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Steve Ramm "Steve Ramm - Anything Phonographic" RSS Feed (Phila, PA USA)
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Janis Joplin - Janis Little Girl Blue
Janis Joplin - Janis Little Girl Blue
DVD ~ Janis Joplin
Price: $19.95
24 used & new from $11.47

5.0 out of 5 stars There’s extra footage (and no censorship editing) in the DVD version of this bio-doc that aired on PBS “American Masters” series, May 28, 2016
This 105 minute 2015 documentary aired on PBS recently on the “American Masters “ series. Because of the running time I’m pretty sure (but not certain) that the AM version was edited for graphic language and some (a small amount) of nudity. The DVD is unedited and includes three bonus features (extended or deleted scenes) including one “throwaway” – the ceremony where Joplin gets a star in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. (She is represented by her brother and sister)

The film tells the life (a short one, sadly) of Janis Joplin through the words of those who played with her or had relationships with her and the words from her private (until now) letters (read by indie artist Cat Power). And there is a lot of great archival footage too.

Anyone who is a big fan of Joplin will want to see this and those who are curious as to her young life before she became a symbol of the 60s, and how (and maybe why) she died so long will find this worth their time. I sure learned a lot.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


Zydeco Crossroads: Tale of Two Cities [Blu-ray]
Zydeco Crossroads: Tale of Two Cities [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Buckwheat Zydeco
Price: $14.99
30 used & new from $5.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully shot performances of the best in current Zydeco PLUS a 55-minute Rosie Ledet concert as a bonus!, May 28, 2016
Documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge has made a few other films about Louisiana music and this is the latest. The film was an offshoot of a music project that was the idea of Station Manager Roger Lamay and Station Music Director Bruce Warren from the non-commercial FM radio station WXPN in Philadelphia – the home of the nationally syndicated “World Café with David Dye”. Garnering funding from the Pew Center for Arts & heritage, XPN created a 16-month-long project to gather, present and preserve the musical culture and heritage of Southwest Louisiana (basically the area around Lafayette).

The project started by bringing some LA musicians to Philadelphia (actually, it was Camden, NJ across the river from Philly, where XPN holds their annual three-day music festival every July) to perform. (They also had an evening of dance in suburban Philly). Then Dye and Mugge travelled to Lafayette to record full, club performances by some of the living legends of Zydeco. Many are second (or even third) generation in the Ardoin family or the Dopsie family. The performances are great – nealy all complete. And the camera work makes you feel you are right there. Dye ties it all together with interviews between the performances.

The film runs 87 minutes but there’s a BIG bonus here too: A 55-minute film showing a full set from Rosie Ledet. A lot of entertainment – and education here – in a nicely done package at a darn good price.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.
Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2016 5:27 PM PDT


East Jerusalem West Jerusalem
East Jerusalem West Jerusalem
DVD ~ David Broza
Price: $24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Documentary on making of a record album with Israelis and Palestinians shows that music has no prejudice., May 24, 2016
This 2014 film (84 minutes) is just being released on home video by Film Movement. (I was provided with an advance screener. The film (with two co-directors ) documents Israeli singer songwriter David Broza’s eight day project in 2013 to make an album recorded in both sides of the border in Jerusalem (the Israeli said and the Palestinian side) with musicians of both sects. He even brought over Austin-based Americana Singer Steve Earle to produce some of the tracks and play on them. The first song they recorded was Earle’s hit song “Jerusalem”. They bring in a young Palestinian rapper who tells how music saved his life and this part will tug at your heart. Some songs are in Arabic and some are in Hebrew but most are in English, including a version of Nick Lowe’s hit “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?” sung by a chorus of Palestinian kids.
Not all the song performances are complete, but there is plenty of music here. There are four deleted scenes (about 13 minutes total) as “bonuses” on the DVD – including three complete songs with Broza and Earle.

Be aware that there are a few expletives (the film is “not rated”) but no violence or nudity.

