Finally, the entire classic series is available.
Barney Miller ranks right up there with Soap, Cheers, Taxi and the other great sitcoms of the 70s and 8os, although up until now it has gotten sold short in the home video market. Thanks to Shout Factory, yet another great blast from the past gets the proper treatment with a box set complete with extras.
I must admit I’m a little PO’d that they didn’t release the other seasons individually, but the reason is that Sony didn’t sell enough of the first three seasons to warrant releasing the remainder. But at the price – certain to dip a bit over time – I can buy the whole shebang cheaper than if I picked up the remainder of the shows year by year. Eight seasons and one hundred sixty-eight episodes plus commentaries, booklets and even the first series of Vigoda’s spin-off, Fish. That’s a great deal, even at list price.
Video: some early highlights
I won’t go overboard trying to sell you on the show; like most long-running programs there is enough video and commentary to let you make up your own mind. But it does give me a chance to tip my cap to a great ensemble who provided me with years of laughter over eight seasons: Hal Linden, Barbara Barrie, Abe Vigoda, Jack Soo, Ron Glass, Max Gail, Greg Sierra, James Gregory, Ron Carey, and my favorite, the late great Steve Landesberg. The parade of oddball guest stars in the precinct house also featured a bevy of now-recognizable actors.
So I guess my Dad (who loved the show) will be the beneficiary of my three seasonal box sets. Come October, I’m all in on Barney Miller.
Amy Winehouse, dead at 27.
Not exactly a surprise, considering her lifestyle. Even the Vegas books took her off the board in “Dead Pools” more than once. But it’s yet another tragic end to what could have been a dynamic career, and unlike most of her 27 Club predecessors, the culture of the times says she should have known better.
But she didn’t want to go to rehab.
(Hey, I wouldn’t want to room with Lindsay Lohan, either.)
From my perspective, as talented as she was, her legacy is too slim to rate alongside club peers like Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix and Jones. But she had friends, and she had family, and she had a boatload of fans. And for them it’s as difficult a day as it was for a young Stones fan when that body was found floating in Winnie The Pooh’s pool.
Who’ll be the next in line?
To follow up on the announcement about Matthew Sweet’s new album Modern Art, I thought today’s TGIF would be a great time to give the under-appreciated popster a tip of the cap. It can’t be easy putting your heart and soul into being a pop craftsman and finding that despite some massive airplay early in your career, there aren’t any groundswell radio formats to celebrate the joyous jangle of a big hook and chorus. I’d like to think that had Matthew been around in the early 70s, he’d have had his singles on the charts alongside The Raspberries. But that didn’t work for Big Star, now did it?
But I’m glad he hasn’t given up the ghost, because we need all the Matthew Sweets we can get, larger than life. So this week’s TGIF is Ten For Matthew Sweet…and by the way, if you’ve never heard “Thunderstorm” from In Reverse, you are in for a real treat…
(01) – “We’re The Same”
(02) – “Thunderstorm”
(03) – “You Don’t Love Me”
(04) – “Someone To Pull The Trigger”
(05) – “I’ve Been Waiting”
(06) – “Come To California”
(07) – “Girlfriend”
(08) – “Divine Intervention”
(09) – “Sick Of Myself”
(10) – “Evangeline”
Filed under Music, Reviews
Today marks 150 years since the start of the Civil War.
Pop maestro Richard X Heyman is a real-life Civil War buff; on his early album Hey Man! he recorded a killer pop tune about his fascination. Now in 2011, he’s recut an acoustic version to commemorate the sesquicentennial. A brilliant video interspersing historical images and Heyman’s performance is now online (the video is credited to Nick DiFabbio).
Video: “Civil War Buff”
I was never a good history student myself, too many dates to memorize when my head was filled with lyrics. I could never understand the fanaticism, even when my nephew immersed himself in it and eventually became a reinactor. But now as an adult, I get it. It’s a fascinating period of history with so many “what if” moments, and even one hundred fifty years later, there’s still a palpable north/south thing in certain areas.
Heyman has never gotten the credit he deserves, and the fact that you can pick up the aforementioned album for a penny on Amazon is a crime (as is the presence of only one review). But dammit, if you don’t know the man and won’t invest a single penny (okay, three dollars with shipping charges) to dip your toe in the pool of Heyman, you should be shot. And with a musket, just to make it appropriate. This is a solid dozen pop chestnuts featuring the multi-instrumentalist at the top of his game.
Where he still resides, by the way. Heyman’s latest album is a double called Tiers/And Other Stories (his album titles are usually puns) and his other band The Doughboys are already working on their third studio album while their upcoming live CD/DVD Rock’n’Raw is on its way to the stores.
So enjoy this song (available on iTunes soon) and all of his work. And as for the war, choose your side carefully – those embers still glow.
Richard X. Heyman website.
The new album from Matthew Sweet is streaming at Soundcloud!
I must admit I’m not immediately blown away by Modern Art, although I can hear equal parts of his early pop and latter-day garage covers. Some songs are just not connecting at all. But tracks like “Sleeping” and “When Love Lets Go I’m Falling” hit the spot with me. Sweet has been hit or miss the last couple of releases, but he’s had a hell of a career run, and I would never count him out.
I can’t believe it’s been twenty years since Girlfriend, an album I can pull out at any time; I smell a Blast From The Past column on that one sometime soon. But that was then and this is now, and I will give this album an honest chance.
So check it out for yourself, end to end, for free.
Filed under Music, Reviews