In 1993 the Australian label, Raven Records, released an essential 3 CD boxed set of Velvet Underground material before 1995's beautiful PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE.
Before I add my two cents, let's go to the record label media release to get a grasp (record label spin) of this recording:
" The six-CD set captures the Velvets in a crucial period in their development, starting with the band’s Factory rehearsals in January ’66, covering the original Scepter recording sessions that April, then a live show in November, leading up to the March ’67 release, almost a year after the album was finished. Nico’s Chelsea Girl, which came out in October seven months later, completes the set’s almost two-year arc, chronicling the band both before and directly after its historic debut.
The Super Deluxe set allows fans to compare the mono and stereo versions of the album. Longtime Velvets aficionados have touted the mono mix because of its lo-fi quality, with the music coming off even tougher as a result of its compression"
* * * * *
There was a memorial at Lincoln Center for fans on or about November 14, a couple of weeks after Reed's October 27, 2013 passing. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lou-reeds-memorial-lets-the-music-speak-for-itself-20131114
RAVEN RECORDS TRACKING
曲目 · · · · · ·
CD1-02 Extemporisation ("Melody Laughter"?) 8:32
CD1-03 Heroin (Mono Mix) 7:09
CD1-04 I'm Waiting For The Man (Mono Mix) 4:42
CD1-05 Sunday Morning (Mono Mix) 2:54
CD1-06 I'll Be You Mirror (Mono Mix) 2:11
CD1-07 Run Run Run (Mono Mix) 4:23
CD1-08 All Tomorrow's Parties (Mono Mix) 5:57
CD1-09 Venus In Furs (Mono Mix) 5:00
CD1-10 Femme Fatale (Mono Mix) 2:37
CD1-11 It Was A Pleasure Then 8:02
CD1-12 From The Music Factory 3:58
CD1-13 White Light/White Heat 2:45
CD1-14 Lady Godiva's Operation 4:54
CD1-15 I Heard Her Call My Name 4:38
CD1-16 Untitled 4:25
CD1-17 (Exploding Plastic Inevitable Radio Spot) 0:15
CD2-01 Sister Ray 17:27
CD2-02 Here She Comes 1:58
CD2-03 Guess I'm Falling In Love 3:51
CD2-04 Stephanie Says 2:50
CD2-05 Hey Mr Rain (Version 2) 5:27
CD2-06 Candy Says 4:05
CD2-07 Some Kinda Love 3:40
CD2-08 Pale Blue Eyes 5:42
CD2-09 Beginning To See The Light 4:47
CD2-10 I'm Set Free 4:04
CD2-11 The Murder Mystery 8:57
CD2-12 Foggy Notion 6:51
CD2-13 I Can't Stand It 3:23
CD2-14 (Radio Ad) 0:58
CD3-01 Ocean 5:12
CD3-02 One Of These Days 3:57
CD3-03 Introductions 0:48
CD3-04 Too Much 2:50
CD3-05 Sweet Jane (Original Version) 4:01
CD3-06 New Age (Original Version) 6:34
CD3-07 Over You 2:16
CD3-08 What Goes On 8:48
CD3-09 After Hours 2:51
CD3-10 I'm Sticking With You 2:39
CD3-11 Train Round The Bend 3:15
CD3-12 Head Held High 2:52
CD3-13 Who Loves The Sun 2:44
CD3-14 Rock And Roll 4:37
CD3-15 Ride Into The Sun (Demo) 3:00
CD3-16 After Hours 2:42
CD3-17 No More Re-unions 0:27
CD3-18 Thanks Andy Warhol 6:39
CD3-19 (I Love The Velvet Underground) 1:04
2) Lou Reed Memorial in New York
December 16, 2013
WATCH THE MEMORIAL CONCERT HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9Wie9U7ggM&feature=c4-overview&list=UUvdF4emLvTSZFU8CcWlkamA
3) NO ONE WAVED GOODBYE
At 19 years of age Jordan Hall was a terrific concert experience with the band The Tots backing Lou up. Lou replaced the Tots during the tour with half of Todd Rundgren's Utopia - led by my friend, the late Moogy Klingman. After the promotion of the Transformer album was completed Lou began to put together the Rock "n' Roll Animal band, the group debuting on September 1, 1973. To this day the finest rock & roll show I've experienced in a thousand or so concerts. It was the bridge between Lou's work in the Velvet Underground and his solo albums, the ground-breaking guitar duo Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter reinventing the music of the Velvets for a different decade. Upon the conclusion of that tour at the end of 1973 Alice Cooper picked up the RnR Animal Band and the rest, as they say, is history.
* * * * *
Also in 1973 Fusion publishing released No One Waved Goodbye, a collection of essays from editor Robert Somma (now a former judge and high power attorney) including a brilliant piece by Lou Reed entitled "Fallen Knights and Fallen Ladies."
You can read it here:
In the revealing essay Reed offers a glimpse into his own soul as well as giving his thoughts on Brian Epstein of the Beatles, Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Perhaps Lou saw his own possible fate in the hewing of those might oaks. Lou escaped. He lived to be 71, which in rock & roll years is an eternity, but for those of us who appreciate his insight, his vision, and his ability to entertain, we feel as if we are left with a loss as surely as if Mr. Reed had died at 27 years of age instead of flipping those numbers around (well, almost.)
