Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year/An Internet Music Site Collection

A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year/An Internet Music Site Collection
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

The Complete Apple Records Catalog

This is it! A detailed site documenting every record released by The Beatles as a group and individually, and by every artist that was signed to Apple Records. From Mary Hopkin to Jackie Lomax, The Modern Jazz Quartet, James Taylor, Badfinger (originally The Iveys), The Black Dyke Mills Band, Billy Preston, The Radha Krishna Temple, John Tavener, Doris Troy,The Hot Chocolate Band etc... http://www.schomakers.com

The Beatles Photo Sessions

A portfolio of Beatles Photo Sessions up to and including the final Tittenhurst Park Sessions (some of which ended up as the front and back cover of the Allen Klein singles compilation LP, 'Hey Jude' aka 'The Beatles Again', and a number of photographs in the very rare 'Hey Jude' aka 'The Beatles Again', songbook). The session for the recording of 'The Fool On The Hill' is most interesting because of the presence of both Rumiko Hoshiko, who was the editor of Japan's Music Life Magazine, (and as she related in her Commentary in the blue insert booklet that accompanied the Shinko Music Co. LTD edition of Bob Whitaker's photo collection, 'The Beatles In Tokyo', had interviewed the group before, in 1965 in London; and attended a recording session for Ticket To Ride, and again in 1966 during their residency at Budo Kan Hall) and (this was the early Fall of 1967 {From the look of John, Paul, George and Ringo's haircuts, this is also the week that Richard Avedon took his Psychedelic Pop Photograph Portraitures of each Beatle; that ended up as the foldout inserts in Look Magazine.}) Yoko Ono listening to John playing his guitar. The Ballad of John and Yoko Photo Sessions are notable not only for Yoko's presence in the group shoot, but also because the photographs are so beautifully taken.


The Beatles On David Frost - 1968

This is an interesting brief clip. Originally shot as the introduction to the promo films for 'Revolution' and 'Hey Jude', it was later edited out. The Beatles playing 'The David Frost Show Theme' and then doing a bizzare take off on the early 60s Elvis Presley single, 'It's Now Or Never'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i_rm-Kw0Ok  https://vimeo.com/79853586


This is a Black and White promo film of The Beatles 1966 Psychedelic Masterpiece, 'Rain', A remarkable recording for it's time. Featuring Ringo's very inventive drumming throughout, and Paul's incredible bass playing, they drive John's observance of everyday life through the perception of cyclic changes in climate, to it's powerful conclusion. Like Lennon's Soul inflected Hard Rock hit of the previous year, 'Ticket To Ride', a signpost of things to come.



The Music Of Lennon & McCartney BBC Television Special-1965-Henry Mancini and Esther Phillips

This is part of a wonderful television special The Beatles did in 1965, that included many guests; among them, Henry Mancini and Esther Phillips.


Jimi Hendrix






Carlos Santana

A Spiritual Shaman For All Seasons, who Paints Rainbows with his guitar.


*Today Is Forever

Of Special Mention. A wonderfully detailed and informative site devoted to the one and only Arthur Lee, and the band Love.


Frank Zappa


Dinky Dawson

Sound Technician Extraordinaire. His memoir, 'Life On The Road: The Incredible Rock 'n' Roll Adventures of Dinky Dawson', contains the best and most detailed first hand account of the original Fleetwood Mac.


Pink Floyd

Taking their name from original member Syd Barrett's combination of the names of two Depression era Blues Musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, Pink Floyd has quite a history; (e.g. their amazing soundtrack to the late '60s epic and unsettling film, 'More', to jamming with Frank Zappa at the 1969 Actuel Festival of Jazz, Rock and New Music in Amougies, Belgium {before Atom Heart Mother broke them worldwide}).


Absolute Elsewhere


1960's Folk-Rock Links


Tom Monaster


James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti - It's A Man's World


This is the mother of them all!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Woodstock Vision & Live At Fillmore East

Woodstock Vision & Live At Fillmore East
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

A note to the reader about the books and the authors: It became blatantly obvious to me as I began reading and reviewing Elliot Landy's and Amalie R. Rothschild's photography books, that there was a tight organic synthesis, a countercultural syntax that brought them together. Not only their outstanding photography, but what each author had to say, made this a natural double review.

