Dancing With Mr. D...VD


Musicasaurus.com excavates the best concerts on DVD…

A new review will be posted every two weeks, on Monday morning.....All of the DVDs reviewed here are (or were!) commercially available for purchase.  We will list a few highlights from each of the DVDs, having mined them for the moments that make endorphins flow, pleasure centers pop, and smiles break wide.


Posted 4/17/17.....

(Next posting:  Monday morning, May 1, 2017)

The Wrecking Crew – distributed by Magnolia Pictures…initial wide release in March 2015.

In a review of this documentary in the March 12, 2015 edition of the Los Angeles Times, the publication’s film critic Kenneth Turan started out his assessment this way: 

“To Beach Boys guru Brian Wilson, ‘they were the ones with all the spirit and all the know-how.’ To Nancy Sinatra, they were ‘unsung heroes,’ to Herb Alpert, ‘an established groove machine.’ And to celebrated songwriter Jimmy Webb, they were simply ‘stone cold rock and roll professionals.’

"If the history of rock music means anything to you, you know the individuals in question could only be the Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of Los Angeles-based studio musicians, and though their story has taken decades to reach the screen, it has been worth the wait.”

So…“a legendary group of Los-Angeles-based studio musicians,” saith Kenneth?  Uh, UNDERSTATEMENT.  The Wrecking Crew, a periodically assembled core group of between 15-20 versatile musicians in Southern California, were responsible for literally hundreds and hundreds of pop masterpieces throughout the 1960s and very early 1970s—and remained largely unheralded until this documentary set the record straight.

The hold-up, really, on this recognition stemmed from a wrangling over music rights to be able to tell the full story.  Initial efforts to make the film began in 1996 and it wasn’t completed until 2008 when it finally debuted at SXSW (South by Southwest), Austin’s long-running and prestigiously hip film and music festival.  Lacking the funds to secure the music licensing, the producers could only ply the festival circuit back then versus mounting a full-scale theater release, but by 2013 they came up with funding streams that ultimately unshackled them and the film finally saw release in theaters in March of 2015.

The documentary consists of interviews of Wrecking Crew principals including Tommy Tedesco, the father of the film’s director Denny Tedesco, who obviously was deep into a labor of love.  You NEED to check out this film, and I’ll leave you now with a list that will get you primed for this story of these quite ready for primetime players—some of the pop radio classics from that ‘60s-‘70s era that the Wrecking Crew arranged and played on.




Posted 4/3/17.....

Airplay:  The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio.....a documentary released in September 2013; written and directed by Chris Gilson & Carolyn Travis.

1.)  As seen on PBS, this revelatory tale begins with the early days of AM Radio in the U.S.A., and the impact that early disc jockeys—and their pioneering playlists of rhythm & blues “race records”—had on the American music scene and society at large. 

2.)  Those interviewed include the regional disc jockeys from the late 1950s and early 1960s who first championed black music to their listening audiences--Dick Biondi, “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem, among others.  There is also footage of deejay Alan Freed, who organized the first shower-of-stars type concerts that brought out fans across the color lines.

3.)  Note:  There is a web companion piece to this documentary, which you can access by going to www.theairplaychannel.com, and here you’ll find information on the formative on-air jocks who broke ground and broke down barriers, including Pittsburgh’s own Porky Chedwick (2/4/18 - 3/2/14), who spun his sounds beginning in 1948.  Porky—the self-described “Daddio of the Raddio”—was the first white deejay on the Eastern Seaboard to air exclusively rhythm & blues, and he helped launch the careers of Bo Diddley, Little Anthony, and Smokey Robinson.

4.)  Also covered in the documentary:  The payola scandal which kneed Freed to the ground...the rise of the Top Forty format and FM radio...the effect of corporate influence...and the birth of satellite radio.






3/20/17:  No posting this time in this DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section--BUT THERE ARE brand new postings in the other sections of this website, in A DAY IN THE LIFE and in BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 3/6/17.....

Sometimes when shopping online at Amazon, tempting as many items are, it feels good to just “park” some stuff in the Wish List so that uh, I can buy groceries or pay my community sewage bill on-time. 

So here are a few items that don’t have musicasaurus.com’s official stamp of approval; they’re just lingering in limbo until my $hip Come$ in.....or until my birthday rolls around again.


1. Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson / Brothers Of A Feather - Live At The Roxy.....released on DVD in 2007.

2. Return To Forever / The Mothership Returns - A 2 CD and 1 DVD set.....released in 2012.




Posted 2/20/17.....

SOUNDBREAKING / Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music (2016 PBS television series)

Here’s a gem if you missed it during its premier broadcast on PBS last year.  It’s available now on DVD in a four-disc set containing all eight episodes, and one doesn’t have to be a music insider to appreciate this march toward creative freedom and innovation in the world of music production.

Interest level is maintained throughout because of the masterful editing and the “sound content”—landmark recordings dissected gleefully by hands-on producers like George Martin (the “fifth Beatle” at all Abbey Road recording sessions) and Rick Rubin (who benevolently nurtured disparate artists from the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy to Neil Diamond and late-career Johnny Cash)…a multitude of artist interviews including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Devo, Ben Harper, Roger Waters, Dr. Dre, Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, The Black Keys and Annie Lennox…and a fascinating look, of course, at the initial springboard of recording technology in the 1960s and the innovations that followed, fueled by tech, trends and artistic creativity. 

It’s all here…rock, rap, MTV, disco, Dylan-gone-electric, EDM, sampling, streaming, and what’s bubbling up (hold onto the handrails).

A great collection, vetted by musicasaurus.com and his non-music industry couch mate, who was used as the “control” in this viewing experiment and whose enthusiasm jumped the baseline into something close to awe…





Posted 2/6/17.....

Amnesty International Presents RELEASED! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 - A 2008 MVD Entertainment Group release




Posted 1/23/17.....

Here’s a way for you to pick up a great DVD and support PBS at the same time:  Go to this website— http://www.shoppbs.org/home/index.jsp—and lay your $$ down.  You’ll be getting a real find from the underground—the DVD of The Best of Bluegrass Underground, Volume 2. 

