Saturday, September 29, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"The Count Of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas (1844)

"From the claustrophobic beat of my heart
To the openness of your smile.
We're in this together going the distance
Right down to the last mile."
Graham Parker

NO SPOILERS:
No doubt...everyone has heard of this book.
"The Count Of Monte Cristo". It's a classic. Bona fide.

Yet...I'm surprised at the number of ...readers...who keep setting this one aside for later. Or worse...putting the book into their..."skip it" ...pile altogether.

Skipping classics can usually be blamed on the reader’s unfair assumption...the novel will be boring and irrelevant. Or maybe a bad experience with another...so-called...classic soured the entire pie.

But whatever the reason...Take a chance on this one.

"The Count Of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas is nothing short of amazing. His skill at bringing all his ideas and plans together in this exciting adventure will simply stun the reader. Filled with 528 pages of courage, greed, jealousy, friendships, love. And the big one...REVENGE!

“The Count of Monte Cristo” is a quite-simply...must read.

The story revolves around a young man...Edmond Dante. Strong...honest...and smart. His skills at navigating the seas has earned him his own ship. And many who want to serve under him. Best of all...he is to wed a beautiful girl who has been waiting for his return.

But jealous rivals want what he has...so they frame Edmond Dante into appearing to be a traitor...have him arrested...quickly find him guilty and send him off to a prison island for life.

This is just the beginning!

It is in prison where Dante begins setting the wheels in motion on escaping...and exacting his revenge on those responsible.
Ch√Ęteau d'If
Prison where Dante was sent off Coast of France
"The Count Of Monte Cristo" is wickedly clever...and Alexandre Dumas has a field day in making sure that the ...pay-back...fits the crime. And offers added proof to the saying...“Revenge is best served cold”.

"The Count..." is also available as a free download at Project Gutenberg.

Good Stuff!

MoSkeet

Graham Parker is a terrific singer/songwriter that seems to have always flown under the radar. Even when he was with The Rumour.
Parker is known for his angry/sweet vocals that make his words catch the ear in a surprising and pleasing way.

In 1995, GP released "12 Haunted Episodes"...his first on an independent label...and it harkens back to classic early stuff...without the over-production.

Very acoustical...and probably Parker's mellowest CD to date. But don't confuse mellow...with weak! "12 Haunted Episodes" is a brave...heart-on-sleeve...piece of work.
If you missed this gem from Graham Parker the first time around. Grab it!
12 Haunted Episodes

Casey

Graham Parker:-->“Partner For Life (12 Haunted Episodes) (1995) (Own This CD)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ramblings:-->Bob Welch - & - The New Ken Burns Offering


"Your eyes got me dreaming.
Your eyes got me blind.
Your eyes got me hoping...
That I'll be holding you close tonight."
Bob Welch
Just finished watching part one of..."The War" this early morning on PBS...and once again...Ken Burns has delivered a well thought-out and informative piece.

Never studied World War II in school...so this is fascinating stuff. I'm amazed at the action clips. And the "still pictures"...are just as powerful in conveying what the general buzz was.

Thankfully...I have DVR to record this Ken Burns series...as my schedule would never allow me to watch it otherwise.

AND ANOTHER THING:
If you enjoy lists like I do, Rolling Stone has listed...
The Top 25 Music DVDs of All Time.
Check it out.

AND ANOTHER THING:
It's easy to smirk when mentioning Bob Welch...if all you know of him...is the wussy photos on his solo albums.

But burn those images out of your mind...and you'll find that Bob Welch needs to bow down to nobody. Pretty good stuff.

Bob delivered some wonderful bluesy-pop-mystical guitar work while a member of Fleetwood Mac in the early '70s. And his songs..."Hypnotized" & "Sentimental Lady" ..are two of the coolest tunes ever.

He put together a hard rock power trio band...Paris, with the bass player from Jethro Tull and the drummer from Todd Rundgren. They put out 2 albums that caused a medium buzz, at best. Though years later the records hold up surprisingly well.
In '77, Bob Welch released his first solo album..."French Kiss"...and it became a smash. With the help of Stevie Nicks...Mick Fleetwood...Lyndsey Buckingham, ...Bob Welch created an underrated rockin' pop gem...that is a must own for any collection.

