Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Track List for Super Deluxe 'Quadrophenia' Director's Cut

Today Universal Music Express (via PR released the official press release for its Super Deluxe edition of The Who's Quadrophenia due on November 15, 2011. Specs on the so-called "Director's Cut" are as follows (where's the band version of "We Close Tonight"?):

The super-deluxe limited edition box set will feature the following exclusive content:

Deluxe 100-page, hard-back book featuring a brand new 13,000 word essay by Pete Townshend... Also features Pete's in depth, track-by-track guide to the demos and revealing studio diary... a treasure trove of previously unseen personal notes, photographs, handwritten lyrics and memorabilia from the period, all recently uncovered in Pete's archive.

The package also replicates the striking black and white imagery from the original vinyl LP photography and adds never-seen colour out-takes of the famous cover shot.

A replica 7" vinyl single featuring hit single '5.15' b/w 'Water' in a picture sleeve.

Set of six facsimile memorabilia 'inserts' housed in a card envelope.

Limited edition, housed in a hard-back deluxe slip-case.

Other formats will also be available…
Double vinyl
Mini-deluxe digi-pak edition

Tracklistings for SDE version:

Original album – 2011 Remaster

Disc One:
1. I Am The Sea
2. The Real Me
3. Quadrophenia
4. Cut My Hair
5. The Punk And The Godfather
6. I'm One
7. The Dirty Jobs
8. Helpless Dancer
9. Is It In My Head?
10. I've Had Enough

Disc Two:
1. 5:15
2. Sea And Sand
3. Drowned
4. Bell Boy
5. Doctor Jimmy
6. The Rock
7. Love Reign O'er Me

Disc three – the demos

1. The Real Me (demo)
2. Quadrophenia – Four Overtures (demo)
3. Cut My Hair (demo)
4. Fill No. 1 - Get Out and Stay Out (demo)
5. Quadrophenic - Four Faces (demo)
6. We Close Tonight (demo)
7. You Came Back (demo)
8. Get Inside (demo)
9. Joker James (demo)
10. Punk (demo)
11. I'm One (demo)
12. Dirty Jobs (demo)
13. Helpless Dancer (demo)

Disc four – the demos

1. Is It In My Head (demo)
2. Any More (demo)
3. I've Had Enough (demo)
4. Fill No. 2 (demo)
5. Wizardry (demo)
6. Sea & Sand (demo)
7. Drowned (demo)
8. Is It Me (demo)
9. Bell Boy (demo)
10. Dr Jimmy (demo)
11. Finale-The Rock (demo)
12. Love Reign O'er Me (demo)

Disc five - DVD - 5.1 surround-sound mix
1. I Am The Sea
2. The Real Me
3. Quadrophenia
4. I've Had Enough
5. 5.15
6. Dr Jimmy
7. The Rock
8. Love Reign O'er Me

7" single
Side one: 5.15
Side two: Water

Get the Super Deluxe Edition of Quadrophenia at here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'SMiLE Sessions' Box Set Track List Arrives

The last bit of SMiLE Sessions is now available as Capitol Records' official press-release unveils the track listing for the multi-disc box set edition of this landmark release.

Capitol is also calling for fans to collaborate on creating the first official music videos for "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains". Details can be read in the press-release. Pre-order the SMiLE Sessions box set at Pre-order the box set here. Order quickly because that price keeps going up!

And now, the track list (note the similarities between the times of many of the tracks on Disc One of this set and those of the famed "Purple Chick" fan mix of SMiLE):

The SMiLE Sessions Box Set (5CD+Double LP+Two 7” Singles; digital)
1. Our Prayer (1:06)
2. Gee (0:51)
3. Heroes And Villains (4:53)
4. Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock) (3:36)
5. I’m In Great Shape (0:29)
6. Barnyard (0:48)
7. My Only Sunshine (The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine) (1:57)
8. Cabin Essence (3:32)
9. Wonderful (2:04)
10. Look (Song For Children) (2:31)
11. Child Is Father Of The Man (2:14)
12. Surf’s Up (4:12)
13. I Wanna Be Around / Workshop (1:23)
14. Vega-Tables (3:49)
15. Holidays (2:33)
16. Wind Chimes (3:06)
17. The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow) (2:35)
18. Love To Say Dada (2:32)
19. Good Vibrations (4:13)
Bonus Tracks
20. You’re Welcome (1:08)
21. Heroes And Villains (Stereo Mix) (4:53)
22. Heroes And Villains Sections (Stereo Mix) (7:16)
23. Vega-Tables Demo (1:46)
24. He Gives Speeches (1:14)
25. Smile Backing Vocals Montage (8:30)
26. Surf’s Up 1967 (Solo version) (4:09)
27. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Piano (1:30)

1. Our Prayer "Dialog" (9/19/66) (3:01)
2. Our Prayer (10/4/66) (6:37)
Heroes And Villains Session (10/20/66)
3. Heroes And Villains: Verse (Master Take) (0:57)
4. Heroes And Villains: Barnyard (Master Take) (1:12)
5. Heroes And Villains: I'm In Great Shape (10/27/66) (4:59)
6. Heroes And Villains: Intro (Early Version) circa 12/66 (0:35)
Heroes And Villains Session (1/3/67)
7. Heroes And Villains: Do A Lot (0:53)
8. Heroes And Villains: Bag Of Tricks (2:58)
9. Heroes And Villains: Mission Pak (0:55)
10. Heroes And Villains: Bridge To Indians (1:47)
11. Heroes And Villains: Part 1 Tag (1:19)
12. Heroes And Villains: Pickup To 3rd Verse (0:55)
Heroes And Villains Session (1/27/67)
13. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (2:07)
14. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 (Cantina track) (1:21)
15. Heroes And Villains: Whistling Bridge (1:14)
16. Heroes And Villains: Cantina (1:36)
17. Heroes And Villains: All Day (2:19)
18. Heroes And Villains: Verse Edit Experiment (0:48)
Heroes And Villains Session (2/15/67)
19. Heroes And Villains: Prelude to Fade (3:43)
20. Heroes And Villains: Piano Theme (2:43)
Heroes And Villains Session (2/20/67)
21. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 (2:31)
22. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 (Gee) (Master Take) (2:36)
23. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 Revised (1:54)
24. Heroes And Villains: Part 2 Revised (Master Take) (0:48)
25. Heroes And Villains: Part 3 (Animals) (Master Take) (1:18)
26. Heroes And Villains: Part 4 (2:36)
27. Heroes And Villains: Part Two (Master Take) (2/27/67) (1:44)
28. Heroes And Villains: Fade (2/28/67) (6:35)
Heroes And Villains Session (3/1/67)
29. Heroes And Villains: Verse Remake (4:16)
30. Heroes And Villains: Organ Waltz / Intro (2:04)
Heroes And Villains Session (6/14/67)
31. Heroes And Villains: Chorus Vocals (0:48)
32. Heroes And Villains: Barbershop (1:50)
33. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Remake) (1:06)
34. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Master Take Overdubs Mix 1) (0:26)
35. Heroes And Villains: Children Were Raised (Master Take A Capella) (0:27)
Bonus Tracks
36. Heroes And Villains Piano Demo (incorporating “I’m In Great Shape” and “Barnyard”) Brian with Van Dyke Parks and “Humble Harve” Miller, KHJ Radio (11/4/66) (4:17)
37. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Microphone (11/4/66) (1:10)
38. Psycodelic Sounds: Moaning Laughing (11/4/66) (1:09)

