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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix
Hear My Train A Comin’
(Sony Legacy)

If there’s one thing in the world there’s no shortage of its DVD’s about James Marshall Hendrix, he may have moved on to the next world far too early but he left behind more filmed evidence of his short time here than most people amass in a whole lifetime. Sadly, live sets aside, many of the available DVD’s are pretty duff, the benchmark thus far still being 1973’s eponymously titled ‘rockumentary’ (which most of the chaps here recall seeing first time around in the cinema). So what, if anything, does Hear My Train A Comin’ have to offer that’s not already out there? Well for old timers there’s a fair amount of previously unseen footage collected in the bonus section, not least the cracking quality live material from the 1968 Miami Pop Festival (also available in much fuller detail on CD) and, more bootleg quality, finds from 1970 shows in New York and Germany, this last at the Isle of Fehmarn festival is leant extra pathos by being Hendrix’s last ever official live performance (although he would jam at Ronnie Scott’s with Eric Burdon and War ten days later), before passing away on 18th September 1970 aged just 27. So, a very worthy addition to old fans collections and a great kicking off point for newbies.
Ray Harper

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The Stuart Hall ProjectThe Stuart Hall Project
(BFI)

If you’re thinking Stuart who? The short answer is a Jamaican born cultural theorist and sociologist who has lived and worked in the UK since 1951 and who was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies. The rather less dull answer is an interesting, thought-provoking man whose life (thus far), is neatly summed up here by documentarian John Akomfrah who edits together a montage of existing documentary footage and Hall's own words and thoughts from the last 40 - 50 years creating fascinating viewing as we watch the political and cultural landscapes change over the decades. Once again the extra draw for TM readers is the accompanying soundtrack, in this instance the music of Miles Davis, indeed Davis music is pretty integral to the film with Hall insisting that ‘When I was about 19 or 20 Miles Davis put his finger on my soul, the various moods [matching] the evolution of my own feelings’. Of course whether you like this film or not will depend very much on your political bent (so to speak), but left leaning jazz buffs (and sociology students) will certain find much to clutch warmly to their collective bosoms.
Paul Riley

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Heavy Metal Parking Lot Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Whether or not you like this will depend on two things the first being did you like the film about heavy metal underachievers Anvil? If so you are part of the way there, the second part is less straightforward as there are clearly two ways to enjoy a film about enthusiastic heavy metal fans, the first being with one eyebrow raised ever so slightly higher than the other, the second is to crawl back out of your own back passage and try to remember what out-and-out fun it is doing/watching/listening to something you genuinely love to bits. Ostensibly this is just a couple of bods wandering around a parking lot with a camera and a microphone before a Judas Priest show at a Maryland concert arena in 1986 and is rammed to the gills with utterly daft, and generally rather inebriated numpties with mullets and black cotton chest adverts for their band of choice spouting… Well come on, have a guess. This edition comes with a couple of hours of extra material including tracking down some of the, rather older, balder and plumper original cast (including the film’s star Zebra Man) and belongs on any self-respecting music video fans ‘classic’ shelf next to Anvil and Spinal Tap..
The Oracle

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Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell
Neon Nights: Live At Wacken
(Eagle)

Whilst there is little argument that the Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward line up of Black Sabbath is the best of the numerous different Sabs line-ups over the years the Ronnie James Dio era's were responsible for both exceptional Sabs moments (‘Mob Rules’, ‘Children Of The Sea’, ‘Neon Nights’ and ‘Heaven & Hell’ to name just a few), and plenty of heavy mental soap operatics – grinding to a halt on two separate occasions only to rise from the ashes over and over and over again, finally as Heaven & Hell (the tortuous life of this Sabbath/H&H line-up is addressed entertainingly in an all new set of interviews), the soap opera was only finally halted by the sad demise of Dio in 2010. This concert is a fine testament to the bands live power and Dio’s occasionally histrionic, but remarkably powerful (for such a wee fellah) vocal style, and is there a cooler looking black clad axe god than Tony Iommi? Even at 63 he stalks about the stage magnificently cranking out monolithic riffs from his battered old SG as Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice provide granite heavy slabs of rhythm. A worthy tribute to the memory of the small guy with the big voice.
The Oracle

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Here We Go Around The Mulberry Bush Here We Go Around The Mulberry Bush
(BFI)-(DVD + Blu Ray)

