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Bobby Womack - Harry Hippie
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Tags: bobby womack harry hippie video week word life production new quality entertainment

Timeless Classic that just got better - Annie (2014 film) Tags: annie 2014 Jamie Foxx Quvenzhané Wallis Rose byrne Bobby Cannavale Cameron Diaz

Annie is a 2014 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Will Gluck and produced by Village Roadshow Pictures and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment for Sony Pictures' Columbia Pictures. A contemporary adaptation of the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, which was in turn based upon the 1924 comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, the film stars Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role and Jamie Foxx in the role of Will Stacks, an update of Daddy Warbucks. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz.

The third film adaptation following Columbia's 1982 theatrical film and Disney's 1999 made-for-television film, Annie began production in August 2013 and opened on December 19, 2014amidst a scandal over accusations of government hacking in North Korea. The film received generally negative reviews.

In Harlem, a class of young children are doing presentations on former presidents. 10-year-old Annie Bennett (Quvenzhane Wallis) does her report on Franklin D. Roosevelt as a performance piece, and she gets her classmates to join her in by stomping their feet and making noises.

Annie visits a restaurant called "Lou's" where she waits for her parents to show up and finally reclaim her. They never come. Annie gets back to her foster home and rejoins her foster sisters - Isabella, Tessie, Mia, and Pepper. They're looked over by the mean Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), who used to be a performer and is now miserable for having to take care of the girls. The girls lament not being adopted ("Maybe").

Hannigan wakes the girls up early on Saturday to make them clean their house as an inspector from Social Services is set to arrive ("It's The Hard Knock Life"). The inspector visits, and Hannigan flirts with him. After he leaves, the girls notice that he dropped a document containing their records. Annie takes it and seizes the opportunity to seek out her real parents. Annie stops by Lou's to do some work to get the money needed to get the documents.

Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), a cell phone mogul and owner of "Stacks Mobile" is running for mayor. He is supported by his adviser Guy (Bobby Cannavale), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne), and bodyguard Nash (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje). Will is a germaphobe and not very popular with voters compared to the current favorite Harold Gray (Peter Van Wagner). Will goes to feed the homeless and tries to eat the mashed potatoes to show how much he cares, only for him to spit it out in the face of a homeless man.

Annie is unable to learn anything about her parents since she's not in the system. She walks home depressed ("Tomorrow"). She sees two boys annoying a dog. Annie runs, yelling at them to stop. Will saves Annie from being hit by a vehicle.

A video of Will's heroic act hits the web, and he moves up several points. Guy suggests to him that he find Annie and use her to make himself look good for the public. Will sends Grace to get Annie.

Will offers Annie his place for a temporary stay. She knows there's a catch, and he admits the plan. She jokes that he could be president if she moved in. The adults get somebody to approve the temporary guardianship for Will. Annie then takes a tour around the place and is impressed with everything ("I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here").

Will sets the plan in motion by allowing Annie out to do whatever she wants. They adopt the dog from the streets (to Will's dismay), and Annie names it Sandy. He later takes Annie and the foster girls to the premiere of a movie called MoonQuake Lake'. The girls are taken back to the foster home, and Hannigan orders them to take back all the nice things they got. She once again bemoans her current position in life ("Little Girls"). Gray gets endorsed by Michael J. Fox, leading Will to get a bit desperate. He decides to take Annie on a ride over the city in his chopper ("The City's Yours").

Annie joins Will, Grace and Guy at the Guggenheim Museum for a Stacks Mobile event called "A Night at The Museum". Will invites Annie up on stage for the people to see her in her red dress. She sings "Opportunity", and the orchestra joins in. After the performance, Guy tells Annie to read a speech that he wrote. Annie is quiet and leaves the stage upset. Will and Grace run after her, and Annie admits that she doesn't know how to read. Will says he will get her a tutor.

