The Sixties Is A Must See For Any Real History Buff

Courtesy: CNN/PBS/Fremantle Media International/Herzog & Co./Playtone

Courtesy: CNN/PBS/Fremantle Media International/Herzog & Co./Playtone

Earlier this year, PBS and CNN teamed up to release CNN’s 2014 documentary The Sixties on DVD. This latest trip back in time is not the first time that PBS has taken viewers back to America’s most tumultuous and transformative era. It is however the most in-depth look at the era that PBS’ viewers have gotten to date. That depth lies at the center of the series’ success and its overall enjoyment. The depth in question is provided by the interviews and general material covered within each segment. Making this presentation just as enjoyable is that segmentation. Rather than just trying to jam everything into one continuous stream of consciousness sort of presentation as many other outlets do, CNN has shortened the whole of the program, thus shortening it into ten roughly forty-five to fifty minute segments. This better ensures audiences’ engagement from beginning to end. That coupled with each segment’s pacing ensures even more that audiences will remain engaged from one segment to the next and might even lead viewers to want to remain engaged. Whether for the material covered, for the segmentation of the series in whole or for the pacing of each segment, the whole of these elements together shows The Sixties to be one more of this year’s best new documentaries.

The Sixties is one of this year’s best new documentaries hands down. It is not the first time that PBS has delved into what was one of America’s most tumultuous and transformative eras. But it is the most in-depth look at that era that the network’s viewers have gotten yet, even with the documentary being originally aired on CNN last year. It is that depth that lies at the center of the series’ success. The depth in question is provided by a variety of interviews and vintage footage that was originally recorded during the course of the presented events. Even more specifically, the interviewees featured within each segment are not just random celebrities and academics. They were people who were directly linked to the events in question. For instance, the series’ final segment “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll” features commentary from Jefferson Airplane member Grace Slick, Graham Nash of CSN, and famed music critic David Wild among others to discuss the cultural changes of the 60s and how they were being reflected within the music industry and back out amongst those subcultures that were linked to the changes (I.E. hippies, etc). There is also vintage footage of folk legend Joan Baez discussing politics and Jerry Garcia discussing the role of the Grateful Dead (in his younger days) in the world in comparison to the other bands and artists at the time. In “The Space Race,” audiences hear from Glynn Lunney, who was at the time head of the Gemini and Apollo missions, NASA administrator Charles Bolden, and NASA astronaut Mike Massimino among others. Their knowledge and experience within the U.S.’ space program throughout its history makes this segment all the richer and engrossing. They talk about the role that American pride played in the space race, President Johnson’s role in the space race and much more with the end result being yet another example of the series’ content playing an integral role in its success and enjoyment. Audiences even hear in the series’ opening segment “Television Comes of Age” from famed television personality Dick Cavett, Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Phil Rosenthal, and veteran actress Sally Field among many other notable figures on the role of television in the 1960s from the good to the bad and the downright ugly. It’s interesting to really discover the tight connection that television had on America at the time and vice versa. This is especially the case when examining the role of television in America today. The material presented here is just as in-depth as the series’ other segments and shows just as much why once again the presented material is so important to the overall success and enjoyment of The Sixties. Whether for these segments, the segment centered on The Vietnam War, which reveals that the impact of the war weighed heavily on Johnson during his one term in office, or for the series’ other segments, the material presented throughout each segment via interviews and vintage footage presents The Sixties as one of the most in-depth and insightful pieces ever composed about America’s most influential eras.

The material that is presented through each of The Sixties’ segments proves it to be in the long run one of the most in-depth and insightful pieces crafted yet on what is one of the most important eras in America’s history. That is thanks to interviews with those directly linked to each segment and vintage footage that ties everything together. Of course as important as that element is to the whole of the presentation, it is only one part of what makes The Sixties worth the watch. The fact that it has been separated out into ten standalone segments adds to its success and enjoyment. This seems elementary. But the reality of the matter is that there are some specials and documentaries out there that try to cram everything into one long stream of consciousness sort of presentation, expecting to keep viewers’ attention along the way. CNN didn’t do that here. Each of the series’ ten segments clocks in at roughly fifty-one minutes each. That is about the same length of time as most episodes of PBS’ hit series. What’s more each segment even includes the bumps used to go to and come back from commercial breaks. This helps keep viewers engaged as it breaks up each segment within themselves, thus allowing viewers to take a quick mental break rather than feeling like they have to constantly keep up with everything being discussed. Having those quick breaks and relatively standard run times within each segment, audiences will be more inclined to remain engaged from one segment to the next. Being more inclined to remain engaged, audiences will in turn find themselves taking in the breadth of material presented within each segment and in turn experience for themselves the importance of said material in the whole of The Sixties as well as the segmentation of each segment.

The amount of information provided across the ten episodes that make up The Sixties and the separation of the episodes together makes this documentary a presentation that any and every history buff will appreciate. By themselves, both elements easily make the argument for this documentary series’ place on any critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries. While both elements play their own important role in the success and enjoyment of The Sixties, the pacing of each segment should also be noted. Given that each segment runs roughly fifty-one minutes in length that offers plenty of room for lots of information. It also makes for plenty of room to add too much information. Luckily for audiences, those behind this series didn’t go that route. Each segment is expertly timed out, spending just enough time on each subject that makes up each segment. Viewers won’t be left feeling like they have to go back and watch one segment or another over again. The end result here is a greater understanding and in turn appreciation for the material presented throughout the course of the series. That understanding and appreciation will lead viewers to agree that The Sixties is well-deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.

