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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

Little Malcolm...Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Eunuchs (BFI Video)

One of the many delights that the patronage of George Harrison ensured didn’t remain an unrealised project for director Stuart Cooper, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Enuchs, based on the celebrated stage play by David Halliwell, finds John Hurt in full flow as a sort of Citizen Smith with knobs on named Malcolm Scrawdyke, an unpleasantly self-obsessed art student desperate to visit retribution upon his nemesis, teacher Mr Allard (who he holds entirely responsible for his being expelled). Enlisting the aid of three dozy malcontents in the formation of the Party Of Dynamic Erection Malcolm rails against… Well what have you got (up north in the mid seventies people had plenty to complain about)? If there is a downside it’s the pacing, although nothing you wouldn’t expect from an ‘art’ film made in this era and if things do crawl on occasion there is a whopping great dénouement that is well worth hanging around for. Extras include a couple of shorts, Put Yourself in My Place and The Contraption plus a fully illustrated booklet featuring original artwork and contributions by Yvonne Tasker, John Hurt, Stuart Cooper and Mike Leigh.
Josh Marks

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Jon LordJon Lord
With Pictures
(earMUSIC)

Mention the words Hammond Organ and Rock Music and the first name that usually springs to mind is Jon Lord – although doubtless some will insist Keith Emerson, Rick Wright or even Ken Hensley have an equal shout in rock’s premier Hammond user stakes – and this is the story of the man whose massive swelling organ (fnar fnar) were so important to bands like Deep Purple and Whitesnake. However those of you hoping for plenty of in depth Purple anecdotes will be disappointed as you can easily get all of that elsewhere, no this is, aside from touching on his final days with the Purps, all about his career aprčs DP, including his blues dates with The Hoochie Coochie Men and his continual forays into classical composition. Not that this dalliance with classical music is a new thing, Lord is both classically trained and was in fact the first in the rock field to try marrying both rock and classical music on Deep Purple's 1969 release Concerto For Group and Orchestra, which is revisited in depth here alongside rehearsal and live footage of Boom Of The Tingling Strings plus loads of interview footage and plenty of bonus material, all in all a fascinating way to spend two hours.
The Oracle

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L’age D’orL’age D’or
Dual Format DVD + Blu-ray
(BFI Video)

Marketed at the time as A Film by Luis Buńuel and Salvador Dalí L’age D’or (1930) was actually filmed by Buńuel alone as he had fallen out with Dali but regardless this remains a remarkable piece of cinematic surrealism. However the package also includes Un Chien Andalou a short film (1928) which was created by both men (and is incidentally one of Frank ‘Black Francis’ Black’s favourite films) - with a choice of audio tracks, a 1960 'Tango' score or a newly commissioned Mordant Music score - including the notorious sliced eyeball scene, although our favourite section revolves around a chap trying to have his evil way with a young lady (she has fled from his amorous groping and is holed up behind a chair across the room with a tennis racket raised in defence), wherein he sets of in pursuit dragging two pianos’, a couple of priests and some dead donkeys behind him only for her to elude his grasp by running through a nearby door, ‘damn’, you imagine him thinking, ‘if only I hadn’t been lugging all this crap I could have had a shag’. Also included is a fascinating documentary about Buńuel, making this a must have collection for any film buff.
The Oracle

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The Last PoetsThe Last Poets
Made In Amerikkka
(Wienerworld)

Those of you keen to trace the roots of hip hop, particularly rap acts of the more socially aware stripe (like Public Enemy or The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy), need look no further than Gary Byrd, Gil Scott Heron and, perhaps the most incendiary of them all, The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians who arose from the black nationalist wing of the late 1960s African American civil rights movement. Rock fans will probably know them best from the track ‘Wake Up Niggers’ from the Performance film soundtrack, and this DVD of Claude Santiago’s documentary – which brings together the original surviving members Felipe Luciano, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewale and Dahveed Nelson in the studio and live onstage to reflect on the past, their legacy and their respective subsequent journeys as well as deliver a freestyle set of, what is now considered to be, classic ‘jazzoetry’ - looks at their radical (and often fractious) forty year musical journey. With Gil Scott Heron releasing I’m New Here, his best album in decades, the time is also clearly rife to rediscover these other great lodestones of hip hop, and this DVD does a spectacularly fine job of doing just that.
Drew Bass