Guy devises a plan to get fake parents for Annie to get her off Will's hands. Guy teams up with Hannigan to set their scheme in motion ("Easy Street"), because, if Will looks heroic and reunites Annie with her parents, Guy gets a nice reward. Hannigan later auditions a bunch of actors to play the part, but is not pleased with any of them.

While the film incorporates notable songs from the original Broadway production, written by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Martin Charnin, the songs themselves were rearranged by Sia and Greg Kurstin to reflect its new contemporary setting. Executive music supervisor Matt Sullivan explained that there was a desire to make the film's use of music "seamless" rather than "abrupt", and to maintain the integrity and familiarity of the musical's most iconic songs, including "Tomorrow" and "It's the Hard Knock Life". The songs were rearranged with a percussive, pop-inspired style: in particular, "It's the Hard Knock Life"—whilst maintaining the use of "natural" sounds for its rhythm, was updated in a hip hop style. Lyrics to some songs were also updated to reflect the differences in the film's storyline and settings. Sia and Kurstin wrote three new songs for the soundtrack, including "Opportunity", "Who Am I", and "Moonquake Lake". Sia additionally co-wrote "The City's Yours" with Stargate.

Sony first announced the remake in January 2011, with Jay-Z and Will Smith serving as producers and Smith's daughter Willow, attached to play the lead role. In February 2011, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy became front-runner to direct the film, but by March, he had declined.

The production soon began seeking a screenwriter, with actress Emma Thompson being considered. No developments arrived until May 2012, when Will Smith appeared on Good Morning America and provided updates, including that the film would be set in modern-day New York City, that Thompson was providing a script, and that Jay-Z would also provide newly written songs for the film. In July 2012, We Bought a Zoo screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna wrote a second draft of the script. In August, it was announced production was to begin in Spring 2013.

In January 2013, Easy A director Will Gluck was hired to direct, but Willow Smith had dropped out.

By February 2013, Beasts of the Southern Wild star and Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis had replaced Smith in the lead role, and the film had scheduled a Christmas 2014 release.

In March 2013, the search for the rest of the cast continued, with Justin Timberlake rumored for the role of Daddy Warbucks. This was proven false when Jamie Foxx signed on for the role, now named Will Stacks. In June 2013, Cameron Diaz was cast as Miss Hannigan, after Sandra Bullock declined.

In July 2013, Rose Byrne joined the cast as Grace Farrell, Stacks's faithful assistant and in August, Boardwalk Empire star Bobby Cannavale joined the cast as a "bulldog political adviser" to Will Stacks. In September, the rest of the cast was announced with Amanda Troya, Nicolette Pierini, Eden Duncan-Smith, and Zoe Colletti as Annie's foster sisters.

As of September 19, 2013, principal photography had begun. Shooting was done at Grumman Studios. Other scenes were filmed at the new Four World Trade Center.

While "rooted in the same story" according to Gluck, the 2014 film adaptation is a contemporary take on the 1977 Broadway musical and contains some differences from the original: The setting was changed from the 1930's—the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and the Great Depression, to present-day New York City. The opening school scene features class presentations by both the new Annie, and a student representing her classic appearance, discussing aspects of and parallels between the economic states of the two settings, such as the New Deal and the modern lower class.

The character of Oliver Warbucks was modified to create William Stacks, an entrepreneur in the technology sector (particularly, the mobile phone industry) turned politician, who is trying to run for Mayor of New York City. Annie also no longer lives in an orphanage, but is kept in foster care.

The film officially premiered at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City on December 7, 2014.

On November 27, 2014, Annie was one of several films leaked by the "Guardians of Peace", a group that the FBI believes has ties to North Korea, following its breach of Columbia's parent company Sony Pictures Entertainment. Within three days of the initial leak, Annie had been downloaded by an estimated 206,000 unique IPs. By December 9, the count had risen to over 316,000. The chief analyst at BoxOffice.com felt that despite this, the leak was unlikely to affect Annie 's box office performance.

