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Beware Of Mr Baker Beware Of Mr Baker
(Curzon Film World)

It’s a pretty fair bet that this will not be the only review to mention that Ginger Baker is not a pleasant man. One of the few people who has no reservations about what a fine chap he is is John Lydon and he hasn’t ever had a personal relationship with him or indeed worked with him for any length of time. Simply put Ginger Baker is a dreadful, self-obsessed, nasty-minded car crash of a human being. He is also possibly the finest drummer of his generation and was championing ‘world music’ long before the term ever existed so how you choose to watch this film will depend very much on whether you want to know about Baker the man (hideous) or Baker the musician (inspirational), and the numerous clips of him in full flow – musical, verbal and physical – make this a very, very watchable film indeed. The list of people queuing up to pay homage (mainly those who love his music), or point out his deficiencies (mainly those who have had to co-exist with him) is long and prodigious and ensures that this is right up there with Some Kind Of Monster and Dig! In the list of ‘must see’ dysfunctional music docs.
The Oracle

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Jeff BeckJeff Beck
Live In Tokyo
(Eagle Rock)

Whilst his old mate and member of the Ex-Yardbird club Eric Clapton seems to have had a shot in the arm of late and been playing with rather more gusto Jeff Beck never really stopped playing up a storm throughout his whole career and whilst Clapton has often kicked back and embraced his past Beck has continually looked forward, always looking for new ways to take his guitar playing to other levels embracing rock, blues, jazz, funk even pop and techno, Becks’ love of music in all forms has ensured he was the least commercially successful of his peers but remains by far the most consistently fascinating and inventive player of his generation. Never one for flashy stage sets or massive light shows at 70 years of age Beck nonetheless still looks like a proper rock star and this show, filmed at the Tokyo Dome City Hall in Japan is ostensibly a greatest hits set, which proves beyond doubt that age has diminished his chops not one jot, the man is positively fearsome - lest we forget this 90 odd minute show is almost exclusively instrumental and, despite being surrounded by a cracking band, is all about his incomparable guitar playing.
The Oracle

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Big Audio Dynamite IIBig Audio Dynamite II
Live in Concert
(Wienerworld)

Wearing what looks like a hat loaned to him by Freddie ‘Parrot Face’ Davis (Google him), and surrounded by a band that all look like rubbish comedian Lee Nelson and seem far too young to be up so late you’d never know that Mick Jones previous day job was as a super cool guitar-slinger for rebel rockers The Clash, but as we now know the final days of the Clash were pretty dismal and having escaped the strictures of the Clash party line Jones’ was clearly having a lot of fun experimenting and being his own boss, and if B.A.D II were never quite as cutting edge as B.A.D this is nonetheless pretty rare footage of Jones’ Big Audio days recorded in 1992 at the Town and Country Club. The paucity of available material means that sadly this is just eight songs in length but the sound and film quality are good – okay Jones voice does tend to waver all over the shop, but it does that on the records as well, it’s part of the charm – if you like B.A.D. then you will definitely want to add this to your collection..
Ray Harper

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BrokenBroken
(Studio Canal )

You may have seen this already in competition corner (and if you were lucky already won a copy), but for the rest of you this film, from director Rufus Norris, was the British Independent Film Awards 2012 Best Film Winner no less. Based on Daniel Clay's acclaimed 2009 novel of the same name this is a rather grim story that gets to the very heart of modern social dysfunction and features 2013 BIFA Best Supporting Actor winner Rory Kinnear, Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and newcomer Eloise Laurence, and it’s the truly excellent (and impossibly young), Laurence who lifts the proceedings and ensures things don’t end up as nihilistic as, let’s say, ‘Nil By Mouth’. In short she’s a total revelation. What’s the music link? Well The soundtrack is by Electric Wave Bureau, a collective founded by Mike Smith and featuring artist Suzi Winstanley, Nelson De Freitas and some bloke called Damon Albarn and, amongst other things, features an original song by Blur and as if young Eloise Laurence isn’t already impossibly talented enough she also sings the bloody theme tune (which is also really rather good). Great film, great music, great new young talent, it’s a no brainer really, watch it.
Jenny Hoon

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The BeatlesThe Beatles
The Magical Mystery Tour (Apple)