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Little FeatLittle Feat
Skin It Back
(Eagle Vision)

To put this DVD, filmed at the Grugahalle in Essen Germany for Rockpalast, into some sort of historical context this show was filmed shortly before the band recorded their live album Waiting for Columbus which is still rightly considered one of the best live albums of all time, and whilst the late great Lowell George’s relationship with the band was on the wane by this stage - his song-writing contributions diminishing as the group experimented more with jazz (something in which he had little interest, indeed he even leaves the stage during the set’s weakest moment the jazz instrumental ‘Day At The Dog Races’) - this show nonetheless captures them in fine style and with a line-up also boasting Paul Barrere, Richard Hayward, Kenny Gradney, Sam Clayton and Bill Payne this is pretty much the mother-lode for all long term Feat fans. Now expanded from the VHS version with almost 30 minutes of never before seen alternative rehearsal versions including a romp through ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Doctor’ a track not found on the original set-list, if you have yet to experience the swampy, country blues'n'boogie Little Feat pretty much invented then this is a great place to start.
Ray Harper

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John LennonJohn Lennon
Classic Album: Plastic Ono Band
(Eagle Rock)

The latest in the increasingly indispensable Classic Album series from Eagle Rock, this extended documentary (featuring over 37 minutes of material which were not seen in the TV broadcast) looks in detail at John Lennon's first apres Beatles solo album Plastic Ono Band - not to be confused with the Yoko Ono album of exactly the same name released with an almost identical cover at the same time which is also discussed here (one fascinating snippet reveals they actually wanted to title John's album 'Primal' and Yoko's 'Scream' acknowledging Arthur Janov's primal scream therapy which was such a major influence on Lennon’s music at the time). Stripped back in direct response to the increasingly lush and elaborate material of later Beatles albums the story of Plastic Ono Band unfolds through wonderful footage, interviews with, amongst others, Ringo, Yoko, Klaus Voorman, and the engineers who mastered the record and features excellent live performances of ‘Mother’, ‘Well Well Well’ and ‘Instant Karma’. This is an imaginative and fascinating look at a genuine all time classic album told by the people who made it and, given that he is sadly no longer with us, happily includes plenty of footage of the man himself.

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Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin
The Song Remains The Same (Warner Video)

With their recent reunion not only the hottest ticket in town but possibly the hottest in history, what better time to reacquaint ourselves with the live behemoth that was Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant, impossibly slim and toned, with the most famous mane of hair in rock, hands on hips, posing up a storm, creating the high register template for pretty much every rock and roll yelper to come, Jimmy Page, togged out in his ringmaster outfit, pirouetting and pouting around the stage delivering classic riff after classic riff, immersed in keeping the octane ratio high, John Bonham solid, rock steady, sounding like he’s hitting all manner of stuff with half house-bricks and John Paul Jones (wearing what appears to be a badly sewn chintz sofa and sporting the most hideous page boy bob) holding the whole shebang together with thundering bass and jazzy keyboards, not for nothing did Led Zeppelin have such a fearsome live reputation. The fantasy scenes still look like exactly what they were, hastily shot footage tacked on to cover up missing live film, but they don’t intrude too much and as this new release restores all the available live footage it’s well worth picking up even if you still have the original.

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Level 42Level 42
Live At Wembley
(Universal)

If ever a band have ever suffered due to their place in the history of pop it’s Level 42. Big in the ‘80s, an era that is not at all fondly recalled, with all the fashion faux pas that went along with the period, and that tendency towards over-production - stand up at the back there Trevor Horn - synthetic strings, drums and horn sounds and yes, slap bass. Bland wine bar jazz rock ruled the airwaves, and people actually thought Tony Hadley and Limahl were good looking (eek!). So spare a thought then for Mark King, Mike Lindup, Phil Gould and, erm, Boon - proper musicians, who filled Wembley Arena for eight nights (yup, that’s right, eight bloody nights), in 1986 with well-up-for-it punters keen to hear some, actually pretty good, jazz-pop songs (Something About You, Lessons In Love and Running In The Family all still stand up today) – and are today about as popular as a jobbie in your washing up. True, they look incredibly small on the Wembley stage, and the sound can best be described as pretty average, but if you were there this will doubtless offer an hour or so of happy reminiscence.

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