I think that it is fantastic to see that Kenji Mizoguchi's films are slowly making their way to Blu-ray. The Life of Oharu, one of the Japanese master's best films, now looks quite wonderful, and I cannot recommend it highly-enough to anyone interested in classic Japanese cinema. I would also like to encourage you to consider adding to your collections The Mizoguchi Collection, which contains four Mizoguchi's films, including the terrific Utamaro and His Five Women and Osaka Elegy, that are no currently available on Blu-ray in North America. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
One of country music s most eclectic heroes, Marty Robbins celebrated an extraordinary career as one of the genre s leading crossover artists. Spending more than 30 years in the music business, Robbins routinely refused to conform to contemporary trends, branching out into pop, rockabilly, Hawaiian, calypso and gospel music, all underlined by his trademark Southern twang. In addition to being a skilled player and performer, Robbins was also a magnificent songwriter, penning many of his best-known hits. He also undertook numerous ventures outside of music during his lifetime, appearing in films and even occasionally participating in NASCAR races. However, it is his music for which he is most fondly remembered, and Robbins retains his reputation as one of the finest ever country musicians and performers. This collection, presented across four discs and running in excess of five hours, collates the entirety of Marty Robbins output between 1952 and 1960, and in so doing, provides not only the perfect introduction to this country giant, but acts too as a welcome reminder for those already well-versed in Marty Robbins incredible work.
Ray Charles' seminal recordings for Atlantic have been boxed once before, as the triple-disc 1991 set The Birth of Soul. That box contained 53 tracks, the best moments of what is arguably the best period of Charles' career, but Rhino/Atlantic's 2005 seven-disc sequel, Pure Genius, doesn't bother with merely the highlights: as its subtitle makes clear, this is The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959). This is undeniably a major historical release, since it gathers all of the recordings Charles made at his creative peak, not just as a leader, but as a sideman for his saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and sides he recorded with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson.