Live In Tokyo Presents A Master Musician At His Finest

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The term master is a word that is generally used for someone who has spent many years honing one’s talents. And not only that, but someone whose time honing his or her talents have paid off in the most positive ways possible both for himself/herself and for others. There are masters in every profession. There are master carpenters. There are master chefs. There are even master electricians and martial artists. So what makes a musician a master at his or her own craft? The answer is much the same as those people who spend their own lives honing their crafts. It leads to yet another question: Who are the masters in the music industry today? Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Queen are just a few acts that come to mind. Another master that comes to mind is the hugely talented and so humble guitarist Jeff Beck. His latest live recording Live in Tokyo is proof positive of why Beck is deserving and has been deserving of the title of master for many years. That s evident throughout the hour and a half-long set. Beck shows so much talent and humility throughout the show, handling his own tunes and covering songs from other masters, too. Along the way, Beck lets his band mates keep the center stage while he does his own thing. Staying on that line of thought, Beck’s own on-stage presence in this concert shows even more why he is considered one of the masters. He shows that he doesn’t need big antics or even big riffs to make an impact on his audiences. And last but not least worth noting as proof of his position is the fact that Beck didn’t need to spend any time between songs killing time. He let his music (and that of his band mates) speaks so loudly in its beauty and impact that it speaks perfectly for itself. It left no need to waste any time between songs, thus making the performance presented here so enjoyable. And in the end, it leaves not even a shadow of a doubt as to why Jeff Beck is one of the true masters in his field.

Jeff Beck is a master of his field. He has far more than proven this throughout the course of his decades-long career. From his earliest days as a member of the famed Yardbirds up to his current solo career. His latest live recording Live in Tokyo shows without a shadow of a doubt why some five-plus decades since he first started making a name for himself he is considered one of the industry’s true masters. Beck proves why he is one of the industry’s masters on Live in Tokyo first and foremost through the concert’s set list. He breezes through his own compositions and those of other masters from across the music industry. Those masters include: Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and even John Lennon and Paul McCartney among others. The fact that Beck handles such variety of music with equal ease shows great talent. It also shows a great knowledge and respect for the history built by said masters as audiences will hear for themselves throughout the concert. He performs with such ease. Yet it’s obvious he never takes for granted his craft nor the talents of those to whom he pays tribute. Such great talent and respect for his fellow musicians in this form proves without a shadow of a doubt why Jeff Beck is considered a master. It’s definitely not the only way he proves it here (as if he really needed to do so). He also proves himself a master through his humility, which could be included in his on-stage presence.

While Jeff Beck’s name graces the cover of his new live recording, his on-stage presence proves to be a total counter to that billing. He shows so much humility throughout the course of the concert, letting his band mates–Jonathan Joseph (drums), Nicholas Meier (guitar), and Rhonda Smith (bass)–take the center stage most of the time. He doesn’t just fade into the background by any means. But he also doesn’t show himself to be like other well-known musicians who try to covertly hog the limelight while their band mates try to shine. He shows quite the level of humility, allowing Joseph, Meier, and Smith to display their talents just as much as himself if not more. It’s really something rare to behold especially in the current era of the music industry. It’s also quite refreshing. That humility coupled with Beck’s own talents show here even more why Beck is justifiably considered a master.

Staying on the matter of Beck’s talents, He shows with his talents that he doesn’t need huge riffs, pyro, crazy antics (  without his guitar) or other extras to entertain audiences. He doesn’t show the need to speed through any of the songs, either. He more than lives up to the adage that it takes a real musician to play slow and with control. What’s more he lives up to that adage more than once throughout the course of the concert. That casual approach oddly enough actually makes the performance even more enjoyable. In turn it proves yet more why Jeff Beck is one of the greatest of the music industry’s masters.