Bob Welch:-->"Ebony Eyes" (live)


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
Follow me on FACEBOOK


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ramblings:-->Warren Zevon & "Boom Boom" Mancini

"Hurry home early.
Hurry on home.
Boom Boom Mancini's
fighting Bobby Chacon."

Warren Zevon
One of my favorite rockers by the "Wizard of Words"...Warren Zevon...is the little known nuggett..."Boom-Boom Mancini"...off his fantastic "Sentimental Hygiene" album.

It has a deliciously powerful beat...and a terrific hook.
And should have been a radio staple jam...drawing new listeners to the...Zevon Zoo.

Anyway...the song was about the real life... lightweight champion boxer..."Boom Boom Ray Mancini".

One of the reasons he became so popular...was "Boom-Boom" would always run out to the middle of the ring at each bell...and immediately start whaling his opponent with a barrage of punches.
Boom Boom Mancini

Because his fights were always tasty slugfests...ABC began televising his fights live...drawing huge viewer numbers.

He soon became world lightweight champion at 20...defeating Arturos Frias in the 1st round.

"Boom Boom" vs Arturos Frias

And though "Boom Boom" fought all the well-known challengers of his day...it was his second defense of his title that...unfortunately...defined his career.

In 1982...fighting the #1 contender from South Korea...Duk Koo Kim...on live television from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas...21 year old Mancini...TKO'd...Kim in the 14th round.

Five minutes after the fight...Kim collapsed and went into a coma. Five days later he died...shocking the boxing community.

"Boom Boom" vs Duk Koo Kim

Many people criticized that the fight should have been stopped. And 3 months later...referee Richard Greene...committed suicide. Four months later...Kim's mother committed suicide.

The boxing community quickly decided to change the number of rounds in an official boxing match...to twelve in hopes of protecting the boxers.

The young Mancini went into a depression...putting his gloves away for nearly a year. In 1984...up-and-coming Bobby Chacon challenged Mancini for his lightweight championship belt. Chacon already held 2 other Championship Belts from different weight classes...and there was quite a buzz as to how Mancini would perform in the ring.

"Boom Boom" knocked Chacon out in round number three.

"Boom Boom" vs Bobby Chacon

Warren Zevon captures the excitment fans felt...when learning of his upcoming fight with the great Bobby Chacon.
Good Stuff!

Casey

Warren Zevon:-->"Boom-Boom Mancini" (Sentimental Hygiene) (1987) (Must Own)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ramblings:-->Gary Busey Shoulda Won - & - Survival Football

"Sometimes we'll sigh.
Sometimes we'll cry.
And we'll know why
Just you and I
Know true love ways."
Gary Busey/courtesy of Buddy Holly
I was almost thrown off the ship before I even got on board...after only my 2nd week of Survival Football.
Survival Football takes very little of your time. And is a lot of fun. You are tossed into a huddle of maybe 50 other players...and each week...you have to pick one team you are SURE will win their game.

If you are right you get to play next week...if not...season's over for you.

Sounds easy enough...however...the rub is...once you pick a team to win for the week...you can never use that team again as your pick.

So...to hopefully be around at the end of the season...you want to avoid picking all the powerful teams too quickly...or else you'll be left with scrubs too soon.

Ideally...you try to pick the worst team with the best chance of winning...when possible. If that seems impossible on any given week...then you go with ANY team with the best chance of winning.

You just want to try and be the last survivor standing. Sound fun?!

Anyway...I picked Denver last weekend and they almost tanked for me. In fact...if not for a well-timed timeout a fraction of a second before Oakland attempted a field goal...Denver would have lost...because the kick went right thru the uprights.

Fortunately...for me...the referees waved the kick off because of Denver's timeout. Oakland had to try kicking the field goal again...and missed.

I live to play another week.

MoSkeet

AND ANOTHER THING:
"Echoes In The Wind" has one of the most interesting covers of a great King Crimson song I have ever heard. Very cool! And if you enjoy good writing along with your music sample..Then make this a regular stop.

Another regular detour of mine is at...Bag Of Songs. He has some fantastic Ramones videos to watch and some hot info about their DVD to be released. It is always an enjoyable surprise finding out what he's writing about. Good Stuff.