Woodstock Vision: The Spirit Of A Generation by Elliot Landy. Published by Backbeat Books - An Imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-Vision-The-Spirit-Generation/dp/0879309652 Even though I had been viewing his photography on album covers and in magazines and newspapers like Crawdaddy and Rolling Stone for years, I first became aware of who Elliot Landy was through the book, 'The Photography of Rock' in the 1970s. Underneath his photograph were the words: 'Elliot Landy says he was born someplace else, is here now, and is going someplace else'. From that point on, (along with his great photographs in The Photography of Rock, of Hendrix, Joplin, Dylan, Van Morrison etc...) he had my undivided attention. His book, 'Woodstock Vision: The Spirit Of A Generation', is a wonderful collection of his extraordinary photography. As he recounts in his own words, the time period when these photographs were taken, he captures for you very clearly, in real time, what it was like and makes the photographs come alive; whether they were musicians, demonstrations or celebrities. The colour photographs (including the then experimental Infrared film) are dazzling to look at. Marvelous pictures of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Melanie Safka, Jim Morrison, a gorgeous shot of a joyous Albert Ayler playing a Harp {Mary Maria's?} in his bedroom next to a painting, a number of candid pictures of John Lennon and Paul McCartney at their 1968 New York Press Conference, announcing the formation and intent of Apple Records, collections in black and white and colour of concerts from the Anderson Theatre, Fillmore East and Woodstock Festival. From a historical perspective, his chapters on Dylan and The Band are enlightening. This is a beautifully put together book, and in many instances, sure to bring back memories. (Y'know, it's interesting to consider that Occupy Wallstreet just may be the present day heirs to what the Woodstock era Counterculture was getting at.)
Elliot Landy has a splendidly elaborate website http://www.landyvision.com

A Brief Q & A With The Author, Elliot Landy

(Q) I noticed in one of the series of photographs in your book, from the 1968 New York Press Conference where John and Paul came to announce the formation of Apple Records, that they both have a look of, I don't know if this is the right word exactly, 'bewilderment' on their faces. What do you remember about that Press Conference?

(A) Yes, that is a good interpretation. I was aware of the strangeness of the situation and that's why I use the image showing them and the Press, pressing in on them at a weird angle. Photographers were pushing for position. The overall atmosphere was totally outside of the "artistic" realm which was the inspiration for and the reason they were there. But the everyday reality of dealing with the press, each wanting something unique, was strange. I wanted to escape from it as soon as I could. The photo I chose to take and publish shows the chaos, shows the reporters angling for position without real regard (in my opinion) for WHO these two men were. It was very impersonal-just doing a job and it didn't matter who was in front of the camera. I am not assigning any judgement of this, just explaining why you see that look on their faces. It was a group of people who were not connected to their essence and I would guess the two Beatles were most comfortable with people and situations where they could be "real" could be connected to essence, not artifice. I also remember, at the end of the Press Conference, seeing Linda Eastman walk into the elevator with Paul (and maybe John was in the same elevator) and I was very surprised. I had no idea she was seeing him. She was a professional acquaintance of mine, we were friendly enough. I had remembered loaning her $5 (or was it 10?) late one rainy night in the East Village, after a concert at the Anderson Theatre. She paid it back the next time I saw her.

