Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)


Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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http://beatlesource.com/bs/mains/audio/xmas/xmas.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF59w_7mKMM

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lennon NYC - DVD

Lennon NYC - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
____________________________________________

Lennon NYC http://www.amazon.com/Lennon-NYC-John/dp/B003YGC7VM A chronological and detailed documentary of John Lennon's life in New York, with wonderful footage from the Ann Arbor John Sinclair Benefit, and what appears to be, footage from the Attica Families Benefit at the Apollo Theatre. Also included is the period he spent out in Los Angeles. Great interviews with musicians and producers who knew him, as well as Yoko Ono, May Pang, Bob Gruen, Dick Cavett and others. John and Yoko's deep love for each other is very evident, all throughout this entire documentary. The Dick Cavett Show footage of John reading Democratic Representative Ron Dellums' letter concerning his song, 'Woman Is The Nigger Of The World', from the album, Sometime In New York City, is as daring and brave now, as it was then; and really upset some folks' comfort level. (I also remember that during this same period, Peter Cook {who at the time, was appearing with Dudley Moore in the long running Broadway production, Good Evening http://www.lunaestas.com/petercook } made some daring statements about the subject of racism on The Dick Cavett Show.) It's very good to see some of the beautiful photographs from May Pang's book, Instamatic Karma, which has been reviewed in an earlier posting on this blog http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2010/10/us-vs-john-lennon-instamatic-karma.html Additionally, here is a very rare interview with her http://michaelaventrella.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/interview-with-author-may-pang . The photographs of John with a baby Sean (some of which I remember from The John Lennon Exhibition in London in 1988), are very moving. The music in the documentary consists of a lot of outtakes of songs that were on albums. And they are fascinating to hear. Several of them are acoustic versions with just John accompanying himself on guitar, where you get to hear his in-the-process structuring of a song he is composing. (Akin to what was captured in The Beatles Anthology recordings). The hard rock recordings of Yoko, from the period when she was appearing solo at Kenny's Castaways in the 1970s, are very good too. It puts a smile on your face, to hear everyone who was there during the recording of Double Fantasy, talk about what an enjoyable album it was for them to make. As this posting reaches you on John's birthday, this is a documentary that will remind you of not only how much John Lennon contributed, but how much he is a part of everything around us even now, and why. And as for all the women he loved and who loved him, so it will be. It's a good lesson in feeling human. And so...

Thank You to one John Lennon, who was consistently John Lennon.

And remains Forever In Our Hearts.

A Very Happy Birthday To You.

http://www.myspace.com/johnwinstononolennon9

http://www.myspace.com/johnlennon7

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let It Bleed: The Rolling Stones, Altamont, and the End of the Sixties & Exile On Main Street.: A Season in Hell with The Rolling Stones