While this might be considered a long infomercial for the CD (which I haven’t heard) – I found the film life-affirming. And, as a big Steve Earle fan, it was interesting to see him in a different environment.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


Kimberly-Clark Kleenex 21269 Boutique Facial Tissue with Floral Box, 5" Height x 4.375" Width x 4.375" Length, White (36 Boxes of 95)
Kimberly-Clark Kleenex 21269 Boutique Facial Tissue with Floral Box, 5" Height x 4.375" Width x 4.375" Length, White (36 Boxes of 95)
Price: $70.75
22 used & new from $55.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smaller sheets than normal Kleenex but appear to be same thickness, May 19, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I generally review entertainment products on Amazon but when Amazon offered this product in exchange for an objective review as part of its “Vine Reviewer” program (where they send the products to selected reviewers), I requested one since – like all of you – I use facial tissues (and I usually buy the Kleenex brand).

Of course the first thing I did when the sample boxes arrived was to try one. It seemed to be the same strength as the standard Kleenex but seemed a bit smaller in size. I looked on the box to see if the size was listed – but it wasn’t – so I measured the tissues. The regular Kleenex is marked on the box with the size. It is 8.2 x 8.4 inches. When I measured the “professional” ones I found that they are 8x8 inches. So you get a little bit less.
Whether that matters is up to you. They worked fine for me and the box takes up less space. Handy to have in bathroom, where counter space can be at a premium. But the cost per tissue is more than the larger boxes.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


Keepin' It Country - Live at Red Rocks
Keepin' It Country - Live at Red Rocks
DVD ~ Alan Jackson
Price: $14.98
20 used & new from $10.40

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jackson performs 26 hits over 106 minutes in the fast-paces 25th Anniversary concert, May 8, 2016
This is another entertaining DVD from a country music veteran from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Last year they released one of George Straits pre-retirement concerts and this time it’s Alan Jackson’s 25th Anniversary Tour – recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on the last night of his tour. Though it was raining on and off, the falls stood (literally) by as Jackson performed 26 numbers over 106 minutes (with songs from his 23 albums.

It’s definitely a “subjective” opinion but I find that watching concerts where the director makes so many quick camera cuts that I get dizzy. I mean that Jackson doesn’t get 5 words out of his mouth before the camera switches to the lead guitar player (at many points Jackson is just HOLDING his guitar), or the drummer. If you are at a concert, you focus on the singer. Because of this editing I rated this four, versus, five, stars.

Like other Eagle Rock DVD releases, there is a color booklet included. This rime it is just a 6 panel foldout with composer credits (Jackson wrote all but 3 songs here) and the on stage musicians.

But, unlike other Eagle Vision DVDs, there are no bonus features – just the concert.

The quality of the images is excellent as is the sound.

If you are an AJ fan, you’ll probably want this DVD

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


Masterpiece: Mr Selfridge - Season 4
Masterpiece: Mr Selfridge - Season 4
DVD ~ .
Price: $23.93
13 used & new from $23.11

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of the DVD version – and bonus features – with no “Spoilers”, May 7, 2016
Review of the DVD version – and bonus features – with no “Spoilers”
If you are coming to this review, you have most likely already seen the previous seasons, so I will not discuss the background of the show. I don’t consider it a “spoiler” – and you won’t find any “spoilers” here (I hate those) – but the series was planned to be four seasons and there are virtually no loose ends.

I have to admit that I did not enjoy the story line in this season as much as the earlier ones which focused on how Harry Selfridge built up his store as well as centering on the private lives of selected store workers. This season is a much darker season with very few happy moments. Some characters will leave, a few new ones will arrive and one of my favorite characters (no I’m not saying who) will return. I found one plot device that the writers (there are different ones for different episodes) very forced and there is a “villain” here too, though a lot different than that smarmy Lord Loxley, from earlier seasons.

The writers interpolate some real life characters who come to the store – including singer Albert Hunter and the Dolly Sisters (both from America).
The action takes place 20 years after Season one and yet some of the characters like Mr. Crab and Mr. Grove don’t seem to have aged. And it looks like Jeremy Piven’s “Harry” is using hair coloring to hide his gray.

I still am glad I watched this season because the story arc does come to a proper end. I just thought there was more “filler” to get to 10 45-minute episodes.

