‘Royal Tea’ Is Royalty Among Joe Bonamassa’s Extensive Catalog

Courtesy: JR-Adventures

Joe Bonamassa has made a career of playing the blues, covering the classics and handling his own originals.  From one album to the next, he has shown why he is one of the leading names in the blues community.  Now with the release of his latest album Royal Tea on Oct. 23, Bonamassa has completely cemented his place not only in the upper echelon of the blues community, but the music community in whole.  That is because Bonamassa has branched out so much in this record, opting to offer so much more than his standard blues compositions.  This is well worth discussing in itself.  The record’s production adds its own touch to the presentation and will also be addressed here.  The sequencing puts the final touch to this album’s presentation.  When it is considered along with the noted production and musical arrangements, the whole make Royal Tea a work that proves Joe Bonamassa is music royalty.

Joe Bonamassa’s latest album Royal Tea is without question, one of his greatest albums to date if not his greatest work yet.  It is a presentation that shows so much growth from the famed blues rock guitarist/singer.  That is proven throughout the course of the 10-song record’s 53-minute run time.  Rather than just sticking with the standard blues style works for which he has come to be known, Bonamassa opted this time to branch out.  That is evidenced right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘When One Door Opens.’  This nearly eight-minute epic composition opens with a broad, symphonic arrangement, complete with strings, crash cymbals, and horns.  That bombastic opening gradually gives way to a very contemplative, introspective stylistic approach whose chromatic scales and vocal harmonies are more rock ballad-esque than blues.  As the song progresses into its “third movement” (the very fact that the song is so in-depth displaying so many styles is itself impressive.  That me blends them together so well is even more worthy of applause) things change over to Bonamassa’s more bluesy style before switching back to the noted contemplative ballad-style approach to close out the song.    There is even a hint of Holst’s ‘Mars: The Bringer of War’ mixed in for good measure.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, the subtle addition of that element adds so much to the song in its own right.  The whole of this composition shows clearly that it is anything but what audiences have come to expect from Joe Bonamassa.  It is just one of the works that exhibits his growth in this album.  Just as interesting to note as this song is the clear influence of certain other equally well-known acts in other songs.

Listening to the album’s title song, the Beatles influence is undeniable, especially as the song opens.  From there, there is a touch of Jimi Hendrix influence.  Considering that Bonamassa recorded this album at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, none of this should come as a surprise.  Hendrix rose first to fame in England before the United States.  And of course, The Beatles are synonymous with Abbey Road Studios.  ‘High Class Girl’ meanwhile immediately lends itself to comparisons to Booker T and the MGs’ famous hit ‘Green Onions’ what with the combination of its guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.  The side-by-side is a near mirror image, yet even with that in mind, Bonamassa still manages to make this song about a man who is crazy for a woman who is out of his league into its own composition.  On yet another note, ‘Lonely Boy’ echoes influences of Brian Setzer and Stray Cats with its rockabilly style arrangement.  That Bonamassa was able to take influences from his equally well-known contemporaries and still create his own unique compositions is just one more way in which this record’s musical content proves so important to its whole.  He also branches out into some other realms, and in the process makes his own unique compositions.

Case in point of the noted statement about Bonamassa branching out even more is ‘Savannah,’ which closes out the album.  This song is a distinctly country/bluegrass work that will appeal widely to fans of acts, such as Steep Canyon Rangers and Zac Brown Band.  The subtle use of the keyboards against the vocal harmonies, drums, mandolin and guitar makes the song such an enjoyable work.  By contrast, ‘Lookout Man!’ is a bass heavy modern rock style composition whose heavy guitars, bass, and rums will appeal to fans of acts, such as Audioslave and Small Town Titans.  The addition of Bonamassa’s gritty vocal delivery and the harmonica to the mix adds even appeal more to the arrangement.  ‘A Conversation With Alice,’ the album’s lead single, throws lends itself to similarities to works from the likes of maybe Foreigner if not other veteran rock acts.  Simply put, these songs in themselves show even more the breadth of Joe Bonamassa’s talents and abilities.  They show, along with the other noted arrangements, that he is not just a one trick pony whose bread and butter is just the blues.  It shows that he can play any style of music any time.  Hopefully with that in mind, audiences will hear him take that into account even more when he releases his next album.  Now taking all of this into account, the wide range of styles of music exhibited throughout Royal Tea make up collectively just one part of what makes the album so enjoyable.  The album’s production adds another positive touch to its presentation.