Live At Fillmore East: A Photographic Memoir by Amalie R. Rothschild with Ruth Ellen Gruber Published by Thunder's Mouth Press http://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-Photographic-Memoir/dp/1560252790 There's so much to say about this gorgeous book. Amalie R. Rothschild is quite a gifted photographer, as well as writer. I first became aware of her work when I purchased the UK version of the book, 'The Photography Of Rock' as a college student, in Europe during the 1970s. This was a photography book with collections by different photographers, among them Amalie Rothschild. Some of the pictures from that book are also reproduced in Live At Fillmore East; including two which immediately caught my attention in The Photography Of Rock. Jimi Hendrix sitting backstage with some members of The Voices Of East Harlem (who shared the bill with A Band Of Gypsys at Fillmore East), and Tina Turner with Janis Joplin, singing together at Madison Square Garden ) when The Ike and Tina Turner Revue were opening act for The Rolling Stones). Amalie's memoir is very detailed and makes great reading. From her involvement in the Fillmore Joshua Light Show, straight out of Film School at NYU, to becoming 'unofficial' Fillmore East House Photographer, Ms. Rothschild's talent is amazing. For example, her fascinating explanation of developing the (by chance) photograph of Hendrix walking into the shot of Janis Joplin at the Stones' concert in Madison Square Garden. Also Amalie's intricate description of how the Joshua Light Show produced the images and colours that accompanied the bands who played the Fillmore, is a lot of fun to read about. The series of photographs she took of John and Yoko, the evening they jammed with Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention, are just wonderful to see. Just about every great artist from the era is represented in this book, running the span from Rock to Folk to Jazz; Miles Davis, Laura Nyro, CSNY, Richie Havens, Joni Mitchell, plus a mindblower of a shot of Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Mick Fleetwood from the original Fleetwood Mac, jamming onstage with The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers. Also not forgotten are the Benefits which were put on by Bill Graham at Fillmore East, that included participation by Mayor John Lindsey, Congresswoman Bella Abzug, comedians, satirists and activists like David Steinberg, Stiller & Meara, Tom Lehrer, Rap Brown and Bernadine Dorn. Amalie has also included photographs she took at the Newport, Woodstock and Isle Of Wight Festivals in 1969 and Tanglewood in 1970. The colour shots of Nina Simone, Laura Nyro, The Who, Miles Davis, Eric Clapton with Delaney and Bonnie, Santana, Albert King, Johnny Winter, The Allman Brothers and Dizzy Gillespie are really striking. (You can imagine my surprise when I noticed that one of the people standing outside Fillmore East in the front overleaf cover photograph, looks like my old photography teacher!) Amalie  ends the book with a detailed listing of every show put on at Fillmore East, whether they were concerts, Benefits, comedy mixed with music (Bill Cosby and Janis Ian!, Country Joe & The Fish and Pigmeat Markham!!) etc...; with dates and names of all performers. Live At Fillmore East is a true work of Art. And by the way 'don't you know', this is Amalie R. Rothschild's very creative website http://www.amalierrothschild.com

Monday, November 5, 2012

Forever 5th Dimension

Forever Fifth Dimension
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

Biographer Robert-Allan Arno has a marvelous webpage on MySpace devoted to The 5th Dimension. Full of historical information on the original group, current activities of each group member, along with a wealth of wonderfully imaginative and innovative 5th Dimension video productions that are Robert Arno's own creations. Mind boggling, and a pleasure to explore; as there is always something new to read, see and hear.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Victor Spinetti Up Front...: His Strictly Confidential Autobiography

Victor Spinetti Up Front...: His Strictly Confidential Autobiography
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

