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
_______________________________________________

        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 (Go to the Internrt Archive: www.archive.org  Type http://www.sabotage.demon.co.uk/donovan/scrap.htm  , into the Wayback Machine, click Search, then choose Dec. 7th, 2014.), 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
_______________________________________________

        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? http://www.4waysite.com/exclusive-4waysite-2/exclusive-4waysite-4waysite-catches-up-with-greg-reeves-in-2012/  ) 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.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles Last Concert

Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles Last Concert
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        The year 1966 was a pinnacle year for the Beatles. They released a (U.S. only) compilation album, 'Yesterday and Today', with a controversial cover, and an album that became a historical landmark, 'Revolver'; ending the year with a (U.K. only) greatest hits album, 'A Collection of Beatles Oldies: But Goldies'. This was also the last year they performed live in concert (after having done a brief UK tour the previous Winter of 1965 http://wogew.blogspot.com/2012/03/final-uk-tour-december-1965.html  ), starting with the NME Poll Winners Concert in London, followed by a world tour http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2008/10/eight-days-week-inside-beatles-final.html  ;and ending with their 1966 North American Tour. 1966 would see a slow deterioration set in on Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, due to his increasing dependence on pills and alcohol. For the unedited and quite explosive section from 'Lennon Remembers' referring to Brian Epstein, click on the link below for the essay, 'A Meditation On Hendrix, Lennon and The Counterculture'. In the Alfred G. Aronowitz section of 'A Meditation', you'll find a link to Alfred G. Aronowitz' articles from the Saturday Evening Post, The New York Post etc... referring to The Beatles (collectively and individually), The Ronettes, Murray The K, Bob Dylan, Phil Spector etc... http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html  In March of 1966, John Lennon would give an interview to a friend and journalist, Maureen Cleave from the London Evening Standard. Besides what eventually exploded (after it was carefully taken out of context by some 'characters' in the U.S.), into the 'Jesus Christ Controversy', it's quite interesting to note that in the last two paragraphs near the end of Maureen Cleave's interview, John Lennon all but predicts what his future will be. http://www.beatlesagain.com/bapology.html  (Check out the archival footage in Part 14 "Mighty Good: The Beatles" {interestingly written by Derek Taylor} in Tony Palmer's ambitious "All You Need Is Love" multi-part documentary series. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560518/ Having sung about 'The Word' on Rubber Soul, their groundbreaking album of the previous winter of 1965, The Beatles were now releasing their masterwork, 'Revolver'; as the American Tour got under way. And as they played their final concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco was peaking in the throes of what they had sung about in 'The Word'. What history would remember as the birth of The Counterculture. The opening acts for the 1966 tour were Bobby Hebb (whose song 'Sunny' became a standard and one of the biggest records of the year. http://www.bobbyhebb.com/?q=node/2  He essentially {when it came to drawing power} co-headlined the tour with the Beatles), The Cyrkle (a group managed by Brian Epstein, that had two pretty good records on the charts, 'Red Rubber Ball' and 'Turn Down Day'. An interesting footnote to this is that after the tour with the Beatles was over, the Cyrkle released one more album, 'Neon' and composed a soundtrack for a film, 'The Minx'; after which the band broke up. One of the guitarists in the band, Don Dannemann, became a fairly successful jingle writer for television during the late '60s Pop Art explosion, and composed the first 7Up Uncola song; which if you remember, had snatches of Pop Art (remember 'What's a Kooladny?') and the subtle influence of that late 1800s southwestern Gold Prospector's sounding dirge, 'My Wild Love', that was on The Door's recent (at the time) album, 'Waiting For The Sun'.) The Ronettes - http://books.google.com/books/about/Ebony.html?id=9zlc1lcRd44C   (who had a couple of very good records with Phil Spector. Unfortunately Ronnie, their lead singer, was being kept away from the tour by Phil Spector; and her cousin substituted in the group - nobody seemed to notice.) and The Remains (a very professional band who backed both Bobby Hebb and The Ronettes during their sets, as well as doing their own set.)
The Beatles only did a handful of Press Conferences during this tour, which began in Chicago.
There are two Press Conferences done in Chicago. The first one is a complete fiasco. John Lennon continually apologizing for something that was never his original intention. One reporter in particular is obviously intent on fanning the flames by using the term "Godhood on earth" referring to the Beatles. (It's interesting that Paul McCartney mentions the public trying to hold them in a perpetual state of standing still, and not evolving; something he would break out of in 1966/67, by composing the soundtrack for a film, 'The Family Way', and in 1967, by his admission on ITV that he was using L.S.D.) And during this Press Conference, George Harrison completely agreeing with what John's original intention was in his statement about Christianity. http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0811.beatles.html
The second Chicago Press Conference seems to be attended mostly by a more intelligent group of reporters, and the Christianity questions are handled more professionally. It's also interesting that the subject of racism comes up in this second Press Conference. After all, this is Chicago. http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0812.beatles.html
The Press Conference in Toronto Canada stands out as the most open minded so far during the tour. Intelligent questions covering a lot of ground, and interestingly the first one where Paul's moped accident the previous December is mentioned. John, it should be noted (albeit jokingly) already smells trouble in Memphis. http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0817.beatles.html
Memphis Tennessee. To set this up, we have to remember the year. 1966. The old legally segregated South where only white people were allowed to vote, to in turn keep cracker segregationist politicians continually in power, thereby perpetuating racist policies that essentially kept anyone else from living like an American citizen within the United States (the old Catch 22 loophole that had been used by characters like these for decades, under the code words, 'States Rights'), was in the throes of having it's back broken by not only the Civil Rights Movement, but also the American Government. And like it or not, the old South's days were numbered. This was the Memphis that the Beatles flew into in 1966. What's interesting about this interview, is that it's being conducted by the ITV News, a British outfit that flew in from London. So what you're getting is a very British discussion and a European take on the whole situation. You can imagine what kind of Beatles Press Conference would have taken place in Memphis with the local American Press. http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0819.beatles.html
And now New York City, {For the clearest, most accurate, and detailed first hand account of what New York was like BEFORE the explosive and revoloutionary social changes that took place during the '60s era, read Sammy Davis Jr's autobiography, 'Yes I Can. The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.' by Sammy Davis Jr. and Jane and Burt Boyar. Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux New York} where The Beatles first broke big on the Ed Sullivan Show, and afterwards Carnegie Hall; and in 1965 selling out Shea Stadium in Long Island. This year they are returning to Shea Stadium again. http://www.pbase.com/tg6string/beatles  During this Press Conference the subject of John beginning filming of, 'How I Won The War' after the tour is over is brought up, and so is the Vietnam War; which by now was escalating. The Beatles and Jesus Christ subject is brought up yet again, and as the tour is now nearing it's end, it's obvious from his answer now (particularly as this is post-Memphis) that John is fed up. It becomes very clear that George in the future will become a big advocate for Indian music. I've always wondered why the Beatles never appeared on Ed Sullivan in 1966 before doing Shea Stadium, as they had the year before. Hmmm... http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1966.0822.beatles.html
The book, 'Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles Last Concert' by Eric Lefcowitz (who does a pretty good overview of the tour and digs up some very informative archival San Francisco newspaper clippings) with photographs by Jim Marshall {Published by Terra Firma - An Imprint of Retrofuture Products} covers the final concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (The photographer Jim Marshall, who was incredibly gifted, appeared in Guitar Player's Oct. 1985 Issue, where he gave quite an eye opening interview; and included a portfolio of some of his greatest photographs.)
Jim Marshall in these pictures captures The Beatles backstage talking with Music Journalist Ralph J. Gleason, Folksinger Joan Baez (quite a ravishing beauty, who had traveled with the Beatles on their 1964 tour of America {she discussed this in her interview in the April 14th, 1983 Issue of Rolling Stone} and her gorgeous sister, Musician Mimi Farina (wife of legendary Musician and Songwriter Richard Farina, who had been killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year during a book party for his new novel, 'Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me'. And Dylan ironically, had had a motorcycle accident shortly before the Beatles began their concert tour. {It's quite interesting that Mimi Farina mentions in the interview she gave for this book, that Bob Dylan and Joan Baez had had their lives threatened in the South by the Ku Klux Klan during their National Tour together earlier in the decade, when they sang Dylan's song, 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll'; which makes you wonder about so-called British 'Dylan Expert' Clinton Heylin's motivations regarding this song, in his Dylan biography, 'Behind the Shades Revisited'.} Mimi Farina years later, would make a breathtakingly beautiful album with Musician Tom Jans named, 'Take Heart'.) who were specially invited guests. You can't help but notice how calm and reflective John looks in these pictures. As if he knows this is the ending of one phase of his life, leading into a new one; and a great burden had been lifted off his shoulders. You wonder if John was a fan and admirer of Richard and Mimi Farina's music, from the way he is gazing at Mimi Farina. Nobody got photographs like this, except Jim Marshall. I've often wondered if San Francisco FM Radio was playing 'Rain' during the Beatles last visit. This song seems the perfect backdrop to the mood captured by Jim Marshall in these photographs. A time and place that would never happen again. And so we leave it here. And as this is John's birthday, we'll end with a song from the movie, 'Celebration At Big Sur', which I think in turn is perfect for celebrating John Lennon's birthday and his immense contributions: There's A Place, I'll Get You, This Boy, If I Fell, I'll Be Back, Yes It Is, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, In My Life, Julia, Good Night, Happy Xmas (war is over) etc... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62mAYkHrM2Y       

