I know, I know...Superfly and Shaft! kick ass. I'm not taking anything away from Curtis or Isaac, but for my money the grooviest blaxploitation soundtrack ever is Roy Ayers' Coffy. From top to bottom this soundtrack is funky, smooth, and indelibly groovy. The flick isn't so bad either. Pam Grier is smoldering is this classic revenge story. Check it out!
This is an excellent sampler of some choice cuts from the soundtrack. Dig it!
One of the grooviest directors in the history of French cinema has to Jean-Pierre Melville. I love his stylish ganster noir films from the 50's and 60's, particularly Bob le Flambeur, with the delectable Isabelle Corey, Le Deuxieme Souffle, starring Lino Ventura, Le Samouri, with a stoic Alain Delon, and many others.
Melville first came to reknown for his adaptation of Jean Cocteau's Les Enfants Terrible. He also directed L' Armee des ombres about the French Resistance against the Nazi occupation.
Recently, Criterion has been releasing a number of Melville's films on DVD. Well worth it.
Here's a groovy behind the scenes look at Le Deuxieme Souffle:
About 12 years ago I discovered pulp fiction with a bang! I ploughed through all of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, David Goodis, et al, with speed and passion. I worked at a bookstore at the time and, thanks in large part to the great reissues of these authors and many others on the Black Lizard Vintage Crime label, I found a new passion.
Over the next few years I cooled off some, but still read the odd Chester Himes or Cornell Woolrich novel. That is until about two years ago when I finally got around, no telling why it took so long, to reading my first Ross MacDonald novel.
All those great books came flooding back. MacDonald's novels, featuring Lew Archer, are so immensely enjoyable that I struggle to find the words to describe how much I like them. I am now about halfway through the 20 Lew Archer novels that MacDonald blessed us with and am sad that I can see a time in the near future when I won't have
any new ones to read. Any fan of noir, detective fiction, crime fiction, or great American novelists will love these books.
I love the mess film director's can make when given carte blanche (see Cimino's Heaven's Gate). High on the success of Deliverence, John Boorman busted out this groovy, existential, psychedelic science fiction picture in 1974 starring Sean Connery in one of film's worst ever costumes.
Now some people hate this film, but I love it. Not necessarily because it is a great movie, but because it is visually impressive(check out the costume), and
just so trippy!
Yeah, Boorman made better movies(Deliverence, Point Blank, Excalibur, Hope and Glory), but I will always have a place in my heart, if not my DVD collection for Zardoz.
Guns are good! The penis is evil! All hail Zardoz!!!
Calibro 35 is a contemporary band that plays new, original music that sounds just like music from Italian cop movies of the 70's. I guess they are to Cipriani and Micalizzi what Zombi is to Goblin and John Carpenter. Check them out! They are Molto Fresco!
Italian cop movies of the 60's & 70's, or poliziotteschi, were some of the grittiest, most violent, and, yes, grooviest ever made. Police corruption, syndicates, and violent killers were common themes in these pictures.
Some of the grooviest poliziotteschis were directed by luminaries of Italian cinema such as: Enzo Castellari, Alberto De Martino, Damiano Damiani, Sergio Sollima, Umberto Lenzi, and Sergio Martino to name a few, and frequently starred greats Fabio Testi, Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, or the fabulously blonde and mustachioed Maurizio Merli. It would not be unusual to see British actors in prominent roles as well. David Hemmings in La Via Della Droga and Oliver Reed in Revolver come to mind, even the venerable James Mason got into the act.
Now the point of all this is the music. These movies had amazing music! Many of the greats of Italian soundtrack composing got into the act. Morricone, Cipriani, Goblin, Micalizzi, and on and on. The music is rhythmic and pulse pounding. One of my favorite songs is Goodbye, My Friend by brothers Guido and Maurizio de Angelis from the soundtrack to Il Cittadino si Ribella. Check it out.
I wonder if you knew that Alexandre Dumas + Richard Lester + Michael York + Oliver Reed + Christopher Lee + Raquel Welch + Geraldine Chaplin + Faye Dunaway + Richard Chamberlain + Charlton Heston + Jean Pierre Cassell + Spike Milligan = the grooviest movie ever set in the 17th Century?
Originally conceived as one huge film, the movie was split into two
and released one year apart. (Most of the cast was angry at this as they were paid for one film.)
Richard Lester's Three/Four Musketeers is an amazing and humorously swashbuckling movie that adheres fairly strictly to the great novel by Alexandre Dumas.