Do You Like Worms Session (10/18/66)
1. Do You Like Worms: Part 1 (5:21)
2. Do You Like Worms: Part 2 (Bicycle Rider) (1:55)
3. Do You Like Worms: Part 3 (2:43)
4. Do You Like Worms: Part 4 (Bicycle Rider) (1:10)
5. Do You Like Worms: Bicycle Rider Overdubs (Heroes And Villains Part 2) (1/5/67) (0:22)
6. My Only Sunshine: Parts 1 & 2 (11/14/66) (6:51)
7. My Only Sunshine: Part 2 (Master Take With Vocal Overdubs) (2/10/67) (0:45)
Cabin Essence Session (10/3/66)
8. Cabin Essence: Verse (2:14)
9. Cabin Essence: Chorus (2:28)
10. Cabin Essence: Tag (2:31)
11. Wonderful (Version 1) (8/25/66) (2:59)
Wonderful (Version 2 “Rock With Me, Henry”) Session (1/9/67)
12. Wonderful (Version 2) (3:25)
13. Wonderful (Version 2 Tag) (2:54)
14. Wonderful (Version 3) (4/10/67?) (2:41)
15. Look (8/12/66) (4:52)
16. Child Is Father Of The Man (Version 1) (10/7/66) (4:57)
17. Child Is Father Of The Man (Version 2) (10/11/66) (5:38)
18. Surf's Up: 1st Movement (11/4/66) (4:54)
19. Surf's Up: Talking Horns (11/7/66) (3:42)
20. Surf’s Up: Piano Demo (Master Take) (12/15/66) (3:52)
21. I Wanna Be Around (11/29/66) (3:08)
Vegetables Sessions (4/4/67 – 4/11/67)
22. Vegetables: Verse (Master Take Track) (4/4 – 4/11/67) (2:02)
23. Vegetables: Sleep A Lot (Chorus) (2:34)
24. Vegetables: Chorus 1 (Master Take) (1:05)
25. Vegetables: 2nd Chorus (Master Take Track And Backing Vocals) (1:03)
26. Vegetables: Insert (Part 4) (Master Take) (0:37)

1. Vegetables: Fade (4/12/67) (5:25)
2. Vegetables: Ballad Insert (4/14/67) (1:03)
3. Holidays (9/8/66) (7:32)
4. Wind Chimes (Version 1) (8/3/66) (6:46)
Wind Chimes (Version 2) Session (10/5/66)
5. Wind Chimes (Version 2) (5:00)
6. Wind Chimes (Version 2 Tag) (2:51)
7. The Elements (Fire) (11/28/66) (8:27)
Da Da Session (12/22/66)
8. Da Da (Taped Piano Strings) (1:00)
9. Da Da (Fender Rhodes) (1:21)
Love To Say Dada Sessions (5/16/67 - 5/18/67)
10. Love To Say Dada: Part 1 (5/16/67) (1:22)
11. Love To Say Dada: Part 2 (5/17/67) (1:57)
12. Love To Say Dada: Part 2 (Master Take) (5/17/67) (1:21)
13. Love To Say Dada: Part 2 (Second Day) (5/18/67) (2:00)
14. Cool, Cool Water (Version 1) (6/7/67) (2:21)
15. Cool, Cool Water (Version 2) (10/26/67 & 10/29/67) (3:31)
16. You're Welcome (12/15/66) (6:41)
17. You're With Me Tonight (6/6–6/7/67) (2:46)
18. Tune X (3/3/67–3/31/67) (2:18)
19. I Don't Know (1/12/67) (3:03)
20. Three Blind Mice (10/15/65) (2:11)
21. Teeter Totter Love (Jasper Dailey) (1/25/67 & 2/9/67) (1:49)
Bonus Tracks
22. Psycodelic Sounds - Underwater Chant (11/4/66) (1:45)
23. Hal Blaine Vega-Tables Promo Session (11/16/66) (1:28)
24. Heroes And Villains: Early Version Outtake Sections (1/67 – 2/67) (5:04)

1. Good Vibrations: Gold Star 2/18/66 (The “Pet Sounds” Session) (7:27)
2. Good Vibrations: Gold Star 4/9/66 (6:57)
3. Good Vibrations: Western 5/4/66 (First Chorus) (2:24)
4. Good Vibrations: Western 5/4/66 (Second Chorus & Fade) (3:28)
5. Good Vibrations: Sunset Sound 5/24/66 (Part 1) (1:20)
6. Good Vibrations: Sunset Sound 5/24/66 (Parts 2 & 3) (1:45)
7. Good Vibrations: Sunset Sound 5/24/66 (Part 4) (0:47)
8. Good Vibrations: Western 5/27/66 (Part C) (3:32)
9. Good Vibrations: Western 5/27/66 (Chorus) (3:04)
10. Good Vibrations: Western 5/27/66 (Fade Sequence) (1:56)
11. Good Vibrations (Inspiration): Western 6/2/66 (Part 1) (2:44)
12. Good Vibrations (Inspiration): Western 6/2/66 (Part 3) (0:57)
13. Good Vibrations (Inspiration): Western 6/2/66 (Part 4) (0:49)
14. Good Vibrations: Western 6/16/66 (Part 1) (6:24)
15. Good Vibrations: Western 6/16/66 (Part 2 & Verse) (1:06)
16. Good Vibrations: Western 6/16/66 (Part 2 Continued) (5:55)
17. Good Vibrations: Western 6/18/66 (Part 1) (1:10)
18. Good Vibrations: Western 6/18/66 (Part 2) (5:03)
19. Good Vibrations (Persuasion): Western 9/1/66 (1:49)
20. Good Vibrations: Western 9/1/66 (New Bridge) (3:39)
21. Good Vibrations: Session Masters (6:13)
22. Good Vibrations: Single Version Stereo Track (3:49)
23. Good Good Good Vibrations (First Version With Overdubs) 3/66 (3:41)
24. Good Vibrations: Alternate Edit 8/24/66 (3:32)

Double LP
Side One
Our Prayer
Heroes And Villains
Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)
I’m In Great Shape
My Only Sunshine (The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine)
Cabin Essence
Side Two
Look (Song for Children)
Child Is Father Of The Man
Surf’s Up
Side Three
I Wanna Be Around / Workshop
Wind Chimes
The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow)
Love To Say Dada
Good Vibrations
Side Four
You’re Welcome – Stereo Mix
Vega-Tables – Stereo Mix
Wind Chimes – Stereo Mix
Cabin Essence – Session Highlights and Stereo Backing Track
Surf’s Up – Session Excerpt and Stereo Mix

Two 7” singles
Heroes And Villains "Smile" single Vega-Tables single
A side: Heroes And Villains Part One A side: Vega-Tables
B side: Heroes And Villains Part Two B side: Surf's Up

A Belated Farewell to Jimmy Sangster

If director Terence Fisher was the eye of Hammer, and Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were the horror studio's faces, then Jimmy Sangster was its voice. The Welsh screenwriter composed the mass of Hammer's greatest films, taking fresh liberties with war horses such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Mummy, and conjuring first-rate original material such as Brides of Dracula, Scream of Fear, and The Nanny. His directorial efforts (The Horror of Frankenstein, Lust for a Vampire, Fear in the Night) were fewer and less successful, arriving after Hammer had passed from its golden age to a new era of sensationalistic sex and gore. Sangster remained active in film until 2000 when he co-wrote the German thriller Mörderische Ferien. At the same time, he was turning his writing to more personal matters, publishing his autobiography Do You Want It Good or Tuesday? in 1997 and Screenwriting Techniques for Success in 2003. Sangster died on August 19 at the age of 83.