Let It Bleed: The Rolling Stones, Altamont, and the End of the Sixties & Exile On Main St.: A Season in Hell with The Rolling Stones
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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Let It Bleed by Ethan A. Russell (Published by Springboard Press N.Y.) is a collection of photographs Ethan Russell took of The Rolling Stones, from 1968 (when Brian Jones was still in the band) through 1969 (with a few photos from the 1972 tour of America). Most of the book is taken up with the 1969 North American Tour. The photographs are quite good, and there are candid shots of Tommy Smothers meeting with the Stones about appearing on The Smothers Brothers Show, Bill Graham at the Oakland concert he promoted, Jimi Hendrix jammimg with Mick Taylor backstage at Madison Square Garden, (There are more photos of Hendrix backstage with the Stones that Thanksgiving night in 1969, in a rather chaotic 2nd Guitar World Jimi Hendrix Tribute Issue from March 1988. {The first was the Sept. 1985 Issue} Mick Taylor gave a very gracious and informative interview to Experience Hendrix Magazine, which was published in their Nov/Dec 1999 Issue. Here is a very lengthy related article http://www.micktaylor.net/MT_re-examinedp1.htm ) Bukka White meeting the Stones, Chuck Berry talking with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger etc... The stories Ethan Russell tells in this book about the circumstances under which he started photographing the Stones and what Brian Jones was like, are quite interesting (although I wonder if his 'vacation' in London had more to do with the draft and the Vietnam War). Additionally, his detailed descriptions of the Hyde Park Concert after Jones' passing, and Mick Taylor joining the band after leaving John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and finally the 1969 tour, are very good. (It's interesting to note that The Rolling Stones two transitional group performances occurred on The David Frost Television Show. Brian Jones final performance with the Stones after Beggars Banquet was released, near the end of 1968 performing 'Sympathy For The Devil' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiIH5PewAzs    and 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', which has never been screened in the U.S., and Mick Taylor's first performance with the Stones in 1969, when the 45 'Honky Tonk Women' was released, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH4bKiBXF2g   with Jagger so stoned he mumbled his way through the song; was screened in the U.S. {Interestingly, during the mid-1970s a 2LP bootleg appeared in some 'specialist' record shops that sported a cover parodying a T.V. Guide; containing a chronological listing of The Rolling Stones t.v. appearances on live television from 1964-1972. The David Frost Show appearance of the Stones playing 'Honky Tonk Women', is on that bootleg}) One thing that should be understood is that the photographs of the tour are not from every single date, but offer a wide variety of in concert and backstage photos (some very well known). The stories told by (and about) different people that were associated with the tour, are also quite interesting to hear. Some people apparently (for this book) are speaking for the first time. When we get to Altamont, it becomes quickly obvious that this is a disaster in the making; and nobody comes out looking very good when it's over. In the Epilouge to this book, I find it rather strange that Ethan Russell tells half a story about the aftermath of the murder at Altamont and subsequent trial; as you can find the rest of the facts in detail, in History Professor Jon Weiner's book, 'Come Together: John Lennon In His Time' (Published by Random House New York) in Chapter 11 'Altamont and Toronto' pages 124-130.
Exile On Main St.: A Season in Hell with The Rolling Stones by Robert Greenfield (Published by Da Capo Press) Frankly, I don't know why the guy decided to turn this into a book, as he could just as easily have written this as a series of articles for News Of The World; which would have suited it well. Robert Greenfield has done some good work before. e.g. His book about the Rolling Stones 1972 North American Tour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQeZPrQFwlk   (an excellent piece of work, although a little heavy on assumptions about some of the people who were involved in and around the tour), and his masterpiece, 'Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out' (which he co-wrote with Bill Graham, and for which he won a well deserved Ralph J. Gleason Award {unlike another Ralph J. Gleason awardee named Electric Gypsy (a questionable Jimi Hendrix biography) which among other things, placed Jimi Hendrix stage-rear at the Altamont Festival, witnessing the murder}). The book, 'Exile On Main St.', which covers the period the Stones lived in Tax Exile in France in 1971, and recorded most of what became their patchy two LP set Exile On Main St. , is more of an expose' than anything else; and is not that much different from the book, 'Up and Down With The Rolling Stones' by Tony Sanchez, which it continually makes reference to (and which had a better selection of photographs). Written in an odd Shakespearean style, Exile On Main St. is interesting in places, like the formation of Rolling Stones Records on Atlantic with Ahmet Ertegun, the back and forth between the Stones and Allen Klein concerning their back catalog at London/Decca and ABKCO, the raw deal given to Mick Taylor (strangely, there is no mention of the subsequent raw deal that Billy Preston {with whom Mick Taylor appeared on a great live album that was only available as an Import} received) who replaced a once very versatile and talented, but by then worn out Brian Jones, http://www.rockontour.net/bj67.html http://www.rocksoff.org/greece-april-17-1967.htm {Jones, who after years of heavy drinking and drug use, had the additional problem of a broken wrist that never healed properly; which resulted from a fall during rock climbing on a Moroccan holiday in 1966. He had however, developed a deep interest in Moroccan Folk Music, which he continued to pursue for the remainder of his life.} and who added a completely new and different dimension to The Rolling Stones, (Go to The Internet Archive http://www.archive.org type http://home.att.net/~onvenus/stones.html into The Wayback Machine and click Take Me Back, for an engrossing, detailed and informative review of the Stones history) as he was a genuinely talented and exceptional musician; and of course the constant drug use around Nellcote, where the recording of the album took place. There are a handful of photographs from the period, not all that well focused. The final chapter, 'Aftermath', was mostly unnecessary and really added nothing to the book, other than an update on some of the players involved.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canyon Of Dreams


Canyon Of Dreams
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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Interesting Book. http://www.amazon.com/Canyon-Dreams-Magic-Music-Laurel/dp/1402765894 Beautifully designed, and full of very rare and gorgeous photographs. But if you remember the time period, some of the manner in which the '60s are recreated in this book, are a little too sweet chalk sounding from time to time; and end up resembling Post Reagan/Bush/MTV phony. However, (for what it's worth - no pun intended), there are some fascinating stories told inside 'Canyon Of Dreams'; which make it a valuable historical document. There is quite an informative additional review of aforementioned at Today Is Forever http://poisgoneforever.blogspot.com posted Tuesday, May 17th 2011.