This compilation, from a taping 333 feet below the surface in Tennessee’s 32-mile long Cumberland Caverns, holds performances household names in the Bluegrass realm, and some a bit more recognizable.  The concert area proper is called the Volcano Room amphitheater and the acoustics are marvelous.

The Volume 2 Best Of DVD features a fairly wide-ranging bunch of artists, old and new, including Leon Russell, Lucinda Williams, Old Crow Medicine Show, North Mississippi Allstars, Jason Isbell, Del McCoury Band, The Civil Wars, David Grisman FolkJazz Trio, and more.

The highlight of the line-up is a performance by Andrew Bird entitled “Danse Caribe” (originally from the 2012 album Break It Yourself).  A four-piece acoustic band (inclusive of Byrd) is poised and pitch perfect on the instrumentation as well as on voice.  Eyes closed, lead singer Byrd absolutely swings with the flow of the four-piece's perfectly nailed notes.  https://youtu.be/zDYvk3OP1wY





1/9/17:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, January 9, 2017 in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 12/26/16.....

Let’s set the stage:  Cream rises to the top in ‘66, but then things go sour in ’68 and the band members go their separate ways...Thirty-seven years later they return to the Royal Albert Hall, the site of their original farewell performance.

And so whadda we got?  Two in-concert DVDs from Cream that are years and worlds apart.  One is beautifully captured in sound and vision, and the band exudes a tremendous power that is almost transformative---and then we have the 1968 DVD.


Both of these DVDs--Cream / Royal Albert Hall / May 2-3-5-6, 2005, and Cream Farewell Concert / November 28, 1968--were released simultaneously in October 2005, but by different DVD companies.  With all of the hoo-ha over the Cream 2005 reunion show, the distributors of the other DVD must have had a carpe diem-for-dollars moment, and pushed that unpolished puppy “out there” for the unsuspecting fans who were still all aglow.

The 2005 performance is uniformly praised.  As elder rock statesmen at that point, they were still far from wizened though age had taken its toll a bit in mobility (take note of Jack Bruce in particular, who parks his butt on a heightened stool every now and again while playing).  The music, though?  Better than you would have ever dreamed.

But the 1968 DVD is lacking, and thankfully I checked Amazon.com reviews before jumping on that purchase-frenzy bandwagon:

1.)  The lead-off Editorial Review on Amazon.com, before the reader review section - by Sam Graham:

“Cream's 2005 reunion (after a mere 37 years apart) was big news and a very hot ticket.  But anyone wondering what the fuss was all about is unlikely to get much enlightenment from Cream - Farewell Concert.  The trio's (guitarist Eric Clapton, bass player Jack Bruce, and drummer Ginger Baker) November 1968 gig at London's Royal Albert Hall, the same venue chosen for their reunion, may have been a spectacular display of their instrumental virtuosity and legendary improvisational skills, but you'd never know it from this sub-par document.  The sound has been digitally remastered, but the audio is still a turgid sonic sludge.  The visuals are even worse, with director Tony Palmer jerking the camera around as if this were an episode of NYPD Blue, layering the picture with dated and distracting psychedelic light effects, and providing far too many close-ups of Bruce's teeth (and almost no wide shots of the entire band).”

2.)  Amazon reader review of Cream Farewell Concert / November 28, 1968 - by reader Studebacher Hoch:

“Cream was a great band.  Their importance and influence in the rock world (and jazz and blues, too) can't be over-stated.  I love these guys.  Having said that, I must warn anybody who isn't aware of this movie - that it is one of the most horrible botch jobs in the history of rock documentaries.  I think everybody from the director to the camera to the sound must have been awfully stoned.  If you want to see a movie featuring Jack Bruce's acne scars with psych-ay-dell-ik sperm overlays crowding the frame, and almost unlistenable muddled sound in the background, then this film is for you.  Or perhaps you'd like to see the camera zoom in and out on Clapton's nose to the movement of his wah-wah pedal...I read in an interview that Clapton was so incensed when he saw this botch of a movie that he actually went looking for (director) Tony Palmer.  I can only hope he found him and soundly kicked his ass.”

Parting note:  I may now get creamed by other readers who have purchased the 1968 performance DVD and who absolutely love it.  But I believe they may be somewhat blind (and deaf) to the imperfections as described by certainly more than a handful of Amazon purchasers.

In any event, fair warning---read the postings of Those Who Have Led The Charge, for they may save you Dollars and Disappointment.




Posted 12/12/16.....

B.E. Taylor Christmas / Live at Heinz Hall.....recorded over two nights in December 2009, and released on DVD in 2010…..Available on betaylor.com.

This posting is in memoriam to a truly gifted artist and a wonderful human being…B.E. Taylor passed away in August of this year.

For those who ever saw B.E. in concert during the Christmas holiday season, suddenly nothing else could compare (back to Siberia, TSO; move over, Mannheim).  The show was a perfect blend of holiday tunes with a far-from-cliché, powerful and pointed rock ‘n’ roll overhaul.  The songs were masterful reinventions of traditional Christmas songs, and the musicians that backed B.E., including the effervescent Santa-capped Rick Witkowski on guitar, were flawless in their execution.  This was a band whose amped-up joy just flowed from the stage. 

For just shy of twenty years running, the B.E. Taylor Christmas concert played annually to over 40,000 total fans in the Pennsylvania-Ohio-West Virginia area and beyond those borders as well.  In Pittsburgh, the show long ago grew into a successful two-night stand at Heinz Hall, with both annual performances at this 2,600+ capacity venue selling out.

I had seen the show countless times over the years since the phenomenon first sparked to life in Wheeling’s Capitol Music Hall in 1996.  It became a family tradition for the Musicasauruses, and we happily joined the like-minded throng of converts who all took up the banner that “It ain’t really Christmas ‘til B.E. comes to town.”

