martin scorsese

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The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light (Universal)

The Rolling Stones: Shine A Light (Universal)

Some might say that the last thing the world needs right now is another live Stones collection. After all Get Yer Ya Ya's Out (released a whopping 38 years go!) is the hardcore fan's classic, and we've had Love You Live, Still Life, Flashpoint, Stripped and No Security since. And it was only four years ago that we had Live Licks, a...

THE BAND; ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE BOX SET (1994): Genius all boxed up . . . or maybe not all.

THE BAND; ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE BOX SET (1994): Genius all boxed up . . . or maybe not all.

For the record, I turned off the Band around the period they hit the cover of Time magazine in January 1970 - which is to say I never really got into them. This is no brag that when they went commercial I bailed out, more like that guy who yelled “Judas” at Bob Dylan when he plugged in. Just a case of woeful stupidity....

AUTHOR RICHARD PRICE ON CLOCKERS: The book, the movie and the money-go-round

AUTHOR RICHARD PRICE ON CLOCKERS: The book, the movie and the money-go-round

Richard Price barely has to open his mouth and you know where he’s from. The voice is direct with a “yeah, well” shoulder shrug delivery and nothin’s like, too exact, you know? Words get bitten off, sentences sprinkled with streetwise epithets and answers come before the question is finished. Fast talk because it...

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SEVENTIES: The decade of decadence

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SEVENTIES: The decade of decadence

When Virgin Records paid about US$50 million for a slice of the Rolling Stones back in 1991 they were investing in the past more than the future. That’s with all due respect to the legend that is Jagger-Richards -- a collective proper noun appropriate given their separate solo careers have been abject commercial failures and largely...

THE ROLLING STONES; THE SIXTIES: Through the past darkly (again)

THE ROLLING STONES; THE SIXTIES: Through the past darkly (again)

Quite when pop became rock is difficult to pinpoint. It is possible to argue that dark, dense and adult rock has been around for more than 50 years. Think of Ronnie Hawkins' threatening delivery of Who Do You Love with these hard edge lyrics: "I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire, got a cobra snake for a necktie". That doesn't...

The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

Some music is purely functional: music in airports; massage music, Kiwi backyard-bbq reggae etc. This one by a US band I know nothing about is driving music -- annoying inner city stop-start or highway freedom -- and comes off in places like amphetamine-fuelled and wordy Dylan '65 (or more correctly, Butch Hancock when he was doing that...

GOODFELLAS, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: Making a killing in crime

GOODFELLAS, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: Making a killing in crime

Within the ever-expanding genre of gangster flicks - from 1931 and James Cagney's Irish hood in Little Caesar to the quiet menace of Tony Soprano - there could never be consensus about the best Mob movie in any first-past-the-post system. But Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas from 1990 would certainly take the prize in any...

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

The live album -- or double live as was standard in the days of vinyl -- has had a chequered history in rock: some live albums defined an artists career (Frampton Comes Alive, Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous) and others added little to the sum of our knowledge (most of Dylan's). Some artists regularly drop live albums (Paul McCartney, who...

BOB DYLAN SPEAKS, SAN FRANCISCO 1965 (Eagle DVD)

BOB DYLAN SPEAKS, SAN FRANCISCO 1965 (Eagle DVD)

In December 1965 Bob Dylan -- with his "protest singer" days behind him, an electric guitar now his weapon of choice, the as-yet unnamed Band as his group and with Like a Rolling Stone redefining the parameters of pop and rock -- sat down for an hour-long, televised press conference in San Francisco. Dylan would never do...

Ben Sidran: Dylan Different (Nardis)

Ben Sidran: Dylan Different (Nardis)

There’s no shortage of Bob Dylan tribute albums but this is certainly different: pianist-singer Sidran takes his lowkey, jazzy speak-sing style to Dylan songs in the company of a small band and guests (among them Georgie Fame). It doesn’t always work: he strips the menace and meaning out of Everything is Broken, Highway 61...

JUST KIDS by PATTI SMITH: Nourished by love and art

JUST KIDS by PATTI SMITH: Nourished by love and art

In 2004 when Patti Smith released yet another predictable album, the critic Ian Penman correctly observed, "It sounds like she hasn't heard a single thing outside her own music for about 25 years". Smith, acclaimed for her marriage of rock’n’roll and poetry in the late 70s, has been in a creative whirlpool the past four...

