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
OK, we're going to be rocking in 2012...watch this site for tons of updates...exploring pop culture on our TV program, Visual Radio, and here on the Joe Vig Top 40!
The Top 40 might change Daily! So stay tuned...
1) MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4: GHOST PROTOCOL
Mission Impossible 4: The Classic Spy Thriller That Out-Bonds BondBy Joe Viglione
2)Skip Williamson on Visual Radio January 5, 2012
3) Author Frank Dello Stritto
Tommy James "Nothin' To Hide" from the 1972 LP "My Head, My Bed, My Red Guitar" ...my AMG review is posted on the YouTube...excellent album!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b89LbxY7G3k
7)David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf"
January 8, 2012 / Happy Birthday David Bowie
In 1982, David Bowie
released In Bertolt Brecht's "Baal"
; four years earlier, the prestigious RCA Red Seal classical label had Bowie
's Peter and the Wolf, and with his stint on Broadway as The Elephant Man, the artist stretched himself brilliantly. There is not enough spoken word by popular recording artists in today's world. Steven Tyler
may show up on a Kerouac
tribute performing one track; Grace Slick
, Lou Reed
, Peter Frampton
, Marty Balin
, and so many others have cut promotional interview discs for insiders, but it is surprising how the record industry has, for the most part, ignored this inexpensive and wonderful format to further endear artists to their fans. Jim Morrison
's poetry, after all, was all that was left when Elektra published An American Prayer
-- and that fans purchase low-quality bootlegs of many artists should have been a signal in the past to deliver this type of product to the marketplace. The scarcity of such projects makes Bowie
's close to 30 minutes of narration that much more delightful. The Peter and the Wolf album is divided into two sides. The narration by David Bowie
of public domain material originally written by Prokofiev
takes up 27 minutes and eight seconds, while the second side of this green-colored vinyl LP has 17 minutes and ten seconds of Eugene Ormandy
conducting Benjamin Britten
's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Read more here:http://www.allmusic.com/album/david-bowie-narrates-prokofievs-peter-and-the-wolf-r2497/review
8) LADY FRANKENSTEIN review
Buzzy Linhart's Free Soul Spirit Symphony
from the Pop Explosion site
10) THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
By Joe Viglione
REPORTAGE | TV & Film
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Like Se7en In Slo-Mo By Joe Viglione
11)Corporate Fall Guy - Arch Deal
12)The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston
13) R.I.P. John Lincoln Wright
THE EYES OF THE BEACON STREET UNION
The Eyes of The Beacon Street Union
The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union is a highly experimental album released around the time of the Bosstown sound. Much better than first albums from Eden's Children and Ultimate Spinach
, the disc, however, lacks direction -- and cohesion. Vocalist John Lincoln Wright
has the same look that he sports 23 years later on his 1991 Honky Tonk Verite CD, including his trademark cowboy hat, but the similarities between these two albums stop there. The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union is garage rock and psychedelia, and it is a trip. Where Orpheus opted for the serious pop of "Can't Find the Time," producer Wes Farrell
includes a recitation by the late Tom Wilson
, producer of The Velvet Underground & Nico, acting very avant-garde: "Look into the gray/look past the living streets of Boston/look finally into the eyes of Beacon Street Union." Well, Wilson did a decent job with the V.U., but he's no Crazy World of Arthur Brown
screaming the immortal line "I am the god of hellfire." The band immediately dips into "My Love Is." resplendent in Robert Rhodes
' (aka music attorney Robert Rosenblatt
) best ? & the Mysterians
keyboard sound, very cool '60s backing vocals, and guitars that are straight from the Psych Out film soundtrack. In fact, this song would have fit perfectly on that album along with the Seeds
and Strawberry Alarm Clock
. Read more here:
THE ALL MUSIC GUIDE TO ROCK
14)John Lincoln Wright - Honky Tonk Verite
Honky Tonk Verite
Thom Owens wrote that Honky Tonk Verite
is "a rip-roaring set of neo-traditional country recorded live in the studio over the course of one night." "Horizon Line" starts the CD off with a little of Ringo Starr
's vocal styling from the Beatles
' version of "Act Naturally" in a tune about a relationship running out of steam with no one to blame. It's a dramatic departure from the rock & roll of Wright
's '60s Boston band, the Beacon Street Union
; this is authentic country music that would make Olivia Newton-John
or Kenny Rogers
envious. The Sour Mash Boys provide a solid backup for John Lincoln Wright
's focus, and "Too Many Nights on the Town" could be a wonderful Eagles
crossover hit; it's even got a touch of England Dan & John Ford Coley
. Sparkling guitars and a tight rhythm allow Matt Leavenworth
's fiddle to shine on "The Ballad of Frank & Pearl," while it absolutely sizzles on "You Could You Would You Will" at the album's midpoint.