If you are old enough to remember watching The Magical Mystery Tour on Boxing Day in 1967 (broadcast on BBC 1 and later again, in colour, on BBC 2), you probably won’t need us to tell you that it wasn’t an unqualified success, in fact it was given a major critical mauling prompting Macca to respond "We don't say it was a good film. It was our first attempt. If we goofed, then we goofed. It was a challenge and it didn't come off." Of course setting off in a coach without a script was insanely optimistic, the resultant ten hours of footage, featuring plenty of Goon/Python style lunacy (Lennon’s spaghetti shoveling waiter pre-dating Python’s Mr Creosote by years), and larger than life music hall performances, were then treated to some surrealist jump cutting and psychedelic filtering. With the benefit of hindsight however there is actually much to enjoy about the Magical Mystery Tour, not least the performance of ‘I Am the Walrus’ and the grand finale featuring legions of ballroom dancers swishing their skirts to ‘Your Mother Should Know’, there’s also 50 minutes of deleted scenes and extra material. Self indulgent? Without doubt. Flawed? Certainly. But is it fun? Absolutely.
The Oracle

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Breaking GlassBreaking Glass: Collector's Edition
(Cherry Red)

Hard to believe that’s it’s now over thirty years since well respected British director Brian Gibson unleashed this grim post punk cautionary tale featuring a career defining role by Hazel O’Conner and Phil Daniels (hot on the heels of his leading role in Quadrophenia). Over the years it has wrongly been described as depicting the perceived horrors of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain in the ‘80s whereas in fact it is based during the ‘winter of discontent’ overseen by James Callahan’s Labour government of the late ‘70s and is something of an overlooked gem for any music fan keen on the UK’s move from punk into new wave (and features O’Connor classics like ‘Will You?’, ‘Eighth Day’, ‘Give Me An Inch’ and ‘Writing On The Wall’). As is often the case with movies based on the music business it is a touch heavy handed in places but overall the story of the rise from obscurity to fame is well handled and littered with the sort of pitfalls music fans will be all too familiar with. Bonus features includes the short documentary Hazel O'Connor Remembers 'Breaking Glass', an illustrated booklet written by film historian Marcus Hearn, a reproduction 'Breaking Glass' press pack from 1980 and four colour postcards.
Jenny Hoon

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Black MondayBlack Monday
(Ozit/Dandelion)

First things first this documentary charting the final days of the mighty Factory Records, twenty years ago this very month (the axe fell on November 23rd in fact), is far, far too long. On the plus side ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’ Tosh Ryan and film crew - who got a tip-off alerting them to the fact that Factory Records was going into receivership - poke their hand-held camera into every available face coming and going from the office, including Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus. The film then takes us around the deserted office space and certainly the footage of the empty, detritus strewn rooms looking woefully forlorn, littered with discarded vinyl – and include shots of the infamous £35,000 boardroom table - nicely brings home the speed with which everything collapsed. The film makers then return eighteen years later for the rebirth of the office space as the FAC 251 venue, which opened in 2010, fronted by Peter Hook. With some judicious editing this could have been an indispensible look at the fall from grace of one of the ‘80s most innovative labels, but it still captures a moment in time that will be of interest to anyone with a love of the label and the Manchester scene of that era.
The Oracle

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The Beatles The Beatles
Yellow Submarine
(EMI)

Chances are, if you are of a certain age, you will be very well aware of the last film that the Beatles put their name to, younger readers, probably not so much. The brainchild of director Heinz Edelmann and created in the latter half of the 1960s, Yellow Submarine was a sharp contrast to the altogether more loveable efforts of Disney and other animated films released by Hollywood up until that time – although in truth to those of you more used to todays animated ogres and cuddly woolly mammoths this is all probably going to look rather clunky. For those that understand such things the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution and, due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, was all done by hand, frame by frame, all of which means the picture and sound quality are even better than the previous 1999 re-release and the packaging is also pleasingly well conceived (including a booklet, film cells and stickers). It is also stuffed with great songs, and with Robert Zemeckis' 3D remake now abandoned, viewers new and old can enjoy the classic original all over again, in short if you don’t own this already, then this is definitely the time to buy it.
Jenny Hoon

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Bickershaw Festival Various Artists
Bickershaw Festival 40th Anniversary Box Set (Ozit Morph Records)

If, like many of us here at TM-Towers, you long for the days when music was delivered in packaging that was not only suitable for rolling the odd exotic ciggy but also allowed for artwork big enough to hang on the wall and information that you didn’t need to use a magnifying glass to peruse, then you are going to be delighted by this oversized cornflakes sized box of goodies including 6 CD’s, 2 DVD’s, a 208 page hardback book, a bunch of postcards and a poster, the sort of packaging in fact that just cries out to be slowly pored over before you even consider popping one of the shiny discs included into your new-fangled CD/DVD player. As to the content, well very few people would offer up Bickershaw in 1972 as a defining moment in festival history – possibly due to journo prejudices concerning co-promoter Jeremy Beadles’ later TV career – but, despite it being the muddiest and least salubrious of festival venues, Bickershaw was in fact hugely successful in that they enticed the likes of Captain Beefheart, the Grateful Dead, New Riders of The Purple Sage, Flamin' Groovies, The Kinks, Donovan, the Incredible String Band and Family (all featured here) plus many, many more to a weekend that still lives in the memory of all who attended (including Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer), so if you missed it, this is the next best thing.
The Oracle

