Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New album news: Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams!

So, Willie Nelson's got another new album in the pipeline. Songbird comes out in October, and includes both new versions of classic Willie cuts as well as Jerry Garcia and Leonard Cohen covers.

And the crazy part: The set is produced by Ryan Adams, whose Cardinals appear as Nelson's backing band throughout. Billboard has the story.

8 Comments:

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NOTE: I found this on the wonderfulwonderblog.

A Smark Rant for Toon Tunes Action Packed Anthems

"More action packed than a Paris Hilton movie"

So this is one of two Toon Tunes CDs (along with Funny Bone Favorites) that Rhino released in 2001. Like Funny Bone Favorites, Action-Packed Anthems consists of songs from the 1997 Toon Tunes CD mixed in with some new ones (and probably some songs from the other Rhino cartoon intro CDs that wasn't on the 50 song Toon Tunes disc). This one deserves a look as serious action/adventure cartoons traditionally have better theme songs than comedies.

NOTE: The songs will be rated on a scale of -***** to *****.

NOTE 2: This review will comment on certain quotes in the booklet.


The All-New Super Friends Hour 1977 theme (full version)

Okay, the booklet says this is the original 1973 theme with Ted Knight as narrator. This is actually the 1977 version with Bill Woodson. Now, since this is the full version, Woodson's narration and sound effects (more on that in the next entry) are not included. I prefer the TV edit because of that. Sometimes less is more. Any of the old Superfriends themes work, but if I had to choose, I would have done either 1978 (Challenge), 1979 (World's Greatest) or my personal pick of 1985 (Galactic Guardians). Still, a good start for this comp. **** (****1/4 for the TV edit)


Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? 1969 theme 2 (no sound effects)

"the most successful Saturday-morning show in history"

Hmmm...I wonder what The Smurfs, Garfield, TMNT, Batman 1992 and the Animaniacs think about that? This is actually the SECOND Scooby-Doo theme (the original was an extended version of the episode title music with Casey Kasem saying Scooby-Doo, Where Are You in his Shaggy voice for the first two episodes) which brings us to one of the problems of this comp. Lack of details. As in which version of the theme song this is. In this case, it's the Larry Marks version from 1969. I actually liked the Austin Roberts one from 1970 better even though Marks is still good too. Another problem with this comp, NO SOUND EFFECTS for most of the songs! The sound effects actually make the songs that have them more dramatic and exciting. Without them, they come off more like shallow and bland. Can you imagine The Shangri-Las "Leader Of The Pack" without sound effects? It would probably sound just as bland like most of these here! Finally, if I'm doing a comp called "Action-Packed Anthems", I would expect serious action/adventure cartoons like Gundam and Action Man on here. Scooby-Doo (and a bunch of others on this comp) doesn't fall under that criteria. Anyway, ** for the sound effectless Larry Mark version. (**** with them, ****3/4 for the Austin Roberts version)


Speed Racer 1967 theme

"the most popular Japanese animated series ever imported to the U.S."

Dragon Ball series says hi. This song is by Danny Davis (no relation to Doug Basham's uncle) & the Nashville Brass, and hey, sound effects! One of the few on this comp to retain them. ****1/2 A true classic.


Batman: The Animated Series

A classic this one is. Too bad the 1989 live action one couldn't be used (for obvious reasons) as that is probably Batman's best theme song easily. But the FOX one is still awesome. One of the better picks on here. ****3/4


The Tick (no sound effects)

This song wouldn't be so bad, but I find scatting quite annoying...and this is some of the WORSE scatting I've ever heard. ** (**3/4 with the sound effects)


The Powerpuff Girls 1998 theme

Not exactly that memorable of a song. On the bright side, they didn't do the lousy end credits theme. **1/2


Jonny Quest 1964 theme (full version)

The first of three awesome Jonny Quest intros. But it's not worth sacrificing the sound effects for an additional 20 seconds that is basically the episode title card music. ***3/4 (****1/2 for the TV edit)

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8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Space Ghost and Dino Boy (no sound effects)

Ah, the days when Tad Ghostal was a serious action/adventure character. But wait, Dino Boy wasn't credited in the booklet! "Dino Boy should sue"! Song is great as one would expect with most of Hoyt Curtin's works. ***1/2 (**** with the sound effects)


Sailor Moon 1992 theme (1995 English cover)

"Like Josie & The Pussycats, this popular 1995 Japanese import features a heroic rock group"

