Category Archives: John Lennon

New festival for Fab Four fans: Beatles At The Ridge

Beatles At The Ridge, Walnut Ridge, AR: Sept 20-21It’s been way too long since I’ve posted a review or opinion on this blog, but when I heard about Beatles At The Ridge, I knew I just had to spread the good word!

Beatles At The Ridge is a two day festival in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas created by Charles Snapp in 2011.  It is now in its third year running.  Last year, the crowd size was estimated at over 10,000, but I have a feeling that this fest is going to put the best of all Beatles festivals on guard!  This fest has the potential to become a new mecca for the most diehard fans.

So what connection does Walnut Ridge have to the Beatles?  I’m glad you asked…because Walnut Ridge can boast about their Beatles encounter.  From their website: “A quiet night in 1964 was interrupted by the unusual sound of an airliner approaching Walnut Ridge Airport. Its arrival sparked enough interest that three local teens went to investigate, only to discover John, Paul, Ringo, and George walking from the plane. The Beatles, the biggest rock band in the world, had arrived at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.”  You can read the rest of the story and see pictures here.

This year’s fest will have over 100 vendors (the number is still growing as word gets out about BATR).  Admission is free, parking is free and all entertainment is free.  I don’t think I’ve heard of another Beatles festival that can say that (but I could be wrong).

The entertainment for this two day, three stage event is also growing by the day.  Scheduled to appear this year are: Stan Perkins (son of Carl Perkins), Beatles tribute band – BritBeat, Ringo Starr tribute artist – Ringer Star,  Beatles expert & author – Jude Southerland Kessler, Danny Donuts Yellow Submarine Parade and many more!  There will also be a Beatles costume contest with prizes!  A full list of events can be found here.

In 2012, Beatles at the Ridge won the “Top new Festival” award from the Arkansas Festival and Events Association.

 Beatles At The Ridge will run from Friday, September 20th thru Saturday, September 21st.  For more information, go to: www.BeatlesAtTheRidge.com
I have a feeling this party is truly going to rock and it’s going to put a scare into the owner of many a Beatles fest.  If you go, please check in here and let us know your opinion!

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CD Review: Beatlesque Four by Alan Bernhoft

Looks like Alan Bernhoft has done it again with his latest release, Beatlesque Four!

My last review of Beatleseque Three, Alan had begun to recover from a what I thought was a very dissappointing Beatlesque Too album.  I think I can safely say, this album is the best of the bunch.

The CD starts out with a catchy, little head-bobbing, Lennon-esque title track, Love Everyone.  This is one of those songs you can imagine every mom wanting to play for their young children.

Another memorable tune is track 9 – My Rolls Royce…a song you can imagine Ringo singing.  Everything from the limited vocal range to the silly lyrics just screams Ringo!

Track 11, I Fly is an amazing tune that really and truly highlights the talents of Alan Bernhoft.  It’s just beautiful with it’s whisp of Beatles influence but not overdone.

Included in this album are three spoken word tracks from the writings of T.S. Dorglesnout.  They’re amusing little ditties fit perfectly in amongst the songs.  Who’s T.S. Dorglesnout?  When you find out, please let me know too!  🙂

This album ends with the song, Captain Anaujiram.  Though me and the good Captain would never share company, they song is amusing!

I don’t want to leave out that Mr. Bernhoft has included a holiday tune on this album called Imagine Christmas.  I must say I’m a fan of it already since I’ve personally had enough of the same-old, same-old holiday tunes every year.  I’d love to see the song distributed to radio stations across the country and be the next big holiday song!

I’m very impressed with this album and enjoyed getting an early copy of it.  The official release date is Saturday, June 23, 2012.  You can sample and buy a digital copy on Amazon.

I rate this CD: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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Short Story (ebook) Review: ‘Paul McCartney’s Coat and Other Stories’ by Michael White

Paul McCartney's CoatThis holiday, I got myself a Kindle Touch…thanks to the generosity of a friend who gave me an Amazon gift card.  Wanting to put this new device to use immediately, I did a search for ‘Free books beatles’ under Kindle books.  The ebook, ‘Paul McCartney’s Coat and Other Stories’ came up first on a very short list of only 3 books.

Let me first inform my readers that only the Forward is free.  You can get a Sampler for 99 cents, but the entire book is $4.50.  So…I ended up spending $5.49, but I have now learned a valuable lesson on what not to download to my Kindle.