Jeff Beck proves in so many ways throughout Live in Tokyo why decades after he first broke out he is considered one of the best in the game. He shows why through his humility, his knowledge and respect for the history of music, and through his own ability to entertain audiences without really having to try. One more way that he proves his place in the music industry’s upper echelons is through the fact that he didn’t even need to spend any time killing time between songs to entertain audiences. His talents (and  his band mates) prove so substantial throughout the concert that audiences won’t feel like they are losing anything in that lack of interaction. Audiences will be so entertained that all they will feel and hear is the music. By the time the show ends, audiences won’t even realize that it all passed without even the slightest break for conversation. That is how loudly and how solidly the talents of both Beck and his band mates spoke throughout this concert. It truly says something about an entertainer when he or she doesn’t need to rely on such extra in order to entertain audiences and fill time at the same time. Considering this, it is one more way in which Jeff Beck proves that now in his 70s, he is only coming into his prime and yet is justifiably considered one of the greatest of the masters in the music industry. Together with all of the aforementioned aspects of this concert, audiences will see with crystal clear vision just why Jeff Beck is one of the greatest in his business. It also shows why Eagle Rock is the greatest in its business.

Jeff Beck has made quite the name for himself over the course of his decades-long career. That career includes time with other greats and with those that are perhaps not so well-known. Through it all, Beck has persevered and risen throughout those decades to become today one of the true masters of the music industry. Whether it be through his stage presence, his very display of talent, or his knowledge of and respect for the history of music, Jeff Beck shows throughout Live in Tokyo without a doubt why he is a master musician. Audiences will agree with this sentiment when they purchase this concert for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray. It is available in stores and online now. More information on this and other recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

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

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

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.

McCartney’s New Single Gives Great Hope For His Career And The Future Of Music

Courtesy:  Concerd Music Group/Hear Music/MPL

Courtesy: Concord Music Group/Hear Music/MPL

Legendary musician Paul McCartney has spent the better part of his life making some of the greatest music that audiences have ever heard. Whether it be music that he crafted with his former Beatles band mates, those he composed as part of Wings, or his solo work, McCartney’s work has proven time and again to be timeless. Now McCartney is set to release yet another great work in the form of his new single ‘Hope For The Future.’ This song was previously only available through the new hit video game Destiny. But on Monday, December 8th, the song will be available worldwide for audiences via Concord Music Group/Hear Music/MPL. There is plenty that can be said of this song that makes it such a joy of a song. The most obvious reason for its enjoyment is its lyrical content. Taken out of the context of Destiny’s world, the song’s lyrical content proves to be just as powerful for listeners. The song’s musical arrangement adds even more depth to the song. There are strings, horns, and of course McCartney covering the vocals and guitar line. As important as both factors are to the song’s success and enjoyment, they would be nothing without proper production. Thankfully veteran producer Giles Martin put all of the song’s various musical sections together to complete the song. It shows to be a song that gives its own hope for the future of McCartney’s career however long McCartney chooses to keep making music.

‘Hope For The Future’ was originally released earlier this year as part of the soundtrack to the hugely popular video game Destiny. But next Tuesday, the song will be available for audiences around the world through Concord Music/Hear Music/MPL. This song, which McCartney crafted himself, is arguably one of the best new singles of 2014. And it definitely gives its own * ahem* hope for the future of McCartney’s career for however long he chooses to keep making music. One way in which that it does this is through the song’s lyrical content. McCartney writes in this song, “We will build bridges/Up to the sky/Heavenly light surrounding you and I/From out of the darkness/Our future will come/If we leave the past behind/We’ll fly beyond the sun/We’ll be together/Sharing the load/Watching in wonder/As our lives unfold.” Such positive lyrical content could not be more welcome especially in consideration of all of the conflict around the world. McCartney’s line referencing leaving the past behind could not be more fitting for America considering the recent reports of civil unrest and racial tensions raised thanks to recent police actions. He goes on to write in the song’s chorus, “Hope shines brightest/In the dark/Where nothing’s ever seen/Lighting undiscovered places/No one’s ever been.” He hammers home the point that a positive outcome is possible despite all of this unrest and tensions he writes, “Hope for the future/It will belong to us/If we believe/If we believe.” Such positive and–for lack of better wording–hopeful lyrics are welcome and much needed especially in the current state of the world. It’s just one way in which ‘Hope For The Future’ proves to be such an outstanding new work from Paul McCartney.

