Essential viewing - absolutely phenomenal!
The Delite Rancher | Phoenix, Arizona | 02/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Rare Performances 1946-1981" features Merle Travis at his best. Most of these old-time cats have a golden decade when they scored all their hits and the rest of their career was downhill. The epiphany with "Rare Performances" is the documentation of Travis' consistent quality with respect to his singing, playing and song writing. The program shows Travis between 1946 and 1981. Heavy on the Western music, the Westerners group features 'videos' from the 1940's and early 50's. This is vintage Western music as it's finest. While some tunes feature Travis in Western Swing glory, other selections showcase his solo acoustic finger-picking. The Porter Wagoner show (1967-1971) introduces the color performances. While the introduction of color TV marked the end of the golden era for most of Travis' peers, he somehow managed to keep his music just as compelling. The 1970's Austin City Limits selections show Travis in front of a response hippie type crowd. There, he plays 'Smoke Smoke That Cigarette.' 1981's Nashville Swing shows Travis with Tom Bresch. The audio is excellent while the video quality varies. The video quality is a bit fuzzy on some of the early material, but its well worth it. In terms of songs, all of the expected classics are here from 'Dark as a Dungeon,' and 'Nine Pound Hammer' to 'I'm A Natural Born Gamblin' Man' and a saddlebag of cowboy tunes. While Merle Travis' music speaks for itself, there's something about his contagious stage presence that must be seen to be appreciated. His human warmth and personality must be seen to be felt. It's baffling that this DVD and the equally strong successor seem to fly under the radar. "Rare Performances" is not only essential viewing for Travis fans but all lovers of real Country and Western."
If you're a Merle Travis fan, you will love this video.
The Delite Rancher | 07/10/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A good collection of Merle Travis performances over four decades showing how his picking and singing matured as he aged; presented with ever improving recording technology. END"