Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sights and Sounds: Eva Cassidy, Frank Sinatra, Ritchie Blackmore, 'The Flash' & 'Arrow' soundtracks

Here is a roundup of a truly wide-ranging mix of media releases to share...



"She possessed a silken soprano voice with a wide and seeminglyeffortless range, unerring pitch and a gift for phrasing that at timeswas heart-stoppingly eloquent."   --The New York Times
Eva Cassidy, the late singer whose signature version of "Over the Rainbow" underscored the In Memoriam portion of the 2015 Emmy broadcast, is remembered in NIGHTBIRD-a two-CD set that affords everyone the opportunity to experience Eva's tour de force performance at the Blues Alley jazz club in Washington, D.C. on January 3, 1996.  Arriving on December 11, the double CD version will be followed several weeks later by the release of a four-LP gatefold heavyweight vinyl album.
The Blues Alley performances were recorded for what was to become the only solo Eva Cassidy album released during her lifetime. The original LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY album (first released locally in D.C. during the spring of 1996) only included 12 of the 31 songs recorded that night.
20 years later, the remastered NIGHTBIRD includes all 31 songs she performed that night, among them 12 previously unreleased recordings and 8 never-before-heard songs performed by the late singer. Eva's wide musical range is showcased in songs such as "Nightbird," "Blue Skies," "Son Of A Preacher Man," "Route 66," "Late In The Evening," "Baby I Love You" and "Caravan."

Blix Street's UK label is releasing NIGHTBIRD as a limited edition 2-CD plus bonus DVD package, as well as a 4-LP gatefold heavyweight vinyl package that also includes the 2-CD and DVD package on November 13. The accompanyingPAL-format DVD will contain 12 video performances recorded during the Blues Alley concert.

After cashing in a small pension from her job at a tree nursery to pay for the recording of the Blues Alley appearance, Eva and her band-bassist Chris Biondo, pianist Lenny Williams, lead guitarist Keith Grimes and drummer Raice McLeod-took to the Blues Alley stage with modest hopes.

"We thought we'd get airplay and sell a thousand copies so Eva could put some money toward a PA system," explains Biondo in the upcoming documentary, One Night That Changed Everything that celebrates the Blues Alley 20th anniversary. (NOTE: In the film by British television director Attracta McLaughlin, Eva's band revisits the Blues Alley venue to view performance videos from the night with then and now perspectives).

Nobody imagined that the audio and video recordings captured that night would prove to be the foundation of Eva Cassidy's unparalleled posthumous international success.  Many of Eva's included signature interpretations recorded that night have become fan-favorites, including "Fields Of Gold," "People Get Ready," "Ain't No Sunshine," "What A Wonderful World" and "Autumn Leaves."
Blues Alley footage of Eva performing "Over The Rainbow" propelled Eva's SONGBIRD album to the top of the UK album chart in 2001, after it was broadcast (and re-broadcast following a wave of phone calls, emails and letters from viewers) on Top of the Pops2 on BBC2. The UK chart-topper fueled a feeding frenzy within the U.S. media, including a half hour piece on ABC News Nightline that was rebroadcast three additional times in the ensuing years.
By the end of 2001, SONGBIRD had been certified triple-platinum in England (for sales of more than 900,000) and Gold in the U.S. (more than 500,000 units); the album, now six times platinum in England and platinum in the U.S., eventually hit No. 1 on Billboard's Internet Albums chart and topped the publication's Pop Catalog survey for 32 weeks.
Subsequent releases include: TIME AFTER TIME (2000); two additional U.K. chart toppers, IMAGINE(2002) and AMERICAN TUNE (2003)--in the U.S., the formerclimbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Independent Albums survey, the latter to No. 5--the 2004 compilation WONDERFUL WORLD; SOMEWHERE (2008); SIMPLY EVA (2011), an album of alternative Eva-only guitar and vocal performances; and THE BEST OF EVA CASSIDY, in 2012. Now comes NIGHTBIRD, the complete Blues Alley album, which includes all 31 songs recorded on the night of January 3, 1996.