WFMU Beware Of The Blog still has a bunch of the cool "60 second songs" for downloading. And several I missed the first time around. They ran a contest asking readers to take a well known song of considerable length...and mix it into a 60 second song-bite. Some are truly perfect. Check out "In-a gadda-da-vida". Good stuff.

AND ANOTHER THING:
I received my "A Collage A Day" art piece yesterday...and I was very pleased. The art work arrived protected from damage. With a letter of authenticity from the artist - signed - both art work and letter. The 8 x 8 matting was well done...and to put it mildly...totally professional. I ordered the collage from August 24, 2007 - "Once Upon A Time".

AND ANOTHER THING:
One of my favorite soundtracks and movies is..."The Buddy Holly Story". Watching Gary Busey...I believe he really thinks he's Buddy Holly.

Amazing performance and music...And you can sense something very special happening on film. ...And should have earned Busey an Oscar.
Keep watching for the soundtrack price to come down.
Good Stuff!

Casey

The Buddy Holly Story:-->"True Love Ways" (The Buddy Holly Story) (1978) (Must Own)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Classic Pick:-->Bob Dylan "Desire" (1976)

"I married Isis on the fifth day of May...
But I could not hold on to her very long.
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away...
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong."
Bob Dylan
From a very early age, I developed a very eclectic taste in the CDs I now enjoy, thanks in part to growing up with an obsessive musical family. And I dare say, I have probably heard more Bob Dylan albums than most of my peers.

But as big a fan as I am, it may surprise you, that there are few Dylan albums I truly enjoy from beginning to end. My favorite...and the one I recommend to newbies...is the oft forgotten "Desire".

Released in 1976, "Desire" was amazingly recorded in just a few nights after several chaotic rehearsals guided BD to go with a "less is more" route...with first-takes usually being sufficient. Along with his band, Dylan invited the gorgeous voice of Emmylou Harris and the haunting violin play of Scarlet Rivera into the studio which seems to have provided the magic and verve necessary for Bobby D. to deliver arguably one of his top three truly great albums.

Opening with “Hurricane”, a driving rock song and most well-known track on the CD, the listener is greeted by a soft-strumming guitar, soon joined by an ominous violin.

Then urgent pounding drums announce the entrance of Dylan as he angrily spews eight minutes of rhyme describing, in detail, a real life crime involving boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.

“Here comes the story of The Hurricane, The man the authorities came to blame, For somethin' that he never done. Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been the champion of the world“.

(Carter was found guilty, served several years in prison, was twice re-tried, and eventually released, but not exonerated from the crime). The fact that Dylan could so precisely describe a questionable injustice, in rhyme, without a wasted word for over eight minutes, is a testament to his legend. Simply awesome.

On “Isis”, Dylan never sounded so self-assured as he recalls a journey filled with mystery inspired by his ex-wife. Still a fresh wound and one of two songs attributed to her.

Listen to the cocky piano provided by BD as he sings, “A man in the corner approached me for a match. I knew right away he was not ordinary. He said, "are you lookin' for somethin' easy to catch?" I said, "I got no money." he said, "that ain't necessary." A great song and is worth the price of admission.

“Your breath is sweet. Your eyes are like two jewels in the sky. Your back is straight, your hair is smooth on the pillow where you lie”. (“One More Cup Of Coffee”) has an Arabian feel, both dreamy and haunting, with Emmylou providing trademark harmony.

Beautiful violin and harmonica blend in the gentle “Oh Sister” as Bobby/Emmylou sing, “Oh, sister, am I not a brother to you. And one deserving of affection? And is our purpose not the same on this earth, To love and follow His direction?”
Dylan performing "Oh Sister" - Must Watch!


“Joey”, is an eleven minute hard luck story about the unjustly done-in gangster, Joey Gallo. This song is often pointed to as a weak track but I find it epic and smart.

Check out this rhyme. “The police department hounded him, they called him Mr. Smith. They got him on conspiracy, they were never sure who with. "What time is it?" said the judge to Joey when they met. "Five to ten," said Joey. The judge says, "That's exactly what you get." Extremely astute.

The album closes with the heartrending “Sara”, an ode to his ex-wife filled with bittersweet memories and full of emotion. This is a very personal song. A final plea, perhaps, for her not to leave him.

