Raffi’s New Hits Collection Is A Solid Start For Fans New To His Work

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Courtesy: Rounder Records

Veteran children’s entertainer Raffi has a new compilation record on the way.  Rounder Records will release Best of Raffi next Friday, Feb. 10 in stores and online.  This 16-song collection is hardly the first from the Canadian singer-songwriter, but it is still enjoyable in its own right.  That is due in part to the songs that make up the record’s body.  That will be discussed shortly.  The musical styles that are presented throughout the songs are just as important to note as the songs themselves.  That will be discussed later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in itself to the overall presentation of this latest compilation from Raffi.  All things considered, this new collection of songs may not be a new record in the purest sense of the term, but it is still an enjoyable collection nonetheless.

Raffi’s new hits collection Best of Raffi is hardly the veteran children’s entertainers first-ever compilation record.  Even with that in mind it is still an enjoyable collection of songs from his extensive catalogue.  Speaking of that extensive catalogue, the 16 songs that make up the body of this collection serve as its cornerstone.  The collection takes audiences all the way back to Raffi’s 1976 record Singable Songs For The Very Young with ‘Mr. Sun’ and ‘Down By The Bay’ and even all the way up to his most recent album, 2016’s Owl Singalong.  Obviously considering just how extensive Raffi’s catalogue is, there was no way that every one of his records could be represented in this collection.  However, he (and the people at Rounder Records) are to be commended for the effort made to represent as much of that catalogue here as possible.  Counting Owl Singalong, no fewer than nine of Raffi’s albums are represented in this record, with at least one song pulled from each record.  Others get two nods.  1980’s Baby Beluga gets three nods with ‘Thanks A Lot,’ Raffi’s cover of Harry Belafonte’s beloved ‘Day O’ and the album’s famed title track.  What is interesting to note of Raffi’s cover of ‘Day O’ is that lyrically speaking, the song has been changed around some.  The mention of the giant tarantula has been entirely removed as has the mention of the worker drinking rum.  Yes, both are in the original song, which in reality was not a children’s song.  Getting back on topic, though not every one of Raffi’s albums is represented here, the albums that are collectively speaking, a healthy representation of his body of work.  Keeping that in mind, they make this compilation a good introduction to Raffi for anyone not overly familiar with him or his body of work.  This is just one way in which this recording proves itself worth being added to any family’s music library.  It is just one of the record’s most important elements.  The musical styles that are presented within the featured songs are just as important to discuss as the songs themselves.

The songs that make up the body of Best of Raffi are important in their own right to the record’s presentation.  That is due to the fact that they represent so much of Raffi’s body of work.  While this is clearly important to the record’s presentation, it is just one of the record’s key elements.  The varied musical styles presented throughout the record are just as important to note here as the featured songs.  ‘Down By The Bay’ boasts a folk style arrangement that Pete Seeger fans will enjoy just as much as Raffi’s fans.  The arrangement at the center of ‘Baby Beluga’ is reminiscent (and here’s a wild connection) of The Beatles’ ‘When I’m Sixty-Four.’  Raffi’s gentle vocal delivery set against the horns and strings in ‘One Light, One Sun’ instantly conjures thoughts of some of the greatest ballads ever performed by Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick, Jr.  These are just a few examples of the various musical styles presented throughout this collection.  The easy-listening arrangement at the center of ‘Rise and Shine’ shows even more variance in Raffi’s stylistic approach over the years, as does the light, jazzy arrangement at the center of ‘Bananaphone.’  The arrangement, driven largely by its piano and drum lines, will put a smile on any listener’s face with its fun feel.  It’s just one more way in which Raffi and Rounder Records display the extent of Raffi’s musical talents in this record.  It goes without saying that the record’s other songs show just as much variety.  All things considered, the arrangements presented in each of this record’s songs show clearly why they are so vital to the record’s presentation.  That variance adds even more to the record’s depth.  On a similar vein, the record’s sequencing proves to be just as important to its presentation.

The songs that are presented in Raffi’s new hits collection and their musical styles are both critical in their own way to the record’s overall presentation.  The songs are a healthy representation of his work up to this point.  The arrangements show an equally wide array of influences, thus showing the reach of his talents.  While both elements are undeniably important to the record, they are not the record’s only important elements.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Listeners will note in going through the record’s 16-song body that Raffi and the people behind the record’s production put a lot of thought into its sequencing.  From start to finish, the energy stays just enough at each point.  That is thanks to the thought put into each song’s placement in regards both to its energy and its style.  At no point does the record ever get too slow or too fast.  What’s more, at no point do the songs’ styles ever echo one another immediately.  They vary just as much as the energy exuded within each arrangement.  Keeping that in mind, the sequencing proves to be just as important to keeping listeners engaged as the songs and their arrangements.  All things considered, Best of Raffi proves, while hardly his first hits compilation, to still be a good introduction to Raffi and his music.