The lyrical content infused into ‘Hope For The Future’ is itself an important part of the song’s whole. It provides a positive, glimmering light among all of the darkness created by the conflict and tensions around the world. The lyrics are themselves quite positive. The music against which the lyrics are set add even more depth and impact to the song. McCartney was backed by a full orchestra in the recording of the song. That means that every part that audiences hear is the real thing. From the gentle cello line that opens the song to the power of the low brass against McCartney’s own guitar line, and the soaring strings, the arrangement in whole adds so much depth and emotion to the song. Set against the song’s lyrical side, it makes them even more impactful. The end result is again, a song that proves to be one of this year’s best new singles and a song that gives plenty of hope for McCartney’s own musical future.

The music and lyrics that make up ‘Hope For The Future’ collectively make this song a piece that audiences will enjoy whether listening to it as part of Destiny’s soundtrack or by itself. As impressive as the music and lyrics are, they would be nothing without the work of producers Mark “Spike” Stent and Giles Martin. Martin, many might not know, is the son of legendary producer George Martin, who produced a number of The Beatles’ greatest albums decades ago. George’s ear for music was obviously passed down to Giles, as audiences will hear here. He and Stent balanced McCartney’s musicianship with the talents of the 120-member (yes, 120) orchestra. Whether it be the accents of the cymbal rolls, the punch of the low brass against McCartney’s own guitar line, or the crescendos and decrescendos of the strings, Martin and Stent obviously went to painstaking efforts to make every part of the song have the utmost emotional impact. They accomplished this goal quite well, too. Audiences will agree with that sentiment when they hear the song for themselves. What’s more, audiences will agree in hearing ‘Hope For The Future’ that this song itself is one of the best new singles of 2014. And it gives great hope for McCartney’s career for however long he intends to keep making music.

Whether it be for the production work of Giles Martin and Mark Stent, the song’s musical side, or its lyrical side, all three factors prove to be equally important in the success and enjoyment of ‘Hope For The Future.’ The original mix itself is more than enough reason to pick up this single or download it. McCartney and the people at Concord Music, Hear Music, and MPL have made things even more interesting for audiences by including four remixes, one of which is a rather interesting EDM remix. Whether it be any of those remixes or the original, every listener will find something to like about ‘Hope For The Future.’ With any luck, all of the different mixes together will change the minds of even those that have decried the song and make them agree that this is without a doubt, one of the great new singles of 2014.

‘Hope For The Future’ will be available Monday, December 8th. More information on how to purchase and download the single and on McCartney’s upcoming tour dates and news, is available online at:

Website: http://www.paulmccartney.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaulMcCartney

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.

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom Is The Most Intriguing And Original Children’s Story So Far This Year

Courtesy:  Apple Eye Productions

Courtesy: Apple Eye Productions

2014 has been a good year so far for children’s releases. New albums from The Okee Dokee Brothers, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Danny Weinkauf and others have proven to be some of the most enjoyable albums to be released in said genre so far. There are others of course. These are just a few of the year’s top new releases. Now as the year winds down, another new release has come along that is sure to make audiences take notice. That release is Gustafer Yellowgold’s the Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom. The latest release from musician Morgan Taylor, this sixth story about the former resident of the sun sees Gustafer on a journey to find the owner of a giant tooth. The very story presented here is the most important factor in the appreciation of this new release. While being central to the overall appreciation, the story presented in this release is only part of the whole that audiences will appreciate. Also worth noting is the music. By and large, the instant comparison that can be made in this release is to The Flaming Lips of all bands. Although there is one song in the story that bears quite a resemblance to The Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Rounding out the whole presentation is the fact that the story is presented by orally and visually. Taylor’s not so young (but still young enough) audiences will appreciate the use of what is essentially storyboarding to tell the story of Gustafer’s journey. The storyboarding helps bring fully to life the story presented in the set’s audio side. It is the final noteworthy portion of this presentation. And together with the release’s music and very story, it makes the story in whole one that any older child will want to hear at least once with their parents.

