Friday, August 1, 2014

Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America

Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira
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        Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America by Joseph Tirella. Published by Lyons Press http://LyonsPress.com An Imprint of Globe Pequot Press Guilford, Connecticut.
        This book is going to upset a lot of people. (And it's just as well.) In particular, the creators involved in, and the beneficiaries of, the so called 'Reagan Revolution' of the early 1980s; part of whose policy was to encourage a climate of 'dumbing down' at the Television News Networks, of (what should have been at that crucial moment in time), nightly educational installments set aside to explain how historically the United States of America had gotten to the point in history it reached in 1981, from the previous 25-30 years of hard won struggle. All of the Networks did have extensive News Archives, that (with a little effort and All-American Work Ethic and ingenuity), could have been put to good use.
        As an entirely new generation of little children were coming of age, it was a duty to start educating them right then, instead of encouraging an atmosphere of 'ignorance is bliss'. (If you remember the late Edward R. Murrow's speech inaugurating Public Television when it went on the air http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0842312  , and/or Howard Beale's wild (but not far off the mark) Television commentary in the movie, 'Network' http://www.amazon.com/Network-Two-Disc-Special-Edition-Dunaway/dp/B000CNESU8  , you know what I'm talking about.)
        At present time, what we now have are a sizeable portion of the population that has no interest in anything other than their own self aggrandizement. This book explains in detail what Reagan and Co. were so uneasy about, and dead set against those children of 1981-onward, learning about their own past American History. And many of those who constructed this plan, were some of the same culprits whose names would have poured out into the light, along with their own guilty past deeds. http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/27/ronald-reagans-racially-tinged-stump-speeches/   Yuppies and Gangster Rappers would be a perfect audience for this book.
        As someone who actually attended the 1964-65 World's Fair, a couple of times, it was a remarkable event to see and experience during that time period. And Joseph Tirella brings back the memories vividly in his book. He also addresses the groundbreaking societal changes that were finally forced down the throat of a backward thinking United States, as it's time had finally come.
        One thing not addressed in Tomorrow-Land, which should have been, was the racial conflict taking place in the world of Art during that time. There was a very ugly situation centered in New York that shed light on the climate of exclusion of Black Artists from major gallery's showings in the city, that resulted in heated demonstrations. Check the article, 'You Wouldn't Know About Bill Dixon, Unless...' Soul Patrol Digest: http://www.soul-patrol.com/soulpat/magazine/july03/may.pdf as well as http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2010/07/bill-dixon-american-original.html
        Additionally, there was the strange dichotomy in the thinking of people like World's Fair President Robert Moses (and strongly evident in the American Government) in which newly liberated African countries were made welcome, while Black Americans were battling to finally free themselves of racist policies and laws within the United States. And anyone who reached out through and past this very present dichotomy (a glaring case and point is the career of Miriam Makeba) caught hell. The late Gil Noble http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2013/02/gil-noble-feb22nd-1932-april-5th.html  , who hosted 'Like It Is' here in New York for over four decades on the ABC Network http://7online.com/archive/6650885/   , once had a very revealing interview with a former employee of the CIA, named John Stockwell; who talked at length and in much detail, about this African/African American dichotomy, prevalent during the 1960s era. (And Noble also conducted another eye opening and shocking interview with a detestable individual named D'Arthard Perry, who was a former FBI Informant. At the time of his interview (which turned into a confession for redemption) Perry, whose informant code name was 'Othello', spilled his guts about his participation in Cointelpro; as he found himself in a Post-Watergate and Post-Hoover America, running for his now expendable life. And interestingly, as he told Gil Noble, 'nobody wanted to use his offered testimony during the Watergate Trials'.)  But Joseph Tirella covers all the important areas from Politics to Religion to International Relations to Music and Art. Just about every one of the important people who made history are here (one of the surprising omissions is Adam Clayton Powell), from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon B. Johnson, from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Robert F. 