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

These days there are any number of documentary flms about music: Ken Burns' Jazz series, Martin Scorsese's series about the blues, country music dealt to in Lost Highway, the excellent History of Rock'n'Roll . . . Individual artists are also getting their due: the Beatles' Anthology; various Elvis docos; Scorsese on early Dylan in No...

STONES IN EXILE, a documentary by STEPHEN KIJAK

STONES IN EXILE, a documentary by STEPHEN KIJAK

Keith Richards once offered a neat observations of Mick Jagger: "Mick's a lovely bunch of blokes." Jagger, by all acounts, has that uncanny ability to switch his langauge and accent depending on who he is talking to: with the turn of his head he can go from plum-in-mouth when chatting with a lord or lady to a Jamaican accent if the...

JIMI HENDRIX, AN ESSAY: In my Life

JIMI HENDRIX, AN ESSAY: In my Life

For a man who changed the landscape of rock -- and not so coincidentally my life -- his last resting place looks extremely modest. It is late 2002 and I am standing at a simple plaque in the grass with only a single glass of fading flowers on it. There are no visitors here other than me and my companion Tommy, a Norwegian music journalist from...

BOB DYLAN'S CAREER, AN OVERVIEW (2007): Yes, do look back

BOB DYLAN'S CAREER, AN OVERVIEW (2007): Yes, do look back

At 66, Bob Dylan has been through many musical changes in the course of his career, from fresh-faced young folkie to senior statesman of his generation. He's been folk, what we now call alt.folk, folk rock, psychedelic rock, rock’n’roll, country, alt.country, troubadour, country and western . . . And he made movies, changed hats...

ALL MY LOVING, a film by TONY PALMER (BBC DVD)

ALL MY LOVING, a film by TONY PALMER (BBC DVD)

At the time when this film screened on television in 1968 -- after the Epilogue, the last offical programme every night in Britain in those days, as director Palmer notes in the interview footage added to the DVD edition in 2007 -- pop music was widely spoken of as the new classical music. It was in those day-glo days when classical music of...

IN FROM THE COLD; THE WORLD OF RICHARD BURTON, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Triton DVD)

IN FROM THE COLD; THE WORLD OF RICHARD BURTON, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Triton DVD)

The great actor Sir John Gielgud used to shake his head in wonder at the towering talent of Richard Burton and say that "he came from nowhere, from nowhere". Which isn't true at all, he came from a very significant somewhere -- and in this insightful, honest and probing documentary by Tony Palmer -- that place was writ large right...

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

Most reviews of this frequently funny, sometimes insightful and too often rambling autobiography -- Keith + tape recorder + ghost writer Fox -- have concentrated on the obvious: the sniping at Mick Jagger which occurs a little in the first three-quarters but reaches a peak in the final throes where the autobiography/chronological account runs...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

Aside from the obvious reason (40th anniversaries), there is another explanation for some much Stones stuff from the late Sixties/early Seventies: that was when they became the bad boy phenomenon which most people associate with them. There is also a lot of footage and music, and by the late Seventies and early Eighties things were less...

THE SPACE MOVIE, a doco by TONY PALMER (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

THE SPACE MOVIE, a doco by TONY PALMER (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

Courageous explorers and pioneers walk in our midst and we take them for granted. This thought occurred in the light of the January 2011 shooting of US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Her husband Mark E. Kelly was described as "an astronaut". There was a time in the living memory of many when that job simply didn't exist. Then it...

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

In his recent collection of essays Listen to This, the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross has an interesting and provocative piece on Bob Dylan. It opens, “America is no country for old men. Pop culture is a pedophile's delight” then he ask what – in this world of manufactured teen pop – we are to do with “a...

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez has never had her rediscovery by a new generation, but this reissue of her excellent folk-rock album of ' 92 – with an extra disc of demos including Dylan's early Seven Curses which only appeared on his recent Witmark Demos 1962-64 – is a smart starting place as it found her back in Nashville after a 20 year absence and...

BEN WATERS INTERVIEWED (2011): One more time for the boogie woogie man Ian Stewart

BEN WATERS INTERVIEWED (2011): One more time for the boogie woogie man Ian Stewart

When he was just nine – 26 years ago – Ben Waters briefly saw something in a pub which changed his life. He was at his auntie and uncle's 25th wedding anniversary in the Wynyard Gap in Somerset, just across the border from his home county of Dorset, and the great pianist Ian Stewart was a family friend who sat down and played...