Another in the BFI’s Flipside series, this one Clive Donner’s, fondly remembered rite of passage romp Here We Go Around The Mulberry Bush – the draw for music fans being the title tune by Traffic and an appearance by The Spencer Davis Group at a church disco (on a revolving stage no less, church disco’s were obviously far more salubrious affairs than the ones this writer attended a few scant years later). Based on the novel of the same name by Hunter Davies we follow the sex obsessed exploits of Jamie McGregor who, convinced that everyone but him is at it, tries his hand with a series of, let’s be honest here, stereotypically outlined girls (dumb blond, posh bird, churchy type with hidden lustful depths, slapper etc), all set against a backdrop of swirling psychedelia. Does it stand up today? Not really, it pretty much smacks of what a thirty year old man imagined teenagers were up to in the swinging ‘60s (which, in the main, they weren’t), and the dialogue is occasionally excruciating. That said as a snapshot of the UK in that era it works well enough and Judy Geeson does a top notch ‘sexy cool chick’.
Josh Marks

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The Steve Hillage BandSteve Hillage Band
Live at the Gong Unconvention
(G-Wave/Voiceprint)

Whilst it’s fair to say that there are a more than a few admirers of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy’s post-techno outfit System 7 here there are also those that recall the post Gong solo material with equal admiration (and at least two who fall into both camps), and it’s the latter camp who will be delighted with this live reading of early Steve Hillage material recorded live at the Gong Unconvention in Amsterdam in 2006. Teaming up with old SHB members Mike Howlett on bass and Basil Brooks on additional synths (Chris Taylor on drums completes the line-up) for a blistering, if all too brief, set which includes the George Harrison cover ‘It’s All Too Much’ from the bands most successful album L alongside early classics like ‘Aftaglid’, ‘Solar Musick Suite’ and ‘The Salmon Song’ – all of which send old SHB heads in the audience into raptures, with Hillage’s guitar playing as fluid and head-spinning as ever. Steve and Miquette can’t resist a nod towards what was to come by winding up with the (previously un-played live) trance like ‘These Uncharted Lands’ from his transitional synth driven mid ‘80s For To Next album, and the whole shebang is then rounded out with a career spanning interview.
Ray Harper

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Happy MondaysHappy Mondays
Call The Cops
(Eagle Vision)

What happens when you fly a bunch of drug-hoovering Manchester chancers to New York for a week? Chaos. However at this stage in their career the chaos was controlled and the band still buzzing from the success of Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, the slim-line Shaun Ryder clearly the ringmaster orchestrating Madchester anthems like 'Step On', 'Kinky Afro', 'Hallelujah' and 'Wrote For Luck', and whilst the band’s reputation was never one of reliability this show, recorded at The Sound Factory in New York proves they were capable musicians. Quite how Rowetta (the only vocalist onstage who can actually hold a tune - and in fact a very important ingredient in the Mondays indie/northern soul/house stew), manages to put up with the onstage shenanigans of the most useless human being in the history of music (Bez) defies belief, and who the hell decided it was a good idea to let execrable self-publicist Keith Allen on the stage? But part of the Mondays appeal was always the edge they teetered upon and within two years they were a spent force (although Ryder still shows occasional flashes of brilliance), however this captures a band in the moment, and in full flow.

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HeartHeart
Dreamboat Annie Live
(Eagle Rock)

Another act that failed to make it into the hugely popular league this side of the big pond (their massive hair and airbrushed image ensuring a sneering response from punk obsessed UK audiences) but sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have been at this rock and roll lark for thirty odd years now having kicked it all off with their debut record Dreamboat Annie in 1976 - an album which spawned several hits (even over here) like 'Crazy On You' and 'Magic Man'. Now older and, in at least one case apparently, surgically reduced, the sisters have opted to ride the tidal wave of bands currently touring their most popular album and this 2007 concert captures the duo playing their classic album from start to finish, as well as chucking in extra tracks by influences like Led Zeppelin, The Who and Pink Floyd. The DVD also contains bonus features including interviews with the Wilson sisters and with fans who attended the concert, but its the performance footage that matters here, and even the odd jaded old hack at TM-Towers was seen to peer curiously from afar at the massive 15 inch DVD review screen during some of the more power chord heavy sections.