But there's a difference, a big difference. Lou Reed gave this planet a massive body of work that is being studied, analyzed and which inspires. Last night (December 15) Greg Hawkes of the Cars performed "Drive" solo - on Ukulele - at the Regent Theater. The Cars major influence, the group's most major influence, was the Velvet Underground and the writing of Lou Reed. In the lobby I said "Hi Greg, I'm Ric Ocasek" - Greg replied quickly "You're not as tall as I remember you." The Cars found superstardom for awhile, and Lou Reed paved the way for Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr to come up with a sound that would also break new ground for the bands that came after. (This aside just a little levity while writing a solemn essay about someone else's solemn essay!) Lou must have felt the dangers of living in the rock & roll lifestyle while his comrades were falling around him. Didn't Aerosmith's Steve Tyler say "The happiest day of my life was when I turned 28?" However Lou Reed survived a lot longer than he and many in the world probably thought he would. Keith Richards outlived Lou Reed! Now that's a headline...and a statement. The late Joe Buchwald (father of the Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin) said to me upon the death of his daughter in law, Karen Deal, "it's sad when anyone dies." The loss of Karen on November 19, 2010 came after the loss of Bobby "Sunny" Hebb on August 3, 2010. Two of my closest friends vanished from my life within a span of three months. The late Jo Jo Laine passed on October 29, 2006, the cover girl to a Lou Reed-produced album from 1976, Lou's friend from college, Nelson Slater's Wild Angel album. October 27, 2013, Lou Reed is gone as well. But he's not. Jerry Garcia said "Death only matters for the person who's dying; the rest of us have to live without them" (paraphrasing old Jerry who himself has left this mortal coil.) Lou Reed, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix - perhaps three of the half-a-dozen or so artists who inspired this writer the most. One never really knows what to say when someone important to our world is no longer generating new work, but Reed has given us a look at what happens when a great rock & roller escapes the "gone at 27" curse. A huge body of work that is amazing in its scope, and one that will be studied for centuries, no doubt, as the line "Just like Shakespeare, Beethoven and Van Gogh" rings out. If this essay is cumbersome it is just that it is hard to write of finality. We have to look at the artistic aspect of it and see the tremendous literary contribution that we have; it's the spirit of the artist that lives on in that work. As old Joe Buch said "It's sad when anyone dies." It is. But the work they leave behind - and their spirit - is what we can celebrate. Read Lou Reed's essay published in the Fusion book - it is further evidence of his ability to communicate in a unique and special way.
4)THE PALEY BROTHERS GET INTO ROLLING STONE, and the JOE VIG TOP 40
5)ARCHETYPES - White Light/White Heat
White Light/White Heat 30th Anniversary Edition is about to be unleashed. However, MGM had an ARCHETYPES series with that disc as a "reissue" way back when (one of many reissues)...here's my review http://www.allmusic.com/album/
MGM re-released the first three Velvet Underground discs in all sorts of combinations, but this one is the strangest. Archetypes: The Velvet Underground is the exact White Light/White Heat album minus the brilliant skull and crossbones black-light cover by Andy Warhol. Instead, the Archetypes cover resembles The Terminator and has nothing to do with the music inside: Two helmeted bikers stand outside a Woolworth store flanking what looks like a weight scale. What this has to do with White Light/White Heat is anybody's guess. In addition to the Velvet Underground, this series re-released albums by Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Allen Ginsburg, Tim Hardin, The Blues Project, Hank Williams, and the Small Faces. What, no Herman's Hermits or Cowsills?
6)LIVE AT THE APOLLO SATURDAY NIGHT
Here's my review of Apollo Saturday Nighthttp://www.allmusic.com/album/apollo-saturday-night-mw0000811485 On November 13, 1963, as veteran producer/liner-notes writer Bob Altshuler explains, "Atco microphones were positioned on the Apollo stage" after the showing of a film preceding this concert, which began "a few minutes before twelve o'clock." Decades later, this material by Doris Troy, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, the Falcons, the Coasters, and Ben E. King remains a vital document of a special time when entertainment was pure and remarkable. Opening with Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd's version of the Falcons, the tone is set for the album, sticking to deeper cuts from the various artists' catalogs and shying away from their hits, with the exception of "Walking the Dog" from Rufus Thomas and headliner Ben E. King's "Stand By Me."
7)ALAN MERRILL ON VISUAL RADIO
Thursday December 19, 2013
"I Love Rock 'n' Roll" author Alan Merrill on Visual Radio December 19, 2013
It's worth reading the history of the song on the YouTube site, a little more info here:
Cosmic oddity: Arrows singer Alan Merrill and Joan Jett are both left handed, but play their instruments right handed.
More trivia- Joan Jett was initially introduced to her manager Kenny Laguna by a tv producer named Alan Sacks. Arrows singer Alan Merrill's legal birth name is Allan Sachs, same prononciation. A little eerie, don't you think?
Info and reference /
Joan Jett's former (and long-time) guitarist Ricky Byrd was on Visual Radio awhile back. Here's their rendition:
We'll also discuss movies with Frank Dello Stritto
Tune in 8 PM Thursday December 19th http://www.wincam.org
Meanwhile you can read more about Alan's work on Songfacts.com
The son of Jazz musicians Aaron Sachs and Helen Merrill, Alan moved from New York to Japan when he was still a teenager, becoming the first foreign pop star residing in Japan to break out in that country, both as a solo artist and with his group Vodka Collins. Moving to England, he formed The Arrows, who wrote and recorded "I Love Rock and Roll," got their own TV show, then quickly faded away. This is a story about Glam Rock, cultural differences in music, and what shot down The Arrows.
Alan will talk about "I Love Rock "n' Roll" and discuss his new recordings with Grammy winning drummer Steve Holley (percussionist with Paul McCartney/Elton John/Joe Cocker/Ian Hunter etc)
8)Interview with Bruce Sudano
JV: How long have you professionally been making music?
Bruce: The guys in the band were all from the neighborhood and we’d been playing together in numerous bands with different names and slightly different configurations for years. The biggest change was adding a female singer, Sandy Toder, to the mix. I’m not quite sure how that came about, it was a long time ago, but we evolved into a popular band working the major clubs at the time like Cheetah, Electric Circus, etc. Sandy’s sister in law became our manager and she somehow got Tommy to come down to the club one night and that’s how we met him.
Bruce Sudano: Brooklyn Dreams formed in 1976. Joe, Eddie and I were long time friends and living in LA pursuing solo careers when a friend of ours from the neighborhood, Susan Munao, who was VP of Publicity at Casablanca Records encouraged us to try it as a group. I had some songs written, we wrote some more together and before we knew it signed a deal with Jimmy Ienner and Millennium Records back in New York.
Bruce Sudano:I really don’t know. RCA owns the rights, so it’s really up to them.
JV: How long did it take to put the new disc together?
Bruce Sudano:It takes me awhile to make a full CD because I write until I sense there’s a record there with continuity. I like my records to have a thematic tonality both musically and lyrically. So I write until I figure out where I’m going and everything I write isn’t going to fit thus it takes time. As an artist you just work until you have a sense it’s finished, when you’ve said all you have to say.
JV:With so many years between the two releases is Life And The Romantic a continuation of the lyrical themes from Rainy Day Soul or totally new inspirations?
Bruce Sudano: It’s an evolution. Mood wise there’s a similarity and there’s always a spiritual sense but lyrically I’m dealing with different issues. Rainy Day Soul was written at a time when I was in some emotional turmoil. It reflects the transition from being a parent with a house full of kids to an empty nester and the effects it had on my wife, our relationship, and me. It was an interesting time and we had to digest it and work through it. Life and the Romantic is more about navigating the responsibilities of life, learning to appreciate the journey, having faith, not being afraid and being satisfied with the simple things because they’re the most precious.