'Bobby' Kennedy, from Governor George C. Wallace, Commissioner of 'Public Safely' Eugene "Bull" Conner, Sheriff Jim Clark to Civil Rights Workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, from Martin Luther King's prophetic speech 'I Have A Dream' at the 1963 March On Washington {which would be followed years later and shortly before his murder, by his other prophetic speech 'Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam'} to Malcom X' equally prophetic speech 'The Ballot or the Bullet', to the tragic case of Catherine 'Kitty' Genovese, from Joan Baez and Bob Dylan to The Beatles (including the night The Beatles played their sold out concert at Shea Stadium, which was right next to the World's Fair), Andy Warhol, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Dick Gregory, Alan Ginsberg etc... {For a more expansive and detailed version of what went on at the Tom Paine Awards, from Dylan's point of view, read his interview with Nat Hentoff for the New Yorker, 'The Crackin', Shakin', Breakin' Sounds'; reprinted in the book Bob Dylan: A Retrospective Edited by Craig McGregor Published by Morrow Paperback Editions-An Imprint of William Morrow & Company Inc. New York. http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Dylan-Retrospective-Craig-Mcgregor/dp/0688060250   For the entire article, The Menace of Beatlism by British Journalist Paul Johnson (remarkable reading, as it was so out of touch with reality), check out The Beatles Paperback Writer: 40 years of classic writing- Edited by Mike Evans Published by Plexus Publishing Limited London. http://www.amazon.com/The-Beatles-Paperback-Classic-Writing/dp/0859654656   For an additional wealth of related photographs, check out the book: I Want To Take You Higher-The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Published by Chronicle Books San Francisco In association with Sarah Lazin Books and Alexander Isley, Inc.http://www.amazon.com/Want-Take-You-Higher-Psychedelic/dp/0811817008   And of course Robert Moses aka 'The Master Builder'; who was responsible for the 1964-65 World's Fair. How the whole idea of the World's Fair was co-opted from Real Estate Lawyer Robert Kopple by Robert Moses, is quite a story in itself, and makes fascinating reading; as well as the fact that Moses, though of the Jewish faith, was the Jewish equivalent of what Blacks back then (in early 1900s America) termed as 'passing', which referred to a certain type of very fair skinned black - or non-white hispanic (who was able to get away with it, if they could) who took on a WASP identity, which included their views on racial matters.
        Author Joseph Tirella writes with much passion and attention to intricate detail, to recreate for us an America that WAS, so we can understand the America that IS. Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America, is a monumental historical work, that at this point in time, YOU CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO READ.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Beatles Files

The Beatles Files
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira
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        The Beatles Files by Andy Davis http://www.amazon.com/The-Beatles-Files-Andy-Davis/dp/1858338573 Published by Barnes & Noble Books Inc. New York by Special Arrangement with Salamander Books LTD. London
        This is the book that threw open the floodgates. A collection of photographs of The Beatles, from the British Newspaper The Daily Mirror (which had some great Journalists {Among them John Pilger - Read his book, 'Hidden Agendas' Published by Vintage Books An Imprint of Random House London http://www.randomhouse.co.uk  }), that were shot by their staff of quick thinking and excellent photographers during the 1960s. Some of these photos are very well known. Most of them were never published, and sat for decades in the Mirror's Photographic Archive.
        The collection is presented by former Beatles Monthly Picture Researcher Andy Davis, who did a capitol job selecting prime photographs from the Archive. Some of the '63 UK Tour photos you might remember from Beatles Monthly, or The Beatles Personality Annual, which was published in the U.S. in 1964. Throughout (starting with a Forward by former International Times Editor Barry Miles), Andy Davis chronicles The Beatles rise to fame and popularity through the wealth of Archival photographs. Whether photographed in concert in the UK during the first explosion of Beatlemania, or photographed with Brian Epstein's ever expanding group of Nems Artists, or during the fateful engagement in Paris just before Beatlemania exploded in the U.S. (One photograph in particular, of the snobbish behaviour of some members of the French audience leaving during The Beatles encore, is quite amusing.), all of the remarkable stages of their ascent are beautifully presented. Then the subsequent explosion of popularity in the U.S., followed by television and movies, is captured in pictures.