Ha! Ha! Ha! The only one who had a music career was Venus...and that was on the live action version! The Sailor Scouts are (probably) more likelier to hang around The Godfather and Val Venis than start a Huey Lewis & The News type group! Quite the surprise to see the classic Moonlight Densetsu theme song of the one that beat up CM Punk's wife in Kinjjames Inc.'s fantasy wrestling league on this comp. And (of course) it's the English dub cover that uses the 1994 Sailor Moon S remix of Moonlight Densetsu on this comp. Can't say I blame them for using that one even if the original 1992 Japanese version is better. And hey, at least Sailor Moon is a serious action/adventure character (sort of) unlike say, The Hardy Boys or Touche FREAKIN' Turtle! Good pick. **** (****3/4 for the 1992 original) Now, somebody needs to book a Sailor Scouts "Wargames match" against CM Punk and his New Nexus faction (with Husky Harris in his current and more awesome incarnation of Bray Wyatt).


Spider-Man 1967 theme

"This theme is from the 1967 Ralph Bakshi series"

It should be noted that Grantray-Lawrence Animation did the first season before Bakshi took over the next season. The high point of Spider-Man theme intros hands down. The compilers got this one correct. *****


King Kong 1966 theme (full version)

The TV edit contains singing while the full version is an instrumental! What were they thinking?!! The singing and lyrics of this song is great. The full instrumental is boring and sounds more goofy! *1/2 (***3/4 for the TV edit with vocal singing)


DuckTales 1987 theme (full version)

More of a "Funny Bone Favorite" than an "Action-Packed Anthem" (would you put DuckTales back to back with Vor-Tech and Ultraforce?), but netherless you can't go wrong with this Jeff Pescetto classic whether it's the TV edit (my personal pick) or the full monty. ***** for either version.


Underdog pre episode title theme (no sound effects)

This is the song that plays after the ACTUAL intro (which is 20 seconds and features Underdog speaking his catch phrase followed by narration) and before the episode title card. Kinda dull to be honest, sound effects don't make it any better and the actual intro is also dull too. Underdog is more of an Inspector Gadget (of Funny Bone Favorites) type show than a Skysurfer Strikeforce type show. **1/4 for any version.


X-Men 1992 theme (no sound effects)

The best X-Men theme song easily...too bad it's missing the sound effects. **** (***** with the sound effects)


Popeye The Sailor (I'm Popeye The Sailor Man)

This is (of course) the classic song that Popeye sings in the episodes and not the song that plays before the episode starts. I don't have an idea which episode this version is from and I certainly don't have the time to go through all of them to find out which one. As much as I like this song, they could have chosen a better version from a different episode since this one feels kinda slow and stilted compared to let's say, the one used in "I Eats My Spinach". Good old school song that is sadly overshadowed by songs from later decades with better technology. *** for the Toon Tunes one, ***3/4 for other versions. Nice thing about fantasy wrestling leagues, you can book any type of match you want such as the Popeye vs. Tony Soprano match I saw one time. Now somebody needs to book a Popeye vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin match.

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8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mighty Mouse 1955 theme (full version)

The best of the three Mighty Mouse themes that I know of (the others are the Filmation and Ralph Bakshi versions which are also good). The TV edit one features Mighty Mouse talking after the song is over. Not really needed or essential, so the compilers made the right call with the full version of this classic. ****1/4 (*** for the TV edit)


The Mighty Hercules 1963 theme

Sung by Mr. "I Can See Clearly Now" himself Johnny Nash, but I don't find it as memorable as that song or other stronger cartoon themes out there. On the bright side, it destroys the 1998 theme and the sound effects didn't get removed. ***


Super Chicken

This song is played before a Super Chicken episode from the George Of The Jungle show. Though I personally like Tom Slick's theme better, it's still a nice classic 1960's style song and hey, sound effects! ***3/4


Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers (The Jets)

Nice choice going with the full version by The Jets even though it means sacrificing the sound effects to do it. Don't get me wrong, I like the Jeff Pescetto TV edit version with the sound effects, but The Jets made this song even better. ****3/4 (****1/2 for the Jeff Pescetto version)


The New Scooby-Doo Movies (no sound effects)

The second Scooby-Doo theme song is nice, but really? This one over The Scooby-Doo Show, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo or even the 1979 Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show? I personally would have done The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo (and over on Funny Bone Favorites for that matter) instead as that one is my favorite Scooby-Doo theme. And it gets worse, in addition to no sound effects, the voice clips of Don Messick and co. throughout the song has been removed too! Turning one of the more average Scooby-Doo songs into a mediocre song! *3/4 (***1/2 with the sound effects)


The New Adventures Of Superman 1966 theme

Forgettable choice. John Williams nailed that Superman song very well in 1978 and thus I would have used the TV edit one of Williams iconic song used for the 1988 Ruby-Spears version instead of this Filmation one with sub-par singing. **3/4