Annie opened on December 19, 2014 and earned $5,289,149 on its opening day. In the first weekend, the film made $15,861,939, ranking third in the domestic box office behind other new releases The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. As of December 28, the film has grossed $45,835,000 in North America and $1,236,337 overseas for a worldwide total of $47,071,337.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 29% approval rating, based on 115 reviews, with an average score of 4.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "The new-look Annie hints at a progressive take on a well-worn story, but smothers its likable cast under clichés, cloying cuteness, and a distasteful materialism." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 33 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

Entertainment Weekly described its soundtrack as an autotuned "disaster", noting that "you won't ever hear a worse rendition of 'Easy Street' than the one performed by Diaz and Cannivale—I promise.", and concluding that "aside from an unintentional homage to Zoolander that is so tone-deaf it'll make you guffaw, Annie goes out of its way to make viewing it a hard-knock life for us."

PopMatters magazine rated Annie 3 out of 10, saying "In its aggravatingly choreographed frenzy, the party scene epitomizes Annie, its trying too hard both to be and not be the previous Annies, its trying too little to be innovative or vaguely inspired. It’s as crass as Miss Hannigan and as greedy as Stacks, at least until they learn their lessons. The movie doesn’t appear to learn a thing."

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave Annie one-and-a-half stars, describing the adaptation as being "wobbly" and "unsatisfying", criticizing the commercialized nature of the plot changes, concluding that it was "finesse-free and perilously low on the simple performance pleasures we look for in any musical, of any period."

IGN.com praised Wallis and Foxx for being "on-point" throughout much of the film, but still felt that Annie was "miscast in a few places, overlong, and filled with unnecessary meta jokes (including one ill-timed Kim Jong-il jab) and social media 'upgrades.'", and that Diaz's performance was "terminally terrible", "making the film instantly un-fun whenever she's onscreen.

Source: Wikipedia

A Band Called Death brings new life! Tags: punk rock death new life david dannis bobby hackney jr. ultimate rock classic feature

Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett's documentary, out on Friday, is simply titled A Band Called Death. It provides a thorough biography of an under-appreciated protopunk garage band that existed on the cusp of punk. They were called Death, obviously. The Detroit band, founded in 1971 by three brothers—David Hackney (guitar), Dannis Hackney (drums) and Bobby Hackney (bass, vocals)—was disbanded in 1977, but managed to record an album's worth of songs in demo sessions. When the band was rediscovered by record collectors, punk obsessives, and underground DJs in the 2000s, the Hackneys were hailed as visionaries.

Hearing Death for the first time, it's easy to see what had everyone thrilled and excited. It's genuine, 1970s punk without sounding tired, over-played, or over-imitated. The tempo is aggressive, the sound pleasantly jarring, the lyrics repetitive, catchy, and uncomplicated. When punk experts and critics started to learn about the existence of Death, they wondered if that Death might not only be the first black punk band, but perhaps the first punk band ever. "The Ramones got all the glory for what this is right here," Questlove says in the documentary, "this is the Ramones two years earlier."


But this music, appealing and even conventional now, flopped in early 1970s Detroit. Studio executives who met with Death in the 1970s and considered signing them said that the world wasn't prepared for their sound. If you were a black musician in Detroit at the time, you were expected to be motown or R&B. Not rock, and certainly not a pioneering iteration of rock.

The documentary does a decent job of communicating why Death failed at first; it does an even better job showing the thrill of discovering the band. When people— everyone from record collectors, punk geeks, musicians, studio executives, and even Bobby Hackney's sons— recount their discovery of Death, they grow wide-eyed with revelation, disbelief, excitement, and admiration.

The brother's first band was called Rock Fire Funk Express, because one of the brothers said they weren't "sure if they wanted to be rock or funk, but we wanted to keep going." They aimed to sound like a combination of the Who and Jimi Hendrix. The Hackneys report that their neighbors were less enamored with sound. Constant complaints from neighbors and the police prompted their brilliant single "Keep on Knocking." This resistance from their community and record studios fueled their creativity, said Bobby, "that is pure anger, we are fighting… to maintain our identity."