Read more here:
15)THE CLOWN DIED IN MARVIN GARDENS - Beacon Street Union with John Lincoln Wright
The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens is an original statement by a Boston group which was musically superior to Eden's Children and Ultimate Spinach, but not as focused as the Remains, the Hallucinations with Peter Wolf, or the emerging J. Geils Band. Where national groups like the Peanut Butter Conspiracy may have been misguided and sputtered with no direction, vocalist John Lincoln Wright developed into a first-rate songwriter and country singer with purpose. Hearing his work on highly experimental tunes like the title track or the impressionistic "May I Light Your Cigarette?" is true culture shock. "The Clown's Overture" seems pointless, yet "Angus of Aberdeen" is inspired and a bright spot in the morass that was "the Bosstown Sound." The rave-up version of "Blue Suede Shoes" is great, the guitar funneled through effects and brimming with excitement. Joe Viglione/Rovi
Read more here:
16) Count Dracula - Joe Viglione recites Bela Lugosi
17) Ray Bradbury biographer Jonathan Eller on Visual Radio
18)This Way Up by Joey Molland
19)Joey Molland of Badfinger
Badfinger guitarist Joe Molland began playing piano at five or six years of age at his Liverpool home -- "of course I didn't really play it, I just kinda plunked it a bit, and I learned some chords...I can't remember how I learned those chords but I knew chords and then my brother got a guitar" he told this writer in an interview for Visual Radio-Television while at Vincent's Nightclub in Massachusetts, October 3, 2001. "I heard a record, "Blue Suede Shoes," Elvis Presley's version, and I went right in the living room and got my brother's guitar out and I went to the piano and found the notes on the piano on the guitar, and I started to teach myself to play the guitar. I was eleven years old and that's how I started to play the guitar." Molland's first band was the Assassins, "...a very good name, that's about what we did to the songs we tried to play" he jested, "we used to rehearse in a church up there, (maybe) Mystery Park, the area in Liverpool, I was born in Edgehill, a real … » Read morehttp://www.allmusic.com/artist/joey-molland-p24050
Forget Twilight, This Is The Greatest Vampire Film Of All-Time
By Joe Viglione
Has it been 80 years since Bela Lugosi’s hypnotic voice set the mood for the classic horror film that ushered in a wave of vampirism? A genre that has exploded in popularity as the 21st Century goes back to the era of werewolves, goblins and the multitude of creatures that dwell in the shadows. Watching Dracula again – on YouTube of all places – the film proves again its immortality, amazing on the small screen as it was on the big, silver screens in the early part of the 20th Century.
The Bram Stoker novel, ‘Dracula’, was published in 1897. It inspired a 1922 silent film, ‘Nosferatu’ – with the fiendishly frightening image of actor Max Shreck, and nine years later – what most fans of the Lugosi classic are not aware of – two parallel 1931 movies, both named ‘Dracula’, both issued by Universal, both using the same props. Read more here:
21)Richard X Heyman
Originally released independently on Permanent Press Records, 6/21/02.
Basic Glee was recorded at Tabby Road Studio, the living room of Richard X. Heyman and his wife, Nancy Leigh. The insert photo of the artist amidst his electronics, guitar, keyboards, and cat on a chair is real "underground rock" imagery. The liners state that the basics to more than double the songs on Basic Glee's 14 tracks were "cranked out at a 24-track studio over one blistering weekend...." Heyman gives the world more of his over the top power pop on this outing, taking the majesty of a Flamin' Groovies "You Tore Me Down"-type tune and mixing it up with Roger McGuinn guitar chimes à la "Chestnut Mare," all intensified like a Beatles single sped up by George Martin -- with Heyman appearing to do it in real time. All the songs are pretty much in the three-and-a-half- to four-minute range, with only a couple straying from the formula. "Everywhere She Goes" opens up with Beach Boy vocals and Pete Townshend windmill guitar strums while "Pauline" borrows heavily from the vibe of Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." Like Emitt Rhodes projects outside of the Merry-Go-Round and McCartney's first solo album, when artists shoulder projects of this complexity on their own, the projects are stamped indelibly and have few flavors from outside the artists' spheres. For power pop, that's not necessarily a bad thing - Read more here...
