Manufacturer: Sony Classical
This is my Hairspray CD that I no Longer want. The cast recording for the Broadway musical of John Waters's 1988 paean to dance, music, big beautiful women, and integration is a sheer delight. It's wonderfully upbeat all the way through, with a classic feel that's in keeping with the story's setting in the early 1960s. The characters come alive in these songs, from Marissa Jaret Winokur's (Tracy Turnblad) opening lines in "Good Morning Baltimore" to the stunningly upbeat finale, "You Can't Stop the Beat." The music is by Marc Shaiman, whose recent projects include South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, as well as a number of film soundtracks, and his compositions are simultaneously solid and exuberant. Shaiman and Scott Wittman's lyrics brim over with the unreserved passions and primary-color emotions that made the film so successful. Regardless of one's familiarity with the story or the stage production, it's hard to avoid the appeal of this recording; even the less cheerful songs are awash in bright colors, without disrespect for their subjects. --Genevieve Williams
We don't know how it's possible, but this is the first time a single-disc Roger Miller compilation has ever been put together! So many classics here: his Top 10 pop hits King of the Road and Dang Me ; his country smashes Chug-A-Lug; Engine Engine #9; England Swings; South; River in the Rain (last two from his musical Big River ), and 13 more!
Howl has been out of print since '85-fortunately for us, Ginsberg laid the plans for this reissue before he passed away in April 1997. His friend and colleague Anne Waldman contributed the notes and a poem-as he'd requested-and the Ginsberg estate supplied great period photos. One of the most important documents we have of the Beat Generation. Has a more notorious, infamous, call to arms of a poem than "Howl" been published in the late 20th century? Scrawled in 1955 with such intimate, enthusiastic fervor by the young Ginsberg, "Howl" helped thrust into the public eye the Beats--a genuinely original, deep, and at times unintentionally campy group of writers. But "Howl" is Ginsberg's work, and while it pays homage to his close friends--like William S. Burroughs ("who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit") and Jack Kerouac ("or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha")--it's no documentary of bohemian writerdom. Forget for a second that "Howl" is the famous poem it is--so frequently parodied, copied, and infamously litigated against--and just listen. This disc presents an intense, well-recorded reading from 1959 of this spiritual, touching work. The record also includes "Kaddish," "A Supermarket in California," and six other important works. --Mike McGonigal
If Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then Weird Al Yankovic must be the Court Jester. For the past 25 years, Weird Al has been simultaneously entertaining and annoying millions of music fans around the world. He's set to do it again with a new album later this month (Straight Outta Lynnwood). All hail the return of novelty music's reigning king! Straight Outta Lynwood easily bests 2003's Poodle Hat and shows that Yankovic does know what he does best. Part of the secret to Weird Al's success is that he's never been very weird at all, and very rarely are his satires in any way "biting"--or even satires, really. The 11-minute parody of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" is funny at least for the first listen, but it's hard to ridicule something so largely ridiculous in the first place (plus Jimmy Kimmel totally got the jump on him). The best thing Mr. Yankovic has always done is to take some decent pop tune, change a word or phrase, invent an entirely new premise for the tune, and make an inspired video to go along with it. He does that several times here; Green Day's "American Idiot" becomes the hockey-obsessed "Canadian Idiot," and "White & Nerdy" is a truly inspired take on Chamillionaire's "Ridin'." That song is breakneck-paced and so funny it's a disservice to quote from it at all. "Polkarama!" is a return to W.A.'s novelty roots: a handful of mildly dated hit songs (50 Cent to Modest Mouse!) delivered in straight-ahead, sped-up polka style. It's toe-tapping and sweet. Hopefully we'll not have to wait three years for another Weird Al record. --Mike McGonigal
James Earl Jones Reads the Bible, Deluxe Edition, KJV
Manufacturer: Topics Entertainment
Brand: Topics Entertainment
With a voice as rich as it is recognized, James Earl Jones brings the King James Version of the New Testament alive with his narrative talents. OscarÂ®-nominated, Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actor James Earl Jones has earned a worldwide reputation as one of the worldâ€™s most versatile actors and voiceover artists. In over 19 hours on 14 digitally re-mastered compact discs, James Earl Jones Reads the Bible interprets the most enduring book of our time utilizing the acclaimed actorâ€™s superb storytelling and skilled characterizations. James Earl Jones, who includes in his credits The Lion King, Patriot Games and Star Wars, has provided what is hailed as the greatest spoken-word Bible version ever. With over 400,000 copies sold, this exquisite audio treasure is certain to entertain and inspire. Complete New Testament (King James Version) - Digitally Re-mastered - Bonus! 12 classic hymns recorded by the Nashville Faith - Choir and Friends - International Bestseller with over 400,000 units sold! Bonus Old Time Gospel Hymns sung by the acclaimed Nashville Faith Choir and Friends is a collection of 12 classic hymns including Victory In Jesus, The Old Rugged Cross, and the ever popular Amazing Grace.
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
If you're only hearing Al's inspired song parodies, you're missing half the gags! His long-awaited classic-video collection boasts 24 of his best including Bob from his recent album Poodle Hat ; that joins Ricky; Eat It; I Lost on Jeopardy; Like a Surgeon; Fat; Smells Like Nirvana; Amish Paradise; Dare to Be Stupid; Living with a Hernia; I Love Rocky Road , and more.