Jimmy Sangster is also of the most well-represented writers in this site's on-going series "Psychobabble's 120 Essential Horror Movies." Here's what I had to say about some of his finest work:

36. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957- dir. Terence Fisher)

The Quatermass Xperiment was successful, but it wasn’t the film that made Hammer synonymous with horror. Almost two years of non-horror fare passed before that landmark film arrived. Like Quatermass, Hammer’s reimagining of Frankenstein put more bloody flesh on the screen than audiences were used to at the time, but it did so without masquerading as science fiction and in shocking full color. The Curse of Frankenstein is capital-H Horror. It also fully established the conventions fans would soon associate with Hammer: excessive blood, sleazy sex, and source material with roots in Universal horror. Terence Fisher’s remake arrived just a few months shy of the 25th anniversary of Whale’s original, but the new film could hardly be called a respectful homage. Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster makes his film great by jettisoning much of what made Whale’s great. Frankenstein was a poetic, deeply humane portrait of a monstrous innocent driven to horrendous acts after being abandoned by his equally sympathetic creator. The Curse of Frankenstein is a portrait of cruelty. Focus shifts away from the Monster and onto the doctor, who is more villainous than any horror character since Mamoulian’s Hyde, and like Hyde, he is not without his charms because he is played with electrifying gusto. Peter Cushing is great in the title role, magnetic even as he murders a kindly house guest, launches into megalomaniacal rants, or torments the maid with whom he’s having an affair. Christopher Lee makes a lesser impact as the Monster because Fisher gives him a minimum of screen time and doesn’t bother imbuing him with any of the complexities Whale and Karloff gave theirs. Humanity and complexity are not on the agenda here. Its utter cynicism, undiluted by an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style disclaimer, can be felt in many horror films to follow. Typical of a Hammer Horror, critics loathed The Curse of Frankenstein but audiences loved it, and its international success confirmed the studio as the new generation’s Universal and Cushing and Lee as its Karloff and Lugosi.

38. Dracula (1958- dir. Terence Fisher)

The suits at Hammer must have taken all of three seconds to decide upon the follow up to 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein. Just as Universal knew Dracula was the natural follow up to their Frankenstein, Hammer recognized the reverse would work equally well. One can recognize Dracula as a Terence Fisher/Hammer production even before the opening credits are complete: we zoom into a crypt and focus on a casket dripped with vivid red-paint blood. As was the case with Curse, subtlety was not much concern in Dracula. Unlike that film, we are presented with a hero of the highest moral character. Deliciously, Van Helsing is played by the actor who brought such immoral menace to the earlier film. Peter Cushing proves he is just as affecting as the good guy as he was as the bad, bringing much zest and charm and heroic confidence to Van Helsing. Once again, Christopher Lee is somewhat underused as the monster, although his commanding presence and rich baritone are put to much better use as Count Dracula then they were as Frankenstein’s wobbly creature. His greatest scenes are reserved for the beginning of the film. About halfway though, he is reduced to the speechless, leering thing he’d reprise in countless Dracula sequels. Fisher’s film also differs from Stoker and Browning by jumbling character relationships, having Jonathan Harker turn into a vampire and get staked early in the picture, and—most egregious of all—losing Renfield. Yet, Dracula (or Horror of Dracula, as it was titled in the U.S. so not to be mistaken for Tod Browning’s film) is the jewel in Hammer’s crown because of the sumptuous visuals Fisher lays out like a decadent, aristocratic banquet: the costumes, the colors, the castles, the wind-blown leaves, the creepy woods— what an invitingly Gothic landscape! Significantly, Hammer’s two big monster movies contributed to a burgeoning monster revival sweeping kid culture in the late ‘50s. The films coincided with the launch of the syndicated “Shock Theater” package that gave a new generation of TV viewers its first taste of Universal’s classic horror. Forrest J. Ackerman capitalized on the craze and fueled it further with his Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Like The Mummy, the iconic monsters had laid dormant for a long spell, but a few conjuring words from Forry, horror hosts such as Zacherley and Vampira, and Hammer’s chief screenwriter Jimmy Sangster were enough to bring them back from the dead. Their young legion of followers, known affectionately as “Monster Kids,” guaranteed these creeps would never be out of the pop cultural floodlights again.

41. The Mummy (1959- dir. Terence Fisher)

Hammer stuck close to formula with its final horror of the ‘50s by remaking Universal’s successor to Dracula and Frankenstein. Cushing, Lee, Sangster, and Fisher all return for The Mummy, which actually has more in common with the mediocre sequel The Mummy’s Tomb than the 1932 Karloff vehicle. This is not one of Sangster’s cleverest scripts, but Lee gets to upstage costar Cushing for the first time. Spending much of the movie wrapped in dirty bandages, his face caked in Egyptian mud, Lee is still more sympathetic as lovelorn Kharis than he was in his earlier monster roles. He also gets some quality face time and dialogue during a lavish, 13-minute sequence reimagining the mummification scene from the original Mummy, though without reaching similar heights of claustrophobia-inducing terror. The greatest triumph of The Mummy is that of Fisher, cinematographer Jack Asher, and their brilliant art department. The team’s use of colored lights, painted backdrops, spectacular costumes and props, and sets cluttered with detail make the whole picture look like a canvass thick with rich oils. The Mummy was Hammer’s first horror film to receive some positive critical notices, but its appeal was certainly most obvious to young monster enthusiasts. The horror genre, however, was about to grow up during a decade of near constant upheaval and violence.

44. The Brides of Dracula (1960- dir. Terence Fisher)

There was no way its sequel would fully recapture the power of Hammer’s Dracula, because Christopher Lee refused to revisit the count for fear of being typecast (his stance would crumble soon enough). Still there’s a lot of what made Dracula great in The Brides of Dracula. Not suffering any of his costar’s reservations, Peter Cushing happily returns as Van Helsing, and he gets more opportunities to display undeath-defying heroism than in the previous film. His showdown with a dashing non-Dracula vampire is likely Terence Fisher’s most thrilling sequence, climaxing with Cushing getting chomped and taking some rather extreme measures to ward off his own vampirism. Marita Hunt is nearly as arresting in the role of the eccentric Baroness Meinster, while Fisher’s trademark mastery of color and artificial environments provides further distraction from Lee’s absence. The screenwriting team, led by Hammer Stalwart Jimmy Sangster, also came up with an intriguing mystery (why is the Baroness Meinster keeping a young man prisoner in her sprawling castle?) that arguably makes the film more engaging than Hammer’s previous horrors to those already well familiar with how Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy pan out. But as is the case with most Hammer pictures, the main allure of The Brides of Dracula is that it provides yet another opportunity to gawk at marvelous sets and costumes rendered in glorious Technicolor and indelible images of vampire brides rising from the grave.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

We're Not Done Smiling Yet: Pre-order and Track List Info for 'SMiLE' Double Vinyl now has a pre-order page with a track listing for the double-vinyl edition of The Beach Boys' SMiLE Sessions. As this is likely the very same pair of records included in the upcoming box set, the picture of what this landmark collection of music will include is getting clearer.