Worth checking out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One Night Stand - A Mike Figgis Film - DVD

One Night Stand - A Mike Figgis Film - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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Originally released on VHS and now on DVD, One Night Stand http://www.amazon.com/One-Night-Stand-Wesley-Snipes/dp/6304884370 is a fascinating and complex film about relationships, starring Wesley Snipes (Rising Sun, Money Train), Ming-Na Wen (E.R., The Joy Luck Club), Kyle McLaughlen (Twin Peaks, The Doors), Nastassja Kinski (Paris, Texas, Red Letters) and Robert Downey Jr. (U.S. Marshalls, Chaplin). (This film brings to mind 'Borderline' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_(1930_film) http://www.amazon.com/Paul-Robeson-Portraits-Collection-Borderline/dp/BOOOKRNGOA http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/dvdreviews31/borderline.htm a film which Paul Robeson made back in 1930. Made in Switzerland, Borderline is a silent film {with an interracial cast} by Filmmaker-Director-Writer Kenneth MacPherson, about marital affairs, in much the same vein {although not as clearly thought out and resolved} as One Night Stand; remarkable for the fact that Robeson starred in this Art Film back in the 1930s.)
One Night Stand revolves around Wesley Snipes, and his relationships with an old friend dying from Aids (Robert Downey Jr.), a woman he meets while on a business trip to New York (Nasstassja Kinski), his wife (Ming-Na Wen) and Robert Downey Jr's brother (Kyle McLaughlan), who he later learns, is also Nasstassja Kinski's husband. As the story unravels, it keeps you glued to your seat. The locales in New York and Los Angeles are marvelous, especially the music venues; and the main theme, 'Someone Just Like You' by Nina Simone, is just gorgeous. This is quite an extraordinary and artistic nouveau monde production by Producer-Director-Writer-Composer, Mike Figgis.
Well worth seeing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Remembering Gil Scott Heron


Remembering Gil Scott Heron
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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To Everything
Turn Turn Turn
There is a Season
Turn Turn Turn
And a time to every purpose
Under Heaven...

http://www.amazon.com/Gil-Scott-Heron-Black-Plus-That/dp/B00000G3FC

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=82039

http://panafricannews.blogspot.com/2011/05/gil-scott-heron-my-brave-and-brilliant.html

http://gilscottheron.wordpress.com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole - DVD

When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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The Nat King Cole Show was a Musical Variety Program that aired on primetime television from 1956 to 1957. Hosted by Nat King Cole, and featuring a wealth of talented artists from the era, the best of the shows that could be restored, are preserved on the DVD, When I Fall In Love: The One And Only Nat King Cole (Eagle Rock Entertainment Home Video). The story of why this marvelous quality program did not survive in 1950s America, is told in detail by members of Nat's family, his brother Freddy, wife Maria, daughters Natalie, Casey and Timolin, and his producer, director and collaborator on the show, Bob Henry. The performances of the artists who were guests on this show are in their entirety, and they are just wonderful to see and hear. Among the standouts are Nat himself, singing a gorgeous rendition of the title song, 'When I Fall In Love, It Will Be Forever', with equally exquisite versions of, 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face', and 'Mona Lisa'. (Who can ever forget The Miles Davis Quintet's version of 'When I Fall In Love': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sluzRhnr-4Q  or Wes Montgomery live at Tsubo coffee.house in San Francisco, with a deeply moving version of, 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ9RD4FkRgA   )
Nat Cole's effortless and extraordinary talents as a pianist are also clearly showcased in, 'Just You Just Me', 'Caravan' and 'Crazy Rhythm'. Then there are more incredible performances of Nat singing and backed by The Oscar Peterson Trio (Oscar, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown), introduced by Norman Granz, (creator of Jazz At The Philharmonic), as they swing on 'Sweet Lorraine'; with Coleman Hawkins sitting in on saxophone, playing so cool and smooth. And during 'Tenderly', Nat Cole delivers a delicate and sweet reading, with the trio matching him on every nuance and shading. There's also a powerhouse 'Opus One', of Nat with The Mills Brothers, that leaves you rooting for more, a hysterical, 'Somewhere Along The Way' with Sammy Davis Jr.; Sammy and Nat imitating each others voices, and a lovely rocking duet of, 'Too Close For Comfort' with Ella Fitzgerald. At the time of his appearance on the Nat King Cole Show, Billy Preston (then a young child prodigy on keyboards) was making the film, 'St. Louis Blues' with Nat. 'St Louis Blues', was a movie about the life of American Composer W.C. Handy; with Billy portraying him as a child, and Nat as a grown man. (In the following decade of the 1960s, Billy would go on to record W.C. Handy's song, 'Morning Star', on his first album for Apple Records, 'That's The Way God Planned It'; produced by George Harrison. This version, with Billy singing and playing piano, accompanied by a full orchestra with strings, is magnificent). On the show, Billy does quite a performance of Fats Domino's then current hit, 'Blueberry Hill' with Nat King Cole; both of them sharing vocals and keyboard duty. And there is the very funny duet of Nat at the piano with singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer, doing Mercer's song,'Save The Bones For Henry Jones'. And finally, Nat Cole singing Mel Torme's 'Christmas Song'; a song which he made his own, for all time. Narration throughout is by the wonderful actor Dennis Haysbert. Talk about value for money! This is worth every cent. You'll treasure this for many years to come.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love

Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
____________________________________________

Finally, a book about Arthur Lee and Love worth reading. Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love by Canadian writer John Einarson. (Published by Jawbone Press http://www.jawbonepress.com ) Although, if not careful, and walking that fine line when writing about a subject not of one's own culture or country, can place one in the 'guessers hall of fame (or infamy, depending on your motives)', John Einarson has done most of his homework; and come up with a biography that is mostly quite good. A little more care could have been exercised in following up on sources of additional and (might I say) very valuable information and perspectives on Arthur Lee. I would suggest these two websites: (1). Today Is Forever http://www.poisgoneforever.blogspot.com and (2). Doug Thomas http://www.lekiwi.com Both of these sites (especially Today Is Forever, which has an incredible and elaborate archive), are essential. That said, John Einarson's book is very well researched, and he appears to have taken the time to do an honest assessment of his subject's life, rather than relying on the Albert Goldman (or worse still, the poor man's Albert Goldman, Harry Shapiro) school of journalism; that unfortunately thrives in much music writing these days. e.g. (1). Bryan MacLean's very detailed and angry letter to Mojo magazine (published in their 'Theories, Rants, etc. - Letters To The Editor section') on page 7 of their August 1997 issue, referring to an article written about Love by a Mojo writer, published in their June 1997 issue, and including an interview with MacLean, that he said was taken out of context. Mojo Magazine being one among a few, with very colourful graphics and first rate picture selection of many rare photographs, but more often than not, with very poor sensationalist writing, and loads of misinformation. (Sounds like a faux counterculture version of a Rupert Murdoch publication for novices. e.g. (2). Mojo - A not very clever name borrowed from the late Greg Shaw's 1960s newsletter, Mojo Navigator). Once in a while in 'Mojo', if you're lucky, you might get a first rate class article by someone like Music Journalist and Photographer Valerie Wilmer.
Anyway, returning to John Einarson's book, from the author's chosen excerpts from Arthur Lee's unfinished autobiography which are added to the narrative, the resultant picture materializes as Arthur Lee's life. From his childhood in Memphis Tennessee, where he was born, to his growing up in Los Angeles, after his family moved there. There are great informative interviews with people who had known him and his family during his lifetime. Most interesting is the information about the original Love, which takes up a good half of the book. (Oddly, there is no mention of a very lengthy interview with Bobby Beausoleil (Go to The Internet Archive http://www.archive.org , type http://www.beausoleil.net/mminterview.html into The Wayback Machine and click Take Me Back) who was a part-time member of the original Grass Roots, (It's interesting to note that Beausoleil's recollection of events concerning his tenure in The Grass Roots, differs considerably from John Echols' (see below), and Beausoleil's recollection of the situation with 'some blacks from the Fillmore District' that were 'raping and robbing some of the young white runaways' in the Haight Ashbury District, differs from Emmett Grogan's, as Grogan wrote in considerable detail in his autobiography that it was The Black Panthers whom he contacted in Oakland, who put a stop to all of that. (And in the 'Isn't it interesting how history repeats itself department', The Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, claiming in former Rolling Stones employee Sam Cutler's book 'You Can't Always Get What You Want', that it wasn't they who were attacking audience members at the Altamont Festival in the film 'Gimmie Shelter', but criminals 'pretending to be Hell's Angels'.) It's also a little odd that the person from Seconds Magazine who is interviewing Beausoleil, doesn't seem to know the difference between Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.) before Arthur Lee changed their name {due to a conflict with Lou Adler - see John Echol's three part posting, 'How The Grass Roots Became Love', at The Freedomman: http://www.thefreedomman.com/love/Johnny10.htm http://www.thefreedomman.com/love/Johnny9.htm http://www.thefreedomman.com/love/Johnny7.htm }) to Love. The creation of Forever Changes is fascinating to read, and David Angel, who sat down with Arthur Lee and created the orchestrations and arrangements with him, is quite a unique and rare individual. After awhile however, it gets a little tiring reading about how some people felt that Arthur never topped Forever Changes; as upon listening to his subsequent recordings (starting with his final album for Elektra, 'Four Sail'), it's pretty obvious that Arthur continued to create great music. (And wasen't Forever Changes a completely different album from the previous two albums, Da Capo and Love?) But that I guess is a matter of opinion. It might have helped a little more, to point out his expansive embracing of other styles of music, like Jazz, Funk, Country, Progressive Rock, and his authentic reproduction of Reggae. Where did this come from, and who was influencing him? (For more on this, check the following posting http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2007/09/have-you-ever-heard-of-arthur-lee.html ) When it comes to his RSO period, there is no mention of Arthur's detailed two part interview, which you can find at Today Is Forever http://www.poisgoneforever.blogspot.com (Part 1 - Posted Thursday April 24th, 2008, Part 2 - Posted Saturday May 10th, 2008). And Arthur Lee was not the only artist (there were some right there in merrie old England), who thought Robert Stigwood was a fool. (Check out the chapters, 'The Nemperor' and 'The End of the Road', in Beatles Press Officer Tony Barrow's book, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me: The Real Beatles Story - Published by Thunder's Mouth Press (US) and Andre Deutsch Limited (UK), and British Promoter Don Arden's less-than-flattering interview, given to Mojo magazine in the May 1999 issue). It's interesting to read a little more about Arthur Lee's relationship with Jimi Hendrix. And one is left with the feeling that there is still more to that story. The portions where Arthur Lee is quoted, get a little confusing as to whether he is referring to their meetings in London in 1970 or their meetings in Los Angeles in 1969. The last section of the book, that covers the Forever Changes touring from 2002 to 2004, makes very good reading, (and I might add, compliments the Tour Documentary in the Special Features section of the stupendous Forever Changes Concert DVD); telling the story of how all the pieces were put together, from rehearsing the band with Arthur, to adding the orchestra and strings, and negotiating and booking the tours themselves etc... The collection of photographs are quite good, and would have been even nicer with more pictures. As I remember very clearly, the Benefit For Arthur Lee at The Beacon Theatre here in New York, before he passed away, it's obvious that this was a calibre of artist whose body of work meant something meaningful and special to a lot of people. This book reflects that thankfully, and Arthur Lee has earned himself a place as one of the greatest artists of the millennium.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Inside Job

