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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biography > Biopic > Drama > Rap > Murder > Hip Hop > Vocal > Pop > Soul > Concert > Dance > War > Hits > Politics > All Eyez On Me (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Bareroot featuring Carol Hatchett: Music Will Lift You EP (2017/Avenue J CD)/Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin (2001/MVD Visual DVD w/CD)/M

All Eyez On Me (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Bareroot featuring Carol Hatchett: Music Will Lift You EP (2017/Avenue J CD)/Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin (2001/MVD Visual DVD w/CD)/Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour (2017/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray w/CD)/The Main Ingredient: Euphrates River (1974/RCA/Sony Music/Vocalion Quadraphonic Hybrid Super Audio CD/SACD/SACD w/CD layer Import)/The Vietnam War directed by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: Original Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross + The Soundtrack (hit songs compilation/2017/PBS/Sony Music/Universal Music/separate CD Sets)



Picture: B+ & B-/X/C/B/X/X/X Sound: B+ & B-/B/C+ (B-: CD)/B (B-: CD)/B+, B, B-/B-/B Extras: C+/D/D/C/C/C/C Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/B-/B-/B-/B



PLEASE NOTE: The Main Ingredient Import Super Audio CD is now only available from our friends at Vocalion, plus the new Carol Hatchett EP is available directly from her website. Both can be ordered from the link below.



Here's a nice chunk of all kinds of music for pretty much everyone's taste....



From Director Benny Boom, All Eyez On Me (2017), is pretty accurate in its portrayal of rapper/actor Tupac Shakur's life as played by the convincing newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr.


However, the length of the film is a bit daunting and some moments tend to drag. The style and feel of the film isn't as cinematic as some may hope, with some moments feeling more like a glorified TV special, but some moments work and the film manages to work in some of the musician's actual works, which is a plus.


Shipp Jr. is joined with a strong supporting cast which includes Dominic L. Santana, Jamal Woolard, Harold House Moore, The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira (as Tupac's Mother) and the highly underrated Lauren Cohan. The film is written by Jeremy Haft & Eddie Gonzalez and Steven Bagatourian.


Starting in his early years as young boy in New York, to his struggles with his Family, his mother's addictions, and his growing passion for music. All Eyez On Me, centers around legendary musician/actor Tupac Shakur (Shipp Jr.) who struggles to make his voice known politically as well as through music and poetry. His life shifts into high gear as his career rises with wealth and fame whilst his numerous encounters with the law, end up getting him imprisoned as well. Ending with his final days and the mystery surrounding his death, All Eyez On Me is a previously untold look at the life of a man that many will never forget and who accomplished so much in his short life.


Also included is a digital UV copy.



Special Features:


Deleted Scenes


"Legends Never Die: The Making of All Eyes on Me" featurette


"Becoming Tupac" featurette


"All Eyez on Me Conversations" featurette


Demetrius Shipp, Jr. Audition



If you're a huge fan of Tupac, then this is worth a watch but I don't see it grabbing up too many awards this season.



The Bareroot featuring Carol Hatchett: Music Will Lift You EP (2017) is the third ER in as many years from the Soul/Dance singer following Born To Love and Live Wire (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) and we get the same consistent energy in songs that work well enough for genre fans as well as those of good vocal work. Singing seems to be out of fashion with Rap, almost as if singing was somehow over, but that is goofy thinking at its worst.


The songs this time, all of which Miss Hatchett co-wrote are...


Fool For Your Love [4:59]

Music Will Lift You [6:04]

Trapped And Cornered [4:03]

Maxi [5:35]

Heartbreaker [3:59]


The titles are good, but the songs are actually better and this is as good as the previous EPs, though I might give this one the edge over them by a slim margin as all the elements seem to integrate better. If I had to recommend a work of hers, this one would now be it. If you like this kind of music, you might want to look into this one.


There are no extras.



Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin (2001) is an new release of the concert by The Queen of Soul (from the VH-1 Network, of course) now here as a DVD/CD set from MVD Visual. It has her still in great form (When is she not? Very rarely is she off, and in that, only a little) singing some of her most legendary hits and other classics including...


I Can't Turn You Loose
Chain of Fools
Ain't No Way
Natural Woman
Long Walk
Think
Day Dreaming
Do Right Woman
Nessun Dorma
Rock Steady
Precious Memories
Respect

and on the DVD only, Stevie Wonder joins the Queen on
Freeway of Love


I liked the show, but for broadcast reasons, it is short (I wonder if the show was longer, especially considering all the talent watching in the audience, we're missing something here) but it is still a fine, solid show with some great vocal highlights and more than deserving of this treatment.


There are no extras.



Madonna: Rebel Heart Tour (2017) has the 1980s music survivor as vibrant and as strong as ever, still having hits (and every album of her's in recent years has hit #1!) and holding up very well like music legends of her calibre usually do. This new Blu-ray/CD set delivers one of her recent shows, with the Blu-ray offering much more (with more room on the disc) and includes...