As you can tell, I was baptized into the B.E. experience and with this particular artist’s passing, I am more than ever duty bound to proselytize!  Musicasaurus.com can guarantee you a multi-leveled holiday satisfaction if you purchase this DVD.  If you like rock music filled with emotion, power, and heft, and can imagine it expertly applied to time-honored holiday tunes, this B.E. Taylor Christmas DVD will become a tradition in your home as well.

Full-song performances on the DVD: 

  1. Away In A Manger / Do You Hear What I Hear
  2. Little Town Of Bethlehem
  3. We Three Kings
  4. Feel The Love Of Christmas (a B.E. Taylor original composition)
  5. Mary Did You Know
  6. What Child Is This
  7. Light Of The Stable
  8. Emanuel / O Come All Ye Faithful
  9. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
  10.  Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  11.  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  12. The Great I Am
  13. Joy To The World
  14. O Holy Night
  15. I Saw Three Ships
  16. Silent Night
  17. Mary’s Boy Child

Happy Holidays...Enjoy.  http://www.betaylor.com






11/28/16:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, November 28, 2016 in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 11/14/16.....

Johnny Winter  - Live Through The ‘70s - A 2008 MVD Entertainment Group release…

This DVD has gathered up both live-in-concert and television performances (1970-1979) from Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, and it features stops in Denmark, Germany and London in addition to native soil appearances in Chicago and Waterbury, Connecticut...

Recommended tracks:

  1. “Frankenstein” - from a 1970 performance...Albino blues brothers Johnny AND Edgar play on this instrumental that Edgar later on parlayed into a monstrous hit (he first released it in studio form two years later, via his 1972 album They Only Come Out At Night.)  The setting is a small stage in a low-ceilinged, firetrap-lookin’ teen club in Denmark, Copenhagen and the jam includes not one but two drum solos (one by Edgar, who jumped over from keyboards to drum kit perhaps to prove his “multi-instrumentalist” tag was warranted).  Admittedly, the song as performed here is not entirely captivating; it’s just worth a peek because of the look and feel of a young and hungry blues-rock band bangin’ it out in a club setting.
  2. “Be Careful With A Fool” - This is more like it.  From that same 1970 Denmark club session, Johnny stretches out on a B.B. King composition and plays heartfelt blues-rock riffs punctuated by his own guttural growls that seem to goad his flying fingers.  This is the Winter of my content--the more straight-ahead blues before he blossomed into an arena headliner a few years down the road, sometimes wearing (as he did on a ’73 Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert appearance), a top hat, cape and platform shoes.

Also on the disc:  Winter with bandmates Randy Jo Hobbs (bass) and Richard Hughes (drums) in performances circa ’73 and ’74, the time period that—on vinyl—Winter was also pushing out albums like Still Alive And Well and Saints & Sinners, both featuring guitarist Rick Derringer as well.  Still Alive And Well—a release so named because it marked Winter’s personal emergence from a heroin habit—is especially a treat.  Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau says of that record:  Winter will never be an especially personable singer, but I like what's he's putting out on this monkey-off-my-comeback: two late-Stones covers, plenty of slide, and a good helping of nasty.”





Monday, October 31, 2016:  No posting this time in DANCING WITH MR. D...VD.

Please return to musicasaurus.com on Monday, November 14, 2016 for new entries…Thanks!



Posted 10/17/16

Glastonbury - A Julien Temple film - A musical documentary (BBC Films / HanWay Films / TH!NKFilm) released as a two-DVD set in June 2007.




Posted 10/3/16



Just a few weeks back, while filling the shopping cart on Amazon.com, I decided to put my near-future satisfactions in the hands of the Police...So I bought the following two concert DVDs, curious about what a gap of 24 years might look and sound like in terms of two different tours, that many years apart:

When the shipment arrived, musicasaurus.com did a quick experiment right out of the box (or boxes, technically).  I took one song, and not any of the hits which have nestled sometimes too well into our consciousness; to seek some measure of objectivity, I chose a track from the band’s first studio album Outlandos d’Amour from 1978--“Hole In My Life”.

It’s been a favorite album track of mine through the years, all punky and propulsive.  How would the songs compare?  In this corner:  The Police during their initial 9-year ascension to global superstardom.  In the other corner:  The Police reunited after 21 years apart--and was it for Love?  Or was it for Money?  Was it for Love of Money?


The Crowd:

The On-Stage Look:

Production Values:




Posted 9/19/16









Musicasaurus.com has clawed out some vacation time, so the next fresh posting will be on Monday, September 19th ….Please return then!





Posted 8/22/16

I stumbled upon an interesting DVD recently, and had known nothing about it beforehand.  It’s a unique mix of a concert and a history lesson—uh, remember the Alamo?

On the evening of May 2, 2005, an outfit called WOW Music Group produced and filmed a concert at the Alamo and there are full song performances on the resulting DVD from Gipsy Kings, Lyle Lovett, Los Lobos and…Arc Angels!  The latter is a supergroup—and maybe only rock snobs call them that—composed of killer guitarists Doyle Bramhall II (who’s played with Clapton) and Charlie Sexton (who’s played with Dylan), plus the rhythm section from Steve Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble, drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon.  Back in 1992 Arc Angels released their self-titled debut album, and it is still one of musicasaurus.com’s favorite classic rock indulgences because of its rock ‘n’ roll heart and searing blues hues.  The DVD might be worth it for the Angels alone, but the other performances are really fairly riveting as well.

Here’s an explanatory snippet or two from a July 9, 2007 press release about the project and the event, from Cary Floyd of the WOW Music Group:

“The Remember The Alamo concert was designed to pay tribute to the Alamo and the City of San Antonio through an entertaining, made-for-history musical event. The concert film, via performances by some of the world’s best-known artists and light-hearted comedic entertainment by Paul Rodriguez, retells the story of the 13-day battle that took place in 1836, thus solidifying the Alamo shrine as an historical wonder of early American culture.

“The 90-plus minute concert film includes a documentary about the Alamo and an historical tour of the shrine led by Alamo Director David Stewart and Paul Rodriguez.”