25)The Thing - Film review on Sabotage Times
With technology – and big budget dollars – stunning and artistic filmwork is easier in the 21st Century, and with another culture looking at this old classic there are some interesting elements added to what is supposed to be a “prequel”. Dutch filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., who cut his teeth on Pepsi, Bud Light, Toyota and other such advertising, understands commercialism, and he is also hip to the Wachowski brothers throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the Matrix series. In this new Thing
you’ll find elements of Invaders from Mars, Independence Day, Alien, Day of the Triffids, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Predator, certainly not what the author, John W. Campbell Jr., conceived when his1938 novella Who Goes There? was first published.
It was 13 years before James Arness played the original Thing, set in the Arctic. John Carpenter took the action to the other side of the world – Antartica – in 1982 – and that’s where it remains 29 years later.http://www.sabotagetimes.com/tv-film/the-thing-reviewed-sequel-or-remake/
Music Review: Christopher Brown – Characterist
November - 8 - 2011
The twelve songs on Characterist present Christopher Brown in a simple setting, his Harry Chapin-esque story songs sometimes happy, sometimes plaintive, yet always textured in pretty sounds. “Do the do over, starting now” is a simple and snappy ode to reinvention, reworking one’s perspectives in sometimes startling ways. “Not so polite” is the direction here, to ruffle feathers, talk louder and get into fights. Provocative talk for a cute ditty, indeed.
THE RELUCTANT DOG
Journeyman drummer Steve Holley has provided some of the most solid and creative beats for Paul McCartney
, Kiki Dee
, Joe Cocker
, Julian Lennon
, and Ian Hunter
over the years, and though he recorded a couple of tracks in the U.K. in January of 1980 (included here), those beats never got the opportunity to be heard backing him up until the release of The Reluctant Dog, a 13-track collection of melodies and feelings that are well worth the wait. For those put off by the manufactured pop that Phil Collins
runs off the assembly line, The Reluctant Dog will provide much satisfaction.
Read more here:
Music Review: Ball ‘n Chain “Different Strokes”
November - 1 - 2011
For fans of solid metal pop that was the mainstay of groups like Quiet Riot, Ratt and other architects of hard music, Boston veteran Joe Black and his band, Ball ‘n’ Chain, have come up with a top notch outing that begs repeated spins. When Black was bassist for Balloon (a band featuring Charlie Farren, who would go on to the Joe Perry Project), they rocked the local venues like the Club in Cambridge. Check out a 1978 video on YouTube with the boys creating a menacing neo-death metal goes prog/rock rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Green Manalishi”(With The Two-Pronged Crown)…deeper than Judas Priest’s take on Peter Green’s notorious song around that same time period.
29)Iggy Pop Roadkill Rising…The Bootleg Collection 1977-2009
June - 9 - 2011
James Osterberg keeps on rolling on. I’m a firm believer in the boxed set as the medium to convey the artistry of deep-catalogue performers and this tidy four disc set does a great job of providing a glimpse for the uninitiated into how very credible Iggy is, as well as his unbelievable consistency. We are talking about 32 years of recordings which cover songs that were Stooges’ staples as well as key items from his solo repertoire.
They may take a few liberties with just how super he is but Captain America: The First Avenger has everything you’d want from an origin story.
Massachusetts native Chris Evans returns to Marvel Comics’ “House of Ideas” as Steve Rogers – Captain America, with a much different look than exhibited in the two films where he appeared as The Fantastic Four’s Johnny Storm. This important component of the Avengers collection, the final “prequel”, if you will, has to be at least as effective as Kenneth Branagh’s Thor: The God Of Thunder, and that it is.