Side One
1. Our Prayer
2. Gee
3. Heroes and Villains
4. Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)
5. I'm In Great Shape
6. Barnyard
7. The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine
8. Cabin Essence

Side Two

9. Wonderful
10. Look (Song for Children)
11. Child Is Father of the Man
12. Surf's Up

Side Three
1. I Wanna Be Around / Workshop
2. Vega-Tables
3. Holidays
4. Wind Chimes
5. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (Fire)
6. Love to Say Dada
7. Good Vibrations

Side Four
8. Your Welcome - Stereo Mix
9. Vega-Tables - Stereo Mix
10. Wind Chimes - Stereo Mix
11. Cabin Essence - Session Highlights and Stereo Backing Track
12. Surf's Up - Session Excerpt and Stereo Mix

Pre-order the SMiLE Sessions double-vinyl set here.
Pre-order the double-CD set here.
Pre-order the box set here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Track List for 2-Disc 'SMiLE Sessions' Set!

Smile, kids... we now have a track listing for the double-disc edition of The Beach Boys' SMiLE Sessions courtesy of Note the slight variations between the running order of disc one and Brian Wilson's solo version of SMiLE from 2004. Hopefully the line-up for the 5-CD/2-LP/2-single box set will follow soon.

Disc: 1
1. Our Prayer
2. Gee
3. Heroes And Villains
4. Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)
5. I'm In Great Shape
6. Barnyard
7. My Only Sunshine (The Old Master Painter / You Are My Sunshine)
8. Cabin Essence
9. Wonderful
10. Look (Song For Children)
11. Child Is Father Of The Man
12. Surf's Up
13. I Wanna Be Around / Workshop
14. Vega-Tables
15. Holidays
16. Wind Chimes
17. The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O'Leary's Cow)
18. Love To Say Dada
19. Good Vibrations
20. You're Welcome (Bonus Track)
21. Heroes And Villains (Stereo Mix) (Bonus Track)
22. Heroes And Villains Sections (Stereo Mix) (Bonus Track)
23. Vega-Tables Demo (Bonus Track)
24. He Gives Speeches (Bonus Track)
25. Smile Backing Vocals Montage (Bonus Track)
26. Surf's Up 1967 (Solo version) (Bonus Track)
27. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Piano (Bonus Track)

Disc: 2
1. Our Prayer "Dialog" (9/19/66) 3:02
2. Heroes and Villains (Part 1) 3:08
3. Heroes and Villains (Part 2) 4:18
4. Heroes and Villains: Children Were Raised (1/27/67) 2:07
5. Heroes and Villains: Prelude to Fade (2/15/67) 3:42
6. My Only Sunshine (11/14/66) 6:52
7. Cabin Essence (10/3/66) 5:19
8. Surf's Up: 1st Movement (11/4/66) 4:55
9. Surf's Up Piano Demo (12/15/66) 3:53
10. Vegetables Fade (4/12/67) 5:25
11. The Elements: Fire session (11/28/66) 8:27
12. Cool Cool Water version 2 (10/26-10/29/67) 3:32
13. Good Vibrations Session Highlights 8:20
14. Psycodelic Sounds: Brian Falls Into A Microphone (11/4/66) 1:10 (Hidden Track)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Wait Is Over: Pre-Order The Beach Boys' 'SMiLE Sessions' Now!

Well, I recently wrote that I would hold off on posting anything about The Beach Boys' rabidly anticipated SMiLE Sessions box set until the rumors had evaporated and the hard facts materialized. That day has come. The surprisingly reasonably priced box set and 2-disc editions of The SMiLE Sessions are now available to pre-order on! The release date is November 1, 2011. Follow this link to get the box and this one if you want to settle for the double-disc. But why would you?

Of course, track lists have not been posted yet, but here's the information that is available on Amazon:

SMiLE Sessions' physical and digital configurations include an assembled collection of core session tracks, while the box set delves much deeper into the sessions, adding early song drafts, alternate takes, instrumental and vocals-only mixes, and studio chatter...

Artwork for all of the SMiLE Sessions' physical and digital configurations has been created with and inspired by Beat-Pop artist Frank Holmes' original 1967 LP sleeve art and booklet designs intended for the SMiLE album...

Box Set Content
- 5 CDs / 2LPs / 2 7" singles
- Three-dimensional shadow box lid featuring the original artwork of Frank Holmes.
- The Box Set measures 13" x 13" x 2.5"
- 60 page case bound book with liner notes by: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, Frank Holmes, Peter Reum, Tom Nolan, Dominic Priore
- Anecdotes by: Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford, Diane Rovell, Dean Torrence, Mark Volman, Michael Vosse, David Anderle, Danny Hutton
- Timeline
- Sessionography
- Lyrics
- Frank Holmes drawings
- Producer's Notes
- More than 60 previously unreleased photos

- Box also contains:
- 6 panel folder holding 5 CDs and singles. Features photos of original session tape boxes.
- 7" vinyl singles
- "Heroes and Villians" in sleeve art
- Vega-Tables" in sleeve art
- Gatefold 2 LPs
- Features full tracklisting of proposed unfinished album +
- Stereo mixes and session highlights (not available on CDs)
- 12" x 12" booklet created for original release features:
- Photos by Guy Webster
- Drawings by Frank Holmes
- 24" x 36" poster of Frank Holmes cover art

2CD Edition contains:
- Lift top box measures 5.5" x 5.5" x 1"
- Features original cover art designed by Frank Holmes
- 2 CD wallets
- 14.5" x 20" poster of Frank Holmes cover art
- 1" Smile button
- 36 page booklet featuring:
- Liner notes by Brian Wilson and more.
- Previously unseen photos

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Psychobabble News Round Up: George Harrison, Monkees, Ramones, DavidLynch

In anticipation of its DVD and Blu-ray release on October 10, the trailer for Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World has just debuted. On October 1, Abrams will be publishing a 400-page tie-in book by Harrison's widow Olivia. It is now available for pre-order on here.

For those who prefer their rock stars manufactured and without philosophies, there's the new 180 gram clear-vinyl edition of The Monkees' beautiful and bizarre soundtrack to their beautiful and bizarre film Head. Out on Rhino Handmade on September 20, the albums will be limited to a run of 500 and include a bonus 7" of "Circle Sky (live)" b/w "Can You Dig It? (mono mix)". Presumably, the L.P. will also feature the original release's reflective cover, but this is not acknowledged on its pre-order page at

For those who can't wait until the end of September to OD on catchy tunes cut by live-action cartoons, Rhino's 180 gram vinyl editions of the first four Ramones albums are now available. Like Head, each album is limited to a run of 500 and includes a bonus 7".

In non-rock news (unless you consider Dean Stockwell lip-synching to "In Dreams" sufficient), DVD Adicinado lists a November 8 release date for a new edition of Blue Velvet on DVD and Blu-ray. David Lynch fan site is stirring rumors that the disc will include "Over 50 Minutes of Never-Before-Seen Lost Footage" and "A Few Outtakes," but none of this has been confirmed by Fox yet. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pete Townshend "Before I Get Old" series on BBC

Pete Townshend pores over his life and music in a new two-part series for BBC Radio 2. "Before I Get Old: Episode 1" debuted last night and is now online here. Skip ahead to 03:35 for the Townshend portion of the program.

Episode 2 airs next Tuesday night (22:00- August 30, 2011).

