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Jym Cherry "Writing Under The Influence of Rock 'n' Roll!" RSS Feed (Wheaton, IL United States)

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11/22/63: A Novel
11/22/63: A Novel
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.29
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5.0 out of 5 stars King Demonstrates Why He's King of Modern Novel, April 8, 2013
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This review is from: 11/22/63: A Novel (Paperback)
I'm a late convert to Stephen King. I first realized his genius when I read "Hearts In Atlantis" and realized it was the best book of short stories I'd read since James Joyce's "Dubliners" (as a counterpoint, I read "Carrie" as a teenager and I didn't like it; does this demonstrate an evolution in Stephen King or me?). Then King made his claim as the modern day Poe in "Full Dark, No Stars," and in "11/22/63" King demonstrates his all around mastery of the written word and acumen for storytelling. In his novels, King has developed and remained consistent to the mythological Maine he has created, much as Faulkner created a mythological Mississippi in his Yoknapatawpha County.

Stephen King has the uncanny ability to tap into the universal and extrapolate it to the literal. Usually, that archetype is a fear of ours, but in the case of "11/22/63" it's the urge to change the world. King is able to see reaction to every action, the concatenation, the clanking of kinetic balls, one event leading to the next, and the consequences of changing history and that even with the best of intentions we may not be able to see the full ramifications of the change.

"11/22/63" is about High School teacher Jake Epping who, through his friend Al who owns a diner, discovers a wormhole or "rabbit hole" in time back to September 1958. Al talks Jake into going back in time and wait the five years it takes for 1963 to come around to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating JFK. But that is just like giving you the ingredient list of a lavish and extravagant feast. It pales in comparison to what you actually receive.

King has the gift of a great writer, his writing seems like the events are unfolding as they would in life. Even good writer's books seem like projections of life, plots unfold in their books because that is exactly what happened. The writers plotted the book out as to what is going to happen, according to their wishes and their outline. "11/22/63" doesn't seem plotted or planned (undoubtedly it is), the twists and turns don't seem contrived, King doesn't leave the machinery visible, he puts it behind the scrim of the story, and the story, the action and the plot seem natural, like it`s happening in real life.

"11/22/63" is a beautifully written book like looking at the Mona Lisa, or maybe a Picasso because as you follow one line of the picture being created it suddenly kicks off in another unexpected direction. King has a complexity of the characters that defies labels such as hero or villain. Jake Epping has killed in cold blood (albeit for an altruistic reasons), but the complexity comes to full force in the Lee Harvey Oswald character. King could have put Oswald in the strict confines of the villain and no one would have objected to that characterization, but King doesn't take the easy road and doesn't let the reader off that easily. Oswald is portrayed as a frustrated individual with visions of grandeur (with very little to back that assessment of himself) who beats his wife, but he's also portrayed as a loving father. As in life, these traits aren't mutually exclusive.

Then there what are technically the sub-plots and ancillary characters. When Jake goes to Jodie, Texas and taking a job as a teacher and falling in love with librarian Sadie Dunhill is the main sub-plot of the novel, but it doesn't feel like a sub-plot it's just what Jake has to do waiting for time to bring him into contact with Oswald. Then there are the ancillary characters or what would be ancillary characters mere walk on parts in the hands of a lesser writer, become fully fleshed out and realized characters that make it seem as if King were writing from life instead of creating fiction (a scary thought, what if King is and always has written from life?).

King has the confidence of a master writer in "11/22/63" he breaks the fourth wall between, writer, story and the reader. He tips off the reader to the parts of the machinery behind the story without actually exposing the gears. Little touches such as noting that characters in novels never have to go to the bathroom, and as Jake works on a manuscript of his story King inserts lines like "...the manuscript you're now reading (if there is ever a you)." King also gets high marks in the verisimilitude department, those little details that make you suspend your disbelief and take the ride in the world the writer wants to show you. One that really grabbed me is that a car key is hidden in a Sucrets box. That is exactly right on! Everybody used old Sucrets boxes to store knick-knacks and King uses it brilliantly.

You're going to want to read this book, FAST! Devouring the story to see what happens next, but don't, you're going to want to savor every twist and turn of this delicious tale. I've never been a fan of Stephen King's horror and he never veers too far away. That stated, "11/22/63" probably falls into the science fiction category, but to not read Stephen King would be the real horror.

