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
Joe Viglione's writings are on the New York Times.com, Pandora.com, Zune.com, Windowsmedia.com, Limewire.com, BitTorrent.com, Second Spin.com, LastFM.com, Blockbuster.com, Steve Lukather.net, Shirley Bassey.com, Texas Pop Festival.com,VH-1.com, Billboard.com, AOL.com, MTV.com, ArtistDirect.com, AllMusic.com, AllMovie.com, Barnes & Noble.com, 0ldies1150.com, MP3.com, Rhapsody.com, ITunes.com, Legacy Recordings/Sony-BMG site, FYE.com, WherehouseMusic.com
1 The Book of Taliesyn Deep Purple
A year after the innovative remake of "You Keep Me Hanging On," England's answer to Vanilla Fudge, was this early version of Deep Purple, which featured vocalist Rod Evans, and bassist Nick Simper, along with mainstays Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. This, their second album, followed on the heels of "Hush," a dynamic arrangement of a Joe South tune, far removed from the flavor of one of his own hits, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." Four months later, this album's cover of Neil Diamond's Top 25, 1967 gem "Kentucky Woman," went Top 40 for Deep Purple. Also like Vanilla Fudge, the group's own originals were creative, thought-provoking, but not nearly as interesting as their take on cover tunes. Vanilla Fudge did "Eleanor Rigby," and Deep Purple respond by going inside "We Can Work It Out" -- it falls out of nowhere after the progressive rock jam "Exposition," Ritchie Blackmore's leads zipping in between Rod Evans smooth and precise vocals. As Vanilla Fudge was progressively leaning more towards psychedelia, here Deep Purple are the opposite. The boys claim to be inspired by the Bard of King Arthur's court in Camelot, Taliesyn. John Vernon Lord, under the art direction of Les Weisbrich, paints a superb wonderland on the album jacket, equal to the madness of Hieronymous Bosch's cover painting used for the third album. Originals "The Shield" and "Anthem" make early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd appear punk in comparison. Novel sounds are aided by Lord's dominating keyboards, a signature of this group.Read more here:
2)TOWELHEAD Movie review on MSN
Calling this motion picture Towelhead makes the filmgoer blink for a second, as the original title, Nothing Is Private, is a bit less leading and more descriptive. Director Alan Ball creates an immediately uncomfortable setting when a young girl is sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend, betrayed by her mom, and shipped off to her frighteningly overbearing father. The central theme is the dysfunction of everyone around the 13-year-old protagonist, Jasira (played by 18-year-old actress Summer Bishil), and how the perpetual victim of circumstance has to find a survival mechanism while surrounded by huge amounts of chaos. Read more here:
3)Merle Haggard: New Light Through Old Windows on Legacy
4)Pendragon - And Now Everybody To The Stage HMV.com
This very classy limited-edition triple-disc box entitled And Now Everybody to the Stage... features an 18-song, 15-track DVD with bonus material to boot -- 240 minutes total running time along with two audio discs containing 146 minutes (of the same material). Filmed and recorded on May 22, 2006, at the Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland, this music from the Believe 2006 tour finds the band rocking out with a harder edge. For a group that is a cult favorite, And Now Everybody to the Stage... is an enormous package usually reserved for more commercial acts, the set including a four-page booklet and eight-panel fold-out box. The slick textured presentation is a follow-up to the 2002 DVD Live...
At Last and More, taking things a step further. Drummer Fudge Smith is replaced here by Joe Crabtree, but few if any non-fans will notice, as the music is as pristine and exotic as ever, culminating in a tremendous version of Am I Really Losing You? The song is so sublime here that it screams out FM radio hit, although that kind of creature is a rare bird in the new millennium. Frontman/songwriter Nick Barrett is clearly enjoying himself re-exploring titles like Nostradamus, As Good as Gold, Breaking the Spell, and Masters of Illusion, all found on the earlier DVD Live...