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Steve HillageSteve Hillage
Germany 77
(Voiceprint)

Recently featured in these very pages (more) Steve Hillage has overseen a pretty extensive reissue campaign of his solo work and this impressive live performance recorded for Germany’s Rockpalast TV show in 1977 is the latest offering. If truth be told Hillage was never the greatest of singers (sounding not unlike a reedy Syd Barrett) and not the most natural of front-men either, he was however a fine, hugely underrated, guitarist who used the instrument in an entirely different way to most of his peers, creating trance like raga’s alongside his trademark hypnotic glissandos (something he uses to spectacular effect nowadays in System 7 with his partner Miquette Giraudy, featured here on vocals and keyboards). Featuring a gnats chuff tight outfit put together by Hillage to play tracks from the Fish Rising, L and Motivation Radio albums, the virtuosity on show never tips over into the sort of improvised indulgence the more experimental bands of this era were all too prone to getting mired down in and exhibits flashes of sinewy funk altogether absent from most prog. The DVD also features three unseen performances and a recently recorded interview with Hillage and Giraudy.

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The Jimi Hendrix ExperienceThe Jimi Hendrix Experience
Live At Monterey: The Definitive Edition (Universal)

In the hallowed list of ‘legendary’ concerts – funny how the amount of people who insist they were there always far outstrips the actual crowd capacity for the show – this must easily qualify as one of the top ten shows any self respecting music fan would nick Marty McFly’s DeLorean to go back in time and catch, featuring performances by soon to be departed giants like Otis Reading, Janis Joplin and of course Jimi Hendrix, playing his first major US show after taking the UK by storm. Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California, this huge festival was planned by producer Lou Adler, John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas, Beatles' publicist Derek Taylor and the festival board included members of The Beatles and The Beach Boys - Hendrix was in fact booked on the insistence of board member Paul McCartney. Featuring all of the existing film footage from this incendiary (in more ways than one) performance the footage has now been polished up and re-edited back to the original performance sequence with seriously buffed up sound and comes packaged with extras like multi camera angles, documentaries and very early footage (1967) of Hendrix playing in Chelmsford. In short a classic.

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Sammy & The WabosSammy & The Wabos
Livin' It Up! In St. Louis
(Sony/BMG)

Sammy Hagar has never really captured the imagination of audiences here in the UK known, if at all, for his stint as part of the, generally less well regarded, Van Halen MK II - with whom he parted company acrimoniously in 1996. Ask the vast majority of US rock fans about Hagar however and you will almost certainly get a full blown history of the ‘Red Rocker’ from his days in Montrose right on through his solo years and, given the career spanning set-list on offer during this 2006 St Louise concert, this will certainly appeal to those long term fans. It should be noted here that if you’re not a big fan of sexist, booze obsessed party animal rock shows then you’re not going to warm to Hagar, especially those of you who would find the prospect of a 60 year old lusting after bikini clad nubiles a bit crass, but in his defence if Jagger can do it why not Hagar, who was an unapologetic ‘rich rock star’ even before he had any money. Van Halen’s Michael Anthony joins his old mucker mid way through proceedings and there are also bonus video’s and an interview with the old rogue on offer.

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Hayseed DixieHayseed Dixie
No Sleep ‘Til Liverpool
(Cooking Vinyl)

It’s not a new concept, lest we forget Dread Zeppelin or indeed the bloody Wurzels but what moves this beyond the grin-inducing idea of playing heavy metal classics in high speed bluegrass style (or as Barley Scotch, Reverend Don Wayne Reno and Co. would have it, rockgrass), is the fact Hayseed Dixie are a fearsome live prospect and wonderful cabaret for a drunken night out, although not for the easily offended – front man Scotch indulges in plenty of salacious mid song sex, drugs, rock and roll anecdotage. Indeed if proof were needed that Hayseed Dixie actually play like, erm, rattlesnakes all liquored up on corn moonshine (or something) head straight for ‘Banjo Signal’, Blind Beggar Breakdown’ or ‘Duelling Banjos’ fast and furious bluegrass clatter one and all, which entertain the crowd equally as much as the jaunty versions of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ Motorhead’s ‘Ace Of Spades’ or AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’. Whether they ultimately just become a Tennessee version of the HeeBeeGeeBees or can morph into something with a touch more longevity remains to be seen, but for the present this is as good a document of a cracking night out as you are likely to find.