It goes without saying that in listening to singer/songwriter Morgan Taylor’s latest Gustafer Yellowgold story that it is one of the most intriguing and yet original children’s works to be released so far this year. Its very story is one that exemplifies this critic’s firm belief that children’s releases are actually more creative and original than most albums released for grown-ups. That argument can be backed up just by going through this outlandishly original story. Presented here is the story of former sun resident Gustafer Yellowgold’s journey to find the owner of a giant wisdom tooth. Yes, a giant wisdom tooth. Few musicians, bands and groups can claim to have ever crafted such a story, regardless of whether said story be for adults or kids. The only story that even begins to come close is the short story ‘Imaginary Friend’ from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. And that story alone only filled out one song from a whole album of songs. It was a song about a boy’s imaginary friend named Pickles. Pickles liked mustard popsicles and came from another planet totally unlike that of Earth. That being noted, it can be said again that this latest adventure of Gustafer Yellowgold is easily one of the most intriguing and original children’s works to be released this year. It’s just one reason that older children and their parents will want to check out this story at least once.

The journey on which Gustafer Yellowgold embarks in this story is the central point of the whole presentation’s interest. It is definitely the most original and intriguing children’s work to be released so far this year. The music that accompanies the story adds another layer to the presentation’s interest. Those that might be familiar with the band’s work will instantly make a comparison to famed indie-rock act The Flaming Lips in listening to the story’s musical side. Even Taylor himself sounds somewhat liked TFL front man Wayne Coyne. At the same time, the song ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ conjures thoughts of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with its mix of vocals, guitar and horn arrangements. Audiences will laugh almost hysterically as Taylor sings about Gustafter getting his face numbed at a dentist’s office. Audiences can check out the song’s official video online now via Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YsQOhjVB1c&feature=youtu.be. To say that the combination of the song and video trippy would not do either one justice. They must be experienced first-hand in order for audiences to really appreciate the artistry that went into both elements. It’s just one more reason that audiences will want to experience Gustafer Yellowgold’s latest adventure at least once.

The story and the music that make up Gustafer Yellowgold and the Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom collectively exemplify why this story is the year’s most original and intriguing for children so far this year. By themselves, the story and its music make for one heck of a ride for listeners. Together with the story’s visual side included in the set’s DVD, the story is made whole. The use of storyboards of sorts is just as ingenious and creative as the story and its music. There is no narrator; only Taylor singing. And each storyboard also includes the lyrics to the story’s songs. So audiences can follow along with ease as the story progresses. It makes the overall experience like watching a book on television. Together with the work’s music and its very story, the tale’s visual side completes the overall presentation, proving once more just why this story is one that every parent should take in at least once with their older children.

Gustafter Yellowgold’s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom is the single most original and intriguing story to be released for children so far this year. Whether it be for the story itself, its indie-pop sound or its original visual storytelling style, plenty can be noted as to why audiences should experience this story at least once. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Gustafer Yellowgold and his many adventures is available online at:

Website: http://www.gustaferyellowgold.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Gustafer

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.

Roy Orbison To Receive New Award

Photo Credit: Janet Macoska

Photo from “The Last Concert” Credit: Janet Macoska

Legendary musician Roy Orbison is gone but definitely not forgotten.  The legendary musician will posthumously receive an award from the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.  Orbison will be awarded the Iconic Riff Award.  The award, which is being awarded for the first time, is being awarded to Orbison for his hit 1964 song, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song would go on to become a number one single after its original release.

Heads of the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum said the reason that Orbison was chosen as the first recipient of the award because of the riff that opens ‘Oh, Pretty Woman.’  The song itself has been covered by countless artists. It rose to its biggest fame thanks to rock band Van Halen’s cover of the song.  It was also the inspiration for the hit 1990 rom-com, Pretty Woman, starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.  The song itself can even be heard in the movie’s soundtrack.

Along with its numerous covers and use in movies, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ the song is also included a new live concert recording from Legacy Recordings titled Black & White Night.  The DVD recording was released this week.  It was recorded in September of 1987 and includes the likes of: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Brown, JD Souther, and Tom Waits joining the star for his hit song.

Roy Orbison is one of the music industry’s most well-known and respected names.  He started his career in 1956.  He was signed to the famed Sun Records at the time.  The label also boasted the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash on its roster.  It wouldn’t be until he signed a deal and recorded for Monument Records in the early to mid-1960s that his career truly took off.  The release of ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ marked the peak of his career at the time.  The song, which Orbison co-wrote with Bill Dees, would go on to sell seven million copies and spend three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.  It also peaked at number one on the British charts for three weeks.  This was an unprecedented feat for any American recording artist at the time.  That is because The Beatles were dominating both countries’ charts at the time.

