Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske & Jack Kinney (1948)

Melody Time is a 1948 American live-action/animated musical film produced by Walt Disney. The tenth Disney animated feature film, it was released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on May 27, 1948. Made up of seven segments set to popular music and folk music, the film is, like Make Mine Music before it, the popular music version of Fantasia. Melody Time, while not meeting the artistic accomplishments of Fantasia, was mildly successful. It is the fifth Disney package film following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, and Fun and Fancy Free.

“In the grand tradition of Disney’s greatest musical classics, such as Fantasia, Melody Time features seven classic stories, each enhanced with high-spirited music and unforgettable characters. A feast for the eyes and ears full of wit and charm. A delightful Disney classic with something for everyone”.

Walt Disney

Melody Time is considered to be the last anthology feature made by the Walt Disney Animation Studios. These package features were little-known short-film compilations that Disney produced and released as feature films during World War II. They were financially and artistically lightweight productions meant to bring in profits to allow the studio to return to fairy tale single-narrative feature form, an endeavour which they successfully completed two years later with Cinderella. While the shorts contrast in length, form, and style, a common thread throughout is that each is accompanied by songs from musicians and vocalists of the ’40s. This sets it apart from the similarly structured Fantasia, whose segments were set to classical music instead. As opposed to Fun and Fancy Free, whose story was bound to the tales of Bongo and Jack and the Beanstalk, in this film Walt Disney has let his animators and his color magicians have free rein.

Rose Pelswick, in a 1948 review for The News-Sentinel, described the film as an ‘adventure into the intriguing make-believe world peopled by Walt Disney’s Cartoon characters”. It also explains that “with the off-screen voice of Buddy Clark doing the introductions, the episodes include fantasy, folklore, South American rhythms, poetry, and slapstick”. A 1948 review by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described it as a “mixture of fantasy, abstraction, parable, music, color, and movement”.

Once Upon a Wintertime

This segment features Frances Langford singing the title song about two romantic young lovers on a winter day in December, during the late 19th century. The couple are Jenny and Joe (unlike most Disney cartoons, Jenny and Joe lack spoken dialogue). Joe shows off on the ice for Jenny, and near-tragedy and a timely rescue ensues. This is intertwined with a similar rabbit couple.

Bumble Boogie

This segment presents a surrealistic battle for a solitary bumblebee as he tries to ward off a visual and musical frenzy. The music, courtesy of Freddy Martin and His Orchestra (with Jack Fina playing the piano), is a swing-jazz variation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, which was one of the many pieces considered for inclusion in Fantasia.

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed

A retelling of the story of John Chapman, who spent most of his life roaming the Midwestern United States (mainly Ohio and Indiana) in the pioneer days, and planting apple trees, thus earning his famous nickname. He also spread Christianity. Dennis Day narrates (as an “old settler who knew Johnny well”) and provides the voices of both Johnny and his guardian angel.

Little Toot

The story of Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky, in which the title protagonist, a small tugboat in New York City, wanted to be just like his father Big Toot, but could not seem to stay out of trouble. The Andrews Sisters provide vocals.

Trees

A recitation of the 1913 poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer, featuring music by Oscar Rasbach and performed by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. The lyrical setting accompanies animation of bucolic scenes seen through the changing of the seasons. To preserve the look of the original story sketches, layout artist Ken O’Connor came up with the idea of using frosted cels and rendering the pastel images right onto the cel. Before being photographed each cel was laminated in clear lacquer to protect the pastel. The result was a look that had never been seen in animation before.

Blame it on the Samba

Donald Duck and José Carioca meet the Aracuan Bird, who introduces them to the pleasures of the samba. The accompanying music is the 1914 polka Apanhei-te, Cavaquinho by Ernesto Nazareth, fitted with English lyrics. The Dinning Sisters provide vocals while organist Ethel Smith appears in a live-action role.

Pecos Bill

The finale follows about Texas’ famous hero Pecos Bill. Raised by coyotes, he became the biggest and best cowboy that ever lived. He out hissed the Rattlesnake. And learned about all of the animals. It also features his horse Widowmaker, who’s been saved by the vultures that try to eat him. He brought the rain from California to save Texas from the drought. But when he woke up from the river, he heard a cow mooing. There was the band of evil rustlers stealing the herd of cattle. But they didn’t know the herd they stole was Bill’s. So he lassoed them and knocked out all of their teeth one by one. The Rustlers were now finally reformed and started to sing, “Yippee-I-Yay!” Then, Bill and Widowmaker traveled through the desert. He got a stick and then he dug the rio grande. And it recounts the ill-fated romance between Bill and a beautiful cowgirl named Slue Foot Sue, with whom he fell in love at first sight until a jealous Widowmaker made Sue to get literally stranded at the Moon at their wedding day. This retelling features Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, the former’s horse Trigger, and the Sons of the Pioneers telling the story to Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten in a live-action frame story.