The production that went into Royal Tea’s presentation is so pivotal because, again, Joe Bonamassa branched out so much throughout this album.  ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ is a good example of the impact of the production.  This slow, bluesy work, is clearly a work about a broken relationship.  The song’s arrangement adds so much to its impact.  Listeners will note the subtlety in the guitar and bass balance and the way the drums cut through here when they listen closely.  The way each element is balanced in the song’s verses versus the more bombastic choruses serves well to translate the emotion in each moment as the song’s subject is going through so many thoughts.

‘When One Door Opens’ is another example of what makes the album’s production so important.  That is due in part to the symphonic element in the song’s opening bars.  This is something that Bonamassa has done rarely if ever.  That means that a subtle backing element, such as a cymbal crash had to be really controlled.  Even in the song’s more subtle moments, the vocals and drums had to be balanced with the equally subtle string arrangement and bells (yes, bells) to make sure the fullest impact was achieved, which it was.

‘Beyond The Silence’ is one more example of what makes this album’s production so important.  The song, whose arrangement is a very western style work, conjures thoughts of Bon Jovi’s hit song ‘Blaze of Glory’ and Blues Saraceno’s ‘Evil Ways.’  The song stars and ends in very brooding fashion, with thunder setting the stage.  The subtle way in which that thunder rumbles “in the distance” is powerful in its subtlety.  The equally subtle use of the organ, drums, piano, guitar, bass and vocals makes for such high levels of engagement.  As the song enters its chorus, the more energetic approach makes for a stark contrast to the more subdued verses.  That contrast adds even more impact to the song.  The work that clearly went in to balance the two moods paid off, maximizing the impact.  When this is considered along with the examined production in the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the production clearly plays an important part to the album’s presentation.  It is still not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The sequencing rounds out the album’s most important elements.

The sequencing of Royal Tea is important to examine because it ensures the energies in the album are balanced.  Audiences will be glad to know that the record’s sequencing is just as successful as its production and songs in general.  The record starts so strongly in the multi-movement ‘When One Door Opens.’  The energy stays high even as the stylistic approach changes in the album’s title track.  From there, things pull back noticeably in ‘Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye’ before picking right back up in ‘Lookout Man!’ and carrying through to ‘Beyond The Silence.’  That song in question has already been addressed.  ‘Lonely Boy’ considerably changes things again, picking up the fun and energy once more before the album sets listeners gently on another shore in ‘Savannah.’  This simple, laid back country/bluegrass track is, again, so unlike anything that Bonamassa has ever composed.  It is a wonderful finale for the album, especially considering the musical journey on which audiences embark in listening to the album.  Simply put, the album’s energy rises and falls at all of the right points throughout the course of this album.  This is a tribute to the time and thought that went into the album’s sequencing.  It assures listeners will remain just as engaged and entertained for this aspect as for the rest of the album’s aspects.  Keeping all of that in mind, Royal Tea proves itself to be a solid new offering from Joe Bonamassa and potentially his best work to date.

Joe Bonamassa’s new album Royal Tea is an impressive new offering from the veteran blues-rock guitarist/singer.  It is a record that is largely unlike anything that he has ever presented.  That is presented in part through its musical arrangements, which toss aside the standard blues songs for which he has come to be known in favor of a more diverse selection of styles.  The production of those works and their sequencing puts the final touch to the record, collectively speaking.  They ensure listeners will remain engaged and entertained through the presentation of the arrangements and the balance in their energies.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make Royal Tea royalty among Joe Bonamassa’s catalog. Royal Tea is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of Joe Bonamassa’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.jbonamassa.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JBONAMASSA

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Gunship Debuts Cover Of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Independent electronic music act Gunship is taking on a Beatles classic for its latest single.

The band premiered its cover of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby‘ Wednesday. The band’s take on the song crosses its trademark electronic/80s synth-driven sounds with The Beatles’ original arrangement for a unique new take on the song that will engage and entertain a wide range of listeners.

Gunship bassist/co-founder Dan Haigh talked in a recent interview, about the band’s decision to cover the timeless song, noting its relevance to the current state of the world.

“The song ‘Eleanor Rigby’ really is a sad and extremely poignant song, dealing with issues of disillusionment, loneliness, and isolation in society,” said Haigh. “‘Look at all the lonely people‘ is a lyric that has stuck with us forever. We wondered about a modern day Eleanor Rigby, and what it would be like if a character like her was alive today and experiencing 2020.”

“We felt some of the song’s themes dovetailed closely with the contemporary negative revelations surrounding the mass adoption of social media, phone addiction and the proliferation of the ‘pseudo-connections’ these platforms provide,” added Haigh. “The artwork for our cover version shows a young ‘Eleanor Rigby’, illuminated by her device, dependent on it, manipulated by it, and totally in the clutches of addiction to it. Given the current situation we felt the song would make a suitable cover for Halloween.”

