Oldies News & Notes: Les Paul, Ike and Tina Turner and more

As informative as the recent PBS-TV American Masters documentary “Les Paul — Chasing Sound!” was in chronicling the Wizard of Waukesha’s astounding musical achievements, Koch Vision’s DVD version expands on it.

The DVD adds several full-length numbers by the guitar legend and then-wife Mary Ford from their Listerine-sponsored mid-‘50s TV show, excerpts from their appearance on “Omnibus,” and a handful of ‘40s Paul soundies as extras. 92-year-old Les still does two rollicking sets every Monday evening at the Iridium in midtown Manhattan.  

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In addition to performing with the Classic Rock All Stars alongside Mike Pinera of Blues Image and Sugarloaf’s Jerry Corbetta, Rare Earth’s former lead singer and drummer Peter Rivera has assembled a new 10-piece band of his own.

“It’s just getting off the ground now,” he says of his new outfit, called Celebrate with Peter Rivera. “I’d like to do 20 shows with that band every year. It’s a lot of fun. We do all kinds of Motown songs.”

Speaking of Hitsville U.S.A., British Motown recently released a sparkling two-CD The Elgins: The Motown Anthology, loaded with previously unreleased material by the Saundra Mallett-fronted vocal group that hit in 1966 with the Holland-Dozier-Holland-helmed “Darling Baby” and “Heaven Must Have Sent You.”

Also featured are a dozen early ‘60s rarities by the group in its previous all-male incarnation as the Downbeats, including several rockers.

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Time-Life’s three-CD career retrospective, The Ike and Tina Turner Story: 1960-1975, has dropped. The boxed set’s first two discs are a multi-label overview of the dynamic duo’s hitmaking years, ranging from their debut smash “A Fool In Love” and the playful “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” (which Ike didn’t sing on) through their rocking “Proud Mary” and “Nutbush City Limits.”

Disc 3 is solely devoted to the ‘69 set Live….In Person. Turn to page 33 for a review of the boxed set.

St. Louis mayor Francis Slay had vetoed a request from organizers of the Big Muddy Blues Festival to proclaim Sept. 2 as Ike Turner Day (the same date the guitarist was scheduled to play). Instead, the mayor commented through a spokesman that Turner should visit a domestic violence center, ostensibly to atone for long-ago transgressions.

Ike Turner died Dec. 13, 2007, at age 76. He remained musically active and was working on a hybrid of hip-hop and blues that he called blues hop.

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