JV:What other projects are you working on?
Bruce Sudano: I see Rainy Day Soul and Life and the Romantic as two records of a trilogy. So I’ve already begun writing for the third installment. No, I don’t know what it’s about and I don’t know what it’s called but yes it may contain a new song called Life and the Romantic!
9)JOE BLACK SOLO SINGLE
"Armageddon" & "Love Lives On Forever"
Joe Black has poured the concrete for Balloon and Ball 'n' Chain for decades now, keeping the foundation for some of Boston's best hard rock. On Armageddon, the single from the first Joe Black solo disc, the bassist gives the fans what John Entwistle, Bill Wyman and Paul McCartney initiated years before, another musical perspective from the guiding rhythmic hand of the band.
"It only takes a few bad apples/to burn it to the ground" gives you a sense of the dire warnings in "Armageddon." Starting off with early Jethro Tull-esque guitar strums the song explodes into power chords till the bleak, apocalyptic threat is revealed.
"Love Goes on Forever" begins with magical jazz inspired flavorings, think Pat Metheny meets Rush, outer space ACHR (Adult Contemporary Hard Rock) with absolutely lovely guitar phrasings and an exquisite hook that comes cascading in. "Just like you and me/ beautiful indeed. Green mountains and blue seas, beautiful indeed."
With the tonal quality of Extreme's Gary Cherone over a plodding (Joe Black) Sabbath tempo, the vital 70's guitar leads abound and take control, the chorus then swelling up behind this terrific mix of sounds. Intricate changes give this power ballad some musical depth...a beauty indeed.
Joe Black Facebook
Joe Black Twitter
Ball 'n' Chain Facebook site
10) Hull Cable TV airs SISTER RAY
photo courtesy of a Facebook friend
11)Debbie Harry at Lou Reed Memorial
On December 10th the audio triple disc 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT was released by the Universal Music Group
Six days later, at Lou Reed's Memorial Tribute at the Apollo Theater, Debbie Harry performed the title track for the audience.
Blondie performing "WHITE LIGHT / WHITE HEAT" 12/16/13 at the Apollo
The Amazon.com site has a quote from Lou Reed
'No one listened to it. But there it is, forever - the quintessence of articulated punk. And no one goes near it.' - Lou Reed, August 2013
Now Lou was being deadpan facetious, of course, because the 2nd album from the Velvet Underground influenced just about every garage band that had a sense of alternative music. And that was just a few years after its release - so many groups inspired and in awe of the record's majesty.
Back when Mike Curb (of the Mike Curb Congregation) was removing artists from MGM allegedly due to "drug lyrics" the then president of MGM Records was certainly being more cost-conscious than his p.r. spin would leave one to believe.
Wikipedia on Mike Curb
In 1970, Billboard reported that "MGM Records president Mike Curb has dropped 18 acts who, in his opinion, promote and exploit hard drugs through music." Among the acts reportedly cut were the Velvet Underground andFrank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, though by 1969, Zappa had fulfilled his MGM/Verve contract and moved to his own Bizarre Records label, distributed byWarner Bros. Billboard reported that Curb was alarmed by the drug-related deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Al Wilson of Canned Heat.
_____________________________________________Perhaps not-so-strangely enough, MGM thought nothing of repackaging the discs they already had, even if the artists were dropped from the label. White Light/White Heat went through numerous repackages. Here's my review of the Archetype series reissue of White Light:
Archetypes: The Velvet Underground is the exact White Light/White Heat album minus the brilliant skull and crossbones black-light cover by Andy Warhol. Instead, the Archetypes cover resembles The Terminator and has nothing to do with the music inside: Two helmeted bikers stand outside a Woolworth store flanking what looks like a weight scale. What this has to do with White Light/White Heat is anybody's guess. In addition to the Velvet Underground, this series re-released albums by Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Allen Ginsburg, Tim Hardin, The Blues Project, Hank Williams, and the Small Faces. What, no Herman's Hermits or Cowsills? The liner notes on the Velvets' Archetypes album sleeve (presumably used for all the albums in the series) notes that Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" was a recent hit around the time of this release, putting it circa 1972 (good old MGM didn't put the date on the label). For a company that allegedly unloaded acts involved with drugs (probably dropping the Velvet Underground during that "housecleaning" phase), the five-and-dime down-home album cover for a re-release of this psychotic classic is more than deceptive, it is the epitome of paradox. But look on the bright side: It is yet another Velvet Underground collector's item. READ MORE HERE:
In a fun aside, David Bowie covered the song in his classic final concert double LP on RCA. My review is also on AMG:
To see the skull and whatever (crossbones, knife? it's actually a knife through the teeth...it's been awhile since I have looked, though I have numerous copies of this, of course) from Andy Warhol one needs a black light /fluorescent to view the artwork. Just tile an original copy in the regular light to see something.
When Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs was in existence I interviewed one of the engineers on the reissue of White Light/White Heat. The paradox here, of course, being that half-speed mastering was more intended for a folk album or for pristine music - a grunge classic getting the treatment was ...well...odd! But I love my copy nonetheless so there ya go.
The Amazon site notes this:
The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition, is a three-disc, 30-track set featuring both the original stereo and mono releases, completely remastered, with bonus tracks including alternate versions, unreleased outtakes, John Cale's last studio sessions with the band, and the official release of their complete show at The Gymnasium in New York recorded on April 30, 1967, which includes five previously unreleased performances culled from John Cale's personal copy. The Super Deluxe Edition includes four newly prepared remixes, including the earliest known, previously unreleased version of 'Beginning To See The Light,' and previously unreleased versions of 'The Gift (vocal version)' and 'The Gift (instrumental version).' Exclusive to this limited Super Deluxe Edition is a 56 page hard bound book with rare photos, memorabilia and David Fricke Essay/interview with John Cale and Lou Reed from 2013. The 45th anniversary editions were developed in conjunction with Lou Reed and John Cale.
The book I've been working on for about a decade now has two co-authors and will be available sometime early next year. The title is a line from one of the songs on this disc.
Thanks to AMG colleague Richie Unterberger whose book White Light / White Heat gives a shout out
- White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Daybooks.google.com/books?isbn=1906002223Richie Unterberger - 2009 - MusicJoe Hedio was particularly helpful in tracking down vintage Velvet ... Tony Traguardo, Paul Trynka, Joe Viglione, Diane Wallis, Kevin Walsh, Mark Webber, ...WHITE. LIGHT/WHITE. HEAT. n. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. Acknowledgments.
