Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rockin' in the USA|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
With the emergence of the psychedelic era during the late 60s, the path was cleared for other hard rockin? bands and American Blues legends to gain worldwide exposure. Arguably the finest to emerge from the other various... more »
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Lots and lots of hair
running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 01/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Rockin' In the USA is a collection of 22 studio performances for German television by 22 different artists. The recordings were made between 1967 (Vanilla Fudge) and 1974 (America and Randy Newman). Most of the recordings are in color, and the sound is, in most cases, exemplary, and in no cases unacceptable. A few of the performances are obviously lip-synced, but most are either live, or so well mimicked that you can't tell whether it's live. I think it best to break the performances down into the following categories:
1) THANK GOD IT WAS FILMED. A number of these performers and their performances are simply incredible, and/or incredibly rare. As a Detroiter, I'll first have to mention the astounding quality and rarity of the scintillating MC5 performance of the wild 'Kick Out the Jams', which is simply mesmerizing. The Byrds performance of 'Eight Miles High' (sans vocals) is nothing less than history on film. Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Batten, and Gene Parsons each take a solo turn in this ten minute-plus jam, very reminicent of their 'Untitled' performance. Another rarity that would have to claim top billing is The James Gang's live rendition of 'Walk Away', which can also be found on a Best of Musikladen sampler. The trio's power rock rivals the standard of the era, established by Cream. Add to this rock founder Chuck Berry's 'Let It Rock'. Chuck was still in his prime, and every last film performance stands as part of rock and rol's legacy. Lastly, Chicago Transit Authority puts on a dazzling show with 'I'm a Man', although the recording is in black and white, and the sound quality is probably the weakest on this disc.
2) TOO LATE FOR THE PARTY. Two of the performances are well past their prime. The Beach Boys, for instance, are filmed in 1969 lip-syncing 'California Girls', a recording they made in 1965. And the Doors are seen trying to keep their name relevant sans Jim Morrison. Luckily, John Densmore is still a smoking lead guitarist, and 'Tightrope Ride' is a worthy tune, well-suited to the limited vocal capabilities of keyboardist Ray Manzarek.
3) ALTERNATIVE ROCK. Several bands offer numbers other than their trademark recordings, some for better, some for worse. One hit wonders Iron Butterfly, for instance, deliver a worthy 'Easy Rider' in lieu of 'In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida'. Blood, Sweat & Tears serve up 'Sail Away' rather than any one of their 10 or so hits. I would have chosen 'You Made Me So Very Happy'. And 'America' fills the soft-rock niche with 'Mad Dog' rather than either of their two number one hits, 'A Horse With No Name' (I'm glad they spared me) or 'Sister Golden Hair' (spared again).
4) WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? There are several bands here that I am not well-acquainted with, and I must say all of their performances were enlightening. Captain Beefheart's 'I'm Gonna Booglarize You' is a real charge to watch, but the real winners in this category is the all-female band, Fanny. The fact that these girls (fronted by Manillian sisters Jean and June Millington) never got to cut an album is sheer travesty, as evidenced by their mean and hard-rocking cover of Stephen Still's/Buffalo Springfield's 'Special Care'.
5) COUNTRY-ROCK. Led by the Grateful Dead's 'One More Saturday Night', we're also treated to Poco's 'C'mon', Little Feat's 'Oh Atlanta', It's a Beautiful Day's 'Soapstone Mountain' (including an impressive, extended instrumental coda) and Randy Newman's humorous spoof on 'Old Kentucky Home', delivered in Newman's completly deadpan style. Each song is a winner and a joy to view. Other than the Grateful Dead and Randy Newman, I have never seen any of these bands in a live setting.
6) ROUNDING THINGS OUT... are several lip-synces. Vanilla Fudge pretend their performing 'You Keep Me Hanging On', Spirit warns us about '1984', which unceremoniously came and went, and Steve Miller keeps the anti-war movement alive with 'Jackson-Kent Blues'. B.B. King sweats through a black and white, live version of 'Heartbreaker' (not the Led Zep number, but a fine blues wail nonetheless), and Canned Heat serves up only about one minute of 'Refried Boogie'. It really shouldn't be listed as a full track.
While some of the performances are cut short or faded-in, most are complete renditions. Watching many of these performances, one would have to assume that there is a vault-full of addition recordings by these and other artists. Why in the world have these taken so long to reach the public, when the generation most interested in purchasing them is knocking on heaven's door? With this disc however, there is really little else to complain about, and quite a lot to enjoy. It is essential viewing for any fan of late 1960's, early 1970's rock and roll music."
Pretty cool DVD from German TV
J. R Sategna | Martinez, California United States | 02/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is pretty good except it cuts out a lot of the songs halfway thru the performance. Some of the performances are in black and white-others in color-on some you can tell that they are not playing live-just playing along with the prerecorded song-- Best cuts are Vanilla Fudge, Spirit (1984 in color performance-with all original members), Chicago Transit Authority-with a 1969 I'm a Man, and Iron Butterfly-color performance when Mike Pinera was in the Band. The performamcewith Canned Heat was in color but cut off after only a minute-Refried Boogie, the Byrds performance was incomplete-Eight Miles High in 1971 with the last version of the band-this performance started in the middle of the jam of this song (the version that is on the Byrds album -Untitled and never showed the vocals-this lasted about 5 minutes and than ended-what a downer!!!! About 22 cuts in all-German TV 1969 -1972 I would recommend it but several performances are cut for no reason-no notes in the box-but worth it it you are a fan of the era and saw these bands live. Pick it up --collectors only."
Serviceable but frustrating
J. Economy | 01/18/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A potentially enticing but ultimately frustrating collection of performances from the German "Beat Club" program of the late 60s and early 70s. On the plus side, the audio and video quality, taken from the original master tapes, is excellent. On the down side, some of the performances are incomplete, pointlessly edited down from the Beat Club's original tapes. Nearly a minute is missing from the opening of the MC5's "Kick Out The Jams", many clips fade in after the opening with a cheesy graphic of an American flag superimposed, and others are faded out early. Also, on the original tapes, there is a moment in each song where a screen of credits is superimposed over the band, identifying each of the musicians by name and instrument; for some inexplicable reason, in most cases the DVD's producers have chosen to replace those credits with some distracting slowed-down images taken from elsewhere in the clip (this is the case, for instance with the Grateful Dead segment reviewed here by Stephen M. Rose). If these shortcomings don't bother you, this DVD might be worth the money for some pretty decent performances.