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High Tech SoulHigh Tech Soul
The Creation Of Techno Music
(Plexi Film)

Tracing the genres roots from the urban areas of Detroit – the name comes from the techno rebels in Alvin Toflers Futureshock by the way – the story of techno IS the story of Detroit, created by the holy trinity of four to the floor beats Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson (who themselves sourced their material from Kraftwerk, Gorgio Moroder Depeche Mode and the house scene in Chicago). What makes the story of techno of particular interest to us in Europe is the fact that it may have been born in Detroit but it certainly didn’t take off in America, as the abiding scenes in the UK, Germany and Italy continue to pay testament. As is often the case in history there is always someone who feels the story was written without their permission and in this case it’s Eddie Fowlkes who is obviously still mightily pissed off at being left out but to the directors credit he is given plenty of room here to speak his piece alongside all three originators and many that followed including Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Kenny Larkin, Underground Resistance a positive who' who of techno in fact, right up to present day clatter-some bods like Matthew Dear.

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PJ HarveyPJ Harvey
On Tour – Please Leave Quietly
(Island)

Filmed during her Uh Huh Her tour in 2004 from numerous angles (and at numerous shows), disjointedly inter-cut with, troublesome soundchecks, road footage and shakily recorded soundbites – Polly at one point admits to hating live DVD’s and wanting this to be a patchwork quilt of what life on the road is actually like – the first PJ Harvey DVD is as quirky, awkward and wilful as the artist herself. That said, and inasmuch as it’s possible to really convey just what it’s like touring for weeks on end in an hour or so Please Leave Quietly actually does a pretty good job, even more importantly it also captures a little of the live Peej magic, aided no end by spellbinding guitarist Josh Klinghoffer who careers around the stage dementedly, stumbling blindly into gear, other band members and, more often than not, the floor. Harvey has never allowed herself to be packaged, styled or shaped in any way, the skinny knock-need angular waif-like Minnie Mouse in garish stilettos look modelled here entirely her own creation, her singular approach touched on in a revealing and equally disjointed interview. Ungainly, contrary and perverse this is nonetheless a worthy addition to a singular performers fine body of work.

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Bill HicksBill Hicks
Sane Man
(Rykodisc)

The first filmed document of a complete Bill Hicks performance Sane Man was shot in 1989 – well before he recorded his first comedy album – the newly alcohol free Hicks is in fine fettle, pacing the stage rattling off scattershot barbs, gleefully delving into drugs, pornography, politics, Elvis and hypocrisy in general. Originally released with dismal sound and vision – and a laugh track, god help us – director Kevin Booth, having finally cobbled together a decent studio in his home, revisited the material to work on a ‘cleaned up’ version (that’s cleaned up sound and vision, not language in case you’re worried), and what a massive improvement it is, one can only assume the previous effort was edited on an old malfunctioning VHS recorder because the difference is enormous. In addition this version of Sane Man includes plenty of extras and half-hour of footage that was edited out of the original release, footage that really should never have been removed. If you already own Relentless (1992) and Revelations (1994) then you will definitely want to complete the set, but if you are a Hicks newbie then this is by far the best place to begin, just don’t expect an easy ride, Hicks didn’t do easy.

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Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix
A Film About Jimi Hendrix
(Warner Home Video)

There are those at TotalMusic-Online Towers who, when not being overly defensive about bald patches and beer guts, will cheerfully admit to having seen this at the local Odeon when it was first released almost thirty five years ago. Of course any film made so soon after the mans untimely demise was unlikely to be anything other than a wild celebration (if you’re looking for the darker side of the Hendrix story you won’t find it here), but the intervening years have done little to dull the sheen of this musical genius. His was a seismic shift in the art of guitar playing, an entirely new, visceral, sexy, barely contained noise unlike anything heard before and, reassuringly enough, still incredibly difficult to fathom today. Extras (almost 1 ½ hours of ‘em spread over disc two) come in the form of another documentary entitled ‘From The Ukulele To The Strat’ which, whilst it seems to have been pretty much compiled he original movie, is nonetheless also well worth a squizz, and two great extra live recordings, 'Machine Gun' with the Band Of Gypsies (’69) and a newly unearthed clatter through 'Stone Free' at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970.

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Billie HolidayBillie Holiday
The Ultimate Collection
(Universal)

It’s not that often you find rare radio performances (five in all) included as part of a DVD release, but when the artist in question's film and television performances are as rare as Dodo soup then any new material is very welcome and the lack of visual accompaniment, save song-writing credits, can be forgiven. The visual performances themselves, all eight of them, are fascinating performances (if a bit grainy in both the sound and vision Dept.) - and also include a couple of great clips of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. The whole package is then rounded off with a series of extras including a fascinating timeline, some rarely seen photos, two audio interview segments, one with Holiday and one a series of illuminating chats with her producer, friends and band-mates. There is also an audio rehearsal of Jeepers Creepers with Jimmy Rowles in 1955 and Holidays full recording history, making this not just one for the fans but also an excellent starting point for those keen to investigate this talented, but tragically doomed, human being.