The Sixties is one of this year’s best new documentaries. Audiences that purchase this three-disc box set will agree with that sentiment. They will agree as they will see for themselves the depth of the information provided with in each of the series’ segments. They will agree just as much in noting the clearly defined separation of each segment from the others and each segment’s run time. Last but not least of all, audiences will agree in noting the pacing taken within each of the series’ segments. All things considered, The Sixties is one of the most in-depth documentaries to be released yet on the history of what is one of America’s most pivotal eras. It is available now and can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=54994166&cp=&sr=1&kw=the+sixties&origkw=The+Sixties&parentPage=search. More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

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New Tribute Concert Shows Garcia’s Lasting Legacy

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

2013 has been another banner year for Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The leader in Love Recordings has run the gamut once more this year, releasing live recordings after live recording that audiences of every age will appreciate.  Among some of the year’s best from Eagle Rock are: The Rolling Stones’ Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live, Caro Emerald: In Concert, and Miles Davis’ Live 1991 Montreux set just to name a few.  Now as the days become shorter and the year winds down, Eagle Rock has shown that it still has no plans of slowing down with its release of Move Me Brightly.  This live recording is truly a concert film in every sense.  It’s one that any and every classic rock fan will appreciate.  Classic rock fans will appreciate this recording first and foremost because it is a celebration of Jerry Garcia and his music.  It is a visual and musical tribute to a music legend.  The thing is that it isn’t Garcia.  Rather it is a collection of his fellow musicians paying homage to him and his music.  The lineup of artists included in this recording is one more reason for music lovers to check it out.  And unlike so many of the recordings released by Eagle Rock this year, it isn’t a massive arena show.  It is a much more intimate performance.  Along with the performance are short vignettes from Garcia’s fellow musicians expressing in their own words what Jerry Garcia and his music means to them personally.  Their thoughts are enlightening and moving.  The thoughts of said musicians works in conjunction with the performance itself and the list of performers to make Move Me Brightly yet another impressive live recording from Eagle Rock.  It collectively makes this a recording that any classic rock fan will want to watch at least once.

Former Grateful Dead front man and music legend Jerry Garcia would have been seventy-one years young this past August if he were still with us.  Sadly, almost two decades have passed since he left us.  Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, Garcia’s legions around the world can still celebrate his memory and music thanks to the new live recording, Move Me Brightly.  This isn’t like so many of the live recordings released by Eagle Rock so far this year.  It is a much more intimate performance recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI Studio.  That intimacy of the venue sets the tone for the concert contained on the show’s Blu-ray and DVD presentation.  The recording’s run time totals just over three hours counting the bonus performances.  Over the course of that time, fans are presented with a total of sixteen songs.  It all opens with a performance of ‘Cumberland Blues’ and proceeds into so many other greats including: ‘Shakedown Street’, ‘Days Between’, ‘U.S. Blues’ and quite a few more fan favorites.  ‘Days Between’ is one of the most moving of the recording’s moments.  That is because it comes after a recollection of the day that Jerry Garcia died.  The song’s somber, subdued sounds take on a whole new meaning, having taken in the moving story shared by just one of Garcia’s fellow musicians.  The gentle strains of a piano set against Bob Weir’s strained singing will bring a tear to any pure blooded Garcia fan’s eye.  It is but one of so many incredible moments shared in this recording.  Of course fans and audiences will find their own favorite moment(s) when they purchase or order this new live recording for themselves.

The primary concert feature included in Move Me Brightly is the most important part of the overall recording contained on this new DVD and Blu-ray.  Adding to the overall enjoyment factor is the concert’s lineup of performers.  As already noted, this isn’t just another Jerry Garcia recording or even Grateful Dead recording.  It is a tribute concert that pays respect to the memory and music of a great man.  Bob Weir is there, obviously.  Phish’s own Phil Lesh is, too along with Donna Jean Godchaux among so many others.  There are so many names from music’s past and present (and even from different rock subgenres) that it would be impossible to name them all.  But that so many different artists of so many ages and background came together in one intimate setting just goes to show the impact that Garcia and his music had and continues to have to this day.  That is a bold and wholly justified statement.  And it’s just one more reason for Dead Heads the world over to check out this recording.

Jerry Garcia’s music has had a lasting influence on the music world as a whole to this very day.  That is crystal clear by the collection of artists joined together in this recording to pay respect to his life and work.  If the amalgam of artists joined together for this concert isn’t enough for fans, then maybe the bonus interview segments will help fans make their decision on this recording.  Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction), John Doe (X), and Carlos Santana are all interviewed and asked to share their thoughts on what Jerry Garcia and his music means to them today.  They may not be performing on stage.  But their thoughts are heartfelt, thoughtful and loving.  His own former manager from the Jerry Garcia Band days even jokes warmly about keeping one of Jerry’s picks with him to this day.  He joke that he keeps it because when he finally meets Jerry again, he knows that’ll be the very first thing that Jerry asks for.  It could almost be argued to be a playful eulogistic sort of statement.  And it’s just one of so many great thoughts and memories shared by his friends and family in those vignettes.  Together with the set list, the venue, and the performers tapped to perform his songs, Move Me Brightly easily becomes a recording that every Dead Head and classic rock fan will want to see at least once.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.comEagleRockEnt.  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.