Category Archives: CDs

Paul Stanley gives fans a KISS and a tour of his life, from the kitchen to the stage

Wanna go backstage at a KISS concert? We cab guarantee fans one thing: In Backstage Pass, (HarperOne, $27.99) Paul Stanley, legendary frontman and rhythm guitarist of the group, offers grants fans an all-access backstage pass to his personal life, and shows them how to pursue a royal rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of their own offering hard-won advice and rules to live by from a rock n’ roll legend.

Backstage PassIn this follow-up to his popular bestseller Face the Music, Paul takes us deeper into his personal life and his home life on and off the stage, revealing what he eats, drinks, and does with his friends and family, he’s learned from a lifetime at the frontman of the iconic band KISS, and how he brings his unique sensibility not only to his superstar music career but to every area of his life—from the business to parenting to health and happiness, to the kitchen and the bar to the gym and the office.

Showcasing his unique lifestyle, Backstage Pass is a rare look at the man beneath the modern rock god persona. Paul shares fascinating details about his life—his fitness routine, philosophy, business principles, how he finds inspiration, passion, and joy after nearly 50 years filling arenas and selling out shows, and even his favorite meals, and includes recipes from friends such as Anthony Bourdain, Rocco DiSpirito and Mario Batali.

Backstage Pass divulges more true stories of the rock legend’s relationships, hardships, and wild nights, contains intimate four-color never-before-seen photos from Paul’s personal collection, and offers surprising lessons on the discipline and hard work that have made him one of the healthiest and most successful rock n’ roll frontmen in history—and a model superstar for the modern age.
This is the book for fans who love living large, but also want to kick ass at everyday life. From doing shots at the bar to enjoying a glass of red on the patio, Paul shows you how you can rock n’ roll all night and party every day—without missing a beat or looking like you do.

You ain’t seen nothing yet, until you catch the hot new doc “Bachman”

Guess who? Guess who is the subject of a hot new DVD? Randy Bachman. As a member of The Guess Who,  he was part of the first- ever No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 by a Canadian band with “American Woman/No Sugar Tonight,” and then topped the Hot 100 again in 1974 with another band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
“That’s a pretty rare thing for a recording artist who gets two No. 1s with two different bands,” notes John Einarson,” biographer and music historian, at the start of the new documentary, Bachman (FilmRise).
The documentary chronicling the life of this 74-year-old who is still regularly making music and performing. The film follows Bachman as he looks to the past for inspiration from rarely seen footage, pictures and documents that have been stored at the National Archives in Ottawa for decades.

Among the other hits Bachman has written or co-written are “These Eyes,” “No Time,” “New Mother Nature,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Let It Ride,” and “Roll On Down The Highway.”

“He was like my biggest influence when I was a kid,” says Neil Young in the film. “Watching him play guitar, he had an amazing sense about the way he played. And the feeling that you got when you listened to him. It was more than just chops.”

Young, who has known Bachman for about 55 years, addsed, “I hear Randy – when I see him, I hear him, and I feel him.”

The documentary made its world premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs 2018 before a festival run, and eventual airing in Canada on CBC’s Documentary Channel. Incorporating numerous present-day interviews with family, management and fellow musicians, director John Barnard touches on everything from Bachman’s childhood to his various rock bands—The Guess Who, Brave Belt, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bachman-Turner—as well as his solo work.

The bottom line: Great films. The top line: More greatness from Arrow Films/Academy

Arrow Films and Arrow Academy sent a fiery arrow deep into our heaving bosom with these releases. Even Tums didn’t sooth the burning. And that’s a good thing. That’s how good these flicks are.
Two films are from legendary director Luigi Bazzoni. First up is The Possessed, co-directed by Bazzoni and Franco Rossellini.
The film follows a novelist that investigates the disappearance of an old lover and ends up unwrapping a mysterious web of murder, madness and perversion. This classic slice of Italian cinema, known for wonderfully combining film noir and giallo, features a new 2K restoration.

The second Bazzoni title is The Fifth Chord starring Franco Nero and Edmund Purdom. Following in the footsteps of Dario Argento, The Fifth Chord is a stunning giallo worthy of competing with the best the maestro has to offer.

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This release features a new 2K restoration and a number of special features including a new interview with Nero.
On February 12th, Arrow offers up to classics from different eras, starting with 1972’s Horror Express. Starring horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, this tale of terror takes horror fans on a first class trip that’s just as chilling today as it was forty plus years ago.
This new 2K restoration includes plenty of special features and has an intro from Horror Express super fan and horror journalist, Chris Alexander.
For something a bit more modern, Arrow is proud to release Takashi Miike’s Audition. This shocking J-horror entry exploded on the festival circuit nearly two decades ago and continues to be a favorite today.