        Their statements about Segregation and Apartheid on page 78 (during the Fall 1964 UK Tour with Mary Wells {with whom the group is also photographed}) are quite noteworthy. Paul the wide eyed optimist, and John the realist (with the secret heart of deep sensitive feelings http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-john-lennon-letters.html ). Just another reason (besides the groundbreaking music they were making) that The Beatles were embraced by so many on different continents, and hated by others. http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2013/10/tomorrow-never-knows-beatles-last.html And as their star shines ever brighter, more pictures of them performing on television in the U.S. and in the U.K., including their 'The Music Of Lennon & McCartney' Television Special (A touching photograph of John and Paul sitting on either side of a delighted Lulu during a break in filming.) for the BBC in 1965. There is also a photograph of John and Paul with Johnny Hamp (the Television Producer of their Special) who was an early and sincere champion of the group, dating back to when they were gaining popularity in Hamburg. And the photographs of their Christmas Shows. (Including a group photo of the entire cast of performers on stage. In the background you can see The Yardbirds, and just make out the top of Eric Clapton's head. Additionally, there is a photo of The Beatles backstage with two female fans whose parents (they must have had deep, deep pockets) flew them in to London from New York specially to see the Christmas Shows.) In the latter part of the book, John appearing on Not Only But Also with Peter Cook, Paul attending his brother Michael's wedding with Jane Asher (their last outing together before Linda Eastman entered his life), John and Cynthia attending a Fashion Show with George, where Pattie was modeling (as Yoko Ono entered his life), and Ringo appearing on Cilla Black's Television Show on the BBC. There are many other photos which will surprise and astound you. And all of them (400 in all) are reproduced from the original negatives, with crystal clear clarity. Highly Recommended.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fatwa & Michael Clayton

Fatwa & Michael Clayton
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira
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        Fatwa http://www.amazon.com/Fatwa-Lacey-Chabert/dp/B000EJ9VT8 is a thought provoking and very disturbing film by John Carter and Scott Schafer. The story, which takes place in post World Trade Center 9/11 America, focuses on how power on both sides (Islam and the West), headed by people who are not only blindly corrupt but dangerously ignorant, can lead people on to do things which are morally reprehensible; that in turn, have long term consequences that affect other people's lives. Superb acting by Lauren Holly, Roger Guenveur Smith and the cast, in an unforgettable film that should be seen worldwide.
        Michael Clayton http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Clayton-Widescreen-Edition-Clooney-/dp/B00121QGPY/ref=tmm_dvd_img_popover (played to a tee by George Clooney) is a liaison/fixer (in this film by the late Sydney Pollack {also in a co-starring role}), who works for a very powerful New York Law Firm. The story centers on Michael Clayton slowly uncovering that the murder of a friend, lawyer, and colleague at the firm, who after six years of representing a case for a client of the patnership, (which has been a company involved in toxic waste that has been killing people), decided in the midst of burning out and having a nervous breakdown, that he could no longer go along with the consortium's position; and decided to expose the entire situation. As Michael begins peeling back the layers of this intricate story, he realizes that now 'his' life is in danger too. But 'where' is this coming from? And 'who' has given the order? One hell of a film with a riveting ending and a calming fade out, that speaks crescendos about resiliency in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

http://www.billmoyers.com/2014/01/03/the-best-reporting-on-the-north-carolina-takeover

http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2013/09/house-of-cards-trilogy-4-dvd-set.html

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection & Primetime

Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection & Primetime
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira
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        Frank Sinatra A Man And His Music: The Collection http://www.amazon.com/Frank-Sinatra-Man-Music-Collection/dp/B004ISVH34 and Frank Sinatra: Primetime http://www.amazon.com/Frank-Sinatra-Primetime/dp/B005PY4ZLQ
        During his lifetime, Frank Sinatra made a series of Television Specials that reflected what was taking place in American History. None were more important, more moving and more powerful than those he did during that defining decade of change, the 1960s.
        As he spanned the changing face of music, from the 1930s to that '60s era, the Sinatra Specials, 'A Man And His Music', which ran every year from 1965 to 1969, are a time capsule of Popular Music.