There also seems to be a mention of this author in the Music of the Counterculture. Will have to seek that one out now
- Music of the Counterculture Era - Page 225 - Google Books Resultbooks.google.com/books?isbn=0313326894James E. Perone - 2004 - History... The Velvet Underground $ Nico, 133; White Light/White Heat, 133 Vietnam ... of mainline Christianity to, 149 Vietnam Day Committee, 177 Viglione, Joe, 85 ...
The music of the counterculture continues, no? The 45th Anniversary of White Light is a very good thing! Enjoy Debbie Harry's terrific rendition. Long Live Lou.
12)Part III of 3
(Author's note: Patch editor John Waller was at tonight's final City Council meeting of 2013. He told me the Patch article on Lou Reed was getting a lot of page views. With that in mind, here is the third installment of this current series on rock performer/poet Louis Reed.)
Medford residents were among the first in the world to get information on what was - at one point in time - a "top secret" memorial to a major musical figure entitled: The Power of the Heart: a celebration of Lou Reed's life and work. The WiFI in the waiting room at Penn Station in New York kept flashing "untrusted site" so I waited until boarding the train to upload the article on Lou Reed's memorial. The NY Post published a story on 2:24 AMhttp://nypost.com/2013/12/17/friends-and-family-honor-lou-reed/ with the Medford Patch essay following about an hour later (with some revisions.)
When at the Winchester Community Access & Media Christmas party last Wednesday night, 12/11, I said "Not taking a camera to New York." No photographs, no videos, at a memorial event my usually talkative self turns into "paint on the wall." My friend agreed - services like this, even with the celebratory atmosphere - are still solemn. Talking about someone's life when they are gone is not easy, so I'd rather put my thoughts into print rather than casual speech immediately after a ceremony, as uplifting and beautiful as it was. It truly was an amazing event, hundreds of lit candles around the stage and on the steps - perfect ambiance, an absolutely perfect selection of photographs and video, and majestic music - with Debbie Harry of Blondie outdoing herself in a transcendent performance of "White Light/White Heat."
Our rock stars seem indestructible. Photos on lp and cd covers, larger-than-life figures on MTV, VH-1, HBO, in the news, on our computers, we sometimes take them for granted as digital images from the Matrix and designed to last forever. Lou Reed being survived by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is just unthinkable (and we ALL love Keith, but Keith projects the image of a man whose 9 lives have been extended about 99 times or more.)
Now the articles are proliferating - Richard Johnson's
Rockers flock to secret Lou Reed tribute in Harlem just one of many:
Lou Reed’s Complex Spirit Is Invoked at a Reunion of His Inner Circlehttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/arts/music/lou-reeds-complex-spirit-is-invoked-at-a-reunion-of-his...
With lack of sleep I figured an immediate stream-of-consciousness hands to keyboard transcription contemporaneous (kinda sorta) would be in keeping with Lou Reed's personal thought - as Jon Pareless in the NY Times quoted Lou's wife: "He (Lou Reed) thought, ‘First thought, best thought.’ ”
Now someone DID happen to snap some video of key moments of the event, and they are on Michael Goldberg's blog Days of the Crazy-Wild
Here are some of my faves:
Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye on "Perfect Day"
The monologue at the beginning was superb, but is missing from the video.
The YouTube clip from the 1980 movie One Trick Ponywhich featured younger (39 year old) Lou Reed and a younger Paul Simon (as an "aging" rock star) was played on the back wall / screen prior to Simon emerging with guitar in hand. Here is that clip:
Paul Simon performing "Pale Blue Eyes"
Here's Bob Ezrin and Hal Wilner reading a prayer, with Philip Glass on piano. In the spirit of "The Gift" from the White Light/White Heat LP
The Persuasions sing Lou Reed
Antony of The Johnsons doing an amazingly accurate "Candy Says"
Maureen "Moe" Tucker reading John Cale's letter. So respectful and precise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdFQZuxclME
The Hollywood Reporter has an almost complete set list of the event
Friends, family members, fellow musicians and loved ones gathered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to mark 50 days since New York lost its favorite downtown son.
Set list from the Reporter doesn't have the opening guitar duo Marc Ribot and Doug Wieselman playing guitars as we took our seats. Nor did it mention Jerusalem Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman - but otherwise it's a good list of the happenings at the event.
I have much more to say about this, but will do so on other sites. Just thought those who cared enough to read the previous two Patch blogs would like to see the videos that surfaced, and the additional articles. I'm sure there will be lots more - it was a very special and unforgettable moment for those of us who have followed Lou Reed for most of our lives.
13)NOTHING TO LOSE KISS
- Hardcover: 560 pages
- Publisher: It Books (September 10, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062131729
- ISBN-13: 978-0062131720
14) CABARET VOLTAIRE
"Here She Comes Now" Velvet Underground Cover
Cabaret Voltaire has a 6 cd boxed set out
HERE'S THE P.R. Not my review, P.R. from the publicity company
15) Paris 1919 Song review John Cale
Song Review by Joe ViglioneThe sixth and title track to John Cale's 1973 album, Paris 1919, is four minutes and five seconds on the studio disc and three minutes and 21 seconds on his 1992 live recording, Fragments of a Rainy Season. The distinctive driving piano is a wondrous backdrop for the lyrics combining the best of Cale's own eccentricity and former partner Lou Reed's introspection. Read more here:
16)CAROLE KING 12 CD Talking Book
Publisher, Hachette Audio (April 2012)
Listen to a FREE audio clip. on link
Carole King takes us from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her remarkable success as one of the world's most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. A NATURAL WOMAN chronicles King's extraordinary life, drawing readers into her musical world, including her phenomenally successful #1 album Tapestry, and into her journey as a performer, mother, wife and present-day activist. Deeply personal, King's long-awaited memoir offers readers a front-row seat to the woman behind the legend.
17)Good Good Lovin
Darlene Love & The Blossoms
18)Beach Boys, Good Vibrations
The Beach Boys are one of the most fun pop groups in music history and Eagle Rock Entertainment puts together some of the best packages in 2013, so the release of The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations Tour on DVD and Digital Video is a treasure for fans as well as for music historians.