A new collection of Orbison’s hits titled The Monument Boxset will be released November 26th.  The collection is a vinyl only package that includes three of the most well-known and beloved albums that Orbison recorded during his time with Monument Records.  Those records are: Lonely and Blue, Crying, and In Dreams, which was also just recently re-issued on CD.  The new box set also includes a fourth album that had not existed until now.  The album will be centered on ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ and will be comprised of five tracks.  The album’s songs were chosen by Orbison’s own sons, Alex, Roy Kelton, and Wesley Orbison.  Orbison’s suns have maintained their father’s legacy, running Roy’s Boys LLC, which is responsible for managing their father’s likeness, image, and musical releases.

Roy’s Boys LLC and Legacy Recordings are set to release one more live Roy Orbison concert before the year ends.  The Last Concert25th Anniversary Edition chronicles what would be Orbison’s final concert before his death in 1988.  The concert was recorded on December 4th, 1988.  That was only two days before he would suffer a fatal heart attack.  The fact that he would pass away only two days later is only part of what makes the upcoming concert so important.  Orbison commonly closed his shows with a performance of ‘Running Scared.’  But recording engineers ran out of tape that night before Orbison performed the song.  The result of that shortage is that ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ would end up being the final number from his final ever concert.  More information on all upcoming Roy Orbison releases is available online at http://www.royorbison.com and http://www.facebook.com/royorbison.  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.

Rockshow Another Welcome Live Release For Fans of McCartney AND Wings

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment has for some time, been the place to go for anyone wanting to learn anything about the history of modern mainstream music.  The company has released live recordings from greats such as: Ray Charles, Miles Davis, The B-52s, Deep Purple and more over the years.  It has even ventured into the realm of newer music with live releases from artists including: The Raconteurs, Stone Temple Pilots, Alanis Morissette, and even Slipknot.  Now Eagle Rock has taken music lovers the world over back in time once again with yet another impressive live release from another of music’s greatest names in the form of one Sir Paul McCartney.

Eagle Rock has just released a new live recording from Sir Paul McCartney and his band mates in Wings, titled, Rockshow.  It would be so easy to state that this performance presents McCartney and company at the top of their game.  But the reality is that McCartney himself has always been at the top of his game.  This performance is just one more example of his and his band mates’ talent.  There are those that have complained about issues with audio in the transfer from this performance’s original VHS recording to the DVD and Blu-ray format.  One can’t help but wonder if this was a mostly isolated problem.  The Blu-ray screener viewed by this critic didn’t seem to have any audio issues whatsoever.  And for those that complained about the video quality, one must remember that this concert was originally recorded nearly four decades ago.  So yes, it is going to be grainy.  Fans of the music icon should be appreciative that the effort was even made to transfer the masters from Betamax to DVD and Blu-ray.  Considering all that could have gone wrong with the transfer, the grainy footage is just one more part of the whole that makes this another success for Eagle Rock Entertainment and for Sir Paul’s fans.

Having tackled the elephant in the room, the next logical step here would be to take a look at the band’s performance overall.  Whether one is a fan of McCartney’s time with The Beatles or more of his work away from the band that helped him launch his career, both sides will be equally impressed by the set list of this concert.  It all kicks off with the crowd pleaser, ‘Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet.’  Throughout the course of the roughly two hour-long recording, McCartney and company cover largely material from Wing’s catalogue.  Though there are some Beatles tunes peppered in for good measure including: ‘Lady Madonna’, ‘Blackbird’, and ‘The Long and Winding Road.’  They intentionally avoided the Beatles material as much as possible during this and other performances intentionally in order to separate the two bands.  As author/media personality Paul Gambaccini writes in the included liner notes, “In the early seventies McCartney did not perform Beatles songs in concert, wanting to establish Wings on its own.  Now, in 1976, the group is in full flight, and Paul can use some of the songs he wrote in the sixties to spice up the set.”  It really was a logical plan of action for someone that had built his name with such a big band.  And it helps to make this performance so much more enjoyable.