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune - DVD

Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        As someone who remembers Phil Ochs, I couldn't help but be moved by this documentary. Having regularly watched the 'Live From Cafe Wha?/Underground Tonight Show' series on Public Access New York Cable Television during the 1970s, including the night Phil performed, 'Here's To The State of Richard Nixon' on there, of which part of his appearance is shown in the documentary, though not the performance (he also made mention of his friend Victor Jara during the program, and it was noticeable that Phil was not well), and the Phil Ochs Tribute which was shown on PBS a couple of decades ago (The Dave Van Ronk segment of Van Ronk singing 'He Was A Friend Of Mine', just grabs you by the heart - Ramsey Clark began the tribute with a spoken Incantation backed by the playing of Scottish Bagpipes, with other great subsequent performances by Melanie Safka {Miranda}, Tim Hardin {Pleasures Of The Harbor}, and I also remember a husband and wife duo singing a stirring 'The Crucifixtion'), it was moving to be reminded of how much Phil Ochs meant to so many people. {The authors Steve Chapple and Reebee Garofalo, dedicated their highly informative book, 'Rock 'n' Roll Is Here To Pay: The History and Politics of the Music Industry' Published by Nelson-Hall/Chicago, to him.} 'There But For Fortune' follows Phil's life with photographs, very rare film footage, interviews with among others, his wife and daughter, his brother Photographic Archivist Michael Ochs, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden, Pete Seeger, Ed Sanders (I find it a little strange that no one interviewed Melvin Van Peebles who was a stablemate of Phil's at A&M Records, and a participant in the Evening with Salvador Allende/Chile Benefit, as there are also photographs in the documentary of the event - Phil also performed at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor; as well as continually during the previous years, performing at Benefits for {among others} the Civil Rights Movement, the Coal Miners Union, the Black Panther Party and the AntiWar Movement.), Abbie Hoffman, Jac Holtzman, Peter Yarrow etc... And most importantly, HIS SONGS. Who can forget the beauty of his songs, 'There But For Fortune' {which became a standard}, 'Changes' and when he set Edgar Allan Poe's poem, 'The Bells' to music. Even though I feel it could have been longer, this documentary is a wonderful work, and damn near a masterpiece. http://www.amazon.com/Phil-Ochs-There-But-Fortune/dp/B004VN7RN0

