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Celebrate America's Birthday With A Weekend-Long Salute To America's Music!
US Theatrical Premiere!
Program Number Six
Three Films: Country - Folk - Progressive-Rock

Sunday July 6, 2008 - 4:00pm
Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood


(1977, 17 x 55 mins, Theatre Projects, Directed by Tony Palmer)

John Lennon was the instigator of Palmer's landmark 1977 TV series that boldly set out to tell the story of 20th century popular music in 17 distinctive films. The series was a massive international hit - but was barely seen in the USA. To celebrate America's holiday weekend we are presenting all 17 films - grouped into five thematic programs - each consisting of three films. There are also two introductory films that are being shown as FREE screenings - one on Saturday - the other on Sunday. The films feature hours of unique, specially-shot material and ultra-rare archival footage of America's top musicians. Tony Palmer is attending the weekend and will introduce each program. See separate webpage for full details.


(1977, 165 mins, Theatre Projects, Directed by Tony Palmer)

Program Six of the series presents films about Country Music, Folk Music - and the future of contemporary music - as it appeared during the time the series was being filmed - the vantage point of 1975-1976. At that time - the future was personified by the progressive movement as personified by artists such as Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield. Filmmaker Tony Palmer became aware of the punk and New Wave movement as he was filming the series and he tried (in vain) to persuade the series financiers to allow him to make one final film that would capture this emerging new music-form. Alas they would not do so - a source of great regret to Tony Palmer. However, the film titled "Imagine" is a fascinating time capsule of the era immediately preceding the punk explosion - and arguably shows the musical horizons that sparked punk as a revolutionary reaction.

"Making Moonshine" Country music was originally home-made music. It described the births, marriages and deaths that happened in every community. It celebrated love, just as it bemoaned the ill-fortune that came to every man. It was music with which all felt they could identify. As such, it occupied a unique place in white culture. The music was not manufactured, as in Tin Pan Alley or present-day Nashville, nor was it sophisticated. This film documents the origins and development of country music. As part of the journey, we will experience being backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. We will also hear from Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers and Ernest Tubb among many.

"Go Down Moses!" After the Nashville machine had usurped the purity of America's original country music, it might seem that the folk traditions this music embodied had been lost. Not so, because these traditions had a purpose other than to entertain. We shall see how folk music used popular melodies to spell out unpopular themes, how during America's War of Independence vulgar words were penned against the British Crown - all to the tune of ‘God Save The King’! The same happened during the Civil War – different words, depending on whether you were from the North or the South but to the same tune. Song has been used by artists such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter Seeger and Leonard Cohen as a passionate weapon for peace. The effect these singers managed to achieve in the 1960s was one of the factors that contributed to the ending of the Vietnam war. Witnesses include Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Arlo Guthrie, Woody Guthrie, Country Joe McDonald and Pete Seeger.

"Imagine" The film opens at a rock festival. Dope-smoking is very much in evidence. “These fellows will answer to God for all the pollution and evil they have spread around the world” - this according to fundamentalist minister the Rev. Jack Wyrtzen. Rock scribe Lester Bangs holds a different view. “The thing about rock 'n' roll is that it is totally about adolescence, and about consumerism brought in the highest degree”. In fact, as the film shows, neither of these extreme perspectives is true. Tangerine Dream perform religious music in Coventry Cathedral. Stomu Yamash’ta, a spectacular Japanese percussionist, clearly has nothing to do with adolescence: and no-one could describe Mike Oldfield as the product of consumerism. Includes: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Electric Light Orchestra, Manfred Mann, Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream and Stomu Yamash'ta

Introduced by Tony Palmer

Tonight's Stars!

Musicians & Composers (seen and/or heard):
Roy Acuff Bill AndersonJoan BaezGinger BakerJack BruceLeonard CohenJimmie DriftwoodElectric Light OrchestraArlo GuthrieWoody GuthrieDoug KershawManfred MannCountry Joe McDonaldMike OldfieldThe Grand Ole OpryMinnie PearlPeter Paul & MaryWebb PierceTex RitterJimmie RodgersRoy RodgersPete SeegerTangerine DreamErnest TubbStomu Yamash'ta

Actors/Directors/Producers/Cultural Icons:
William Ivey

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