Review: 'The Hollies: Look Through Any Window (1963-1975)'

The Hollies never influenced their peers or created L.P.s on the level of The Beatles or The Stones or any of the other top-tier British bands of the ‘60s. They just made one great pop single after another, amassing a trove of top-forty wonders on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. “Bus Stop”, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”, “Carrie Anne”, “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”—all smashes and all as fresh sounding today as they were 40-plus years ago. Singles-oriented bands don’t tend to get the respect that groups with a Revolver or Beggars Banquet under their belts do, so The Hollies: Look Through Any Window (1963-1975) is a particularly pleasurable surprise. This over two-hour-long documentary tells the group’s story via brand new interviews with core members—Graham Nash, Alan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Bobby Elliott—and pristinely presented archival footage. Nearly all of the group’s hits are here, and they sound and look spectacular. Color excerpts of The Hollies performing “Baby That’s All” and “Here I Go Again” in the fairly obscure 1964 film U.K. Swings Again look like they were shot last week (that Hicks looks about 12 in them is a tell-tale sign they weren’t). Because there are no promo films or live clips of “King Midas in Reverse”, director David Peck cut together a montage of home movies shot by tour manager Rod Shields to serve as backdrop for the pivotal track.

Despite their past conflicts, the guys are respectful of each other in the new interviews. In retrospect, it’s pretty amazing to think they clashed over “Midas” and considered it such a departure from their hit-making formula when it’s really just as catchy and accessible as anything else they did (and quite a bit more substantial than, say, “Jennifer Eccles” or “Sorry Suzanne”). Or that Nash parted ways with The Hollies to hook up with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, whose music was only moderately edgier than that of his former band. And let’s not forget how unusual the chiming “Bus Stop”, the steel-drum-speckled “Carrie Anne”, or “Stop! Stop! Stop!”— with its balalaika-simulating banjo and wacky tale of a horny spectator’s ejection from a belly-dancer show (based on a true story, as funnily recounted by Nash)—were. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Hollies: Look Through Any Window (1963-1975) is how it puts such subtle innovations and the band’s abilities into perspective. Seeing Hicks recreate that tricky “Stop! Stop! Stop!” riff on his electric banjo today may inspire you to head back to your old Hollies records to truly appreciate his playing for the first time.

The Hollies: Look Through Any Window (1963-1975) will be screened at the American Cinemateque’s Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California, this September 22. After the screening, Nash, Clarke, and the film’s producers will take part in a panel discussion. Reelin’ in the Years Productions’ DVD release follows on October 4. You can pre-order it on here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Long, Jerry Leiber

With composer partner Mike Stoller, lyricist Jerry Leiber was half of one of Rock & Roll's first major songwriting teams. He's the cat who sent Wilbert Harrison to Kansas City, paired Big Mama Thornton with a no-good Hound Dog, made Elvis and Buddy realize they didn't care that their baby is square, and stuck Steeler's Wheel in the middle with you. Leiber and Stoller's effervescent blend of R&B and traditional pop inspired versions of their songs by The Coasters, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Dion, The Searchers, The Drifters, Ben E. King, John Lennon, Otis Redding, and many, many, many others.

Mike Stoller (left) and Jerry Leiber (right) with unidentified friend."
Jerry Leiber died yesterday at the age of 78 cardiopulmonary failure in Los Angeles. Of course, all that monumental music he made with Mike lives on. Here are a few of the duo's definitive numbers... and a few versions that may have missed the mass of Leiber tributes no doubt pouring across the Internet today:

"Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton

"You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)" by Buddy Holly

"Charlie Brown" by The Coasters

"Kansas City" by Little Richard

"Ruby Baby" by Dion

"Some Other Guy" by The Beatles

"Poison Ivy" by The Rolling Stones

"D.W. Washburn" by The Monkees

"I Keep Forgetting" by Procol Harum (also produced by Leiber and Stoller)

"Stand by Me" by John Lennon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don Draper, You Have Just Entered the Twilight Zone

While researching a Psychobabble piece for the coming Halloween season (yes, these things take time, folks), I came across a truly fascinating artifact that slipped under my radar when it made news late last year. Marc Scott Zicree, television writer and author of the indispensable Twilight Zone Companion, composed a spec script for AMC's "Mad Men" in which dashing, duplicitous Don Draper encounters "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling! Late last December, Blastr slipped Zicree's spec script, in which Draper attempts to lure Serling, moping after his show's cancellation, into a pitchman position.

This script is not the first time "Mad Men" has taken a side trip to the "Twilight Zone". In the series' second episode, "Ladies' Room", the characters Paul Kinsey and Peggy Olson have an exchange in which Paul slips into Serling-speak. The impersonation draws a blank stare from Peggy, who then confesses her distaste for science fiction. In 2008, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner told that Serling's was the show that most inspired his, saying, "You can't have the '60s without The Twilight Zone... It was not just science fiction, it dealt with social issues. It's filled with the texture of real life."

You can download the full script in pdf format on Blastr. It's unlikely it will ever be produced, so don't sweat the spoilers.

Review: ‘After School Session’ / ‘Chuck Berry Is on Top’

Coupling Chuck Berry’s first studio album and his first compilation on a single CD is a cheeky move on the part of British label BGO, but hearing After School Session back-to-back with Chuck Berry Is on Top just highlights how great of an artist he was at 33 1/3 and 45 rpms. Cut at a time when Rock & Roll LPs were still outside the ordinary, After School Session is interesting for housing only two hits (“School Day” and “Too Much Monkey Business”) and standing up so well atop its lesser known numbers. There isn’t much filler here. The vocal cuts are uniformly terrific, and on occasion (“Havana Moon”, “Downbound Train”, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”), monumental. The instrumentals are slight but charming: “Deep Feeling” provides the rare opportunity to hear Berry’s primitive but evocative slide playing; “Berry Pickin’” twists from a saucy Latin two-step to a hard Rock & Roll swing. But we all want to hear Chuck work his velvet pipes, and he recaptures some of the eeriness of Elvis’s Sun Sessions on the magical calypso “Havana Moon” and “Downbound Train”. His over-enunciated croon is unintentionally comical on “Together We Will Always Be”, but the track provides more evidence of his willingness to stretch himself without losing his bluesy edge. The lilting “Drifting Heart” is a more convincing and intoxicating endeavor in the traditional ballad vein. Gorgeous.

Anyone with a dime’s worth of interest in Rock & Roll requires no introduction to the mass of Chuck Berry Is on Top. “Almost Grown”, “Carol”, “Maybellene”, “Sweet Little Rock & Roller”, “Roll over Beethoven”, “Johnny B. Goode”, and so many others are as fundamental to a musical education as the ABCs and 123s are to an academic one. Their humor, energy, vivid characterizations, and joyful musicianship inspired generations of musicians to pick up their Gibsons and Fenders for the first time. There’s only one otherwise unavailable cut on this singles collection, though “Blues for Hawaiians”, a retread of “Deep Feeling”, is the most disposable thing here.

The quartet of bonus tracks is a random assortment of the obscure (“Time Was”, “Little Marie”—a rerecording of “Memphis, Tennessee”) and the essential (“Come On”, “Promised Land”) mostly recorded well outside the timeframe of the two LPs they follow. Why are they here? When you start swinging along to them, such questions will grow trivial and evaporate real fast. If you don’t already own After School Session and Chuck Berry Is on Top, your homework is to pick up BGO’s new twofer. Your schooling ain’t complete without them.

Get After School Session / Chuck Berry Is on Top at here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bela Lugosi is Still Dead

No stakes were involved when Bela Lugosi died on this day in 1956, but the actor remained so closely associated with the character that made him famous that he was buried in his full Dracula regalia. 55 years and about a zillion other vampires down the road, Lugosi is still the guy we most think of whenever a bat flaps or a fang draws blood. To commemorate the Count's passing, here are nine spookifying tributes to the greatest blood-biter of them all.

