Archive | February, 2010

Introducing … Bacon Flavored Envelopes!

26 Feb

From the folks who brought you Bacon Salt & Baconnaise …

Technology has given us a lot lately. The car. TV. X-rays. The refrigerator. The Internet. Heck, we even cured polio. But what have our envelopes tasted like for the last 4,000 years? Armpit, that’s what.

Really, people? If we can’t overcome this kind of minor technical challenge, it’s only a matter of time until some super-advanced race of aliens with lasers, spaceships and a delicious federal mail system comes down and colonizes the world. And nobody wants that (except for the aliens, of course).

So, after thousands of years and kajillions of horrible tasting envelopes licked, we’re happy to report that J&D’s Bacon-Flavored Mmmvelopes™ are here to save the day. No longer will envelopes taste like the underside of your car. You can enjoy the taste of delicious bacon instead.

That’s right, bacon. It’s not real bacon, mind you, so you won’t have to start storing your envelopes in the refrigerator. But it really does taste like bacon. Which is what you really wanted in the first place, isn’t it? And it only took us 4,000 years to get there. Eat that, alien invaders.

Get to lickin’ at www.mmmvelopes.com

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New Johnny Mercer DVD Collection from TCM is a Must-Have for Music Fans

15 Feb

Can’t wait to see this new Clint Eastwood production. As many of you know, Clint is a huge Jazz fan and has always stated his admiration for Johnny Mercer, a master songsmith from Savannah, GA. Mercer’s body of work is truly amazing … as you will learn in this loving, 2-disc DVD tribute released to mark what would have been Johnny’s 100th birthday.

Here is the glowing review from DVD Talk …

Johnny Mercer is a name not everyone may know, but you can almost guarantee that everyone knows one of his songs. A lyricist whose wit and sentimentality, as well as his eye for talent, defined popular music from the Great Depression through the early 1970s, Mercer has written such classics as “Moon River,” “Jeepers, Creepers,” “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” and “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road).” Hell, if you’ve ever seen Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck sing “My momma done told me…” then you’ve heard Johnny Mercer. They are riffing on his song “Blues in the Night,” written with Harold Arlen in 1941.

November 18, 2009, marked the centennial of Mercer’s birth, and it’s on this occasion that executive producer Clint Eastwood, director Bruce Ricker, and Turner Classic Movies put together the celebratory documentary Johnny Mercer “The Dream’s on Me”, named for another 1941 tune the writer cooked up with Arlen. The movie is part biography, part archive, and part recontextualization, taking Mercer’s tunes and putting them in the hands of modern singers like Jamie Cullum and Dr. John to show they are still relevant today.

Ricker builds the film based on the songs, letting them create the map for how he will weave through Mercer’s history. He covers all aspects of Mercer’s life: early childhood in Georgia, his trek to Hollywood, his love for his wife Ginger and affair with Judy Garland, the many musical collaborators, and an aspect of the story I didn’t know, that Johnny Mercer was one of the co-founders of Capitol Records, signing Nat “King” Cole as one of his first artists. Many of Mercer’s tunes were written for the movies, and relevant clips of their staging are shown alongside television performances from the 1950s and 1960s featuring Cole, Andy Williams, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, and many more–most notably, Mercer himself in quite a few of them. There is also a ton of later footage of Mercer appearing on the Merv Griffin talk show and on the BBC talking about his art. He’s a dashing raconteur, often rolling straight out of an anecdote and into a song, his pianist jumping right in with him.

Interspersed in this is Eastwood organizing performances in a studio, sitting alongside composer John Williams, listening to stories from Michael Feinstein, or capturing singers like Maude Maggart or even his own daughter. There are also new interviews with Blake Edwards, Andre Previn, Tony Bennett, and Julie Andrews, all of whom either collaborated with Mercer or performed his music in some way.

This archival video features a Mercer duet with Nat King Cole

Overall, Johnny Mercer “The Dream’s on Me” is an informative, lively look at the man and his art, a testament to the vitality of the material and an appreciation for the creative mind behind it. I was unaware of Mercer’s vast influence, as well as his own accomplished career as a performer. (The film doesn’t even touch on his famous recording of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” sung with Margaret Whiting in 1949 and released on his then young Capitol label; I am sure I am not the only one who thought Mercer actually wrote the famous track.) For any fan of old movies or of vintage jazz, chances are you have appreciated Mercer’s songcraft at some point, and Johnny Mercer “The Dream’s on Me” will make you appreciate it even more.