Director Joe Johnston has had plenty of experience with Science Fiction, from 1989’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids to Jurassic Park III. He does an elegant job of blending cliche after cliche in Captain America: The First Avenger, a formula that has become a quite necessary merry-go-round of sorts for the variety of D.C. and Marvel superheroes launching out of the big screen. These are the spawn of the James Bond blockbuster pictures when Goldfinger was identifiable to the mainstream as Dr. Doom was to comic book fans in the pages of the Fantastic Four.
http://www.sabotagetimes.com/tv-film/captain-america-reviewed-a-liberty-taking-feast-for-the-fanboys/ Movie Reviews / Sabotage Times
31) TMR ZOO REVIEWS BY JOE VIGLIONE
32) Barbara Lee George PROTECTED BY LOVE
May - 19 - 2011
Barbara Lee George’s Protected by Love is a gorgeous collection of ten songs with sterling production by bassist Even Steven Levee (long-time member of Moogy Klingman’s Freak Parade). “Unexpected Clarity” has a modern pop elegance, something Sade’ might have wanted to bring into the new millennium in a parallel universe. Track 9 has got to be my favorite – . “Call Me (All You’ve Got To Do Is Call Me)” evoking the theme of Chris Montez’s classic of the same name as well as the Beatles “Anytime At All” – it’s a terrific hook that has real staying power
33 DR FAITH CHRISTOPHER CROSS
ongs such as “Ride Like The Wind” had real drama and introspection and as massively popular as the three main hits from the first album were – “Sailing” and “Never Be The Same” along with “Ride Like The Wind” (“Say You’ll Be Mine” was a fourth top 20 hit from that affair as well) Christopher Cross has become a sort of an artistic asterisk in the history of popular music. AMG’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine hits in on the head noting how Cross was embraced by the industry but not the critics. Not that one has to satisfy critics but…when those reflecting on artistry across the board find a musician too bland to keep on the radar screen it is problematic.
34) Music Review: Harriet Schock – Breakdown on Memory Lane
May - 7 - 2011
Veteran writer/singer Harriet Schock let Travis Allen produce these ten songs in the virtual world, including Schock’s own version of the terrific “You Just Don’t Get Me, Do You?” which was a Triple A radio hit for Jeannie Kendall of The Kendalls. It’s a warmer version of the song that gives the words and melody a different perspective. Seek out Kendall’s take on it as well, they both are magical. “When You Were Mine” sounds like classic Schock from her Hollywood Town days, the album on 20th Century that spawned “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady”, the mega hit for Helen Reddy.
Interesting that Harriet Schock was a labelmate with Genya Ravan on 20th Century Records and both have new albums in release with that independent spirit that record executive Russ Regan’s work at that storied imprint fostered.
35) GENYA RAVAN DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
Just as her terrific Undercover album out-Stoned The Rolling Stones in this 21st Century, Genya Ravan’s cover of Lee Michael’s chestnut, “Do You Know What I Mean” explodes from the moment it opens, giving a “Tumblin’ Dice” frosting to a magnificent melody. This rendition of a song about “steppin’ out” with the great line “14 days since I don’t know when…”is the perfect theme song for the reality TV show “Cheaters”…send your votes to Cheaters.com and tell them Genya should be the voice for their provocative tv program!
Ravan’s earthy vocals are perfect with the slammin’ drums, in the groove production and slinky guitars. Keith Richards needs to put Ron Wood on bass and hire Genya and her group to work with Mick onstage…this is the great lost Rolling Stones recording that rock & roll fans have waited for. “Haven’t loved me in 14 years” is how we feel about souped up Mick & Keith singles that aren’t getting traction on radio…that’s because Genya’s gotta be sneering on their records “He’s a dandy…and now he’s free…
In three minutes and seventeen seconds Genya Ravan sums up everything this song is about. Get it on the radio…immediately…please…
Full disclosure after you read the review. Back in 1986 I chose this Lee Michael tune when Jimmy Miller and I were producing the legendary BUDDY GUY. Miller cut the basics with Joe Perry Project drummer Joe Pet slamming away alongside Buddy’s band. I flew Genya Ravan in from New York to Warren Rhode Island to sing on that version; she, Miller and Guy ended up onstage that night for a terrific concert that should have been recorded!
“She and Bobby were stepping out…she and Bobby…you know I found out” Lee Michael emoted on his version of the Top 10 1971 hit. I wrote out lyrics with a nice Lady Mondegreen…or “misheard lyric”, “Her involvement was separate now, her involvement, you know I found out.” Genya laughed and said “too heavy for a blues song.” She was right!
While shopping the Buddy Guy album in New York, Michael Barackman, A & R man at Capitol/EMI back in the day (1986/1987), thought the choice of song was perfect for Buddy Guy.