1. A Few Minutes with Dracula (1931)

The film that made Lugosi a legend, launched the talking-horror era, and made widow's peaks and big, gold medallions synonymous with children of the night.

2. White Zombie (1932)

The first major zombie flick was Lugosi's third major horror role, and his wonderfully named Murder Legendre is a creepy, commanding successor to the Count.

3. Intimate Interviews (1932)

"The Mystery Man" flirts a bit in this stagey piece filmed for the "Intimate Interviews" series.

4. "Bela Lugosi's Haunted House" from "The Abbott & Costello Show"

A year before he encountered the duo in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Lugosi larfed it up with Bud and Lou on this installment of their radio show. Bela makes his first appearance in Part II.

5. Vampire Over America (1952)

Back in the U.S. after shooting Vampire Over London, Lugosi discusses being typecast in horror and his not-so secret desire to develop into a comedy star.

6. Bela commands "Pull the strings!" in Glen or Glenda (1953)

Lugosi's partnership with z-movie king Ed Wood had little in the way of dignity, but he still managed to radiate the power he brought to Dracula in this famously goofy sequence from Glen or Glenda.

7. Bride of the Monster (1955)

Bride of the Monster gave Lugosi his most sizable role in some time, and his presence makes it one of Ed Wood's most delightful disasters.

8. Bela is Back (1955)

Lugosi made history of a different sort when he became the first celebrity to publicly check himself into rehab. Here he is morphine-free and chatting about what would be his final (albeit abbreviated) role in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

9. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus (1979)

Still relevant after all these years...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lost Dave Davies Album to Delight Kinks Fans This Autumn!

Wow! 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the great lost album. First we've been promised the long-awaited official release of The Beach Boys' SMiLE sessions, now Universal Music has set release dates and revealed a track listing for Dave Davies's legendary "Lost Album."

Ray Davies was enjoying his most creatively fertile period in the years spanning 1967 to 1969. At the same time, little brother Dave was developing into quite a fine songwriter in his own right, scoring a major solo hit in '67 with the magically Dylanesque "Death of a Clown". As Ray's command of The Kinks didn't allow Dave much room on the band's albums, the younger Davies planned to branch out with his first solo L.P., using The Kinks as his backing band. Although several excellent songs slotted for the album wound up on 45, the album never surfaced. Now it is being reconstructed with brand-new, Dave Davies-approved remastering and all of the klassics he kontributed to The Kinks' albums as bonus tracks. While much of this material has surfaced on Universal's >recent Kinks reissues, quite a bit of this has never received official release, including "Do You Wish to Be a Man", "Crying", and "Are You Ready". Now how about releasing The Stones' Could You Walk on Water? or The Who's Jigsaw Puzzle for a fabulous, 2011 lost-album trifecta?

Dave Davies Lost Album is scheduled for a September 26th release in the U.K. and an October 4th appearance in the U.S. It is available for pre-order on here.

And now, the track listing:

1. Susannah's Still Alive Stereo
2. This Man He Weeps Tonight Stereo mix
3. Mindless Child Of Motherhood Stereo mix
4. Hold My Hand Stereo
5. Do You Wish To Be A Man
6. Are You Ready
7. Creeping Jean
8. Crying
9. Lincoln County Stereo
10. Mr Shoemaker's Daughter
11. Mr Reporter Stereo
12. Groovy Movies
13. There's No Life Without Love
14. I Am Free
15. Death Of A Clown
16. Love Me Till The Sun Shines
17. Susannah's Still Alive
18. Funny Face Mono Album Version
19. Lincoln County
20. There's No Life Without Love Mono Version
21. Hold My Hand
22. Creeping Jean
23. This Man He Weeps Tonight
24. Mindless Child Of Motherhood
25. Mr Reporter Alternate Mix
26. Hold My Hand Demo Version
27. Good Luck Charm

Much thanks to The Second Disc for this news.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Take a Ride through the Haunted Mansion

On this day in 1969, the grandpappy of spook houses opened in Disneyland. As it isn't likely I'll ever return to that theme park again, I like to revisit the Haunted Mansion every so often via a terrific walk-through video captured before the ride underwent several major changes in 2006. Today seems like as appropriate a day as any to take another virtual trip through the home that houses 999 spirits... but still has room for one more:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cancellation for The Monkees; Curtains for Bowie?

In the year of their 45th Anniversary, The Monkees have been receiving a lot of press for a reunion tour begun in Liverpool on May 12th. Just eight gigs before the tour's scheduled completion, The Monkees have pulled the plug. No one is specifying what the problem is, but Micky Dolenz indicated the reasons pertain "to business and are internal matters." Davy Jones's "Facebook team" requested "that you respect the privacy of The Monkees and refrain from posting any speculation on the matter in your Facebook comments on this site." This may be a response to rumors that the cancellation had to do with Micky Dolenz entering rehab. An article on BBC quotes Dolenz's spokesman, who said the cancellation "has nothing to do with any sort of substance abuse whatsoever."

More potentially bad news for David Jones fans: according to Paul Trynka, author of the recent biography David Bowie: Starman, the former Mr. Jones may have retired. In a talk with, Trynka said, "I think he would only come back if he thinks he could deliver something that will be seismic... It would be a bit of a miracle if he comes back, but miracles do happen." David Bowie has not released a new album since Reality in 2003.

More bad news: the character of Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise is dead. Captain Jack Sparrow stabbed Jones in the heart during the climactic scene of 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Jones died shortly thereafter. Sparrow remains at large.

So many Davy Joneses; so much tragedy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Psychobabble’s 150 Essential Horror Movies Part 6: The 1970s

In this feature, Psychobabble creeps through more than 90 years of horror cinema to assemble a highly personal list of the genre’s 150 most monstrous works, decade by decade.

78. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971- dir. Robert Fuest)

