The Old Grey Whistle Test was a music performance television series on BBC 2, and over the years the show has featured an amazing variety of artists, from Gram Parsons to Jethro Tull, including several who fell to the blues side of the pop spectrum. This set collects some of those blues tracks, including songs from R.L. Burnside ("Bad Luck City"), Roy Buchanan ("Sweet Dreams"), and Freddie King ("Going Down"), among others. There's also a track by Elmore James here, "The Sky Is Crying," which is a little confusing, since James never appeared on the program. Apparently the selector here, Bob Harris, wanted to include sides from musicians who should have or could have appeared on the program…
What one feels about this 27-song CD will depend entirely upon one's tolerance for soft rock and bubblegum pop. Pickettywitch were huge in England for about two years, and remain one of the more fondly remembered pop/rock groups of their period, mostly by virtue of singer Polly Browne, who has maintained a fandom for 30 years. The sound is soft rock in a modified group context, similar to the kind of music generated by the Partridge Family, the Cowsills, and, on a two-dimensional level, the Archies in America, slick and smooth, catchy and unthreatening; their version of Paul Simon's "Sound of Silence" is something akin to what the New Seekers' rendition might've been like, while "Days I Remember," which came close to charting in America, is akin to the Carpenters trying their hand at blue-eyed soul. It's all rather pretty, for all of its relative wimpiness, and difficult to dislike on that basis – "Solomon Grundy," the B-side that launched their public success, is one of those tunes that was meant for radio airplay two or three times daily, and the title track, a top-five U.K. hit, is a breezy piece of romantic soft rock.
There are some really nice tunes on this soundtrack to the excellent film "Grumpier Old Men". The highlights for me are the songs by Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Harry Belafonte, Doris Day, Nat King Cole and the couple of instrumentals by composer Alan Silvestri. These are the recordings that will remind you of the fun that GOM provided to those fortunate to see legends Lemmon, Matthau, Meredith, Ann-Margaret and Sophia Loren (holy moly) in their last great film together. The only pity is that because the first films soundtrack is not available to buy, that the song from that film "We're Having A Heatwave" is not here. Sound quality is excellent and joyous.
This cheerful holiday comedy, a surprise box office smash, featured a generous dollop of raunchy, crude humor and was greatly elevated by the presence of masterful performers in the lead roles. Jack Lemmon is John Gustafson, an ice-fishing Minnesota native who has been feuding with his neighbor and former best friend Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) for decades. The battle of wills between John and Max is characterized by crude name calling and harmless practical jokes. Max is unaware that John is having serious problems, chiefly that his daughter Melanie (Daryl Hannah) is experiencing marital woes and that his house is about to be confiscated by an officious IRS agent (Buck Henry). When it seems that John and Max may finally put aside their childish rivalry, however, sexy new neighbor Ariel (Ann-Margret) arrives and dates both men, pitting them against each other more fiercely than ever before. Despite their mutual loathing, the death of a friend, John's problems, and a budding romance between Max's son Jacob (Kevin Pollak) and Melanie may force the two old friends to reconcile.