December 19, 2013

Unheard Lennons on Beatles Bootleg - Just Released



NEW music from the Beatles? Technically, yes. 

Today marks the release via iTunes of The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963, a collection of 59 demos, outtakes and live performances by the group. Among the material are two John Lennon compositions never before released by the Beatles: Bad to Me, which was a No 1 hit in Britain for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas; and I'm in Love, a modest hit for the Fourmost. Forty-two tracks were recorded live at the BBC.

The new collection complements the group's 63-track On Air Live at the BBC, Volume 2, released in November, and Live at the BBC, issued in 1994.

Other highlights include: a live version of Love Me Do that's an improvement over the rendition that appears on the first Live at the BBC recorded four months earlier; four tunes credited to Chuck Berry, including a hot I Got to Find My Baby; three slightly different readings of There's a Place; and an outtake of One After 909, which didn't appear on an official Beatles release until Let It Be in 1970.

While a plum for Beatles completists, the album also offers the copyright-holders additional protection.

EU law protects recordings for 70 years, but only if there has been an official release.

With thanks to The Australian


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December 16, 2013

Walking With Dinosaurs: Feathered, Furry and Fierce - 3D




Feathered, fluffy dinosaurs? 

Dinosaurs are getting a whole new look in the new 3D film, “Walking With Dinosaurs.” Traditionally portrayed on screen as covered with scales, the dinos in the new film will be covered with feathers.

“When you think about those smaller raptors, like the Troodons – creatures similar to what was seen in the famous ‘Jurassic Park’ kitchen scene   … there’s some fossil evidence that suggests that there were feathers on those smaller raptors,” Barry Cook, co-director of the new animated 3D film, told


“More recently, a lot of the paleontologists who do artistic renderings have been playing around with what they might look like with feathers – and it looks quite natural, because if you study those raptors, they sort of look like birds. They’ve got big, muscular legs. Like, if you think of a chicken or a turkey, they have big legs and small, little wings. The raptors had claws on the end, but just from a bone structure, they’re very much like non-flying birds.”

While aiming for accuracy and realism, Cook had quite a bit of freedom creating the dinosaurs’ appearance. “Our art director at Animal Logic, Simon Whiteley, and I might get a crazy idea, run it by the paleontologists, and they would say, ‘Well, you know, this is possible – I can see how this could work.’ Sometimes they might not agree with a direction we were going in, but most of the time, they were really open to the possibilities – of the colors, especially, and the type of plumage and so forth.”

Modern-day birds inspired the look of raptors in the film. “One of the small little raptors, the Hesperonychus, are also known as ‘killer turkeys,’” Cook said. “We literally took the color palate and the feather pattern from a golden pheasant and it just looked perfect! The Hesperonychus might not have looked that way – who knows? – but it works very well in the movie.”

The film’s Troodons were also rendered with feathers, but – somewhat controversially – Cook and his team at Animal Logic decided against illustrating the largest predator in the film with downy fluff. 

“The Gorgosaurus, which is very reminiscent of a T. rex in some ways, was a very fast-hunting predator,” explained Cook. “We decided that we wouldn’t put feathers on that one, but we did give that dinosaur iridescent scales.”

The inspiration for the depiction of the Gorgosaurus in “Walking with Dinosaurs” came from a picture Cook found of a modern-day lizard. “Its skin was very dark – almost black – with a very light-colored underbelly, and its scales were an iridescent blue, almost a turquoise,” said Cook. “We put that on the Gorgosaurus, and it just looked fantastic. A little flashy, maybe – but I always argue that it’s a movie, let’s have fun with it. Let’s push it as far as we can, and still make it realistic.”

The flashy, lizard-like Gorgosaurus seen in “Walking with Dinosaurs”doesn’t make everyone happy. National Geographic writer Brian Switek, who was hoping to see a feathery predator in the film, noted with some disappointment that “scaly skin certainly has tradition on its side, but tradition is not the arbiter of accuracy.”

In any case, the scales on the Gorgosaurus in “Walking with Dinosaurs” are rendered with a proprietary new system created by Animal Logic. “In the older animation – even five years ago – if the characters’ muscle would flex or the skin would stretch, the scales on top would stretch with it, which is not natural,” explained Cook. “To separate those two elements – the stretchy skin from scales – that’s a really, really fine detail. When you’re watching the movie, you’re not really cognizant it’s happening. But it’s more true to life, and it makes the dinosaurs’ skin and scales look more realistic than ever. It’s a methodology Animal Logic developed and devised especially for the movie.”

Whether depicted with feathers or scales, Cook loves making dinosaurs come back through the magic of computer animation. “You can’t see dinosaurs in real life, but you can see a pretty realistic version in the movies,” he said. “They’re very strange creatures and they’re fascinating.”