The NIGHTBIRD album concludes with Eva's studio recording of "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread," also a bonus track on the original LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY album. On first listen to the Blues Alley recordings Eva was disappointed. She had been suffering from a cold and thought her singing below par. Fortunately for music lovers everywhere, once she heard the final mixes, Eva was persuaded by her band-mates to allow the original LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY album to be released--with one condition--that the album end with "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread," a performance she was particularly proud of.
The night of January 3, 1996 proved to be the high point of Eva Cassidy's tragically short career as a performer... and the beginning of her legendary posthumous career as a recording artist. Within 10 months of Blues Alley she was gone, having been diagnosed with melanoma by mid-year.
Bill Straw, president of Eva's posthumous label, independent Blix Street Records, heard the original LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY album in late September of 1996, shortly before Eva died. "By the time I finished listening to the album, I had heard one of the best singers ever," he recalls. "I knew she was going to be famous, but also knew she would not live to enjoy it. I drove around listening to Eva's music for months before finally contacting her parents about marketing their daughter's music."

A year following Cassidy's untimely passing, Blix Street (then in LA, now in the Seattle area) entered into an agreement with her parents Hugh and Barbara Cassidy to compile and market the singer's catalogue. In 1998, Blix Street initially released SONGBIRD (a collection of tracks from the original LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and the EVA BY HEART studio albums, plus "Over the Rainbow" from the 1992 THE OTHER SIDE duet album with Chuck Brown).  Later that year, Blix Street re-issued LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART, which had been released locally by Eva's parents in late 1997, a year following Eva's passing.
SONGBIRD received immediate critical acclaim in various markets around the world.  Sales grew steadily in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, but it took almost three years to reach a tipping point. In December, 2000, NPR included an Eva Cassidy segment on the Morning Edition radio program in America (and within minutes five Eva Cassidy albums soared to the top 5 positions of the Amazon US Pop Chart) and the Top of the Pops2 television program in England aired Eva's "Over the Rainbow" performance video from Blues Alley, sending SONGBIRD to the top of the British album charts in March, 2001.
Compiling the 31 Blues Alley performances into one NIGHTBIRD album was a daunting task for Straw. "I have had the privilege of compiling eight Eva Cassidy albums, beginning with SONGBIRD. In each instance, the luxury of Eva's considerable catalogue, from various sources, served the basic premise that less is more. The challenge of an album containing 31 tracks is the polar opposite...would more be less? Fortunately, more turned out to be much more. The first listening to all 31 tracks in one sitting was an inspiring experience. Beginning at Capitol Records in the late 60's, I had heard out-takes from the best of the best...but had never before heard anything that approached the sheer consistent vocal excellence of these 31 one-take, all on one night, performances."

NIGHTBIRD, the 'Complete Blues Alley' 20th Anniversary Collection will be released on December 11 on Blix Street Records. The tracks are:

Disc 1
1. Blue Skies
2. Ain't Doin' Too Bad
3. Ain't No Sunshine
4. Fields of Gold
5. Baby I Love You
6. Honeysuckle Rose
7. Route 66
8. Bridge Over Troubled Water
9. Eva introduces the band
10. Chain Of Fools
11. Fever
12. Autumn Leaves
13 Fine And Mellow
14. Cheek To Cheek
15. Don't Mean A Thing
16. Late In The Evening
17. Next Time You See Me
18. Waly Waly
Disc 2
19. Take Me To The River
20. Nightbird
21. People Get Ready
22. The Letter
23. Son Of A Preacher Man
24. Stormy Monday
25. Tall Trees In Georgia
26. Something's Got A Hold Of Me
27. Time After Time
28. Over The Rainbow
29. You're Welcome To The Club
30. Caravan
31. You've Changed
32. What a Wonderful World
33. Oh Had I A Golden Thread

Eva Cassidy performs "Nightbird," the title track of the new album, during the Blues Alley concert on January 3, 1996:
Pre-order at 

Sinatra: An American Icon debuts at the GRAMMY MUSEUM® on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA — October 13, 2015 — As the official exhibit of the Frank Sinatra Centennial, Sinatra: An American Icon traces 100 years of Sinatra legacy, from Hoboken, N.J., through superstardom, chronicling the meteoric rise of his music career, his Hollywood success, personal life, and humanitarian work.

On display in the Museum’s Special Exhibits gallery on the second floor through the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 15, 2016.

Highlights will include:

  • A recreation of a Hoboken trolley car, similar to one Sinatra used to travel to Jersey City to see his idol, Bing Crosby
  • Artifacts from the Sinatra Family’s personal collection, including photos, family mementos, rare correspondence, personal items, artwork, and recordings.
  • An original Philco radio that plays an episode of Songs by Sinatra featuring Sinatra, Jane Powell, and Irving Berlin from the Library's Irving Berlin Collection of Non-Commercial Radio.
  • Bandstand layout diagrams, lighting notes, and other designs, as well as ticket stubs, scripts and contracts that show the process and production that went into all of Sinatra's projects.
  • Fanclub newsletters and memorabilia illustrating his impact on American culture
  • Visitors will also be able to step inside a recreation of the historic Studio A at the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood as it was during one of Sinatra's recordings sessions in the '60s, and take control of the soundboard to "re-produce" the arrangement for one of his classic hits.