Staying on the matter of Gambaccini’s writing, this is another positive factor to the whole that is Rockshow.  His writing style is less journalism and more storytelling.  Set alongside the photos of the band, the pair takes viewers back in time.  He doesn’t try to write above himself.  And he doesn’t try to write above the heads of those that would buy this new release.  It’s easily accessible for general audiences.  Because of this, the actual concert experience is that much richer whether one was actually there or not when this performance was originally recorded.

Getting back to the actual concert experience, the band covers more than its own material and that of The Beatles.  Audiences will enjoy the inclusion of the Moody Blues classic, ‘Go Now.’  This song about lost love is ironically one of the whole performance’s highlights.  It’s a highlight not so much because of the music, but because of the sight of Paul and his then wife Linda performing side by side.  There is something so contradictory about this sight set against a song about lost love.  Audiences can see just how in love the couple was.  Sadly, she would pass many years later.  Knowing this, it makes this moment all the more special.  It makes the final two pages of the included booklet all the more touching as a closing gesture, too.  The booklet’s penultimate page features a concert poster for the original 1976 tour with Paul’s face there.  The final page is a picture of Linda exactly as she looked in this recording.  She was one of the ones for whom this re-mastered recording was dedicated.  While McCartney himself might not have had a hand in this new re-issue, he surely had to have seen this touching gesture.  Fans will see it too, and hopefully be just as moved by this and the sight of her performing with her then husband.  It’s a touching final moment of what is another enjoyable live release from Eagle Rock Entertainment.  The DVD and Blu-ray are both available now in stores and online.  They can be ordered online direct from the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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.

Fans Get Quite An Anniversary Gift From The Rolling Stones In New Documentary

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records/Eagle Vision

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records/Eagle Vision

The latest release in the ongoing celebration of The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary is another welcome addition to the library of any fan of this legendary veteran rock act.  The new DVD and Blu-ray release covers the band’s formative years during the 1960s and 70s.  There are those that have criticized this new release, comparing it to the likes of The Beatles’ Anthology.  But let’s be realistic, considering the price of that set and the price of the Stones’ previous box set, Charlie is my Darling, this latest release is just as good.  Would it be nice to see the importance of the band throughout its care, considering that the world is celebrating its 50th anniversary?  Yes, it would.  And hopefully Eagle Rock will follow up this release with one that follows the second half of the band’s storied career.  But in the meantime, this volume will do just fine.

Crossfire Hurricane is such an impressive work because it in fact does cover a specific portion of the band’s career.  It covered the band’s career during what was one of the most turbulent times in the modern history of the world.  Mick, Charlie, Keith, and the late Brian Jones are all presented here in their highs (both metaphorically and literally) and their lows.  From dealing with public perception versus the perfectly proper “Fab Four” to becoming the voice of a disenchanted youth to dealing with the loss of a brother, it’s all here.  Audiences see the band’s meteoric rise to fame, and hear direct from the fans and the band itself what made the band so important even in its infancy.    Viewers even get to hear what the band had to say about working with one another, too, which leads to another positive in the presentation.

Audiences get so much out of the history presented behind the band in Crossfire Hurricane.  Directly related to the band’s history is the video footage presented in this release.  Fans that bought the recently released DVD, Blu-ray or complete box set presentation of Charlie is my Darling will recognize some of the footage included in this presentation.  There is far more footage included here that wasn’t included in that presented in that set, too.  Together, the final product will take fans of all ages back in time to the band’s younger days.  While Mick’s look hasn’t changed much since the band’s initial performances, drummer Charlie Watts is almost unrecognizable.  Parents should be warned that among the footage, there is some nudity throughout the expertly re-mastered footage.  So parents who perhaps want to introduce their kids to one of rock’s greatest bands should take this into note before watching it with younger viewers in the room.  That aside, it is still an impressive look back on what are some of the most important years in the history of The Rolling Stones.

If the history lesson on The Rolling Stones’ early years isn’t enough for viewers, then maybe the bonus live performances included will entertain audiences.  After all, Eagle Rock continuously proves itself to be a leader among companies putting out live releases.  Just as the footage compiled for the documentary will take viewers on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, so will the bonus live performances.  The earliest of the performances included in this release date as far back as 1964.  Considering that nearly half a century has passed since these performances were recorded, the footage has stood the test of time quite well.  Both the audio and video sound quite impressive.  They sound just as good as any of today’s recordings.  As good as they sound and as much of a resurgence as vinyl has had today, it would be even more amazing for nostalgia’s sake to see Eagle Rock release those performances on a complete vinyl release, too.

