Saturday 26 November 2022

Irene Cara dies aged 63

Irene Cara dies aged 63
We received some sad news today that the Oscar winning singer Irene Cara has died at the age of 63. Cara co-starred in the all star period film City Heat (1984). 

Irene Cara, the Oscar-winning singer of the title tracks to "Fame" and "Flashdance," has died at age 63, her publicist announced late Friday. Cara died in her Florida home of an as yet undisclosed cause. Her publicist confirmed her death to Eyewitness News.
"It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara," publicist Judith A. Moose wrote.

Cara was trained in music, dance and acting as a child and appeared on stage and on television, including appearances on PBS and on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show," at a young age in the 1970s.
But she rocketed to fame when she was cast in the 1980 musical "Fame." She was initially cast as a dancer but then had the role of Coco Hernandez written for her and she sang the title track.
She was nominated for two Grammys after "Fame," for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Artist.
She then won a Grammy and an Academy Award in 1984 with the title track to "Flashdance," the film starring Jennifer Beals as an aspiring dancer. Later that same year she appeared in Clint’s City Heat alongside Burt Reynolds, Richard Roundtree, Rip Torn,  Jane Alexander and Madeline Kahn. Cara played talented nightclub singer Ginny Lee who is taken hostage by the film’s head thug and his mob. Cara also appeared on the film’s original soundtrack album performing ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘Get Happy’. 
Cara continued on with her dual career in acting and music, appearing in films and various television shows. She also performed in live theatre and musicals.
"Irene's family has requested privacy as they process their grief," Moose wrote. "She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films."
Our sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Ennio, il maestro French Grande Poster

Ennio, il maestro French Grande Poster

I thought I’d post this poster here, not just because Clint appears in Giuseppe Tornatore’s superb documentary feature of 2022, but also as it’s simply a beautiful piece of art - for anyone who has the slightest interest in Ennio Morricone or film music in general. 

At 47”x 63" it’s a large beast of a poster, but nevertheless, I ultimately would love to get this one framed and wall mounted. There are a couple of designs, one of which has Morricone in his study with his back to the camera, and this one of him facing the camera, which is my personal favourite. There has also been a ‘quotes’ release which features quotes from the likes of Hans Zimmer, Bruce Springsteen and of course Clint. Because the film had a very limited cinema run, it’s well worth looking out for one as I’m sure they will become very scarce in the future. 

Above: The French Grande Poster 47”x 63"
Below: The 'quotes' version film poster

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Roberta Flack: unable to sing after MND diagnosis

Roberta Flack: Legendary soul singer left unable to sing after MND diagnosis

It was sad to read that Grammy-winning musician Roberta Flack has been left unable to sing after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. The Killing Me Softly with His Song performer is also having difficulty speaking, her manager said on Monday.

Flack, 85, has won four Grammy awards and received 14 nominations. A documentary about her life is set to premier next week in New York. She also has plans to publish a children's book in January.

In addition to Killing Me Softly - which was later covered by musician Lauryn Hill - Flack is known for songs including The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which launched her to stardom after it was used in Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me. Speaking to Rhino in 2021, she said, ‘Clint Eastwood has always been a musical visionary among his many talents.  He told me that he heard my version of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" while he was driving down a Los Angeles freeway and had to stop his car.  He called me out of the blue and said, "I'd like to use your song in this movie about a disc jockey with a lot of music in it." He said that he would 'use it in the only part of the movie where there's absolute love." I was floored, then agreed.  He said, "Anything else?" I said, "I want to do it over again.  It's too slow." He said, "No, it's not."  That’s the version of the song that you know, and that gives you a snapshot of his ability to see the beauty in simplicity and to use music to convey emotion.

Her condition - motor neurone disease (MND) - "has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak," her management said in a statement.

"But it will take a lot more than MND to silence this icon," they said, adding that she "plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits".

There is no known cure for MND. It is caused by the death of the nerves that carry messages from the brain to people's muscles. It affects their ability to move, talk and even breathe. The timing of Flack's film and book release next year coincide with the 50th anniversary of her fourth album Killing Me Softly With His Song, which was released in 1973.

After the singer suffered a stroke in 2016, she told the Associated Press news agency that wants her songs to be remembered as "classics" and and not just an "old hit".

"I could sing any number of songs that I've recorded through the years, easily, I could sing them, but I'm going to pick those songs that move me," Flack said.

Peter Tevis Pastures of plenty: The evolution of a theme

Peter Tevis Pastures of plenty: The evolution of a theme

Peter Tevis - Pastures of plenty is a track with a genuine, historical story behind it. It was originally written in 1941 by folk legend Woody Guthrie, but its roots date even further back to around 1927 when the song began life as a banjo tune called Pretty Polly. The song is actually a murder ballad, and tells the story of a young woman lured into the forest where she is killed and buried in a shallow grave. 
Guthrie’s lyrics moved away from the darker subject matter, although the tune is still based on the ballad of "Pretty Polly", it was more evocative of the world described in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939). In 1962 American folk singer and part time actor Peter Tevis recorded a version of Woody Guthrie's "Pastures of Plenty'' that was arranged by Ennio Morricone. A couple of years later, during a meeting between Morricone and film director Sergio Leone over the music for his forthcoming film, Morricone played a recording of Tevis's Pastures of Plenty. Leone loved the quirky nature of the music, but didn’t take a liking to the vocals. Subsequently, the vocals were dropped and the music became the opening title "Titoli" for A Fistful of Dollars (1964). 
Although the original RCA Tevis single does come up occasionally it does tend to demand a rather hefty asking price, no doubt because of its significance relating to A Fistful of Dollars. The original vocal version was later included on a deluxe CD soundtrack as a bonus track - which really went a long way in filling the much ‘wanted’ gap. I was recently going through my ‘dollar’ singles which encouraged me to look at the record markets again. To my surprise I discovered that the Tevis single was actually re-released on the Trunk Record label in September 2020. After a bit of searching and research, I soon found out that the single quickly sold out and was now out of print - which hardly surprised me. I did notice a few on Ebay, but the prices seem to be climbing quicker than a current energy bill! However, I did manage to get a lucky break and secured one today - courtesy of one of my old North London haunts in Islington who provided me with one for £8.00.
I’m not sure if there was some sort of licensing problem concerning the artwork for the single, as it comes in a clear plastic sleeve with a colour header. Nevertheless, I felt it was still vital and worthy enough for the collection. It was during the research that I also found out that this was a very limited edition, so I doubt that there were a great number pressed. The single also comes with the original 1962 B side, Notte Infinita


Wednesday 9 November 2022

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #31

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #31

For our November Photo Opportunity I thought I’d pull this 70’s picture taken in the kitchen of the Hog’s Breath Inn, Carmel. Clint is pictured tucking into a Dirty Harry burger, one of the regular meals served at the restaurant back in the day. There were a number of photos taken for this shoot which was taken circa 1977. While not visible in this particular shot, Clint’s belt featured the famous, and rather cool Josey Wales buckle which he was wearing regularly around this period.