Wednesday, June 20, 2018

THE JEWEL OF THE NILE: LIMITED EDITION SOUNDTRACK



An 80's classic that is a sequel to another 80's classic gets a recent soundtrack release!

My exposure to the  film Jewel Of The Nile was seeing it on constant rotation on HBO in the 80's. The film doesn't live up to the charm of Romancing The Stone, but it was still a fun ride to go along another adventure with Jack and Joan.

Back in the day, the biggest thing that came from this movie was the song "When The Going Gets Tough" by Billy Ocean. That song took over the airwaves and had a really cool video (also starring Douglas, Turner, and DeVito). So the actual score kind of took a backseat to this massive radio hit.

La La Land Records recently released the soundtrack to Jewel on CD. I honestly have forgotten the score, since it has been years since I've seen the film. But revisiting this on CD, it was nice to hear the score by Jack Nitzsche all over again. Suddenly I had flashbacks of key scenes in the film while certain tracks played on my radio. Overall, it was great to revisit the movie through the score composed by Mr. Nitzsche.

Definitely recommended for any fan of the film, or of movie scores in general.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

La-La Land Records Roundup!

La-La Land Records has quickly become one of my favorite record labels. Each release they put out seems to appeal to pop-culture junkies from the 80's and beyond. Whether it's releasing the soundtrack for classics like Romancing The Stone, Die Hard, or Creepshow, they keep putting out special edition CD's that are must haves.

Here are some of their releases that I've had the privilege of getting a copy of:


FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF: LIMITED EDITION


Since 1986, Ferris Bueller's Day Off has been one of the most beloved 80's films. Not only that, but it also contains one of the best soundtracks too. But did you know there was never any official soundtrack released for the film? That is, until La-La Land released one. This soundtrack is an absolute gem that contains every track that supported the movie, helping it to be the massive hit that it became. All the obvious songs like "Oh Yeah" by Yello and "Danke Schoen" by Wayne Newton are here. But it's also the random tracks that played throughout the movie like "Beat City" by The Flowerpot Men" when Ferris peeled out of the school parking lot after picking up Simone are here. Along with the songs that were featured in the film is the original score by Ira Newborn. Listening to this score again really takes you back to each scene. Like in the track "Ferris on Line 2" for example. You can truly feel the terror on Rooney's face when listening to this track. Overall, this soundtrack is a long awaited one that really delivered the goods!



BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA: LIMITED EDITION (2CD-SET)


Who can forget Kurt's memorable performance in this 80's cult classic? I remember catching this when it was shown on HBO in the 80's. It was a wacky and fun adventure/sci-fi/comedy mashup that holds up til this day. John Carpenter & Alan Howarth’s complete score for the film is here on this remastered 2 CD set. Like most other releases by La-La Land, this one comes with a cool 20 page booklet that makes this a true collectible. If you love this film, then this is one to definitely add to the collection.



POLICE ACADEMY: LIMITED EDITION



Another La-La Land release of a hard to find soundtrack is Police Academy! Those of us that grew up in the 80's were fortunate to have been able to see such zany comedies like Police Squad. The original score by Robert Folk was a huge part of what made this movie a hit. Each track on this CD captures the same fun and hijinks that were in the movie. This release is another one that most fans of 80's films will cherish. This one is a limited edition release, so try to get a copy while you can!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Blues Traveler - Live at Irving Plaza NYC (2/23/18)



In case you didn’t know, Blues Traveler is in the middle of celebrating their 30th anniversary by embarking on a nationwide tour. On Friday, they gave a sold-out crowd in Irving Plaza their money’s worth by delivering a night of pure fun.

Even though the band goes back 30 years, they really hit their stride in the mid 90’s. But if you only know them for 90’s hits like Run-Around and Hook, then you’re missing out! On this night, they brought their diverse catalog of songs to an audience that consisted of both young and older fans alike.


When it was time for the band to play, they walked onto the stage as the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” blared through the speakers. Once they got situated, frontman John Popper greeted the NYC audience and then stated, "We are 30 f**king years old!". After that, they wasted no time in jumping in to playing some tunes for this excited crowd.

From start to finish, the band rolled through hit after hit. As great as it is to hear their songs in concert, the real highlights of the show were whenever they broke into an impromptu jam session. In between songs, the bandmates would go back and forth and just turn into a full blown jam extravaganza! You could see how they just feed off each other’s energy during the show. There wasn't a dull moment at all. At the end, they said goodbye to this satisfied NYC audience by blowing a kiss from the stage.


If you’ve only heard radio or album versions of their music, then you really have to see them live. This is one band that sounds amazing in concert. 

After 30 years, these guys haven’t skipped a beat. Hopefully, they keep trucking along and have many more tours to come!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Die Hard - Soundtrack (La-La Land Records)



If you're ever stuck in Nakatomi Plaza and waiting for a man named John McClane to come save the day, a good CD to pass the time is the memorable Die Hard soundtrack by composer Michael Kamen.