Harlan Ellison's Watching
Harlan Ellison's Watching
by Harlan Ellison
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars Harlan Ellison Thinking in the Movies, March 31, 2013
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In the 1970's Harlan Ellison published "The Glass Teat" a compilation of his articles he published in the L.A. Free Press. The articles were a critical assessment of television of the period and they became instant classics. "The Glass Teat" became part of the curriculum at numerous colleges and their media departments. In "Watching" Ellison takes his critical and rhetorical skills to the movies.

"Watching" covers a much broader span of time than "The Glass Teat" from the early 60's until the late 80's. In his articles, Ellison goes from straight movie reviewing to more behind the scenes and critical assessments of movies tackling subjects such as the "auteur" method of filmmaking, colorization, the so called homage and to the more subliminal messages behind the movies. Unless you're a rabid Ellison fan, his opinions on movies are never predictable and they may surprise or shock you but the reasoning behind his informed opinion is sound.

In writing his articles, Ellison's passion for the subject would get the better of him and he'd take off on digressions that would make even the best critical essayist jealous. Ellison is always the first to admit to the digressions and tries to control them, but even against his own will Ellison's reviews can stretch across two or even three articles because of his digressions. However, in the hands of Ellison those digressions are always interesting and thought provoking. I can't think of any other writer who can do this.

It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of reading anything of Harlan Ellison's and in reading "Watching" rediscovered that Harlan Ellison is a sheer pleasure to read! "Watching" captures Ellison's sense of humor and occasionally you'll find yourself laughing out loud at some points, agreeing with others, wondering at some, and disagreeing with him, but Ellison is always interesting and thought provoking. One note when reading "Watching", or anything by Ellison for that matter, you better sharpen up your vocabulary, you're going to need it.

After reading "Watching" you'll realize that when the lights go down and the movie comes on Harlan Ellison is thinking about the movie, and by reading "Watching" it'll make you a better watcher of movies.

Kolchak - The Night Stalker
Kolchak - The Night Stalker
DVD ~ Darrin McGavin
Price: $22.98
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Campy Horror Still Entertaining!, February 23, 2013
This review is from: Kolchak - The Night Stalker (DVD)
I didn’t even know “The Night Stalker” series existed on DVD until I went out to dinner with some friends this past November and they mentioned they had it. Since it was a favorite TV of my teen-aged years I instantly invited myself over to watch a couple of episodes and when I got home I quickly made sure I disseminated a couple of hints to my sister that this would make a great Christmas present (she said the first hint was fairly obvious and the second was almost overkill).

“Kolchak: The Night Stalker” is the complete series of the 1974 television series starring Darren McGavin. The premise of this TV series was that Carl Kolchak, a Chicago based reporter for the Independent News Service (INS) which seems to be on the lowest level of journalism that is either a reporters first or last job, INS seems to be Kolchak’s last chance. He inadvertently keeps running into supernatural explanations for murders that at first seem innocuous and ordinary until Kolchak starts to dig deeper into the story. Simon Oakland plays his overwrought boss Tony Vincenzo who wishes and tries to get Kolchak to get in the story he assigned him.

In the course of his investigations Kolchak has run-ins with headless motorcyclists, a witches coven in the fashion industry, robots who have gained sentiency, American Indian Gods, lizard creatures living in the sewers and a werewolf on a cruise ship. “The Night Stalker” is also host to a who’s who of 70’s actors, Eric Estrada, Jamie Farr, Larry Storch, Dick Van Patten, Larry Linville, Antonio Fargas, Cathy Lee Crosby, Jim Backus and few others you’ll know on sight but not their names such as John Fiedler.

“The Night Stalker” is famously noted as the inspiration behind Chris Carter’s “The X-Files” but you can also find ideas that would get a more fully played out in 80’s movies, disturbing Indian burial grounds (Poltergeist), a dead arsonist who possess people as they sleep (A Nightmare on Elm Street), cells from the Antarctic begin to grow when accidentally thawed (The Thing), although the producers did have a relationship with Richard Matheson who wrote the original story “The Thing” is based on.

Some of the monsters look kind of campy, they did even in 1974, but the producers kept them in the dark, literally, low lighting to overcome the campiness of the creatures, but on DVD it only detrimentally affects two of the episodes. The one really element lacking is a special features side it would have been cool to have an interview with Darren McGavin or some of the others associated with the show. “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” was always fun to watch and light a child’s imagination and the stories still hold up today (despite low TV production values) and I found myself still being entertained.

Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate (Discovering America)
Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate (Discovering America)
by Ginger Gail Strand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.83
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highways and Their Unintended Consequences, February 23, 2013
Serial killers are our modern bogeymen, since the 1950’s not a decade has gone by without the name of a serial killer marking both the literal and psychic landscape, their rage has become our voyeuristic rage. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The highway system is the ligature that connects this country and has hastened the advent of mass travel, communication and delivery of goods across the country, it was proposed and built during Eisenhower administration of the 50’s. Do you see the connection between the rise of era of serial killers and the highway system? Ginger Strand does and in “Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate” she explains that one of the unintended consequences of the highway system was to abet serial killers and isolate the most at risk groups on whom serial killers prey.

Strand juxtaposes the building and expansion of the interstate highway system and some of the more sensational serial killers of the past 50 years and how the interstate system helped in their crimes. Starting in the 1950’s Strand starts with the spree killings of Charles Starkweather and Carol Ann Fugate, who didn’t technically use the interstate system, were the first highly mobile killers, committing their murders and jumping into their car or stealing an available one they would take off on the country roads to their next crime, it was shocking on a number of levels and caught the attention and frightened the nation.

Reading “Killer on the Road” ones become aware of the long litany of names of serial killers that have affected our culture and why. She identifies three reasons the interstate highway system has abetted serial killers in their ability to find victims. The first of course is mobility, for some serial killers it was as easy as getting on the highway and looking for hitchhiker. Wayne Williams, the Atlanta Child Killer, made his escape by being sure he committed his crimes only minutes away from a highway on-ramp and was out of the vicinity of the murder of his victims within minutes of his crimes. The second reason is the placement of the highways. With the rise of desegregation and the civil rights movement the highway system was used as a tool to isolate and close off minority neighborhoods from the rest of the city, black areas that had heretofore been segregated areas became ghettos with the highways virtually walling those areas off. This was not one of the intended goals of the Eisenhower administration but when local politicians and contractors were awarded funding they were also given the ability of placing the highway where they wanted and they used those contracts to their own political goals. The last reason is related to the second, the isolation of different socio-economic groups from each other. With the highways separating the well-off white areas from the poorer black communities, it became easier to not associate with people of a different economic status and that breeds a contempt for those of a “lower status” that goes along with not understanding them as human beings.

Are highways and serial killers America’s final export and westernization of the rest of the world? Since NAFTA was enacted serial killings have risen in Mexico, and now India and China are expanding their highway systems and they too are seeing a rise in serial killers.

“Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate” is not an entertaining read but it is interesting and doesn’t bury you in boring technical details of the planning of the highway system. It also doesn’t glorify the serial killer and their crimes and where possible Ms. Strand recognizes the victims and doesn’t treat them as statistics but as real human beings with names, and lives they wanted to complete.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2014 7:58 PM PDT

The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
by Joyce Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Kerouac Biography, February 23, 2013
In her introduction to “The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac” Joyce Johnson warns against considering her biography of Jack Kerouac a definitive version, but after reading the book I guess I’ll do it for her. If there is such a thing as a definitive biography Johnson’s “The Voice is All” is as close as you can get.

Besides being a writer in her own right, Johnson had an affair with Kerouac just as his breakthrough and now classic “On The Road” brought him national acclaim and fame. She also remained friends with him the rest of his life. Biographies or memoirs by ex-girlfriends or lovers can be a scary proposition. They can turn out to be a love letter that borders on hagiography, a defense of their love, a kiss and tell book, or even a volume that settles a score with the former loved one. However, Johnson gets it right with an unbiased biography.

In the “Voice is All” Johnson visits all the usual landmarks of Kerouac’s life, his relationship and the death of his brother Gerard, his early interest in and exploring of his imagination and the creation that resulted from it, the travails of his youth, the athletic prowess that got him out of the factory town of Lowell, MA, and to Columbia University in New York, falling in with group of friends that would inspire him and would later become known as The Beats, including Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and John Clellon Holmes. What is new is the information Johnson brings out with the aid of her being able to access Kerouac’s archives, and she delves more deeply than other writers have into the relationships that formed Kerouac both early on and in his budding literary career, including his brother Gerard, and more surprising Holmes who most biographers brush past in favor of Kerouac’s more incendiary relationship with Neal Casssady.

Another point Johnson pulls into tighter focus is Kerouac’s devotion to writing and the WORK he put into it, going over the diaries Kerouac kept, and the visions and revisions he went through to insure his work was the best writing he could do until he elevated it to the level of the writers he admired Thomas Wolfe, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville.