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) - DVD

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) - DVD
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) http://www.amazon.com/Harry-Nilsson-Everybody-Talkin-About/dp/B003VZNAUS
        Y'know it's funny, Harry Nilsson was somebody who you heard quite a bit in the late '60s/early '70s. His songs being performed by other people (The Monkees, Three Dog Night), composing a movie soundtrack (Skidoo - Harry must have been short on cash at the time. This super gobbler was an L.S.D. inspired tale that starred {among others} Jackie Gleason {That's right folks, the MC and Role Model for the 1969 Teens For Decency Rally, Ralph Kramden himself.}, Graucho Marx {Still listening?}, Donyele Luna {Who the film, 'Mahogany' was based on. You'll catch glimpses of her in The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus, and photographs of her with Brian Jones and Rocky Dijon, in photographer Mike Randolph's book of photographic stills from the film.}, or his voice singing over a television theme (The Courtship of Eddie's Father), or a movie (Midnight Cowboy); but you never actually 'saw him' very much (though he did pop up occasionally if you were paying attention) that is, not until he was making headlines hanging out with John Lennon in Los Angeles in '73/'74.
Harry Nilsson was a very good tune smith, with an ear for melody and with a Pop Music songwriting sensibility. He also possessed an extraordinarily beautiful singing voice. Part Music Hall, part Jazz, part Tin Pan Alley, well versed in these different forms he'd obviously studied and listened to; which made him a contemporary of Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys (after they had scraped the bottom of the barrel with the Surf Music and the poor rewrites of Chuck Berry songs with different lyrics, and Brian had advanced to create the 'Pet Sounds' LP along with the 'Good Vibrations' 45), and Arthur Lee (e.g. the expansive selection of Pop Songs that Arthur Lee began composing for the second version of Love, on the albums 'Four Sail' and 'Out Here'); and of course Phil Spector (who by this time, had become a total recluse).
This documentary collects together some very rare footage of Harry Nilsson's appearances on Television Shows (among them, Hugh Hefner's 'Playboy After Dark' {a great series}, two BBC Specials, 'Beat Club' from German Television), The Grammys, Home Movies and Studio Recording Sessions. There are interviews with people who knew him (from those interviewed, it would appear that his circle of acquaintances was very limited and almost completely white). He led a strange life, and after winning a series of awards at The Grammys for his album 'Nilsson Schmilsson', he began to deteriorate (though putting out two further exceptional albums, 'Nilsson Sings Newman' {covering the songs of Randy Newman} and 'A Little Touch of Schmillson In The Night' {an album of Jazz and Pop standards}), disintegrate and lose his audience (his audience being the people who bought his records, as he didn't perform in public), and in the process unfortunately, during an out of control, drug fueled recording session, lost his beautiful voice too. In retrospect, as L.A. in the 1970s and the entertainment field itself (which included the Film Industry, Music and Television), was engulfed in Cocaine Use, and unwise thoughts of arrogant invincibility were rampant throughout the Industry, Harry ended up a casualty. John Lennon, who was smart enough to get out, spoke at length about what madness was going on in L.A. during this period, in his 1975 television interview with Tom Snyder on the Tomorrow Show on NBC.
Harry Nilsson ends up being a tireless advocate for Gun Control, after his friend John Lennon's life is ended in late 1980, as a result of senseless Gun Violence; and that ends up being Harry Nilsson's final legacy. A brave attempt at sanity, in this (what is at present) cleverly and subliminally (using income selectivity) militaristic, and still dangerously out of control, Gun Happy and Gun Loving culture.

Monday, September 2, 2013

House Of Cards Trilogy - 4 DVD Set

House Of Cards Trilogy - 4 DVD Set
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        Francis Urquhart, known as F.U. to his (friends?) and opponents in this powerful and shocking Political Thriller, is truly the face of evil; as played in an astonishing performance by British actor Ian Richardson, (with actress Diane Fletcher playing his wife Elizabeth, who is also his chief adviser). 'House Of Cards Trilogy', the original UK series done for the BBC, is a well written masterpiece that was aired on PBS in the U.S. more than two decades ago. The complete series is now on DVD as a 4 disk set {The 4th disk, Bonus Features, contains a very colourful and lively studio discussion with Andrew Davies, who was the screenwriter for the series. There is also a documentary in which Tony Benn MP {Member of Parliament}, gives us a highly informative and historical Tour of Parliament, during which he makes some eyebrow raising observations. Firstly while viewing an ancient painting of The Crusades, he mentions that the Fall of Communism will eventually lead to a defining confrontation between The West and Islam, and secondly stating that it is only 'the people' themselves who can control what kind of government they will have.} The main character in 'House Of Cards', Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip of the Conservative Tory Party is a very ambitious man, and has his eye on much greater things. As the story begins, it is Post-Thatcher, with the Tories still holding firmly onto power in Parliament, but with growing discontent all over the U.K. with regard to their policies, and Urquhart has secret plans for a different leadership of his party. HIMSELF. As this whole story unfolds, within each intricate layer of detail, Francis' arrogant maneuvering for more power within the Conservative Party and underhanded dirty tricks and manipulation to try to keep the opposing Liberal Party from gaining any ground, we get a riveting 'through the looking glass' intimate view of British Political Power Struggle and Intrigue; Francis Urquhart sharing his most private thoughts with us, at important junctures in each chapter of this three part saga. We watch him move from Whip to Prime Minister, someone who will stop at nothing in his personal vision of what Britain and it's relation to the rest of Europe and indeed 'the world' should be. This is a very disturbing look at Thirst for Power, Deep Corruption, and Moral Bankruptcy, that will keep you glued to your seat until the very end. And in turn, when we listen to the views and thinking of a Francis Urquhart, we recognize a chilling similarity to the thinking of what now controls what we see and hear in our own informational media of print, television and radio {with some notable though constantly financially struggling exceptions like PBS and NPR}; leaving 'ironically', one outlet still open for Free Thought, the very Internet we are now using. http://www.amazon.com/House-Cards-Original-Remastered/dp/B009Z59ZNE