Color Me Blood Red is from The Godfather of Gore,Herschell Gordon Lewis. This final chapter in the infamous “blood trilogy” features all the signature sleaze fans love Lewis for. Included in the multitude of bonus features is 1967’s Something Weird.
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The final two releases are a pair of mid-40s classics from director Joseph H. Lewis and come courtesy of Arrow Academy with My Name is Julia Ross and So Dark the Night. The former is a Hitchcockian film noir about mistaken identity, while the latter is about a Paris detective that finds love and then suddenly disappears.

Have no fear of the dark with “Iron Maiden: Album By Album”

Required reading for all Iron Maiden fans, Album By Album is a compendium of in-depth, entertaining and profusely illustrated conversations about all sixteen of the legendary metal band’s studio albums.

Now ready: Iron Maiden: Album By Album (Voyageur Press, $30), from prolific rock journalist Martin Popoff, pays tribute to the Iron Maiden’s studio discography through a series of in-depth, frank, and entertaining conversations about all 16 of the legendary heavy metal band’s studio albums. Inside, the author gathers together metal journalists, authors, and musicians, who offer insights, opinions and anecdotes about every release.

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Maiden’s fan base is large, diverse and enduring, and that goes for the line-up Popoff assembled to break down each Maiden studio release. Among those weighing in are musicians Marty Friedman, Mike Portnoy, Matt Heafy, Nita Strauss, Ahmet Zappa and former Maiden singer Blaze Bayley. Rocker and pro wrestler Chris Jericho is here, along with journalists “Metal” Tim Henderson, Rich Davenport, Jimmy Kay and other metal and Iron Maiden experts.

Together, the conversations comprise a unique historical overview of the band, covering everything from early albums with original lead singer Paul Di’Anno; the songwriting of founder and bassist Steve Harris; the impeccable talents of drummer Nicko McBrain and guitarists Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers; mega tours undertaken in support of the albumss; fights and drama within the band; and much more.

The resulting insights, opinions and anecdotes explore it all, starting with the band’s debut at the vanguard of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to breakthrough iconic releases like The Number of the Beast and Powerslave. Popoff also includes loads of sidebars that provide complete track listings, details on album personnel, and information on where and when the albums were recorded. Every page is illustrated with thoughtfully curated performance and offstage photography, as well as rare memorabilia.

“Queen: Song By Song” proves why the music and magic lives on

There must be more to life than this. There is. Welcome Queen: Song By Song ( Voyageur Press, $30), the thoughtfully curated and gloriously illustrated retrospective of Queen’s studio releases, with a diverse cast of musicians, journalists and more, discussing and dissecting the making of each album. Perfect timing indeed: The book is hits shelves just in time for the 45th anniversary of their debut LP and the upcoming feature film biopic.

Queen Album by Album

Formed in 1970, Queen went on to become one of the most popular—and most successful—rock bands of all time. Even following the untimely death of beloved and magnetic frontman Freddie Mercury, and nearly 50 years after their formation, interest in the band has continued, evidenced by scores of reissues, arena tours with surviving members, and the upcoming feature-film biopic.

In this new installment in Voyageur Press’s Album by Album series,  Martin Popoff convenes a cast of 19 Queen experts and superfans to discuss all 15 of the band’s studio albums (including their soundtrack for the 1980 film Flash Gordon). Among the cast of musicians, journalists and music industry pros exploring Queen’s recorded output are Paul McCartney, Dee Snider, Dave Ellefson, Queen producer Mack, Derek Shulman, Jeb Wright, Daniel Nester and many other experts. The results are freewheeling discussions delving into the individual songs, the circumstances that surrounded the recording of each album, the band and contemporary rock contexts into which they were released.

The engaging text of this beautifully designed book is illustrated throughout with rare live performance and candid offstage photography, as well as scads of rare Queen ephemera.

The Album by Album series is a unique approach to the rock bio, injecting the varied voices of several contributors. The results have even the most diehard fans rushing back to their MP3 players (or turntables) to confirm the details and opinions expressed.

The musical secret among people like us? Think “The Us Generation: The Making Of the 1982 Us Festival” 

And the beat goes on . . .

The Us Generation: The Making Of the 1982 Us Festival
 is an in-depth look at one of the most influential music festivals of all time. The Us Generation is from award-winning filmmaker and rockumentarian Glenn Aveni, who is also the film’s director. Co-directed by Jay Cederholm and Produced by Bruce Gibb and Rich Schmig, the film blends rare concert footage and insightful interviews with both organizers and performers.