        1965 - A retrospective of his career, along with his then current re-arrangement of The Kingston Trio's,  'It Was A Very Good Year'; with musical vignettes from his life.
        1966 - With daughter Nancy, just as her career was taking off, and would lead to hits with producer Lee Hazelwood, the title song from the James Bond soundtrack 'You Only Live Twice', and another giant hit with 'Somethin' Stupid'; a duet with her father. As for Dad, during the latter part of this show, he does a smokin' version of 'Luck Be A Lady' from his film 'Guys and Dolls', and then does 'That's Life', his current single; where he gets downright 'cullud'.
        1967 - An incredible show with Ella Fitzgerald and Antonio Carlos Jobim. A must see.
        1968 - Another incredible show (in the wake of Dr. Kings murder) with Diahann Carroll and The Fifth Dimension, who are all in top form. A deeply moving show, as Frank duets on Spirituals with Diahann Carroll, and earlier in the show, sings a beautiful version of 'Baubles, Bangles and Beads', from the Broadway Show, 'Kismet'; as the song takes on extra meaning as Mia Farrow moves out of his life. And still later on, after a wonderful set with The Fifth Dimension, he dons a Nehru Jacket and Beads (I remember that, as I used to wear an orange one myself) to sing an old favourite 'Nice and Easy' with the orchestra.
        1969 - And finally in 1969, the final show of the series, Sinatra still listening and keyed in to what was current; with Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein's 'Goin' Out Of My Head', Rod McKuen's 'Loves Been Good To Me' and Paul Anka's 'My Way'; as well as a comical review of his acting career. But now we begin to notice a sadness in his eyes.
        We won't see anything like this again, and we're very lucky that these shows have been preserved. Just watch and listen.
        In these present times, with a plethora of News Networks, full of overconfidently and aggresively smug (in the absence of a Draft), sniveling, frightened rabbit drone employees with intentionally short attention spans, who mention 'The Great Depression' in passing as if it were some quaint curiosity, and much older employers, comfortable in their sloth, and who 'know better' than what they are turning out as news. 'Sports Figures', who talk only about 'the game' and 'their endorsements', and 'Entertainers', who operate the same way in 'this business' of across the board self serving Pretend Patriotism, it's quite startling (if you're old enough to remember and cared about what was happening to your country) to view these 'A Man And His Music' Specials; as you see the changes taking place.
        For very good first hand source material on this time period (with an entire chapter on Frank), check out Quincy Jones' autobiography, 'Q'. Published by Doubleday Books. A division of Random House, Inc. New York.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' - DVD

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2014 Antonio G. Pereira
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        Let's see.... (sigh), Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin'. http://www.amazon.com/The-Jimi-Hendrix-Experience-Train/dp/B00F031WB8 This is a mixed bag. Some interesting footage, from Miami Pop Festival '68 and Randall's Island '70, snippets of Hendrix jamming with Mick Taylor backstage at the Stones '69 Madison Square Garden concert, as well as joking and hanging out with the other Stones backstage. {For a wealth of related photographs Go to the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org  Type http://www.sfae.com/photography/russell/exhibit1/russell_catalog.pdf  into the Wayback Machine Click Browse History and choose 2005} The Miami Festival with The Experience, and Randalls Island with Billy and Mitch, are both performances where you catch Hendrix at his improvisatory best, interacting with both groups. That said, the time is pretty much wasted with David Fricke and Bob Santelli. Santelli repeating stuff you already know and have heard other people say before, and David Fricke, who needs a history lesson himself. (Y'know Mitch Mitchell mentioned in his book, 'Inside The Experience', that there was interest among the young Black Audience in New York in The Jimi Hendrix Experience when they first visited New York in 1967, that could have been cultivated back then. Mike Jeffrey's handiwork again?) What Dweezil Zappa is doing in this documentary is a mystery to me. Is there no archival footage available of Frank Zappa being interviewed about Hendrix?