Now for my review of just the first short story in this ebook:

If you’re a fan of short stories and/or fan fiction, you’ll enjoy reading this tall tale about a Beatles fan having a close encounter with the Fab Four at a pub in 1967 and his short ownership of Paul McCartney’s coat that was left behind in the pub and the discovery of Julian Lennon’s drawing  of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

The author, Michael White, gives a footnote at the end of the his story saying that on the original drawing by Julian, the words “Lucy with diamond eyes” were crossed out and the words, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” were written underneath.  After doing a search on the interent, I couldn’t come up with any confirmation of this…even though it plays a huge part in telling of this story and I found it quite amusing how the author may have taken this fact and turned it into his own story!  (Note: I’d appreciate it if anyone can confirm the story about the original picture.)

The story does contain quite a lot of typos, but I’ve been told this can happen when books are converted to Kindle editions.  The reader may become impatient with several missing quote marks, run-on sentences and other small publishing errors.

Also, I guess one way to get attention for your new book is to put one of the Beatles names in the title or ‘Beatles’ itself.  It got my attention and no, I didn’t read any of the other Mr. White’s other short stories, but I now have them handy in case I find myself waiting at a dentist office or such.

This book is available in it’s full Kindle editon at Amazon.com, but is only available in it’s free edition of the Forward from Barnes and Noble.

Because this story is fan fiction (and I’m not a fan of that genre) and because I felt that the author gets sidetracked on other topics to the point of feeling like he was just adding ‘filler’ to his story:

I rate this story in this book: 2 out of 4 Beetles

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Book Review: ‘John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth’ by Elizabeth Partridge

Here’s another late review since this book was published in 2005, but I just heard about  ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ from a new friend who is friends with the author…so I bought a copy to check it out!  This book was described to me as ‘a book about John Lennon for teenagers’.

The first thing that will surprise you about ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ is it’s large size: 10.5′ x 10″.  This book looks more like a coffee table book than a book for children.  Also the reader will be suprised at the wonderful photographs throughout the book…adding to it’s ‘not so much for children’ style.  Don’t get me wrong…this book is absolutely beautiful to look at and page through and would be a standout book for anyone’s Beatles book collection.  But (and you knew it was coming)…most Beatles Freaks don’t buy books for their looks.  Beatles Freaks want facts…real facts and they want the truth.

The author does a pretty good job of telling John’s story.  Some of the facts that seem to be wrong are the usual ones, such as Aunt Mimi ducking and hiding from an air raid while on her way to see John in the hospital on the day he was born.  Other than those, which are few and far between, the book is a very easy read with great detail mixed with the gorgeous pictures on every page.

Now, herein lies the problem…sometimes the details are a little much for the younger generation that this book is aimed at.  Ms. Partridge brings up such topics as Paul losing his virginity, ‘knee tremblers’, prellies, etc.  I don’t know that I would have wanted my tweener or young teenager reading these details even if it is about the Fab Four.  My opinion (and it is just that…mine) is that this book would be great for anyone over the age of 15.

This book is available on Amazon and there are some great deals for it on Half.com.

So there you have it…big, beautiful, well-written, though sometimes erroneously, book about the life of John Lennon that would look great in your collection and everyone will enjoy the great pictures!

This brings me to a very difficult decision on what to rate this book, but since this book did win a BCCB BLUE RIBBON NONFICTION BOOK AWARD and a  2006 Michael L. Printz Award, I’m going to bump my rating up to:

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles

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Upcoming Beatles Documentary

I’m not going to sugarcoat this…this post is going to be a plea for help! This project has just 26 days left to be financed or the entire deal will fall through…and as Beatles Freaks, I just can’t IMAGINE any of us letting that happen.

This is about Freda Kelly, The Beatles’ secretary from the early Cavern Club days when they were playing to audiences of 30 people at lunchtime, all the way through their years of international popularity and stardom, and until they eventually broke up in 1970.  Freda was only one of a handful of employees for The Beatles who lasted for the entire “Beatles Era.”

Freda has kept quiet all these years and is only now starting to come forward and tell her stories about all those years ago with the Fab Four.  She wants her grandchildren to know what their grandmother did in her youth…and what a great story she must have to tell.  I know I want to hear about it.

In order to make her documentary, the filmmakers must raise $50,000 by November 12, 2011 at 2:59 am.  Currently, the total donated is $13,390 from 117 donors.