The Hackneys changed their name from Rock Fire Funk Express to Death just after their father was killed by a drunk driver. Dannis said that their conceptual leader, David, "wanted to put a positive spin on death, that it's like birth." While the name Death now seems mundane even, in the early 1970s, this name cost them a record deal. Groovesville's Don Davis wanted to sign the band as long as they gave up the name. David refused. Dannis said he would have changed the name in a second, but he respected David's vision. "He inspired us because we had the chance to change the name. I think David was the prime example of what the Lord said: 'What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul,'" says Bobby tearfully, "and David's music was his soul and he never wavered on it."

Death self-released 500 copies of a single on their label Tryangle, including the songs "Politicians in My Eyes" and "Keep on Knocking." But after failing to reach an audience, the band disbanded in the 1980s. The brothers moved to Vermont, where Dannis and Bobby married and had families. David moved back to Detroit in 1982 and died of lung cancer in 2000. Just a few years later, Death was rediscovered.

By 2008, the 45 was selling for $1000 on eBay. Then Bobby's son heard about a protopunk band from a friend going to underground DJ sessions in California and listened to them. When he heard his father's voice, he was shocked. "I can't believe I'm listening to the best rock and roll I've ever heard," said Bobby Hackney Jr. "and I'm the only one that knows about it."

Bobby's sons formed a Death cover band called Rough Francis, named in honor of their uncle David's last musical effort. In March 12, 2009, the New York Times featured a huge spread devoted to Death and the label Drag City that released all seven Death songs from the 1974 sessions for the first time. In September of 2009 Death reformed with Bobbie Duncan as the guitarist, though Dannis and Bobby considered refusing to regroup without David. After playing a small tour (including Joey Ramone's birthday party), Dannis and Bobby are still mourning David, but they indicate the playing and perpetuating David's musical vision is the best tribute to him.

As a documentary, A Band Called Death could use a little of Death's energy and urgency. It relies very much on people recounting—which is most likely due to a dearth of archival footage. Despite a labored start, A Band Called Death picks up with the excitement of the discovery in recent years (a structure following the subject's model, without the raw inspiration).

The lasting image of A Band Called Death, beautifully marks Death's influence. It occurs when Bobby Hackey's two sons play Death songs in their new band in a small concert venue. The image of Bobby Hackney laughing and crying as he watches his songs play this vicious, fuck-it punk is an astoundingly sweet and complicated and a perfect symbol of a new life for the band.

Bobby Womack is a legend with a remarkable history Tags: bobby womack word life production hall fame feature week







Bobby Womack is a stalwart soul and gospel figurehead whose resume includes significant contributions across the decades as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. The son of a steelworker, he was born in Cleveland, where he and his siblings formed a gospel group at a young age. While touring with the Soul Stirrers, the Womack Brothers met that group’s lead singer, Sam Cooke. After Cooke’s move from gospel to soul, he contacted the Womacks and asked them to move to California. Bobby Womack was only 16 years old at the time, and he dropped out of school. Under Cooke’s tutelage, they crossed the bridge from sacred to secular music, recording for his Sar label as the Valentinos and the Lovers.

The Womack brothers – Bobby and his siblings Cecil, Curtis, Harris and Friendly, Jr. - cut two R&B classics as the Valentinos: “Looking for a Love” (later covered by the J. Geils Band) and “It’s All Over Now.” The Rolling Stones’ cover of the latter song beat the Valentinos’ own version onto the charts, giving the Stones their second Top 40 hit in the States. Bobby Womack also played guitar in Cooke’s band. In the wake of Cooke’s shooting death under mysterious circumstances, the Valentinos broke up and Womack turned to songwriting, guitar playing and a solo career.

He has written songs recorded by Wilson Pickett (“I’m a Midnight Mover”), George Benson (“Breezin’”), Janis Joplin (“Trust Me”) and others. Pickett alone recorded 17 of Womack’s compositions. A solid guitarist who worked on the Memphis session scene for a period in the Sixties, Womack played on sessions for Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Joe Tex, King Curtis, Dusty Springfield and other soul and R&B artists. He cut an album with jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo, too.

