Tag Archives: documentary

August 26: Warren Zevon released his last album The Wind in 2003

warren zevon - the wind (front)

“Timor mortis conturbat me.
It’s from a medieval Scottish poem by William Dunbar,
It means, ‘The fear of death just fucks me up’”
– Warren Zevon (told to The Guardian, and roaring with laughter)

Warren Zevon died in 2003 aged 56, he was noted for his black humour and dry wit; he never had the big commercial success he deserved. He was highly regarded by critics and music lovers (and musicians), you could say he enjoyed a cult following. He should have been big.

“This was a nice deal: life.”
– Warren Zevon

Two weeks before he died of lung cancer, he released one of his best albums, The Wind.

“It’s hard to say if he’s being sincere or darkly witty with his cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” though he manages to make it work both ways.”
– Mark Deming (allmusic)

When diagnosed with lung cancer, he said: “I feel the opposite of regret. I was the hardest-living rocker on my block for a while. I was a malfunctioning rummy for a while and running away for a while. Then for 18 years I was a sober dad of some amazing kids. Hey, I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lives.”

The diagnose did in his own words, lead him into one of the most intense and creative periods of his life. Many of his more famous friend came to lend a hand on the record, including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Billy Bob Thornthon, Jim Keltner, David Lindley, T-Bone Burnett, Joe Walsh and Dwight Yoakam. None of them taking the show from Warren Zevon, he is so clearly in control of his last creation. It is not a big bombastic farewell, it is a guy who enjoys making a record with a bunch of his friends. It feels better, more right!

Here is a touching documentary about the making of The Wind and Warren Zevon’s last months alive:

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Two fine documentaries about Prog Rock

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Two fine documentaries about Prog Rock

I have always shunned prog rock, well, not always. When I was from 7-12 I listened to a lot of it, but I was liberated by garage music and punk rock (and later, folk and country music). Prog will never be my favorite kind of music, but lately a lot of the bands I’ve listened to have had elements of progressive rock, symphonic elements, conceptual ideas, rapid changes and far-out lyrics.

I have liked experimental Beatles, Frank Zappa, a bit of Genesis, two records by King Crimson (Discipline and Three of a perfect pair) and some Pink Floyd, but this was different…

What the hell was happening? I needed to find out some more…

The best way to do this is for me to go to YouTube, and I found several very good programs.

Timeshift: Prog Rock (documentary, 2013):

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Documentary: Richard Thompson – Solitary Life BBC 2012

richard thompson
Photo:BBC

Documentary: Richard Thompson – Solitary Life BBC 2012

Personal portrait of the critically-acclaimed and enigmatic British folk rock singer Richard Thompson, providing an insight into his fascinating life alongside exclusive footage. Contributors include Billy Connolly, Bonnie Raitt, ex-wife Linda Thompson, Harry Shearer and Richard’s wife Nancy Covey. The documentary visits him at home in both London and Los Angeles – the first time such intimate access has been granted to this private and complex artist.

In the 60s whilst still a teenager, Thompson wrote generation-defining songs like Meet on the Ledge. As founder member of Fairport Convention, as a duo with then-wife Linda and more recently as a solo artist, Thompson’s unique mix of rock and traditional music has ironically become more popular now in America than in the UK.

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Down The Tracks: Bob Dylan and the Music That Influenced Him (documentary)

Bob-Dylan-and-the-Music-that-Influenced-Him-Cover

Down The Tracks: Bob Dylan and the Music That Influenced Him (documentary)

Just as Bob Dylan has inspired four decades of musicians, so too was his own musical style influenced by those who came before him. This documentary profiles the folk performers who had the greatest impact on Dylan’s early career. Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Mississippi John Hurt and other musicians appear in vintage clips, while special focus is given to Woody Guthrie, whose bond with Dylan is reflected in nearly all of Dylan’s music.

down the tracks

While there isn’t a note of Bob Dylan singing in this documentary from 2008, it is still a very worthwhile watch. It gives us a depiction of what influenced Bob Dylan as he grew into the greatest songwriter of all time. There are great and rare clips of Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and many more.

A very interesting addition to all the films about Dylan and the music that influenced (and still influences) him.

 

Continue reading Down The Tracks: Bob Dylan and the Music That Influenced Him (documentary)

May 21: American Masters – Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (documentary)

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May 21: American Masters – Marvin Gaye  What’s Going On (documentary)

Marvin Gaye released What’s going on May 21, 1971, we present a great documentary about the album.

Marvin Gaye is one of the great and enduring figures of soul music, but his life was one of sexual confusion, bittersweet success and ultimately death by the hand of his own father.

Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 — April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and musician with a four-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla Records subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.

Because of solo hits such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown” and “The Prince of Soul”.

His work in the early and mid-1970s, including the albums What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, and I Want You, helped influence the quiet storm, urban adult contemporary, and slow jam genres. After a self-imposed European exile in the early eighties, Gaye returned on the 1982 Grammy-Award winning hit, “Sexual Healing” and the Midnight Love album before his death. Gaye was shot dead by his father on April 1, 1984. He was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 2008, the American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Gaye at number 6 on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time, and ranked at number 18 on 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

This fine documentary is directed by Samuel D. Pollard, also an editor and producer, known for 25th Hour (2002), 4 Little Girls(1997) and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006). Including interviews with the singer’s family, friends and musical colleagues.

What’s Going On  (2008):

– Hallgeir