So, let me break this down for you:  If the next 7,324 fans gave just $5 to this cause, they could make this film!  And you can’t tell me that they aren’t 7,324 Beatles Freaks out there that are dying to hear the inside stories from Freda!  You can give more if you’d like…you can give less…that’s up to you.  But I believe that we are capable of raising this money in the next 26 days.  And there are bonuses…such as, if you give $25, you will get a copy of the DVD when it’s made (there are more gifts for different donation levels, but I thought this was the most enticing for those with limited income).

All together now….come together, right now…

Donate here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1215635909/good-ol-freda

Please share this post on Twitter, Facebook and other social media to help this cause.

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DVD Review: Composing Outside The Beatles (Lennon & McCartney 1973-1980)

The third installment in a series of on the collaboration of Lennon and McCartney, ‘Composing Outside the Beatles: Lennon and McCartney 1973-1980’ brings a lot to the table…if you can bear to sit through it!

I had mentioned to another Beatles freak that I had been sent a copy of this video to review and since I had never seen the first two installments, they informed me that they felt the first two were ‘dry’.  I don’t know that I’d use that same term, but instead I felt this documentary, about the separate careers of Lennon and McCartney after the split of the Beatles, drawled on…and on.  Even my son, who was sitting within ear shot while I watched, commented, “Everyone just went on and on and never seemed to shut up.”

But as I said, this movie is not without it’s good points.  I think it does do a fine job of covering all of Lennon’s and McCartney’s albums in great detail with commentary by such well respected people as: Denny Laine, Klaus Voorman, Denny Seiwell and Anythony DeCurtis, to name a few.  The problem seems to arise when the producers decided to let everyone have their say about the albums, making the whole thing a bit lengthy and boring.  I also think this isn’t necessarily a DVD for the hardcore Beatles freaks, since I don’t know that it gave much information that hasn’t already been published elsewhere.

All-in-all, a well made documentary, but be prepared to pause your player to enjoy life!

This DVD will be released on October 25, 2011 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com.

**Note: I just looked at the Amazon page for this DVD.  It says the run time for this movie is 60 minutes.  Not true…it’s 139 minutes!

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles

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Book Review: Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher

Paul is UndeadA couple of weeks ago, my husband I happened to be in the mall on the last day that our local Borders book store was in business.  All books were 90% off that day and my husband happened to stumble upon this one.  So, I coughed up $1.50 to have something a little off the wall, yet completely on topic to review for my readers.

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of either fan fiction or zombie genre books or movies.  But the back cover of Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion made me laugh:

Learn the tale behind a spiritual journey that resulted in the dismemberment of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  Marvel at the seemingly indestructible quartet’s survival of a fierce attach by Eighth Level Ninja Lord Yoko Ono.  And find out how the boys escaped eternal death at the hands of England’s greatest zombie hunter, Mick Jagger.

I was pleasantly surprised at how often I laughed out loud while reading this book.  The writer seemed to have a real knack at making the boys come to life (or undead) as zombies (though, only 3 of the 4 Beatles are zombies…the 4th is a Ninja).  AND, it would seem that Mr. Goldsher is as big a Beatles freak as the rest of us upon discovery that his story includes all the Quarrymen, Allan Williams, George Martin, Elvis, Geoff Emerick and many other well-known people in the Beatles entourage.  But one can’t help but notice several important people missing, such as Sid Bernstein and Linda McCartney.

Also lacking in this book, written in the style of interviews, is the dynamic of a true Liverpudlian accent.  In fact, the author seems to start out pretty well in the beginning of the book, but the accents seem to go by the wayside at the halfway point.  (Note to Mr. Goldsher – please check out the writings of Jude Southerland Kessler on how to write Beatles dialogue) Not only does the dialogue take a downward spiral…but the entire story begins to spiral out of control as each chapter (written in years) seems to get shorter and shorter as the stories get more bizarre, off topic and filled with more profanity.  I got the impression about midway through the book that Mr. Goldsher got desperate to increase his page count and just added senseless, humorless filler.

As I said, this book started out great and almost changed my mind about fan fiction…but alas, it ended up putting me to sleep on many occasions.  I’m not sure what type of audience the author was hoping to attract or this book would appeal to since some of the details and profanity are too much for the teens that really dig the Eclipse series…and I think true Beatles freaks and baby boomers will find it an insult to their intelligence.

And in the end…you just can’t wait for this book to be done!

I rate this book: 1 out of 4 Beetles

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Music Review: ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by Shannon her B.A.M.F.s

Shannon MacDonald
Shannon MacDonald

There aren’t too many people in this world that would have the nerve to cover a song by John Lennon.  I’ve watched as contestants on various singing competition shows try it…and it can easily end any attempt at fame.