“Now the beach is deserted except for some kelp. And a piece of an old ship that lies on the shore. You always responded when I needed your help. You gave me a map and a key to your door“.

Bob Dylan
has never sounded so powerful and yet, so vulnerable as he did on this unforgettable CD. “Desire” reached number one in early 1976, and then, but for the opening track, was seldom heard on any radios again.

Dylan, obviously has a surfeit of great songs and many good albums in his catalog, however this offering is the one I keep returning to and could easily be the introduction a newcomer needs to fall under the spell of this word smith. Good Stuff!

Casey

Bob Dylan:-->"Isis" (Desire) (1976) (Must Own)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

DVD Pick:-->"King Creole" (1958)

"Well I wonder who knows...if anyone knows...
Where lovers go in their sleep.
And what if they meet. Dream the same street...
And she passes obliviously?"
Freedy Johnston

NO SPOILERS:
"King Creole" (1958) is the DVD pick this week. And NO, this is not the anniversary of Elvis' death. Or the anniversary of his birth. Or even of his first haircut.....ad nauseam. .....This is simply some tasty borderline film-noir. And it's good stuff!

In this movie, directed by Michael Curtiz (of legendary "Casablanca" fame), Presley is not especially likeable... nor is his character particularly sympathetic. But that is exactly why this film works. Curtiz obviously sees Elvis as an actor first, and a pop idol/singer, second. And this is perhaps the closest Elvis ever came to being taken seriously as a Hollywood actor.

Elvis still performs his proverbial musical numbers, of course...and they are arguably his strongest set. But more importantly...the songs are performed in context with the story rather than his usual "break-out-into-song-for-the-helluvit" manner as he was wont to do. Nicely done!

"King Creole" revolves around Danny (Elvis Presley), a hot tempered dropout with a heart...who lands himself a job as a singer in a New Orleans nightclub against his father's wishes. Danny soon gets dragged into the seedy side of the show business sewer and is forced to make a stand.

A young Walter Matthau is deliciously cast as a mob boss...and his performance is surprisingly dead-on. Very, very cool.
Boss Matthau & Elvis
And a tasty Carolyn Jones (nice legs and all) is the foible vixen and makes for some extremely good chemistry with ..."The King".

Finally...cult favorite Vic Morrow (stereotyped, again) portrays the delinquent street-rat. But...as always...Morrow brings his own shtick to the table. And he nails it!
Elvis & Carolyn Jones
Elvis would unfortunately never again have the opportunity to work with such a talented and colorful supporting cast. Nor would he ever get the chance to participate in such a dramatic and engrossing story. (Based on the Harold Robbins' novel, "A Stone For Danny Fisher.") And if only Col. Tom Parker had allowed Elvis to pursue more challenging roles like this one...
Good Stuff!

MUST SEE MOMENT:
Watch the strong acting performance Elvis delivers near the conclusion of the film.
Never has Elvis's potential been so apparent...as in this small scene.
Watch for the appearance of..."The Banana Girl". Double entendres abound.

Casey

Freedy Johnston is a songwriting treasure. Gorgeous voice. Unusual slants on familiar subjects. Small town boy made good. And I own every CD he has recorded. Good stuff!
Here is Freedy performing one (of his many) signature tunes.


For a most underrated gem of a CD to add to your collection...Pick up this offering by the fantastic Freedy Johnston!
Freedy Johnston:-->"Emily" (Blue Days Black Night) (1999) (Must Own)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"It's Not Easy Bein' Me" by Rodney Dangerfield (2004)

"Take it where you find it...
Can't leave it alone.
You will find a purpose to carry it on.
Mainly when you find it...
Your heart will be strong about it."
Van Morrison

NO SPOILERS:

Memoirs are often a crap shoot. Too much watercolor starts to stink. And obvious writer agendas that all too often raise their ugly heads...create a nasty funk, as well.

But when you stumble on someone's memoirs that ring dead-on true, then you got yourself a pretty good read.

"It's Not Easy Bein' Me" is a terrific 288 page offering by Rodney Dangerfield that completely entertains from page one.

The numerous stories of Rodney's brushes with legendary entertainers is a blast to read. And the shoulders he has rubbed up against is nothing short of amazing. Johnny Carson, of course. But how 'bout Al Jolson! Jack Benny! Lenny Bruce!

