Tune in for the hippest trip in America with Don Cornelius and the rest of the gang on this three-disc set commemorating the landmark television series. For over 35 years, Soul Train was the place to get your fix on the soulful sounds of black music. Featuring 50 classic performances by artists including the Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin and James Brown, this collection will be treasured.
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On October 29th and 30th, 2009, rock ‘n’ roll royalty assembled for the 25th anniversary of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Filmed at Madison Square Garden, this historic series of concerts featured once in a lifetime collaborations between a wide range of artists, including John Fogerty and Bruce Springsteen crooning “Oh, Pretty Woman”, and Mick Jagger and Fergie belting out a blistering version of “Gimme Shelter”. Originally airing on HBO last November, this special event scored five Emmy nominations, and includes bonus performances not seen on TV. It will blow your mind.
The Chairman of the Board may have left the building, but you can relive all of his greatest moments on stage with the Frank Sinatra: Concert Collection. Ranging from the ‘50s through the ‘80s, including 14 hours of footage spread over seven discs, this collection features the best of his celebrated concerts and star-studded television specials, plus rare and previously unreleased performances. You also get a 44-page book featuring rare photographs and notes by Sinatra scholar Bill Zehme.
Twenty-five years later, Blu-ray technology is ready to reintroduce Talking Heads’ seminal Stop Making Sense to fans far too young to recall the group’s post-punk no wave reverie, or its eventual spiral into shameless squabbling and infighting. For nearly 90 glorious minutes, the band reduces the stage to a symbol-filled symposium on musicianship, craft, sonic bliss, group jams, individual acumen, and balls out greatness. It also offers enough sweat-filled dancing to inspire even the most stoic member of the fanbase to get up and shake their groove thing.
Honestly, the new digital update really isn’t necessary. From an audio and visual standpoint, nothing can beat Demme’s definitive work. Redefining the concert film for decades to come, the filmmaker manages the stage in ways that today’s modern quick cut stylists can’t even comprehend. Instead of using multiple angles and editorial overemphasis, Demme lets the lens linger. He follows certain segments of the band as a song simmers, allowing bassist Tina Weymouth or drummer Chris Frantz to steal the spotlight. Original fourth Jerry Harrison is often seen trading keyboard fills with former Parliament-Fundadelic ace Bernie Worell as backup divas Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt give Byrne a running in place rave for his vocal mania. With Steve Scales bringing the percussive noise and Brothers Johnson sideman Alex Weir working his six stringed magic, the movie is a collection of creative calling cards, skills all rolled into one amazing amalgamation of harmony and heroics.
What more can be said about a stellar product that sells itself? A little bit more enthusiasm won’t hurt. High-quality sound and video? Check. Excellent concert footage? Check. In this third in the series set: Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderlley, Bill Evans, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lionel Hampton and Oscar Peterson. Bonus disc: performances by Nina Simone, Sonny Rollins and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. If the jazz fan in your household does not already have Series 1 and 2 of this fine collection, then really make her happy and buy her all three sets. They will stay with her as long as she draws breath.