Rounder Records’ new Raffi compilation record Best of Raffii is a good introduction to the veteran children’s entertainer and his music.  That is proven in part through the songs featured on the record.  The songs represent a solid cross-section of Raffi’s body of work.  The arrangements presented in the songs are just as diverse as the songs themselves.  They present a wide range of talents and influences from Raffi.  Both elements were clearly taken into account with the record’s sequencing, the last of the record’s most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the record’s overall presentation.  All things considered, this record proves to be an enjoyable collection nonetheless, and an equally welcome introduction to Raffi and his music.  It will be available next Friday, Feb. 10 in stores and online.  More information on Best of Raffi is available online now along with all of Raffi’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.raffinews.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Raffi.Cavoukian

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Raffi_RC

 

 

 

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Variety Makes ‘Wonderful You’ A Wonderful Family Record

Courtesy: MonkeyJump Music

Courtesy: MonkeyJump Music

Children’s entertainers Vanessa Trien and The Jumping Monkeys are preparing to release their new album in only two weeks.  The album, Wonderful You is a fun new effort from the veteran children’s musical act.  The reason for the album’s success can be summed up in just one word: variety.  Between the variety of musical sounds at the center of its 12 songs, the variety of the songs’ lyrical topics, and the variety in the songs’ sequencing, this record offers more than its share of variety, and in turn enjoyment, for the whole family.

Wonderful You is a properly titled new offering from Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys.  Set for release on Friday, October 14th in stores and online, the variety offered throughout the record’s presentation will keep listeners of all ages entertained and engaged from beginning to end.  One way in which the record presents its variety is through the musical sounds presented at the base of each song.  That variety begins with the album’s opener ‘One Foot In Front of The Other.’  This song’s musical arrangement is so interesting because of its ABCA format.  It starts out with a dual folk/pop approach in its instrumental and vocal arrangement.  The C section comes as the song turns to more of a Kansas City Dixieland vibe before switching back to the folk/pop approach of the A section.  The variety of sounds and arrangements within this song is just one example of why the album’s musical variety is so important to note in its presentation.  The album’s title song is another example of what makes the musical variety so important to note to its presentation.

The musical variety presented throughout Wonderful You is a clearly important part of its presentation.  That is shown right off the top in the album’s opener ‘One Foot in Front of the Other.’  It is just one example of why the songs’ musical variety is so important to note.  The album’s title track, which comes early in the album’s run, is just as important to note as its opener.  That is because it takes a completely different path in its arrangement than the album’s opener.  Whereas the album’s opener mixed folk, pop and Dixieland within its three-minute, six-second run time, the album’s title track is a more laid back, jazzy tune.  Its arrangement transports audiences into a dimly lit jazz club with its gentle guitar line, bongos, piano and Trien’s own vocal delivery.  Even the steady drive of the drums plays its own part in that musical journey.  The whole of the song’s arrangement stands completely apart from the album’s opener and the rest of the album’s offerings, too.  The result of that identity is another example of why this album’s musical variety is so important to note to its overall presentation.  It is yet another example of why the album’s musical variety is so important to the album’s presentation, either.  Trien and company also incorporated some reggae into the album as the basis for ‘Round & Round,’ yet another example of what makes the record’s musical variety so important to note in its presentation.

‘One Foot in Front of the Other’ and ‘Wonderful You’ are both key examples of what makes the musical variety of Wonderful You such an important piece of the record’s presentation.  They are not the only songs that serve to exemplify this, though.  ‘Round & Round’ is one more example of why that variety is so important to the record’s presentation.  In terms of its arrangement it incorporates the instrumentation and classic reggae style very well.  The easygoing guitar line, tambourine, and bongos instantly conjure thoughts of Jamaica and the Caribbean Sea, taking listeners familiar with their music history back to the days of Bob Marley and The Whalers.  It’s nice to hear that full acoustic approach to the genre rather than what has, in so many cases within the genre, been watered down with so much electronics.  So not only does this arrangement stand out from those of the previously examined song but it also stands out from so much other reggae out there today.  To that end, it shows even more why the musical variety presented throughout this record is so important to its presentation.  It is still not the last song that could cited in making that argument. ‘Chi Chi Bom Bom’ with its full-on bluegrass arrangement, ‘Willie and The Hand Jive’ with its similarity to Bow Wow Wow’s ‘I Want Candy’ (musically speaking of course) and the group’s ukulele-driven cover of The Beatles’ ‘All Together Now’ each show just as much the importance of the variety of the songs’ musical arrangement to its overall presentation.  All things considered, it should be clear at this point why the musical variety presented throughout Wonderful You is so important to its overall presentation.  It is not the only important element to note, though.  There is just as much variety in the songs’ lyrical topics as there is to their arrangements.  That is just as important to note as the variety in the songs’ musical arrangements.