The DVD has four special features:
The (now-requisite) “Making of: featurette – 7 minutes
“The Rise and Fall of Harry Selfridge” a 3-minute featurette on the character’s continuing ups and downs (the melodrama part of the show)
“The Ladies of Selfridges” – a 3 ½ minute featurette on the store’s distaff staff
“A An Interview with Jeremy Piven” – A 6-minute on-set “interview” (just commentary actually) with the star.
There are English subtitles (but you probably won’t need them)

The series is a a fictional melodrama based on some real characters and some fictional ones. The real Harry Selfridge lived into his 90s but the series only takes us up to his 60s. You’ll need to read a bio to find out about his later years.

By the way. - unlike previous seasons where it said "Original UK version" on the front of the package, this time it says that in smaller print on the BACK of package.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


The Knoxville Sessions 1929-1930 - Knox County Stomp
The Knoxville Sessions 1929-1930 - Knox County Stomp
Price: $125.98
8 used & new from $110.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last third of “The Big Bang in Country Music” in a beautiful box set!, May 6, 2016
Nearly everyone who collects vintage music on 78s – even those who don’t collect country or hillbilly records – knows about the infamous 1927 recording sessions in Bristol, TN, where RCA recording scout (and later music publisher) Ralph Peer, recorded the first commercial sessions of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. In 2011 the Germany-based reissue label Bear Family Records, issued a deluxe five CD (plus book) set of the recordings. I was familiar with these Victor records but I wasn’t aware that – during the same period – Columbia was making similar recordings (which BFR released two years ago, and which I hope to review here). Even more interesting, to me at least, was that the smaller Brunswick Records label was doing recording sessions in another Eastern Tennessee city – Knoxville – at the St. James Hotel, home of Radio Station WNOX. Though the label had recorded George Reneau in their New York studios as early as 1924, it was two sessions (in 1929 and 1930) recorded by Producer Richard Voynow and audio engineer Bill Brown, that captured many local musicians (and a few that traveled long distances) in their own backyard.

This new deluxe release from the German-based Bear Family label – returns them to the Large Format box sets they produced as the “gold standard” in reissues. Knox County Stomp: Knoxville Sessions 1929-1930, was produced, and thoroughly annotated by Ted Olson and Tony Russell (who were responsible for the previous two collections). Unlike the Victor sessions, many of which appear on multiple collections, virtually none of the artists included here will be familiar to you. But, boy did they make great music and their releases (all on Brunswick’s Vocalion label) are not only hard to find, but in a few cases, only one copy is known to exist. The producers – both award-winning experts on Country music dug into their own collections and networked with other well-known collectors to acquire the best copies. The four CDs contain 99 recordings from private collections - nearly all in excellent condition - by black and white performers and bands. There’s even a spoken word record by Col, J.G. Sterchi, who owned the furniture store which sold phonographs and records and that housed both the St. James and the radio station. Half the reason to acquire this set – if you collect this kind of music – is the 12x12-inch 150-page hardbound book which Olsen and Russell wrote. Using the full recording ledgers of the two sessions, they provide details on, not only the artists whose records were issued, but those who – for one reason or another – were never released. There is a wealth of information here as well as great graphics and some wonderful performances of country, gospel, old-timey string band music and topical songs.

If you own the other two sets, you’ll definitely want this one. If you don’t, and want to hear landmark (and ultra-rare) recordings with great sound, this is also for you. I love it!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


ALCATEL OneTouch Pixi 3 Global Unlocked 3G Smartphone, 4.5 Display, 5MP Camera (GSM - US Warranty)
ALCATEL OneTouch Pixi 3 Global Unlocked 3G Smartphone, 4.5 Display, 5MP Camera (GSM - US Warranty)
Price: $48.54
12 used & new from $32.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I planned to use this with WIFI to surf web and not make phone calls. But battery life is really short., May 3, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I usually review entertainment products (and occasional food items) but I’m also a member of Amazon’s Vine Reviewer program (where Amazon offers selected items to program members) in exchange for an objective review. I took a different approach to this phone than other reviewers so far and maybe this will help others in my situation.

I do not own a smart phone. I have a prepaid Tracfone LG flip phone which cost about $30 for the phone and $8.00/month every 90 days for service. It serves my purpose for emergency calls and when travelling away from home. But I can’t check email or use the web.