I can't tell you how much I loved these movies as a kid, and they still hold up great today. The attention to detail is outstanding, from the sets to the costumes, this is a great looking movie.
The cast is great. The musketeers, Reed (Athos), Frank Finlay (Porthos), and Chamberlain (Aramis) are fantastic, as are York, as the naive but forthright D'Artagnan, and Christopher Lee as the evil Count de Rochefort.
The cast also boasts three divine beauties: Faye Dunaway as the Lady De Winter, Geraldine Chaplin as Anne of Austria, and Raquel Welch in a comic role as Constance Bonacieux.
This film was originally conceived as another project for Lester and The Beatles.
One of my all time faves, here is a great scene where D'Artagnan, having just arrived in Paris, has managed to get himself into duels with each of the three musketeers, and faithfully arrives to fulfill his duty as a gentleman, only to have their duel interrupted by the arrival of the Cardinal's Guard.
The greatest American band of the 60's, except for Love and The Velvet Underground, was The Byrds. I love every phase of the Byrds as they went from folk to psychedelia to country to acid rock and back again. Here is a great version, featuring Earl Scruggs and sons, of one of my favorite songs they recorded. I bet you wouldn't be surprised if I told you it was a Dylan cover.
p.s. Check out the video of Andy Griffith on skull of sidon's blog to see a much younger Clarence White jamming some sweet hillbilly folk.
I love Italian horror films of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Nobody delivered on the atmosphere like Bava and Argento, and nobody delivered on the gore like Lucio Fulci.
For most of Fulci's best loved films, the score was composed by Fabio Frizzi. These scores are some of the most etherial and creepy ever composed. They pulse and throb and oh yeah...they are chillingly groovy.
Frizzi did his time, like most of the greats, composing for a variety of genres from spaghetti westerns to poliziotteschis, but when he began his collaboration with Fulci, on the excellent spaghetti western Four of the Apocalypse, he soon hit his stride.
In my opinion his best scores are for Paura Nella Citta dei Morti Vivendi (City of the Walking Dead), Zombi 2 (Zombie), L'Aldila (The Beyond), and Manhattan Baby.
A photographer in swinging London thinks he's accidentally photographed a murder.
Achingly groovy, Blow-up features David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, and the beautiful Jane Birkin, later Mrs. Serge Gainsbourg, in an absolute rave-up of a film.
This film inspired Brian DePalma's 1978 film Blow Out with John Travolta and Nancy Allen.
The soundtrack is fantastic. Featuring a groovy score by Herbie Hancock and a couple tracks from The Yardbirds.
The clip below is quite possibly the grooviest ever committed to celluloid (note Jeff Beck's Townsend inspired performance, Antonioni wanted The Who, and see if you can spot Monty Python's Michael Palin):
French born actress Edwige Fenech is 1000% groovy. Whether getting naked in comedies, or getting naked in horror films, or getting naked in giallos, she is indubitably...naked! er...I mean...um...groovy!
"Have some of the top talent of the day record covers of Beatles songs!"
"Hey, alright man, that's out of sight!"
"Wait! There's more! Take archival footage from World War II."
"Mix in some vintage films from the same era."
If you're like me then you'll love the new movie from 20th Century Fox. Love Helen Reddy? Then imagine Helen Reddy singing The Fool on the Hill. Love The Four Seasons? Then imagine The Four Seasons singing We Can Work it Out. Love Leo Sayer? Then imagine Leo Sayer singing Let it Be AND The Long and Winding Road AND I Am the Walrus!! Love Frankie Valli? Then imagine Frankie Valli singing A Day in the Life. Love Richard Cocciante? Now hold on! Love Richard Cocciante? Love Richard Who?
Wild in the Streets is an absolutely essential piece of counter culture, anti-establishment fimmaking from the 60's.
Max Frost, pop music superstar, gets elected president when the voting age is lowered, through some trickery on Max and his cronies part, to 14.
Once elected Max decrees that all people over the age of 35 be kept in camps and supplied with a never ending supply of LSD.
Starring Christopher Jones, Hal Holbrook, Shelley Winters(hilarious as usual as Max's mother), and Richard Pryor, Wild in the Streets is essential cult fare.
The soundtrack, which I own on vinyl, has never been, as far as I know, released on CD. What a shame!! It is fantastic. From the title track to the hit single Shape of Things to Come to Sally Leroy to my favorite track Listen to the Music, Wild in the Streets is...three o's Grooovy!
One of my not so ephemeral obsessions is with Russian history, literature, and art, particularly from the 19th Century.
