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The Cockney RejectsVarious Artists
The Dutch Woodstock
(Gonzo)

A hugely successful early European rock festival, the Kralingen Music Festival was held less than a year after Woodstock and the line up was, frankly, brilliant, featuring Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Byrds, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Pink Floyd, Dr John, Family a very young Al Stewart and this DVD (plus 2 audio CD’s with extra songs), features some ultra rare footage of all of the above (plus lesser known but no less entertaining bands like East Of Eden and The Flock). Obviously given the limitations of film and sound back in the stone age things occasionally look and sound a little, erm, bootleggy but Gonzo have clearly gone to great lengths to present all the footage they could lay their hands on here and the results are a genuinely entertaining historical document which will delight to both fans of the bands in question and fans of music of this era in general (plus what could be more fun than watching stoned hippies do daft things). The extra tracks sourced for the audio CD’s are a great addition, but it’s the film most of you will be returning to, daydreaming about granddad shirts, desert boots, herbal cigarettes and young ladies with no brassieres.
The Oracle

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Rock n Roll GoldmineVarious Artists
Rock n Roll Goldmine
(Wienerworld)

Initial impressions aren’t good in all honesty. The front cover looks like an envelope you get for sending your scrap gold back to those TV ads (only send your gold if you want to get a quarter of what it’s worth folks). Problem two crops up in the person of Casey bloody Kasem, possibly the most irritating US DJ ever - although on the plus side he did voice Shaggy in Scooby Doo - who narrates the two sections found herein, namely The British Invasion and The San Francisco Sound in that unctuous patronising way of his. Wait don’t run away! There are good points including excellent live footage of Van Morrison performing 'Domino', Janis Joplin doing ''Ball And Chain', Joe Cocker with 'Delta Lady' plus some real little gems like Traffic’s performance of 'Forty Thousand Headmen' and the Yardbirds (with Jimmy page in full crushed velvet pant swinging mode) miming to 'Heart Full of Soul'. Add some great old black and white footage of The Kinks, The Troggs, The Animals and The Hollies and you end up with an enjoyable way to spend an hour. So ‘keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars’ (that would be Mr Kasem’s catchphrase younger readers - Ed).
The Oracle

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Final 24Sid Vicious
Final 24
(Wienerworld)

Originally aired on the Biography Channel (whatever the hell that is) Final 24 is a break down of the final 24 hours in the life of a famous figure, in this case noted punk dimmock Sid Vicious. In all honesty the vast majority of this will already be known to the man’s followers (heroin addict and all-round loser Sid is accused of killing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen but has no idea if he actually did so or not due to being ludicrously drugged up, and then makes various suicide threats due to depression and drug use before dying of an accidental or deliberate overdose) but this part acted/part news footage/part talking head approach is certainly interesting enough to keep the viewer entertained (if indeed entertained is the right word for something so sad), especially with added Sex Pistols footage and plenty of theories spouted by the likes of Glen Matlock, Malcolm McLaren and, remarkably enough, the man who supplied the lethal dose of heroin Peter Kodick amongst others. Where this version differs from previous versions however is the claim that Sid’s mum actually deliberately overdosed her son rather than allow him to be returned to prison. What really happened to Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious? This is as likely as any of the other theories, you decide.
The Oracle

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A Concert By The LakeVarious Artists
A Concert By The Lake - Blu Ray
(Eagle Rock)

One of those charity supergroup efforts where the likes of Eric Clapton, Katie Melua, Ringo Starr, The Drifters and Queen drum boy Roger Taylor wander on and off in front of a shunt band made up of Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather Low, Mike Rutherford, Paul Carrack old uncle Tom Cobbly and all. The pluses to such a stellar line up is access to an unparalleled greatest hits collection – Clapton wheels out ‘Cocaine’ and ‘Lay Down Sally’, Ringo does ‘Photograph’ and ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, Gary Brooker exhumes ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’, The Drifters deliver ‘Under The Boardwalk’ and ‘Stand By Me’, you get the picture - the down side is things never really ‘ignite’ as such, indeed things slow to an almost funereal pace when Roger ‘not really a front man’ Taylor tries everybody’s patience by murdering several Queen songs, but the suited and booted champers swilling audience are clearly enraptured by having so much superstar flesh paraded in front of them, the charity in question (Heart And Stroke Trust Endeavour HASTE) would undoubtedly have swelled it’s coffers. Originally released on DVD as Band Du Lac this is the first time the concert has made an appearance on Blu-Ray.
Ray Harper