At Last and More, only this time out the handsome and youthful Crabtree adds some new energy to the venerable but aging group. A bit heavier here in concert than on the retrospective The History: 1984-2000, this deluxe treasure contains a band history, an interview with Nick Barrett, and other extras including The Progumentary, a home video recording. [There's also a regular DVD edition without the two audio discs.] ~ Joe Viglione, All Music Guide
5)Peter Frampton - Breaking All The Rules on AOL.com
Breaking All the Rules is a good, solid effort by Peter Frampton which would have been better had he decided to break a few rules. The problem here is that Frampton is treading water, in familiar territory, singing and playing within the confines of a well constructed safe record. There is a brilliant hook in "Going to L.A." which might have been a hit had co-producer David Kershenbaum given it a little of what he would inject into Tracy Chapman seven years after this. A strong vocal from Frampton as well as a strong performance, but a failure to do what his last three albums did: generate a Top 20 hit! Billy & Bobby Alessi's "Rise Up" is in the pocket, one of the album's highlights, though it tends to sound like John Cougar's 1979 chart climber "I Need a Lover," chock full of the sound from that record and a little out of place here. Vanda and Young's eternal "Friday on My Mind" is decent, certainly better than Alice Cooper guitarist Michael Bruce's version, but not typical of Peter Frampton's repertoire and almost unnecessary. Read more here:
6.Alice Cooper's EASY ACTION on Second Spin.com
7.Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes - Tooth, Fang & Claw
As Ted Nugent's dominant persona took over the sound as well as the band name, Tooth, Fang & Claw brought his Amboy Dukes concept a step closer to the stadiums than its predecessor, Call of the Wild. The bandmembers don't get photos on the back this time, it's just Nugent being a madman up against some Fender and Marshall amps. The songwriting credits on the originals are all his now as well. "Lady Luck" plays as if the "American Woman" riff by the Guess Who got inverted, placed upside down in the middle of the song, and then finds itself coated in Ted Nugent's flashy and glitzy guitar work. The instrumental "Hibernation kinda touches upon the "Journey to the Center of the Mind" riff just for a moment and veers off into points unknown. Where on previous albums, Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom and even Call of the Wild, there was musical experimentation, the axe is front and center on this platter and all the experimentation is now with notes and how fast they can be played -- and in what order. Read more here:http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4554723/Ted_Nugent_s_Amboy_Dukes_-_Tooth__Fang_and_Claw
Brainbox is also a late ‘60’s, early 70’s Dutch rhythm & blues/psychedelic band, in which Jan Akkerman played before he went on to form Focus.
Review by Joe Viglione
Holland’s Brainbox was part of the North- European Invasion consisting of Stockholm’s ABBA, Shocking Blue from the Netherlands, Denmark’s the Savage Rose, and, of course, Blue Swede, a convergence a bit more subtle than the British Invasion and spanning over a decade. While H.P. Lovecraft kept changing members around the drummer, this band would release a record with totally new people in 1972, that work entitled Parts. Yet the original Brainbox does have qualities somewhat resembling the earlier H.P. Lovecraft, and is a worthwhile collection of musically diverse and eclectic performances. The decent liner notes call this “progressive pop,” and in some respects it is, though they shift gears from the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” to the 17-minute plus original “Sea of Delight,” and take lots of other directions in between. The Damned had a song called “New Rose,” which is where the French record label got its name, and there was the aforementioned Savage Rose, but Brainbox start the album with “Dark Rose,” a blend of Jethro Tull meets the Mothers of Invention. Brainbox ups the ante by sliding into Tim Hardin and a very credible cover of “Reason to Believe” a full two years before Rod Stewart would get a B-side hit with it (the original A-side of the “Maggie Mae” single), they pull off a chameleon-like change on this to become folk rockers. Casimirz Lux has a very appealing voice with a bit of Stewart’s rasp, making “Reason to Believe” a highlight of the album.
