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Fowler’s Flix 09.04.19: From the Beatles to San Bernardino…

Via Shout! Factory
Carlos Santana and his band rock the yuppies of the US Festival.
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Music history—be it written or, as here, in documentary form—seems to be really the only thing I’m interested in as both a hobby and a student of in recent months; over the summer, numerous films documenting some of my favorite bands and genres have made the rounds, keeping my Blu-ray working overtime, starting where music typically does, with four lads on a ferry ‘cross the Mersey…

Probably the most famous origin story in all of music fandom is that of the Beatles; it’s one that never gets boring when retold for the umpteenth time, especially when the story is from some of the movers and shakers of the dawning era of Beatlemania.

In Made on Merseyside (Film Movement), original members of the Quarrymen, the current owners of the Casbah Club, and so many others in the Liverpool scene, tell, from their point-of-view, about the friendships, the rivalries and the rise of the Fab Four in this enthralling documentary that seems mostly unauthorized, especially given that no Beatles music is ever really heard on the soundtrack.

RDR editor Andrew Griffin and I are always talking about all the music magick that was conjured in the Laurel Canyon area of L.A. in the mid-60s. From the Beach Boys to the Byrds, some of the best music of the era—original and in tribute—is featured in Echo in the Canyon (MPI Home Video).

With no mention, oddly, of Manson, one half of the film is a wonderful primer to the music of the rampant scene, the other half, well…hosted by Jakob Dylan, we follow him into the studio with fellow hipsters Beck and Cat Power, to name a few, to re-record tunes that really didn’t need it, already perfect the first time.

The US Festival of the early 80s keeps delivering the rockin’ goods nearly 40 years later, in this case being the concert film Santana: Live at the US Festival (Shout! Factory). Riding high on the AOR hits of the time like “Hold On’ and “Winning”, Santana was actually quite the perfect act for the concert, perfectly embodying the California sound in classic tunes like “Black Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va,” and “Shango,” all performed with the crowd-pleasing spiritual professionalism that we’ve come to expect from Carlos and crew.

The backbone of the E Street Band was, unsurprisingly, always saxophonist Clarence Clemons, with his indelible life and times on display in the doc Who Do I Think I Am? (Virgil Films). From his birth in segregated Virginia to conquering worlds touring with Bruce Springsteen, contributing his sax-skill on tunes like “Jungleland,” we follow Clemons on his journeys in the later years before his death; it’s actually very interesting to see him in China, looking for love and light among the specific religiou beliefs that he comes across and tries to fine more information about.

Chrissie Hynde has led the Pretenders for well over 40 years, ruling the charts through most of the 80s, with plenty of comebacks peppered throughout the years. In this live set, Pretenders with Friends (Cleopatra), the group blasts through a set of total rockers, with a little help from their friends, like Shirley Manson, Iggy Pop and Oklahoma City’s own (and future Scissortail Park rip-offs) Kings of Leon.

The Pretenders are in fine form, but, honestly, the album (it’s a DVD/CD combo) is way too short in length and hits.

Finally, the best—and exquisitely, the worst—in country music are thoroughly showcased in the 10-disc spectacular CMA Awards Live: Greatest Moments 1968-2015 (Time-Life). Cataloging 50 or so years of over 120 of the greatest performances to ever grace the stage—Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and George Strait, to name a few—to some of absolute nadir of the art form—Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and Blake Shelton—to name some of the rest. But that’s probably the best thing about music, country or otherwise: there’s always something for everyone.

Freedom of choice, people!

Next week: Films of dark and disturbing things…

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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