With thanks to Fox News

Some other related posts:

The Pelagornis Sandersi: Fossil Find Reveals Largest Flying Bird                                          Dinosaur Tail Found Encased In Amber    
Dreadnoughtus: A New Dinosaur Discovery
Shark-munching Spinosaurus Was First-known Water Dinosaur: Study Shows
Pterosaurs With 12 Meters Wingspan Struggled While Taking Off
Velociraptor: Facts About The 'Speedy Thief'
Two Jurassic Mini Mammal Species Discovered in China
Researchers Say They've Found The Biggest Dinosaur Ever
The Brontosaurus Is Officially Back
 Kronosaurus Dinosaur Jaw Found In Outback Queensland
Kunbarrasaurus Ieversi: Australia's Newest Dinosaur
What Killed The Dinosaurs?
Titanosaurs: The Largest Animals Ever To Walk The Earth 
Timurlengia Euotica: The Missing Link to Tyrannosaurus Rex  
Archaeopteryx: The Transitional Fossil 
When Did The Dinosaurs Become Extinct?
Ancient Sea Monster The ­First Vegetarian Marine Reptile 
Spiclypeus Shipporum: New Dinosaur Species Sported Uniquely Spiked Shield



December 13, 2013

14 Amazing Country Songs For People Who Hate Country



Country music is bland, conservative music for aging white fuddy-duddies. Or so its detractors claim. In fact, country has, from its inception, been musically omnivorous, gulping down blues, jazz, soul, rock, hip hop and anything else that happened to be sitting nearby on the radio dial. As a result, there’s lots of country to listen to for folks who don’t like country.Country music is bland, conservative music for aging white fuddy-duddies. Or so its detractors claim. In fact, country has, from its inception, been musically omnivorous, gulping down blues, jazz, soul, rock, hip hop and anything else that happened to be sitting nearby on the radio dial. As a result, there’s lots of country to listen to for folks who don’t like country.Country music is bland, conservative music for aging white fuddy-duddies. Or so its detractors claim. In fact, country has, from its inception, been musically omnivorous, gulping down blues, jazz, soul, rock, hip hop and anything else that happened to be sitting nearby on the radio dial. As a result, there’s lots of country to listen to for folks who don’t like country.
Jimmie Rodgers and Louis Armstrong, “Blue Yodel #9,” 1930
Hillbilly music as a genre was originally constructed in opposition to so-called “race music” — which is to say, it was specifically designed for white people. Segregated marketing has, painfully and shamefully, made country music what it is to no small extent. This glorious meeting between early country superstar Jimmie Rodgers and Louis Armstrong is a rebuke to that segregation. The lyrics, about police harassment, deliberately connect the experience of poor whites and blacks, as Rodgers’ yodeling trades easy phrases with Armstrong’s swinging trumpet, and Lil Hardin (Armstrong’s wife) plays some New Orleans barrelhouse on the piano. Rodgers’ collaboration with blues guitarist Clifford Gibson is also great. 
Bob Wills, “Barnard Blues,” 1947                                                  

Western swing was swing band music played by rural white folks with some country instrumentation. Bob Wills was the most successful and influential performer of the genre, and his recordings are a wonder, veering from straight swing tunes to traditional folk tunes to pop and everything in between. This number, made for radio transcription, is one of his deepest blues, featuring the gut-bucket distorted electric guitar of the amazing Lester “Junior” Barnard. Also taking the spotlight are Millard Kelso on piano, the great vocalist Tommy Duncan, Joe Holley on fiddle, Tiny Moore on the electric mandolin, Herb Remington on steel guitar, and Bob Wills himself, introducing each performer and shouting out the “aaaahhhhsss.”

Kay Starr, “On a Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor,” 1951

                                                                                                                                                 Kay Starr was a pop and jazz singer who frequently worked in the country idiom; she recorded a number of excellent duets with Tennessee Ernie Ford. Lester Young was a big fan, and Billie Holiday called her “the only white woman who could sing the blues” — though Starr’s heritage was actually more Native American than European. Listening to this track you can see why Young and Holiday were so wowed;  if Starr swung much harder she’d fracture that floor she’s singing about. Her drive and rhythm seems work a bridge between the hiccupping cool of bebop and the hiccupping cool of rockabilly; elegantly tough and effortlessly hip. (Johnny Horton’s version of the song is also worth checking out.)     

Bill Monroe, “Scotland,” 1958        

Bluegrass is often thought of as traditional music. In fact, though, it’s a pop music form, which coalesced in the 1940s from elements of old timey, blues and jazz. Mandolinist Bill Monroe, the most influential creator of the genre, was a synthesizer and an innovator, and his catalog is filled with experiments and outright gimmicks — including his rockabilly uptempo version of his own song, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” inspired by Elvis’ massive hit cover. “Scotland,” from 1958, is another superb novelty; a tribute to Monroe’s Scottish heritage, with Kenny Baker and Bobby Hicks’ twin fiddles mimicking the keening of bagpipes. The original doesn’t appear to be on the Web, but there is this delightful 1991 video of Monroe dancing to a tune with Emmylou Harris.     