Bob Dylan (2021)

Happy 81st Birthday, Bobby!

In celebration of Bob Dylan’s birthday, born on this day in 1941, I present to you Shadow Kingdom, a 2021 concert film featuring American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Directed by Israeli-American filmmaker Alma Har’el, it was shot on a soundstage in Santa Monica, California over seven days in early 2021 while Dylan was sidelined from his Never Ending Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film features Dylan and a group of masked musicians performing 13 songs from the first half of Dylan’s career in an intimate club-like setting.

Shadow Kingdom showcases Bob Dylan in an intimate setting as he performs songs from his extensive body of work, created especially for this event. It marked his first concert performance since December 2019, and first performance since his universally acclaimed album Rough and Rowdy Ways. The earliest composition in the set list was “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home and the most recent composition was “What Was It You Wanted” from 1989’s Oh Mercy. In addition to Dylan, who plays guitar and harmonica and sings, most of the song arrangements consist of two additional guitars, a bass and an accordion. The performance of “Forever Young” also features a dolceola.

TRACKS:

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine

Queen Jane Approximately

I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Tombstone Blues

To Be Alone with You

What Was it You Wanted

Forever Young

Pledging My Time

The Wicked Messenger

Watching the River Flow

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

MUSICIANS:

Alex Burke

Buck Meek

Shahzad Ismaily

Janie Cowan

Joshua Crumbly

L.A. Witch (2020)

Play With Fire out August 21, 2020, on Suicide Squeeze

Animation and motion design by Bradley Hale. Artwork by Future Shock.

LA garage punk trio L.A.Witch have shared their new single I Wanna Lose.

The three-piece band will release their new album Play With Fire on August 21st, and it finds the band draping their guitar pop distortion in waves of reverb.

Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen, Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas. These are feelings that have stopped me in the past. I want to inspire others to be freethinkers even if it causes a little burn.”

-Sade Sanchez

The new single I Wanna Lose is online now, and it’s about letting everything burn down, if only to find a forward path.

A song about sucking up punches. It’s a potent, biting single. Sade continues:

I Wanna Lose is about feeling free and feeling stronger because you’ve lost everything and now you’ve got everything to win. It’s about being a punching bag in a martyr-like way, and losing a fight to move on.”

Bradley Hale animates the video for ‘I Wanna Lose’ – tune in now.

L.A. Witch is a garage-rock trio formed in Los Angeles, California in 2011. Founded by L.A. natives Sade Sanchez and Irita Pai, the band’s sound has been described as a “mix of forlorn psych folk, lethargic lo-fi blues, and boozy garage rock drones steeped in moody, drugged-out surf reverb.” The group’s influences include Black Sabbath, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and seminal L.A. punk rock bands X and the Gun Club.

Asked to come up with a name, the band chose its current name after discovering its first choice, Witch, was taken. Drummer Ellie English replaced original drummer Crystal Nava after the latter left for New York City and didn’t return.

Los Yesterdays (2021)

I was just a puppet on your string, until you cut me down.

Los Yesterdays is a “Souldies” project featuring Gabe Rowland, Vic Benavides, Gabe Roth, and Tommy Brenneck.

Founded by producer/drummer, Gabriel Rowland and singer/songwriter, Victor Benavides in Pasadena, CA in 2017, Los Yesterdays wanted to create music that recalled their childhood days as young chicanos. “Souldies” is how they describe their contemporary take on the deep soul tracks they modeled their sound after. R & B greats such as Little Anthony, Gene Chandler, and James & Bobby Purify to name a few. After writing and recording a few tracks, the songs eventually ended up in the hands of acclaimed producer/guitarist, Tom Brenneck who was working with the late Charles Bradley amongst other projects. Tommy was a fan of the songs but finding out Los Yesterdays were only a duo, he decided to see if his friend Gabe Roth would be interested in starting a project. Roth, being best known as producer/bass player/bandleader for the late Sharon Jones, as well as the co-founder of Daptone Records. After a few barbecues and meetings with Roth and Tommy, they decided to have a jam session and, in the summer of 2018, a band was formed. And so, we give you, Los Yesterdays

Deradoorian (2020)

It Was Me by Deradoorian from the album Find The Sun.

Discover Deradoorian: https://deradoorian.com/

Produced by Angel Deradoorian with Sonny DiPerri

Engineering and Mixing by Sonny DiPerri

Mastering by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph

Audio Recorded at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, CA

Photography by Sean Stout

Design by Angel Deradoorian, Sean Stout