More information on Gunship’s cover of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.gunshipmusic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/gunshipmusic

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Ace Frehley’s New Record Is The Exception To The Rule About Covers Compilations

Courtesy: eOne

Covers collections are a dime a dozen.  From one genre within the bigger musical universe to the next, they are overly abundant offerings.  There is no denying that in the bigger picture of things, covers collections are little more than space fillers used by acts for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations between new albums.  Many of those albums are that and little more.  However, every now and then at least one rarity rises above the rest to do at least a little more, and actually show some value.  Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation is one of those rarities.  Released Friday through eOne, the 12-song record stands out in part because of its featured covers.  This will be discussed shortly.  The performances of the songs play their own part in the album’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The production that went into the record rounds out its most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each noted item is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make Frehley’s latest space filler a work that will appeal to plenty of classic rock fans.

Ace Frehley’s latest covers compilation, released Friday through eOne, is an interesting addition to this year’s field of new space fillers.  That is because unlike its counterparts, it actually proves itself to actually be worth at least some value.  That is due in part to the record’s featured songs.  While there are some notable works featured in the record from some very well-known bands, there are also some lesser-known deep cuts from those bands, too.  Mountain’s ‘Never in my Life’ is an example of one of those deep cuts.  The band is well-known, and while Climbing!, the album in which the song is featured, is considered a hit for Mountain, the song itself was never considered to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  ‘I’m Down,’ which was a b-side to The Beatles’ hit song ‘Help!,’ is another example of Frehley including a lesser-known work from a big name band in this record.  Cream’s ‘Politician’ is yet another example of the noted lesser-known songs featuring in this record.  While the album in which the song is featured – Wheels of Fire – is the world’s first platinum-selling double album, the song was never used as a single.  To that end, it is more of a deep cut.

On the other end of the spectrum, works, such as The Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s ‘Manic Depression’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’’ (whose lyrics Frehley changes slightly here when he sings, “we’re space ace truckin’) are examples of the more well-known works featured in the album.  Between these songs and the lesser-known pieces is in reality a little bit of a rock music history lesson.  Audiences get to learn about some big name bands (I.E. The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin) and those who were more mid-level (Mountain, Paul Revere & The Raiders) while also getting a starting point on discussions on the acts and their catalogs.  What’s more, being that those lesser-known works are rarely if ever played on corporate terrestrial radio and are just as rarely presented in other acts’ covers compilations, their inclusion adds to their importance.  Keeping all of this in mind, the compilation’s featured songs actually prove at least some value to its presentation.

While the songs featured in Frehley’s new covers set present at least some value, the performances of said songs plays just as much importance if not more.  That is because while Frehley and his fellow musicians do stay at least somewhat true to their source material throughout the record, they  also give the songs a new updated sound.  Case in point is the group’s performance of The Rolling Stones’ hit song ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  The Rolling Stones’ original composition is energetic in its own right, and the band’s live performances of the song step things up in the song even more.  Frehley and company’s version here however really amps things up.  Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards’ guitars are replaced in this case by that of Frehley and guitar goddess Lita Ford.  The duo also takes on Mick Jagger’s vocals jointly and definitely take things collectively in a whole new direction.  It should be noted that Ford does drop some f-bombs here, so some listener discretion is advised.  Honestly, its disappointing that Ford would work blue here since the original song did not need any foul language in order to be enjoyable.  Charlie Watts’ steady, subtle time keeping has even been replaced by an equally heavy drum line here.  Simply put, the performance in whole does stay true to the source material in terms of sound, but in terms of style it is a completely different song.  So that is certain to generate its own share of interest and discussion among listeners.

The group’s take on The Animals’ ‘We Gotta Get Outta Here’ is another example of the importance of the performances of the featured songs here.  The Animals’ original rendition of the song was grounded in its bass line and vocals.  In the case of Frehley and company’s take on the song, Frehley takes on the bass line, using the guitar instead for that famous line.  Between that, the semi-operatic vocal delivery and the bombastic drumming, the whole of the song takes on a distinctly 80s hair metal vibe that echoe the sounds of KISS (no surprise there) instead of presenting the song in its more subdued original presentation.  At the same time, considering that the song’s lyrical content focuses on a relationship matter and “needing to get out of this place,” the song’s energy in this presentation does seem to work in its own right.  To that end, it is sure to generate its own share of interest and engagement.