        Unfortunately, as circumstances turned out the way they did, for different reasons, three very important people who could have illuminated and lit a fire under this thing, are missing. They are Caesar Glebbeek, Dan Foster, and David Henderson. Caesar Glebbeek was the brilliant brainchild behind the original Hendrix Information Centre in Amsterdam Holland, the model for which, just about all subsequent versions are copies. Glebbeek is someone who should have gotten his due back in the early 1970s. He was assisted at the Hendrix Centre back then, by a highly knowledgeable American named Dan Foster, who as fate would have it, in a well timed visit to America, shared the very informative original version of the Hendrix Information Centre Booklet with Guitar Player Magazine, before their very first Tribute Issue was published; which was the Jimi Hendrix Special Issue in Sept. of 1975. (Guitar Player had 'never' done anything like it before. - For some great photographs by Ron Raffaelli of The Jimi Hendrix Experience {e.g. from the book, ' Electric Church-A Visual Experience'} go to The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org  Type in http://www.mobiusgallery.net  Click Take Me Back/Browse History Then choose 2003)
        Most of the "never before seen" footage "uncovered" by Alan Douglas during the latter 1980s, things like The Experience's promo films, 1967 UK Tour, footage of the 1969 European Tour, the crystal clear black and white footage of the Band Of Gypsys at Fillmore East (all with sound by the way), were screened for me by Dan Foster in 1981. {Of course what we're still waiting for are the Albert Hall concerts, one of which ended with a wild jam with Chris Wood and Dave Mason (of Traffic), and Rocki Dijon/Kwasi Dzidzornu (whose hypnotic drumming nailed 'Sympathy For The Devil' on Beggars Banquet) on percussion. And someone is sitting on the footage of the Experience's Nov. 1968 concert at Lincoln Center at (what was then) Philharmonic Hall, {Hendrix appearance on The Tonight Show (guest hosted by Flip Wilson) here in New York, (shortly after the Experience broke up) with Billy Cox, is lost to history (like John and Paul's appearance announcing Apple 'eh.... apart from the brief interview footage that you can clearly see and hear in Tony Palmer's BBC documentary All My Loving, that is,' and Bob Dylan's appearance in 1966 a few weeks before Blonde On Blonde was released) as the tapes were not saved. As someone who was lucky enough to have been switching channels that night and saw it, it was fascinating to watch. Along with Jimi blowing up a studio amp during Lover Man, and his comical waltz across the stage with Flip Wilson, after which Jimi chased him back across the stage from behind the curtains, the interview segment was interesting to watch; as it was obvious that Flip and Jimi were good friends. Pity that no one ever bothered to interview Flip Wilson on film, about his friendship with Jimi Hendrix.}, Hendrix playing 'If Six Was Nine' using a Magic Bag, on the Dick Cavett Show, which was during Cavett's two weeks of shows following the Woodstock Festival, and Hendrix being interviewed by Ellis Haizlip when he appeared as a guest on Haizlip's program 'Soul' on PBS.} And finally, David Henderson whose book, 'Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child Of The Aquarian Age' (partly researched at the Hendrix Centre), was the first book with a sweeping scope of it's kind (this was the late 1970s, and from going through the Acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, makes it painfully obvious that Henderson through sheer determination and unrelenting hard work, got the bulk of the interviews that mattered). A groundbreaking biography of not only Jimi Hendrix, but '60s history. That none of these people were interviewed is a shame.
        Trixie Sullivan and Jerry Stickells say just what you would expect them to say in this documentary. Nothing.
        It is good to hear the important interviews with the people who were left, Jimi's father Al Hendrix (without whom), Jimi's cousin Bob, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Linda Keith, Fayne Pridgon, Collette Mimram, Paul McCartney (great footage of the Experience playing 'Sgt Pepper' at Epstein's Saville Theatre, with glimpses of Paul and John in the audience), Chris Welch (the Melody Maker music journalist who wrote  the first Jimi Hendrix biography in 1973, and did a wonderful job), Chas Chandler (without whom), Mitch Mitchell, Buddy Miles, Stevie Winwood, Noel Redding etc...