The musical variety that is presented throughout the songs of Wonderful You is in its own right a very important part of this record’s presentation.  That is because with its many different musical arrangements it is certain to reach listeners of all tastes and ages.  While it is clearly an important part of the album’s whole, it is not the record’s only important element.  The variety in the songs’ lyrical topics is just as important to note as that of their musical arrangements, too.  The album’s title track tells young listeners that they can be anything that they want to be no matter what.  It does this in a way that makes the message accessible to those younger listeners, too.  On another note, the album’s opener encourages listeners to keep moving forward no matter what happens from one day to the next.  On a lighter note, ‘Magic Wand’ encourages Trien and company’s young audiences to use their imaginations.  ‘Feeling Thankful’ takes its own turn with its message of…well…being thankful and appreciative for everyone and everything.  Yet again here is another example of the variety present in the lyrical topics presented in the record’s songs.  Any of the album’s other compositions could be cited just as easily as those noted here.  That being the case, the lyrical topics presented throughout the record’s songs proves in the end to be just as important to note in the album’s presentation as the variety in the songs’ musical arrangements.  It still is not the last important element to note in examining the record.  The variety in the album’s overall sequencing is just as important to note that of the songs’ lyrical topics and musical arrangements.

The variety in the musical arrangements and lyrical topics of Wonderful You’s songs is clearly important in both cases.  That is because that variety will reach listeners of all tastes and ages, ensuring doubly the maintained engagement and entertainment of all involved.  While that variety is undeniably important the variety in the bigger picture of the album’s sequencing is just as important to note as the variety in the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical topics.  From beginning to end, the variety in the album’s sequencing is in fact just as deliberate as that of the songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical topics.  The album’s first two songs are steady, upbeat compositions.  When the album transitions to its title track, the song’s more laid back vibe makes an enjoyable change of pace for listeners.  The album’s energy gradually increases again over the course of its next trio of songs before pulling back again in ‘Round and Round.’  This time, Trien and company waste no time picking back up.  ‘Chi Chi Bom Bom’ and ‘Willie and the Hand Jive’ are both rather upbeat tunes, and a direct juxtaposition to the laid back vibe of ‘Round and Round.’  One more back and forth ride in the album’s final three songs rounds out the rollercoaster of its musical energy.  The end result is a ride that will keep listeners just as engaged for that variety of tempos as for the variety in its musical arrangements and lyrical topics.  All things considered Wonderful You proves in the end to be a record that is…well…wonderful.

Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys’ new album Wonderful You is a properly titled offering.  That is because it is…well…a wonderful record.  That is due to the variety presented through the record from beginning to end.  Its musical arrangements present just as much variety as its lyrical topics.  Even its sequencing presents its own variety, too.  All things considered, that variety makes Wonderful You a wonderful new effort from Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys.  Wonderful You will be available in stores and online via MonkeyJump Music on Friday, October 14th.  More information on Wonderful You is available online now along with all of the group’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.vanessatrien.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vtrien

 

 

 

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Phineas McBoof’s Adventures Should Be In Every Family’s Music Library

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Late last month Doctor Noize and his fellow musicians, Th International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses, released the group’s latest adventure from Phineas McBoof.  The album, Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony was the seeming finale in the ongoing story of the world-renowned musical monkey.  If it was indeed the final movement (bad pun fully intended) in Phineas’ musical story then it was quite the ending.  Luckily for those that might be new to Phineas and his adventures, the first two “chapters” in his adventures are also available.  And they are available not just on CD but also in print.  The story’s first chapter is titled The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and the second “chapter” The Return of Phineas McBoof.  For those that might be new to adventures of Phineas and his band mates, both chapters are just as enjoyable as the latest.  This applies both to the stories’ print and musical platforms.  This critic will attempt to explain why in as much depth as possible and as clearly as possible beginning with each chapter’s story.  The presentation style of each “chapter” is just as important to note as its story.  That will be discussed later.  Last but most definitely not least of note in examining these two stories is the visual imagery that is used in the stories’ print platforms.  It plays just as much of a role in each chapter as each chapter’s story and the manner in which each is told.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the whole of these two chapters in McBoof’s story.  Altogether they make the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s story just as enjoyable for listeners as its latest (and last?) entry.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

The first two “chapters” in the story of Phineas McBoof and the International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses are not new releases for 2016.  That goes without saying.  For those that might not be so familiar with the adventures of the musical monkey and his fellow animal band mates though, these two chapters make a great introduction to the group and its adventures.  That is due in part to the story presented within each chapter.  Each of the story’s first two chapters tells one part of how the band came together.  In “Chapter One,” The Ballad of Phineas McBoof , listeners learn that the whole story came to be because Phineas had become tired of the rock star life that he led.  Doctor Noize points out that Phineas wanted something new because his stardom had left him in fact feeling trapped.  So he set out to start over so to speak, leading him to meet the first members of his new band—Backbone the Octopus, Bottomus the Hip Popotamus, Riley the Robot, Lenny Long Tail, and the Ooh Gah Boo Gus.  The Return  of Phineas McBoof continues that story, introducing Sidney The Beak, Luciano Frogerati, Jose, and Placido the Flamingo.  At the second “chapter’s” conclusion Phineas once again disappears, which sets up the story’s latest installment, and likely its last.  The story is in itself fun throughout both “chapters” That is because of just how original it is both in the realm of children’s music and in the realm of children’s literature.  Speaking of those two realms they “play” into the next important element of each chapter, its presentation style.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