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Black Country CommunionBlack Country Communion
Live Over Europe (Mascot Records)

There can’t be many rock fans that aren’t already aware that Black Country Communion are a super-group featuring Jason ‘son of John’ Bonham, Glenn ‘Deep Purple’ Hughes, Derek ‘Dream Theatre’ Sherinian, blues rock wunderkind Joe Bonamassa and whilst they might not have the stadium-sized profile of, say, Them Crooked Vultures, what they lack in super-group league positions they more than make up for in chops. A bit like Chickenfoot these guys can really play, however whilst Chickenfoot are great fun BCC have some genuinely fantastic Anglo-centric, old-skool style rock tunes. They are also, if anything, even better live than they are on record, in fact the only slightly lacklustre, albeit crowd pleasing, performance is an ok trot through Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’. What is also immediately apparent is that Glenn Hughes (once you get over the fact that he currently looks alarmingly like Dot Cotton) is positively empowered by his younger band-mates and still in astonishingly fine vocal fettle. None of these guys needs BCC, they all have busy careers outside the band, so the only reason to do it is because they are clearly loving every moment of it and this is a fine document of a band at the height of their powers.
Ray Harper

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Bee GeesBee Gees
In Our Own Time
(Eagle Vision)

The main thing that strikes you about this, really rather good, documentary about the brothers Gibb, is just how many Bee Gee’s songs you know (especially when you also factor in the ones they have penned for others), you may not be a fan of the disco years – and in truth the lads themselves seem to have trouble weighing the massive success, selling in excess of 120 million records, against the damage in later years due to the ‘D’ word – but Maurice, Barry, Robin and, for part of the equation at least, younger sibling Andy, have had several careers besides that linked to John Travolta (beat group, psychedelic, pop and AOR to name just a few) and if you can’t find something here to love then you must be a speed metal fan. Dealing with everything from their early days as child prodigies in Australia, through the tensions and break-up in the late ‘60s, the world straddling Robert Stigwood years and the untimely deaths of brothers Andy and Maurice the story, told by brothers Barry and Robin with Maurice’s contribution from archive interview footage, and acres of live/TV film (including loads of great early footage) In Our Own Time is both a fascinating and well told story.
Josh Marks

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****************************************************************** The Big FourThe Big Four
Live From Sofia, Bulgaria
(Universal)

Named, at least in part, in tribute to the ‘Big Three’ of the early ‘70s (that’s Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin for those of you too young to recall, the three bands that more or less invented heavy rock/ metal) the 'Big Four' Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax are widely considered to be the lodestone of thrash metal. They also share a truculent history - not least the animosity between Megadeath’s Dave Mustaine and his former band mates Metallica and Dave Mustaine and Slayer… Hmm, bit of a pattern emerging here, although Slayer’s Kerry King has also been known to hold a grudge – so to find them all onstage together (literally at one point), is something of a surprise. For fans of the genre however it’s manna from heaven, the show (one of only seven) was even beamed live into over 550 theatres worldwide via satellite for those who could not make the journey to Bulgaria, and now we have this excellent double disc package, complete with full sets by all four (Anthrax are clearly enjoying the ride whilst both Metallica and Slayer remain at the top of their respective games) and the behind the scenes documentary offers a revealing flavour of the day.
Ray Harper

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Black Sabbath Black Sabbath
Paranoid: Classic Albums
(Eagle Rock)

Yet another in the acclaimed Classic Albums series (wherein all the main players recall the creation of a particular album) this one telling the story behind the making of possibly the most important heavy metal album of all time Paranoid by Black Sabbath. Originally released in the autumn of 1970, the Sab’s second album is without question the granddaddy of heavy rock and, along with Deep Purple In Rock and Led Zeppelin II, part of the holy trinity of albums that would go on to spawn all subsequent rock formats. All four original members (Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) talk us through the making of the album, the films producers digging up plenty of archive videos, concert footage, and oodles of trainspottery mucking about with the multi-track tapes by original engineer Tom Allom. What is most remarkable however is just how impressive (and current) this forty year old recording still sounds, ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Iron Man’ in particular writing the rule book for truly awe inspiring, doom-laden riffage and thunderous industrial strength rhythms. If you have even a passing interest in this album or rock in general, you need a copy this very entertaining DVD. Ray Harper

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BodysongBodysong: Collectors Edition (BFI)