Media will also have the opportunity to view Sinatra’s 1982 Concert for the Americas in the Clive Davis Theater. Showings will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (Theater will be closed from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for an education event.)

Sinatra: An American Icon is presented in cooperation with the Sinatra Family, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and the Frank Sinatra Collection, USC School of Cinematic Arts. This traveling exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select.

In conjunction with the exhibit, on October 21 the GRAMMY Museum will present Architects of Sound: Frank Sinatra at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The gala will pay tribute to Frank Sinatra with performances from Michael BublĂ© and Seth MacFarlane, and proceeds will benefit the Museum’s education programs.

The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite A245
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(Near the corner of Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard, one block from STAPLES Center)

Ritchie Blackmore
The Ritchie Blackmore Story
~ON DVD, BLU-RAY, AND 2DVD+2CD SET; available November 6, 2015~

On November 6, 2015, Eagle Rock Entertainment will issue the simultaneous release of The Ritchie Blackmore Story on DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Formats and a deluxe 2DVD+2CD edition [MSRP TBA].

Without a doubt one of the all-time great guitar players, Ritchie Blackmore has always been one to let his music do the talking. In this documentary film, Blackmore has granted fans extraordinary access, resulting in a truly revealing, in-depth look into his life and career.

From his pop roots with The Outlaws and his many session recordings in the sixties, through defining hard rock with Deep Purple and Rainbow in the seventies and eighties, to the renaissance rock of Blackmore’s Night, Ritchie has proved that he is a master of the guitar across a multitude of styles. For the first time, The Ritchie Blackmore Story tells the story of his remarkable career through extensive specially recorded new interviews with Ritchie himself plus contributions from many of his colleagues and admirers including: Brian May, Glenn Hughes, Lars Ulrich, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, the late Jon Lord, David Coverdale, Gene Simmons, Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Vai, Graham Bonnet and Ian Anderson.  The Bonus Features on this release offer up over 40 minutes of additional interviews with Ritchie Blackmoreand his peers.

The amazing Deluxe Edition contains the DVD of The Ritchie Blackmore Story in addition to the Live In Tokyo DVD and 2CDs, all contained in a 60 page 12” x 12” hardback photobook with a black and silver front cover. Live In Tokyo is the first official DVD & CD release of the 1984 concert by Rainbow from Tokyo’s famous Budokan. It was to be the last Rainbow concert before Ritchie Blackmore & Roger Glover went on to reform Deep Purple.

The Ritchie Blackmore Story contains clips from many of his classic tracks with Deep Purple, Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night including: “Smoke On The Water,” “Highway Star,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Wring That Neck,” “Space Truckin’,” “All Night Long,” “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Hush,” “Black Night,” “Child In Time,” “Mistreated,” “Burn,” “Man On The Silver Mountain,” “I Surrender,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Play Minstrel Play,” “Renaissance Faire,” “Fires At Midnight” and many more.

Quite simply The Ritchie Blackmore Story is a look into the life and career of the mysterious “Man in Black”, an introspective look at a true guitar legend.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is the largest producer and distributor of music programming for DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and Digital Media in the world.  Eagle works directly alongside talent to produce top quality, High Definition programs, both concerts and documentaries, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, The Doors, Jeff Beck, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Genesis, Alice Cooper, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith. Eagle is a Grammy Award winning company and has received over 40 multi-platinum, over 80 platinum and over 144 gold discs, worldwide.  Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices in London, New York, Paris and Hamburg.

