Critic Joe Viglione reviews movies, books, DVDs, CDs, and has all sorts of opinions on a variety of things. The monthly Top 40 is a sort-of directory...
commentaries and essays expand the thought process on RockJournalistJoeVig.blogspot.com ...so the reviews on the Top 40 aren't final, they are just the starting point to more discussion. You can always contact Joe directly at visual_radio [@] yahoo.com
About this Summer's "Top 40"
August 13, 2008
Can't believe how quickly the summer has flown by! There are stacks of CDs, DVDs, movies and other intellectual property I'm working diligently to get on this blog.
1)The Dark Knight
2)Ian Lloyd O-de-Po
3)Deep Purple Around The World 4 DVD Set
4)Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
5)Vincent Bugliosi "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush for Murder" (Book)
6)Santana - Multi Dimensional Warrior (double CD)
7)John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band (DVD)
8)Dick Cavett Rock Icons (3 DVD set)
10)Denny Jiosa Dreams Like This
Joe V. 1:31 PM
#1 The Dark Knight
Though not perfect BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT is far and away the best comic book film in movie history, bringing the audience a level of seriousness that had escaped Spiderman; an element that was sought by the X-Men, but which that franchise due to scripts that lacked staying power and less substance than was promised.
Read the lengthy Joe Vig essay on THE DARK KNIGHT on my rock journalist page: http://rockjournalistjoevig.blogspot.com/
In the Land of O-De-Po
For those of us who have enjoyed decades of music from the Stories frontman on record, along with watching Ian Lloyd onstage since the early 1970s, the CD "In The Land of O-de-Po" shows the full depth of this journeyman's artistic vision. He and co-producer Tony Sankitts put "Brother Louie" into a techno-dance shuffle that acts like an entre to this new sound. "Side By Side" has his immaculate voice dancing around a terrific melody which reflects the packaging. Lloyd performs with his son David's band, Social Hero, and he brings an intensity found on this disc to the band's live performance. The role is more of one in the background, clearly giving the group its focus as well as some superb backing vocals. It would be helpful if Social Hero would put their dad front and center, playing the youthful energy against the polished experience of a true rock & roll original. If Social Hero added the music of "In The Land Of O-de-Po" to their repertoire they would be a formidable ensemble. Indeed, in-between Social Hero originals this CD should be played in its entirety live onstage - the way Carole King presented her Fantasy album to her devoted audience. The title track is remarkable. A very satisfying and important work from an individual who has yet to peak.
Deep Purple Around The World Live is a delicious box that provides an amazing glimpse into the group that released 7 albums between 1968 and 1972, finding the double live album as the sales catalyst to launch them into history. This is a FOUR DVD Box from Eagle Vision which takes that double album concept into another dimension. India 1995 starts things off with a bonus feature of eight songs from Seoul, 1995 - Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice with Steve Morse on guitar. A 34 page booklet on slick paper is inside this handsome case which features six faces on the cover.
"A wealth of previously unseen material" it's a bootleggers worst nightmare and a fan's dream come true.
4 ALICE COOPER ALONG CAME A SPIDER
Alice Cooper is a total pro in these decades after he launched to superstardom and his product is of consistent and very high quality. "Along Came A Spider" is a nice addition to the Cooper collection. "The One That Got Away" is good pop/rock - the only problem for long-time fans is that we are waiting for the next "Under My Wheels", "Ballad Of Dwight Frye", "Is It My Body." Perhaps it is time for a reunion of the original members of the Alice Cooper Group and a production party with Bob Ezrin at the helm. "Along Came a Spider" is certainly good stuff, and a great title ripped from a Morgan Freeman movie about a semi-serial kidnapper. Alice was just a little more fun when he dipped into the culture, penning "The Man With The Golden Gun" even though they were passed over for the James Bond movie theme. "Wrapped In Silk" discusses getting passed by...good solid product delivered by The Coop, but it is time for something more. Alice is always fun, but Buzzy Linhart and Ian Lloyd have released new albums with more adventure, heart and inquisitiveness. Their performances are more attractive. Alice needs to pair up with journeymen like Lloyd and Linhart to pen a terrific new album and blow everyone away. This one is good, but Alice has the potential to always be great. Why be good when you are great?
This is the Jack Nicholson Joker while Ian Lloyd's new disc is, say, Christian Bale playing Batman. Nothing here has equaled the Heath Ledger barometer...but we'll keep looking for the G spot and the Holy Grail.
What's truly odd in this day and age is that Wikipedia has instant information on so many things that were hard to track down in the time before the internet. An information explosion is certainly fun, as is this disc.