The clue’s in the title, from the opening shots of legions of sperm doing their best to dock with a death-star sized egg to the closing stages of death and the beyond Bodysong cherry picks images and archive footage from the past 100 years and weaves them into one, thought-provoking, hypnotic and mesmerising whole accompanied by a soundtrack by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood – which it has to be said is worth the price of admission alone. Split into chapters documenting birth, growth and play, sexual discovery, nourishment, war, death, and transcendence, but be warned, those of you with a nervous or prudish disposition should know that this gets pretty graphic in places (the chapters on sex and violence pull no punches), but there’s nothing prurient here, just all of life, and then some. Extra Features include an interview and two early shorts by director Simon Pummell, Blinded by Light (2000) and How Long is a Minute? (2001) and commentary featuring Jonny Greenwood and Simon Pummell on the process of composing the score and comes with a 200 page accompanying book containing stills and a written history of the films development (Limited to 1000 copies).
Josh Marks

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The Black Crowes The Black Crowes
Cabin Fever
(Silver Arrow)

Some background information is probably required if you are not currently au fait with The Black Crowes output, specifically their last, rather magnificent actually, double album Before The Frost… Until The Freeze which was recorded over five nights in Levon Helm’s 'Studio Barn' in Woodstock in front of an invited audience of fans. Of course that’s all well and food for the lucky buggers that made it along to the sessions but that still left a fair few BC fans sobbing into their kaftans, but you need sob no more young hippie types as someone was on hand to film the sessions and document the song-writing and recording scenes complete with plenty of back and forth between and betwixt band and audience and some great cover versions which only the invited audience got to hear (up until now that is) including the Velvet Underground’s ‘Oh Sweet Nuthin’’ and Fred Neil’s ‘Dolphins’. The Black Crowes may have begun their lives in many eyes as a retro Faces/Stones tribute act but this DVD and their recent albums prove the lads are now far more than the sum of their parts and nobody now does this shambolic rock racket lark better.
Ray Harper

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BjörkBjörk
Voltaïc
(One Little Indian)

Always way ahead of the pack when it comes to multimedia, you always know that the release of an album will almost certainly be supported by mad videos, live extravaganzas and some delightfully left-field remixes, and Björk once again triumphs with this four disc package – in support of her sixth album Volta - which collects together a live DVD of performances from Paris (full blown live show) and Reykjavik (lower key acoustic), a DVD of properly stupendous videos and ‘making of…’ films, a live CD of the Paris show (needless to say the DVD and CD boast a different track listing) and a disc of remixes. Everything here is worth investigating but it’s the live show in Paris which is the real blast and finds Björk reinventing herself once again marrying electronics with an awesome all female Icelandic 10-piece brass section and is worth seeing for the show stopping industrial thunder through ‘Declare Independence’ alone. She still looks like she chooses what to wear by jumping into a box of assorted material and then taping the results together, but in this world of Heat obsessed fashion fascism this is to be applauded and Voltaïc is further proof that she remains one of the most adventurous commercially viable artists in the world.
Drew Bass

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The Black CrowesThe Black Crowes
Warpaint Live: Blu-Ray
(Eagle Rock)

Let’s not beat around the bush here, how much you will enjoy this film depends rather heavily on whether or not you are a fan of their Warpaint album as it features the guys banging through said album in its entirety - with ‘Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye’ from Amorica and a few cover versions thrown in for good measure – in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wilten in Los Angeles on March 20, 2008. This reviewer has his reservations about Warpaint but none whatsoever about the quality of the band, especially in a live context where they make far more sense than on record where they are often derided as one trick ponies and throwbacks to a bygone era. So on stage is definitely where you should be checking these guys out and whilst, if you are new to the band, you might be better off with Who Killed That Bird Out On Your Windowsill, this has much to recommend it, and will certainly be lapped up by long term fans and especially fans of the album. It’s also well worth picking up the Blu-Ray if you have the equipment as the sound is uniformly excellent.
Ray Harper

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Jeff BeckJeff Beck
Performing This Week… Live At Ronnie Scott’s (Eagle Vision)

Who was the best Yardbirds guitarist? All have their fans but to these ears only the one remained resolutely experimental and consistently open to new ideas – rather than in thrall with the past - and even at this ancient remove he’s still technically, bum clenchingly, fret meltingly astonishing to both watch and listen to. Yardbirds fans will be delighted to learn that not only can Jimmy Page be glimpsed in the audience (with Robert Plant and several other ‘celebs’) but Eric Clapton is also present and even joins Beck for romps through ‘Little Brown Bird’ and ‘You Need Love’. His band are young (-ish in drummer Vinnie Colaita’s case), astonishingly so in bass player Tal Wilkenfeld’s case, and the sets, recorded over a week’s residency at the world famous jazz venue, include vocal spots by Imogen Heap (very good) and Joss Stone (less so) but mainly it’s well over two hours of arguably the greatest guitarist of his generation in blistering form. Depending on which version you choose the extras include a genuinely fascinating interview with Beck – who proves to be the most self-effacing individual, seemingly still not at all confident in his own playing – and (on the Blu-ray version only) seven extra tracks with the Big Town Playboys.
Ray Harper