And the younger comedians he befriended trying to break in to the business reads like a who's who. Robin Williams! Jim Carrey! Sam Kinison! And the list goes on and on...with funny and sometimes...poignant stories about all of them.

Rodney's hard luck everyman..."I don't get no respect" gimmick was a match made in heaven. But it wasn't daisies and balloons. Although Rodney keeps the reader from getting too close to his painful past...he does give us a pretty good glimpse of what it was like growing up. As well as trying to break in his act. And Rodney's descriptions of New York City in the days when nightclubs were the flavor of choice are fascinating.

Rodney tells of his encounters with presidents and mob guys. His health issues and marriage. And...as the book advertises...plenty of sex and drugs. To top it all...Rodney breaks up each story with one of his classsic jokes. And there are plenty.

Bottom line: You'll swear you hear Rodney's voice while reading the book.
Good Stuff!

Rodney On Johnny Carson Show

MoSkeet

AND ANOTHER THING:
I caught up with Van Morrison late in his career. So I heard his later stuff, first...and his earlier stuff, last. With this introduction in mind...the CD that has brought me the most pleasure...And one I find myself returning to when I need a Morrison fix...is the underrated...1978 offering..."Wavelength".

Perhaps it was because it was released at a time when punk and new wave were the mound of sound. But, for whatever the reason..."Wavelength" went quickly Gold...and then just as quickly disappeared.

Fortunately...time has been kind to this album...and it sounds as fresh and hot as ever...and...from beginning to end...the backing band cooks like a propane grill!

The soulful Van Morrison was flatout...no-frills...kool! And his "Wavelength" gem is a Must Own!

Van in '79 working the title track like a choo-choo train!

Casey

Van Morrison:-->"Take It Where You find It" (Wavelength) (1978) (Must Own)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ramblings:-->Jerry Jeff Walker -- & -- The Waltons and 9 More Shows That Should Not Be Dissed

"Nuthin' much happened in Luckenbach this month...
'Cept the potato chip man came by.
And then there was the moon..."
Hondo Crouch/courtesy of Jerry Jeff
I'll never be accused of being a TV junkie. And usually I catch up on shows that were talked about...when they go into syndication. Or packaged in full-season dvds.

In any case...having looked over Time's 100 Best TV Shows Of All Time...I saw many shows undeserving of being on the list. And , of course...I found that a few of my favorites...(and granted...I'm not a TV hound)...were left off.

I'm not sure how popular my all-time 10 favorite shows are (that were left off the Time list)... All I know...is that I find myself watching these ten shows...whenever my remote finds'em.

Guess my list weighs heavy on the...nostalgia...side. Anyway...Hard to believe these ten were left off. Good Stuff!

AND ANOTHER THING:
The outlaw Jerry Jeff Walker is the author of the classic..."Mr Bojangles" song ...that over a ba-zillion people have tried to cover. But can't nobody (excuse my vernacular) work this song over like the creator..Jerry Jeff.

A forgotten gem by JJW...is the odd...but wonderfully packaged..."A Man Must Carry On, Vol 2". Yes...there is a Vol 1...and is tasty in its own right...however, the "...Vol 2" offering is a Must Own. It is "that" good.

Filled with 14 tracks...Jerry Jeff includes some really nice songs recorded in the studio...i.e "My Buddy"..."Rockin' Chair". But...it is the "live" recordings included here that sound amazing! On stage with his backing Lost Gonzo Band...Jerry Jeff appears to wear it all on his sleeve...giving the small, intimate crowd...something truly special.

I have never heard..."Mr. Bojangles" done better. You'd never guess that he's probably performed this number since infinity. But even better...is the dog-weary perfect delivery of..."One Too Many Mornings"...written by Bob Dylan. And Jerry Jeff owns it!

"LA Freeway" is another live classic number nailed by Jerry Jeff. And the crowd favorite..."Up Against The Wall" never fails to bring a smile to even the most crab-assed critic.

Also included on this disc...is legend Hondo Crouch...who delivers up some of his unbelievably descriptive poetry...that float over soft acoustic guitar and banjo.

This CD is a little bit expensive right now. So you may want to keep checking back. But Jerry Jeff Walker has left us a lost classic...and it deserves to be heard.
Good Stuff!

Casey

Jerry Jeff Walker:-->"One Too Many Mornings" (A Man Must Carry On Vol. 2) (1997) (Must Own)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ramblings:-->Stephen Stills & Google Reader & Collage Artist

"When I was twelve, I learned how to play the guitar.
Got myself a job in a jax beer bar.
Got myself together, went to New Orleans.
Found myself workin' for rice and beans."
Stephen Stills


Free Time has become a valuable...and sadly...rare commodity for me...now that classes have started up again. So when I recently discovered a way to milk more pleasure in my internet moments...I kicked myself for putting it off so long.

I'm talking about using a..."Reader" for my surfing needs. In this instance..."Google Reader". An on-line program that pings all of your regular blogs and websites with lightning speed...And delivers you all the fresh updates.

I might be preaching to the choir....but let me continue for just another moment.

Like most of us...I added a webfeed...like "rss"...on my blog for others to subscribe to...But I never bothered with them myself. I mean...I have my favorite bookmarks...and I just load them up in my FireFox browser.

But I can't tell you how many times I visited a site...only to find...there was nothing new posted. Multiply this action by tens...and you have spent a lot of time surfing...but...for not.

With Google Reader...(or another of your choice)...I can start up my reader...and know...with in seconds...which blogs have new posts. And which ones have not changed.

To start...I visited all my favorite blogs...as usual. Then I would click the orange rss icon on the page to subscribe. The blog is immediately added to my reader. I mark the site as being read...and then move on to the next one.

The next time I want to visit my..."musical blogs"...I open my Google Reader. It quickly alerts me to which sites have been updated...saving me MUCHO time from hitting sites that have nothing new.

Google Reader is easy to use. And it is free! What a time-saver!

Others can explain this better than I. Suffice it to say...you'll love it once you try it. Don't be afraid. Good Stuff!!


AND ANOTHER THING...
For those who dig artist with a different take...there is a terrific artist out of Kentucky who is taking it upon himself to create a unique 4x4 collage everyday. He then offers his one-of-a-kind piece of art for purchase on his blog...aptly called...A Collage A Day.
Dates

Library

Long Goodbyes

I visit the site regularly...if nothing more than to just appreciate what he has come up with. Some I like and some...well...with art...it either grabs you...or it don't.

Recently...I purchased a piece. And he is very prompt with communication.

BTW...I'm not getting any kickback from this post. I like what he does...and thought you might like to check it out. Good Stuff!


AND ANOTHER THING...
Stephen Stills' terrific 1st solo record lives in our basement in LP form...as well as...CD. And it forever lives in my mind...as a memory soundtrack...while on a family trip to West Virginia several years ago.

Ringo Starr...Clapton...Hendrix...Rita Coolidge...Mama Cass...Nash...Crosby...John Sebastian...Booker T. All of these guys sat in on the self-titled album. And it stands as a wonderful and historical musical postcard of rock legends getting together and slamming the jam.
Hopefully, I'll catch the soulful Stephen Stills performing solo in Kansas real soon!

Here is Stills playing some tasty Hammond organ with some guy on guitar named Hendrix. Good Stuff!

Stephen Stills:-->"Old Times, Good Times" (Stephen Stills) (1970) (Must Own)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"The Name Of The Rose" by Umberto Eco (1980)

"Well, it's a strange place that you've been livin' in.
And it's a strange line you've been deliverin'.
I think I like it...but I'm not really sure.
Don't wanna to fight it. Just wanna feel some more"
Kiss
NO SPOILERS:
A good mystery will please even the most jaded of readers. Add some delicious philosophies and opinions that our author…Umberto Eco…enjoys disguising in metaphorical and symbolical context…and drop the whole mess into a wonderful historical back-drop…Now you have yourself a brilliant novel with "The Name Of The Rose".

The main character is William of Baskerville…an English monk asked to investigate a strange death at an Italian Monastery during the 14th Century. A time when the Inquisition was the flavor of choice. William will quickly bring to mind…Sherlock Holmes.

He is aided by his young friend, Adso, an apprentice monk, who narrates the events that occurred as he remembers them . It's hard not to think of Adso as being the…Watson…of this story. (My apologies to A.C. Doyle).