01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro
02. Iconic
03. Bitch I'm Madonna
04. Burning Up
05. Holy Water / Vogue
06. Devil Pray
07. Messiah (Video Interlude)
08. Body Shop
09. True Blue
10. Deeper and Deeper
11. HeartBreakCity
12. Like A Virgin
13. S.E.X. (Video Interlude)
14. Living For Love
15. La Isla Bonita
16. Dress You Up / Into The Groove
17. Rebel Heart
18. Illuminati (Video Interlude)
19. Music
20. Candy Shop
21. Material Girl
22. La Vie En Rose
23. Unapologetic Bitch
24. Holiday


CD


01. Rebel Heart Tour Intro
02. Iconic
03. Bitch I'm Madonna
04. Burning Up
05. Holy Water / Vogue
06. Devil Pray
07. Deeper and Deeper
08. HeartBreakCity
09. Living For Love
10. La Isla Bonita
11. Rebel Heart
12. Candy Shop
13. Unapologetic Bitch
14. Holiday


Needless to day the money is in the show, she is still selling out huge stadiums and the video in this release takes liberties with the live aspect by doing 'music video' style editing, cutting into the live timeline. You would also think she was competing and.or trying to outdo KISS, which brings up another point. The songs that are harder-edged stay that way, while the softer Pop work is suddenly redone an super-plugged (versus unplugged) including La Isla Bonita suddenly harder than a sequence from Carmen, Material Girl almost angry and all arrangements with more bass to it than you would ever expect. Still, it never stops being Madonna and she is wilder than ever in sex and language, but I guess we saw that coming.


Fans will mostly be pleased, non fans with be surprised and enemies will have to admit they underestimated her. Overall, a fine show, especially in its longer version.


Extras on the Blu-ray include an excerpt from
Tears of a Clown and a performance of Like A Prayer, while you get an illustrated booklet with tech info in the foldable DigiPak.



The Main Ingredient: Euphrates River (1974) is as successful an album release as the rich Soul vocal trio ever had. Arriving two years after Everybody Plays The Fool was a massive crossover hit and a classic of the era, they continued to ride the great Soul vocal era (post-1960s, post-classical Motown, pre-Disco) and joined the cycle that includes the many groups from Philadelphia and nationwide exercising a new found freedom in music thanks to the 1960s.


The Main Ingredient included Tony Silvester, Luther Simmons and Cuba Gooding (yes, the father of the Oscar-winning actor) who dared to try to leave their sound on a few modern classics of the day (tracks 3 and 8, where they had at least some success), two more crossover hits (tracks 2 and 8) and even more success on the Soul charts and Soul radio. The full album includes...


1. Euphrates (Seals; Crofts)
2. Have You Ever Tried It (Ashford; Simpson)
3. Summer Breeze (Seals; Crofts)
4. California My Way (Hutch)
5. Happiness is Just around the Bend (Auger)
6. Looks Like Rain (Fronte)
7. Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing (Wonder)
8. Just Don't Want to Be Lonely (Barrett; Freeman; Eli)


This sounds as good as it ever will, especially in its original 4-track Quad mixes (see more about the sonics below) and now stands as one of the best sonic examples of how Soul sounded at this time. Though not everything they try works, at least they were ambitious and would go for broke here. Within a few years, Disco took over, but not before they made a mark and permanent legacy in one of the great moments of American Music ever. This is a solid album that deserves the audiophile treatment it gets here and will play on any CD player. Fans and the curious should go out of their way for it (see the link below) and you'll here excellence ion these recordings you simply could not enjoy before.


A booklet with an essay by David Zimmerman is the only extra.



Finally we have not one, but two CD soundtrack releases connected to the new PBS documentary mini-series co-directed by someone I think is a little overrated for taking history as far too linear: Ken Burns. However, this is not a review of what might be one of his greatest works yet (co-directed as it is) but the music for The Vietnam War directed by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick: Original Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross + The Soundtrack (hit songs compilation/2017) in yet another attempt to communicate what happened then, how it is being dangerously ignored now (trying to make Vietnam Syndrome' go away always leads to disaster) and there is still something to say, show and reveal despite several mini-series (like Vietnam: A History), brilliant books and feature film (The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket) on the subject. PBS teamed up with what is now 2 of the three major record labels, Sony Music and Universal Music, to offer the following CD sets....