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Van Der Graaf GeneratorVan Der Graaf Generator
Live At The Paradiso
(Voiceprint)

Formed in the late sixties by Peter Hammill, Van Der Graaf Generator remain one of the better kept secrets of prog (although they are the only such outfit to get a thumbs up from John Lydon) and long term fans will almost certainly insist that the Hammill, Hugh Banton, Guy Evans and David Jackson line-up was the ‘classic’ VDGG. Which makes this 2007 live show – the band split in the late ‘70s and then re-formed in 2005 - filmed at the Paradiso in Holland featuring three of the ‘classic’ four (David Jackson having moved on) all the more desirable. Originally filmed for transmission on the internet this performance is actually far better than three old geezers have any right to be, especially given that the trio have reworked material like ‘A Place To Survive’ and ‘Gog’. Long term watchers will almost certainly bemoan their missing favourites (this reviewer was desolate to find no place in the set for 'A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers', ah well), but with such an extensive back catalogue this is pretty much wall to wall killer with no filler. Given the lack of Van Der Graaf Generator DVD material out there this is certainly a welcome addition and the bonus interview material with Hammill makes this even more mouthwatering for VDGG fans.
Ray Harper

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****************************************************************** Woodstock Diary 1969 Various Artists
Woodstock Diary 1969
(Wienerworld)

Many of you will doubtless have spent a weekend or so this summer whiling away the hours in a green and pleasant field listening to popular music combo’s, eating exotic food and failing miserably to sleep in a tent. Some of you may even have come home bemoaning the lack of proper toilets or the hellish price of noodles, well to you we just say 'Woodstock'. The most famous music festival of all time had more or less nothing in the way of sanitation, precious little food, the sound system was abysmal and only the most well heeled had anything as bourgeois as a tent. Add to that promoters so poorly prepared that their bold money making schemes collapsed almost immediately into a fence-less free for all, faux-anarchist tossers like Abbie Hoffman storming about the place bringing everyone down, a proper major soul drenching downpour and bad acid and you have something closer to a small war with the distant sound of music than what we recognise today as a festival. All of which is entertainingly recounted here by all the major players accompanied by great footage of seldom seen performances by (amongst others) The Band, CSN&Y and The Incredible String Band.
Josh Marks

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Northern SoulNorthern Soul's 200 Greatest Floor Fillers
(Wienerworld)

It’s not unknown for music trends to take radically different regional paths (although sadly not so much in these more immediate web-savvy days), and if you were a mod in the late ‘60s what you would be listening to was entirely down to where you lived, as the movement split into southern psychedelic rock fans and northern soul fans. Unlike most other music scenes the song was the star – something the makers of this 200 song, five DVD box set package tacitly nod towards by listing song titles rather than artists on the cover (but fear not, the vast majority of the performances have been filmed and performed by the original artists and many have never been seen before). Dancing was compulsory and these were the sounds which would fill dance-floors and cause furious outbreaks of rug cutting from Manchester's Twisted Wheel Club to The Catacombs in Wolverhampton, The Golden Torch in Stoke, and of course the scenes home ground the Wigan Casino (home to northern soul from 1973 to 1981). If you still long to dig out your old high waisters then you need this box set, the rest of us can just sit back and enjoy the cracking tunes.

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A Technicolor DreamVarious Artists
A Technicolor Dream
(Eagle Vision)

The story of the underground movement in the UK during the sixties, the psychedelic carrot being live footage of Syd Barrett and full length performances of ‘Arnold Layne’, ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘Astronomy Domine’. However for most true Floyd fans there is nothing particularly new, and the real carrot is actually the timeline sketched out by movers and shakers like John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, Joe Boyd, Barry Miles, Pete Jenner and more tracing the undergrounds roots from the ‘beats’ 1965 poetry reading at the Albert Hall, through the foundation of the London Free School and from that to the founding of International Times (at the Indica bookshop), the UFO Club and the whole shebang's culmination at The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, an all night ‘musical happening’ that was held at Alexandra Palace on the 29th April 1967. Interviews for these things are often with either C or D list micro celebs or rehashed old footage but happily this relies on neither with new musings from Roger Waters, Nick Mason, a raddled but nonetheless engaging Kevin Ayers, Pete Brown, Phil May (from The Pretty Things) and all of the above mentioned. Does it offer any deep new insights? No, to most seasoned watchers this is old news, but it's nonetheless a good yarn, which bears retelling, and is retold here very well.