The liner notes inform us that the show was “Filmed in 1976 at Anaheim Stadium for American television and Good Vibrations follows the release of their 15 Big Ones album. Combining full live performances with interviews and several whimsical vignettes, Good Vibrations is 50 minutes of Beach Boys … (and) features all the original band members (Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine) performing their timeless classic hits: “Good Vibrations,” “God Only Knows,” “I Get Around,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Sloop John B,” “California Girls,” “Help Me Rhonda,” “Surfin’ USA,” and many more.”
#20 SHARON DiFRONZO
The Ship restaurant, formerly Mt. Vernon at The Ship 24 Broadway – up on Route 1 South Saugus / Lynnfield is an amazing place for food and an evening out. We ventured up north on Friday after Thanksgiving, 11/29/13, and listened to Medford’s own Sharon DiFronzo and pianist John Ventura entertaining the dinner crowd.
We walked in to hear Carole King’s “It’s Too Late” as interpreted by the popular regional singer, My Funny Valentine, a unique arrangement of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and the Spinners “I’ll Be Around.” Alton Hollister guest starred with some cool saxophone lines that added to the jazz trio’s strength. The club, and the performers, allowed me to set up the video cam as DiFronzo will be a featured guest on Visual Radio in the new year. Set 1 concluded with the Etta James chestnut “At Last” around 8:45 PM.
The Ship had the Boston Celtics basketball game on at the bar, but the TVs do not interfere with the dining room. It’s two different worlds, and the piped in music is at a pleasant volume with Al Green and other mellow R & B performers – music reflecting the styles of the songs that the performers were playing.
DiFronzo’s voice is as warm and enchanting as I heard it over twenty years ago. A true veteran of the circuit, the shows are impeccably paced and the songs familiar and played with a reverence that was most impressive. Ventura took the piano for the second set singing a song from a famous north shore personality, Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” flowing immediately into James Ingram’s “Just Once”. Sharon re-emerged for the Donnie Hathaway/Roberta Flack classic “Where Is The Love” into Flack’s “Feel Like Making Love” (written by former York Beach Maine resident, the late Gene McDaniels of “100 Pounds of Clay” fame) into Gladys Knight’s “If I Were Your Woman” and Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer.”
Set 3 featured Bette Midler’s arrangement of “Do You Wanna Dance” into Pet Clark’s “Downtown” which DiFronzo cleverly changed to “Route 1″ for different phrasings during the song. That wonderful Tony Hatch composition wonderfully suited to the dining atmosphere/experience. After a terrific guest appearance by DiFronzo’s musical friend Bonnie solo at the piano Sharon came back for more Carole King songs – “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (made famous by the Shirelle’s in the ’60s) and “I Feel The Earth Move” as the encore. This is not your typical supper club act, these veterans know how to put a program together that touches all the right notes – a great way to discover that the new owners of The Ship are continuing the tradition. Just lots of fun!
21) BEATLES PAST MASTERS
22)Gary DeCarlo on Visual Radio Dec 26 2013
44 years after his voice knocked "Something" and "Come Together" out of #1, Gary DeCarlo spends the anniversary week talking to Joe Vig on Visual Radio
23)GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT
From the publicist:
24)Jimi Hendrix MIAMI POP FESTIVAL
The double disc of Mauai is amazing, and in that spirit the Atlanta Pop Festival captures more Jimi magic for the ever-thirsty fan base.
26) Blake Morgan - Diamonds in the Dark
28) Stones Hyde Park 2012
29) Stones Hyde Park 1969
Midnight Rambler video from show
30)Bryan Ferry DVD LIVE IN LYON
Eponymous Downtown Mystic CD from Robert Allen
On the new "DownTown Mystic" cd, Robert continues to explore his guitar-based roots that brought him recognition for his previous release, "Standing Still", but ventures out into new areas that expand DownTown Mystic's repertoire. The release of 3 singles, prior to the release of the album has resulted in radio airplay on over 8,000 stations worldwide.
32) Berlin Live CD
An Essay On Lou Reed’s CD - Berlin: Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse
February 4th, 2009
by Joe Viglione
33) Tom Jones NEVER BETTER
Review by Joe Viglione [-]Tom Jones duets with a dazzling array of big names on 16 classic tracks, but what could have been a phenomenal catalog item comes off more like a day at New York producer Ed Chalpin's Dimensional Sound Studios doing knock-off cover versions of famous tunes. On paper, Dusty Springfield performing the Diana Ross hit "Upside Down" with Jones sounds like a winner, but the lack of production does it in. Perhaps the person who recorded this concoction was missing in action. To be somewhat kind, this is all very pleasant keyboard-heavy MIDI Muzak, but then again, how can an album boasting Isaac Hayes, Lola Falana, Juliet Prowse, Teddy Pendergrass, Tina Turner, and so many others completely fail? Read more:
34 INTERVIEW with Mobile Fidelity Sound's
Shawn Britton on the White Light/White Heat CD
This was my second article for REPLICATION NEWS, probably the September 1999 issue. The long-established publication became MEDIALINE in the new millennium. Miller/Freeman was the publisher, they sold out to United Entertainment Media. Replication News/Medialine folded in 2007.
Joe Viglione's interview with Shawn Britton on the Mobile Fidelity versions of the first 2 Velvet Undergound albums on GOLD CDDiscussion of joe Vig's Velvet Underground mastering by Shawn Britton
Mobile Fidelity Releases Two Velvet Underground Discs on Gold By Joe Viglione
On August 4, 1999, Shawn Britton spoke with us from his office at Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs in California. The release of these two classic discs, "The Velvet Undrground & Nico" and "White Light/White Heat" might surprise.
Long before Spinal Tap went over the top, Lou Reed, John Cale, Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison rolled into the studio and cranked their amps to 11 (well, Moe on drums had to crank above the din). One can easily believe the urban myths concerning the shock producer Tom Wilson might've felt...- "White Light/White Heat" is the tour-de-force wall of noise that "...& Nico" only hinted at.
To hear seventeen minutes and thirty four seconds of "Sister Ray" after being re-processed by The Gain System of Mobile Fidelity on this Ultradisc II is truly a unique experience. I had to get the scoop from the guy who's job it is to translate these precious masters to gold...
RN: You've been engineering at Mobile Fidelity for how many years?
SB: Tomorrow it will be 14 years. Started here on 8/5/85
RN: What was your first position at MFSL?
SB: Tape duplication, actually, we made pre-recorded cassettes onto Chrome BASF tape and special high tech cassette shells, etc.
RN: Were you involved with the Half Speed mastering?