Astro Boy 1963 theme (full version)

It's not bad, but unfortunately, this song falls victim to the dreaded "primitive technology" of the time, because the 1980 theme just destroys this one on every instrumental level. ***


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 theme

Here's a fun fact, the original version of this legendary song didn't have sound effects to begin with. They were added to the song when the Turtles jumped to CBS in 1990, and the addition of sound effects made this song EVEN BETTER! However, I'm willing to go easy on the compilers this time since the original didn't have sound effects to begin with even if the 1990 one is better. **** (****3/4 for the CBS version)


Hong Kong Phooey (no sound effects)

A legendary song that will no doubt bring back memories of Carl Douglas's "Kung-Fu Fighting". Lack of sound effects (once again) hurts this compilation as usual. ***1/2 (****1/4 with the sound effects)


Darkwing Duck (no sound effects)

Another Jeff Pescetto classic (he did sing the original DuckTales theme after all) that loses a star for the removal of the sound effects again... ***3/4 (****3/4 with the sound effects)

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8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hardy Boys 1969 theme (full version)

"Franklin W. Dixon's mystery-book series"

I wonder if the compilers of this comp know that Franklin W. Dixon is a pseudonym for the many writers of this series and that credit should go to Edward Stratemeyer since he (you know) CREATED The Hardy Boys? Oh boy, I wonder what kind of substances the compilers were on when they chose this one over ACTUAL "Action-Packed Anthems" like the two Swat Kat themes and Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors? It's basically your poor man's Gary Lewis & the Playboys or Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons type song (Edward Stratemeyer was probably rolling over in his grave when Filmation decided to make The Hardy's Monkee knock offs). And it gets worse as it's the full version which makes this song dull and boring compared to the TV edit which at least is tolerable. I suggest you check out the live action theme from 1978 with Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson if you want an awesome Hardy Boys theme instead. *1/2 (**3/4 for the TV edit) Now we need somebody who runs a fantasy wrestling league to book Frank and Joe Hardy vs. Matt and Jeff Hardy in a Hell In A Cell match!


Gigantor 1963 theme (no sound effects)

First off, doesn't Mega Man X8's Avalanche Yeti resemble Gigantor a bit? Interesting note. As for the song, it sounds like a Harry Belafonte song, but I'm not exactly a fan of Harry Belafonte so I can't consider this song must have material. Even the sound effects don't make this song any better. ** for either version. Oh yeah, The New Adventures Of Gigantor is basically the original with a narration sequence at the beginning. So that's not much better either. I recommend the 1980 Japanese version known as Tetsujin 28-go or even the Spanish intro known as "Ironman 28" (don't ask) if you want a good Gigantor theme instead.


Tale Spin (full version)

Sometimes less is more. Tale Spin is a perfect example of this as I don't consider this one of the must have Disney songs out there. At 60 seconds however, The Tale Spin song is perfectly fine. But with the full version, the song kinda drags. The lack of sound effects with a full version doesn't help either. **3/4 (***3/4 for the TV edit)


Crusader Rabbit (intro and end credits)

Pretty clever to combine both the intro theme and end credits theme as one song, which is also known as a medley ala the Twisted Sister medley Horror-Teria that consists of the songs Captain Howdy and Street Justice as one. But I find this song very forgettable overall. At least it's short. **1/4


The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (full version)

Another great song from Hoyt. Unfortunately, like Tale Spin, Charlie Chan's theme works better when kept short. Sigh. *** (**** for the TV edit) Now somebody needs to book an Elimination Chamber match between Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, Velma Dinkley, Dottie (Clue Club), Nancy Drew and Batman with The Crippler Chris Benoit as the guest referee and Mike Tyson and Jet Stingray as the special enforcers.


Atom Ant theme 2 (no sound effects)

The Good: It's the second version of the song with Ted Cassidy's awesome narration and not the instrumental original. The Bad: Take a wild guess (Hint: it's located near "Atom Ant theme 2"). ***1/2 (**** with the sound effects)

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8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Touche Turtle (intro, episode title card and the end card themes with no sound effects)

What in blue blazes?!! The compilers decided to waste a spot on freakin' TOUCHE TURTLE?!! Who (of course) is another "Funny Bone Favorite" on an "Action-Packed Anthem". Well if that's the case, than I'd like to see him fight "Action-Packed Anthem" type villains like Red Son Superman and Sephiroth! Then will see if Touche is a "serious action/adventure" character. As for the song, like Crusader Rabbit, they've combined the intro, title card and the end card themes as a one song medley. Again, waste of a slot. The song is not atrocious but there are much better songs out there (both cartoon intros and big band jazz music) so I wouldn't knock my head out for this one. **1/4 sound effects or not either way.


Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

The description in the booklet is correct, but the title is wrong as Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego is the DIC cartoon on FOX. Thank goodness it's not the FOX one as it's the weakest and most forgettable of the three Carmen Sandiego TV themes. The Rockapella one used for the original Carmen game show Where In The World is a great song with very clever lyrics. Only problem here is...it's the freakin' TV EDIT!!! Can't these compilers do anything right?!! The one time when the TV edit of a song doesn't do it justice and they went ahead and did that one anyway! There is also a 2:34 minute version of this great song, but that one doesn't do it justice either. The full 3:00 minute version is the way to go. So go for that one. ** (****1/4 for the full 3:00 minutes) Oh yeah, I forgot, I think Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego is the best of the three Carmen Sandiego theme songs, but the compilers made the right call with the Rockapella one, after all, this comp is called "Toon Tunes" and at least Where In The World has some animation, whereas Where In Time doesn't as far as I know.


Captain Planet and the Planeteers (end credits)

When you don't give out details of which song of that show is on here, then you have situations like this where I was thinking it would be the original LeVar Burton opening intro narration (that is completely awesome) and not this horrible New Kids On The Block rip off they call a song that is used as the end credits theme. Note to compilers: How hard is it to print "Captain Planet and the Planeteers (end credits theme)" on the freakin' booklet?!! The worst song on this comp easily. I'd rather listen to Bastion Booger's sorry excuse of a theme song than this dreck. * and that's being generous!


Secret Squirrel (no sound effects)

And the lack of killer sound effects continues. Aren't The Shangri-Las glad that their songs don't appear here? Shudder to think what "Leader Of The Pack" would sound like without the sound effects! This song is so good that I actually thought this was by Gary Lewis & the Playboys, and hey, that's a huge upgrade from Duran Duran Wannabes On The Block. ***1/2 (****3/4 with the sound effects)


Jonny Quest 1996 theme

"Twenty-four years after Jonny's debut,"

Hmmm...let's see, 1964+24=1988. That's two years after the Hardrock years and eight years before the Jessie Bannon years. I'd say whoever compiled this is way off. And on that, we end this comp with an excellent orchestra sounding take on Hoyt Curtin's classic Jonny Quest theme from 1996. Very nice. ****3/4

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8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the end of the day we have lack of details of which version of this song for this show, almost half of these songs are missing their sound effects, full versions of themes that are better off kept short, TV edit of one that needed the full monty and over half of these shows that are more tailor made for "Funny Bone Favorites". In fact I can come up with a list (pre 2001 since that was the year this was compiled) of "Action-Packed Anthems" that should have been on here. (all songs listed are the intros unless otherwise noted)

Swat Kats 1993
Swat Kats 1994
Jonny Quest 1986 (the best of the three Jonny Quest themes!)
Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors
Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (M.A.S.K.)
The Centurions
Thundercats
Tiger Sharks
Silverhawks
Galaxy Rangers intro
Galaxy Rangers end credits 2/Rangers Are Forever
Thundarr The Barbarian
The Magician 1999
Mighty Max
The Transformers 1985
He-Man 1983
Battle Of The Planets a.k.a. Gatchaman
Superman 1988
Biker Mice From Mars 1993
Fantastic Four 1967 with narration
Fantastic Four 1978
Fantastic Four 1994
G.I. Joe 1989
G.I. Joe Extreme
Ultraforce
Action Man 1995
The Incredible Hulk 1996
Young Samson & Goliath
Birdman & the Galaxy Trio
The Herculoids 1
The Herculoids 2
Pirates Of Dark Water
Young Robin Hood
Galtar and the Golden Lance
Captain Planet (original LeVar Burton Soviet Union narration intro)
Spiral Zone
Starcom The U.S. Space Force
Visionaries
Bionic Six
Iron Man 1995

And that's just off the top of my head! There are probably dozen of others I've forgotten. Point is, the greedy copyright holders are the reason why most of these songs are not on here (and probably the compilers have the intelligence of a sign post as well).

The Bottom Line: If you want cartoon intros (especially with sound effects), use the power of the search engine and find the Sound America type of websites out there (I can mention them because they've been dead for years). Unless, you're the type that enjoys hearing "Leader Of The Pack" without the sound effects that is.

Can't go any higher than a thumbs way down for this.

PS – One last note: after reading Tammy La Gorce’s “editorial review” of Action-Packed Anthems on Amazon, I can only deduce that she is a complete moron. And that’s being generous!

8:36 AM  

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