        You really begin to get the spiritual direction of where Hendrix' music was heading (whether some people liked it or not) when you see and hear him perform the versions of 'Message To Love' at Woodstock, and at the Randalls Island New York Pop Festival in Bonus Features. In both versions you can hear his lyrics very clearly. The Randalls Island footage from 1970 by the way, was originally part of a film named (if I remember correctly) 'The Day The Music Died' aka 'Free Or Freedom', which was a poorly distributed documentary about the 1970 New York Pop Festival; that was circulating around the same time as 'Sweet Toronto', the documentary about the 1969 Toronto Peace Festival.
        Bob Smeaton, the Director of Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin', did a wonderful job on The Beatles Anthology. What happened here?
        This is now the wee hours of the morning and I've just woken up. There's something else I feel needs to be added as an Epilogue to this piece.
        Jimi Hendrix seems to me to have been touched by something very deep. There was something that endeared him to women, which is touched on in Hear My Train A Comin'. I think it came from his mother, who he never really got to know that well; similar to John Lennon with his mother. Both were beautiful women who imbued their sons with something special that lasted their whole lives. Without trying to be too cosmic, it's something that caused a Jimi Hendrix to write a Little Wing or a Drifting, and in between, a Message To Love. The snatches of brilliance in improvisatory inspiration in performance like a Star Spangled Banner and a long and beautiful Villanova Junction Blues (both from Woodstock - Villanova, the entire uncut version (which ended the festival) in the VHS or DVD 'Woodstock: The Director's Cut'), the long and absolutely gorgeous improvisation on Land Of The New Rising Sun, from one of Hendrix' concerts in Scandinavia in 1970, that was played for me on a tape by Dan Foster. http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2013/01/ultimate-hendrix-illustrated.html  In John Lennon's case, there are of course his songs which I've covered previously when I remember him on his birthday. When my cousin first played me her brand new copy of the album, 'Are You Experienced' (she had called Jimi Hendrix to my attention earlier in the year in a news dispatch from England that was in Crawdaddy Magazine) in Sept. of 1967, immediately the song that impressed me was 'The Wind Cries Mary'. I was able to recognize there was something special about Jimi Hendrix that was in direct connection with what Wes Montgomery was doing at the time. It was the same type of thing that caused Wes to leave us with beautiful versions (I imagine Wes who was considerably older, looking around him at the Vietnam War raging and all of those young men being drafted to go fight what ended up being a losing war, while another horrible war for basic human Civil Rights was raging at home; as the cities began burning.) of poignantly, 'Down Here On The Ground' and Pete Seeger's, 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone'. All of this ends up being about not wasting time. Look around you and don't waste any time. Time is precious. Peace.   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back 65 Tour Deluxe Edition

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back 65 Tour Deluxe Edition
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
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        This is the mother lode of the mother of them all. D.A. Pennebaker's Cinema Verite film of Bob Dylan's 1965 concert tour of England. Beautifully packaged, containing two DVDs, the first one, a digital transfer of the original film, the second one a wonderfully put together collection of previously unseen and unreleased outtakes from the original documentary. A reproduction of the original 1968 companion book with all of the dialogue from the film, and a wealth of photographs, and finally, a thumb sized Flipbook with frame by frame pictures of the Promo film of Dylan's early Folk Rock hit 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'; that was on his LP, Bringing It All Back Home. This Box Set is put out by Docurama. http://www.docurama.com
Throughout are appearances and cameos by Dylan's Manager Albert Grossman, Joan Baez, British Promoter Tito Burns (who unintentionally has you in hysterics by his deportment and antics), Dylan's Producer Tom Wilson, Road Manager and close friend Bobby Neuwirth, Beatnik Poet and Writer Alan Ginsberg, Donovan http://www.sabotage.demon.co.uk/donovan/scrap.htm  , a recently departed from The Animals Alan Price who is already showing signs of the beginnings of a bad drinking problem, along with maybe a guilty conscience concerning how he ended up with all of the Royalty Money for The Animals' arrangement of their biggest hit 'House Of The Rising Sun', British Folk legend Derroll Adams, a strikingly beautiful Nico (after having appeared in Frederico Fellini's influential masterpiece, 'La Dolce Vita' (the term 'Paparazzi' was coined in that film), and who at that point, was gravitating toward the Dylan/Grossman sphere (but subsequently ended up as a Chess Piece in the bizarre world of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground) as recounted in Andy Warhol's somewhat twisted autobiography, 'PoPism: The Warhol '60s' by Andy Warhol & Pat Hackett Published by Harper & Row Publishers New York), London Evening Standard journalist Maureen Cleave, who in the beginning of the film has a warm and playful exchange with Dylan while interviewing him, and there are occasional mentions of that elusive Pop Group, The Beatles.