Read more about Mr. Mercer @ www.johnnymercer.com and http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=253202

Legendary Montgomery Soul Food Matriarch Releases Book “Finding Martha’s Place”

14 Feb

Welcome to Martha’s Place . . .Memories of the warmth of her family’s supper table would remain with Martha. Even as a poor single mother without a high school diploma, Martha dreamed of one day opening a restaurant that would make people feel at home. She’d serve food that would nourish body and soul. But time went by and that dream slipped further and further away as Martha battled the onset of what would later become a severe mental illness.

But the thing about hitting bottom is that there’s nowhere to go but up. Martha decided to step into God’s promise for her life. Her boundless faith and joy led her to people who would change her world and lend a helping hand when she most needed and least expected one.

Martha’s Place is now a nationally known destination for anyone visiting the Deep South and a culinary fixture of life in Montgomery. Martha only hires folks who are down on their luck, just as she once was. High-profile politicians, professional athletes, artists, musicians, and actors visit regularly. Martha has proven many times that keeping the faith makes the difference between failure and success. This is the story of how Martha finally found her place. . . .

Learn more about Martha at www.marthahawkins.com

Martha Hawkins was the tenth of twelve children born in Montgomery, Alabama. There was no money, but her childhood was full of love. Martha’s mother could transform a few vegetables from the backyard into a feast and never turned away a hungry mouth.

New Collection Spotlights Paul Revere & The Raiders

13 Feb

Often forgotten by critics discussing mid-60’s American rock, Paul Revere and The Raiders had an impressive string of ten or so hits that few groups of the era could match. Positioned somewhere between the zany showmanship of The Monkees and the grit of the early Beatles, lead singer Mark Lindsey and the band started out as a popular garage band in the Pacific Northwest. The boys could write a little bit and play their own instruments, something it took the Monkees several years to develop.

Like The Monkees,  The Raiders were aided by consistent TV exposure, skillful production (by Doris Day’s son, Terry Melcher), and the support of some superior song writers and West Coast session players (master drummer Hal Blaine, to name just one). Mark Lindsey was also one of the best leather-throated shouters of the period. This thorough collection includes all the hits, misses, and oddities. It’s a must have for longtime fans and curiosity seekers alike. Pay special attention and reverance to rockers like “Ups and Downs,” “Kicks,” “Good Thing,” “Hungry,” “Just Like Me,” and “Steppin’ Out.”     

Here’s the product description from Collector’s Choice …

Having done complete singles collections on such great 60s singles bands as Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & the Playboys and Jay & the Americans to rapturous applause from the collector community, we knew which group they were hungry for next it had to be Paul Revere & the Raiders! And, with all due respect to those previous collections, we think this one might the best set yet!

Once again, Ed Osborne is your annotator and curator for this triple-disc collection, which features all 62 commercially-released A and B sides the band recorded for Columbia in its various incarnations (as Paul Revere & the Raiders, Paul Revere & the Raiders Featuring Mark Lindsay, the Raiders, etc.), plus their two Special Products tracks Corvair Baby and SS396 and two bonus tracks, commercial jingles for Mattell s Swingy Doll and the Pontiac Judge GTO Breakaway Commercial for GM.

As with our previous collections, all singles appear in their original mono taken from original tapes (on the first two discs) and original stereo from original tapes (on the last disc), with invaluable assistance provided by Columbia vault-meister and engineer extaordinaire Bob Irwin. Copious liner notes featuring new, exclusive interviews with Raiders Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay, Phil Fang Volk, Keith Allison, Jim Harpo Valley and manager Roger Hart accompany, festooned with rare photos. It’s the definitive collection from one of the great early American rock n’ roll bands, and remember – many of these original single versions have never appeared on CD! 66 tracks!

Get your copy now at http://www.ccmusic.com/item.cfm?itemid=CCM20882