Jim James and Calexico: Going to Acapulco (2007)

Jim James and Calexico: Going to Acapulco (2007)

Acapulco in Mexico is widely known as a party destination for many Americans, but in Bob Dylan's Goin' to Acapulco -- which appeared on The Basement Tapes -- the mood is anything but celebratory, party-on-dude and joyous. Dylan and the Band drag their way through the lyrics as if the weight of the world was on their shoulders, and the idea...

BOB DYLAN'S HIGHWAY REVISITED AT 33, 45 AND 70: Back to mono

BOB DYLAN'S HIGHWAY REVISITED AT 33, 45 AND 70: Back to mono

When it was announced Bob Dylan had recorded an MTV Unplugged session in late '94, a wag within earshot guffawed and said, "But wasn't he always?" Which was sort of true. There are any number of people across a few generations who have imprinted in their consciousness the image of the impossibly young Dylan, acoustic guitar in...

Bob Dylan: Dirge (1974)

Bob Dylan: Dirge (1974)

While flicking the pages of a rock magazine the other day I came on an interview with a young musician who cited among his current favourite listening Bob Dylan's Planet Waves. When that album was released it was met with polite but hardly laudatory reviews, and even the enormously successful and highly profitable tour with the Band...

NO DIRECTION HOME a film about Bob Dylan by MARTIN SCORSESE (2005)

NO DIRECTION HOME a film about Bob Dylan by MARTIN SCORSESE (2005)

Against expectation, 2005 was a rare year for 64-year old Bob Dylan, especially since he hadn’t had an album of new material out in four years. Yet Dylan seemed to be everywhere in 2005, and it announced his rehabiliation for casual listeners -- and prepared the ground for his critically acclaimed 2006 album Modern Times. But...

BOB DYLAN; 1990-2006: THE NEVER ENDING NARRATIVE (Chrome Dreams DVD)

BOB DYLAN; 1990-2006: THE NEVER ENDING NARRATIVE (Chrome Dreams DVD)

Although Bob Dylan closed his shapeless and directionless Eighties with the acclaimed Oh Mercy album produced by Daniel Lanois, no one would really have considered him ripe for a career reinvention. And Under the Red Sky of the following year -- a cast which included Slash, Bruce Hornsby, George Harrison and numerous others on material as...

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

Somebody at the University of Applied Narcotics in San Francisco has probably written a thesis about Bob Dylan's bizarre film career. Like Neil Young, Dylan appears in movies which make little sense to anyone, possibly even himself. Yet it all started so well. The terrific doco Don't Look Back, by Don Pennebaker, of Dylan's brief British...

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

In June 1964, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still only 20, the Rolling Stones took time out from their short American tour to head into the famous Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. With famed engineer Ron Malo, who had worked with many of the blues giants who had walked through Chess, they recorded five songs...

BOB DYLAN at 60: The road goes on forever (2001)

BOB DYLAN at 60: The road goes on forever (2001)

The guitarist G. E. Smith must have great stories to tell. For a little over two years in the late 80s he was, for want a better description, Bob Dylan's band leader.During those difficult years when Dylan was emotionally adrift, Smith would audition players and introduce them to a repertoire of well over 100 songs, and replace members as some...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan; Time Out of Mind (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan; Time Out of Mind (Sony)

After his erratic recordings of the Eighties -- redeemed only perhaps by Oh Mercy ('89) produced by Daniel Lanois -- Bob Dylan entered a new decade looking like a long-spent force. The impressive three CD set The Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 in '91 only served to re-enforce what a spendthrift of genius he had been. With Good As I Been to You ('92)...

BUDDY GUY INTERVIEWED (2001): One of the last men standing

BUDDY GUY INTERVIEWED (2001): One of the last men standing

Oddly enough, this is not the best time to talk to 64-year-old bluesman Buddy Guy - despite him having released Sweet Tea, one of the finest albums in his long career.It is days after the death of his contemporary John Lee Hooker and Guy is understandably philosophical rather than keen to talk up his new album which was, uncharacteristically for...

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

Director Martin Scorsese might have his name large on the credits of this 2006 Rolling Stones concert but it is clear from the opening scenes just who is in charge: it is the Stones, and Mick Jagger in particular. During hilarious opening scenes which recall Spinal Tap and the pilot for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jagger is seen rejecting a model...

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