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Rat Pack: The Original Bad Boys

The Rat Pack: The Original Bad Boys
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        The Rat Pack: The Original Bad Boys by James Kaplan and The Editors of Life. Published by Life Books An Imprint of Time Home Entertainment Inc. This is quite a fascinating softback magazine. An intriguing look back at a group of men at an important time of what became monumental and long, long overdue changes in the basic fabric of the United States of America. The Rat Pack aka The Clan or The Summit, were poised at the vanguard of this undertaking in U.S. History. One hell of a story is there, but it's still waiting to be told. Unfortunately, writer James Kaplan (along with the Editors of Life), fall into the same trap as writer Shawn Levy did in his book, 'Rat Pack Confidential', embellishing the truth: in whatever way you view reinterpretation. To give Levy credit, he does occasionally add some interesting information to the Rat Pack story, but has a bad habit of exaggerating. One has only to view 'The 60th Anniversary Celebration For Sammy Davis Jr.', (taped in 1990, shortly before he became so sick he couldn't leave home, but well enough to not only attend, but get up on stage and do some startling Tap Dancing with Gregory Hines, get up and give a long, warm embrace to Shirley MacLaine and get up onstage again to give a similar embrace to Michael Jackson {in essence passing the baton to him}) to see the deep love between Frank Sinatra (who started off the proceedings) and Sammy Davis Jr.; which puts to shame the garbage written by a few 'Experts', with regard to their relationship. The cover of this magazine (a photograph of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra sharing a joke backstage at a Carnegie Hall benefit in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. and to aid the Civil Rights Movement, which at the time was exposing the horrendous racial climate in the south for all the world to see) is a perfect example of why this magazine is badly flawed. You will find nothing inside which will explain or tell you anything about the cover photograph or the circumstances under which it came about. What we do get in this magazine is plenty about Hollywood Showbiz Glitz and a peculiar and incomplete 'tsk tsk tsk, isn't that a shame' picture of Sammy Davis Jr., similar to the profile in the Shawn Levy book, 'Rat Pack Confidential'. If we're going to tell the whole story, let's remember in retrospect that in 1967 The Wasps took back Las Vegas. And it's stayed that way ever since. Having been taught a lesson by the Civil Rights Movement, with additional scrutiny by the New Government and no nonsense enforcement by the new Attorney General, the days of preaching Democracy to the rest of the world, while continuing lynching practices and segregation at home, was something the United States could no longer afford; as Democracy without Justice was exactly what it appeared to be, an empty contemptible lie. This of course is the rest of the 'embellishment of the truth' in this magazine, relating to Sammy Davis Jr. being booed by the Southern Delegates while singing the National Anthem at the Democratic Convention. These characters could see and feel a threatening change blowing in the wind. And now that there were National and (worse still) 'International' News Cameras there to capture all of this on film, there were no rocks to hide under anymore.
To give this magazine it's points though, the archival photographs (what there are of them) are beautifully presented. (I would have liked to have seen a comical black and white photograph of The Rat Pack reproduced in this book, that was once in Vanity Fair years ago. It showed a mock scene in which Sinatra, Davis, Martin and Lawford are seated next to each other. Dean Martin (feigning a wise guy with a cigarette), is picking a fight (backed up by a puffed up and smugly staring Peter Lawford) with an unsure and putting on a brave face Sammy Davis Jr., who is being nudged by the elbow by a supportive Frank Sinatra, to not back down and put up a fight.) The story of how the original Rat Pack came into being at Humphrey Bogart's home is very clearly retold in this magazine, as well as the birth of what became the original Las Vegas. An interesting footnote to all of this (strangely absent as it relates to the early Mafia influence in Vegas and the blatant racism that existed there) is the murder of Jazz and Be Bop Saxophonist Wardell Gray. Log onto http://www.maebrussell.com  click Articles, excerpts and notes, scroll down and click, 'The Covert War Against Rock' by Alex Constantine Chapter 7; for the footnote relating to Wardell Gray. For what 'The Rat Pack: The Original Bad Boys' is, which is a pulp publication, put out for mass consumption, this is pretty much typical of what you'd expect. Luckily, we have Sammy Davis Jr.'s three books, 'Yes I Can', 'Hollywood In A Suitcase' and 'Why Me?'. Additionally, Frank Sinatra's valet, George Jacob's book, 'Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra', was quite an overdue surprise. Sam Giancana, who weaves in and out of The Rat Pack story and everything related to it, ended up as you would expect. A paranoid caged rat, whose ill gotten gains, by the time he was brutally murdered, didn't do him any good; as in the end even Sinatra distanced himself from him. British Investigative Journalist Anthony Summers pieced together some amazing research on the players in this real life drama in his three books, 'Frank Sinatra: The Life', 'Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover' and 'The Kennedy Conspiracy'. So there are other places to look where you can read and fill in the rest of this story.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Richard P. Havens 2013