And so that brings me to the latest attempt – Shannon MacDonald’s Tomorrow Never Knows.  Most people know Shannon as ‘The World’s Greatest Beatles Artist’, a title given to her by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool.  So one has to wonder, why would her first attempt to make her mark in the music industry be covering a Beatles’ song?

The first thing I noticed when I set out to hear this song for the first time is that it’s 7 mins 38 sec in length.  The original version of the song was just 2 mins 57 sec.   But that initial feeling of ‘I’m going to fall asleep before I hear the end…” quickly went away as I found that the song has the magical ability of wrapping around you like a comfortable blanket and taking you to your happy place.  There is an absolutely peace about this cover that gives you that inner reconciliation like meditating on a high mountain top in the warmth of the sun and a gentle breeze gliding across your cheek.

Absolutely, everyone should take a chance and give this song a listen…and come back here to let me know the feeling that it inspired in you.  I think it will truly be a grand experience for anyone.

Shannon‘s cover of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is currently doing a rapid climb up the charts on ReverbNation and is being noticed by many Beatles’ experts and DJ’s across the U.S..

For those inquiring minds – BAMFs = Bad A** Mother F***ers.

The song is available for download on iTunes and Amazon.

The Lennon Examiner – Shelley Germeaux recently interviewed Shannon about her music and this song.  The article is here.

The history behind the writing of the original Beatles version, can be found here.

I rate this song: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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Movie Review: Lennon Naked

Lennon Naked Several weeks ago I received and email from WGBH/PBS in Boston asking if I would take the time to mention their upcoming release of  Lennon Naked on my website.  They also asked if I would like a preview copy of the movie prior to writing about it.  It only made sense since this is a review website.

It would seem that 90% of this film is about John Lennon’s anger management abilities.  It’s as if the people behind the making of the movie researched every moment and every issue Lennon had and put it on film without regard for the happy or joyful times in his life.  According to Lennon Naked all John Lennon did was walk around angry and I believe they should rename this film to “Lennon Pissed-Off”.

My personal message to Robert Jones (writer): Dude….Give Peace a Chance! ☮

The one good point I found is the acting in the film is wonderful.  And though I’m not a Yoko Ono fan, I did find Naoko Mori‘s portrayal ofYoko to be excellent!

I don’t know that I can criticize the details that they present in this movie.  I didn’t walk away with the impression that they took too many liberties with the truth, though they do have a disclaimer before the movie started saying that some parts have been fictionalized.

Lennon Naked will debut on PBS on Sunday, November 21, 2010.  You can go to PBS.org and check your zip code for dates and times that Lennon Naked will be playing on your local station.

As always, I look forward to my readers responses and opinions.

I rate this movie: 1 out of 4 Beetles

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Movie Review: Nowhere Boy

Nowhere Boy promo I had the opportunity to have a night out with the family and catch a showing of the new John Lennon biopic – “Nowhere Boy” at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville.

(A quick history of the Colonial Theatre – this theatre became famous in the 1958 cult classic “The Blob” when the patrons run screaming from the theatre after the blob takes over.)

I was really torn watching this movie.  It a very well made film and the acting is quite good.  It is a wonderful to relax to…if you’re not a die-hard Beatles fan.  I must have leaned over about five times and whispered in my husband’s ear, “That’s not how that happened.”  From John’s blue eyes (his were brown) to Paul McCartney being shorter than him (he wasn’t) to Uncle George dying in front of John (John was away when his uncle died), a hardcore Beatles fan will feel like there are nails scratching a blackboard while watching.  But, for the average, everyday music fan that just wants a little background into Lennon’s early years…yes, this film will please you.  And though a lot of it is a bit out of chronological order, it gets its point across of the turmoil and heartbreak that Lennon must have felt in his youth and adolescence.

I’m not sure how to rate this film.  I want to scream, “Did you think we wouldn’t notice your blatant disregard of the facts?” and at the same time, I want to say, “Great film…very well made!”  This is where I’m going to have to say to my readers, go see the film and try to separate yourself from the truth just enough to enjoy the film.  There really isn’t any one thing in this movie that changes the overall story of John Lennon’s real story and that can’t be attributed to ‘artist license’.  And for this reason…

I rate this film: 3 out of 4 Beetles

 

 

 

The movie will continue to be shown throughout this week (November 5-11, 2010) at the Colonial Theatre.  For more information and showtimes, please go to: www.TheColonialTheatre.com.

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