Dolly Parton makes children happy

source

Dolly Parton has always been one of my heroes and is easily one of the greatest songwriters not only in country music, but in all American music.  Well, I heard word from my friends at Webster Public Relations that Dolly has announced her first album written and recorded for children.

Well, age is a relative thing and this young at heart writer is going to be one of the people getting the album.  It’s going to be called I Believe in You, and it’ll be coming out digitally on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville on September 29th.  The physical album is going to be in stores on October 13th, which is also the 14th anniversary of my radio program.  So look forward to us playing tracks from it.

Dolly held a press conference which ended in three song performances and people in the media brought along their children, something I’m sure that parent and child will never forget.  Dolly Parton said “My first album was released 50 years ago and it’s been an amazing 50 years since then. I am very excited that now I’m coming out with my first children’s album in all of those 50 years. I’m proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library,” Dolly said. “It’s been 20 years since the Imagination Library was launched. We’ve seen 100 million books get into the hands of children and hopefully there will be many more.”

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library started back in 1996 in Dolly’s hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee.  More than 100 million books have been provided to children  in Australia, Belize, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States.

Do you think the children will like the album?  I think some things are timeless. Like Dolly Parton’s music.

Händel Goes Wild – Can you handle it?

The great works of art aren’t meant to be put on a shelf to be forgotten. They are here to be interpreted by the artists of the time.  Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” can be played by a new crop of young actors.  In this sense, “old made new” is what makes a classic.

I’m grateful to have been sneaked an advance copy of the album “Händel Goes Wild,” an album by Austrian multi-instrumentalist Christina Pluhar and her ensemble L’Arpeggiata.  “Händel Goes Wild” breathes new life into the music of German baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel.

Wild? Well, the interpretations are certainly lively.  I’ve been endlessly listening to the CD in my home and in the car, but perhaps Händel was a bit of a wild man as well. Apparently, at a rehearsal for his opera Ottone, the Italian soprano-diva Francesca Cuzzoni refused to sing the aria “Falsa Immagine.”  Händel responded by grabbing her around the waist and threatening to throw her out of the window.

Listening to “Händel Goes Wild” has been a pleasure and I recommend the album if you are looking for a lively introduction to the composer.  It’s a reminder that the great works of art are eternal and also without borders.  The ensemble L’Arpeggiata is joined by Spanish soprano Nuria Rial, Romanian countertenor Valer Sabadus and Italian jazz clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi making it a truly global album, one that I’m sure would have driven Händel wild with enthusiasm.

“Händel Goes Wild” will be available September 1st from Warner Classics.

The Manchurian Candidate

source

Most known as a singer, not everyone is aware of the magnitude Frank Sinatra had as an actor.  I recall my interview with Charles Pignone, the Senior Vice President of Frank Sinatra Enterprises.  Pignone told me that if Sinatra had never had the singing career, but only made movies he would have been a tremendous success.

As someone interested in hypnosis who has been self-hypnotized as well as hypnotized by others, the film The Manchurian Candidate has been mentioned in conversation a few times.  Recently, I saw it for the first time.  It did not disappoint.

A black and white film, The Manchurian Candidate  is a suspense thriller about the son of a very powerful, elite political family who have taken control of his mind.  It’s a very complicated plot and the sudden ending is something I couldn’t have predicted.  It stars such legends as Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, James Gregory and Henry Silva.

I’ll confess I didn’t immediately recognize Silva, who played the role of the Chinese secret agent Chunjin.  I came to learn he’ll be celebrating his 89th birthday in a few days and has had a prolific career, mostly portraying gangsters.  He’s got a very unique look and has portrayed characters of a diverse number of ethnicities.  Silva caught my attention and I enjoyed researching him.

Henry Silva

You’ll remember Silva as one of the crooks in the classic Ocean’s 11 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford.  In 1977, he worked with Sinatra again in Contract on Cherry Street, which my friend the singer & actor Robert Davi also acted in.  Henry Silva also provided the voice for the villain “Bane” in Batman: The Animated Series, which I thought was an impeccable series.  He ended his acting career in 2001 with the remake of Ocean’s 11.

The Manchurian Candidate is a terrific film that will make you realize why Sinatra was so fond of the storyline.  Furthermore, it’s a great introduction to the thespian side of Sinatra.  His presence on the screen is undeniable.  I got my copy on DVD from NetFlix.