ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE -- A ton of music titles are out this week but
for me it begins and ends with the Beatles, the greatest band of all time.
All Together Now ($24.98; Apple/EMI) is really a glorified
advertorial for the new Cirque Du Soleil Vegas show LOVE, which is
built around the music of the Beatles. Soleil never collaborates with
others so it's fun to see them deal with the very strong opinions of
Olivia Harrison, Yoko, Paul and Ringo. And certainly whenever they
show up interest spikes. But this is mostly for hardcore fans of the
circus troupe. Annoyingly, it's only available at Best Buy. (I really
hate those exclusive deals.)
Composing The Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1966-1970
($19.95; Pride) is a far more bare bones project strictly for the
most avid Beatles fanatics. it features talking heads like Anthony
DeCurtis, Robert Christgau, Klaus Voorman and others talking about
the songs of the Beatles. As an avid Beatles fan, I got pulled into
it once but it's a very modest effort indeed.
Come Together: A Night For John Lennon's Words & Music ($10.99; Eagle
Rock) is a reissue of the Lennon tribute concert that was one of the
first post-9-11 events in NYC. Like all multi-artist shows, the
offerings are wildly varied. Highlights include Cyndi Lauper, Sean
Lennon with Rufus Wainwright and Moby on "Across The Universe" and
Kevin Spacey's not-to-be-missed cover of "Mind Games."
Another, more raucous event was Too Tough To Die: A Tribute To Johnny
Ramone ($19.97; Anchor Bay) with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eddie Vedder,
X, Henry Rollins and others serenading the ailing Johnny who would
die just a few days later.
After all those tributes, it's nice to dive into Sonny Rollins In
Vienne ($14.98; Emarcy) , a 2006 concert in France with Rollins and
his band probing and prodding and exploding tunes like "They Say It's
Wonderful" and "Sonny, Please." A titan.
A Technicolor Dream ($14.98; Eagle Rock) makes the convincing
argument that The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream "happening" in 1967 was a
signal moment in pop music for bands like Pink Floyd and many others
who trailed in their wake. Interviews with Roger Waters and Nick
Mason from Floyd, along with the legendary producer Joe Boyd, Barry
Miles and others, along with extras like Syd Barrett performances
with the band in the extras make this worthwhile.
The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound To Lose ($24.95; Carnivalesque) is a
somewhat more sober account of Pete Stampfel and Steve Weber as they
ply their psychedelic folk for four decades, culminating in the
inevitable comeback concert. It's like a real-life Mighty Wind
without the mock pretensions. Sam Shepard, Dennis Hopper and others
weigh in on their journey.
Talk Talk Live At Montreux 1986 ($14.98; Eagle Rock) captures the 80s
band at the height of their commercial and artistic success. Some
prefer the New Age noodling that would follow and send them into
obscurity, but I'll take the triumphant pop of "Life's What You Make
It" and "Living In Another World" any day.
Frank Zappa was always on the fringes, too, but his influence is
massive and it'll be many years before we absorb all the music he
created. One glimpse of his talent comes on An Evening With Frank
Zappa During Which The Torture Never Stops ($21.98; Zappa), a
Halloween concert from 1981.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has been a monster on the road for a lot longer than
their original lineup survived intact. You'll get a pretty typical
show from them on Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama ($14.98; Eagle
Rock), a 1996 concert. But the real treat (sorry, guys) are the three
tracks from a 1974 show with the original band pounding through
"Workin' For MCA," "Sweet Home Alabama" and of course "Free Bird."
Duran Duran has proven darn near just as durable and there's no
better reason to check in with them than Duran Duran Rio ($14.98;
Eagle Rock), a documentary about the making of their best album (by
far), along with more than an hour of bonus interviews and
performances by the band.