So much more could be noted of this new release.  But it goes without saying that as already noted, it is one more impressive way for fans to celebrate the career of a band that is simply put, rock royalty.  Who knows, maybe Eagle Rock will even follow up this presentation with another celebration of the band’s career with a feature on the second half of the band’s career.  Fans can be the first to find out when they “Like” the Eagle Rock Entertainment Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  The DVD and Blu-ray are both available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via the Eagle Rock Entertainment website at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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.

Satriani Proves He’s Still Got Plenty Of “Momentum” On New LP

Courtesy:  Epic Records/RED Distribution

Courtesy: Epic Records/RED Distribution

Joe Satriani’s latest release, Unstoppable Momentum is the famed guitarist’s best release since his 2006 album, Super Colossal.  This new record is the album that fans have waited for since the release of Super Colossal.  It is just as bombastic as Super Colossal and more at some points.  It’s also just as gentle as SC, too at different points.  Perhaps a big reason for the success of this record is the Satch opted for a different backing group than he typically uses on his records.  Many of Satriani’s past records were recorded with Jeff Campitelli on drums and Allen Whitman on bass.  This time out, Satch opted instead to have drummer Vinnie Colaiuta man the kit and Chris Chaney add the low end on bass.  Another change to the lineup that could have created such a difference on this record from his other works was the inclusion of Mike Frasier behind the glass once again.  The two are quite familiar with one another, having worked together on no less than six of Satch’s previous records, including his most recent album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010) and Super Colossal.  He also helped with the creation of both of Chickenfoot’s current releases on which Joe played guitar.  That familiarity and friendship between the pair—and the inclusion of new musicians–obviously played a role in the record’s sound as it has proven to be not just his best record since Super Colossal, but one of his finest records to date.

Right from the opening number of Unstoppable Momentum, long-time fans of Satriani’s work know they are in for quite a ride.  The album opens fittingly with its title track.  Simply listening to the song, one can’t help but hear that perhaps Satriani is making a statement early on that even fourteen albums in, he still has a lot left to offer audiences.  He still has that “unstoppable momentum.”  The song’s seeming ABA structure starts off easy before really kicking things up in the middle section.  Joe shows without a doubt that he’s still got plenty left in the tank with his “solos” in this section while drummer Vinnie Colaiuta gives an added intensity with his musicianship behind the kit.  He proves to be just as solid as [Jeff] Campitelli, if not more so.  His ability to handle polyrhythmic patters without missing a single beat is impressive to say the least, both here and throughout the record.  This is just one example of what makes this such a solid record.

Another good example of what makes Unstoppable Momentum a success is the almost Beatles-esque, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cabin.’  The song’s “A” sections have something of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club influence.  Somehow, Satriani and his band mates manage to tie in a sound that is quite the counterpoint to this vibe, making the song into a piece unlike anything that Satriani has ever recorded throughout his career.  It is one of those songs that simply must be heard to be appreciated and understood.      

There is at least one more example of what makes this new record one that fans will enjoy.  And it is the album’s absolutely shortest, but most touching piece.  That song is the one minute and forty-three minute long, ‘I’ll Put a Stone on Your Cairn.’  For those that don’t know, one of the traditional uses of a cairn is as a monument to one who has passed on.  Its use roots all the way back to prehistoric Eurasia.  So placing a stone on one’s cairn would be an act of tribute and remembrance to the deceased.  Keeping all of this in mind, the gentle, dulcet tones of this short opus are sure to create thoughts in the minds of listeners of perhaps those that they have lost.  It offers some of the album’s deepest emotions and is sure to generate among listeners some of the deepest emotions, as well.  Without a doubt, this song may end up being a favorite for fans, even as short as it is.  And it is just one more among so many that listeners will enjoy throughout the course of the album’s eleven total tracks.  The album is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via Joe’s website, http://www.satriani.com, where he has links to iTunes, Amazon, and through his own website.  Fans can also order the new album and all sorts of Joe Satriani gear through his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.  Fans can keep up with the latest tour updates and news from Joe on his Facebook page, too.

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