Also interesting as hell:  The WOW Music Group were attacking this project as one of more to come.  They had created the concept of a Wonders of the World Music Series which was intended to marry together on film “distinguished musical artists with the world’s most storied historical sites”—and they may have since pulled another one off at the Great Wall of China, with more planned for the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower and other key historic hotspots.  Cool idea, but I have no update on their progress…






8/8/16:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, August 8, 2016 in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 7/25/16

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, VOLUME THREE..... The UK’s legendary live music show (DVD released in 2006)

This is the third volume in the 1971-1987 British television series that largely captured English and American artists in a high-quality, in-studio performance setting. 

Musicasaurus.com’s Recommended Tracks in this Volume Three:





Posted 7/11/16

LIVE AID—July 13, 1985.....Various artists; staged simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.....DVD released in November 2004.





Posted 6/27/16

Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live…..This concert DVD is a product of Geffen Records / Real World productions; filmed in Modena, Italy on tour in 1994.

The Secret World Live band:

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks:





6/13/16:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, June 13th in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…



Posted 5/30/16.....


This two-DVD set captures for posterity sixty-six musical performances that aired on The Johnny Cash TV Show from the summer of 1969 through March of 1971.  The show was produced in Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium which was, back then, the home of the Grand Ole Opry.  Johnny’s show was the first major network series produced at this venue, and as the DVD’s informational brochure points out, the Ryman today is a “refurbished, restored landmark.  The ’69 version, cramped and creaky, was untouched by modern heating and cooling.”





5/16/16:  No posting this time in the DANCING WITH MR. D…VD section, but there ARE brand new postings as of Monday, May 16th in the other sections, A DAY IN THE LIFE and BUILDING A MIXTERY…





Posted 5/2/16.....

MUSIC SCENE:  THE BEST OF 1969-1970, Volume 2.....(DVD released in 2001)




Posted 4/18/16.....

Bryan Adams - Unplugged - recorded September 26, 1997 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC - part of MTV’s Unplugged series - released on DVD in 2002




Posted 3/21/16.....

Musicasaurus.com was trolling for new concert DVD purchases when Celebration at Big Sur popped up on my computer screen--lo and behold, finally, here was a DVD of the September 13 & 14, 1969 folk festival at Big Sur, California.  I had heard about this particular “gathering of the tribes”, and that it had occurred just one month after the newly minted Woodstock generation was born on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York.  But I hadn’t been aware that the film of this festival had finally seen a DVD release in 2011, forty-two years after the event...

Big Sur is a pretty, pristine location where the Santa Lucia Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean on California’s central coast, and from 1964 through 1971, the Big Sur Folk Festival was held there on the grounds of the Esalen Institute.  (The institute is a non-profit organization that espouses humanistic alternative education via teachings and workshop settings, and it promotes spiritual growth, psychology, environmental stewardship, mediation, organic food--you know, all of the things that the late-‘60s hippies should have embraced, without the detours to the brown acid and the EZ widers.)

The 1969 Celebration at Big Sur is a great snapshot of Sixties Youth and Change:




Posted 3/7/16.....

Classic Albums:  The Band (The Band) - Isis Productions / Distributed by Eagle Rock Entertainment.




Posted 2/22/16.....

Here’s a brief look at an early 1970s “master and commander” who was steeped in tradition and yet wooed & wowed the youth market during that era of unparalleled musical experimentation brewing in San Francisco...

Commander Cody - Blues-Rock Legends Vol. I (part of the Rockpalast series of concert DVDs recorded for German television, starting in 1974) - This particular performance was recorded on July 1, 1980.




Posted 2/8/16.....

Here’s a mixed bag of concert DVDs--one is from a North Carolina band whose style is a mash-up of influences.....the second is by a classic rock lygynd--er, legend.....and the last one features Finnish and Swedish jazz fusion guitarists.  If one doesn’t fulfill, you know another probably will...

The three DVDs:


  1. The Avett Brothers - Live, Volume 3 - recorded on August 8, 2009 at Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte, NC
    • The band:  Two brothers front this North Carolina band that incorporates a wide number of influences into their music--folk, bluegrass, country, pop, alternative, and more.
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track:  A tossup between “I and Love and You” (reminiscent--a little, at least--of The Band) and “Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise”.
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd - A double feature DVD including Freebird: The Movie and Tribute Tour
    • FreeBird: The Movie is part documentary and part concert film, originally released in 1996.  Most of the live footage emanates from a festival performance in England in 1976, after Skynyrd had added guitarist Steve Gaines to the band.
    • Tribute Tour is a documentary about Skynyrd post-plane crash, and their decision ten years after that band-ending calamity to do a Tribute Tour--a reemergence that led to resurgence).
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track from Freebird: The Movie:  Hands down, it has to be “That Smell”.  The band is crisp, tight and focused, and the guitar work by Steve Gaines and Gary Rossington is enough to make even non-smokers grab a lighter.  The song’s performance was shot in black & white which is neither a distraction or a detraction, but it also (unfortunately) has less-than-stellar sound reproduction.  Still, it’s a powerhouse performance.
  3. Jukka Tolonen and Coste Apetrea - Scandinavian Guitars - recorded February 19, 1982 at Holbaek Power Plant
    • The artists:  Jukka Tolonen is a Finnish jazz-rock guitarist of great renown in his native country, and he’s been on that music scene since the early 1970s.  While pulling together musicians for his five-man band in 1977, Tolonen welcomed in the Swedish fusion guitarist Coste Apetrea, and in 1982 the two paired up for a special acoustic evening concert which was videotaped for future sale.
    • Musicasaurus.com’s recommended track:  There are only four tracks on this 35-minute DVD, and all of them swing in this lovely acoustic-only, all-instrumental setting.  While one handles rhythm flourishes the other is tearing off fleet-fingered leads, and the style is a melting pot of influences including classical, jazz, Gypsy, and more.  Not for all tastes, but quite intriguing due to the level of artistry on display.




Posted 1/25/16.....

SHORT TAKES.....A trio of concert DVDs and recommended tracks...