SB: The half-speed mastering was cutting lacquers on a hald-speed Neumann lathe and not until a couple of years back, 97 I think or 96 we started producing a product called the Amidisc 200 - 200 gram LPs, we eventually purchased a pressing plant in Southern California, and brought it up here to Northern California, we're about two hours north of San Francisco. Started pressing 200 gram records - this heavy duty vinyl, in fact, we are the only people to ever make 200 gram records like that.
It became too much of a burden to the company to produce records...this is a really small company. People have an idea that because we're global, and we've been at this since 1977, people have this image that we're this huge company. We're not. We have visitors from Europe that come on vacation that want to swing by MoFi and they - invariably - they get a tour of the building and say "where's the rest of the building." It's not a big operation, we have big ideas, but it's a small operation.
Emotionally and from a sonic standpoint (the records) were something we wanted to pursue, but business-wise we just couldn't maintain it. Over the years as records were phased out from retailers, there's not even bins to hold them anymore. So what used to be our distribution network and our mom & pop stores have effectively vanished.
RN: The two Velvet Underground CDs, "The Velvet Underground & Nico" and "White Light/White Heat", they came out around a year apart?
SB: I think so, Joe, you've gotta remember, that my memory is really selective. It selects what it wants to pull up.
RN: Do you engineer a lot of records in a week?
SB: Well, no, what sets Mobile Fidelity apart from your standard record company is that we really take our time. Some projects can take weeks. That's one luxury I have. Standard mastering, I did some work down at MCA records a few years back, archival stuff, and it appeared to me that they were putting out two or three cds a day. Getting the projects mastered, and then they'd send it off to make parts, the digital masters.
Whereas it can take me anywhere from a week and a half up to over a month to do one album.
SB: The boss calls the normal procedure mastering by the pound. And it's true, you just have to chop 'em out. You gotta get it done, and they are under a deadline to get things to market. We're not under any deadlines, we release them when we want. I'm given a lot of leeway. I'll do an album, complete it, listen very carefully and if I'm not absolutely pleased I'll tell the scheduling department "I need more time." I want this to be the absolutely best version that I can get out there to market because these gold CDs last forever. People are going to listen to this work, hopefully, twenty years from now and say "Wow, Mofi did a good job." RN: You have no fear that they will Oxidize as some people fear aluminum ones might? SB: Well you know, Joe, honestly, aluminum discs should not oxidize in our lifetime...but to digress, I had a guy from Florida call me onetime and he said "I've been storing some CDs in my fishtank, and I think they're starting to kinda get CD rot on the edges. What do you think? I told him, well, first off, don't store your CDs in your fish tank. RN: Is this a joke? In an empty fish tank?
SB: No, in the water! I think he wanted to see what would happen to his discs!
RN: Oh, man...
SB: I love people...the thing about gold... back in 87 or so we started researching different metals to sputter onto the polycarbonate sub... and we looked at platinum, nickel, some alloys, gold and we found that the gold...Hi Karen, our PR Director Karen Thomas is here...we found that gold had not only higher reflectivity than the others, but gold makes an incredible atomic bond to the substrength, it sputters very very well. It's called the metalization process by the way.
Gold will never oxidize. And as a benefit of this, the way they lay it down onto the polycarbonite it makes for very smooth even coating, that's why gold is used in electrical contact, not just oxidation resistance, it's a very smooth coat. And in terms of a compact disc, there's no pin holes where...in the early days of aluminum discs if you hold one up to a strong backlight, you can see pin holes in there...
SB: It kind of looks like stars on a night sky, and what that means is your air correction circuitry in your cd player will be enabled...well its got to guess at that missing data...and with gold you don't get those pin holes. So that was something that we discovered at the time and thought "well, this is great" and as far as sonics, what that yields is a more stable image in your soundstage, and in exhaustive tests.... we've been vindicated after doing this for so many years...in the industry people said "oh this is a gimmick, their trying to make more money." Well, independent of MoFi I think Polygram Europe did exhaustive tests on this and engineers can tell in A/B switching which is an aluminum disc and which is a gold disc just from the stabilization of the imaging.
Shawn Britton, part 2
RN: Now Columbia Records released gold discs, they had Spirit's "The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus" in release. But they also give material to you, the Blood Sweat & Tears record, for example. Why do they do some gold discs in house, and give some to MoFi?
SB: Well, actually, we have gone back and re-mastered some things that they released on gold and I think their gold master sound series... I think its discontinued. It's a prohibitively expensive process and the replication costs is high. Because its going to be in Replication News it says right on the discs, by Zomac Optical out there in Minnesota...we are allowed licensing on titles and the odd part - one would think there would be competition in the marketplace. I guess as far as Columbia feels and it works through their special projects division they probably feel "well, we're going to make our money on this" so what the heck we'll just make extra money by licensing this out. In reality, these gold discs, this is a niche market...that's direct competition, so I can't explain the justification why Columbia would release something on one hand, and then license it out on the other. I just assume that a company that huge, they don't talk to one another.
In the early 80's when we were producing compact discs, Mobile Fidelity had a distinct advantage in A to D converters and high end gear because we're sort of a hybrid, if you will, a mastering house that uses high end audiofile type gear that you can go down to your local hi fi store and pick up. Theta Digital projects things of that nature, Nelson Pass amplification, and we have pro audio gear as well. And way back when most record companies, a)they didn't take the time b)they didn't have the gear like we do but now there's mastering houses in these major record companies that have gear that rivals ours. We don't have as much of a technolofical advantage beause digital technology has come along so much in the last ten yeas.
Think about it in terms of computers, things change very very rapidly. I think as far as PCM audio is concerned we're approaching the maximum threshold as far as revolution with 96k sample rate and 24 bit work length. That's just about the ceiling - and that's partly why Mobile Fidelity is using the DSD technology from Sony is because the resolution on it is so incredible.
The DSD is bit stream technology It's the technology that will be used in its full resolution on the super audio cd, SACD, which we will be coming out with in a couple of months. You'll be seeing Mobile Fidelity releasing some Super Audio titles, it's a high res format Joe.
The Super Audio CD - it has the capability to have a hybrid disc, that will play your normal compact disc layer or the red book spec layer, and it's got a high resolution layer, which will allow you to play the high res super audio cd layer, which is what the DSD - so as far as product is concerned...right now what Mobile Fidelity does...and what we did...the first (DSD) title was Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever."
part 3, tape 2
RN: Back to the master tapes you get, does Mobile Fidelity ever bake or restore tapes?