5)VINCENT BUGLIOSI THE PROSECUTION OF GEORGE W. BUSH FOR MURDER
Vince appeared on Visual Radio #411 for 50 minutes or so chatting with me about serial killer George W. Bush. It's stunning stuff and some critics are calling this one of my best interviews. Well, Vince is pretty automatic, he's the prosecutor who put Manson away, and in this book he builds a very strong case for why another psychopath who was not at the scene of the crime (or who just visits the scene of the crime on Thanksgiving and Christmas) should be put away for good. It's brilliant - and tough - stuff. We hope to post some of the interview on YouTube in the near future. 3:30 AM July 20, 2008.
6)MULTI DIMENSIONAL WARRIOR - SANTANA
Found this double CD from Santana on my doorstep - release date is September.
I'm giving it a few spins right now - great stuff, of course, what's not to like about Santana, one of the most famous guitarists in the history of mankind who is still underrated. How do you sell more albums than anyone else in the guitar scene yet not have the prestige and underground luster of Jimi Hendrix? It's not that millions and millions of musicians don't kiss the ground Carlos walks on, I'm not saying that at all, I'm just saying he is IN the Hendrix category, a unique arena, but does not get the credit for his innovative style. More on this impressive collection soon.
7)John Lennon PLASTIC ONO BAND DVD from AllMovie.com
Description by Joe Viglione
More than a second look at Beatle John Lennon's first solo album, this edition of the "Classic Albums" DVD series is closer to an analyses of the work - just as the songwriter/singer used the vehicle for self-analyses. With contributions from those involved in the recordings, bassist Klaus Voormann, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, EMI Studios engineer Phil McDonald, tape operator John Leckie as well as Dr. Arthur Janov, co-founder The Primal Institute, which had a big impact on Lennon and the creation of the album, the fifty-three minute television special revisits the trio of 45s which preceded the album, "Give Peace A Chance", "Cold Turkey" and "Instant Karma", building up to the revelation of how this seemingly simple disc with beautiful melodies crafted for "Hold On", "God", "Isolation" and others is actually quite complex in construction and message. Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner, journalist Richard Williams, Beatles author Mark Lewisohn and others contribute commentary to the documentary, however it is the nine bonus tracks which really bring this DVD to another level. Read more here:
8)DICK CAVETT ROCK ICONS
Description by Joe Viglione
This deluxe and quite elegant package is a delicious presentation from Shout!Factory that houses these interviews and vital performances with the touch of class they so richly deserve. Dick Cavett's ability to bring great guests with terrific chemistry together along with his gift of gab and decent sense of moderation sets the pace and separates his show from the programs which demanded stricter formulas. It's the colloquial tack which allowed all the guests to participate so that some of the interviews become sort of superstar panels. The combination of his straight-laced nerd approach interacting with so many hippies - The Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Sly Stone - as well as the more reserved (as far as rockers go), George Harrison, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and a diverse selection of movie actors, Margot Kidder, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gloria Swanson and even a football player, Dave Meggyesy, resulted in a free for all with Cavett the sometimes shy and reticent ringleader. Meggyesy talking about his book, "Out Of Their League", which seems to have vanished from the face of the earth (well, you can get it on Amazon for forty-one cents), is conspicuous in just how unimportant he is by comparison. The fact that a music company is issuing the project with the emphasis on the "Rock Icons" doesn't render Chet Huntley's appearance moot, in fact, the addition of individuals clearly outside of the world of music adds to the drama - though Meggyesy - obviously - does not inspire compelling talk on the same level of a Raquel Welch and, being out of his league - as his book prophetically notes, it is apparent why he is an unknown today while the "icons" made their mark and stood the test of time. Read more here:
9)DOWNTOWN MYSTIC "Read The Signs"
A subtle psychedelic cover with a purple hue is what houses this rocking bit of
post-Flamin' Groovies/Byrds style of brash pop, the authenticity missing from 99%
of Tom Petty's releases. "Eyes Of The World" and "A Way To Know" contain no-nonsense
pop by the quartet which features Robert Allen, Bruce Engler, bassist Paul Page and drummer extraordinaire Steve Holley. Listen to the wild guitar lines on "A Way To Know", the kind of core music that's been missing on the radio waves.
10Denny Jiosa Dreams Like This
Superb album from jazz artist Denny Jiosa - more thorough review to follow...