Victor Spinetti, after a very successful run of one man performances of his show, 'A Very Private Diary!' http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/news/2008/10/31/why-i-turned-hollywood-down-by-victor-spinetti-91466-22156166/ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/news/2008/10/29/victor-spinetti-s-theatrical-tales-91466-22137051/ , does a free and open to the public performance on the stage of The Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, on Saturday Jan. 10th, 2009 at 3:00 P.M. in the afternoon. The place is packed to the rafters with Theatre People, Beatle Fans, the Press, and Victor puts on one hell of a performance! Funny, witty, poignant, thought provoking, every word you can think of to describe a thoughtful, creative artist; who with effortless, easy command of the stage, has the entire audience in the palm of his hand, from beginning to end. He stays afterward to sign autographs for everyone who would like one, despite having come down with a cold, and despite the fact that an already forecasted oncoming horrendous, punishing blizzard will hit New York by early evening. All true and experienced by yours truly, who was one of those fans in the audience that glorious, magical day http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2009/01/victor-spinetti-very-private-diary.html . Well, let me tell you, 'Victor Spinetti Up Front,,,: His Strictly Confidential Autobiography' http://www.dramabookshop.com/book/9781861059437 http://www.dramabookshop.com/book/9781905798254  , is the next best thing to having seen Victor live in performance. A very good writer, the premier portions of his autobiography cover his early life. As his one man show's main focus was on his career in theatre and films, and the people he knew connected therein, his childhood in Wales and subsequent experiences in the Army (which are related in detail in the book) are quite startling (and at times disturbing) to read. His father Joe, who in the early 20th century left an already Fascist leaning pre-Mussolini/Hitler/Franco-Nazi Axis Italy, to go to Wales, was a driven, hard working but very distant, callous and ultimately insecure individual. At the outbreak of World War II, Joe along with other Italians who had settled in Scotland and Wales, were sent off to what amounted to, 'Internment Camps'. It was up to Victor Spinetti's mother Lily, who was Welsh, to run things until her husband was released. Although always close to his mother, Victor relates that there was always a certain coldness between his mother and father, which we learn, he eventually finds out the reason for, when he gets older. On advice from a good friend (actually two) on his return from the Internment Camp, Victor's father enrolls him in the Monmouth School For Boys (located in Monmouthshire, SouthEast Wales, County of Gwent, near the Monnow and Rye Rivers, where both English and Welsh are spoken), and his life begins to change as he discovers his true calling there; which is the Arts. After a near fatal experience in the Army a few years later, due to Spartan and dangerously unhealthy living conditions in the barracks, which leads to Pleurisy and a Collapsed Lung, followed by blatant Military Medical Incompetence, which ends with a full Army Disability Pension (to cover up the Medical Incompetence), Victor gets a Grant to attend The Cardiff College of Music and Drama; and his fate is sealed. And from here on, Victor Spinetti's life comes in line with his one man show, 'A Very Private Diary'. His breakthrough into acting in both theatre and films in London. Early friendships with a young actor named Sean Connery (this was before Connery made his breakthrough film, 'Another Time, Another Place', with Lana Turner), Director Joan Littlewood (in whose Theatre Workshop he starred in many productions), his late partner {and actor in his own right} Graham Curnow (in whose memory he dedicated his autobiography), his subsequent friendships with The Beatles (especially with John Lennon, with whom he developed a deep friendship bond that culminated with their co-authorship of and Spinetti directing The London National Theatre's production of Lennon's two books, 'In His Own Write' and 'A Spaniard In The Works', as 'The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write' {Lennon seems to have always clicked with very creative artist types, e.g. Stuart Sutcliffe, his first wife Cynthia, Peter Cook, Eleanor Bron, Victor, Alma Cogan, Yoko, May Pang}) Some of the stories Victor tells about people he casually meets, like the old couple in The Colony Room (a private drinking club in Soho in London) and 'The Swedish Shipping Millionaire', in Winston's Nightclub (also in London) and what eventually transpires when they 'invite him home', leave you dumbfounded with your jaw slowly dropping open. And there are the stories of kindnesses that people have shown him. Once during the filming of, 'A Hard Days Night', which was a breathtaking spontaneous gift from The Beatles for his sister Gianina when she was getting engaged, and again from Elizabeth Taylor during the filming of 'The Taming of The Shrew', when his sister was getting married. His relationships with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers and Marlene Dietrich, provide many additionally entertaining stories (his description of the meeting he had with Laurence Olivier and John Lennon {who came with Yoko} to initially discuss the possibility of mounting the play based on Lennon's two books, at The Old Vic Theatre, is priceless!), as well as his work with Orson Welles. Victor Spinetti (who has a very good memory my friend), keeps you glued to his autobiography; as page after page he has fascinating stories to tell. This book is a rare treasure, written by someone who was there when it all happened. Well worth reading.

We were so very lucky to have him: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2161526/Actor-Victor-Spinetti-star-Beatles-films-died-aged-82-cancer-battle.html

I remember reading somewhere that John Lennon once said that we never actually die until the last person who has a memory of us dies. And there you have it, some wise words from Sage Lennon.

Oh and by the way, the cover of 'Victor Spinetti Up Front', sports a comical photograph of Messers Spinetti and Lennon cutting up for the camera, on what looks like the set of the film, 'Help'.

And today as I publish this posting dear reader, John Lennon has a birthday.

And a Very Happy Birthday To You John Lennon.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Quaker Speaks From The Black Experience: The Life and Selected Writings of Barrington Dunbar

A Quaker Speaks From The Black Experience: The Life and Selected Writings of Barrington Dunbar
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

