell’s narrative touches on some of Hayward’s most well-known albums and at least one of the songs featured in this recording, ‘Blue Guitar.’  The story presented here also discusses how Hayward had to balance working alone and with his band mates in The Moody Blues, and how he managed to do so successfully to this very day.  It would have been nice to have had a discussion on the songs featured in the record.  But the history lesson presented here is still interesting in its own right, again, for fans less familiar with Hayward’s body of work.  Just as with the songs themselves, the history lesson presented here makes for its own good starting point for audiences new to Hayward’s work.  Even with this in mind, the record’s companion booklet is just one more important piece of the record’s presentation and not the last worth noting.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to note as its songs and its companion booklet.

The songs featured in Justin Hayward’s new solo compilation and its companion booklet are both key in their own right to the record’s overall presentation.  That is because of the role that they play collectively for audiences less familiar with Hayward’s solo career.  The songs featured in the record’s double-disc, 30-song compilation is more fitting for Hayward’s more devout fan base.  Getting back on topic, the sequencing for the 15-song collection’s body is just as important as the songs themselves and the record’s companion booklet.  The record’s sequencing doesn’t run chronologically in regards to the album’s represented. It opens with ‘Blue Guitar,’ which was included in re-issues of Hayward’s 1975 debut album Blue Jays.  From there though, the record reaches all the way to his fifth album, 1989’s Classic Blue for its second offering, ‘Forever Autumn.’  ‘Broken Dream’ and ‘Troubador’—the record’s third and fourth songs respectively—both come from Hayward’s seventh album, 1996’s The View From The Hill.  Needless to say, there is no specific order to the songs in relations to their albums here.  That means the attention should shift to the energy transfer from one song to the next.  It is visible through the songs’ respective energies (and emotions) that they were more the focus of the album’s sequencing than the song’s respective albums.  The easygoing, laid back feel of ‘Blue Guitar’ is a clear distinction from the more semi-psychedelic vibe of Forever Autumn’ and the more contemplative sound of ‘Broken Dream.’  In the same vein, the moving melodies presented in the record’s closer, ‘The Wind of Heaven’ stands out just as much from the gentle strains of ‘The Western Sky,’ which in themselves paint quite the beautiful picture.  That sound stands out just as starkly against the Beatles-esque arrangement presented in ‘The Story in Your Eyes.’  Needless to say, the contrast in each of the noted songs from one another clearly shows how much thought and time was put into arranging the record’s songs.  The remainder of the songs and their arrangements serve just as clearly to support that statement.  From one song to the next, the record’s energies never stay the same too long.  That in itself will keep listeners just as engaged in the record as the songs themselves and the history lesson provided through the record’s companion booklet.  When all three elements are joined, they present All The Way as a record that both in its single disc and double disc presentation, audiences will appreciate “all the way.”

Justin Hayward’s new solo career retrospective is a work that his fans will appreciate “all the way.”  That is due in no small part to its track listing.  The record’s single-disc presentation features 15 of Hayward’s most important songs from his solo career.  The double-disc collection doubles that number to 30.  It also touches on more of his albums than the 15-song collection.  In other words, the track listing presented in each of the record’s platforms will entertain and educate Hayward’s fans, both those familiar with his work and those less familiar.  The record’s companion booklet is just as important to note as its songs because it presents a solid introduction for Hayward’s less familiar fans.  Even those more familiar with his body of work might benefit from the lesson as they might not be so familiar with the background provided here.  Again, it proves that the record could be beneficial to a wide range of listeners.  The album’s sequencing is just as important to note here as the songs themselves and the record’s companion booklet.  That is because the energy exhibited from one song to the next will keep listeners engaged, too.  It never stays the same too long.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s sequencing proves to be just as important to its presentation as its featured songs and its companion booklet.  Each element is important in its own right to the record’s presentation, as should be clear by now.  All things considered, this record is a work that all of Hayward’s fans will appreciate “all the way.”  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on All The Way is available online now along with all of Justin Hayward’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.justinhayward.com

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

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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

Klaasen’s ‘New Journey’ Is Phil’s Picks’ Most Enjoyable Musical Trip This Year

Courtesy: Justin Time Records

Courtesy: Justin Time Records

World Music is one of the most underappreciated genres of music at least among American audiences.  Odds are that’s because it is…well…World music.  In most cases, World Music albums with lyrics are sung in the native tongues of their performers and very rarely come with English translations.  That in turn leads to audiences being very turned off by albums within the genre.  However, there are those albums that provide at least some lyrics, which can be translated or at least some explanation of the songs in English.  Keeping all of this in mind, World Music is a genre that this critic feels deserves more attention and credit than it receives at least by American audiences.