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Berkeley In The SixtiesBerkeley In The Sixties
(Plastic Head)

Not, on the face of it at least, a music documentary (although it contains it’s fair share, more of which later), but a look at the birth of the free speech movement at The University Of California in Berkeley and the subsequent blossoming of the civil rights movement via anti-Vietnam protests and the birth of the Black Panthers this fascinating film interweaves archive footage and interviews with people who were there as it happened - all of whom recognise the importance of what happened but also remembering it from their own point of view, as indeed they should. Some of the footage is priceless, from the sublime thought provoking rhetoric of Martin Luther King to the ridiculous knee-jerk pronouncements of, the truly hideous, Ronald Reagan - who tells an audience he was horrified to learn of a gathering where there were live bands playing bathed only in psychedelic lighting and, god help us, pictures of nude people, and of course the usual suspects are wheeled out like Alan Ginsberg who is reliably idiotic [what about the music-Ed?]. There’s also a pretty cool soundtrack [Ah!-Ed] featuring, amongst others, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane with live footage of Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and The Grateful Dead.
Josh Marks

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The Beach BoysThe Beach Boys
The Beach Boys And The Satan
(ABC/Voiceprint)

Stylistically all over the place (you’re almost ten minutes into the film before you realise it has actually begun) peppered with German subtitles – the film was initially made as part of the German Pop Odyssee series by Christophe Dreher – and more or less useless as a study of the relationship between the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson and Charles Manson, which it is touted as being, so one to avoid right? Well, actually no because whilst this film fails on pretty much every level it aspires to it does include some very rare Beach Boys footage and equally fascinating footage of Kenneth Anger, some cracking interviews with the likes of Dick Dale, Don Was, Pere Ubu’s David Thomas and Brian Wilson (it also includes an interview with shameless self-promoter Kim Fowley, who insists on singing most of his contributions, and leaves you wishing he had been close enough to slap, very hard indeed), and of course footage of the ‘Satan’ in question Charles Manson. As always Wilson comes across as lost but likeable and the footage of him being dragged from his bed by Dan Akroyd and John Belushi and forced to go surfing proves he is far less humourless than we are often led to assume.

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Eric BurdonEric Burdon
The Animals And Beyond
(Delilah)

Newcastle born Eric Victor Burdon has always been a cussedly awkward individual and unlike many in his position has never fought shy of saying exactly what was on his mind, so very early on in the proceedings, when he recalls touring with a deeply unpleasant Jerry Lee Lewis who was both racist and violent towards Chuck Berry, we know we’re in for a no-punches-pulled history lesson. Of course the hijacking of ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’ arrangement credits by the Animals management and Alan Price (who, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the only original Animal not interviewed - Chas Chandler’s footage, by necessity due to his demise in 1996, being dug from the archives) is the stuff of music business legend, indeed ‘The Animals…’ section of this documentary is fascinating. Sadly the ‘…And Beyond’ section is almost non-existent, so stories about whether or not Burdon really is the ‘Eggman’ from the Beatles ‘I Am The Walrus’, or a deeper look at his close friendship with Jimi Hendrix are sadly skirted over, and his time with War is almost ignored. But if, like most people, you’re really only interested in Eric Burdon The Animal then this is an interesting enough way to spend an hour.

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Roy BuchananRoy Buchanan
Live From Austin TX
(New West)

When this writer saw the great Roy Buchanan (many long, long years ago), it was almost half way into the show before I realised the quietly unassuming man dressed in Rupert The Bear trews buried away stage right, seldom facing the audience, was in fact the man himself (having only ever seen him as a blurry, red light washed out image on the cover of his second album). Famously once referred to as ‘the greatest unknown guitarist in the world’ Buchanan’s early death and paucity of live footage ensured that he pretty much remained so. All of which made the news of this release such a mouth watering, if potentially worrying, prospect. Would the sound and/or vision be up to snuff? Would the famously reticent Buchanan be on form? Would it even be worth stumping up cash for a 32 minute five track live performance? Thankfully the answer to all of the above is a resounding ‘yes’. Short it may be but Buchanan’s performance is genuinely mind-boggling (underlining just why people like Eric Clapton and Jeff beck are such huge fans). If you have even the most passing interest in the guitar then this is an absolutely essential purchase.