Barrington Dunbar was quite a gifted and remarkable person. He lived his life as we can all only hope to. That is to make a difference in other people's lives to such an extent, that he left a lasting influence. The book, 'A Quaker Speaks From The Black Experience: The Life and Selected Writings of Barrington Dunbar' (Edited by James A. Fletcher and Carleton Mabee. Published by New York Yearly Meeting of the Religeous Society of Friends, 15 Rutherford Place, New York, N.Y. 10003), covers his whole life. By the time he passed on, in October of 1978 in Toronto, Canada at the age of 77, his legacy was astounding. Just to briefly go through highlights in his life, is to marvel. From his support and raising funds for the American Relief Ship For Spain, while attending Columbia University in the 1930s (there is a photo of Barrington with other supporters in the book, 'Mississippi To Madrid: Memories of a Black American In The Spanish Civil War 1936-1938 by James Yates. Published by Shamal Books, GPO Box 16 New York City 10116 USA), to his work with young people at the Urban League, during the same time period, Riverside Church, and an interracial cooperative in Greenwich Village. When drafted during World War II, he worked with Black Migrant Farm Workers for the War Food Administration. As a Major in the United States Army after the war, in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency in Europe, he worked to help Polish, Estonian, German and French families rebuild their lives (as well as with Formerly - Nazi German youth); and arranged for Black Churches and a community center in Harlem, to send needed food, clothing and Christmas gifts to displaced refugees. Needless to say, his building of bridges between cultures was immense. His subsequent work with Unicef in Haiti, led to his interest in Quakerism, and through this, expanded his travels to Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Greece, Israel, Italy, England, Russia, Scandinavia and Brazil, in the 1950s. During the 1960s he settled in New York and continued his work there, where he created and developed 'The Adventure Corps', on the Lower East Side; an experimental program aimed at helping the diverse youth population which included Black, Latino, Chinese and Jewish. As the events of this decade unfolded, America changed forever, and Barrington (now a Quaker) spoke widely and clearly about what was happening. Many of his articles and essays, which were published in the Quaker periodical, 'Friends Journal', are gathered together in the second half of this book; and his unflinching truths about 'overt violence' (the riots which were exploding all over the country) and 'covert violence' ( the institutionalized racism that had been quietly allowed to function as the law of the land, while those who had been comfortable with it, looked the other way and did nothing) are very powerful to read, even now. I was lucky enough to have known him personally, and back when I was a college student, spent many hours talking with him at his apartment on the Lower East Side. Among the many stories of his life that he spoke of with warm memories, one of my favourites was his recollection of Bobby Kennedy visiting Grosvenor Hospital during the Christmas/New Years holidays in the 1960s; where Bobby sat on the floor with the children in the Children's Ward, and played with them with their toys. In my own travels as a college student, no matter what continent I was on, I always ran into someone whose life he had touched and changed for the better. A truly rare person, indeed!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

12 Angry Men - 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD

12 Angry Men - 50th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2012 Antonio G. Pereira

12 Angry Men http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7581281 A very powerful film, directed by Sidney Lumet (The Pawnbroker, The Wiz, Q&A), and starring Henry Fonda (who also co-produced). From a story by playwright Reginald Rose (who also wrote the screenplay). 12 Angry Men, set in 1950s post McCarthy America, is about a murder trial and the twelve jurors who must decide the ultimate life or death fate of the defendant. Well written and directed, with superb acting by the cast, it is explosive cinema at it's best.
Strangely, no mention is made in the two otherwise fine 'Making of Twelve Angry Men' documentaries in Special Features, about another reason that Henry Fonda might also have wanted so badly to make this film and co-produce; The Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots, that took place during World War 2. The late History Professor, Ronald Takaki, wrote at length about this in his book, Double Victory. (There is a link to his book within an earlier posting http://friendfeed.com/rooms/lauradern/dbbe7905/observer1984-focus-film-adaption-of-novel-by.html )
From Double Victory: On October 4th, 1944, the District Court of Appeals found that the trial judge in the Sleepy Lagoon case was biased against the defendants and overturned the convictions. Leading the appeal struggle was a defense committee whose membership included Bert Corona, Rita Hayworth, Anthony Quinn, Orson Welles, Henry Fonda and Carey McWilliams. "It wasn't only seventeen boys who were on trial", the committee declared. "It was the whole of the Mexican people, and their children and grandchildren." In their conclusion, they issued a call to arms against the ideology of white superiority on the home front: "Nazi logic guided the judge and jury and dictated the verdict and sentence. We are at war not only with the armies of the Axis powers, but with the poison gas of their doctrine, with the 'biological basis' of Hitler and with his theories of race supremacy."
{For related and quite illuminating scholarship:
(1) Upside Your Head! Rhythm and Blues on Central Avenue by Johnny Otis - Published by Wesleyan University Press
(2) Why I Left America and Other Essays by Oliver W. Harrington - Published by University Press of Mississippi
(3) Dark Laughter: The Satiric Art of Oliver W. Harrington - Published by University Press of Mississippi
(4) Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play by Ben Watson - Published by St. Martin's Griffin (An Imprint of St. Martin's Press)}
And: {A1} Miracle At St. Anna http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-at-St-Anna-Widescreen/dp/B001LLH8SO
{A2} Black History: A Retrospective http://www.amazon.com/Black-History-Retrospective-Barack-Obama/dp/B002WBYDLC
Additionally, another book by Ronald Takaki makes sobering reading, 'A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America' http://ghostdance.webs.com/A%20different%20Mirror.pdf