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Recorded in Hollywood on Valentines Day, 1981, 707 open the set up with "Live with the Girl," which could be Deep Purple's "Highway Star" gone pop. "Feel This Way" follows with the same Cars-ish thumpa thumpa riff and '80s high-end vocal setting the stage for what is found throughout this close to 46-minute concert CD. It's a spirited romp through music that .38 Special and Loverboy embraced -- think Crowded House with less creativity but a serious enough approach. That these fellows are almost as forgotten as late-'70s rockers Whiteface (or the even more obscure group White Witch from the earlier '70s) makes this release all the more appealing. It's nice to know someone cares about the music they made! Even when a Beatlesque piano opens a tune like "Rockin' Is Easy" with its Utopia/Todd Rundgren chorus, it is still solidly locked in a time warp and can't help remain an exhibit solely for those who enjoy these dated sounds. Read more here:
10)Art Garfunkel & Amy Grant The Animal's Christmas
Writer David A. Milberg calls The Animals' Christmas, the 1986 album by Art Garfunkel with Amy Grant, "one of the best Christmas albums of the '80s ...[featuring] 'Carol of the Birds.'" ... It's a unique concept and quite a different Christmas album in presentation and feel. The London Symphony Orchestra backs up the vocals of Amy Grant and Art Garfunkel alongside co-producer and lyricist Jimmy Webb's piano. Conducted by Carl Davis with the Kings College School Choir, the album fuses pop legends with classical musicianship to good effect. On the upside for consumers, none of these tunes are familiar "Christmas classics" hammered into the consciousness during the holidays. The churchlike feel of the project keeps "The Creatures of the Field," "Just a Simple Little Tune," "The Friendly Beasts," and other titles from being able to break out on seasonal radio next to tracks from Phil Spector's Christmas Album, Brenda Lee, Bing Crosby, and the other perennials who show up on the airwaves around Thanksgiving time and beyond.
Read more here:
England Dan & John Ford Coley - Dr. Heckle & Mr. Jive (1979, Big Tree, 76015)
The sincerity of their days on A&M Records has turned to total formula by the time Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Jive came around — and Robert Louis Stevenson expert, author Ray McNally, makes it clear in his book on Mr. Hyde that the true pronunciation is Dr. Jeekill (as in, "I Kill and Hide"). It is quite a paradox that this justified attack on the Hollywood system uses the mispronunciation of this famous title which Hollywood forced upon the world. Were these singers that clever to have slipped this in as a sly parody? Probably not — because the sentiment in the poem here is right on, but the execution of the title track, is as musically contrived as it sounds. This album shows the worst, and the best, of this productive duo.
12)Lita Ford In Concert (Cleopatra Records)http://www.windowsmedia.com/MediaGuide/Templates/AlbumInfo.aspx?a_id=R%20%20%20698300
Nazz/Stewkey Biography on Texas Pop Festival.com
What does Robert Antoni have in common with Vincent Furnier? Both men fronted 1960s bands called Nazz and came up with theatrical stage names — Alice Cooper for Furnier, and Stewkey for lead vocalist/keyboardist Antoni. Stewkey first got the idea for the name Nazz from Richard "Lord" Buckley, a preacher/rap artist from the '50s and '60s who proclaimed "the Nazz" is coming — meaning the Nazarene, or Christ. The Yardbirds' single "The Nazz Are Blue," the flip of "Shapes of Things," also probably added a tilt toward Nazz as the name of this innovative ensemble.
14)Kerry Kearney Welcome To The Psychedelta
15)Deepfield Archetypes & Repetition
16)Peter Noone Biography on VH-1.com
His friend John Lennon sang "Remember remember the fifth of November" in the song "Remember" off of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, and on that day in 1947, the eternally young Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone was born in Manchester, England. The son of Joan Blair Noone and Denis Patrick Noone, he was raised in a Roman Catholic family that included five children of diverse ages, brother Damon along with sisters Denise, Suzanne, and Louise. Read more here:
17)Pure Prairie League Fire It Up
18)Composing The Beatles' Songbook (Blockbuster.com)
An eighty minute documentary on the songwriting of Lennon & McCartney titled Composing The Beatles Songbook but including commentary by Johnny Rogan on songs written by the pair that were utilized by other artists -Billy J. Kramer, Peter and Gordon, Cilla Black and others. A dozen panelists including Rolling Stone Magazine's Anthony De Curtis, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice and Klaus Voorman discuss the songwriting of John and Paul and that catalog's influence. ~ Joe Viglione, All Movie Guide
19)Bobby Hebb's SUNNY on Mp3.com
That's All I Wanna Know on FYE
20)Grand Funk's Mark Farner on Visual Radio
21)Gabriel Gordon Gypsy Living
THE T-BONES No Matter What Shape
No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)/Sippin 'N Chippin' 2008
No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)