With this phone costing less than $60 you can use it anywhere there is Wifi – which is easily available in coffee shops etc. And I have a router on my PC making my whole house WIFI. So I bought a cheap mini-SD card to add memory for music or photos and I don’t need a SIM card because I won’t be making phone calls. (That would cost at least $50/month). So I was looking forward to using this.

I’ve dropped it down to 3 stars for one important reason. After I fully charged the battery I turned it on to begin programming it and after 5 minutes the battery level had dropped to 95%. It continued to drop and after playing with it use the neat “voice activated” Google search engine (that was fun) I was down pretty quickly to 80%. So the battery really has a short life. I’m guessing only 4 hours or so. I don’t know if this is standard.
I’m not a tekkie so I can’t tell you details of the android system. I tried to add some new applications but got a bit frustrating. And it does have a user’s guide but you’d probably find having a magnifying glass handy.

I will say that – if there is a cell phone which is in this price range – but has a longer battery life, I’d go for that over this one. And remember that – as long as you have WIFI – you can skip the SIM card and use the photo for everything else except phone calls.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”


DII 100% Polyester, Machine Washable, Tonal Bordered Fabric Tablecloth, 60 x 84", Nautical Blue, Seats 6 to 8 People
DII 100% Polyester, Machine Washable, Tonal Bordered Fabric Tablecloth, 60 x 84", Nautical Blue, Seats 6 to 8 People
Price: $27.99
2 used & new from $19.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Nautical Blue color. It is stark against most patterned china, but worked fine outdoors., May 3, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Though most of my reviews here on Amazon are entertainment items (and sometimes food items), I periodically am offered items by Amazon under its Vine Program in exchange for an objective review. I was offered only the Nautical Blue color. Since our dining room is Danish modern and most everything is brown or beige the color was a bit too stark to use there. But, at this price it makes a very nice table cloth for outdoor use. It doesn't wrinkle and didn't need ironing. It does have a few snags too. Ithe tablecloth is made in China (like most things these days).

It's serving it's purpose though I'm not sure I'd use for a fancy dinner on our dining room table even if it was a different color.


Shuffle Along
Shuffle Along
Price: $16.14
27 used & new from $10.98

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This deluxe CD contains EIGHT recordings that have NEVER been released anywhere until now., May 3, 2016
This review is from: Shuffle Along (Audio CD)
I’ll state upfront that I contributed to this release by hooking up the owner a super rare 78rpm acetate with the record label. I have no financial reward from this project.

You may have seen publicity for a “new” Broadway version of the 1921 landmark musical Shuffle Along, which had a script by Miller & Lyles and a score by pioneer recording artists Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. Broadway director George C. Wolfe has adapted the show and given it a new (and lengthy) title: Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. I do hope to get into New York to see it - and to review the 2016 SA Original Cast album too. In the meantime, the really big news is this new CD from Harbinger Records titled Sissle and Blake sing Shuffle Along This is a project I’ve shepherded for almost 25 years since fellow collector Peter Shambarger discovered the acetate 78rpm of the “backers disc” for the planned revival, Shuffle Along of 1950, where Sissle narrates the plot and sings the songs while Blake accompanies him. The show was never mounted but a different version did hit Broadway in 1952 and lasted but four performances (there was an RCA Ep released featuring stars of the ’52 version , Avon Long and Thelma Carpenter.. Shambarger gave the rights to Ken Bloom of Harbinger who had superb transfers made by go-to sound engineer Doug Pomeroy, and eight of the songs are included on the new CD. (None of Sissle’s commentary was included but plans are to release the full “backers’ disc” in the fall.). None of these eight tracks have ever been heard except for Shambarger, Pomeroy, Bloom or myself. – until now! The rest of the CD is filled with 13 recordings, and one “uncredited piano roll” by cast members of the 1921 show. None of these recordings have been on CD before. As with other Harbinger Productions, there is a 24-page booklet with two detailed essays and rare photos which add a lot to the enjoyment. The Broadway production is to have an Original Cast album to be released on the Nonesuch label, but Harbinger is giving the world the “real thing”.

This 64- minute CD is A MUST for theater and early jazz collectors.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
“Anything Phonographic”
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2016 11:48 AM PDT


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