The first DVD is a pristine transfer of the original documentary with great sound. Additionally there are Bonus Features of the Film Trailer for the movie, and an alternate Promo of  'Subterranean Homesick Blues'; as well as outstanding uncut Audio Recordings from the '65 British Tour of: (1) It Ain't Me Babe, (2) It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, (3) Love Minus Zero/No Limit, (4) The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, (5) To Ramona.
The second DVD is a specially put together collection of previously unseen outtakes from the film. And D.A. Pennebaker has done a magnificent job. There are snatches of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez singing beautifully together on several Traditional Songs. Tom Wilson listening to Dylan composing, 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry' on Piano. That version sounding almost like a Gospel Song. {An obvious influence from all the time Dylan was befriended and mentored by Victoria Spivey, during his early days in Greenwich Village as a struggling Folk Artist. Check out Anthony Scaduto's illuminating biography on Bob Dylan for THAT story.} A very clear picture of how essential Bobby Neuwirth was to the team as Road Manager. We catch a glimpse of how deeply moved Dylan is when some teenage female fans accompany him and Bobby Neuwirth to Newcastle Train Station to say goodbye, and run along the platform as the train is pulling out; while Dylan is waving goodbye to them. Among the live in concert (and performed in their entirety) outtakes are, a beautiful 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright', a riveting 'It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding', a boisterous 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now', a lovely 'To Ramona' and a gorgeous 'She Belongs To Me'. Finally, there is another version of the Promo for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', filmed on a roof with Tom Wilson (wearing a Fez) and Bobby Neuwirth in the background, both with canes.
It should be mentioned regarding the reproduction of the original companion book to the movie, which is included in this Box Set, that there is a photograph of George Harrison, taken during the latter part of 1968 at Apple Headquarters, reading a copy of the original version of the 'Don't Look Back' companion book, in Derek Taylor's (sort of) autobiography 'As Time Goes By'.
Lastly, the thumb sized Flipbook included in the Box Set (a novel and thoughtful idea), is a lot of fun to use.
And I must mention with delight in closing, that the wonderfully and immensely talented Photographer Don Hunstein, who took so many very well known photographs of Bob Dylan (e.g. from the same session that produced the Promo Film for 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', as well as the album cover photo of Dylan and Suze Rotolo http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/aug/16/biography.bobdylan on 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'), has a new book out http://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Time-The-Photographs-Hunstein/dp/1608872246 is having a Special Exhibition showing of his photographs through the month of December http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org and has his own website http://www.donhunstein.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Graham Nash - Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life

Graham Nash - Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
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        Graham Nash - Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life Published by Crown Archetype/Random House New York http://www.amazon.com/Wild-Tales-Rock-Roll-Life/dp/0385347545
Much as I like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (and I consider the first two albums, 'Crosby Stills and Nash' and 'Deja Vu' to be '60s classics {Along with Crosby's, 'If I Could Only Remember My Name', Still's first (and his masterpiece), 'Stephen Stills', Nash's 'Songs For Beginners', and Young's (before he started getting sloppy in the mid-'70s), 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere'-with the original Crazy Horse, 'After The Gold Rush', and 'Harvest'}), I'm a little disappointed with this book. On the positive side, Graham Nash's recounting of his early life in the North of England, his family, and especially the career of the Hollies, are very informative, detailed and make compelling reading. However, when we get to CSN (Go to The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org  Type in http://suitelorraine.com/suitelorraine/Pages/trips.html