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Hootie & The BlowfishHootie & The Blowfish
Summer Camp With Trucks
(Warner Music Vision)

It’s hard to fathom just why Hootie & The Blowfish have failed to really ignite in the UK (leaving aside for the moment the utterly ludicrous name they chose to lumber themselves with), The Finn Brothers are held in high esteem by the grown up music press without any noticeably superior song-writing skills, and certainly there’s nothing to distinguish the last REM album from Musical Chairs (in fact Stipe and Co’s effort was probably the inferior of the two). It seems H&TB are now adrift in that strange, permanently uncool, dead sea populated by hugely popular but critically derided bands like the Saw Doctors, The Levellers and Matchbox 20, a position which certainly bears no relation to the music they make, which on the whole is expertly crafted grown up rock – and, in Darius Rucker, they are blessed with a vocalist possessed of an exceedingly fine set of tonsils. Perhaps it’s the ‘nice guy’ image (something our Ed can attest to having apparently ‘spent a very pleasant evening with them trawling around Beatles haunts in Liverpool several years ago’), whatever the reasons why not ignore the anti-hype and check out this live show, collection of videos and documentary and make up your own mind

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Jeff HealeyThe Jeff Healey Band
Live At Montreux
(Eagle Vision)

Lord knows most of us of a certain age, at one time or another, has spent the night enduring a bog standard blues outfit plodding through the standards with all the aplomb and flare of a wardrobe falling down a hill, ending the evening swearing that the blues is dead and offering to do harm to the next bugger that threatenes to play Hoochie Coochie Man. Then you watch Jeff Healey, blind since the age of one, owner of a vocal wail way too bluesy for a white boy and purveyor of the most cack handed lap playing blues style you are ever likely to see and (of course) realise that the blues is only as mundane as the people that play it. Healey is a total blast, funny, enthusiastic, inspirational, occasionally prone to dancing like a loon – with seemingly no fear of crashing into something, or someone – and possibly the finest young blues player since the sad demise of Stevie Ray Vaughan. If Eric Clapton was half as good as Jeff Healey he might be able to do the blues he loves so much some justice. Sadly he ain’t. Happily Jeff Healey is.

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Steve HackettSteve Hackett
Once Above A Time
(Eagle Vision)

Of all the Genesis old boys Steve Hackett has found the most difficulty in securing a new audience, with neither the artistic flair or Gabriel, the pop suss of Collins or the middle of the road charm of Mike & The Mechanics, he has struggled to step beyond those old Genesis hardliners who felt the band ‘went a bit crap’ after Phil Collins took the reins. And judging by this live set recorded in Budapest that is a crying shame because despite Hackett and Co.’s more or less static stage schtick the music is astonishingly accomplished and, perhaps unsurprisingly, not unlike a jazzier version of early Genesis. OK things do noodle on occasion and Hackett’s voice can best be described as bland but his guitar playing is hugely accomplished and the ‘none-more-prog’ arrangements consistently leave you wrong footed as they veer off down yet another unseen path lobbing convoluted time changes into the path of unsuspecting listeners and generally doing their best to unseat the unwary passenger. In these says of bands like the Mars Volta making ‘prog’ less of a dirty word and outfits like Tool name-checking the aforementioned King Crimson perhaps Hackett is also now due a reappraisal.

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Ian HunterIan Hunter
Strings Attached
(Universal)

Recorded live in Oslo early in January 2002 Tracie Hunters old man (see this months magazine for more on the divine Ms H), takes to the stage with one of the best bands he’s had in a very long time and then ices the cake by adding the Trondheimsolistene strings. Now it’s probably only fair we nail our colours to the mast here but we are particularly fond of the irascible Mr Hunter hereabouts, and whilst you may be of the belief that he has done little since ‘Roll Away The Stone’ Once Bitten Twice Shy’ and ‘Saturday Gigs’ (all here), you would be dead wrong, and whilst it’s true to say his output has been much lower key (i.e. it hasn’t sold as much) but it has been no less impressive, better in some cases – for evidence of this just listen to later works like ‘23A Swan Hill’ and ‘Michael Picasso’. Things don’t always gel – ‘All The Way From Memphis’ needs strings like a snail needs rollerblades – but overall this is a great performance and the string laden version of ‘All The Young Dudes’ is real goosebump territory. Go on, find out how good Ian Hunter still is, you won’t be disappointed.

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