Staff Picks: Being There….Almost
If, like me, your summer has gone by without much in the way of travel or musical events, here’s a potential cure for the summertime blues: Music DVDs. Recently, the library added a variety of performance DVDs from Celtic and Folk to Rock, Country and Bluegrass . Here is a sampling:
Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever is almost three hours of sheer joy. Recently released but blasting from back in 1983 with Richard Pryor as host, highlights of this Emmy award-winning show include a sing-off between the Temptations and the Four Tops, a reunion of the Supremes, Michael Jackson’s first televised moonwalk, WKRP’s Johnny Fever and Venus Fly-Trap who DJ hit after hit with the real deals- Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Smokey, Lionel, etc., all present and in top form.
You can go over the pond for Transatlantic Sessions: the Best of Folk Vol. 1, a cross-cultural exchange with Mary Chapin Carpenter, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck and traditional musicians from Ireland and Scotland.
Or go Absolutely Irish in New York, which feels like being at a ceilidh with informal music, singing and dancing.
Get on board the Big Easy Express with Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as they travel in a retro train from Oakland CA. to New Orleans, with stops for performances along the way.
There’s more for Bluegrass lovers with The Best of Bluegrass Underground vol. 1 and The Best of Bluegrass Underground vol. 2. These concerts were recorded in the Cumberland Caverns, Tennessee at 333 feet underground.
A living legend, Leonard Cohen Live in London transports you through decades of his musical poetry.
For a more exotic locale and beat, there’s Yanni Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico
If you prefer folk history, try Legends of Folk, which explores the early Greenwich Village folk movement with commentary and performances by Noel Paul Stookey, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Michelle Phillips, Don McLean and others. The documentary Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation features rare interviews with Lucy and Carly Simon, Kris Kristofferson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jose Feliciano, Pete Fornatale, Carole Hester, Ian Tyson and many others who were part of the scene.
For me, each time spent with these great musicians felt like a mini-vacation. So sit back and enjoy the sounds!