Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dancing in the Street|
Actors: Eddie Kendricks, Martha Reeves, David Ruffin, Mary Wells, Curtis Womack
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
This extraordinary, never-before-aired, 'lost' concert was part of a roadshow that toured through 21 cities in the summer of 1987. This live footage was shot at the second concert, at the Great Western Forum in Los Angele... more »
Worth buying? Only if you DON'T have the original.
M.D.C. | San Diego, CA | 02/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me explain that title. This is actually a re-release of a DVD that was released some years ago. It was then discontinued sometime in late 2006. We're going to do this in two parts.
NEVER SEEN THE ORIGINAL:
This is actually a snippet from a live concert conducted by Motown's greatest: Mary Wells (My Guy), Martha Reeves (from Martha & the Vandellas), David Ruffin (from the Temptations), and Eddie Kendricks (also from the Temptations). Curtis Womack shows up in street clothes, but he wasn't an official participant. In this, the singers sing their respective hits in the order I mentioned above. At the end, the title track "Dancin in the Street" is sung by the entire group, as backed up by the 5 background singers on the Ruffin and Kendricks songs (I never did catch their name and they're not credited on the DVD...I think Ruffin said "Spindle" but I can't find anything about them on the web).
First, Wells. She can sing, and her songs are well done, but she keeps copping out by doing the "have the crowd involved" parts. It's unfortunate, because her voice is decent. She should have just kept on singing, because nobody knows the words to most of her songs - in fact, to be honest, I didn't know that "Two Lovers" was done by her. Ultimately, she still has some vocals, but not nearly as good as in her hey-day (obviously). Ironically enough, when Curtis Womack came up in a red wifebeater (at a concert!!) and a gut larger than anything I'd ever seen, I nearly fell out - but what saved it is the fact that Womack can sing. Once Wells got off the mic and let Womack blow, he was killing it, especially on the Sam Cooke songs.
Next up is Martha Reeves. It's blatantly clear and obvious that Reeves just doesn't have the vocals anymore like she used to. If you listened to some old Martha & the Vandellas records, you'd see what I mean. She used to have some very sultry vocals...all of them did, which is the reason their songs were so popular...they sold sex. Also their songs were really about the guy they were singing about, which was appealing not just to women but to men as well. To her the way she sounds now is almost heart breaking, especially when she struggles to get "Heat Wave" out. The thing about Reeves is that she's easily the most animated, the most energetic and clearly the most into the performance of all of the artists. Her coordination with the tambourine is something to behold after all of these years. If nothing else, you need to praise her for her energy and enthusiasm.
Next is Kendricks. The big thing with Eddie Kendricks is that he is not only the sharpest dressed person on this concert, but he's the falsetto on the Temptations' biggest hits, such as "Just My Imagination" and "One More For The Lonely Hearts Club". After leaving the Tempts, he went on to have a moderately successful solo career. Both his Tempts career as well as his solo career are represented here. The problem with Eddie is twofold: first, he doesn't have the same vocal capabilities that he used to. There are times when he tries to hit a note and it sounds like he's gargling. This is a result of the years of smoking that eventually did him in (lung cancer was his death toll). The second issue is that some of his best solo songs aren't represented - where's "Skippin Work"? "Boogie Down"? "Shoeshine Boy"? "Can I"? I could go on and on...at least "Boogie Down" would have been appropriate here. In any case, what makes Kendricks' performance shine is (besides the fact he looks sharp) his choreography and dancing...he actually gets in there and moves very well at his age.
Next (and last of the solo performances) is Ruffin. I want to bottom line this: RUFFIN IS THE PRIMARY REASON TO WATCH THIS DVD. For those who don't know, he's the voice you heard on "My Girl", "It's Growing", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and other early Tempts hits. He went on to have a moderately successful solo career, releasing a number of CDs (including one of his best ones which was never publicly released). Ruffin proves that he still has the vocals as he literally tears up each and every one of the songs he sings. The only problem I have with Ruffin's performance is that I would have preferred him sing certain songs the way he originally sung them rather than the remixed version - most notably, "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)". That song was a perfect example of how an individual can achieve multiple separate vocal ranges in the same song seamlessly, and I would have preferred to hear that live. Also, if you've never heard Ruffin sing "Statue of a Fool", be prepared to get affected emotionally when you hear it and see it. In fact, if you watch the musicians, you can see them all get more involved when Ruffin is hitting notes. He's THAT good. Also, when Ruffin does the crowd involvement, people actually know the songs, so they get into it unlike Wells.