1. GUSTER.....from Guster On Ice / Live From Portland Maine.....released in 2004.

2. R.E.M......from Perfect Square.....released in 2003.

3. THE NEVILLE BROTHERS.....Tell It Like It Is.....released in 1989.




Posted 1/11/16.....


Musicasaurus.com’s Recommended Tracks from Three DVDs recently unearthed from the archives…

1. The Jeff Beck Group’s “Situation”.....From the DVD The Jeff Beck Group / Got The Feeling...This is Beck circa ’71-’72, when his group featured Bobby Tench on vocals (even though the DVD cover clearly shows Rod Stewart, who by this time had left the band).  This unit produced two albums from this era, Rough And Ready and The Jeff Beck Group....Though the sound quality is flat--i.e., this television appearance predates any real audio advances in this area--the performance is blistering with Beck on guitar, Max Middleton on keyboards, and Cozy Powell on drums.

2. X’s “The New World”.....From the DVD X: Live in Los Angeles...This concert by this American punk-and-folk rock band was recorded in their hometown of L.A. in 2004 as a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of their debut album Los Angeles.  The stand-out song of the moment is “The New World” which originally came from their 1983 album--the band’s fourth--More Fun In The New World, produced by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

3. Counting Crows’ “Anna Begins”.....From the DVD August And Everything After / Live At Town Hall...This 2011 DVD is the first official “live in concert” video release by the group, and it captures an innovative and accomplished rock band in its musical prime, aided immeasurably by the walking, stalking, ruminating, words-tumbling-forth style of lead singer Adam Duritz.  The performance consists of all songs, front-to-back, from their first album August And Everything After released in 1993...“Anna Begins” beautifully unfolds; it is like Theatre of the Mind--more precisely, a revealing and most melodious excursion into Duritz’s mind.





There is no posting in this particular “DVD review” section for Monday, December 28th...but please visit the other two tabs--BUILDING A MIXTERY AND A DAY IN THE LIFE--and you'll find up-to-date entries!



Posted 12/14/15

America:  A Tribute To Heroes (aired on television and the internet on September 21, 2001, and released on DVD & CD on December 4th of that year)




Posted 11/30/15

Stevie Wonder’s Live At Last (released in 2008)

Other Songs On The DVD:  “Master Blaster (Jammin’)”.....“Higher Ground”.....“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing”.....“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”.....“Superstition”.....“Living For The City”.....“Sir Duke”.....“My Cherie Amour”--and more.




Posted 11/16/15

Steely Dan:  Aja (released in 2006)





There is no posting for Monday, November 2...but please come back in a fortnight--on Monday, November 16th--and you'll see something new. Thanks...



Posted 10/19/15

Abstract Logix Live!  The New Universe Music Festival (released in 2001)




Posted 10/5/15

Two concert DVDs that have at least a track that’s worth the price of admission to your music DVD collection:

Electric Light Orchestra:  Zoom Tour Live (released in 2001)

Calexico:  Live from Austin, Texas (released in 2009)

On this Live From Austin, Texas DVD, Iron & Wine (Sam plus his sister Sarah) join Calexico on stage for the lead-off track from their co-conspired EP.  The song is called “He Lay In The Reins”, and it’s a sweeping and majestic track, a tantalizing mix of alternative + folk + Tex Mex. 




Posted 9/21/15

FILLMORE:  THE LAST DAYS.....(DVD released in 2009)

Other Artists featured on the disc:  Lamb, Jefferson Airplane, Jerry Garcia with The New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Grateful Dead, and The Elvin Bishop Group.




Posted 9/7/15

A COUPLE OF CONCERT DVD RELEASES BY FEMALE ARTISTS.....Here are two compelling women singer/songwriters in live performance...and my favorite track from each of their DVDs.

JEWEL.....from Live At Humphrey’s By The Bay.....released in 2002.

TORI AMOS.....from Welcome to Sunny Florida.....released in 2003.

Standout track:  “Cornflake Girl” (a song originally on 1994’s Under The Pink album).....The song takes a few minutes to actually commence.  After a couple of minutes of Amos talking to the audience, the song kicks off with a sinewy drum beat, bass, and then that piano...This is a superior performance captured in great “live” sound, and this three-piece unit rocks.  Amos has great command of her key instruments—her voice and her fingers.  The piano solos in this funky, rhythmic six-minute spectacle are intense, as Amos stands up from the piano bench and ignites the ivories.  Intoxicating...Seek it out...Enjoy!




Posted 8/24/15

Steve Hunter – Tone Poems Live...(DVD released in September 2014)




Posted 8/10/15

A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young.....(DVD released in 2011)




Posted 7/27/15

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, VOLUME TWO..... The UK’s legendary live music show (DVD released in 2006)





There are no new postings here in this DVD Review section for July 13, 2015 on musicasaurus.com, BUT DO CHECK OUT THE FRESH NEW MATERIAL IN BOTH THE “BUILDING A MIXTERY” SECTION AND “A DAY IN THE LIFE” SECTION!  (New postings in this DVD Review section will resume on Monday, July 27th.)



Posted 6/29/15.....

Jethro Tull – Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970... (released in 2004 by Eagle Vision).




Posted 6/15/15.....

Julia Fordham – That’s Live... (released in 2005 by Vanguard Records).





There are no new postings here in this DVD Review section for June 1, 2015 on musicasaurus.com, BUT DO CHECK OUT THE FRESH NEW MATERIAL IN BOTH THE “BUILDING A MIXTERY” SECTION AND “A DAY IN THE LIFE” SECTION!  (New postings in this DVD Review section will resume on Monday, June 15th.)



Posted 5/18/15.....

Legends Live At Montreux 1997 – Eric Clapton, Steve Gadd, Marcus Miller, Joe Sample and David Sanborn... (released in 2005 by Eagle Rock Entertainment).




Posted 5/4/15.....

Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul – Jeff Beck... (released by Eagle Vision, 2010).




Posted 4/20/15.....

Spectacle – Elvis Costello With... (released to home video October 2011).




Posted 4/6/15.....

APPALACHIAN JOURNEY LIVE IN CONCERT – Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor...Sony Classical (2000).