The environment of a monk's life is clearly on display…both good and bad…as well as the internal struggles faced within the Monastery. A monastery filled with secret rooms and hidden doors and labyrinths within…of which one could get lost forever.
A 14th Century Monastery
And the meetings between powerful religious figures…some ambitious…bantering and arguing over the various degrees of Religious power they hold. Many debates over the importance of poverty in one's life or lack there of...or the argument for the continued acceptance of the Inquisition practices would carry long into the night.

The importance of having particular knowledge…and whether it is better to share it…or withhold it…is another question asked in this terrific 611 page Umberto Eco novel. And one that would make for some thought-provoking late night discussions over some good coffee.

"The Name Of The Rose"
is a fascinating mystery filled with passion and regret…along with subtle philosophy thrown in by Eco for us to weigh , as well.
Good Stuff!!

MoSkeet

An album from the 1970s...that seems to get quickly trashed by most critics ...is the underrated CD offering..."Hotter Than Hell" by Kiss. Perhaps it is understandable...since the first issue of this album on cd was very muddied. Almost dull sounding. Since then...it has been remastered and sounds terrific.

The band Kiss...were still busting their chops...and putting everything into the sound. Call me crazy...but I call "Hotter Than Hell" a forgotten classic. This 1974 offering was sharp. And the song "Strange Ways" (written by Ace) has never been topped.

Check it out! Good Stuff!

Casey

Kiss:-->
"Strange Ways" (Hotter Than Hell) (1974)
(Must Own)

Monday, September 3, 2007

DVD Pick:-->"The Chinese Connection" (1972)

"When we were kids...
we hated things our parents did.
We listened low...
to Casey Kasem's radio show."
Red House Painters

NO SPOILERS:

Most will mention "Enter The Dragon" as his tour-de-force..but for fight scene lovers..."Chinese Connection" offers a wonderful variety of Bruce Lee magic.

Bruce Lee was a tremendously skilled martial artist...and there has never been anyone...his equal...who brought so much electrifying ...charisma...to the big screen.

A ham, maybe. But...how he could back it up!

Bruce Lee choreographed his own fight scenes...and his skillful techniques and counter moves...put on display...are an action fans delight.

Released in 1972 , "Chinese Connection" was also known as "Fist of Fury" (not Fists of Fury), and the explanation is boring...suffice it to say...this is a very good movie.

The story loosely revolves around the racial violence between Japanese and Chinese during the early 20th century ...and Japan's desire to destroy the Chinese martial arts school. Their "Teacher" dies suddenly...and Bruce Lee suspects foul play.

The movie is very comic book in style. Bad guys are bad. Good guys are good. And that's all we know about them.

Also, the movie, sadly has been terribly dubbed. But...looking at the glass half-filled...the English voices given the film characters...is a slap-your-leg...laugh fest.

Add the "Three Stooges" sound effects and you have entertainment on a whole other level.

Besides...it is Bruce we care about. Forget his vocals and watch his physical presence. And when caused to dish out punishment...Bruce Lee...literally becomes a ...cobra snake. Hypnotizing to watch.

Bruce Lee appears to be..."in the moment"...during his fights. And I'm sure the stuntmen are praying...(as Richard Pryor made light of about Ali)...he is not having one of those..."Joe Frasier flashbacks"!

The authority Bruce Lee puts into his attacks are nothing short of...jaw-dropping.

Bruce Lee Philosophy
"Everybody was Kung-Fu fighting...my babies." Good Stuff!

Must See Moments:
  • Watch Bruce react when he's blocked from entering a public park because he is Chinese.
  • Also look for Bruce going undercover as a nerd "Jerry Lewis" look-a-like.
  • See Bruce break out his infamous nunchakus for the first time on film.
  • Finally, see skinny Mr Wu enjoy the Geisha dancers. Hilarious!

Casey

I discovered Red House Painters in a discount bin at Wal-Mart. Since then...I have bought the rest of their catalog. "Songs For A Blue Guitar"...is a surprise sound that needs to be included in your musical crayon box. Every song is worthy of attention. This lead-off cut from the CD is just one of the gems. Good Stuff!

Red House Painters:-->"Have You Forgotten" (Songs For A Blue Guitar) (1996) (Must Own)