The story that is presented in the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s tale is in itself plenty of reason for families to add them to their home music libraries.  It is the story of how Phineas and his band mates came to meet and form their musical collective.  While the story presented in each “chapter” is entertaining in its own right the story itself is just one of those installments so enjoyable.  The manner in which each “chapter” is presented—its presentation style—is just as important to note here as the story.  Each installment is presented both in musical and print platform.  The two platforms compliment each other perfectly.  The print platforms tell the story in a style that would make Dr. Seuss proud if he were alive today.  That is proven in the rhyme scheme used within each book and the very words that are used including the characters’ names.  The books’ musical companions complete the experience.  That is because they take the tales told in the story’s books and expand on them even more with an even fuller telling of the story complete with various musical genres and pop culture references (including references to Thelonius Monk, Ringo Starr, The Beatles, etc.).  Each presentation in itself does its own share to entertain listeners of all ages.  The pair works together to keep listeners completely entertained throughout each tale.  Even as entertaining as the story’s dual presentation style is in its bigger picture, that dual presentation style is still not all that makes the first two “chapters” of Phineas’ story so enjoyable.  The imagery that is presented in the story’s literary platforms rounds out the story’s most important elements.

The story that is told through the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s tale is in itself more than enough reason for listeners of all ages to check out these two tales.  They form a solid foundation for the final “movement” in Phineas’ adventure.  The two different ways in which the story is told in each “chapter” makes Phineas’ adventure all the more enjoyable.  It is told both in print and through music.  Both platforms expertly complement one another, making the story even richer.  While the story’s dual presentation offers a certain sense of completion for listeners, it does not make Phineas’ story one hundred percent complete.  The illustrations that are used in the story’s literary presentations complete the adventures presentation.  It is clear that the artwork that is presented in each book was crafted wholly via computer.  On the surface that might not seem very creative.  But in a deeper sense, it actually is very creative.  Parents might recognize the artworks style as being very similar to that used in the classic Super Nintendo game Donkey Kong, Jr.  It is an artistic style that has been very rarely used since the days of that game (and video game system) if at all.  The world created through the artwork is rich and vivid.  The scenes that are presented are, in whole, expert visualizations of the given scenes, too.  They do a wonderful job of bringing those scenes to life.  That is especially the case when taking in the story’s broader musical presentation.  Audiences will not just see the scenes come to life, but advance in their own minds.  This brings everything full circle.  It makes suspension of disbelief all the easier for audiences and in turn makes the story all the more entertaining and engaging.  Keeping all of this in mind, The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and The Return of Phineas McBoof prove themselves to be wonderful additions to any family’s home library and a wonderful start to the tale of Phineas’ adventures.  This applies whether audiences already own McBoof’s latest adventure or not.

Cory Cullinan (a.k.a. Doctor Noize) has crafted in The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and The Return of Phineas McBoof a solid foundation for the adventures of the famed musical monkey.  That is due in large part to the story presented in each tale.  Each one is a fun tale of how Phineas and his fellow musicians first met and set out to write the greatest song ever.  The story’s dual presentation makes the overall story so rich.  That is because its print and musical platform compliments the other with its own original elements.  The illustrations that are used in the story’s literary form complete the experience.  They make the story truly come to life and pull audiences in both in reading the story and experiencing it musically.  Each element is important in its own way to each “chapter” of the story.  Altogether they bring both chapters together to make them one whole experience that the whole family will enjoy regardless of their familiarity with the adventures of Phineas McBoof.  Both “chapters” are available now and can be ordered on record and in literary form now at Doctor Noize’s official website.  More information on those “chapters” and Phineas’ latest adventure is available online now along with all of Doctor Noize’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.doctornoize.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/doctornoize

 

 

 

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Time Life To Release The Wonder Years’ Fourth Season This Winter

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment

This winter, Time Life Entertainment will release the next installment of ABC’s classic family drama The Wonder Years.

Officials with Time Life Entertainment announed this week that the company will release the fourth season of The Wonder Years on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016. It will be released exclusively on DVD and will retail for MSRP of $39.95. The four-disc collection boasts all twenty-three episodes from the series’ fourth season as well as a number of extras for fans of the classic series including interviews with the series’ cast and the special featurette “ABC: Teachers That Made a Difference.” Season Four is a season of big change for Arnold and his friends. It sees Kevin making the jump from middle school to high school. That means going from being a big fish in a little pond to being the ittle fish once again in a big pond. Making things even more difficult for Kevin is that he is back together with Winnie Cooper. But she’s now at another school. Paul has his own big announcement that threatens to break up the friendship between him and Kevin. On the home front things are changing quite a bit, too. Kevin’s dad gets a promotion while Kevin gets his first job. Norma takes a job at Kevin’s school. And Karen starts college while Wayne buys his first car. Things definitely get interesting in this story as well as in all of the other big changes that come in Season Four.