One of my favorites from this period is Vasily Vereschagin (1842-1904). Vereschagin's work mainly focused on war. Vereschagin, who saw firsthand the horrors or war, was controversial in his day for the graphic depictions of battle, and his paintings unglamorous attitude towards war and its effect on the men who fought.
During the First Sino-Japanese War Vereschagin was aboard the Russian flagship the Petropavlovsk which, while entering the Yellow Sea struck a mine and nearly everyone on board, including Vereschagin, went down.
Here are a couple of my favorite paintings of his:
I was saddened last week to see that Number Six had died.
Patrick McGoohan not only played the enigmatic secret agent in the classic television series The Prisoner, he also created, produced, and wrote the show.
If you have never seen The Prisoner you are missing out. A secret agent, fed up and ready to step down, quits. His employers?, the enemy?, somebody?, however, not convinced he is quitting for a more sinister or subversive reason, kidnap him and place him in The Village, a quaint seaside village populated by other "ex-agents", most of whom appear quite happy in The Village. The run of the series, 17 episodes, deal with McGoohan, or Number Six, attempting to determine his location and the mysterious identity of Number One. Enigmatic and groovy, The Prisoner, along with Gilligan's Island, is probably my favorite TV show of all time, and definitely(thanks ModNeeds) the only one I own.
There are three volumes of music that have been released from the Prisoner and each one contains the excellent theme song along with a variety of music from the show and excerpts of dialogue, as well. You're not going to love all of the music on these three CDs but there is enough to please any soundtrack fan.
Watch the show opening below. It sets up the show and does so with an absolutely groovy theme song!
In 1968 director Lindsay Anderson made the classic If.. with Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, a disaffected schoolboy who leads the ultimate schoolyard rebellion. If you have never seen it, you must!
In 1973 he made O Lucky Man with Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis, a young man trying to find his way in the world. This film, which features the beautiful Helen Mirren, while not a sequel, I think, is even better than If...
The soundtrack is amazing! The songs were wriiten and performed by Alan Price, formerly of The Animals, and are featured strongly in the film in the form of interludes which show Price and his band performing live in the studio.
I only own this on vinyl, but it has been finally issued on CD in the last couple years. I absolutely love this album, which I discovered upon viewing the film for the first time when I worked for a video rental outlet in the late 1980's.
The songs are heartfelt and melodic and fit so well with the film. I had a real hard time choosing one to display here, Poor People, Sell Sell, Look Over Your Shoulder, they are all great. If you like go to Youtube and view them all. Even better, find the film and enjoy it with the music in the format it was designed for. Groovy!
I bought this scrumptuously wicked soundtrack at Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard around Christmas time in 2005.
The premise of the film is pure genius. Get this, a group of bikers learns the secret of returning from death, makes a pact, commits suicide, and sure enough, return to wreak havoc as the undead!
The music, composed by John Cameron, and played by the band Frog, is haunting, moody, funky, stark, with an acid-drenched wah wah. There is a hippie-ish folk ballad a la The Wicker Man, and there is even a recurring theme that rocks! It would find a home in any biker movie(Rebel Rousers, Wild Angels, you name it), let alone one that features zombies!
I picked up this little gem back in the summer of '07 and it hasn't been far from my disc player ever since. This is the soundtrack to a German television show for kids about a boy(Tobbi), a robot(Robbi), and the Fliewatüüt(invented by Tobbi, built by Robbi), a vehicle that can fly, swim and drive.
Looking something like a Teutonic Rankin-Bass production, the two have adventures in the Fliewatüüt and solve difficult tasks.
All this fun is set to some dynamic music composed by Ingfried Hoffmann, Germany's top organist in the 70's. Many themes are reused so cleverly it took me many listens to realize they were the same.
It swings, it uplifts, it brings a tear to the eye, and oh yeah...it's groovy!
The landscape of American cinema is littered with forgotten faces. Here is a tribute to one actor I will never forget. Long a lover of the "character actor" I want to devote a few words to one of the greatest: Warren Oates!
Dead way too soon, Oates is best remembered for his associations with two great icons of American film: Sam Peckinpah and Monte Hellman.
If it has been awhile go back and renew your love with The Wild Bunch and Two Lane Blacktop. Then delve a little deeper with Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.
Of all the great Italian film composers, from Morricone to Nicolai, Alessandroni to Umiliani, Cipriani to Micalizzi, my favorite has to be Piero Piccioni. Equally at home and evocative in crime jazz, funky beats, sleazy rhythms, swinging lounge, or sweeping orchestral themes Piccioni's music never fails to groove.