Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas treats: for me !

Christmas treats, and its not even Christmas yet and I don't know what Santa is bringing! 
I am engrossed in the new biography of Aretha Franklin, "Respect" by expert David Ritz who certainly knows his soul and r&b, having known and worked with them all. Its a terrific 500 page tome filling us in on everything Aretha!
The Joni Mitchell new 4-cd retrospective in that nice book package, with extensive notes by Joni, and the re-mastered favourites sound great. Nice Christmas references too:
"River" of course is a new Christmas classic and gets covered a lot: "Its coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees, they're putting up reindeer, and singing songs of joy and peace" ..... and that nice reference in "Chinese Cafe": "Christmas is sparkling out on Carol's lawn, this friend of my childhood games has kids almost grown and gone".... and I love how she sings in "Barangrill" (not included here): "The guy at the gas pumps has a lot of soul, he sings "Merry Christmas" for you just like Nat King Cole".
Sophia's book is also a treat for devotees as she reveals a lot about her early Italian films and shares correspondence from Cary Grant and Richard Burton, and comments on a lot of her films, surprisingly dismissing EL CID as a "Superwestern" ....
That new David Hockney documentary has just arrived too - I have had a quick look, it contains moments from earlier BBC documentaries I did not have any more, and also from Hazan's A BIGGER SPLASH, and there is another new Hockney documentary too, covering his recent paintings. 
On the music front, Aretha new "Diva Anthems" cd nicely complements the new book, while Ella and Nelson Riddle is a treat (thanks Jerry), with perfect versions of songs like "I Can't Get Started" and "Georgia On My Mind", reminding one of that lush Nelson Riddle sound; Quincy Jones steps up to the mark too with that fabulous Donna Summer album now re-issued and expanded with great notes (also part of a Donna 6 cd reissue) - this is probably my most played cd just now, great to hear "Love Is In Control", "State of Independence" and/"Lush Life" again - as per my last post on Donna (see label). I am awaiting delivery of FKA Twigs and "LP1" (right) - modern hip hop with a twist. 
Then there is BFI stuff to catch up with: "Sight & Sound" and the January programme with some more Maggie Smith treats .... more at labels!
And the Christmas song? Tom Odell's "Real Love" .... along with Sam Smith ("In The Lonely Hour") and Ed Sheeran ("X") the success of the year. 

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