Horror had mutated into an artier, more political, more self-aware beast by the time the ‘60s shuddered to a close. It had also gone international, and the monster movies of the past had been supplanted by harsher violence, sweatier sex, and consciously probing social commentary. Out went the innocence, in came the irony as later ‘60s offerings like Spider Baby and Rosemary’s Baby swept in the cult movie era. A sad symbol of this new era was the passing and winding down of so many horror stars of yore. Peter Lorre— a sort of honorary genre star for his roles in Fritz Lang’s child-killer noir M and the more legitimate horrors Mad Love and The Beast with Five Fingers—was the first to check out on March 23, 1964. On February 2, 1969, the genre’s greatest star flickered out when Boris Karloff succumbed to emphysema, bronchitis, and cardiopulmonary failure. It took three ailments to bring down the mighty Frankenstein Monster. Lon Chaney, Jr., managed two credits in the new decade with the not-too-fondly-remembered The Female Bunch and Dracula vs. Frankenstein, but our favorite moon howler, long ravaged by alcoholism, died of heart failure on July 12, 1973. This left Vincent Price as the final member of the old guard to carry classic horror’s torch into the future. Part Phantom of the Opera homage, part camp surrealist concoction, The Abominable Dr. Phibes was the perfect vehicle to power Price into the ‘70s. As early as 1959, Price had transitioned from the more sober horrors of The Fly to the winking fun of House on Haunted Hill. Throughout the ‘60s, he’d cultivated his talent for finding the fun in the frightening with his scenery-munching turns in Roger Corman’s horror comedies that pitted him against Karloff and Lorre and even further out roles like the ridiculous master criminal Egghead on TV’s “Batman”. Despite the occasional straight-faced part in The Masque of the Red Death or Witchfinder General, Price’s campy die had been cast. Perhaps no film fit that persona better than Phibes, even as the actor gives one of his more restrained performances. Part of this is surely due to the restrictions of the character. Phibes is the survivor of a car crash who has lost the ability to speak, forcing him to (somehow) communicate through a phonograph. The robotic vinyl voice levels out Price’s relishing cadence, while his elaborate costumes worthy of Liberace restrain his usual limb flailing. But with so much wildness swirling around him, Price doesn’t really need to do anything too crazy. The elaborate murders based on the ten plagues of ancient Egypt he devises to take revenge against the medical workers who failed to save his wife do a lot of the work for him. With the help of his lovely assistant Vulnavia (Virginia North), Phibes sics a flock of lip-licking bats on a snoozing victim, smooshes a guy’s head with a frog mask, creates a deadly hailstorm in the backseat of a car, and unleashes a plague of blonde rats in the cockpit of a biplane. He saves the most awful punishment for Dr. Vesalius (a game Joseph Cotton), and a necrophilia-tinged one for himself.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is as visually outré as its plot, the mad doctor tinkling the giant psychedelic pipe organ in his garish art deco lair, dancing to his weird clockwork big band with Vulvania, who wears bizarre Busby-Berkley-esque gowns, or making calls on a rotary phone with a photo of his dead wife (sex symbol Caroline Munro, whom we only see as a photo, and briefly, a corpse) at the center of the dial. Even with all of his film’s silliness, Robert Fuest manages some disturbing images, as when he zooms in on a rat pulling apart red meat in the cockpit scene or when Phibes yanks off his Vincent Price mask to reveal a hideously scarred skull. The film also set off a new subgenre in which Price plays some sort of ham executing a series of gimmicky murders. The doctor would be back in Dr. Phibes Rises Again. In Theater of Blood, Price would play a lousy actor offing his critics with inspiration from Shakespeare. Though regarded as a genre great, that film suffers significantly from ugly cinematography. By far the best of Price’s new strain of camp horror was the first entry.

79. Tales from the Crypt (1972- dir. Freddie Francis)

Throughout the ‘60s, Hammer Studios unquestionably ruled British horror and set the pace for other U.K. thrill-merchants in terms of stories, style, and stars. Amicus Productions trailed behind Hammer but still managed to hack out a specific niche for itself by becoming the number-one exporter of horror portmanteaus. The first of these pictures appeared in 1964. Directed by Freddie Francis— essentially Amicus’s Terence Fisher (he also worked as an ace cinematographer for the likes of David Lynch and Martin Scorsese)— Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors was typical of the portmanteaus to follow: brief tales of varying quality bolted together by a frame story resolving in grotesque irony. Hammer refugees, such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, were often along for the ride. Amicus churned out ten of these movies, the best of which was certainly Francis’s 1972 adaptation of five gruesome episodes that originally appeared in E.C. horror comics. Tales from the Crypt is so consistently good because the source material is top-notch, lending itself to brief segments beautifully. Screenwriter Milton Subotsky selected some real classics. “…And All Through the House” puts a couple of brilliant spins on the axe-murderer scenario by casting the killer as a Santa Claus amok on Christmas Eve and the victim as a murderer in her own right. “Reflection of Death” is executed, like its illustrated forerunner, from a clever first-person perspective. “Wish You Were Here” is an update of “The Monkey’s Paw” with a truly disturbing twist. The other pieces aren’t quite up to those standards, although “Poetic Justice” features a nice turn by Peter Cushing and “Blind Alley” is the likeliest to get viewers squirming in their seats and gasping that old E.C. interjection: “Good lord! Choke!”

80. Don’t Look Now (1973- dir. Nicholas Roeg)

As one of the most striking cinematographers of the ‘60s, Nicholas Roeg (The Masque of the Red Death, Fahrenheit 451) developed into one of the most audacious directors of the ‘70s. Roeg’s style should be self-contradictory. His choppy editing and jumbled time-lines should undercut the emotional resonance of his meditative stories and very human characters, yet they create a sense of uncanny inevitability that makes his experimental work hit harder. Roeg’s most emotionally powerful and well-realized film is Don’t Look Now. This adaptation of a short story by Daphne du Maurier explores what has been said to be the most devastating experience one can live through: the death of a child. Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland are the grieving couple, and both are extraordinary in the film. Christie’s Laura is open to the possibility that her lost daughter may be trying to communicate through a psychic. Sutherland’s John is the skeptic who may possess latent psychic abilities, himself, seeing a small figure clad in a red mac that resembles the one his daughter was wearing when she drowned. As they clash over Laura’s belief during a business trip in Venice, a serial killer stalks the canals. Don’t Look Now works as a creepy tale of supernatural abilities and unlikely murderers and packs one of the great shock scenes of horror cinema. The film is most memorable as a realistic, aching study of mourning. Its sex scene is famous not because of any erotic value, but because of its truth: a moment of two deeply sad people clinging together while working to rebuild damaged lives. Roeg intercuts the creative lovemaking with John and Laura performing mundane activities. One moment you could be suffering over the death of a loved one. One moment you could be having passionate sex. One moment you could be brushing your teeth. Roeg swirls these moments together, each one commenting on the other, crafting a complete portrait of life as it hurtles toward death.

81. The Exorcist (1973- William Friedkin)

The Exorcist has often been called the scariest movie ever made. Does it live up to that reputation? It certainly contains shock scenes that one would only expect to find in some sort of hardcore film: an adolescent girl repeatedly stabs herself in the vagina with a crucifix, then pulls her mother’s face into the gory wound while screeching “Lick me! Lick me!” William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel of demonic possession has no shortage of shocks and gross-outs: the pea-soup puking and the carpet peeing, the child’s mangled face and potty mouth, the spinning head. But are these moments, which are the film’s most discussed, scary or just grotty? That depends on the viewer’s sensibilities. For this writer, The Exorcist is most effective during the quietly spooky moments that precede all the mayhem and bodily fluids. Strange phenomena whirl around an archaeological dig in Iraq. Odd clattering sounds in a Georgetown attic. A recording reveals a choir of tortured, demonic voices when played in reverse like some heavy metal album. Such chilling scenes are quickly overwhelmed with heavy-handed horror and even heavier-handed conservatism. Ellen Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil is an agnostic single parent working in the “immoral” film industry. She is punished with a daughter whose demonic possession manifests with threatening sexuality and metaphorical menstruation. Chris is rescued from her disbelief in religious superstitions and her daughter’s satanic sexuality by a self-sacrificing priest struggling with his own doubts. Religious symbolism was not new to horror films. Crucifixes, crumbled eucharists, and holy water were integral to dispatching Dracula. Yet those objects were used as convenient totems of goodness, whereas The Exorcist makes an explicit plea to embrace Christianity and reject the “evils” of secularism and sexuality that make the movie harder to embrace. Dracula was evil, but appealing, charming. The demon in The Exorcist is unappealing on every level: ugly, witlessly vulgar, unable to keep its lunch down or its head in the right direction, essentially a pedophile. So, The Exorcist is ideologically flawed and lacking the subtlety of films that are genuinely scary rather than merely gross, yet there is still much that classifies it as a great horror film. The performances are uniformly excellent, particularly those of Burstyn and Jason Miller as heroic Father Karras. Dick Smith’s demon design and the use of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” are iconic. And there are truly frightening moments, as delineated above, but also secreted within the film at a nearly subliminal level: images of a Nosferatu-like face leer at the viewer for split seconds. Having nothing to do with what is occurring in the film, these inserts further exemplify Friedkin’s determination to traumatize the viewer by whatever means necessary.