La-La Land continues their catalog of high quality, limited edition CD's for movie junkies everywhere with this release. Like most of their CD's, it comes with extras like bonus tracks and a booklet that features in-depth material that take you back to this movie masterpiece. Speaking of bonus tracks, some of the ones included are Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis" and Vaughn Monroe’s “Let It Snow” to give that true holiday feel. People that believe Die Hard is a holiday film will definitely be happy to hear these on the CD.

With so many good products that have been released by La-La Land records, this is another one not to pass up by any fans of the film. With it being a limited release, all the more it makes it worth getting.

This CD definitely gets a "Yippee Ki Yay"!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Brian Setzer Orchestra - Christmas Rocks! Live - November 24th @ Montclair, NJ



Photo by Chip Duden


On November 24th, the holiday season kicked off with a bang as The Brian Setzer Orchestra put on a rocking extravaganza at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ. This was my first time seeing the BSO live in concert, and oh man am I glad I did! 

This night, Brian came with his musical elves and brought some holiday cheer to the NJ crowd. The stage was filled with Christmas trees, lights galore, and even a visit from jolly St Nick himself at the end of the show!

The show began with Andy Williams' "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" playing throughout the theater as the band took the stage. Once the entire band got settled, Brian came out to a thunderous applause and then jumped right into a performance of "Pennsylvania 6-5000". I've always liked BSO's version of this classic hit, but I really enjoyed their live performance much better. It was the perfect song to set the energy of the show. From there on, the audience was treated to a performance filled with holiday classics and well known hits of the BSO through the years. Hard to imagine the BSO has been doing this for 25 years. And yet, they sounded as fresh as ever. 

I think most people can agree that Brian is a great guitarist. But hearing him live, you really can see that he is a legend on the guitar. He hasn't lost a step after all these years as he played each track so effortlessly. 

Photo by Suzie Kaplan


It's hard to pinpoint my favorite moments during the show, since there were so many. From beginning to end, there wasn't a dull moment. Some concerts you go to, there are moments that you mentally drift off during some of the parts that feel stale. But not this show. I was engaged the entire time. They went through the obvious classics like "Jump, Jive an' Wail!" and "Rock This Town", and even a nice cover of Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down  A Dream", paying homage to Petty, who we lost way too soon. Things got real festive as they jumped into holiday songs like "Gloria in excelsis Deo", "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)", "Nutcracker Suite", and "Jingle Bells"!

Overall, it was a night to remember and a real holiday treat for a NJ crowd that came for some holiday cheer! Definitely try to catch one of their shows during this tour!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ROMANCING THE STONE: LIMITED EDITION SOUNDTRACK (La-La Land Records)




I remember seeing Romancing The Stone on VHS around 1984. Although I was a fairly young kid at the time, I was absolutely amazed by this film. There was a certain charm the film had that really drew me in. It had a little of everything. Adventure! Romance! And who could forget "Pepe, the Mule"!

Fast forward 33 years, and it is still one of my favorite films.

Not only is it one of my favorite films, but it has one of the most memorable, catchy soundtracks ever. Alan Silvestri is a man that needs no introduction. He has composed so many epic movie scores that it's hard to keep up with. But did you know that this was his first major score? You wouldn't think so just listening to it. This soundtrack has got such a snappy, cool, jazzy, and heartwarming feel to it.

Thanks to the fine people at La-La Land Records, we can now revisit this classic score. They've released a limited edition (2000 copies) CD that has all the tracks from this beloved film, and includes an inside cover that makes this a true collectible. One thing I noticed about La-La Land Records is that they don't just put out quality CD releases of some great retro films. They also make sure to include a nice booklet inside the CD case with some more facts about the movie. That makes their CD's much more valuable in my opinion. 

It was so great to give this one a listen again, and be taken back to the Jack and Joan's adventure in Columbia. 

Overall, this is one gem put out by La-La Land. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

HE-MAN AND SHE-RA: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE CLASSIC ANIMATED ADVENTURES



He-Man, Voltron, and Thundercats.

In no particular order, those 3 cartoons basically defined my childhood. There were so many more that I loved as a kid. But for me, these were the holy trinity.

Whenever He-Man came on, I remember dropping whatever I was doing and running to the TV. Having the action figures and playsets made the experience that much more fun. After all these years, I'm not ashamed to admit that I am still a huge fan!

Lately, there’s been a surge of interest for anything He-Man related. There’s even a He-Man movie that was greenlighted to be released in 2019! Nostalgia is one hell of a drug.

What a wonderful time it is for fans of this classic show. There are collectibles, comics, and books coming out quite frequently to satisfy the average MOTU fanatic.

Speaking of He-Man books. Dark Horse has published a comprehensive guide to the series called He-Man and She-Ra: A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures. To put it bluntly, this book is NOT to be missed. My brain just about exploded on how detailed it went to recap the episodes of the show! This is a true fan’s dream! There is so much in this book to devour. At first it’s overwhelming due to the massive amount of info packed into this collectible hardcover book. But if you grew up watching this show, then you owe it to yourself to get this. Flip it open and you are immediately drawn into the world MOTU. Overall, I can’t highlight enough how cool this book is. It’s like stumbling across a book hidden in Castle Greyskull that holds all the secrets of the kingdom, if Eternia was real.


Now excuse me while I go back and read some more facts about one of the best cartoons to ever hit TV.