Click here to view trailer:

Follow Eagle Rock Entertainment at:


(CD Disc 1)

1) Intro Medley 

2) Spotlight Kid  

3) Miss Mistreated  

4) I Surrender  

5) Can’t Happen Here  

6) Catch The Rainbow  

7) Power  

8) Keyboard Solo  

9) Street Of Dreams  

10) Fool For The Night  

11) Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth)  

12) Guitar Solo  

13) Drum Solo  

(CD Disc 2)

14) Blues  

15) Medley: Stranded / Hey Joe  

16) Death Alley Driver  

17) Fire Dance 

18) Maybe Next Time  

19) Medley: All Night Long / Woman From Tokyo  

20) Lazy 

21) Since You’ve Been Gone  

22) Smoke On The Water

Both Releases Are Limited Edition 2-Disc Sets Featuring Original Music Composed by Blake Neely

La-La Land Records is proud to announce the release of THE FLASH Season 1 - Original Television Soundtrack and ARROW Season 3 - Original Television Soundtrack.  Both albums are 2-CD limited edition sets (3000 units) composed by Blake Neely (BLINDSPOT, SUPERGIRL).  As a special bonus, both releases contain music from THE FLASH VS. ARROW crossover episodes, with Part One appearing on THE FLASHalbum and Part Two appearing on the ARROW recording.  Both sets will be available exclusively at on October 20th and major music retail outlets on October 27, 2015.   
“Season three of ARROW started with a bang,” said Neely. “A huge action sequence with our hero and his counterparts taking down a new villain. But that wasn’t the bang that left us all in shock. The unexpected murder of one of our best-loved characters, Canary, spun the series into a new direction and set the stage for what would be a dark, twisting, emotional journey, littered with bodies, surprises, team-ups, new heroes, and one of my favorite characters to have scored — the great Ra’s al Guhl.”
ARROW season three goes right back to the action. Determined to right the wrongs of Starling City and sworn to bring justice to those who have failed it, Oliver Queen (aka The Arrow) - with the help of his iron-fisted right hand, John Diggle, the tech-savvy Felicity Smoak and the newest member of the team, Roy Harper - narrowly defeats the vengeful Slade Wilson, his onetime ally and mentor on the island of Lian Yu. But like all wars, there are casualties. Sacrificing herself for her children, Moira Queen falls at the hand of Deathstroke, sending Oliver's sister, Thea, into self-imposed exile with her biological father, Malcolm Merlyn. In Season Three, Oliver faces an even greater threat, when another lethal face emerges from his dark and tortured past – Ra's Al Ghul!
“Although I was warned, I had no idea how my life would change when Barry Allen bounced into a scene in Episode 208 of ARROW,” Neely explained. “Not only would this character send me in a new musical direction, but he would launch a new TV series that would connect me with thousands more die-hard fans on Twitter and millions more fans worldwide. “
THE FLASH is a fast-paced super hero drama that follows the high-speed adventures of Central City Police scientist Barry Allen, an everyday guy with the heart of a hero and the genuine desire to help others. When an unexpected accident at the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator facility strikes Barry, he finds himself suddenly charged with the incredible power to move at super speeds. While Barry has always been a hero in his soul, his newfound powers have finally given him the ability to act like one. With the help of the research team at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry begins testing the limits of his evolving powers and using them to stop crime. With a winning personality and a smile on his face, Barry Allen - aka The Flash - is finally moving forward in life … very, very fast!
 “Soon Oliver [ARROW] and Barry [THE FLASH] would join forces to save their two cities in an epic two-night event,” Neely described. “The episodes were so successful that we immediately released a soundtrack. Included on both soundtracks are second discs containing music from Part 1 and Part 2 of the crossover, along with additional bonus tracks from the respective series.”
Blake Neely is an award-winning composer, whose work spans both film and television.  He is currently scoring SUPERGIRL, the CW’s ARROW and THE FLASH, and NBC’s BLINDSPOT His recent documentary work includes CNN’s highly acclaimed THE SIXTIES and THE SEVENTIES and HBO Documentary Film’s THE CASE AGAINST 8. 
Neely has scored more than twenty television series, including RESURRECTION, THE MENTALIST, BROTHERS & SISTERS, GOLDEN BOY, ELI STONE, and POLITICAL ANIMALS.  Among his film credits are LIFE AS WE KNOW IT, THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD, THE WEDDING DATE, and SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA: MISSION OF HOPE.  He has received three Emmy® Award nominations for his scores to ABC’s PAN AM, the acclaimed HBO mini-series THE PACIFIC and for his main title theme for the series EVERWOOD.
The second season of THE FLASH began airing on the CW Tuesday October 6, 2015 and the fourth season of ARROW began airing on the CW Wednesday October 7, 2015.  La-La Land Records presents THE FLASH Season 1 - Original Television Soundtrack and ARROW – Season 3 Original Television Soundtrack limited edition (3000 units) 2CD sets exclusively at on October 20, and other major music retail outlets on October 27, 2015.

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