Richard P. Havens 2013
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

Richie Havens http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/04/richie-havens-political-passion-late-folk-singer-dies-72 was quite a remarkable musician. From his first albums on Douglas Records, Richie Havens Record and Electric Richie Havens (both beautiful albums covering traditional Folk Songs and Bob Dylan - a deeply moving version of 'Nora's Dove' in the former, and a powerful version of 'Oxford Town' in the latter) through his albums on Verve Forcast, Mixed Bag (which contained his gorgeous Jazz arrangement of Jesse Fuller's 'San Francisco Bay Blues, and the Anti-Nuclear/Civil Rights Anthem 'Handsome Johnny' {the song he co-composed with Academy Award winning actor Lou Gossett}), Something Else Again (with the beautiful exploratory title piece with Richie on Sitar and Jeremy Steig on Flute, and the pretty, laid-back Jazzy 'Sugarplums' with Eddie Gomez on Acoustic Bass {as well as playing the hell out of a set of Congas on fellow stablemate, the very talented Janis Ian's song 'Look To The Rain', on her album, The Secret Life Of J. Eddy Fink}), to the records on his Stormy Forest label that finally broke him worldwide; Alarm Clock (with his re-arrangement of George Harrison's 'Here Comes The Sun'), The Great Blind Degree (interpreting Graham Nash, Cat Stevens, Dino Valente aka Chet Powers, Pete Townsend and James Taylor), the masterful live in concert set, Richie Havens On Stage {also performing with the Folk and Gospel group Fresh Flavor - a performance of 'Hear Zeus' Anger Roar' from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert is included among the videos at the end of this article}, Portfolio (another great album with covers of 'It Was A Very Good Year' and 'What's Going On' {also containing his artwork}), and Mixed Bag II (with the breathtakingly beautiful Native American homage to this land we call America 'The Indian Prayer' {This song brings to mind the songs of the late Native American musician Eugene Beyale, and his strikingly beautiful and powerful albums, Morning Star and Eagle Chanter (both LPs released on Eagle Chanter Music Inc.); in particular his gorgeous duets with Patricia Klause on the songs 'Great Spirit Father' and 'Children', on his second album Eagle Chanter.}, which has Richie backed by Fresh Flavor, and also on this album the best re-arrangement of Dylan's 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands' I ever heard.) Discovering his work will be an historical treasure for many generations to come.

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KjRnh-TBno

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Jazz Forum Magazine Archive

The Jazz Forum Magazine Archive
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

'Jazz Forum: The Magazine Of The International Jazz Federation', has been for almost half a century, a source of the finest coverage of the music that exists. The complete archive is now available, and can be read and studied online. A wonderful trove of memories, information and inspiration.

http://www.polishjazzarch.com/en/regulations.html

http://www.polishjazzarch.com/en/englishversion.html

Friday, May 3, 2013

Experts

Experts
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

Those who care

Share

Those who don't

Won't

And those who steal

Are eventually (when they least expect it)

Revealed . . .

While those who lie

Sink slowly

In a quicksand of their own making (struggling to get out)

Grasping (and richly)

