Monday, February 20, 2023

Review: 'Pink Floyd- The Dark Side of the Moon: 50th Anniversary'

In the fiftieth year since the release of the album that basically defines the art of LP-making, a proliferation of commemorative releases is to be expected. Yet another hefty box set devoted to The Dark Side of the Moon is the most obvious and expected item, and, yes, that is on its way. There are also the Dark Side T-shirts, sweatshirts, glasses, and mugs for imbibing some mind-altering Sanka. Plus there are the books. Recently I reviewed Martin Popoff's Pink Floyd and The Dark Side of the Moon: 50 Years, which tells a tidy history of the album's genesis, recording, release, and legacy with lots of pretty color pictures to complete the package. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

Review: 'The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack' 50th Anniversary Vinyl Edition

Although ska had been quite popular in the UK, and Millie Small even managed to get a stateside hit with "My Boy Lollipop" in 1964, reggae wasn't very well known outside Jamaica until the first Jamaican-made film, Perry Henzell's The Harder They Come (1972), introduced it to midnight movie audiences in 1973. Although sweet-voiced Jimmy Cliff, who starred as singer-turned-robber Ivanhoe Martin in the film, was the dominant artist on the soundtrack, The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack served as a handy and consistently superb various artists primer for listeners unfamiliar with reggae and ska. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Review: 'Hollywood Shuffle' Blu-ray

Hollywood Shuffle
was one of those movies that seemed to run on HBO on a near loop in the late eighties/early nineties. It's political/moral purpose--that Hollywood treats black actors like shit--was not lost on teenage me, but I watched it every time I came across it because its acidic fantasy sequences, barrage of one liners, heightened performances, and weirdest TV-show-within-a-movie of the eighties ("Batty, Batty, Batty!") made me laugh. A lot of eighties comedies have not aged well, often because of the kinds of offhand racism Hollywood Shuffle skewers but mostly because they're just not that funny, and I really didn't expect Robert Townsend's movie to still make me laugh some thirty years after the last time I watched it. I was happily surprised that it still does. 
I was less surprised to see how ahead-of-its-time Hollywood Shuffle was. There just weren't movies that addressed Hollywood's bigotry in the eighties, and it would be a good thirty years that topic became a more discussed one and Hollywood began rethinking its system for the better. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Review: John Fred and His Playboy Band's 'Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)' Vinyl Reissue

When John Fred Gourrier misheard the lyrics of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", he suddenly found himself with the raw materials for the number-one hit that would revive his flailing career as a purveyor of bubblegum soul. "Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)" is more bubblegum psych than his usual fare, but as that kind of thing goes, it's one of the best and most memorable examples of what happens when someone spikes your Hubba-Bubba with LSD. It's also the kind of record that screams out "Beware! One hit wonder! Stop here!" But lo and behold, the album originally released as Agnes English in 1967 and reissued with the title of John Fred and His Playboy Band's only hit in '68 is much, much better than it has any right to be. Don't expect a stealth masterpiece like Crimson & Clover, but Judy in Disguise (with Glasses) is an almost uniformly terrific tutti-frutti swirl of light psych, light soul, and thick pop (if it wasn't for the indescribably annoying "We Played Games", I could have left out "almost"). Tracks such as "She Shot a Hole in My Soul" and "Little Dum Dum" are as outrageously catchy as the title track and probably could have taken over radio too if they'd been given the chance. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Review: Vinyl Reissue of Hokus Poke's 'Earth Harmony'

Not to be confused with the prog yodelers of similar name, Hokus Poke owed a great deal to James Gang, with their split heavy-blues-rock/rustic-country-folk personality. Hokus Poke didn't have Joe Walsh's songwriting skills, but they knew their way around a wiry guitar riff, and their acoustic numbers have atmosphere galore. Plus drummer Johnnie Miles's lyrics for the pseudo-Satanic "Hag Rag" are hilariously evil enough to mistake for one of Ozzy's early odes.  
All written content of is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.