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Tim BuckleyTim Buckley
My Fleeting House
(Manifesto)

It’s hard to imagine the sort of people who visit TM-Online won’t already know this but for those whose only experience of Buckley T is Jeff, his son, Timothy Charles Buckley III was born in 1947 and died, like his son, ridiculously early (June 29 1975). Again, like his son, Buckley senior was an experimental vocalist - some say boasting a five octave range - who dipped into jazz, psychedelia, funk, soul and avant-garde rock during his short career in the late 1960s early 1970s. Buckley sold few records during his brief life (although he did manage to record nine of the buggers, and if you have yet to discover him we suggest you start with Lorca or Starsailor). This DVD rounds up just about all of the available film footage recorded for various television shows, the twenty minutes or so of footage from his Starsailor era being particularly excellent. There are also interviews with Buckley's guitarist, Lee Underwood, lyricist Larry Beckett and biographer David Browne which add plenty of biographical detail although there is no real attempt to dig deeper into what really made Buckley tick, but this is a minor gripe as both fans and new converts will find much to love here.

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Bad BrainsBad Brains
Live At CBGB’s 1982
(Wienerworld)

A hardcore Rastafarian reggae rock act is not something you will often see written down let alone actually encounter but Bad Brains were just such a beast, welding industrial strength clattering hardcore onto intermittent bouts of deep dark dub, something which isn’t as incongruous as you may initially imagine. Filmed documentation of the classic line up of the band (singer H.R., guitarist Dr. Know, bass guitarist Darryl Jennifer, and drummer Earl Hudson) is pretty thin on the ground so this is a very welcome discovery, and if the more subtle shades and complexities of their recorded output are somewhat trampled (although not entirely absent) in the slam dancing, stage-diving melee, this CBGB show is nonetheless a great find. The two camera, audience level shoot is necessarily scrappy and the sound pretty average - although let’s be honest hardcore recorded in a small club is never going to be audiophiliac heaven is it? That said our review copy was only a scratch audio demo so the final release may well boast better sound, and as a historical document of an important, pioneering, hugely underrated, and much missed hardcore outfit it serves its purpose admirably well.

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Pete BestPete Best
Pete Best Of The Beatles
(Warner Vision)

Given the Beatles have now become such an enormous burgeoning industry each new attempt to retell the story will, necessarily, include yet more bouts of revisionist history (I mean come on, how many different people can have ‘invented’ the Beatles mop-top, or indeed been responsible for what they wore?), and this look at the pre-mega-success Beatles is no exception and, given the source material, curiously bland. That said, perhaps in an attempt to inject some ‘exclusive’ new insights, we are treated to some rather unpleasant reminiscences involving Lennon and Best trying to mug a sailor or urinating from a balcony onto passing nuns, which do neither parties images' any favours. Whether he was given the boot because he refused Brian Epstein’s sexual advances, or as part of a power play by Epstein to remove Best’s mother Mo (a prime mover in the early Beatles story) from the equation, or because George Martin thought he wasn’t much of a drummer or indeed was just too good looking for the rest of the band – the four major theories mooted here - we will never know. To his credit Best appears to remain remarkable sanguine about the whole affair but this really is only for Beatles completists only.

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The Magic BandThe Black Crowes
Who Killed That Bird Out On Your Window Sill
(Warner Music)

Draw a straight line from the Rolling Stones through the Faces and you will eventually alight on the impossibly thin Black Crowes a band who have spent almost as much time denying these obvious roots as they have making brilliant use of them. Filmed during the recording of their The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion (what is it with the Crowes and overblown titles?) this is something of a hotch potch of studio recordings, live tracks and videos all sewn together by Chris Robinson’s entertaining, hair-primping, hippy dude ‘hey man, we don’t deal with record company suits’ schtick, that and the odd glimpse of the bickering Robinson show (the volatile Chris and taciturn Rich are notoriously irascible siblings, so much so that band have collapsed several times over recent years), indeed the entire band are given to lobbing cutting remarks around, and lest we forget this is an outfit that got ejected from a ZZ Top tour after making disparaging remarks about corporate sponsorship. Bickering aside however what the Crowes do they do remarkably well, both 'Hard To Handle' and 'Remedy' are class ‘A’ examples of shamble rock and much of the rest of the material here isn’t far behind.