In a seething bluster

As millions slip by

Friday, March 29, 2013

The John Lennon Letters

The John Lennon Letters
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        The John Lennon Letters. Edited And With An Introduction by Hunter Davies. Published by Little Brown and Company. New York. Yes folks, that's the same Hunter Davies who wrote the only authorized Beatles biography, that was originally published in the Fall of 1968. What we have here is a fascinating look at John Lennon's life through his written and typewritten correspondence with people during his lifetime. For example, from the first time I saw it in Ray Coleman's 'Lennon' biography, I was mystified by the illustration that John Lennon drew in his first Christmas Card to Cynthia Powell in 1958, of the two of them together; which is reproduced in The John Lennon Letters. Their appearance of dress and hair, resembles what they would look like circa 1967/68. The problem with this book, good as it is, is that it's not a complete picture; and therein lies it's major flaw. I find it a little odd, (or maybe questionable is a better word) that there are no letters in this book with Dick Gregory, Ron Dellums (who by the way, John is quoting in letter 167 in Part Fifteen, from a statement he read on The Dick Cavett Show {see the DVD 'Lennon NYC', or the book, 'Come Together' by Jon Wiener, Chapter 19 pages 214-215}), or anyone from Motown (Photographs do exist of The Beatles and Brian Epstein posing with The Motortown Revue. {Need I mention the mutual influences of Motown and The Beatles on each other?} I remember seeing a full page black and white photograph {taken circa 1966? - this is of course apart from the photos of Beatles and Epstein visiting with Berry Gordy and his family http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Berry%20Gordy.html  } in what must have been a limited edition giant Motown Songbook, in The Musique Boutique on Broadway near Columbus Circle; in the late '70s or early '80s. This store may have been a relation to The Musique Boutique that existed near Picadilly Circus in London during the early 1970s. This was a music bookstore that carried rare and hard to find UK versions of Rock and Soul music books.) or surprisingly, Clara Hale (The late Gil Noble, who had a long running Public Affairs program on the Channel 7 ABC Network, here in New York that ran for decades named, 'Like It Is', and on which Gil interviewed an International array of guests from every continent on the planet {Who can forget Gil airing the footage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in one of his last speeches, speaking to an audience here in New York at Riverside Church, about why he was against The War In Vietnam. And not only giving an accurate and detailed history of The United States involvement in that country, but with an unsettling Soothsayer's Vision, predicting the final outcome of the war.}, conducted a fascinating interview with Clara Hale {who started Hale House in Harlem}. This was in the early 1980s, and took place around the time that HUAC and McCarthy participant and devotee, "I hope they all get botulism" Ron, and 'Just Say No', 'Stop The Madness' Nancy, Reagan, tried to recognize 'the coloured woman who started the place for drug addicted babies', and co-opt Hale House into their agenda. During the interview on 'Like It Is', which was after this recent obvious co-opt attempt had taken place on television, Clara Hale mentioned in passing to Gil Noble that 'John and Yoko had not only been donating money to Hale House for a long time, but used to come up to visit often; long before Ron and Nancy were in the White House.) The Letters to Derek Taylor (Part Twenty) are mostly hysterically funny and loaded with puns, although with the occasional racial crack at Jews or Blacks or (technically in one sentence), the jap/anesque version of Taylor's autobiography (a throwback to ye olde english humour when Britain had an {don't laugh} EMPIRE?). Interesting that it's in this section and to Derek Taylor in particular, that Lennon lets loose with these type of asides, as in his (sort of) 1973 autobiography, As Time Goes By', in Part 20 London 1969, Derek Taylor who otherwise wrote quite an informative and interesting book, makes quite a blatantly (unless of course, he was paraphrasing someone else?) racist remark referring to blacks. {As well as being intellectually presumptuous, this all access to informational dissemination, while being 'oh so convincing', type of reconfigured for the 1980s Reagan/Bush/Thatcher/MTV AngloAmerican Transatlantic mentality, that spawned progeny like the SGT. Pepper: It Was Twenty Years Ago Today documentary (Although interestingly, it is Abbie Hoffman who hints at the fact that there are voices missing in this self-congratulatory ITV documentary), and the amateurish and calculated accompanying book, by the way, being prime examples of uneasily (and knowing it while you're doing it) half-telling a very uncomfortable and intricately more complicated historical story of the 1960s; and avoiding the fact that you're looking through a transparent glass, and can see people on the other side. Now what do you think they see from their side? Do you think you should go find out? mmmm.... Do you think maybe this book might help?: 'A Pictorial History of the Negro in America' -revised edition- by Langston Hughes & Milton Meltzer - Published by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York} But to give Derek his due (he was smart and savvy enough to take complete advantage of the British Invasion {thanks to The Beatles, and of course Brian Epstein hiring him in the first place} http://www.dermon.com/Beatles/Veejay.htm   while being British was in season here in the U.S.), he wrote some pretty decent liner notes for Billy Preston's first solo album on Apple Records, 'That's The Way God Planned It' (albeit while strangely avoiding mention of Preston's direct connection with The Beatles through Little Richard, when they were Little Richard's opening act in Hamburg in 1962 http://www.musicmaven.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/little_richard-beatles.jpg   {see Billy's reminiscence in the book, 'Memories Of John Lennon' - Published by HarperCollins - Pages 219-220}). It's worth mentioning while we're on this subject, that loaded mother of a photo of The Beatles with journalist Larry Kane, taken during the 1965 American Tour. Placed historically in and quite appropriately, Chicago (already witness to, and as the '60s wore on {see The World Book Encyclopedia Yearbooks - 1964 through 1969 Published by Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago Illinois}, some of the worst racial hatred and flagrant abuse of Civil Liberties experienced in the United States), John is holding up to the camera, the current issue of Ebony Magazine he had been reading with the cover headline, 'The White Problem in America'; which you will find reproduced in the accompanying DVD to Larry Kane's book, 'Lennon Revealed', and at this remarkable blog http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/2010/08/girls-who-got-to-meet-beatles-part-1.html In Part Sixteen of The John Lennon Letters, it's really good to see John's very accurate response to rather obnoxious remarks made by Todd Rundgren in a Melody Maker interview. Todd, a very professional but mostly derivative songwriter, gets put in his place permanently. (See the very revealing 1998 interview, "Todd Rundgren: Go Ahead, Ignore Me!" Go to the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org  Type http://beatpatrol.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/barney-hoskyns-todd-rundgren-go-ahead-ignore-me-1998/  into the Wayback Machine Click Browse History and choose 2010) Since the publication of Cynthia Lennon's 2nd autobiography, 'John', and then May Pang's book, 'Instamatic Karma', now that The John Lennon Letters has published correspondence from this era, there seems to be a grey area situation where you have to make up your own mind. One thing becomes clear in this book however, John was always very generous financially, to his relatives. It's touching to read the story in Part Fourteen, of the letter John wrote to musician Steve Tilston. (This story was first printed in the Aug. 16th, 2010 edition of the British newspaper The Telegraph, under the heading 'John Lennon letter to aspiring Folk Singer received nearly four decades later'. Though the reproductions of the photographs that begin each part of the book, and the letters, are excellent and beautifully done, (the simple design of the book itself is gorgeous) there is a very careless picture research mistake made at the beginning of Part Six; using an obvious photo of John by a pool in L.A. in 1973 (that is from a series of photos taken for the cover story of the interview he gave to Crawdaddy for their March 1974 issue) and attempting to pass it off as Lennon at home in Kenwood in the late '60s. A similar careless picture research job was done in The Beatles Anthology book, in the beginning chapter on John Lennon, attempting to pass off a photo of a teenage John with either a relation or one of his Aunt Mimi's borders, as John with his Uncle George. The only authentic picture of a very young John Lennon with his Uncle George, is the one in Chapter 1 of the companion book to David L. Wolper's film, 'Imagine: John Lennon'; and it is a moving photograph to see. Overall though, The John Lennon Letters is a remarkable book, sure to make quite a lot of people the world over, very happy; for in it, we get a pretty good snapshot of the life of someone who meant so much and continues to have meaning to so many.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gil Noble Feb.22nd, 1932 - April 5th, 2012/Thank You Gil


Gil Noble Feb. 22nd, 1932 - April 5th, 2012/Thank You Gil
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
____________________________________________

http://gilnoblearchives.com

Go to the Internet Archive: www.archive.org Type www.theroot.com/views/gil-noble-funeral into the Wayback Machine. Then choose 2016.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