Alas, none of the labels offered enough money for the project, Buddy’s next album becoming the Grammy winner which prompted New Kids On The Block producer Michael Jonzun to say “Everyone loves Buddy. Joe Vig was right.” That and a buck and I get a cup of coffee, but it is nice to be acknowledged by one of my heroes! And equally as nice for Aunty Genya to put this magical song back in circulation with her terrific solo rendition, 25 years after she recorded it with us in Rhode Island!
36)Marillion Live From Cadogan Hall
March - 14 - 2011
What was once called Neo-Progressive rock is now nestling into a more accessible high-tech soft rock that has the potential to reach a wider audience willing to wrap its ears around the pretty melodies and precise musicianship. Filmed on the last night of the ‘Less is More’ acoustic tour in December 2009 at London’s Cadogan Hall, Eagle Records double CD of the audio.
37)MATT TURK AMERICAN PRESERVATION
This is an interesting left turn for Matt Turk, a countrified modern-ish Americana album of cover tunes that cover a wide spectrum and diverse musical field. Turk’s voice lends itself well to these journeys, some obscure, some very popular at one point in time. Opening up with John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” gives the song authenticity that this writer felt the over-exposed John Denver lost along the way…”Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes” works better for me than that…and run-throughs of “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” or the sublime Rolling Stones country moment, “Sweet Virginia”.
38)GILLEN & TURK BACKS TO THE WALL
In the tradition of Batdorf & Rodney, England Dan & John Ford Coley and Seals & Crofts these two fine songwriter/singers, Matt Turk and Fred Gillen Jr. bring their blend of Americana, folk rock and solid instrumentation to this CD episode they call Backs To The Wall. “Fall Down” has the jangling R.E.M. style that makes it highly commercial, a total contrast to the almost off-key “Takes Me Away”, almost five minutes of Velvet Underground-third album melancholy. “It Really Matters” is culled from The Grateful Dead catalog and makes the duo a perfect fit to perform in the Boston area with one of Ken Selcer’s many bands.
39 BING COSBY RETURNS TO PARADISE ISLANDS
Collector’s Choice – along with the Bing Crosby Archive – recently issued six Bing Crosby special releases, reissuing three classic albums in the “deluxe format” along with a previously unreleased disc, a new compilation and a 2-CD set of Crosby
Interesting that in the 1970′s and 80′s it would have been totally uncool to listen to artists like Jerry Vale, Vic Damone, Ferrante & Teicher and…Bing Crosby. But after Danny Bennett successfully resurrected his father’s career and Tony Bennettfound a new, hip audience there was the additional reinvention of “Space Age Bachelor Pad” music for the younger crowd
, a format also known as “Lounge”, “Exotica” and the many mixed genres in-between. As with “Northern Soul”, a musical experience from England that brings European interest to obscure American rhythm and soul 45s (and reignites popularity back home), it is now more than OK to like the music that your great-grandparents listened to. Indeed, just listening to Bing Crosby’s Return To Paradise shows a sophistication in the recording that modern records in 2010 don’t care to embrace, despite all the advances with technology. In my opinion these classic recordings actually have more presence than what is being poured into the compact discs of 2010 – including some bylegendary rockers now going in a middle-of-the-road direction.
40 LOU REED's ROCK 'n' ROLL ANIMAL LIVES
In a phone call with Marty Balin last night he told me he was very impressed with what Wolfsgang’s Vault did with his Jefferson Airplane material. They mailed him the “boxed set” with liner notes, photos and the music on a flash drive! Let’s hope for a similar event with Lou Reed’s music.
As Reed gets ready to play Sundance on Sunday, January 23, 2011, I’m revisiting his concerts, comparing three different shows on his 1973 tour…Falkonteatret (Copenhagen, Denmark) Sep 19, 1973 along with Birmingham Odeon (Birmingham, England) Oct 3, 1973 and the concert at the Apollo Theatre Glasgow (Glasgow, Scotland) Sep 24, 1973
The nine minutes and six seconds which close out the October 3rd show – a terrific version of one of his many signature tunes, “Rock & Roll” (not the Led Zeppelin song), is perfection. The entire concert is very good, though London and Lenox Massachusetts (the first stop on the tour) are still the key tapes, the A+ performances that the world has yet to hear. Bob Ezrin should be impressed when those shows finally emerge.
Labels: Lady Frankenstein Frank Dello Stritto Joey Molland Daniel Craig Tontileo