Posted 3/23/15.....

LIVE FROM ABBEY ROAD – Best of Season One...Fremantle Media Enterprises (2007).




Posted 3/9/15.....

The Bridge School Concerts / 25th Anniversary Edition.....released in DVD in 2011 (Reprise Video)





There are no new postings here in this DVD Review section for 2/23/15 on musicasaurus.com, but DO check out the fresh material in both the BUILDING A MIXTERY section and the A DAY IN THE LIFE section!  Both of these deal with the allure of the major rock festivals of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s…Enjoy.  (New postings in this DVD Review section will resume on Monday, March 9th.)



Posted 2/9/15

Saturday Night Live / 25 Years of Music / Performances and Sketches......released on DVD in 2003 (Warner Reprise Video)




Posted 1/26/15.....

The Best of Sessions at West 54th, Volume I...released in 1997 (Automatic Productions/Columbia Music Video)




Posted 1/12/15.....

“It was just far enough down the road for Traffic to have its second wind.  People had not heard that music performed live for twenty years and they felt that it was a good time to hear it again.” – Steve Winwood commenting on Traffic’s 1994 reunion tour of the United States (from the liner notes of this featured DVD)...

TRAFFIC...The Last Great Traffic Jam...filmed in 1994; released in 2005 (Epic / Sony BMG Music Entertainment)




Posted 12/29/14.....

LIVE AT KNEBWORTH – PARTS ONE, TWO & THREE...Previously released in three volumes on VHS and Laserdisc, this is a DVD reissue (all on one disc) with remixed sound, released in 2002...

.....and others, including a couple of lesser-known-in-the-USA artists such as Cliff Richard and Status Quo.




Posted 12/15/14.....

TEN YEARS OF LATER...30 Great Performances (A BBC Production on Warner Music Vision)

The Rest of the DVD:  Includes performances from Portishead, Massive Attack, Paul Weller (formerly of The Jam), Oasis, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Coldplay, Orbital, D’Angelo, Diana Krall, Morrissey, Moby, and more...




Posted 12/1/14.....

Here’s a Double Shot of Required Viewings...And a Standout Track from each:

1.) LEON RUSSELL AND THE NEW GRASS REVIVAL (self-titled release)






There are no new postings for 11/17/14 on musicasaurus.com....Earthbound considerations took me away.  New postings will return for the regular every-two-week schedule on Monday, December 1st.  Please return then!



Posted 11/3/14.....

I’ve got a one-track mind when it comes to certain DVDs.....so here ‘tis from the Coors, My Morning Jacket, and Ray Charles.










Okay, actually there is NOT a new DVD-review posting on this particular page of the site at this time.  But please DO check out the brand new postings (as of 10/20/14) in the two other main sections of musicasaurus.com--in BUILDING A MIXTERY (ten tunes from a musically adventurous year, 1979), and in A DAY IN THE LIFE (part two of a story about an as-of-yet unheralded new alt-country artist Bryan Elijah Smith)…Thanks!



Posted 10/6/14.....


THE MICK HAT TRICK.....A trio of must-have concert DVDs featuring Mick Jagger.

1.)  From the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts.....Two four-hour shows at Madison Square Garden on two consecutive nights.....DVD released in September 2010.

2.)  From the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.....A 1968 made-for-TV special starring the Stones, plus special guests.....DVD released in October 2004.

3.)  From the Martin Scorsese film Shine A Light.....The Stones in concert at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, captured by the veteran filmmaker as part of the Stones’ 2006 A Bigger Bang Tour.....DVD released in July 2008.



Posted 9/22/14.....

A Doubleshot of DVDs.....Classic Rock and Classic Bowie.

1.)  CLASSIC ROCK.....Various artists.....DVD released in 2007; Immortal IMM # 940959.

2.) DAVID BOWIE.....A REALITY TOUR.....DVD released in 2004.




Posted 9/8/14

Okay, actually there is NOT a new DVD-review posting on this particular page of the site at this time.  But please DO check out the brand new postings (as of 9/8/14) in the two other main sections of musicasaurus.com--in BUILDING A MIXTERY (stunning cover versions of various artists’ songs), and in A DAY IN THE LIFE (all about musical happenings & noteworthy items having to do with September)…Thanks!


Posted 8/25/14.....

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE / A One Night History of The Blues.....DVD released in March 2005.

In an effort to capture the blues masters and their acolytes in concert together, and to simultaneously tell the tale of origins & torch passings, executive producer Martin Scorsese and director Antoine Fuqua teamed up in February 2003 and staged a celebration-in-song of this treasured art form.

Filmed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Lightning In A Bottle features some truly tantalizin’ testifyin’, and gives us some killer collaborations between the old—uh, sometimes the very old—and the new.

Backed by a talented house band (including musicians such as Dr. John), these venerated performers tore into the material, taking the audience from Africa to the Delta and then up into Chicago, tapping into a wellspring of deep emotion and ritualism.

Slight warning:  A few of the tracks are interrupted by commentary and/or clips...My favorite interview snippet:  Son House, the Delta blues artist (1902-1988) who inspired both Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, is shown on an old taped interview speaking about the meaning of the blues:  “Ain’t but one kind of blues, and that consistses (sic) between a male and a female that’s in love”...

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended tracks: 

“I Pity The Fool”– Shemekia Copelandjoins Robert Cray on this 1954 song originally performed by Bobby “Blue” Bland.

“Turn On Your Lovelight”– Another “Blue” Bland tune, this one is performed by 70-year-old soul pioneer Solomon Burke, who passed away in October 2010.

“Sittin’ On Top of The World”A song originally performed by the Mississippi Sheiks in 1930, and also famously covered by Cream on their 1968 album Wheels of Fire; here, it’s a short and sweet roots-ier rendition by James “Blood” Ulmer with Alison Krauss.

“St. Louis Blues”W. C. Handy’s 1914 composition, covered here by Natalie Cole.