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Banco De GaiaBanco De Gaia
Two Thousand And 4
(Disco Gecko)

In 2004 Banco De Gaia’s Toby Marks introduced live video mixing to his live performances (something he had been working towards for some time) and as you might expect, coming as he does from the acid end of the dance market, this includes a fair amount of tranced out eye candy and multi-media psychedelia. Two Thousand And 4 the 'Official Bootleg' DVD is a document of these visuals and, naturally enough given this is about live music, includes a smattering of arms in the air trippy rug-cutting, however unlike that other dance-floor staple (beloved of the Ministry Of Sound), there are no wobbling butts no sweaty chests, in fact no soft core porn at all, indeed far from embracing the mindless hedonism which dance music has slipped back into much of the imagery is intended to be thought provoking (like on ‘How Much Reality Can You Take?’s overloaded quick cut news montages and ‘Not In My Names’ genuinely moving anti-war images). That said this is also a pretty damn good approximation of what you would expect to hear if you catch the man live, the whole shebang building to a whopping great goosebumpy climax on BDG fan fave ‘Obsidian’.

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Blind FaithBlind Faith
London Hyde Park
(Sanctuary)

It’s highly unlikely that if you have ever heard of Blind Faith you won’t already be aware that the line-up included Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Rick Grech and that they were regarded as something of a supergroup when they got together at the arse end of the ‘60s (which is an odd concept, surely more relevant to sport than art). However the assumption that gathering together four excellent musicians – and there’s no doubt all four players here qualify in the excellent musician category – will without fail result in excellent music is a flawed assumption as music has as much to do with chemistry, passion and hunger as it does with technical ability. Filmed in London’s Hyde Park in 1969 this DVD documents the newly formed ‘supergroups’ free debut show which, despite the presence of an enormous crowd (and a few energetic hippy gyrators, including Donovan), proved to be a sadly lacklustre affair. Fans of the era will doubtless be pleased to find tracks by The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Cream in the extras section (alongside some pics and discography info on all the players), but this really is only suitable for hardcore fans and completists .

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David BowieDavid Bowie
Serious Moonlight
(EMI)

Sporting one of the more inadvisable tonsurial efforts of his career (a sort of permed quiff) this is suited and booted era Bowie which, whilst certainly not considered one of his best, still delivered the excellent Scary Monsters and almost excellent Let’s Dance. In the spirit of re-invention which has ensured his long and illustrious career has remained just that, songs are re-jigged and re-routed, sometimes with uncomfortable results, for example Carlos Alomar lacks the necessary grungy axe raunch needed for tracks like ‘Fashion’, ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘Scary Monsters’ and yet second guitarist Earl Slick is then encouraged to add six stringed growling in several totally inappropriate places, and some of the cheesy synth bleeps fashionable in the era now sound pretty dire. In short this is blowsy big-band Bowie, occasionally overpowering, occasionally wrong-headed but eminently suited to the big funky workouts built around ‘Fame’, ‘Young Americans’ and ‘Let’s Dance’ and for those that like a bit of Bowie panto includes loads of theatrical gurning and shape throwing by the Dame and his backing singers. Extras include a seventy-odd minute travelogue style semi-staged documentary – with nominal shady ‘goings’ on sub-plot - filmed on the Far East section of the tour.

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BauhausBauhaus
Shadow Of Light/Archive
(Beggars Banquet)

Collecting together two long deleted VHS releases, a mixed bag of videos and live material, this DVD marries the video collection Shadows Of Light, which includes classic Bauhaus moments like ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ and ‘In The Flat Field’ – alongside their two hit cover versions ‘Telegram Sam’ and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ - (there can be little doubt Marilyn Manson devoured early Bauhaus Videos like ‘Mask’) and live set Archive, an ’82 performance recorded at the Old Vic in London. Some of the videos have not dated well (‘She’s In Parties’ in particular has more or less every ‘80s indie cliché in the book – dripping taps, broken glass, bare light bulbs, moody lighting etc, etc), and the linking shots for the live set, featuring a vaguely sinister old Victorian bloke, are just daffy art school nonsense (with the last track ‘Sanity Assassin’ nothing more than a poorly cobbled together selection of previously seen clips), but the live material faithfully represents the bands energetic live shows, the none more gothic Peter Murphy throwing shapes like a post punk Nosferatu equal parts David Bowie, Iggy Pop, David Sylvian and Gary Numan, whilst the band whip up their pummelling trademark beefed up mix of the New York Dolls, Siouxsie And The Banshees and Joy Division.

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Dickey BettsDickey Betts & Great Southern
Back Where It All Begins (Eagle Vision)

Dickey Betts, for those of you not up on your ‘good ol’ boy’ southern rock outfits, was one of the founding members of the mighty Allman Brothers Band and, unlike some of his old muckers, is still alive. He parted company with the Brothers many moons ago and now plays with his own outfit Great Southern, but as one of the creators of some classic old rockers he is quite entitled to dip into the ABB back catalogue, something he does extensively here playing live at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Doubtless to head off any allegations of trading on past glories, Betts insists the Great Southern takes on his old Allman Brothers material is very different, but this proves to be more or less totally untrue (right down to having a Gregg Allman soundy-likey keyboard player), but in truth if you have material like Statesboro Blues, Jessica or Blue Sky to draw on then to play ‘em any other way would be pretty irritating for all concerned anyway. Extras include plenty of interview and some rehearsal material and a five track CD, so plenty of bang for your buck and just the thing for any fan of fluid, soulful, extended guitar jamming.