On another hand, the performance of The Beatles’ I’m Down’ stays almost true stylistically to its source material.  Yes, it’s amped up compared to the original, but compared to let’s say The Beatles’ performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, this performance actually echoes that performance relatively well, even despite being so amped up.  As a matter of fact, this performance is actually a step up from the Beatles’ original song.  That is not to say that The Beatles’ original is bad by any means.  That should not be misconstrued.  Rather, Frehley and company took a song that was great to begin with and stepped it up, improving upon it even more.  Between this performance, the others noted here and the rest of the collection’s performances, it can be said that the performances pose their own importance to the record’s presentation just as much as the songs themselves.  The performances are just one more part of what makes the collection worth hearing, too.  Its production rounds out its most important elements.

The production of Origins Volume 2 is important to note for the very reason that has already been raised in examining the performance of the record’s featured songs:  the performances take the original songs from decades ago and really amp them up.  This is important because in so many of the songs, there is a lot more going on than in these works than the originals.  In other words, there is more need to balance all of the elements to ensure each song presents the fullest performance.  Those behind the record’s production are to be applauded for their efforts, too.  For all that is going on in each song, the guitars, bass, vocals, and drums are quite well balanced.  The energy is transmitted just as well because of that expert work that went into balancing each element within each song.  The end result is an album that works just as well for its aesthetics as for its content.  When this is considered along with the record’s content and the performances therein, the result is a covers collection that while it is a covers set, actually proves itself worth hearing at least once if not more.

Ace Frehley’s new covers compilation Origins Volume 2 is an interesting follow-up to his 2016 set Origins Volume 1.  That is due in part to its featured songs.  The songs are a balance of well-known works and deep cuts.  They and the bands that performed them can actually serve as a starting point on discussions about rock’s modern history.  That is actually a positive in its own right.  The performances of the featured songs is important to this record because they stay true to their source material in terms of sound, but stylistically, they clearly show Frehley’s own influence, what with the overly bombastic nature of each performance.  That is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because it ensures for all of the elements going on in each song, those elements are well-balanced, making the record just as worth hearing for this aesthetic element as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that is the exception to the rule for covers compilations.  It is available now.  More information on the set is available along with all of Ace Frehley’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.acefrehley.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/officialacefrehley

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Ace_Frehley

 

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Rolie Polie Guacamole Announces Release Date For New LP, ‘Avocado’

RPG Records

Family entertainment act Rolie Polie Guacamole will release its new album next month.

The duo — Frank Gallo and Andrew Tuzhilin — is scheduled to release its new album Avocado June 19 through RPG Records.  The album is the duo’s seventh full-length family music album.

Avocado boasts a wide range of influences throughout its 13-song body beginning with a Beatles-esque work in the album’s title track/opener.  ‘Ay Batta Batta,’ which immediately follows, is a prog-rock style song while ‘Basketball Jane,’ the album’s third song gives audiences an old-school hip-hop vibe.

‘Fire Truck,’ the record’s fourth entry, is an upbeat rock arrangement.  The variety continues on from there, offering audiences plenty of reason to applaud the album.

Avocado was produced by Dean Jones.  He was assisted by fellow famed producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey).

More information on Avocado is available along with all of Rolie Polie Guacamole’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://roliepolieguacamole.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RoliePolieGuac

 

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

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s New Lennon, ‘Imagine’ Retrospective Will Appeal To Lennon, Beatles Fans Alike

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

John Lennon’s Imagine is one of the most important albums in music history.  Whether one is a fan of Lennon, The Beatles or just an audiophile in general, the stylistic change in this record from his work with Lennon’s former Beatles band mates showed a dramatic change of pace for the late, great musician. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the most devout Beatles and Lennon fans finally get to see for themselves how Imagine was created while also taking in the album complete with visualizations in the form of the recently released presentation, Imagine & Gimme Some Truth.  The two-part presentation offers plenty for the noted audiences to appreciate, beginning with that noted dual presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  The companion booklet that comes with the presentation is just as important to discuss in examining the Blu-ray’s presentation as the primary content.  It will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content included in the Blu-ray rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  All things considered, Imagine & Gimme Some Truth proves to be a presentation that the most devoted fans of John Lennon and The Beatles will find appealing.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recently released John Lennon doc Imagine & Gimme Some Truth is a presentation that the most devoted fans of Lennon and The Beatles will find appealing.  As noted already, that is due in part to the primary content presented in the program.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has presented here a vintage presentation that follows the creation of his landmark album Imagine as well as a full presentation of the album complete with home videos of Lennon and his widow Yoko Ono.  The doc presents the original in-studio footage of Lennon and his then band mates at work figuring out how to make each song the best that it can be as part of the presentation.  What makes this interesting is that audiences get to see Lennon not just as a performer, but as an artist and a real person.  It’s not always the smiling John Lennon that so many people might remember.  Audiences see that happy guy, but also someone who was human and got frustrated at times, too.  Some might ask why is this important, especially considering that John Lennon is no longer with us.  What is important is that it serves as another reminder that celebrities are not super humans.  They are ordinary people, just like everyone else.  What’s more, audiences get to hear some raw mixes of the songs that would end up on the record while also getting that fly on the wall vantage point of the creative process.  Getting to hear a raw, demo session of ‘Imagine’ itself presents a completely different vocal approach from Lennon than what is heard on record, for example, as well as a slightly different arrangement.  Audiences also get to take in the in-studio recording of ‘Gimme Some Truth,’ which stylistically harkens back to the likes of ‘Helter Skelter.’  Again, here is another important point for the documentary portion of the presentation.  Between all of this and so much more, the documentary proves to be a work that will please, again, the most devoted fans of John Lennon and The Beatles.