If the engaging stories and bonus features aren’t enough for audiences in the fourth season of The Wonder Years, the music that accompanies its twenty-three total episodes will certainly entertain audiences. Season Four features songs from the likes of: Joan Baez, The Beatles, The Monkees, Hank Williams, Nat King Cole, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Ventures, and many more.

The Wonder Years: Season Four will be released Tuesday, January 12th. It will retail for MSRP of $39.95. More information on this and other titles from Time Life Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://timelife.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TimeLifeUS

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.

Live In Hyde Park Is A Must Have For Every ELO Fan

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Universal Music Group

Next month, ELO, now known as Jeff Lyne’s ELO will release its fourteenth full-length studio recording. The album, Alone in the Universe, will be released on Friday, November 13th via Columbia Records. That is just under a month away at the time of this review’s posting. The announcement of the album’s impending release was made just last month, a day before the release of the group’s new live recording Live in Hyde Park. Released on September 11th, Live in Hyde Park is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library. The main reason that it proves to be such a worthwhile addition to fans’ collections is its set list. It should be noted right up front that the recording’s U.S. presentation allegedly is lacking the group’s performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ which was the band’s cover of Chuck Berry’s classic hit. Even if it is indeed lacking that one encore performance, the lack of that performance, at least in this critic’s own view, does not take away anything from the positive impact of the show’s overall set list. That will be discussed shortly. Another positive to the recording is of course Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians. That presence makes for just as much enjoyment as the show’s set list and gives fans even more reason to add this recording to their personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole. Last but hardly least worth noting of the recording is its bonus material. The bonus interview with Lynne is quite insightful in its own right while the “bio” “Mr. Blue Sky: The Story Of Jeff Lynne and ELO adds even more insight into the importance of this legendary act. The two bonuses come together to round out the recording’s overall viewing experience and show once and for all why fans will both enjoy and appreciate once they add it to their own personal ELO collections and music libraries in whole.

Live at Hyde Park, the new live recording from Jeff Lynne’s ELO is a good addition to any ELO fan’s personal music library and ELO collection. It proves first and foremost through its set list. While not a completely career-spanning performance for Lynne and company, the sixteen song set list touches on a rather healthy sampling of the band’s body of work even going all the way back to the band’s 1971 debut record The Electric Light Orchestra. Its 1977 album Out Of The Blue appears to be the most well-represented of the albums represented in this concert. Of the album’s sixteen songs, no fewer than three are taken from that album while The Electric Light Orchestra, On The Third Day, Eldorado, and Face The Music are each represented by one song. A New World Record is represented twice over, while Discovery, the Xanadu soundtrack, and Secret Messages each boast a single track. That still leaves four songs that audiences both familiar with ELO’s body of work and those not so familiar work to find for themselves. In finding themselves, audiences will agree that once again, while the sentiment that the set list featured in this concert recording, while not necessarily career-spanning, is still a solid representation of ELO’s body of work. On another note, there are those that have complained about the U.S. presentation of Live at Hyde Park not including the encore performance of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ at he very end of the recording. Given, that track is not there. There is no denying this. But considering that it is just one song, it still takes away very little if anything from the overall viewing experience of this recording. To that extent, the set list presented in Live in Hyde Park proves in the end to still be just as important to the recording’s viewing experience as any of the recording’s key talking points.

The set list featured in this recording is within itself plenty of reason for ELO fans to add it to their personal collections and music libraries in whole. That is even with the alleged omission of one song in the recording’s U.S. release. Lynne’s stage presence and that of his fellow musicians is just as important as the songs themselves. It goes without saying that the group’s stage presence makes for its own share of enjoyment. Lynne exudes a certain confidence for lack of better wording as he makes his way from one song to the next in the show’s set. It proves that a performer doesn’t necessarily have to run around stage and do all kinds of antics in order to be entertaining. All a performer needs is that confidence and the love of being on stage, entertaining the masses in order to be entertaining. That is what makes his stage presence so solid throughout the show. He commands the stage just by being there and doing so little other than deliver the songs. Lynne’s fellow musicians–many of whom are members of the BBC Orchestra, as Lynne directly notes–show just as much confidence throughout the concert. They also show just how much they enjoy performing with Lynne and his band. It shows through the energy and concentration put into each song’s performance and through their facial gestures. Audiences can see smiles on the faces of the BBC Orchestra members’ faces throughout, showing just how much they enjoyed being a part of the show. The enjoyment leads back to the energy put into each performance from start to finish. In turn it makes the overall stage presence of the group in whole–including Lynne and his band–that much more powerful and important to the whole of Live in Hyde Park. Together with the show’s set list and its sequencing, both elements together go a long way toward making this recording such an enjoyable experience for any long-time ELO fan. For all of their importance to the recording’s overall viewing experience they are not all that make the recording so enjoyable. The bonus interview with Jeff Lynne and the “bio” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO round out the recording. The two bonuses together not only paint a rich picture of Jeff Lynne and his importance to the music industry, but on the legacy that he has created throughout his professional career.

