A Day In The Life

Music Reviews

Blame the Vain      Dwight Yoakam     New West Records     2005

I’ve been a fan since he burst on the scene in 1986 and this newest release didn’t let me down.  Lots of twang in that Kentucky bred voice and some smokin’ pedal steel guitar.  One of my favorites is ‘Intentional Heartache’,  a salute to a woman scorned.   

Turandot     Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)     Zubin Mehta    London Philharmonic Orchestra    Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Montserrat Caballe’, Nicolai Ghiaurov          The Decca Record Company     1984

An absolute all-star cast for the Puccini opera that features ‘Nessun dorma’ and ‘In questa Reggia’.   Beautifully orchestrated with superb vocal performances.  The package contains two CD’s and a 227-page booklet with the complete libretto in English, German, Italian and French.  Concise historical notes and the complete story of Turandot are also in all four languages in the booklet.

Remember the Titans       Various artists     An original Walt Disney Records soundtrack Walt Disney Records     2000

If you’ve seen the movie, then you know the music is as good as the story itself.  The soundtrack includes: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell); Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum); Peace Train (Cat Stevens); Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (Steam); Long Cool Woman (The Hollies); I Want to Take You Higher (Ike and Tina Turner); Up Around the Bend (Creedence Clearwater Revival); Spill the Wine (Eric Burdon and War); A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (Leon Russell); Act Naturally (Buck Owens); Express Yourself (Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band); and Titan’s Spirit ( the movie score composed by Trevor Rabin).  Great collection!

Blaze of Glory        Jon Bon Jovi       Inspired by the film Young Guns II   PolyGram Records    1990

Great rock music with a decidedly Western flavor.  Lots of cool percussion effects.  Throw in some guitar solos by Jeff Beck and some vocals by Lou Diamond Phillips and this album just about has it all.  And, oh yeah, there is an Emilio Estevez sound bite from the film that really sets the tone.  All this and the CD cover unfolds with a poster of Jon Bon Jovi that is quite easy on the eyes.

Half The Perfect World     Madeleine Peyroux

My brother introduced me to this artist and I’m glad he did.  Her voice is reminiscent of  smokey bars and midnight trysts.   Simple jazz/blues tunes that always sound better with a drink and layer of smoke in the air.  You get the idea.  It’s a nice album with a duet with k.d. lang as part of the bargain. 

The Four Seasons     Antonio Vivaldi (1676-1741)    Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra     Joseph Silverstein, violin    Telarc 1982

An excellent recording of Vivaldi’s most popular and probably most well-known work.

Simple Gifts     Instrumental arrangements of Shaker melodies    William Coulter and Barry Phillips     Gourd Music  1990

Beautifully simple melodies performed on guitar, cello, bowed psaltery, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, flute, English horn and various folk instruments. 

The Commitments original motion picture soundtrack     various artists from the motion picture cast     MCA Records  1991

If you like rhythm and blues, this is a ‘must have’ recording.  Tunes include Mustang Sally, Take Me To The River, Chain of Fools, The Dark End of the Street, Destination Anywhere, I Can’t Stand the Rain, Try A Little Tenderness, Treat Her Right, Do Right Woman Do Right Man, Mr. Pitiful, I Never Loved A Man, In The Midnight Hour, Bye Bye Baby and Slip Away.    The film is worth checking out, too.

Sixteen Biggest Hits     Willie Nelson     Sony Music  1998

From  the plaintive “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” through almost 20 more years of hits, this recording covers them all.   Vintage Willie.


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