The full musical presentation of ‘Imagine’ is a bonus for those fans as it is the original presentation recorded by Yoko Ono and John Lennon together.  The companion booklet that comes with this presentation explains the history behind the film, which is interesting, even for those who might not be as devout as others in their fandom.  As is noted in the booklet, making the film was alien territory for Lennon, but apparently not so much for Ono, which led to some of its more intriguing moments.  Audiences get in the film, home video footage of Lennon and Ono, as well as more artsy type of footage, such as Lennon and Ono sitting at an art display with human-like figures at a table, and the couple walking around in a forest apparently looking for one another just to note a couple of instances.  The home video footage includes footage of the couple at their home together, and with a number of celebs, such as Miles Davis, Andy Warhol and Jack Palance.  Again, the most devout fans of The Beatles and John Lennon will find it all appealing.  Those who might be more casual listeners will at least appreciate getting to hear Imagine in its whole after going through the making of documentary that itself is vintage footage.  That vintage footage in both presentations adds even more appeal for fans as it wasn’t tweaked for the presentation here.  It is exactly the same footage presented in its original presentation.  To that end, the two-part presentation that forms the foundation of Imagine & Gimme Some Truth makes that foundation strong to say the least.  The companion booklet that came with that primary content strengthens that foundation even more.

As noted already, the companion booklet that joins the Blu-ray’s primary content is so important because of what it adds to the Blu-ray’s presentation.  It presents the words of Lennon and Ono themselves instead of the typical liner notes written by a journalist, biographer or other personality.  The notes, obviously written around the same time as the Imagine film, clearly show the time and thought put into the film’s creation so many years ago.  Ono discusses Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton movies in her notes as inspiration for the film’s stylistic approach at one point.  At another point, Lennon talks about the cameras following him and his fellow musicians around the studio as the album was being made.  He also writes jokingly about the man in the bag who walked around London in one point of Imagine.  At yet another point, Lennon talks about Ono’s apparent talent with film making, how that led to the film’s outcome and his feeling on the outcome.  It’s just one more commentary that, again, truly devout fans of Lennon and the Beatles will appreciate.  Between all of this and the rest of the commentary featured throughout the booklet, the whole of that content builds on the foundation formed by the program’s two-part primary content to give the noted audiences even more reason to view this presentation.  Even as much as this content offers audiences, it is not all that audiences have to appreciate here.  The bonus material included in the program rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material features bonus outtakes of performances from Gimme Some Truth not included in the final presentation of that studio presentation.  Audiences get as bonuses, outtakes of the sessions for ‘Jealous Guy,’ ‘How?’ and ‘Gimme Some Truth.’  Again, the bonus features show Lennon and company hard at work in a setting that audiences might not be so commonly seen in other Lennon and Beatles presentations.  As an additional bonus, audiences also get to see a photoshoot of Lennon in studio that is used to create pictures to promote Imagine.  Again, it’s one more display of the creative process for the record.  It’s one more item for Beatles and John Lennon fans to appreciate.  When it is considered along with the bonus studio outtakes, the breadth of information shared by Ono and Lennon themselves in the presentation’s companion booklet and the primary two-part program that forms the program’s foundation, the whole proves to be a work that the most devout Lennon and The Beatles fans will find appealing.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recently released profile of John Lennon’s landmark album Imagine is a work that the most devout fans of The Beatles and John Lennon will find appealing.  That is due in part to the two-part primary content that forms the presentation’s foundation.  The rich background that is provided through the Blu-ray’s companion booklet strengthens that foundation even more.  The bonus studio outtakes put the finishing touch to the Blu-ray’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own right to the whole of this Blu-ray.  All things considered, they make this a work that, once again, the most devout fans of The Beatles and John Lennon will appreciate.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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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:

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