The performance that lies at the center of Live in Hyde Park is in itself the most important element of the recording. It is after all the central focus point of the recording. However, the bonus material that is included with the recording proves just as important to the whole of the recording as the concert. That is because the bonus material paints such a rich, vivid picture of who Jeff Lynne is and why he is today one of the most important figures in the music industry. The one-on-one interview with Lynne paints its own picture, showing perhaps why Lynne is such a stickler for detail in terms of composing songs. He notes in his interview that despite being essentially a manual laborer, his father had a deep love and respect for classical music. And classical music requires a deep love for and attention to the music. Any lover of classical music will agree with that. Perhaps growing up in a household filled with such beautiful music led to his own attention to detail in composing his songs. He perhaps gained the same love for his music and attention to detail in composing his songs through his musical upbringing, in other words. Lynne also shares a funny anecdote about ELO opening for Deep Purple in the band’s first major tour and his surprise at how well it went down considering the stark contrast of sounds between the two acts. That anecdote will have viewers laughing just as Lynne himself. It’s just another example of what makes his interview so enjoyable for audiences, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Lynne’s body of work and his contributions to the music industry. Speaking of those contributions to the music world, the bonus “bio/documentary” Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO offers even more insight into the importance of his contributions to the music industry.

Mr. Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO takes the foundation established in Lynne’s bonus one-on-one interview and builds even more on it. It does so by going into even more depth about his own achievements and contributions over the course of his professional career. It isn’t just some short, ten-minute presentation unlike so many other career retrospectives out there that call themselves bonuses on other acts’ recordings. Rather, it is a deep, extensive presentation that will keep viewers just as engaged as the presentation’s central concert recording. Viewers will learn that Lynne started his professional musical career early on in life and that his mom couldn’t even believe that he was making money as a musician. It’s another great light-hearted moment for audiences and fans alike. He also echoes his father’s love of classical music as an influence behind his love of music and his own method in composing his music. There are insights from the likes of Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and even the widows of George Harrison and Roy Orbison that paint such a deeply vivid picture of a musical genius. Even the most well-versed ELO fan might be surprised to learn through this documentary that Lynne was actually at least partially responsible for Tom Petty’s hit song ‘Free Falling,’ some of George Harrison’s most beloved compositions, and even one of The Beatles’ records post John Lennon’s passing. There is also an in-depth history presented by Petty, Lynne, and both Roy Orbison and George Harrison’s widows about The Traveling Wilburys included as part of the documentary. For those that might not know, Lynne was a member of The Traveling Wilburys alongside Orbison, Petty, Harrison, and Bob Dylan. It was a supergroup before supergroups became a thing. That part of Lynne’s story alone makes the “bio” well worth the watch. And it is hardly all that makes the documentary such an important presentation. There is so much more that long-time fans and audiences in general will appreciate throughout the program. Together with Lynne’s sit-down interview, Live in Hyde Park’s main feature concert, and Lynne’s performance alongside his fellow musician throughout the show, Live at Hyde Park in whole proves to be a recording that every ELO fan should have in their own home DVD library. Period.

Live In Hyde Park is a recording that every ELO fan should have in his or her own home DVD library. Whether for its set list, the performance of Lynne and his fellow musicians throughout the concert, or for the recording’s bonus material, there is so much to enjoy about this recording. It presents a band and a performer that remain today among the most influential and important names in the music industry. Each noted element is important to the whole of the presentation in its own right. Collectively, they make Live in Hyde Park a must have for any ELO fan and potentially one more of this year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online. 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.

Beck’s New Live CD Is A Welcome Addition To Any Fan’s Collection

Courtesy:  ATCO/Rhino Records

Courtesy: ATCO/Rhino Records

Later this month, veteran guitarist Jeff Beck will release a brand new live recording titled Live+. The recording, which will be released only on CD, will be released on Tuesday, May 19th. The disc is a great new collection of live performances for audiences of all ages. The main reason for this is the list of songs that make up the disc’s sixteen total tracks. The disc’s body is composed of fourteen live tracks and two brand new studio tracks. The live tracks include both Beck’s own originals and some cover tunes that audiences of all ages will recognize and enjoy. The work of those charged with handling the record’s sequencing is just as much worth noting. The songs featured on this record come from a number of shows held during Back’s 2014 tour with ZZ Top. Despite this, they weren’t just tossed around haphazardly. Rather they were placed in a specific order that guarantees audiences will remain just as engaged as if they all came from one single performance. Having noted this, there is one more positive that can be noted of Live+. That last positive is the disc’s overall audio mix. Every little nuance of the performances is captured thanks to the work of those responsible for handling both the original concert audio and those charged with balancing said levels in the disc’s “post-production.” Taking into consideration all three elements noted here, Live+ proves itself to be another good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s music library even if it is available only via CD and digital download.