82. The Wicker Man (1973- dir. Robin Hardy)

Having made some of the best horror films of the ‘50s and early ‘60s, Hammer Studios had degenerated into cheap exploitation for good by the ‘70s. Some of these films were still great fun—The Vampire Lovers, Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires are a few highlights—but the studio had long since lost any desire to produce anything but camp. Released by British Lion Films in 1973, The Wicker Man feels like what-might-have-been had Hammer continued taking its horror seriously while also feeling like nothing before or after it. Hammer stars Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt are in tow for a completely bizarre pagan musical undulating with queasy paranoia. Edward Woodward is Sgt. Howie, a police investigator lured to tiny Summerisle where a young girl has gone missing. There he is confronted by a pagan society with barely concealed secrets and a delicious lack of respect for his Christian ultra-conservatism (what a fresh antidote after The Exorcist!). Eerie folk songs are used to unsettling effect as the residents of Summerisle test Howie’s devotion to his job and religion and confound him with strange behavior and contradictory clues. It all builds to a fevered climax that was unwisely given away by the film’s trailer and poster art. But even if you already know how The Wicker Man unravels, the film is still essential viewing for its originality, terrific music, wicked humor, and disturbing atmosphere. Unfortunately, the film was edited for distribution in America at Roger Corman’s request, and further butchered when released in Britain on a double bill with Don’t Look Now. The excised material lost for years, most audiences saw a severely altered version of The Wicker Man, though a decent reconstruction appeared in 2001. This is the recommended way to view what may be Britain’s greatest horror film.

83. The Legend of Hell House (1973- dir. John Hough)

In 1953, a squad of mentalists was slaughtered while investigating the haunted mansion known as Hell House, the former home of a fellow who allegedly dabbled in “drug addiction, alcoholism, sadism, bestiality, mutilation, murder, vampirism, necrophilia, cannibalism, not to mention a gamut of sexual goodies.” Twenty years later, a deathbed-bound millionaire commissions another group to convene at Hell House to prove the existence of an afterlife. Based on a book by Richard Matheson, who also wrote the script, The Legend of Hell House is a lot less schlocky than its title suggests. The film owes much to that greatest of haunted house pictures, The Haunting, both in its premise and the way director John Hough’s active, disorienting camerawork makes Hell House into a character with as much personality as any of the mentalists. The house is a meaner entity than the ones in The Haunting or The Shining, at times physically attacking its inhabitants. Hough pulls off this dodgy concept cleverly, only lapsing into silliness occasionally, as when a housecat mounts an absurdly relentless attack. The ending is disappointingly trivial too, but taken as a whole, The Legend of Hell House neutralizes most criticisms with Hough’s brilliant camerawork, Matheson’s trademark wit, and an ace ensemble cast led by Roddy McDowell as the sole survivor of the 1953 excursion and Pamela Franklin as the most prodigious mentalist in the gang.

84. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974- dir. Tobe Hooper)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre marked as distinctive a shift in the evolution of horror as Psycho or Night of the Living Dead did in the previous decade. Or is it devolution? Without anything as superfluous as plot, meaningful dialogue, professional acting, or social message, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre strips horror to its very essence. Tobe Hooper’s debut is an 84-minute sensual assault on the viewer. The nonstop screaming and chainsaw buzzing are as unendurable to the ears as the vomit-tinted images are to the eyes. Had it been shot in Smell-O-Vision, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would have played in theaters funked-up with the stench of rotting meat. Because the movie is so relentless, viewers tend to leave it believing they’ve seen something a lot more graphic than it is. The violence is largely left to our imaginations (Hooper supposedly kept the gore to a minimum in the hopes of getting a PG rating. Ha!), yet we are seeing something truly horrific because the director subjected his cast to a genuine ordeal. Actors were essentially forced to perform their own stunts in many instances, suffering various injuries. As Leatherface, Gunnar Hansen wielded a real, running chainsaw. Real meat decorated the set, and as it rotted in the over-100° Texas heat, cast and crew had to endure its wretched stink. Hooper pitted his actors against each other in private to create tension on the set. All of these behind-the-scenes tidbits are apparent in the exhausting finished product. The moments of humor— such as a grotesque, absurdist dinner sequence— do nothing to lighten the tone. The grainy cinematography creates the uncanny sensation that we are watching some lunatic’s home movies. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be repellent to the mass of filmgoers, but its complete concentration on unnerving viewers makes it a bizarre work of art and essential viewing for steely horror fans.

85. Young Frankenstein (1974- dir. Mel Brooks)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Look! Listen! Vibra... umm, on second thought, don't : more 'SMiLE Sessions' delays

Breaking News (8/26/2011): Well, I recently wrote that I would hold off on posting anything about The Beach Boys' rabidly anticipated SMiLE Sessions box set until the rumors had evaporated and the hard facts materialized. That day has come. The surprisingly reasonably priced box set and 2-disc editions of The SMiLE Sessions are now available to pre-order on! The release date is November 1, 2011. Follow this link to get the box and this one if you want to settle for the double-disc. But why would you?

More information here.

Now back to the (now irrelevant) original article:

Capitol Records is really outdoing itself with its rabidly anticipated SMiLE Sessions. Not only will this box set supposedly recreate The Beach Boys' lost masterpiece (and supply a wealth of additional material), but Capitol is actually recreating the original album's ever-changing schedule! First we were promised a July 12th release date. Then that got pushed to August 9th. Then sometime in September. Now, Direct Current (the web site responsible for passing along most of these shifty dates) is listing The SMiLE Sessions for October 4th November 1st. Oh boy. If you're starting to feel like you're having flashbacks, that may be because you are. Capitol advertised the aborted original album as early as December 1966 with a shop display reading "Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile!" The label continued teasing its release throughout the first few months of 1967. According to legend, Brian Wilson had already given up on SMiLE after hearing "Strawberry Fields Forever" earlier in the year and believing he'd lost some sort of psychedelic competition with The Beatles.

So, should we start steeling ourselves for the ultimate authentic SMiLE tribute when Capitol cans the project all together? All I can say is, hold your breath for an October 4th a November 1st release at your own risk.

Update: So this post has received a couple of comments (some of which are more constructive than others) from readers who take issue with my use of the word "announced." Fair enough. Perhaps a more accurate word would be "scheduled," and those schedules are apparently for retailers' eyes only. What does this all mean for the release of The SMiLE Sessions? I don't know. That schedule keeps changing and the project has a shifty history that understandably raises skepticism, hence the pessimistic tone of this post. Of course, I'm really, really hoping this set does get released, but the wait has been kind of excruciating. That being said, this is the last you'll read about the SMiLE Sessions on this site until we get some firm confirmation from Capitol regarding a release date or track listing. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later.

"The Monkees" Returns to DVD in September

Just a couple of weeks after the show's 45th anniversary on September 12, Eagle Rock Entertainment will be reissuing "The Monkees" on the 27th. The groundbreaking series that brought hippies into American living rooms and gave birth to the first pre-fab rock band to become real recording artists has been out of print for years. No word on extras or remastering info yet, but season one and season two of "The Monkees" are already available for pre-order on

Update: This news is so lame that I didn't even want to waste a new post on it. According to TV Shows on (which received the word straight from Eagle Rock Entertainment) these DVDs will be the exact same discs as the ones Rhino released in 2003: same lousy transfers, same censored version of the "Too Many Girls" episode, same lack of alternate song tracks, same commentaries, same extras. The only big difference is the ugly, generic packaging. What a wasted opportunity.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.