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Top Picks: The BBC podcast 'Soul Music,' the Fairfield Four album 'Still Rockin' My Soul,' and more

The movies 'Steve Jobs' and 'Black Mass' include a performance that was heralded by the Oscars and one that didn't make the cut, the PBS program 'Carole King: Natural Woman' examines the hitmaker's life, and more top picks.

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A cappella soul

A gospel quartet formed in 1921 is nominated for a Grammy this year. The Fairfield Four may have changed members several times since then, but their heralded new album is Still Rockin’ My Soul – and ours. Sung entirely a cappella, the collection features gospel chestnuts such as “Rock My Soul,” “Jesus Gave Me Water,” and the rousing “Children Go Where I Send Thee.” The latter features guest star Lee Ann Womack, who gets into the spirit, and then some!

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Arts archive

The BBC offers an eclectic podcast that explores “pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact” called Soul Music. New 30-minute podcasts are only added sporadically, but there is a wealth of archives to discover, such as the harrowing stories behind “Strange Fruit,” made famous by Billie Holiday, and the many settings of the much-loved 23rd Psalm. The podcast is available at http://bit.ly/BBCSoulMusic.

American Masters/PBS

Hitmaker

Singer-songwriter Carole King was behind some of the most famous songs of all time. The new “American Masters” program Carole King: Natural Woman looks at her career from writing classic songs for Aretha Franklin and The Shirelles to creating her massive hit album “Tapestry.” The program airs on PBS on Feb. 19 at 9 p.m. Check local listings. 

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Oscar watch

As Oscars night approaches, catch up on Steve Jobs, starring nominees Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, available on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 16. Under the direction of Danny Boyle, the movie is brainy, high-speed entertainment. The academy may have overlooked Black Mass, but Johnny Depp (pictured) as James “Whitey” Bulger holds the screen as pure malevolence, and costar Joel Edgerton shines, too. It’s out on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 16.  

Black history

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Were the motivations and aims of the militant Black Panthers movement of the mid-1960s misunderstood? The new documentary Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution examines the formation of the black armed citizens’ patrols that sought to monitor the behavior of police officers and challenge police brutality in the African-American community. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 16 and will air that evening at 9 p.m. on PBS. Check local listings. 


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