THE VIETNAM WAR - ORIGINAL SCORE BY TRENT REZNOR & ATTICUS ROSS


CD 1


  1. LESS LIKELY

  1. FOUR ENCLOSED WALLS

  1. THE FOREVER RAIN

  1. REMNANTS

  1. OTHER WAYS TO GET TO THE SAME PLACE

  1. TORN POLAROID

  1. BEFORE DAWN

  1. WHAT COMES BACK

  1. JUSTIFIED RESPONSE

  2. COUNTING TICKS


CD 2


  1. A WORLD AWAY

  1. THE RIGHT THINGS

  1. PASSING THE POINT

  1. STRANGERS IN LOCKSTEP

  1. BEFORE AND AFTER FAITH

  1. THE SAME DREAM

  1. HAUNTED



THE VIETNAM WAR - THE SOUNDTRACK


CD 1


  1. A HARD RAIN'S A-GONNA FALL - Bob Dylan

  1. HELLO VIETNAM - Johnnie Wright

  1. IT'S MY LIFE - The Animals

  1. EVE OF DESTRUCTION - Barry McGuire

  1. TURN! TURN! TURN! (TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON) - The Byrds

  1. MASTERS OF WAR - The Staple Singers

  1. MUSTANG SALLY - Wilson Pickett

  1. SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN' - Howlin' Wolf

  1. BACKLASH BLUES - Nina Simone

  2. THE SOUND OF SILENCE - Simon & Garfunkel

  1. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS - Bob Dylan

  1. AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG - The Temptations

  1. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

  1. I'M A MAN - The Spencer Davis Group

  1. GREEN ONIONS - Booker T and The MG's

  1. STRANGE BREW - Cream

  1. WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY (Live) - Pete Seeger

  1. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE - Procol Harum

  1. THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE - Fairport Convention

  1. FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH - Buffalo Springfield


CD 2


  1. DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALL RIGHT - Bob Dylan

  1. PIECE OF MY HEART - Big Brother & The Holding Company

  1. MAGIC CARPET RIDE - Steppenwolf

  1. THE LETTER - The Box Tops

  1. BAD MOON RISING - Creedence Clearwater Revival

  1. SOUL SACRIFICE - Santana

  1. TELL THE TRUTH - Otis Redding

  1. OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE - Merle Haggard

  1. THE THRILL IS GONE - B.B. King

  1. PSYCHEDELIC SHACK - The Temptations

  1. OHIO - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

  1. GET TOGETHER - The Youngbloods

  1. GIMME SHELTER - The Rolling Stones

  1. TAIL DRAGGER - Link Wray

  1. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL - Ray Charles

  1. WHAT'S GOING ON - Marvin Gaye

  1. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER - Simon & Garfunkel

  1. LET IT BE - The Beatles



The new instrumental music is not bad, a little familiar having heard the duo's feature film work, but never too contemporary or ever retro. It's not bad, but expect some overlap from the duo's previous work. Still, it is ambitious and often pays off. The hits set is an excellent compilation that offers many of the truly key hit songs of the time, the songs that were in touch with the times and events going on. Many are brilliant classic without a connection to anything (tracks 3, 14 and 18 from CD 1, tracks 6, 12, 13, 16, 17 and 18 from CD 2), but their connection to the twists and turns of the time speak volumes beyond works in context to what happened and why we should never forget. Yes, some of these hits sound better on vinyl (or where applicable, Super Audio CD), but this is a handy collection. The Blu-ray offers lossless DTS-MA sound, but not the music separate like these CD sets do.


Both comes with illustrated booklets, but only the hits version adds an essay.



Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a great sounding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, the Eyez Blu-ray presentation is on point. Colors throughout are pretty rich, as are the skin tones that help highlight the film's bi-coastal locations. Night time scenes have little noise or grain, which can't be said for included standard definition DVD version, which presents the film in an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which shows the film in a compressed form.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Madonna looks really good for the older interlaced format with stable images, fine color range and manages less flaws than the dozens of similar 1080i and dark concert shoots we've seen in the last few decades. The 1.33 X 1 image on Aretha has good color range, but we also get video flaws like a little video noise, video banding, cross color and motion blur that partly comes from flaws added to the remastering. Otherwise, this is fine.


The rest of the titles have no video, but adding to the Eyez audio coverage above, the latest Bareroot EP sounds as sonically solid as the previous two, fine in the PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo presentation as good as any of the Compact Discs here with good warmth for the format and a little richer than the hit songs Vietnam CD where the hits sound a little on the lite side. The new instrumental Vietnam score sounds better overall, but is still a little bass-weak, though I wonder if that's part of the approach so Mr. Reznor is avoiding too much of a connection to his NIN work.


The Aretha CD sounds better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (no 5.1 option?!?) on the DVD version, while the Madonna CD is not as good as the strong, hard, rich, full DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray and the Ingredient CD tracks are on an even level with those other CDs, but its ultra high definition Direct Stream Digital (DSD) 2.0 Stereo and especially the DSD 4.0 Quad surround tracks are much better to the point that they just edge out Madonna as my sonic preference here (Eyez notwithstanding).



You can order the Carol Hatchett EP on CD, et al, at this link...


http://thebarerootmusic.com/


and you can order The Main Ingredient 4.0 Quad SACD w/CD layer album exclusively and directly from Vocalion Records at this link...


https://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=CDSML8524



- James Lockhart (Eyez) & Nicholas Sheffo

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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