Live+ is a good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s music library. This is the case even with the collection of live performances being available mainly via CD and digital download. The reason that it proves itself worth the addition is the list of songs that makes up the body of the record. The record is composed of sixteen tracks. Fourteen of those tracks are live tracks and two are brand new studio recordings from Beck. In listening to the fourteen live performances that make up most of this record, audiences will appreciate that it includes both familiar originals from Beck and some familiar songs from other artists, too. The covers include Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing,’ ‘Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come,’ ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘You Know You Know,’ and a pair of tunes from The Beatles in the form of ‘A Day in The Life’ and ‘Hammerhead.’ There’s even an interesting take on the traditional song ‘Danny Boy.’ and an impressive take on Stevie Wonder’s hit song ‘Superstition.’ The original songs from Beck that were included across the disc include: ‘Morning Dew,’ ‘Big Block,’ ‘Why Give It Away,’ and ‘Loaded’ are just some of Beck’s originals featured throughout the record. Some might ask what this is important to the whole of the record. It is important in that it shows Beck’s versatility. It shows that along with handling his own works with just as much ease as ever, he has a certain respect for music and musicians across the musical universe. Those that are familiar with all of the songs featured here will second that sentiment while those that might be new to both Beck’s originals and the covers he handles will agree just as much as they discover both for the first time ever.

The songs that are included across the body of Live+ are in themselves key to the record’s enjoyment. That is because they put on display Beck’s versatility as a musician as well as his respect for other musicians and musical acts across the musical universe. On a related note, the work of those charged with handling the sequencing of the songs are to be commended. Their work makes the overall listening experience through each song all the more enjoyable. As audiences will note, from song to song, those charged with handling the record’s sequencing never stick to just one style of song. The more energetic, up-tempo songs are complemented quite well by their slower, more reserved counterparts from beginning to end. As inconsequential as this may seem, it is extremely important. It is especially important in the realm of live recordings. Musical acts assemble set lists that will keep their audiences fully engaged at the actual concerts that they hold. This compilation of live performances was set up in much the same fashion even being compiled from a number of live sets. It is a tribute to their efforts and attention to such an important detail along with that of Beck himself. It’s one more reason audiences will agree that Live+ is another good addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s personal music library.

Both the set list that makes up the body of Live+ and the work of those charged with handling the sequencing of said songs are important to the whole of the recording in their own right. Neither would be of any consequence without the work of those charged with handling the performances’ audio. This includes both those that handled the audio at Beck’s performances with ZZ Top last year and those that handled the audio levels in “post-production.” That is those that handled the audio levels in preparation for the recording’s release. It’s thanks to their work that singer Jimmy Hall blows audiences away with his powerhouse vocals. It is thanks to them that Becks work shines through just as much both during his time in the limelight and as a member of the musical collective on stage. Even more impressive is that throughout the course of the record’s live performances, every part is balanced with the utmost expertise. This includes not only Hall’s vocal talents and Beck’s talents on guitar, but the talents of their band mates–Jonathan Joseph (drums), Rhonda Smith (bass), and Nicholas Meier (guitar)–too. No one part overpowers the other at any point throughout the performances. The end result is a collection of performances that once more proves itself another worthy addition to any Jeff Beck fan’s personal music library.

Jeff Beck’s new live recording Live+ shows plenty of reason for his fans to add this recording to their personal music libraries when it is released this month. The mix of original songs and covers shows both Beck and his band mates as quite the versatile group of musicians. It shows them as musicians that are not only greatly talented but that have great respect for other equally renowned acts. The work of those charged with sequencing the various performances is just as noteworthy. That is because the mood of the recording’s live songs doesn’t stick to just one style. The more energetic, up-tempo pieces are expertly complemented by more laid back, reserved pieces from beginning to end. The end result of that expert balance is a collection of performances that will keep audiences fully engaged from the collection’s first performance to its fourteenth. The work of those charged with handling the performances’ audio both in their live setting and in post production have made Live+ enjoyable, too. It is thanks to the work of those individuals that the performances sound so good from beginning to end. That element taken into consideration with the compilation’s set list and the work of those that assembled said set list proves Live+ in the long run to be a live recording that every Jeff Beck fan will want to add to their personal music library. That isn’t to ignore the record’s two new studio recordings, either. They add even more enjoyment to the record. Having noted all of this it can be said with certainty that Jeff Beck’s upcoming live CD Live+ deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new live CDs.

Jeff Beck is currently wrapping up a handful of makeup dates with ZZ Top that were previously postponed last year. The dates in question were postponed due to an injury sustained by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. The last of those dates is tomorrow, May 10th. After that date, Beck will embark on a nine-date solo tour that kicks off next Tuesday, May 12th in Louisville, KY. That schedule is listed below.

Jeff Beck Newly Added Solo Dates – on sale dates noted:

May 12 The Kentucky Center –Whitney Hall Louisville, KY*

May 14 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI ***

May 15 Hard Rock Live Northfield, OH*

May 16 PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center Cincinnati, OH

May 17 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN

May 19 Fox Theater St. Louis, MO *

May 21 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL **

May 22 Riverside Theatre Milwaukee, WI*

May 23 State Theater Minneapolis, MN*

*on sale April 10

** on sale April 11

*** on sale April 17

Live+ will be available in stores and online Tuesday, May 19th. It will retail for MSRP of $18.98 in physical form. More information on this recording, Beck’s upcoming re-issue of Live at Ronnie Scott’s and any of his other recordings is available online now along with all of the latest updates on his tour schedule and other news at:

Website: http://www.jeffbeck.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffbeckmusic

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.