This year’s crop of new World Music offerings is clear proof of the respect that the genre deserves.  New albums from the likes of Romania’s Zmei3, New York’s Los Hacheros, Haiti’s Lakou Mizik and others show World Music is here to stay, and it deserves much more respect and credit than it deserves at least among American audiences.  Having said all of this, presented today is Phil’s Picks’ list of 2016’s Top 10 New World Music Albums.  As with Phil’s Picks other lists, this list includes the year’s Top 10 New titles plus five honorable mentions, bringing its total to 15.  So presented here, everyone, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New World Music Albums.

 

2016 Top 10 New World Music Albums

 

1) Lorraine Klaasen – Nouvelle Journey

 

2) Lakou Mizik – Wa Di Yo

 

3) Zmei3 – Rough Romanian Soul

 

4) Miramar – Dedication to Sylvia Rexach

 

5) Afro Haitian Experimental Orchestra – Afro Haitian Experimental Orchestra

 

6) ChaWa – Funk ‘N’ Feathers

 

7) Los Hacheros – Bambulaye

 

8) Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Monistic Theory

 

9) Bareto – Impredecible

 

10) Idan Raichel – At The Edge of the Beginning

 

11) Baaba Maal – The Traveller

 

12) Tambou – Toujou Lou

 

13) Mighty Mystic – The Art of Balance

 

14) Aziza Brahim – Abbar el Hamada

 

15) Luisa Maita – Fioda Memoria

 

 

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

Collie, Country Fans Alike Will Appreciate ‘Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Courtesy: 101 Ranch Records

Late this past October, 101 Ranch Records re-issued country artist Mark Collie’s 2012 live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary on CD. The recording, originally released in 2012 is an important piece of the singer’s catalogue.  That is because it is a recording that almost didn’t happen as is pointed out in the recording’s companion booklet.  The booklet, by the way, is the recording’s key element.  That is rare for a live recording and will be discussed shortly.  The show’s set list, by connection, is just as important to discuss as the recording’s companion booklet.  The band’s performance of the show’s set list rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  All things considered, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is a piece that Mark Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as country music fans.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Mark Collie’s Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary is a work that Mark Collie’s fans and country music fans alike will appreciate.  That statement is supported primarily through the recording’s companion booklet.  It is pretty rare for a live recording’s companion booklet to take precedence over its set list or even the band’s performance of said set list.  But this recording proves that a recording’s booklet can be its most important element.  The booklet is so important because of the history lesson that it presents.  It reveals the set list, save for just one song—‘Rose Covered Garden’—was new material at the time of the concert’s recording.  Speaking of the concert’s original recording, audiences will learn through the booklet that the concert was originally recorded on October 17, 2001 and it almost didn’t see the light of day. That was due to legal reasons.  But luckily it did finally see release in 2012 through an independent source.  That’s just some of the important material presented in the recording’s companion booklet.  Audiences will also be interested to learn that it was Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison performance that influenced Collie to eventually hold his performance at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  There is also a relatively in-depth history of the prison itself, including the revelation that it once held James Earl Ray, the man responsible for the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and in The Silence of the Lambs, it was the prison that held the story’s villainous antagonist, Hannibal Lecter.  This and so much more presented throughout the booklet proves why it is so important to the overall presentation of Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.  Whether one is a seasoned Mark Collie fan or new to the veteran musician’s work, it is highly recommended that audiences in general read through the recording’s companion booklet before even taking in the concert itself.