Inside Job
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
____________________________________________

Whatever happened to a country named, The United States of America? The place where there were pastures of plenty. Where a growing Middle Class were thriving. Factories employed tens of thousands, who produced wonderful products. How is it that a miniscule corporate 1% of the population is currently hoarding all of the money, taking jobs overseas (on the cheap), not paying any taxes while doing it, and millions of Americans are out of work, losing their homes (and in many cases) living in tent cities, homeless shelters, and going hungry at night. And the term, 'Middle Class', has become a misnomer, or at best, a pipe dream. And you could be next. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of this monstrosity are riding around scot-free in limousines, instead of doing life in prison. Filmmaker Charles Ferguson's very detailed documentary, 'Inside Job', answers all of these questions, as he traces this real life crime drama, from it's beginnings in the 1980s, to the Global Economic Crisis that broke out near the end of 2008; and of which we are now still experiencing the after.effects. In Special Features, under Deleted Scenes, is an interview with Financial Derivatives Expert, Satyajit Das, that is quite an eye opener; in which he goes on to describe the unsettling and creepy thinking that is prevalent among the cognoscenti in the Insider Trading, Banking and Derivatives fields, who are each a part of the whole disturbing picture of corruption. It's not only the bandits, thieves and pirates you can see, it's the ones you 'can't see', that leave you in total disgust. 'Inside Job', is well worth seeing, more than once. You could be next.

http://www.insidejobfilm.com/

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Big Project International Newspaper Site

The Big Project International Newspaper Site
Antonio G. Pereira © 2011 Antonio G. Pereira
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A highly useful educative tool, which I added while creating, 'All-Internet-Exercises', during the teaching of classes on Basic Computer and the Internet, at the Seattle Public Library's Computer Lab; The Big Project International Newspaper Site, covers every country, in every continent, in every language, on the planet. Perfect for research purposes, or to keep abreast of current events.

www.thebigproject.co.uk/news