Ray Charles, “I’m Movin’ On,” 1959       

Ray Charles recorded a lot of country; his 1962 album “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music”was the first million-selling country recording. Alas, though it’s heresy to say it, “Modern Sounds” is tepid, filled with by-the-numbers pop arrangements and a general air of deadening reverence. Not so Charles’ first foray into country; his version of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On” weds the shoulder-shrugging beat to call-and-response gospel to create hard-driving, authoritative soul.    

Wanda Jackson, “Hard-Headed Woman,” 1960


Elvis had the first hit with this song, but Jackson’s is the definitive version. Her growl would carry the track by itself — “yeah, yeah” has never been said with such knowingness. What Adam or Samson wouldn’t be eager to acquiesce after hearing that? And yet, even so, Jackson’s just about upstaged by, of all people, Roy Clark, whose unbelievable guitar solo goes from bluegrass to Chuck Berry and back again. Though I pledge my love to this version, the live performance on the Smothers Brothers is also great, with Jackson dancing, some double neck guitar played by Joe Maphis (I believe?), and, to top it off, a trumpet solo.   

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, “Girl From the North Country,” 1969        

Johnny Cash’s late-career collaboration with Rick Rubin, and particularly his version of NIN’s “Hurt,” is often presented as a mainstream apotheosis. But as this famous track shows, Cash dabbled in crossovers of one sort or another throughout his career. The stripped-down backing, with just guitars, nicely highlights Cash and Dylan’s different but complementary ragged singing

The Flatlanders, “Keeper of the Mountain,” 1972   

In California, the Eagles made hippie country soft rock into a repulsively commercial juggernaut. In Texas at about the same time, the Flatlanders proved you could make good music from the same elements while having absolutely nobody listen to you. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock’s initial recordings as the Flatlanders disappeared almost instantly, only to be recovered when the performers went on to (relative) solo success. Those early tracks are still perfect, though. “Keeper of the Mountain,” featuring Gilmore’s delicately wavering vocals, is my favorite: shimmering, soulful and spaced-out. 
Willie Nelson, “September Song,” 1978           

Willie Nelson’s eccentric phrasing and rhythmic sense has always had as much to do with classic pop performers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra as with country forbearers like Lefty Frizzell. The 1978 megahit “Stardust,” with production and arrangements by Booker T. Jones, illustrated that at album length. Every track is wonderful, but “September Song” remains my favorite. Nelson’s vocals are taken at such a leisurely pace that they end up more silence than singing. You can feel the seasons changing between each word; a lovely way to get old.( Clip above)
Dwight Yoakam, “Long White Cadillac,” 1989 
There are lots of successful country-guitar rock fusions from the rock side: Georgia Satellites to Skynyrd and on and on. Dwight Yoakam’s “Long White Cadillac” is maybe the best crossover from country. The music is solid strutting cock rock, but what really makes the track is Yoakam’s vocals, half Hank Williams yodel, half Howlin’ Wolf howl.

Carlene Carter, “Every Little Thing,” 1993
Rockabilly is a resource that country’s largely abandoned over the last few decades. As a result, Carlene Carter’s jittery swagger feels like it has as much to do with pop punk’s retro rock as with the music of her putative peers, be they Garth Brooks, Lyle Lovett or k.d. lang. There aren’t many pop performers in any genre, though, who have a voice like Carter’s, with that rough burr lodged in her throat. “Every Little Thing” is one of her best, especially with the goofy retro-go-go video. All her music is worth seeking out, though, including her 2008 effort ”Stronger.”

Bubba Sparxxx, “Comin Round,” 2003

Putting country and hip hop together is not necessarily a great idea; Big and Rich’s “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy,” for example, is a callow dud. Bubba Sparxxx, though, manages to get the tricky formula right a surprising percentage of the time, especially on his second album, “Deliverance.” Sparxxx’s laconic, Southern accented rapping is part of the reason for the success. Even more credit is due to the genius that is Timbaland; on “Comin’ Round” the producer samples The Yonder Mountain String Band, seamlessly integrating the rhythmic drive of bluegrass with his own idiosyncratic 

Emmylou Harris and Low Anthem, “To Ohio,” 2011

Since she began her career with Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris has always straddled country and the hippie end of folk. The resurgence of folk as a major indie-pop influence makes this collaboration a natural; it’s easily the best track on her album “Hard Bargain,” and, indeed, a highlight of a career with no shortage of them. Her aching singing nestles up against Ben Knox Miller’s almost too-fey vocals, creating a sublime ping-pong of bitter and sweet. I wish Harris would do a whole album of indie-rock collaborations; I can’t be the only person who wants to hear her duet with Antony and the Johnsons.

Justin Townes Earle, “Look the Other Way,” 2012

Picture credit: EmmyLou Harris: Reuters/Louis Jackson

Not all videos mentioned in this article are available everywhere, check the link to Slate below for your location.

Article with many thanks to Slate Magazine