Alive at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary’s companion booklet is clearly an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation.  Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work, it is recommended that every listener read through the recording’s companion booklet before taking in the concert.  It is that important to the recording’s overall presentation.  While the recording’s booklet is highly important to the whole of Live at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary, it is not the recording’s only important element.  The set list is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation.  It has already been noted that the material presented in this concert was largely original save for just two of its songs.  Those songs are ‘Rose Covered Garden’ and the group’s cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  That is extremely important considering that the show’s “new” songs were not included in any of Collie’s prior recordings or recordings put out since.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ was included in one of Collie’s previous albums while ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is one of Johnny Cash’s songs, and audiences won’t find it on any of Collie’s previous albums, just as with the “new”  songs.  That makes this set list extremely special.  That’s just part of what makes the set list so important to note.  Audiences will also be surprised to learn through the concert’s interludes that at least one of the songs included in the set was written by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  It is impressive to learn that Collie would show such interest in his audience as to put one of their songs on display.  As simple of an action as it was, it was an action that had to have meant a lot to that inmate and the others.  It’s the type of action that can truly establish a connection between performer and audience.  No doubt it did just that and more.  Taking into consideration the largely original set list and that Collie and company would even use one of the inmates’ songs for the set, it becomes fully clear why the recording’s set list is just as important to note as its booklet.  It is just one more item that makes this recording shine, too.  The band’s performance of the set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements.

Both the companion booklet included in Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary and the recording’s set list are key to the recording’s presentation in their own right.  The booklet is key as it presents an in-depth introduction to the concert and the prison.  The set list is important to the recording because save for just one of its songs, none of its songs are presented in any of Collie’s previous studio recordings.  They haven’t been included in any recording since.  It even includes at least one song crafted by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert.  Both of the elements noted within the show’s set list makes it just as important as the recording’s booklet to the concert’s overall presentation in its new re-issue.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the recording, they are not its only important elements.  The band’s performance of the set list is important in its own right.  The concert is currently available only on CD, but the band’s performance is so easy to visualize because it feels so genuine.  Between the group’s performance of the song’s and Collie’s rapport with the inmates, the whole performance feels so genuine.  At one point, he even jokes with the inmates about something he’s drinking not tasting like a certain kind of beverage.  What kind will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It is a wonderfully entertaining moment, though.  The group’s performance of ‘On The Day I Die’ is another example of what makes the groups performance so powerful.  This song comes across in such a heartfelt manner that it will bring tears to any listener’s eyes.  It is that moving.  It’s one of those performances that absolutely must be experienced for one’s self in order to fully understand and appreciate the emotion in the performance.  Of course one can’t ignore the group’s take on Johnny Cash’s famed ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  One can’t help but wonder what Mr. Cash might have thought if he were to have had the opportunity to hear the group’s take on the performance.  It likely would have made him proud.  It is that solid, even being played at a different prison.  Between these moments and so many others, throughout the concert, it is clear that the group’s performance (both in terms of the songs and in terms of its interaction with the inmates) completely entertained the inmates and the guards.  It will entertain listeners just as much, too.  When it is set alongside the show’s set list and its companion booklet (and even the liner notes printed inside the case), the whole of this recording proves to be an outstanding recording.  If it had been a new release, it would have made this critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings.  Even being a re-issue, it is still a recording that country fans across the board will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Collie’s body of work.

Mark Collie’s recently re-issued live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is not a new offering from the veteran country musician.  That aside, it is still a work that country music fans across the board will appreciate.  This is regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work.  That is thanks in large part to the liner notes and booklet included with the recording.  The information provided through the liner notes and booklet create a wonderful, in-depth introduction to the concert and its historical significance.  The set list itself is important to the recording’s presentation, too.  That is because it is the only place—save for just two of the show’s songs—that audiences will find the “new” featured songs.  ‘Rose Covered Garden’ is available on one of Collie’s previous albums and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ has been included in a number of Johnny Cash recordings ever since its original release.  But the set’s other songs cannot be found on any of Collie’s other recordings.  This shows, again, why the show’s set list is so important.  It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either.  The group’s performance here is just as important to note as the other noted elements.  The concert is currently only available on CD.  But even on CD, the group’s connection with the inmates is so clear.  That is made clear through the passion put into each song’s performance.  The connection that Collie makes during the concert’s interludes is just as important to note in the group’s performance.  Audiences will be able to tell just as easily as the inmates Collie’s genuine interaction.  It gives the show even more of a special touch.  When this is joined with the rest of the group’s performance, the show’s set list and the concert’s provided historical background, the whole of this concert makes it a concert that Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as any country music fan in general.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary online now along with all of Mark Collie’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://markcollie.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheMarkCollie

 

 

 

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