Next, Kendricks comes back out to join Ruffin on the stick to sing some Tempts hits. This is when things get good EXCEPT for the fact that Kendricks' falsetto messes things up at points. The "My Girl" medley is the highlight of the evening, easily, but be careful when Kendricks tries to hit a high note, it'll make you cringe. One thing I noticed is that during "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", Kendricks sings part of the ending chorus in his native tenor and he sounds spectacular...makes me wonder why he didn't stay with that, because even Ruffin was singing better falsetto than Kendricks which shouldn't happen. They startetd out the duet with "Just My Imagination" with Ruffin singing the Paul Williams part in the middle very well (but be prepared to cringe when Kendricks tries to hit certain notes and gargles), then close it with "The Way You Do The Things You Do" which I felt was very misplaced. It felt like an afterthought. Finally, and most notably, is "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - or a remix thereof. It's actually not that bad, but I much prefer the original. What makes that song good here is the dancing by the backup singers and Kendricks.
To close out the evening, all of the artists (minus Womack who wasn't officially on the card) come back out to sing "Dancin in the Street", led by Martha Reeves. Yes, I said led by the person whose voice sounds the absolute worst on the whole roster. In my opinion, this song was a disaster: First, Reeves sounds terrible here. Second, it was clearly impromptu and unplanned (read: unrehearsed), as the other singers have difficulty following along. Additionally, you can hear Ruffin attempt to blow out at parts, but his mic is turned down much lower than Reeves, so his attempts are in vain - too bad, since he sounds much better singing the song. A funny moment will come later in the song when the camera pans directly on David who stops singing mid-word and just puts the mic back; it's clear that he's frustrated at not being able to lead the song as he should.
So, now that you know how the performances pan out, what do you need to know about this DVD if you....
HAVE SEEN THE OLDER VERSION:
The picture quality is degraded. The lighting on this DVD is significantly worse than the older version. No real explanation for this. All I can tell you is that it's difficult to make out certain scenes that are crystal clear on the older version. The audio is comparable but seems a little lower - which is disappointing considering this was advertised as 5.1. (a necessity for a musical performance DVD) There are a couple of extras on this that weren't on the original, but not enough to be worth buying this if you already have it, trust me - some pics and stuff.
If you don't have this DVD, you should. If you already have it, keep the older version."
David and Eddie shine!
The Fancy One | Westchester County, NY | 02/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this on DVD. Had the video on VHS but had to order it again. I have to be honest and admit that I only brought it to see David Ruffin and Eddie Kendrick's performance...Martha Reeves and Mary Wells were okay, but as I said, they were not the reason for my purchasing this. And why was Curtis Womack there, just because he was Mary's hubby at the time? His appearance simply was not necessary. In contrast to everyone's dressy attire, Curtis came on stage looking like he was prepared to clean out the garage or something. Mary did well enough to handle the songs by herself. Martha's voice sounded a bit odd to me during her performance - kind of shrill - not the voice that I loved so much on "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", "My Baby Loves Me" and "Jimmy Mack". She can still sing, granted - but her performance is one of the reasons why I always skip past it to get to Eddie and David.
On the other hand, David and Eddie, who were clearly the main attraction on this bill due to a resurgence in their careers during 1987, were HOT! They performed only a few of their solo hits (Eddie only sang "Keep On Truckin'" while David did "My Whole World Ended" and "Statue of a Fool" which is one of the better performances on the video), plus the hits they had with the Temptations ("Get Ready", "My Girl", "Just My Imagination", "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" to name a few). Plus, you can see the warmth and camaraderie that existed between these two while they thrilled the audience. David's vocals...damn, what more can I say about him, except that he was one of the finest singers that Motown ever produced. Eddie, ever the fashion plate, was sharp and still maintained his boyish good looks. His dancing was impeccable, and he even sings in his too often unused natural tenor (which I think he should have done more during his career, because it was so gorgeous). You have to check out Eddie on "(I Know) I'm Losing You". Even though it's a David lead, Eddie steps up to the plate in the background and delivers a home run! His natural tenor will absolutely floor you! His falsetto, unfortunately, was not as strong as it used to be, but he still managed to recreate some of that old magic. Even though both he and David had long left the Temptations behind, it was evident that that they had only left the group physically...not spiritually. They simply do what they do - entertain you with class, grace and style - qualities that will probably never be seen in the music industry again.
The finale consists of Martha, Mary, Curtis, David and Eddie all coming on stage to sing "Dancing In The Street". This video is a must for Motown fans, and for fans of classic soul period. Add it to your collection."
film fan | LA | 02/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the last time that these singers all appeared together. There are 25 classic hits from the 60's and 70's including 12 # 1 hits. This is identical to the older version but the cover has been updated. See and hear the best of Motown one more time. The singing is sometimes erratic but the songs and the personalities are classic."