SB: We don't own these tapes, we have our own restoration techniques, but we do not ever bake a record company tape, that's up to them.
RN: When you cut half-speed mastering vinyl, did that include the "Gain" system used on these Velvet Underground discs?
SB: Well, yes, the Gain system, when it was introduced, was an upgrade to both mastering chains, the analog and the digital side. And on the analog side we had Nelson Pass, who is a high end designer - he worked at Threshold for many years sold that company, now he's got Pass Laboratories. Nelson built us a complete cutting rack system with a control unit and these cutting amplifiers to drive the cutter head of our Neumann Lathe VMN 70 lathe which cuts at half speed. Now with half speed it was really developed to its maximum potential by JVC in the 70's for cutting quad, if you remember quad. Well the JVC version of Quad had to have a 50k carrier cycle, this frequency which allowed you to adjust your matrix for proper trackimg. Well, 50K is an insane frequency to cut, it burns up most cutter heads so in order to do that they used a half speed technology wherein you run the tape at half speed and you run the lathe at half speed, and then you're able to get incredible frequency.
And that's why Mobile Fidelity, as it began with Brad Miller, he contacted Sam Ricker at the JVC cutting center in L.A. and they cut some - primarily sound effects records, trains and things of that nature, Brad used to do location recording for audiofile stuff. I'm sure you remember back in the early days of hi fi people would have these recordings of trains which would go from one side of your stereo to the other...it was a demo record.
Well then they took this technology and they thought "why don't we cut some music" and they approached some record labels and licencsed the Mystic Moods Orchestra then they licensed John Klemmers Touch, a number of early software titles like that, and cut half speed and the results were just stunning.
Compared to what other record labels were doing back then, it just knocked the audio file world on its ear. The MoFi version of "Dark Side Of The Moon" is still very, very desirable on lp and on the UHQR Ultra High Quality Record, which was pressed by JVC on the Super Vinyl Compound.
RN: So they were a competitor of yours back then?
SB: Well actually, they pressed our records for us in Japan...that's what the whole half speed thing was about. And then the other side of the mastering chain was the digital end, where we had Theta Digital...Theta built us this hot rod A to D converter, that used incredible oversampling and then its decimated down to sixteen bits for CD purposes at the 44.1K sample rate...and that was the first "Gain" system in that incarnation at that time. Since that time i think it was last year we came out with "Gain II" which was an upgrade to our Studer Tape Transport by Tim deParavacini, and we've got ultra wide frequency response now. I have never seen electronic gear have this kind of frequency response. It's phenomenal. If there's something on the master tape, we can capture it now.
RN: Wow. Do you employ the Super Bit Mapping Direct which was introduced by Sony?
SB: We talked about the Sony DSD system that I'm using... Sony started using Super Bit Mapping it's a dithering scheme where you can take longer word length - let's say 24 bit, and then decimate it down using noise shaping - to the 16 bit 44.1 sample rate for cd purposes, the cd specification.
What MoFi is doing is using DSD, Direct Stream Digital, which is incredibly high resolution, and then its decimated down using Super Bit Mapping Direct...and this is a very specific process only for DSD...and you should hear, Joe, if you ever get the chance to come out here to California, one we'll go wine tasting, two, you can listen to this DSD, and it is so close to what the master tape sounds like, it's phenomenal, it's a real step forward for digital. And it's what we call Future Proof because they can decimate it down very easily to different sample rates. Right now I archive everything in this high resolution medium to an A.I.P. tape and then decimate it down later for release on a compact disc.
So we have the capability now to do the Super Audio CD's for the high resolution layer and for the standard CD redbook spec layer. It's all here.
RN: And one more question about Ultradisc. You have the Gain System, and then you have Ultradisc. Is that a name for the disc, or is that a process as well?
SB: Well, Ultradisc was a name for the high end line of CDs we were coming out with, and that started back in '87, like I said it's hard to remember that far back exactly when we released these gold discs. It's not necessarily tied to the gold sputter...it was more a separate product line than the standard aluminum cd. So Ultradisc as far as the years have gone by, were referred to the Gold CDs, and then Ultradisc II was a new formulation of the Gold CDs, improved sub straight or pit formation if you will, more gold being deposited on for more reflectivity. In fact now with Zomax Optical we have some of the lowest error rates in the industry. They are a tremendous, tremendous replicator. I've been nothing but pleased with their quality. They're phenomenal. If we have any questions or any points to bring up with them they immediately jump on it. This is high ticket stuff, it's really the best that CD replication has to offer.
RN: OK, now one final question on Mobile Fidelity and then we'll get to The Velvet Underground. The Ultradisc then is a combination of the Gain System and the gold cds...
SB: Well, the Gain system is the mastering chain...actually its Gain II now. so Gain II is not just used for gold cds. Gain II because its our mastering chain - is also going to be used for the Super Audio CDs and we have some DVD's coming out, so Gain II is really the mastering chain. The Ultradisc is a software. Now, our DVD's when they come out, are not going to be called Ultradiscs or Ultradisc II they're going to have their own name.
RN: Ok now we have to digress again. You brought up Quad Records, I heard that a lot of the Quad Records will turn into DVD's first because they're already separated.
SB: Well some have, actually, some ...I don't know if they're DVD's, but Brad Miller had gone back with his 5.1 records and they released on DTS...you have to have a processor to play it back and you have discreet channels for Surroundsound...and it is phenomenal...
RN: So the Quad Joplin "Pearl" album and Santana's Quad "Abraxas" . and even the Carpenters had one. The one pretty much available is The Doors Greatest Hits...Elektra seemed to press a lot of them - perhaps these will be the first...
SB: It's hard to find systems anymore, the actual hardware to play them back.
There was no specification for DVD A If you release titles under the DVD video specifcation, if players come out later and they won't play these discs, its going to be confusing for the consumer, it confuses the market place so we've been sort of waiting to see how things shake out and we'll begin releasing our DVD's here in a couple of months.