“Can’t Be Satisfied”– Buddy Guy—often credited with being the bridge between Muddy Waters & Howlin’ Wolf, and the later blues-rock disciples Clapton, Page and Beck—performs a 1948 Muddy Waters tune.

“Sweet Sixteen”78-year-old B.B. King sits and sweetly, stingingly delivers his own 1960 composition, joined by Lucille—that’s his guitar, and he knows how to make her sing.



Posted 8/11/14.....


Windham Hill is a record label—often labeled New Age—founded in 1976 by acoustic guitarist Will Ackerman.  By the time the compact disc format began to penetrate home sound systems in the early 1980’s, the label had expanded beyond its original folk emphasis into world and electronic music as well.  The Windham Hill “sound” became a brand of sorts; the production was superior, the album art classy, and the artist roster impressive.

Windham Hill In Concert...featuring the music of Will Ackerman, Scott Cossu, Michael Hedges and Shadowfax...released in 1986 (Windham Hill Productions, Inc. / Pioneer Entertainment)



Posted 7/28/14.....

Musicasaurus.com was curious about what a couple of long-established publications felt might just be the BEST EVER concert films...



Position / Film Title / Artist / Release Date

10. Bullet In A Bible – Green Day (2005)

 9.  Sign O’ The Times – Prince (1987)

 8.  Shine A Light – The Rolling Stones (2008)

 7.  Live At Pompeii – Pink Floyd (1972)

 6.  Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones (1970)

 5.  Rattle And Hum – U2 (1988)

 4.  Woodstock (1970)

 3.  Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)

 2.  The Song Remains The Same – Led Zeppelin (1976)

 1.  The Last Waltz – The Band (1978)


THE VILLAGE VOICE (NYC’s premiere alternative weekly):

Position / Film Title / Artist / Release Date

10. Live At Red Rocks/Under A Blood Red Sky – U2 (1984)

 9.  Awesome!  I F*ckin’ Shot That! – Beastie Boys (2006)

 8.  Shine A Light – The Rolling Stones (2008)

 7.  Monterey Pop (1968)

 6.  Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (2005)

 5.  Concert For George – Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne & Friends (2003)

 4.  Fade To Black – Jay-Z (2004)

 3.  Woodstock (1970)

 2.  Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)

 1.  The Last Waltz – The Band (1978)



Posted 7/14/14

Geezer alert:  There is a relatively new (released this year) set of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young tour performances from 1974, and there are a few different packages available to consumers--one with 3 CDs and 1 DVD, another with Blu-ray audio and digital downloads, and still another harboring 6 vinyl LPs in with the video offering...

¨     The collection is aptly entitled CSNY 1974.

¨     Generally, there is not a lot of great footage let alone full video performances of CSNY “out there” right now, in terms of commercial availability.  Previous to this, I found only a truncated version (i.e., no long solos) of “Down By The River” from a schmaltzy 1969 television show hosted by the once-thought-mildly-amusing David Steinberg.  This program, called Music Scene, lasted only one season partly because it was slotted on ABC against competitorsGunsmoke (on CBS) and Laugh In (on NBC).

¨     In the package I checked out online--the 3 CD + DVD package--the posted reader reviews on Amazon are fairly decent in terms of the DVD.  Some say it’s not perfect from a production standpoint but a necessary historical document, and others are a bit more effusive.

¨     A number of reviewers also deemed this new collection musically superior to 4 Way Street, the band’s double-live recording of their 1970 tour which was released the following year.  (Musicasaurus.com never cared much for that live offering; too spotty and sometimes downright sloppy, truth be told.) 

¨     The DVD in this new collection features the following songs:

·      “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

·      “Almost Cut My Hair”

·      “Grave Concern” (a Graham Nash tune)

·      “Old Man”

·      “Johnny’s Garden” (a Stephen Stills composition available in studio form on Stills’ 1972 Manassas group effort)

·      “Our House”

·      “Déjà vu”

·      “Pushed It Over The End” (a Neil Young-penned song)


Posted 6/30/14

Okay, actually there is NOT a new DVD-review posting on this particular page of the site at this time.  But please DO check out the brand new postings (as of 6/30/14) in the two other main sections of musicasaurus.com--in BUILDING A MIXTERY (all about tunes from 1994), and in A DAY IN THE LIFE (all about “death and rock ‘n’ roll”).  Thanks!


Posted 6/16/14


Here is an old posting from three years back (originally dated 6/19/11) that is no longer available on the site, so I’ve called it back into action for you--a light repast from the past.  It is a review of THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, the UK’s legendary live music show, released to DVD in 2003 (two other volumes have since been released as well).

Two live music shows on television—one here in the USA and the other across the pond in England—ran in parallel streams for a lot of their existence.  In the USA, Midnight Special (produced by Burt Sugarman) was on late-night NBC from 1973 through 1981; in the UK, The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC2 aired from 1971 through 1987.  How different were they?  Midnight Special:  A bit cheesy and certainly chart-obsessed.  The Old Grey Whistle Test:  Adventurous in the selection of performers; respectful and intuitive about the presentation of artist performances; and superior in production values.  Thank whatever Higher Power you ascribe to that we have these performances preserved for posterity, many of them captured during the explosive opening stages of these artists’ brilliant careers.

The Old Grey Whistle Test ran on Tuesday nights on BBC2, and was definitely “appointment television” with a huge UK viewership. The show takes its name from Tin Pan Alley days—Tin Pan Alley was the name originally given to the collection of New York City music publishers & songwriters in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The music publishers would play the first pressings of a new record for the area’s “old greys”—doormen, porters and messengers.  The songs that the old greys could whistle back after just one or two listenings had then passed what became known as the “old grey whistle test.”

The DVD has twenty-eight archived performances and most all of these are prefaced by commentary from the show’s producer(s), but one can access the tracks directly, of course, through the DVD menu.  The disc also includes revealing interviews of Elton John with his lyricist Bernie Taupin, Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen.

Ahhh, but it’s the performances...