Ultimate Hendrix: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Concerts and Sessions by John Mcdermott with Billy Cox and Eddie Kramer. Published by Backbeat Books-An Imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation. This is quite a handy little reference book (which by the way, incorporates some entries from an earlier 1995 book by the same authors entitled, 'Jimi Hendrix Sessions: The Complete Studio Recording Sessions, 1963-1970' Published by Little, Brown and Company {For additional information there is also 'Plug Your Ears' by Kees de Lange and Ben Valkhoff. To access, go to The Internet Archive http://www.archive.org type http://www.cs.kun.nl/~tvdw/pye/left.html into The Wayback Machine and click Take Me Back, and the extremely rare, ''Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky: The Life Of Jimi Hendrix' by David Henderson. This is the softback 2nd printing (of 'Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child Of The Aquarian Age' - Hardcover - Doubleday 1978) Published by Bantam Books in 1981, which contains a selection of photographs by Jim Marshall, not found in any other edition or book anywhere.}). Nicely put together with a pretty good selection of photographs. Reminiscences by key people who knew Hendrix during his lifetime. (And in this instance, we get a rest from the subtle right wing leaning, superimposed onto Hendrix politics, by some assorted characters and opportunists looking for a buck, that populated certain earlier books. {It would be instructive here, to remember a quote from Eddie Kramer near the end of an interview he gave to Q Magazine in the June 1992 issue: "I socialized very little with him outside the recording studio. He had a small circle of very close friends, but there was a boundary beyond which one would not step."}) An interesting appearance found in 'Ultimate Hendrix', is by Decca Records Chief of A&R, Dick Rowe (who you might remember for the immortal words, "Not to mince words Mr. Epstein, we don't like your boys' sound. Groups of guitarists are on the way out. You have a good record business in Liverpool. Stick to that.") making another wrong call. Getting involved with Ed Chalpin and releasing the rip off records 'How Would You Feel' and 'Hush Now'. It's a real delight reading about the recording of the Axis Bold As Love album, during which Hendrix really came into his own in the recording studio. When he and Eddie Kramer met, they clicked right away. The story about Hendrix playing drums on one of his new songs, 'Try Out', at the end of 1967, is just amazing to read; as his talent continues to blossom. One really ends up wishing that a film camera could have been there to capture some of these events, as they are remarkable. What is also informative is that throughout August of 1968 (along with the alternating and very productive recording sessions for 'Electric Ladyland' at The Record Plant in New York), as the Experience toured across the U.S. and leading up to the Winterland/Fillmore West residency of concerts, how varied their set list was at each concert. From the song listings, it appears that Hendrix was very flexible in that the band was not performing the same exact songs at every concert date, but liberally going through practically their entire recorded output, up to that point. One is left with the impression that after the late 1968 Winterland residency of gigs, that Noel Redding (and probably Gerry Stickells) were outsiders just there to do their jobs and not get in the way. It will be interesting to see which 'Hendrix Experts' begin to squirm when the full story of Jimi Hendrix' and Bumps Blackwell's association is finally told. {I've also found it a little peculiar that none of the experts have ever to this day mentioned Sly Stone's very lengthy interview, which he gave to Strobe Magazine (which was a very good 1960s Pop Culture publication) here in New York, that was published in their Sept. 1969 issue; in which he mentioned Hendrix' Jam with Sly and The Family Stone on the Fillmore East stage in May of 1968, when The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Sly and The Family Stone were on the same bill. There was also a Record Review of Electric Ladyland published in the previous July 1969 issue of Strobe.} It has been mildly amusing since the bygone days of the Reagan era, to see the emergence of, or to put it more accurately, 'reappearance of' the element that existed in the '60s era, who attempted to view everything they saw occurring around them that made them uncomfortable, {such as the Political and Racial issues of the day, (and of course The Vietnam War) bleeding into the music} as extraneous. It was fascinating to watch how quickly one's viewpoint could change, once a Draft Notice to report to the nearest Induction Office was received in the mail.  A big fat booboo in this book is a dated photograph citing Hendrix as performing at Woolsey Hall at Yale University on Nov. 16th, 1968, when the entry for listed gigs indicates Boston Gardens on that date. Bizzarely, there is NO ENTRY for Woolsey Hall, Yale University at all. At this point in history, it's a little late in the game for anybody to continue to buy the consistently unconvincing stories by people who assisted and worked for Micheal Jeffery, as to where the bulk of Hendrix' fortune disappeared to, without raising some hard questions. Especially since Eric Burdon (who is very much alive) raised similar questions about the whereabouts of The Animal's money, in his two autobiographies. For one thing obviously, the PPX Ed Chalpin $1.00 Contract suit that hung over Hendrix head all that time, was a candidate for any Trial Judge worth his salt (with the assistance of the right kind of lawyers batting for Hendrix in his corner, and pointing their fingers in the right direction), to take Ed Chalpin by the scruff of his neck and the seat of his pants and show him the door out of the courtroom. I mean you really begin to question what kind of legal representation Hendrix was getting. Other than Electric Ladyland Studios being built, this cat was making an incredible amount of money for that time. Where was all of this money disappearing to? And the staged 'reformation of the original Experience' interview in Rolling Stone with John Burks in 1970, shortly after the questionable circumstances of the demise of The Band Of Gypsys, followed by what Hendrix' ultimate decision was (to tour with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell), points right back to Michael Jeffery's motives. And isn't it interesting that when Hendrix begins touring again in April of 1970, his first two concerts in Los Angeles and Sacramento have The Buddy Miles Express as one of the opening acts? Given that Sky Church/Gypsy Sons and Rainbows was an experiment, after the demise of the original Experience, what are we REALLY supposed to buy into about Mike Jeffery? For other questions in the Hendrix story, check this posting http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2007_10_01_archive.html Nevertheless, this is a marvelous book. And Billy Cox finally gets his due for his immense contributions. A nod of appreciation to the folks at Experience Hendrix. Worth checking out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

