wed 26/04/2017

1950s

DVD: Mario Lanza - The Best of Everything

Born Alfred Arnold Cocozza to immigrant working-class Italian parents in Philadelphia, Mario Lanza was lauded by the likes of Serge Koussevitsky and Arturo Toscanini, becoming a huge Hollywood star by the early 1950s. Lanza couldn’t read music, and...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Chuck Berry

When a skiffle group called The Quarry Men played live in 1959, their repertoire included covers of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and “Sweet Little Sixteen”. The folk-based skiffle was becoming rock. In 1960, when the same band became The Beatles...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: George Jones

In May 1956, the Texan label Starday issued a wild rockabilly single by Thumper Jones. Its top side, the kinetic “Rock It”, was primal, uncontrolled and wild. The flip, “How Come It”, was less frenzied but still driving and infectious. Original...

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The Founder

Last year we had Jennifer Lawrence as the queen of the QVC shopping channel in Joy. For 2017, here’s Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, a struggling travelling salesman who went on to become the driving force behind the McDonald's fast-food empire. I’m...

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Fences

Fences is one of the best-known works by playwright August Wilson, part of his Century Cycle of plays exploring 100 years of black American history, and it won him a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award in 1987. Wilson died in 2005, but further...

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Mexrrissey, Brighton Dome

The name Mexrrissey may be unfamiliar, but the concept of a Mexican band playing mariachi-style versions of songs by Morrissey and The Smiths has brought out a decent-sized audience on a freezing January night. Their set is uneven and musically...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Roy Acuff

In 1942, Roy Acuff set up Acuff-Rose Music in partnership with Nashville-based songwriter and talent scout Fred Rose. The new publishing company was dedicated to treating songwriters decently. They would not be cheated out of their copyrights. There...

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Grantchester, Christmas Special, ITV

Cambridge 1954, and Christmas was coming, which meant carol singing, mince pies and an unnecessarily conceptual nativity play. But murder was also on the menu, and once again handsome, jazz-loving vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) was about to...

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Sunday Book: Ruth Franklin - Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

When asked about her most famous short story, "The Lottery", Shirley Jackson said, “I hate it. I’ve lived with that thing 15 years. Nobody will ever let me forget it.” Sixty-eight years later, it’s seared into the American psyche and has been a set...

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Rillington Place, BBC One

Howard Brenton (Christie in Love) and Ruth Rendell (Thirteen Steps Down) are just two of the many writers inspired by the sordid goings-on in 1940s Notting Hill. John Reginald Christie was a postman, a policeman and a psychopath who, as a back-...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Mose Allison, Georgie Fame

In 1970, The Who opened their Live at Leeds album with “Young Man Blues”, a hefty version of a song its composer Mose Allison recorded as “Blues” in 1957. Back then, it was the only vocal track on Back Country Suite, an otherwise instrumental blues-...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Odds Against Tomorrow

Robert Wise directed the 1959 bank heist thriller Odds Against Tomorrow after the classic film noir cycle had ended, but it's an exemplary noir nonetheless. In its day it was an important transitional work – a race-relations allegory...

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