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BlondieBlondie
Live
(Eagle Vision)

Recorded when Jimmy Destri was still aboard the good ship Blondie, alongside Deb’s, Chris Stein and Clem Burke – the reformed band kicking off a 1999 U.S. tour – this quintessentially New York outfit were filmed performing a homecoming show at the local Town Hall, broadcast originally as a 45 minute made for TV special. Blondie Live, the DVD, nearly doubles that running time and includes enough early classic Blondie to satisfy even the most cursory of listeners (Call Me, Union City Blue, Hanging On The Telephone, Atomic, Heart Of Glass and One Way Or Another are all present and correct). OK so none of the original members are the stick-thin, ace-face punks of yore, and those of us that saw the band in their early days may have a mental stretch matching this well rehearsed outfit to the scrappy, uncertain kids that positively fizzed with energy back in the day, but only a churl would deny someone the opportunity to make a living doing what they love. Add a few pics, some lyrics and a video (albeit a rather mundane plod through Nothing Is Real But The Girl) and you have perfectly good document of a band that still sparkles on occasion

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Black SabbathBlack Sabbath
The Black Sabbath Story Vol. One
(Sanctuary Midline)

Part one of two DVD’s outlining the rise and fall of the UK’s godfathers of heavy metal – part two documents the, frankly laughable revolving cast of Tony Iommi sidekicks masquerading as Sabbath and playing even more laughable drivel masquerading as Sabbath – following our hero’s Tony, Geezer, Bill and of course everyone’s favourite nutter Ozzy from their early days as blues band Earth up to the acrimonious parting of the ways as first Ozzy, then Bill and finally Geezer jumped ship. What is immediately obvious is just how good this original line-up was, in fact the live version of War Pigs is almost worth the cost of admission alone, totally dispelling the theory that the band were only capable of ponderous metal riffing. Sadly drink, drugs, egos and insane behaviour (much of which gets glossed over on this DVD but is dealt with in far more depth, and in Ian Gillan’s case plenty of humour, on the history section of Vol. Two), would ensure that by the bands fifth album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath they were running out of steam and ideas, and despite occasional flashes the writing was on the wall

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Badly Drawn BoyBadly Drawn Boy
BDB DVD The Video Collection
(Twisted Nerve/XL)

Never one to pass up the opportunity to repeatedly attempt to derail his career - the BDB live experience can be a very hit and miss affair – this collection of quirkily off-the-wall videos proves Damon Gough treats his visual output with the same cavalier disregard as much of his recorded output. Busking the beautiful ‘All Possibilities’ in London (and making the princely sum of £13.74 in eight hours, so don’t go believing all that guff about buskers earning hundreds a day), kidnapped and baptised by rabid fans on the equally lush ‘Born Again’ being stalked by an evil duck on ‘Something To Talk About’ and then heading off to the future to explain the reasons behind the ducks evil demeanour on ‘Silent Sigh’ becoming a piggy-back yellow cab in the US for ‘Disillusion’ (he gets clamped) attracting a room full of clowns on ‘Another Pearl’ and as for his video with Joan Collins for the sublime ‘Spitting In The Wind’ well, frankly that’s just mental. Add live extras recorded at Glastonbury, in the woods and in his living room and various other bits and bobs and you have yet another, not entirely fully realised but occasionally touched by genius BDB moments.

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Blues BandBlues Band
Across Borders Live
(Hypertension)

It’s hard to imagine The Blues Band getting the sort of rapturous reception for their brand of down-home old skool R&B style blues in the UK as they do in Poland, but at the Rawa Blues Festival (recorded in 1996) the audience – and it’s a big ‘un - could scarcely have been more excited than if U2 had turned up and jammed with Radiohead at Glastonbury. There’s little in the way of surprises here, the Blues Band are just that, so if you are after cutting edge indie or techno thrills then you should know better than to check this out, but if you fancy having an earwig to some of the building blocks of pretty much your entire record collection played by people that obviously love it – if a little less energetically and sweat drenched than in their early ‘80s heyday - then you could do a lot worse than start here. The extras are a little minimal but do include some tracks recorded at the Downtown Blues Club in Hamburg for the German TV show Kuno fronted by Kuno Dreysse (who handles the interview duties) and feature some cracking old clips of Manfred Mann, Family and McGuiness Flint.

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