Steve Cropper – Blues Brother, master guitar player, and co-writer of hits like "Knock on Wood" and "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" – assembled a dream band to record Dedicated: A Salute to the 5 Royales, an early 1950s ensemble that helped kick-start rock 'n' roll. You'll be rockin' out, too, as guest-stars B.B. King, Steve Winwood, Delbert McClinton, Bettye LaVette, and Lucinda Williams take on familiar Royales' chestnuts such as "Dedicated to the One I Love." If you miss that down-home soul cookin', this CD is a banquet.
NPR is featuring most of the just-completed 2011 Newport Folk Festival performances on its website – npr.org/series/newport-folk-festival/. Great-sounding clips from Americana darlings Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, gorgeous harmonies from The Civil Wars, Canadian duo Tegan and Sara, the ageless soul singer Mavis Staples, and throwback newcomers Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three prove that folk is, indeed, alive and well.
Heartache and heartbreak
The newest film adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë classic Jane Eyre comes out on DVD Aug. 16. Starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane in what Monitor reviewer Peter Rainer calls a "marvelously intuitive" performance, this gothic romance is beautifully shot and keeps the passionate restraint of Jane and her stormy Mr. Rochester electric.
Sony classical releases an iconic pianist's bestselling Bach recordings in a three-disc set titled Murray Perahia Plays Bach. Dubbed lyrical, sensuous, infectious, and rapturous, these recordings are accompanied by all new liner notes.
Recipe for success
Want to know what you can whip up with what's already in your kitchen? A new free recipe database, Gojee.com tracks what you have in your kitchen, matches it with what you're craving, and gives you recipes that combine the two (along with gorgeous pictures). The more you use it, the more it adjusts to your taste preferences. Gojee is also working with supermarket chains to keep track of customer loyalty cards, so it can automatically update based on what you just bought.
Dark even by dystopian standards, Dan Simmons's Flashback chronicles the dark days of a dead superpower. Twenty years from now, America has become a debt-riddled nation ruled by foreign powers. Few people care, though, since they're addicted to the drug known as "flashback," a narcotic that allows users to relive memories. Amid those changes, a former Denver cop, mired in flashback addiction, is hired to solve an old murder case and becomes enmeshed in an apocalyptic showdown.