Johnson also brings her considerable skill and insight as a writer to the volume. I never once found the writing hum-drum, boring, or average. It was engaging all the way through.

Johnson is now around 78 years old, and “The Voice is All” ends right before Kerouac meets her and fame. I hope there’s plans and time enough for her to finish a companion volume.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2013 7:03 PM PST

Destiny of the Sands (Secret of the Sands) (Volume 2)
Destiny of the Sands (Secret of the Sands) (Volume 2)
by Rai Aren
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.10
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High Adventure in the Sands, February 23, 2013
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When "The Empire Strikes Back" was released Gene Siskel mentioned that the middle story of a trilogy is less satisfying than the first or the last part because the first part is usually an engaging adventure and the last third has the resolution not found in the middle. That's what may be occurring with "Destiny of the Sands."

Destiny is two simultaneous stories that parallel each other. The first is one of ancient Egypt in a culture that predates the ancient Egyptians known as the Kierani. The Kierani are the ones who are responsible for building the monument we know as the Sphinx. Civil war is brewing among the Kierani as King Traeus tries to keep the Pharom, a device of his own creation and the source of immense power, from his enemies.

In the contemporary time line the newly minted archeology professors Alex (Alexandria) and Mitch are celebrating their professorships. They have previously discovered evidence of the Kierani civilization and the Pharom, and they've been lamenting the fact that they have had to keep secret their discovery of the Kieranis so the Pharom's power doesn't fall into the wrong hands. As they return to their apartment they find it ransacked, and while still wondering what has happened receive a message in the Kierani language. They soon return to Egypt to protect the secrets and the power of the Pharom.

While King Traeus has his nemesis in Zhek, who is trying to suborn a coup, Mitch and Alexandria have their's in Maximilian Reichmann, the son of a German archeologist who discovers a Kierani relic that inexplicably radiates trace but noticeable amounts of energy and seems impervious to destruction. Reichmann and his henchmen (ex-Stasi officers) will stop at nothing to obtain the Pharom and its power.

One of the things I was wondering about is what exactly the Pharom is and what it's supposed to do? We do get an explanation toward the end of the Kierani's story, but it doesn't explain what Reichmann thinks it will do. Reichmann seems to think the Pharom's energy will transform him, although, the Pharom has done nothing but destroy things. We never learn what or why Reichmann thinks the Pharom will do anything else.

In "Secret of the Sands" I enjoyed the relationship between Mitch and Alex. They were very strong characterizations and really carried the day so I wanted to see what happened to them next and see what was built upon those characters. But in Destiny, Mitch and Alex seem a little subdued, they seem more along for the ride than anything else, and even their relationship(s) don't seem to advance.

I enjoyed the contemporary story of Destiny more than the Kierani sections, although most of the more engaging action takes place in the Kierani story. The one thing that distracted me was we're told the Kierani are a more advanced than the Egyptians but nothing in their culture explains or demonstrates that conclusion except the anachronistic Pharom.

Overall "Destiny of the Sands" is an above average read. Despite some minor cliché's (a ruthless German named Reich man) and whether you're pulled into the intrigues of the Kierani and Traeus attempts to avoid civil war, or the high adventure of Alex and Mitch's efforts to rediscover the Phraom and defeat Reichmann, there is something for everyone in this adventure, and will tide you over until and for the conclusion in the last third of the trilogy which I'm sure will answer all the questions and leave the reader with a grand resolution.

DVD ~ Daniel Day-Lewis
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spielberg's Lincoln a Masterpiece!, November 18, 2012
This review is from: Lincoln (DVD)
As a reviewer sometimes movies are on the edge of a rating and you have to think was this movie a three star or a three and half star movie? Or should I hedge the bet and average it up? Or down? But Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" is unabashedly a five star movie!

"Lincoln" isn't a biography of the President, but covers the time from just after his reelection up to his assassination. It focuses on his efforts to get the 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed before the new Congress is seated and the all the wheedling, machinations, deals, and plain old politics that went into the passing of the Amendment. The dramatic vote on the Amendment, which may be the second most important roll call in American history (next to the roll call on the vote for the Declaration of Independence), may also be the second most tension filled roll call of cinematic America since the movie "1776." As the roll is called and the Congress votes, even though we know how the vote turns out, we're on pins and needles trying to figure out how each Congressmen will vote. Will they adhere to party lines, or will they crossover?