OK, that's my interview with Shawn Britton on remastering the Velvet Underground.
|Artist:||The Velvet Underground|
|Record Label:||Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab|
|Genre:||Experimental Rock, Rock & Pop|
1. White Light/White Heat
2. The Gift
3. Lady Godiva's Operation
4. Here She Comes Now
5. I Heard Her Call My Name
6. Sister Ray
|Playing Time:||40 min.|
35) Andy Mackay In Search of Eddie Riff
A youthful Andy Mackay along with saxophone and cat stare out from the front cover of this compelling instrumental LP recorded between February of 1974 and June of 1975. Opening with a cool cover of “Wild Weekend,” the Top Ten 1963 hit for The Rebels, this is fun stuff from the artsy realm of serious U.K. musicians. With less complexity than listeners have come to expect from Roxy Music alum, an innocent ballad like Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World” becomes transcendent by way of simple instrumentation – Mackay’s sax as the lead instrument, tasty guitars, and keys filling in nicely. There is a definite ’60s feel to this album, perhaps a testimonial along with the reinterpretation of the four covers included in this mix of originals and traditional songs. Mackay’s “Walking the Whippet” is like some rave amendment to the number one surf rock hit from 1962, “Telstar,” by The Tornadoes. The version of Motown’s “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” leans more towards Muzak than the experimentation one would expect from this Roxy crew. read more here:
36) The Rock n Roll Animal Lives
37)The Sacred Triangle
Iggy Pop/Lou Reed/David Bowie
#38 Whenever I Call You Friend - Melissa Manchester
#39 DREAM THEATER
For fans of Dream Theater this exquisite Blu ray Disc / DVD package with a glorious picture book / liner notes insert entitled STAGE: A Dramatic Tour of Events 2012 is everything a fan of the niche group could want. The music sounds like Geddy Lee of Rush at a slower speed with John Petrucci’s elegant (when not in sledgehammer mode) guitar lines as performed on the 19 and 20 of August, 2012 in Buenos Aires, Argentina at Luna Park. The Berklee College musicians (now with Mike Mangini of Medford / Malden group Extreme on drums replacing drummer Mike Portnoy) are solid as a rock and have a devoted fan base in a world where the new corporate rock doesn’t have as much room for legendary progressive metal groups. Current singer Kevin James LaBrie could slide easily into Iron Maiden or even a new Quiet Riot, if he so desired. Archetypal dark world vocals provide a distinct contrast to some of Petrucci’s angelic guitar noodlings.
The camera work is what we expect from the efficient professionals at Eagle Rock Entertainment – breathtaking shots that give the viewer every angle of the stage show possible. The terrific lighting and the devoted South American fan base staying out of the way of the music being generated makes this DVD a must have for those who have followed the group since its inception. Impressive.
Here’s some additional info from the press release:
The Live At Luna Park band line-up for this show is James LaBrie (vocals); John Petrucci (guitar); Jordan Rudess (keyboards); John Myung (bass); and Mike Mangini (drums) – this was Dream Theater’s first tour and album with their new drummer and all the tracks from that album, A Dramatic Turn Of Events, are included in either the main show or the bonus performances.
The bonus features offer live versions of six great tracks: “These Walls”; “Build Me Up, Break Me Down”; “Caught In A Web”; “Wait For Sleep”; “Far From Heaven”; and “Pull Me Under”. Also on Live At Luna Park is a documentary, the trailer for the cinema release of the film, a “Behind The Scenes” feature and the cartoon intro that ran on big screens prior to the band taking to the stage in Buenos Aires. The Blu-ray additionally features 6 multi angle options on “Outcry.”
TRACK LISTING 1) Bridges In The Sky 2) 6:00 3) The Dark Eternal Night 4) This Is The Life 5) The Root Of All Evil 6) Lost Not Forgotten 7) Drum Solo 8) A Fortune In Lies 9) The Silent Man 10) Beneath The Surface 11) Outcry 12) Piano Solo 13) Surrounded 14) On The Backs Of Angels 15) War Inside My Head 16) The Test That Stumped Them All 17) Guitar Solo 18) The Spirit Carries On 19) Breaking All Illusions 20) Metropolis Pt. 1
#40 OUT OF THE FURNACE
Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat might not be as frightening as Hannibal Lecter, but in this strange cross between Alpha Dog meets Deliverance meets Fight Club, the viewer gets taken down a dark and mostly unwanted path of outrageous violence, death and negativity that oozes off the screen in a fashion that would make Darth Vader…or Dick Cheney… envious.
Harrelson, William Dafoe, Christian Bale and company all look beaten up and ragged while the pretty people, Casey Affleck and Zoe Saldana, flow down the whirlpool of ugliness during the 116 minutes director Scott Cooper takes to put the audience through the meat grinder. Out of the furnace? More like into the pit and the pendulum.
Movies can be anything the producers and director(s) want them to be, but the bottom line for this critic is the entertainment factor. The Rolling Stones Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park Live, another film I’m reviewing at the moment – succeeds because with the avalanche of Stones films currently hitting the market, this one speaks volumes and has “the magic.” The aforementioned Fight Club was good for one spin and I’ve never gone back. Director Tom Holland’s 1996 travesty, taken from Stephen King – Thinner – was also an uncomfortable mess that makes Santa Claus vs. the Devil look appealing by comparison. The big difference here is the terrific acting and solid craftsmanship that went into such a morbid and lugubrious script. Like, what’s the point? Christian Bale might believe that he was stretching his thespian abilities with this gritty performance, but if you think about it, his character – Russel Blaze - is a poverty-stricken Bruce Wayne in another setting – all the rage and anger and hard luck (in Wayne’s case, hard luck with the luxury of lots of cash) not finding a way out of the prism.
Bale is great, but he didn’t have to go far to find the conflicted personality after playing a similar role doing his trampoline routine out of the cave in The Dark Knight Rises. Harrelson has made a cottage industry of whacko characters, so his casting call was academic. Meanwhile William Dafoe’s underworld gutter-dweller is exactly the classless, vile, miserable wretch that he should have injected into Normon Osborn in the Spiderman series.
The one redeeming diamond in the rough this film uncovers: Casey Affleck’s skillful ability to roll with the various sequences his character has to tumble over and through. Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace is Eraserhead in the deep forests of Appalachia, and not the prettier side of that national treasure.
Next show Sunday February 23, 2014 http://recordexpo.blogspot.com/
Joe Viglione founded one of the Boston-area's earliest independent record labels in 1976. In addition to issuing dozens of singles and albums by New England bands, Joe negotiated and released the critically-acclaimed debut 45 RPM from Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker, the Lou Reed composition "I'm Sticking With You." A frequent music writer and historian, Viglione has contributed to the monthly Musician's magazine in the 1970s and 1980s, and he wrote extensively on a variety of subjects for the innovative AllMusic.com and AllMovie.com.
UPCOMING IN JANUARY
GIRL ON TOP