Atco Records To Release New Jeff Beck Live LP Next Month

Courtesy:  Atco Records

Courtesy: Atco Records

This spring, Atco Records will release a new live recording from veteran guitarist Jeff Beck.

Officials with Atco Records announced this week that the label will release Jeff Beck Live+ on Tuesday, May 5th. The sixteen-track recording features fourteen live recordings lifted from various stops on Beck’s 2014 tour with fellow legendary rock band ZZ Top and two new studio recordings. The new studio tracks are Beck’s first new studio recordings since he released his Grammy-nominated 2010 album Emotion & Commotion.  Beck was joined by fellow musicians Rhonda Smith (bass), Jonathan Joseph (drums), and Nicholas Meier (guitar) as well as vocalist Jimmy Hall for the performances featured on this recording. The songs culled for the recording include some of Beck’s biggest hits including: ‘Morning Dew,’ ‘Superstition,’ and ‘Big Block’ among others. There are also covers of The Beatles’ ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘’Hammerhead,’ Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing,’ Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘You Know You Know,’ and Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ as well as a special rendition of ‘Danny Boy.’ The new studio tracks ‘Tribal’ and ‘My Tiled White Floor’ round out the upcoming compilation. Ruth Lorenzo provides guest vocals for ‘Tribal’ and Veronica Bellino shares her talents on ‘My Tiled White Floor.’ The full track listing for Jeff Beck Live+ is listed below.

JEFF BECK LIVE+

Track Listing

  1. “Loaded”
  2.  “Morning Dew”
  3. “You Know You Know”
  4. “Why Give It Away”
  5. “A Change Is Gonna Come”
  6.  “A Day In The Life”
  7. “Superstition”
  8. “Hammerhead”
  9. “Little Wing”
  10. “Big Block”
  11. “Where Were You”
  12. “Danny Boy”
  13. “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”
  14. “Going Down”
  15. “Tribal”*
  16. “My Tiled White Floor”*

*New Studio Recording

Jeff Beck will hit the road beginning next Monday, April 13th at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on an eleven-date headlining tour that runs through April 26th. Beginning April 30th, Beck will join ZZ Top again for a handful of makeup dates that were postponed in 2014 due to an injury sustained by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. Those dates run through May 10th. From there, Beck will take a couple days off before heading back out on the road once again beginning May 12th on a nine-date solo tour that begins in Louisville, KY and winds down on May 23rd in Minneapolis, MN. The full slate of dates for Beck’s upcoming performances is noted below:

Jeff Beck Solo Dates

April 13                  The Capitol Theatre                                                            Port Chester, NY

April 15                  The Paramount                                                                    Huntington, NY

April 16                  The Paramount                                                                    Huntington, NY

April 17                  The Paramount                                                                    Huntington, NY

April 18                  The Capitol Theatre                                                            Port Chester, NY

April 19                  Orpheum Theatre                                                               Boston, MA

April 21                  Ulster Performing Arts Center                                           Kingston, NY

April 22                  Bergen Performing Arts Center                                         Englewood, NJ

April 24                  Count Basie Theatre                                                           Red Bank, NJ

April 25 The Strand – Capital Performing Arts Center                                          York, PA

April 26                  The Palace Theatre                                                             Greensburg, PA

 

With ZZ TOP

April 30                  Cedar Park Center                                                               Cedar Park, TX

May 1                    Winstar Casino                                                                    Thackerville, OK
May 2                    Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion                                        The Woodlands, TX
May 3                    Concrete Street                                                                    Corpus Christi, TX
May 7                    MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre                                   Tampa, FL
May 8                    Cruzan Amphitheater                                                         West Palm Beach, FL
May 9                    St. Augustine Amphitheatre                                              St. Augustine, FL
May 10                  Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre                                              Alpharetta, GA

Jeff Beck Newly Added Solo Dates – on sale dates noted:

May 12                  The Kentucky Center –Whitney Hall                              Louisville, KY*

May 14                  Michigan Theater                                                          Ann Arbor, MI ***

May 15                  Hard Rock Live                                                             Northfield, OH*

May 16                  PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center                       Cincinnati, OH

May 17                  Ryman Auditorium                                                          Nashville, TN

May 19                  Fox Theater                                                                  St. Louis, MO *

May 21                  Chicago Theatre                                                            Chicago, IL **

May 22                  Riverside Theatre                                                            Milwaukee, WI*

May 23                  State Theater                                                                  Minneapolis, MN*

*on sale April 10

** on sale April 11

*** on sale April 17

Jeff Beck Live+ will be available in stores and online Tuesday, May 5th. It will retail for MSRP of $18.98 in physical form. More information on this recording, Beck’s upcoming re-issue of Live at Ronnie Scott’s and any of his other recordings is available online now along with all of the latest updates on his tour schedule and other news at:

Website: http://www.jeffbeck.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffbeckmusic

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.