Although "Lincoln" isn't a full blown biography (which are at best highlights of a life on film) we're able to get a sense of the man. Daniel Day-Lewis' Lincoln is a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and it weighs on him almost literally. Lincoln is also a man that loves his children, but has a contentious relationship with his oldest son Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Lincoln's marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field) also teeters from her being an astute political ally of Lincoln's to the edge of madness. Day-Lewis doesn't so much as turn in a performance or channel Lincoln, he seems to inhabit him, it was like looking into the eyes of Lincoln.

"Lincoln" also fleshes out the members of Congress that were important to the vote, and demonstrates the more things change the more they stay the same (they just had funkier facial hair then). That some of our `leaders' are truly that, leaders, while some have all the courage of the convictions of their party and not their own, and some are downright malleable. The ultimate lesson of "Lincoln" (and the Civil War) is that democracy and this country are what we make of it.

The cast is a long and distinguished one, including David Straitharn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Tommy Lee-Jones, Hal Holbrook, Bruce McGill, Jackie Earle-Haley, and a whole list of instantly recognizable names some of which have carried movies on their own, and each turns in an excellent performance, which mostly makes the actor invisible and the character real as a human being as opposed to our history class understanding of them. "Lincoln" is Steven Speilberg's movie. It is like Picasso signing a painting. "Lincoln" is also a pure example of filmmaking. Speilberg blends all the arts and trades that make a movie into a seamless work of art.

One of the marks of a great movie, book, or painting, is whether you want to see it again and again to see what nuances reveal themselves. I want to see "Lincoln" again. This is easily one of the best movies of our lifetimes.

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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a Hero...and a Man, November 5, 2012
Moments make heroes not lifetimes, and Denzel Washington's performance of Whip Whitaker in "Flight" proves that. While Whip may be a great pilot he's a human being with a lot of problems that take up as much room in his life as his heroism.

Washington's Whitaker is a pilot who we seem from the outset has a lot of problems in his life, an ex-wife, a drinking problem, and a bit of cocaine habit which all might not be so bad if he weren't an airline pilot about to board a flight he's piloting.

The flight starts off rocky, Whitaker takes off through a rainstorm and powers through it to clear air, with a bit of lying to the control tower about what he's doing, the rest of the flight is uneventful until the plane starts to malfunction and to save the plane he flies it inverted before flip it back and landing in a field with only minimal deaths onboard. The rest of the movie deals with how Whitaker deals with his problems and his addictions as its discovered that he was drunk at the time of the crash and the NTSB hearing looms ever closer and jail time is the outcome if he's found negligent.

Washington has one of his best performances in "Flight" it's a low key and understated performance and most of it is realized in Whitakers attitude as he moves through the ordeal from a confident and cocky pilot, to a man worried about his future and he tries to influence the testimony of the crew on the airplane, Margaret (Tamara Tunie) and his co-pilot (Brian Gerahty). John Goodman puts in a flamboyant performance as Whitaker's on-call drug dealer and he almost steals the show with a performance that should be over the top but isn't. Kelly Reilly has a great role as Nicole, a heroin addict who moves in with Whitaker but can't take his addictions and denial.

The songs played on the soundtrack are kind of an obvious telegraphing what's going on, but one intriguing aspect was the heartbeat played at appropriate moments.

"Flight" is the kind of movie made to highlight good performances, everything from the special effects to the acting to serves to make a poignant and powerful film.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2012 9:27 AM PST

Live At The Bowl 68
Live At The Bowl 68
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would Have Made a Great Live Album!, October 25, 2012
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This review is from: Live At The Bowl 68 (Audio CD)
The Hollywood Bowl was a prestigious booking for any rock band, and maybe more so for The Doors. They were local boys who made it and the Hollywood Bowl was proof of that. It was a hometown crowd and The Doors were out to give the best show they could. They rehearsed for the show (something they didn't ordinarily do especially after Jim Morrison became more estranged from the band), they prepared a set-list and they seemed to stick to it and The Doors gave a pretty tight performance at the Hollywood Bowl on July 5, 1968.

"The Doors: Live at the Bowl `68" is the companion soundtrack to the DVD/Blu-Ray of the same name that was released earlier this week (October 22, 2012) and while it may not be as good a stand alone item as "Live at the Bowl '68" DVD/Blu-Ray, it's still a good soundtrack to the Hollywood Bowl shows and would have made a good live album in 1968, if it weren't for technical difficulties, but you can't rewrite The Doors.