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Go Ride The Music/West Pole Various
Go Ride The Music/West Pole
(Eagle Rock)

Hot on the heels of A Night At The Family Dog – featuring Santana, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead – this release is made up of two programmes celebrating the San Francisco scene of the late 60's and early 70's, Go Ride The Music featuring the Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service performing live in the studio and West Pole featuring both the above and a range of artists such as Grateful Dead, the Steve Miller Band and lesser known’s like Ace Of Cups and Sons Of Champlin. Culled from the personal collection of the late San Francisco music critic Ralph J. Gleason this is fantastic footage and if some of the inter-song presentation is a little staid or the camera work a little too intrusively experimental (psychedelic washes/split screen images etc), that just adds to the overall period feel of the piece and captures the scene’s ‘making it up as we all go along’ vibe far better than many of the features made since (and all with the benefit of hindsight). There have been some complaints about the sound/film quality of the material but frankly it’s a wonder it exists at all and in truth it is all perfectly acceptable, and very, very watch-able.

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Don't Forget The MotorcityVarious Artists
Don't Forget The Motorcity
(Wienerworld)

A three disc compilation boasting (count ‘em) 100 videos and featuring some of Detroit's greatest artists, with performances from the likes of Edwin Starr, Mary Wilson, the Supremes, Martha Reeves, The Marvelettes, Billy Preston and lesser known but no less important artists like Chuck Jackson, The Elgins, Johnny Bristol and Brenda Holloway, indeed it’s the very fact that most of these artists are seen as the less luminary workers from the Motorcity factory line that makes this an even more mouth-watering prospect as much of the material has never been seen before, and there are some lost Motown classics to be found here. The presentation is suitably Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club and if no footage exists then the, slightly portlier, slightly balder performers are filmed on hotel balcony’s or in peoples front rooms and if this sounds cheesy it is, but in a good way and would be a real blast for a big old gay night in with the boys or one to stick on if you want to impress your northern soul loving friends. Sadly over half these artists are no longer with us, but this priceless footage remains.

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A Night At The Family Dog Various Artists
A Night At The Family Dog
(Eagle Rock)

Unless you happened to find yourself in San Francisco at the birth of the seventies, or more specifically in or around the Family Dog Ballroom, then it’s unlikely you would have caught this night of live frivolity soundtracked by Haight-Ashbury scenesters Santana, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Produced by poet and writer Ralph J. Gleason, as part of a documentary series for the National Educational Television Network, the film boasts one of the only known Dead performances on film featuring original member Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan and an all-star jam – featuring just about all of the people present. The high point is undoubtedly the two tracks from Santana (the Dead get three and Airplane two), which captures the band in high octane Latin rock mode and is worth the price of the DVD alone. Less impressive but still occasionally hitting the spot - and fascinating from a purely historical point of view - are the Dead and Airplane sets, and in truth the jam seriously outstays it’s welcome (perhaps if you were stoned it would have made more sense), but despite it’s limitations this is a great document of a moment in musical history that still resonates today.

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Athens, G.AAthens, G.A
Inside Out
(Wienerworld)

As the title suggests this is a movie about small-town America’s Athens Georgia and the vibrant music scene which influenced, grew up alongside, and subsequently grew out of, the success of R.E.M and the B-52s. Originally made in 1987 by director Tony Gayton and producer Bill Cody and filmed in wonderfully, realistic, shaky lo-fi wobble vision the film offers a grainy but enticing vision of Athens as a hotbed of musical talent and includes a couple of very early, and very fine, performances by R.E.M. Along the way we meet most of the main players and are introduced to gone-but-not-forgotten local heroes like Limbo District and the Pylons. To their credit the filmmakers don’t just stick to young performers they also track down loveable old eccentrics like Rev. D Ruth and Rev. Howard Finster. The film also catches Dreams So Real (a bit like Talk Talk), B B Que Killers, (punk racket), Flat Duo Jets (guitar and drum based minimal rock’n’roll), Time Toy (new wave), Love Tractor (psyched indie jangle), the Squalls (grown up pop) and many more. The film now comes with a slew of extras including audio commentary, more talking heads (including extra B-52’s interview material) and bonus audio tracks.