The film tells the story of the groundbreaking 1982 Us Festival, an epic three-day event featuring an eclectic and unprecedented lineup boasting some of the biggest names in music, performing live in front of over one million people at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, California. The Us Festival was the brainchild of Apple visionary Steve Wozniak, who wanted to create something that was a true celebration of Americana, cultivating positive vibes and building a deep sense of community through the power of technology and music.
Highlights include performances by chart-topping superstars, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, alt-rock trio The Police, blues rock heroes Fleetwood Mac, guitar virtuoso Carlos Santana, retro-chic favorites The B-52s, and new wave icons The Cars; as well as archived appearances by Johnny & Joey Ramone, Carlos Santana, Sting, Ric Ocasek, Danny Elfman, and Fred Schneider; plus exclusive sit-downs with festival founder Steve Wozniak, Mick Fleetwood, Eddie Money, Marky Ramone, Kate Pierson, Stewart Copeland and Mickey Hart.

Just one listen, and you’ll know why Audra McDonald will “Sing Happy”

There’s a reason Audra McDonald’s new CD is titled Sing Happy (Decca Gold), the live performance of the New York Philharmonic’s 2018 Spring Gala starring the Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winner, conducted by Andy Einhorn. Recorded live on May 1 at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, the recording represents McDonald’s first collaboration with Decca Gold–as well as her first solo recording with full orchestra.

Sing Happy

Sing Happy features many songs that are either new to McDonald’s repertoire or have never before been recorded by her–such as “I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles,Vanilla Ice Cream” from She Loves Me, and “Children Will Listen” from Into The Woods–and offers a sneak peek at the repertoire she’s performing on her upcoming North American concert tour.

Acclaimed by The New York Times as a “one-of-a-kind musical super-talent,” Audra McDonald has won a record-breaking six Tony Awards, making her the most decorated performer in American theater. The singer and actress was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2015 and received a 2015 National Medal of Arts—America’s highest honor for achievement in the arts—from President Barack Obama. McDonald is currently starring in the CBS All Access drama The Good Fight and has a series of concert dates throughout North America on which she’s presenting many of the songs from Sing Happy. In addition to her work on stage and screen, McDonald is noted as a passionate advocate for equal rights, LGBTQ causes, and underprivileged youth.

 

Renee Fleming’s new CD, “Broadway”, reminds everyone why she is a goddess

She is a goddess. Really.
Currently wowing audiences with her Tony-nominated performance in Carousel, Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming has released Broadway (Decca Classics), a CD celebrating musical theatre. The album features a diverse array of  songs for the stage by composers including Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Pasek & Paul, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, as well as a special guest duet with the Hamilton, television and film star, Leslie Odom, Jr.

Says Fleming, “The great, classic Broadway musicals were central to my childhood. I sang Eliza Doolittle twice before I was even out of high school. This repertoire is so rich, and the sheer quality of the music is so high, that it’s been a joy to record these songs. And along with the growth of popular music, the sound of musical theater has evolved over time. Composers like Jeanine Tesori, and Pasek and Paul, and even popular music icons like Sting, have enriched the genre. It’s a living art form, enjoying a real boom right now, and it was a thrill for me to be able to include phenomenal songs that are absolutely current.”

The new recording features a wide range of Broadway hits from the ’20s to the present, in sumptuous orchestrations, many commissioned specially for this album.

Among the songs are “The Sound of Music”, “The Glamorous Life” from A Little Night Music; “Tell Me on A Sunday” from Song and Dance; “Wonderful Guy” from South Pacific; “Fable” from The Light in the Piazza; and “So Big So Small” from Dear Evan Hansen. Fleming’s collaborators include Rob Fisher as music supervisor and conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as the incomparable bassist and jazz great Christian McBride, rising star pianist Dan Tepfer and Grammy-winning producer David Frost.

Listen closely: Listen and you will understand why she is a goddess.

 

Sony Classical releases important Oscar Levant Box Set

At the height of his popularity, Oscar Levant was the highest-paid concert artist in America. He outdrew Horowitz and Rubinstein, with whom he shared the distinction–rare among classical pianists–of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He performed under conductors including Arturo Toscanini, Sir Thomas Beecham, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Fritz Reiner and Eugene Ormandy, and was the definitive interpreter of his friend George Gershwin.

Levant’s 1945 recording of Rhapsody in Blue with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra topped the Billboard classical chart and remained one of Columbia Records’ best-selling albums for a decade. That classic interpretation and all his other recordings for the label, spanning the years 1941 to 1958, have now been collected in a new Sony Classical eight-disc box set.

