This crop of releases from late last year includes an eclectic mix of genres. Happy New Year!
‘L.A.M.F.: Live At The Bowery’ Electric,’ (MVDvisual,☆☆☆☆1/2)
This Dec. 8 DVD/CD shows songs from the classic Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers’ 1977 album performed by sole surviving member Walter Lure (guitar, vocals) plus drummer Clem Burke (Blondie), bassist Tommy Stinson (Replacements) and guitarist Wayne Kramer (MC5) and other guests.
Favorites among the classic songs include Tommy singing “Born to Lose” and “Baby Talk,” a high-powered “Chinese Rocks,” which Johnny originally didn’t want the Ramones to record because of its subject matter, “Pirate Love,” with Cheetah on guitar and Clem singing “Can’t Keep My Eyes on You” while paying tribute to “one of my favorite drummers, Jerry Nolan.”
Raw, rowdy rock ’n’ roll fans will enjoy this presentation.
‘Live At Ronnie Scott’s,’ John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension (Mediastarz Monaco/Abstractlogix, ☆☆☆)
This Sept. 15 CD release (also available digitally, I presume) features fusion guitar great McLaughlin, drummer/keyboardist Gary Husband, bassist Etienne M’Bappe and drummer/konokol player Ranjit Barot holding forth at the noted jazz venue. This album isn’t as tuneful as Jeff Beck’s Ronnie Scott’s residency from 2008, and though Beck’s was fusion-y on some tunes, there wasn’t as much soloing from all band members.
It’s hard to name favorites here. Some pieces are cinematic, others filled with soloing, such as one where a drum solo and odd beat-boxing share the stage for a time. The musicianship is quite excellent, but things are rarely tuneful, except during brief guitar and/or keyboard passages.
Fusion fans will enjoy this release.
‘Jerome Bixby’s The Man From Earth,’ Directed by Richard Schenkman (MVDvisual,☆☆☆1/2)
This Nov. 21 DVD/Blu-Ray release was penned by renowned sci-fi writer Bixby and is his last work as a screenwriter. Bixby has written for “The Twilight Zone,” “Star Trek” and other programs. The movie stars David Lee Smith as John Oldman, a college professor who reveals to his colleagues that he’s a 14,000-year old Cro-Magnon man.
Familiar faces, including William Katt, John Billingsley, Annika Peterson and others, form the circle of friends who believe Oldman is crazy at first, but grow to believe him and no spoilers here. The movie is very “talky,” but is a great character study and there are many extras in the package.
Fans of historical and science fiction will enjoy the movie, though it’s mostly conversation-driven.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.