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Best Of Later...Best Of Later...
With Joolz Holland 2000 - 2006
(Warner Music Vision)

Released at the end of 2006 this has nonetheless found it’s way back to the DVD player so often it’s muscled its way into the 2007 review pile. You know the format, so no surprises there (although those of you who find Mr Holland’s links a bit irritating will be pleased to hear this can be viewed as a link free zone). High points are many and varied, but particularly worthy of mention are the ludicrously young Arctic Monkeys’ adrenaline fuelled clatter, the cacophonously ramshackle Arcade Fire, the glacial Sigur Ros, the frankly mental Flaming Lips, the mighty skank of Toots & The Maytals, the beautifully eccentric Cat Power, an initially muted ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam which midway becomes a real goosebumper and only a lunatic could fail to love Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ all this and there’s still some wonderful archive material from previous Later DVD’s including PJ Harvey, Joe Strummer, Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age. In truth, the reliably rubbish Babyshambles aside, there really isn’t a stinker on this, but given the wide range of musical styles there will undoubtedly be favourite moments and the ability to programme your own six track running list is a welcome inclusion.

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Rock S'CoolVarious Artists
Rock S'Cool
(SPV)

From the crass Spinal Tap-esque cover and cringe inducing title to the muscular, testosterone fuelled, vein bulging – oddly homoerotic – grimacing combatants populating the grainy, blood and sweat soaked post apocalyptic, scaffolding strewn settings found within this DVD (unless of course you’re Tommy Lee in which case acres of female flesh will suffice) to the shrieking fingers down a blackboard menu screens this DVD howls ‘metal’. Naturally enough hell, demons, spirits, whores and the general hardships faced by comfortably off white boys feature heavily, and who would have though anyone could make ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’ any more bombastic, take a bow Sepultura. Kamelot are unintentionally hilarious and Doro and Saga are just plain rubbish. It’s not all studded clunking tho’, the best moments belong to Skinny Puppy’s bone crunching break dance face-of ‘Pro Test’ with Raging Speedhorn’s ‘How Much Can A Man Take?’ and Biohazard’s ‘Sellout’ out testosterone-ing everything else here by a muscular mile. If grunting train-crash riffage from the likes of Motorhead, Judas Priest and Helloween (a whopping thirty-one videos in all) appeals then this will be manna from, erm, hell, and iPod metal-heads will be further pleased to note there is an iPod download facility (actually a great idea).

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Velvet UndergroundVelvet Underground
Velvet Redux: Live MCMXCIII
(Warner Music Vision)

For anyone who attended – and doubtless many thousands more unlucky enough to be geographically challenged vis-a-vis the limited touring schedule – this reformation would have been as thrilling a prospect as the second coming would be to God botherers the world over (and, up until this point, about as likely). This excitement was tempered by the fear that the ‘classic’ line-up - back together for the first time since their messy divorce in 1968 - could have been a disaster. Fortunately for all concerned this fear proved totally unfounded, from the opening violin scrapes of ‘Venus In Furs’ to the sombre closing bars of ‘Coyote’. Lyrics are garbled (Reed) and mixed up (Cale), but high points are many including a wonderful Cale fronted ‘Femme Fatale’, Moe Tuckers moment in the spotlight on ‘I’m Sticking With You’, a grin inducing vari-speed ‘Heroin’, a supremely scrappy ‘White Light/White Heat’ and wickedly grimy C&W ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, the audience throughout clearly aware that this is a very special show indeed. Since then Cale and Reed have again spat the dummy and Morrison tragically lost his fight with cancer, so this is it, all the Velvet Underground material we’re gonna get as the band bow out, their legendary status forever intact.

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Monsters In MoscowVarious Artists
For Those About To Rock: Monsters In Moscow
(Warner Home Video)

Growing up in the West it’s often easy to forget that in some countries music was, indeed still is, something you have to fight for. It’s also easy to forget, given the level of fear and loathing most Americans who grew up in the cold war era experienced, how big a decision it must have been for Metallica, The Black Crowes and Pantera to actually agree to journey to the heartland of communism, for their first ever open air rock festival, glasnost or no glasnost especially when they are confronted with a the ridiculously over the top, confrontational, Russian Army whose ‘if you don’t understand it, like it or feel happy watching it have fun, hit it with a stick’ and constant circling helicopters approach to crowd control (an approach which would utterly horrify any western concert goer). As for the performances? Well Pantera deliver their usual heads down, no nonsense blitzkrieg, The Black Crowes then chill everyone back out and get ‘em dancing, and if you have never understood the appeal of Metallica then a brief squizz at thier testosterone fuelled freight train in full flow will answer a few questions which just leaves the mighty AC/DC to lift the crowd into orgasmic orbit. Powerful stuff.