The vast majority of them are appearing for the first time ever on CD, in a 10″ x 10″ fully illustrated 124-page hardcover book. The book contains previously unseen photographs and images of facsimile documents and covers. The edition sees the first ever release of Levant’s own composition Blue Plate Special, which only exists in his 1947 recording and would otherwise have been lost forever. It reflects his compositional style and musical eccentricity at its best. The other world premiere is Levant’s recording of Bach’s Partita No. 1, the only example of him playing Bach. According to his daughter Lorna, the Partita was a piece Levant loved and played often at home.

Levant’s Columbia recordings, on which his fame as a pianist has always been based, began with Gershwin, as they do in this new Sony complete collection. From 1942 there are the Concerto in F with André Kostelanetz conducting the New York Philharmonic along with the Three Preludes. That applies as well to the 1945 Rhapsody in Blue with Ormandy, which is also here, of course, together with the famous 1949 recordings of theSecond Rhapsody and “I Got Rhythm” Variations with Morton Gould and his Orchestra.

Among the other CD premieres are Levant’s 1949 recording of Honegger’s charming Concertino with Reiner conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra as well as many solo performances from the 1940s and 50s of pieces by Beethoven (including the “Moonlight” Sonata), Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff and Copland (selections from the ballet Billy the Kid, arranged for piano by Lukas Foss). There is also a track of Levant playing his own music, a jazzy, almost manic little piece called Blue Plate Special, recorded in 1947.

Another rarity is taken from Warners’ 1946 movie Humoresque, one of the few films centered around classical music. Franz Waxman received an Oscar nomination for his original score and arrangements. The young violinist hero is portrayed by John Garfield, his wealthy older lover by Joan Crawford, his confidant and pianist by Oscar Levant, and his violin playing by Isaac Stern. The movie climaxes with one of the glories of 40s cinematic kitsch. As she listens to the strains of Wagner’s Liebestod being played by the Garfield character on the radio, the distraught Crawford character drowns herself in the Pacific. On the soundtrack, it is Stern and Levant who are revelling in Waxman’s irresistibly schmaltzy Wagner arrangement for violin, piano and orchestra. No Oscar Levant set would be complete without it.

“In some situations I was difficult, in odd moments impossible, in rare moments loathsome, but at my best unapproachably great.” Music lovers now have an unprecedented opportunity to judge Oscar Levant’s self-adulating, self-abasing appraisal for themselves.

Four words George Carlin would have proudly uttered: “George Carlin Commemorative Collection”

Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.

So said George Carlin, one of thousands of memorable one-liners.

OK, we’ll share one more: “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.”

Carlin devotees will relish the George Carlin Commemorative Collection (MPI Home Video and the George Carlin Estate), a 10-disc must-have DVD, CD and Blu-ray boxed set which features more than five hours of previously unreleased bonus material including rare performance footage from Carlin’s personal archive. The uncensored celebration hits shelves June 12.

George Carlin Commemorative Collection

“While digging around in dad’s stuff, we found a few gems that we just couldn’t keep for ourselves,” says George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly, who helped compile material for the set commented. “ It’s amazing to think that ten years after his death, we keep finding stuff I’d never seen before!”

Carlin was not only one of America’s greatest comedians whose albums topped the charts, he was a pioneer of cable TV’s concert format that has become a benchmark of success for all humorists ever since.

And now, all of Carlin’s pointed, often controversial but always hilarious specials originally shown on HBO have been gathered for the first time in the George Carlin Commemorative Collection. Encompassing over five decades of his groundbreaking career, all 14 of the legendary funnyman’s Emmy nominated HBO specials are now available in one package–a remarkable set that also contains a previously unreleased HBO special entitled 40 Years of Comedy hosted by Jon Stewart plus Carlin’s posthumous audio release, I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die.

One of the key bonus pieces of material is Carlin’s first stand-up special from 1973, The Real George Carlin which has not been seen since it first aired. Additional bonus material includes APT 2C (a never-aired HBO pilot from the ’80s) plus two one-hour stand-up comedy club performances that features material performed by Carlin for the first time.  There is also never-before-released material from the 1960s–when Carlin was a clean-cut, suit-wearing guest on the variety shows such as Talent Scouts, The Jackie Gleason Show and Hollywood Palace. 

The box set features also includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs of the HBO specials Life Is Worth Losing and It’s Bad for Ya plus liner notes written by comedian Patton Oswalt.

Carlin, a fearless commentator on society and a champion of free speech, now finally gets the boxed set he and fans of great, enduring comedy deserve and the set represents the most complete collection of Carlin performances to date.

Bravo!