In the spring of 1968 The Doors had decided to film their shows for a documentary film that would later become "Feast of Friends" and the Hollywood Bowl was filmed with an eye to inclusion in the film. But during three songs, "Hello, I Love You," "The Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)," and "Spanish Caravan," Morrison's microphone feed to the recording equipment failed and compromised the show until technology caught up. Although "The Doors Live at the Hollywood Bowl" was released in 1989 it was incomplete, there was nothing either The Doors or Bruce Botnick could do to restore the three missing songs, until now. Long time Doors engineer (and co-producer of "L.A. Woman") Bruce Botnick through the magic of digital technology was able to piece together the missing songs and now the Hollywood Bowl show is complete in the release of "The Doors: Live at the Bowl `68."

The CD sounds great! The sound `POPS!' out at you, you can hear everything clearly from Morrison shaking maracas near the microphone (which the audience probably never heard!) and it sounds like drummer John Densmore is bashing his way to a new drum kit, Morrison's voice is a strong growl, Robby Krieger's guitar tears out into the Hollywood Hills, and Ray Manzarek's keyboards and bass gives the band a full, filled out sound, it must have been something to see and hear the show live!

The strengths of the CD are also some of the strengths of the DVD/Blu-Ray, the deconstruction of "Celebration of the Lizard" that had poetic segues into the more traditional songs such as "Light My Fire" creates a jarring, disconcerting and theatrical effect. Morrison demonstrates his command of an audience, highlighted during "The End," his `Have you seen the accident outside' section creates the feel and mood of a house party with a rumor running through it and when Morrison sees a grasshopper onstage he creates the impromtu "Ode to a Grasshopper." When he realizes it's a moth says "uh-oh, I blew it, it's a moth" and gets a laugh, but he pulls everyone back into the tension and drama of the song.

The CD contains a couple of weaknesses the DVD/Blu-Ray doesn't. Since this concert was filmed a lot of the crowd reaction you hear on the CD is dependent on seeing what Jim Morrison is doing onstage, without that, it kind of loses its meaning and context within the show. The CD comes in cardboard CD case and not a jewel case. And while the DVD/Blu-Ray contains more than your average bonus features section the CD contains no bonus tracks or special features.

The CD of "The Doors: Live at the Bowl `68" is great to have in your car and cruise around listening to and playing the movie in your head.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 9:25 AM PDT

Words and Music: Excursions in the Art of Rock Fandom
Words and Music: Excursions in the Art of Rock Fandom
by (Rock music fan) Michael Anthony
Edition: Paperback
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author's Excitement on Rock 'n' Roll is Infectious!, October 22, 2012
It's rare that I recommend a book to readers without finishing it, but this one is a rare book that comes along far to seldom. It's a book that rock fans will find well written, cogently thoughtful about Rock 'n' Roll, and insightful of the artists and subjects author Michael Anthony tackles in "Words and Music: Excursions in the Art of Rock Fandom" as well as exciting to the reader.

"Words and Music: Excursions in the Art of Rock Fandom" is a fan's tour through fandom. Anthony is part Rock `n' Roll philosopher, critic, fan, memoirist and raconteur. However, "Words and Music" is more than a fan's diary or thoughts about his favorite bands, Anthony dares to go deeper and explore the meaning of the music, groups and albums that are part of his life and a part of our lives. Some of the questions he tackles in "Words and Music" are, what does happen if you play `Stairway to Heaven' backwards? Do you have to sell your soul to Rock `n' Roll? And the origins of Bob Dylan's name?

My favorite group is The Doors and "Words and Music" has a chapter on The Doors. At first I was a little bit worried as the chapter was titled "Morrison Hotel", which seemed a little too predictable. When I got into the chapter I found that Anthony is one of the few people that got Morrison right! Anthony's analysis, on The Doors and their music, seems right on to me. Even for the highly subjective such as why "Strange Days" is The Doors best album, there's even room for disagreement on "Riders on the Storm", but Anthony hits on the darker elements of "Roadhouse Blues" because of its rollicking good time feel, which is usually missed or overlooked by writers.

The book isn't written in any overly mannered analysis or didactic writing of the critic, but in an easily readable language of a fan. Anthony's genuine excitement about Rock `n' Roll comes through in the writing and is infectious to the reader. You will find yourself considering fandom and your favorite singer in a different way, or perhaps it will reinforce what you were already thinking about the group. Either way, it will get you thinking a little more deeply about Rock `n' Roll.

I'm going to finish reading "Words and Music" I only put it down to write this review, you'll find yourself unable to put down the book as well.

Jim Cherry writes The Doors Examiner

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