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AIMSVarious Artists
The A.I.M.S Gala
(Warner Music/Classic Pictures)

Set up initially to help struggling artists get a free day in the recording studio (courtesy of the Rolling Stones mobile truck), this show was then organised so the best of the bands could also play live in a major venue (in this case London's Royal Albert Hall). Aware that he might need to sweeten the pot somewhat for the punters Bill Wyman, who’s idea this was, then asked a bunch of his showbiz pals to pole up and ensure the place was rammed – Great Ormond Street Hospital bagged the resultant door money. Needless to say, as is always the case with these things, there are some sloppy performances and duff jams but, as is also often the case, there are some great moments, like Elvis Costello and Chrissie Hynde duetting on ‘Days’ and it’s always great to see Ian Dury in action, especially looking as fit and healthy as he does here (the show was recorded back in 1988). For star spotters the backing band includes Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Eddie Grant, Phil Collins, Terence Trent D’Arby (currently residing in the ‘where are they now’ file) and extras include all the bands the show was initially created for and some spoof rocker moments from Comic Strip(pers) Bad News.

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FreestyleVarious Artists
Freestyle – The Art Of Rhyme
(Palm Pictures)

Tracing the birth of hip hop from jazz pioneers like John Coltrane through the fiercely political Last Poets and onto DJ Kool Herc’s transplanting of Jamaican toasting into the South Bronx and beyond to today’s cutting edge beat poets like Mos Def and Akim Funk Buddha, Freestyle – The Art Of Rhyme trips lyrically down memory lane with a host of big name artists. But it’s lesser known (in the UK at least), freestyle wordsmiths like Supernatural and Juice, true freestylers who pluck rhymes from thin air and go head to head with anyone who feels they might lyrically best them (as highlighted in the Eminem movie 8 Mile), that really make this documentary crackle with energy. Indeed if you recall hearing hip hop back in the day when gangsta rap was just one of many strands in the story, before monosyllabic macho grunting by the likes of Fiddy Cent steamrolled over the art of rhyme then pick this up and remind yourself just what it was that turned you on in the first place, and perhaps more importantly discover how alive, well and positively bristling with energy that same art of rhyme is in the clubs, in schools and out on the street.

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Glastonbury AnthemsVarious Artists
Glastonbury Anthems – The Best Of 1994 to 2004 (EMI)

Ask twenty different people who attended in the same year about their Glastonbury experience and you will get twenty different answers. At least half of ‘em will have completely missed whatever act it was they specifically went to see, another five will have spent all their time watching performers they’d never have considered watching before (and generally thoroughly enjoying ‘em), at least three will have got so completely mashed they won’t recall anything remotely useful, one will have third degree burns/rampant trenchfoot (delete as weather demands) and one will remain forever obsessed with a clown that juggled children. All of which makes this DVD rather less of a Glastonbury experience and more of an excuse to cobble together a collection of great acts on one tape, and not everything here is exactly essential. Robbie Williams murdering Angels, and Moby’s stilted plod through Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad spring to mind, but Faithless, Basement Jaxx, Blur, Radiohead, Paul McCartney (who offers a massed romp through Hey Jude) and festival stalwarts The Levellers do more than enough to raise a smile and when you add some mooching around in the Green Field you have more than enough treats to tide you over until this years version.

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warpvisionVarious
WarpVision
(Warp)

If you've never seen the Aphex Twin's 'Window Licker' or 'Come To Daddy' videos or indeed Squarepusher's 'Come On My Selector' (astonishingly demented electronica choreographed into eye-boggling - and in the case of 'Come To Daddy' genuinely disturbing - visual images by the equally deranged director Chris Cunningham), then you could do far worse than pick up a copy of WarpVision for these three groundbreaking examples of the video makers art alone. But they aren't alone, there are in fact another 29 videos here - alongside a mix CD - ranging from Alex Rutterford's synapse frying animation of Autechre's astonishing 'Gantz_Graf', through the unsettling trio of 'Tied Up', 'Freak' (both by LFO and directed by David Slade and Daniel Levi respectively) and Chris Clark's creepy 'Gob Coitus' directed by Lynn Fox. It's not all scary head-mash material though as the daft as a dishcloth paper eating John Callahan's 'I'm Not Comfortable Inside My Head', Aphex Twins mentalist dancing teddy bear's on Donkey Rhubarb (also David Slade) and anything by the barmpot Jamie Liddle (courtesy of Director Frederic D) lighten the proceedings considerably. If you only buy one music DVD this year this should be the one, great label, great music, great images.

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