Click Take Me Back Then choose 2004) and in particular CSNY (Go to The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org  Type in http://suitelorraine.com/suitelorraine/Pages/csnyfillmore.html and Click Take Me Back), the story begins to get patchy. By now, having read accounts in Bill Graham's autobiography, 'Bill Graham Presents' (in which CSNY by 1970, are described as a bunch of egomaniacs out of their depth singing off key, perpetually stoned), there appears to be some gaping holes in Nash's memory. Most glaring in this respect, (having read Neil Young's biography 'Shakey'), is the subject of Greg Reeves. (I wonder what type of account Reeves would write if he ever decided to write a memoir?) The best live in concert footage that exists of the original lineup is from 1969, in the film, 'Celebration At Big Sur'. (Go to The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org  Type in http://suitelorraine.com/suitelorraine/Pages/rncsny69.html Click Take Me Back Then choose 2004) It would be  great to see the entire CSNY set, where you hear and see CSNY with Reeves and Dallas Taylor, tearing up the stage. {By the way, you can catch a glimpse of Lillian Roxon, author of the original 'Rock Encyclopedia', being interviewed in this film.} CSNY were always engaging politically (Just like Jimi Hendrix circa 1969/1970 - listen to what Hendrix says between songs, where you hear him say what he's thinking, in the unedited Bootleg versions of The Band Of Gypsys concerts at Fillmore East, and the L.A.Forum 1970, Jim Morrison in quite a few surprisingly candid and observant interviews, The Impressions, Nina Simone, Eric Burdon, Janis Joplin {Sometimes forgotten is that Janis Joplin was a former Teacher, highly intelligent and very well-read. What was happening on American College Campuses in 1970 (e.g. Kent and Jackson State) deeply upset her, and she said so.}, John Lennon (obviously), Sly and The Family Stone, The Jefferson Airplane, Phil Ochs, and the musicians of the emerging Post-Coltrane New Music from the same era, to name a few), and to give Nash his due, he does not mince words in this autobiography; additionally, when he quotes Joni Mitchell on page 180, in a political argument they had during the winter 1969 CSNY/Mitchell European Tour, she sounds quite mealymouthed and puerile {And this coming from someone who has held Ms. Mitchell's songs in such high esteem as to have quoted 'The Circle Game' near the end of his senior evaluation in college. - Y'know in  retrospect I wonder what Mitchell, and others who at the time held her position (and from a completely different perspective and perceptive stance than hers, Elvis Presley and the characters who hung around him), thought when they saw tricky dicky end up resigning and his cohorts doing jail time, and ending up with criminal records; as well as Clyde Tolson (after his partner J. Edgar Hoover croaked) shredding documents (that would have eventually become key evidence in the scale of this monstosity) like nobody's business}. This is a highly readable book, as Graham Nash is a very good writer, and the first half of the book concerning the rise and fall (and rise?) of his relationship with the Hollies is very good reading. He mentions having been invited by Paul McCartney to participate in the Beatles live Worldwide Satellite Broadcast of 'All You Need Is Love' from Abbey Road Studios, but strangely makes no mention of having sung background vocals on Hendrix' wild and very enjoyable psychedelic aural sound painting 'You Got Me Floatin'', off the Experience's second album, Axis Bold As Love. The seeds of CSN (of which Cass Elliot was an integral part), the formation of the trio with the key background participation and help of Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic Records, and resultant recording of the first album, are related in a painstaking and meticulous manner. However, the CSNY recounting needs more work on Nash's part and much deeper reflection. (Go to The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org  Type in http://crosbystillsnash.tripod.com/page13.html and Click Take Me Back, Type in http://www.4waysite.com Click Take Me Back Then choose 2005 and click Articles on Homepage, for reviews of 1974 tour etc...) His work outside of music, in the fields of Photography (a lifelong interest that started with his father) and Art (Painting and Sculpting), are of great interest, especially for people who may not know that side of him. There are a nice selection of photographs throughout the book that represent every period of his life, but I think there should have been more. Ah well... Worth a look.