With The Beatles

With The Beatles
Antonio G. Pereira © 2013 Antonio G. Pereira
_______________________________________________

        With The Beatles - Published by Life Books - Great Photographers Series - An Imprint of Time Home Entertainment Inc. New York. This is quite a collection, and quite a mighty sized book; the photographs beautifully presented. The photographer Bob Whitaker, has had collections of his photographs released in book form before http://observer1984.blogspot.com/2008/10/eight-days-week-inside-beatles-final.html and if you've followed his work, you'll recognize a lot of the pictures in this hardcover edition. This was just a case of the right man for the right job, and Epstein certainly knew what he was doing when he chose Bob Whitaker. (There is one thing I find in the Beatles chronicle that has always been historically mysterious and puzzling. In 1966, I remember seeing (what I think was) a British music paper, with a bizzare full colour picture of the Beatles standing up holding meat cleavers and plastic doll heads in their hands, with plastic doll bodies and meat strewn on the floor with blood all around them; and John, Paul, George and Ringo had the coldest looks on their faces. They are not smiling, and they are wearing the same clothes that you see them wearing in the odd album cover photo (L.S.D. inspired Pop Art?) of the group and a steamer trunk. John sitting on top of the trunk with one leg crossed and arms folded, half of George floating in the air, Ringo standing with his right arm resting on the trunk, and Paul sitting inside the trunk. They all look slightly stoned. This of course is the photo on the album cover of Yesterday and Today, that was released in the U.S.; replacing the tame (compared to the other photo I just mentioned in the beginning) Butcher cover with the group sitting down with Butcher coats on. Now the question is, 'Was there a separate photo session, and possibly contact sheet of The Beatles in plain clothes that never saw the light of day?) Anyone with a genuine interest and affection for the Beatles, what they represented, and their music, will love the collection of photographs in this book. Here you get to see them at the peak of their touring years, 1964 through 1966. Performing, backstage, with their families, during the filming of movies and promos, appearing on television, making the wonderful 'The Music of Lennon & McCartney' Television Special  for the BBC (Ah-HEM...,when is Apple/EMI gonna release that sucker on DVD?! And while we're on that subject, where's ' Let It Be'?!), making those funny, strange and entertaining Christmas Records for the Fan Club (eh... Apple/EMI, planning to release those on record anytime soon?). This is a photographic treasure. Unfortunately, when it comes to the written text throughout 'With The Beatles', the results are disappointing. The writers realm of knowledge doesn't go any further back than apparently '80s Pop music, and the rest is purely guesswork. (Surprisingly, no mention is ever made of Australian music journalist, Lillian Roxon; author of the original 'Rock Encyclopedia'; {a monumental late '60s artifact, on which all subsequent books are based}). It also appears that the writers of this... (shall we say 'biographical sketch'?) have only read one book on the Beatles, which is mentioned as reference repeatedly. (If someone had bothered to do their homework, they'd know that George Harrison owned two 12 String Rickenbackers; as he mentioned in the interview he gave to Guitar Player in the Nov. 1987 issue. The one we usually see him playing in concert, had a diagonally shaped head stock (which was the norm). The other one, which we see him admiring in the first set of picture inserts in Beatles Press Officer Tony Barrow's book, 'John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story' {one of the best memoirs of all}, and which Harrison said in the Guitar Player interview, was later stolen, had an unusual square head stock; and was a gift to him from B Sharp Music Store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as cited under the photograph in the book. There are also glimpses of it in the book, 'The Beatles: Then There Was Music' by Tim Hill; a collection of rare photographs from the Daily Mail (U.K.).) Also a constant throughout the narrative (If I hear the term, 'back in the day', one more time, I'll scream.), is the '80s phenomenon that now permeates just about all media these days. This desperate need to continually keep you interested in what is being said, that results in phrases like, 'And as we will see in the following chapter...', (while you're in the middle of reading the current chapter), which is not only distracting but annoying. When did people stop having the ability of free thought and common sense, in being able to follow a story? One is left with the impression that (other than providing the wealth of photographs) the late Bob Whitaker had little to do with this book, as he passed away in 2011. His input is sorely missed, as obvious concepts like the two page spread on pages 124 and 125 are not even discussed. (It is interesting though, that from his brief mention of his slightly frosty relationship with McCartney, that we see evidence of this in the two page spread on pages 62 and 63.) In the photographer sections of the Life softback magazine, 'Remembering John Lennon' (2010), Bob Whitaker (in his short section) gave very detailed descriptions and observations of his photographs. One in particular, of Lennon resting, tenderly holding, and having his nose licked by a cat backstage on an American tour (1965?), being an example. The same picture appears spread over pages 156 and 157 in 'With The Beatles', with no explanation. It might have been helpful for the writers to explain that Lennon loved cats (our mysterious feline friends can always sense these things y'know), and that this came from his childhood, and also WHY this was such a beautiful moment captured by Bob Whitaker. (Geeez!) This could have been a much better book if more forethought had gone into it. By the way, it should be mentioned that the 'coffee house avant garde scene' in early '60s Australia that Bob Whitaker came out of, when Brian Epstein recruited him as Official Beatles Photographer, also spawned another very unique artist a few years earlier in 1960. Native Australian, musician Daevid Allen. Co-founder of '60s band, 'The Soft Machine', and later on, founder of 'Gong', he has led a fascinating life; and the extraordinary contrast of his odyssey with Whitaker's is well worth exploring as well. http://www.daevidallen.net  http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-australian-years-mw0001229765