“I Beeped When I Should Have Bopped.” “Yes, We Have No Bananas.” “Enjoy Yourself.” The song titles alone set the scene for Beepin’ & Boppin’ the 1999 release of a collection of songs performed by the actor, singer, and trumpeter Louis Prima from 1949-1954. Ranging from silly to soulful, Prima, also known for being the voice of King Louis the orangutan in The Jungle Book, invites the listener to join in a carefree fun celebration of life. His big band voice matches his big band trumpet playing, swinging and scratchy yet playful and full, to create upbeat foot-tapping music that would be perfect for your next dinner party.
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Last night the American Theatre Wing handed out the 69th annual Tony Awards, and the biggest prizes went to gorgeous new interpretations of three inspiring works:
Rummaging through a box of her father’s stuff, the memories of Alison’s uniquely dysfunctional family—her mother, brothers, and her volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father—connect with her in surprising, powerful and revealing new ways. Ingeniously adapted from Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic is a refreshingly honest coming-of-age story about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.
In Mark Haddon’s bestselling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Christopher, 15 years old, has an extraordinary brain – exceptional at math while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion of killing Mrs. Shears’ dog Wellington, he records each fact about the event in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of the murder. However, his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
The classic Rodgers & Hammerstein show is based on the book Anna and the King of Siam. Weaving meticulously researched facts with beautifully imagined scenes, author Margaret Landon recreates the history of Anna Leonowens, a proper Englishwoman invited in the 1860s by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments and be the tutor to his children and favored concubines.
What’s on your soundtrack for the lazy days of summer? If you haven’t picked out your relaxing instrumentals just yet, consider George Winston’s dreamy piano stylings on Summer. Though some tracks are lightly playful and others exude a mellow grace, each has a soothing airiness that reflects the quieter, unrushed days we so treasure mid-year. Listen in the parks, on the road, or as you doze by the water. Let it play in the background as ambiance during a picnic or while you turn pages of your chosen warm-weather book. It can even count toward your completion of the Adult Summer Reading Program!
Today marks the beginning of Read to the Rhythm (June 1 – July 31), and one choice you have is to watch a DVD or listen to a CD. To register visit our online information page or stop by the Library to design your personal mix of books, movies, and music.
Sound & Color is Alabama Shakes follow-up album to their Grammy-nominated debut, Boys and Girls. The music is rooted in bluesy rock with a wide range of influences including elements of punk and heavy metal. What really drives the album is the soulful, raw vocals of Brittany Howard. Adding to the vocals are funky rhythms interspersed with passionate guitar riffs and perfectly timed melodic keyboarding. This album is pure toe-tapping fun.
Racine Carrée, the sophomore release by Belgian singer/songwriter Stromae, topped charts across Europe with its expert mix of dance club, hip hop, and multi-national influences. American audiences have been slow to embrace the superstar artist, but his songs inspire an infectious enthusiasm by any who’ve been treated to the energy and passion that typify his music. The standout track “Papaoutai” sizzles with both yearning and explosive celebration, and hundreds of millions of YouTube views of this video alone attest to how beautifully it translates to the visual. Whether the beats are throbbing, playful, or understated, the intense clarity of this talented voice makes it nearly impossible not to be moved.
R&B artist August Alsina begins his debut studio album, Testimony, with an introduction of who he is and where he’s come from with the song “Testify.” The confessional ballad sets the tone for an album covering a lot of ground. In fifteen songs, the young artist explores the addictions of his father, the death of his brother, and the constant pull of his dreams. While the songs are largely reflective and involve Alsina’s history, the energetic rhythm and occasional song about partying bring additional flavor to the mix. Although this BET Best New Artist of 2014 stands by himself, some songs feature other rap and R&B artists such as Yo Gotti, Fabolous, B.o.B., and Trinidad James.
Sufjan Stevens made the gimmicky claim he would write an album for each of the fifty states, but only made two. Luckily, Come on Feel the Illinoise was one. The album includes an anthem to “Chicago,” but he mined the state for subjects from Jacksonville to Highland Park resulting in a lyrically interesting and musically rich trip through the Land of Lincoln.
A sure cure for winter glums is an energetic Broadway cast recording, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical strikes all the right chords: irresistible oldies, show-biz success story, and a dazzling Tony Award-winning performance by lead actress Jessie Mueller. Turn the grey into “One Fine Day” with a remarkable life in song.
The Beatles Anthology is a must-watch for any Beatles fan. Filled with interviews and rare live performances, this is a comprehensive collection of the history of The Beatles. Be prepared to binge watch: once you start, you won’t want to stop!
With 2015 just around the corner bringing a whole new crop of to-be-read lists to tackle, shows to watch, and music to experience, Staff at Mount Prospect Public Library took time to pause and look at what brought us joy in 2014. Check out staff members’ favorite books, CDs, or DVDs they read, watched and/or listened to in 2014. Feel free to share what is on your list of favorites for the year!