11)Nat King Cole The Very Thought of You
12)Lissa Schneckenburger Song
14)STILL CROOKED by CROOKED STILL
Review by Joe Viglione
This third album, Still Crooked from Crooked Still, is an elegant package of superbly crafted musical styles taking country/folk as the deep foundation and veering off into exhilarating and exciting directions. Starting things off with a haunting version of the late Ola Belle Reed's "Undone In Sorrow" the album begins much like The Youngbloods Elephant Mountain when "Darkness, Darkness" opened that lp almost forty years before. Producer Eric Merrill doesn't need drums to propel this quintet, the fiddles a blazin' on a two and a half minute entry entitled "The Absentee", like the equally lively "Poor Ellen Smith", keep things flowing in a square dance sort of way. The slick twelve page booklet has lyrics to all the titles, "Captain Captain", serious and slow, making for a good read while the music plays. The devotion to the styles embraced is spot on, a reinvention of Sidney Carter's a cappella "Pharoah" from Rounder Records release of the many Alan Lomaxtapes, this one found on the compilation Southern Journey, Vol. 1: Voices from the American South, is stunning - even more so when you compare it to Carter's - or take the effort to actually put Sidney Carter's voice as the intro to this string-heavy rendition and hear the tremendous results. Picture the tempo of Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" cut in half, slowed down so that Aoife O'Donovan can pour her emotions all over the track. It's amazing stuff, and it can hardly be called "bluegrass" or be locked into one genre. Where Ray Charles gave us Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music back in 1962, Crooked Still bring those expressions into the new millennium. "Florence" is credited to T.W. Carter 1844 and is a more traditional country take, in the fashion of guitarist Peter Calo's excellent Cowboy Song from 2001 where he took traditional songs of the American frontier and recreated them.
Read more here:
15)Men Without Wax Anchor
17)Vance Gilbert "Up On Rockfield"
18)The Complaints Sunday Morning Radio
19)Dana & Susan Robinson 'Round My Door
22)Oasis Disc Manufacturing INSPIRATIONAL Volume VIII #4 Radio Sampler
Another beautifully packaged collection of songs from Oasis Manufacturing, though
titled "Inspirational" some of these performances are as Gospel as Gospel gets.
Darren Prater's "My Redeemer" starts things off, the Alaska String Band contribute
"Farther On", the Kansas based Antioch Church deliver "Never Ending Love" from their
Live It Loud album. This compilation flows smoothly without the usual "various artists" hodge podge syndrome; each track listenable and professionaly performed.
48)Jann Klose "The Strangest Thing" CD
This album was released in August of 1999. It features the songwriter/singer in a laid-back setting with folk/jazz overtones. Klose is in good voice here though the material tends to wander.
49)Deep Purple "Hush"
Song Review by Joe Viglione
Deep Purple's phenomenal version of "Hush", written by country/pop songwriter Joe South, took the Vanilla Fudge style of slowing a song down and bluesing it up another step, venturing into the domain of psychedelic heavy metal. Covered by Kula Shaker in the 1997 film I Know What You Did Last Summer other versions were recorded by Billy Joe Royal, Gotthard , former Ritchie Blackmore lead vocalist Joe Lynn Turner on his 1997 Under Cover album of song interpretations and even John Mellencamp. But once the tune received this rendition's indellible stamp no one could touch it again, not even the songwriter. South's lyrics are highly suggestive, beyond Van Morrison's "Gloria", straight into Louie, Louie territory with: "She's got a loving like quicksand... It blew my mind and I'm in so deep/That I can't eat, y'all, and I can't sleep." Or as Aimee Mann sang, hush hush because voices carried this one right by the censors with Jon Lord's quagmire of thick chaotic keyboard sound meshed with Ritchie Blackmore's guitar. Tetragrammaton Records single #1503 went Top 5 in August of 1968, 4:11 as originally released on the Shades Of Deep Purple album, 4:26 on Rhino's 2000 reissue The Very Best Of Deep Purple. For more click here:
50)LAZY DEEP PURPLE Song Review
Expanded to ten minutes and twenty-seven seconds on the blockbuster Made In Japan live album, "Lazy" plays at 7:19 in its original incarnation from the Machine Head disc, a snappy blues/rock number with minimal lyrics and superb playing. The progression from Deep Purple In Rock to Fireball to Machine Head can certainly be felt in the grooves here, for "Lazy" is anything but; it can only be considered laid back because it comes in between the two gargantuan riffs that make up "Smoke On The Water" and "Space Truckin' " which sandwich it on side two of what Warner Brothers thought would be the break-through disc for Deep Purple. Jon Lord's dragons and dungeons organ pervades the opening while some tasty Ritchie Blackmore guitarmanship plays over the shuffling vamp awaiting Ian Gillan's appearance. Read more here:http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:3xfqxxlsldje