Recording under his own name, Womack scored a string of minor hits toward the end of the Sixties. These included remakes of the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” and Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” as well as originals like “How I Miss You Baby.” Womack made his greatest mark in the Seventies and Eighties, discovering and refining a unique identity as a soul man with a message. Earning the nicknames “The Preacher” and “The Poet,” Womack often prefaced his songs with monologues on the subjects of love and communication. Understanding firsthand like few others that soul’s roots lay in the church, he didn’t just sing, he testified.

From 1970 to 1990, Womack was popular and prolific, charting 36 singles. These include such major R&B hits as “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha” (Number Two), “Woman’s Gotta Have It” (Number One) and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” (Number Three). Womack topped the R&B chart with his 1974 re-recording of “Lookin’ for a Love,” while his contemporary update of a blues classic, “Nobody Wants to Know You When You’re Down and Out,” made it to Number Two. He was a hitmaking machine in the mid-Seventies, perennially present in the Top 10 with such numbers as 1974’s “You’re Welcome, Stop On By,” 1975’s “Check It Out” and 1976’s “Daylight.”

In addition to his success on the singles charts, Womack cut a series of albums whose thematic depth moved soul music forward much like the work of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. These include Communication, Understanding, Someday We’ll All Be Free and The Poet.

His first gold single was 1972’s “Harry Hippie,” written specifically about his laid-back brother Harris and indirectly about the larger counterculture. Womack, who became close friends with Sly Stone, got ensnared in the darker side of the hard-partying world of Los Angeles’ musical community. A series of personal tragedies – including the murder of brother Harry and the deaths of two sons – triggered descents into drugs and creative dry spells. However, Womack drew on his religious upbringing and love of music, emerging as a survivor with even deeper messages to impart.

The first half of the Eighties saw the release of his two best-selling albums, The Poet and The Poet II. In 1985, he released “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” the title track from an album of the same name that was renamed The Poet III for its CD release. A 1984 duet with Patti Labelle, “Love Has Finally Come at Last,” reached Number Three. His biggest hits of the Eighties, “I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much” and “(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still Be Lookin’ Up to You,” both made it to Number Two at mid-decade. Womack duetted with Mick Jagger on “Going Back to Memphis,” from the Rolling Stones’ Dirty Work album and with Shirley Brown on “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Lovin’ We Got.” Womack reunited with his brothers for 1989’s “Save the Children,” which was the title track of his last album for five years.

In 1994, after an extended absence, Womack returned with Resurrection, which appeared on two-time Hall of Fame Inductee Ron Wood’s Slide label. (Womack had previously produced and played on Wood’s 1975 solo album Now Look.) Such guest artists as Wood, Keith Richards, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and Ronald Isley lent Resurrection the atmosphere of a soulful homecoming. Later in the decade, Womack kept a promise he’d made to his father by cutting a gospel album, Back to My Roots.

In 2009, Gorillaz co-founder and musical mastermind Damon Albarn (also of Blur fame) connected with Womack to record "Stylo" for the group's third studio album, Plastic Beach. Released as the first single, "Stylo" featured Womack's unmistakable, throaty vocals, and introduced the Hall of Fame Inductee to an entirely new audience after a long absence from recording. Three years later, in 2012, Womack – reunited with Albarn and having signed with Richard Russell's XL imprint – released his first album in more than a decade, The Bravest Man in the Universe. Although the album updated his sound with electronics and break beats, the mostly minimalist arrangements  proved an ideal foil for Womack’s rough,weathered voice.

Womack is a music-business survivor, elder statesman and champion of old-school soul. “The whole thing is to make music feel real,” he told Craig Warner in a 1998 Goldmine profile. “You’ve got two or three minutes to connect, and it’s important that you have a story, a good hook line. It’s always gonna go back to that.”

Source: http://rockhall.com/inductees/bobby-womack/bio/

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