Downtown Train is a 12-track distillation of Rod Stewart's four-disc box set Storyteller, but instead of containing early hits, it concentrates on '80s singles like "Passion," "Young Turks," "Infatuation," "People Get Ready," and "Forever Young," adding a few '70s songs ("Stay with Me," "Tonight's the Night," "Killing of Georgie," "I Don't Want to Talk About It") and the new hit single "Downtown Train" for good measure. It may not have a wide scope, but it's a good sampler of his latter-day work for casual fans.
One of Jim Henson's finest hours was the Storyteller series that aired on HBO in 1988. As with his other non-Muppet creations (Labyrinth), Henson fills the screen with wonderful creatures that have a wisp of a J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. Half of the eight-part series was adapted from Greek myths by Anthony Minghella, who became an Oscar-winning filmmaker a decade later with The English Patient. Minghella weaves the narration of the storyteller (a sturdy and wonderful Michael Gambon, accompanied by a scene-stealing dog) with dialogue from the stories to beguiling effect.
A variety of European folk tales are retold in nine new stories. A soldier captures Death in a magic sack. A fearless young man sets out to learn to shudder. A boy with a destiny that frightens a tyrant is sent on an impossible task that will see him wed the princess, or dead. A storyteller must spin tales to stay alive. A woman bears a hedgehog-child who grows up to live alone in a castle until he does a king a favor and gets the princess's hand in return. A princess must keep silent while she works to free her brothers from an evil spell. A princess runs away from wedding her father and disguises herself as an ugly forest creature. A young boy must overcome a heartless giant. A princess searches the earth for her stolen bridegroom.