Musicasaurus.com’s recommended selections:

·      Alice Cooper – Alice and band deliver a fairly polished and powerful “Under My Wheels” from 1971.....The DVD’s commentary points out that due to reigning BBC policies during the 1970’s, dressing rooms for males and females needed to be in distinctly separate locations (“No, Alice...I believe YOUR room is down the hall”)....

·      Bob Marley & The Wailers – A 1973 appearance, their first in the UK, performing “Stir It Up”.....Their record label chief Chris Blackwell of Island Records was drafted as “official interpreter” since Marley and his group’s Jamaican patois could not be deciphered by the Whistle Test crew.

·      Elton John – Just the 24-year-old and his piano in a riveting performance of “Tiny Dancer” (1971)—an understated highlight of this DVD.

·      U2 – Bono and crew perform “I Will Follow,” the lead-off track to their 1980 debut album Boy.....The performance here is from 1981—the same year that I saw the band in a tiny Pittsburgh rock ‘n’ roll club called The Decade; the band was of course awe-inspiring, but they actually ran out of material due to the audience demanding more and more songs—so the band ended up repeating one of their tunes as their final closing number.

·      The Ramones – The boys were part of the late ‘70’s New York City punk circuit along with Television, Patty Smith and Talking Heads.  Here, the band slammed forth with “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” (1980).

·      Tom Waits – From a 1977 episode, Waits performs the song “Tom Traubert’s Blues” from Small Change, his album released the year prior.....I’m a bigger fan, personally, of earlier Tom Waits before the “croak” took hold, though it certainly enhances this particular track.  And lyrically, this man Waits for no one.

·      John Lennon – This is Lennon from 1975 in a rendition of “Stand By Me” (recorded in NYC, though he interjects a “hello” to the folks in England midway through his performance).

·      Rory Gallagher – Not a household name, but an influential blues-based Irish rocker who performs here in 1973 with his band Taste; the track is called “Hands Off”.  Afterwards, Gallagher went solo and had his most success in the mid-late ‘70’s though he never broke through to a “superstar” status.  His live shows were incendiary and his love of the blues permeated his work.

·      Captain Beefheart – There’s a creepy majesty to this 1974 performance of “Upon the My-O-My” from Beefheart’s eighth studio album Unconditionally Guaranteed.  He was a Zappa cohort but also a unique and visionary artist in his own right, in music as well as expressionistic paintings & drawings.  He passed away in 2010.

·      Bonnie Raitt – Consistently a great “live” artist, Raitt performs “Too Long At The Fair” from her 1972 release Give It Up.....This Whistle Test performance is from 1976.

·      The Specials – A 1979 performance of “Message To You Rudi”.....The Specials, nattily dressed and interracially mixed, were pioneers of the 2-Tone movement of the late 1970’s—melding ska, reggae, new wave and other forms of music into an intoxicating blend.

·      Tom Petty  - According to Whistle Test DVD notes, Tom and his Heartbreakers were adored by UK audiences who thrilled to his fully-charged performances and the Byrds influence on his work.  Here, the band performs “American Girl” (1978).

·      Talking Heads – In a 1978 appearance, David Byrne and his bandmates quirk & jerk through “Psycho Killer” from their debut release Talking Heads: 77—a fa-fa-fabulous exercise in byrne-ing down the house!



Posted 6/2/14

CONCERT DVD HIT LIST...A FEW NEW RELEASES...Sight unseen; Hearing unheard.

The following just became available through Amazon.com.  Perhaps you’re adventurous and want to take the plunge right now, but in case you are new at this game, note that it is advisable to read any and all posted consumer reviews on Amazon so you get a real feel for quality, kinks and concerns:

Back To Front:  Live In London -- Peter Gabriel.....I saw a 2012 Philly stop on the tour that produced this new DVD, and the musicians that backed-up Gabriel during his 1987 So tour were all present and accounted for.  I’d imagine that for any Gabriel-period Genesis fans and solo career followers, this would be a fine addition to your concert video collection; Gabriel is noted for high-performance shows that have a real creative spark in execution and style, and that carries forward to the editing and final time-capsule nature of his released works.

The Dukes Of September -- Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs.....This looks to be a treasure trove of the “hits” of Steely Dan, McDonald’s Doobie Brothers and signature solo stuff, and Scaggs’ time-honored material from his overwhelmingly popular Silk Degrees album.  As with Gabriel, I happened upon a live show from this outfit in 2012, and was rewarded with great material (including old R&B classics like Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love T.K.O.” and The Isley’s “Who’s That Lady”) and stellar musicianship in the backup band.  The sum effect is likely mesmerizing because of the HD and pristine sound capture--so enjoy!



Posted 5/19/14.....

Okay, actually there is NOT a new DVD-review posting on this particular page of the site at this time.  But please DO check out the brand new postings (as of 5/19/14) in the two other main sections of musicasaurus.com--in BUILDING A MIXTERY (all about cover tunes), and in A DAY IN THE LIFE (all about famous rock posters).  Thanks!


Posted 5/5/14.....

Let It Rock:  22 Original Rare TV Recordings.....distributed by Classic Pictures Entertainment.

This is a 22-artist collection that I guess lives up to the title, but then again you might not like yours “rare”...

Most of the disc is late ‘60s and early ‘70s TV performances and therefore not the best quality audio, but there are some tunes that are more than basic curiosity items.  There is Free’s muscular “All Right Now” with its trapped-in-the-‘60s psychedelic camera patterns and its Paul Rodgers/Paul Kossoff combination...Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” featuring Richie Blackmore slaying it on guitar, dressed in some kind of Puritan-meets-Elfin outfit...and The Who’s “Pinball Wizard”--which is, I do believe, a studio video of the song--that is sparked by the background antics and arm extensions of Keith Moon on drums.

Other notables for whatever reason:  Spooky Tooth’s “That Was Only Yesterday,” which is not live-in-the-studio yet it’s great to see/hear the band again, after what’s been quite a long stretch of time...Heart’s powerful “Barracuda”...and The Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove” (if you already think this latter song pedestrian, this won’t change your mind; but it’s energetically rendered and you-get-what-you-asked-for).

My vote for waste of space:  Ginger Baker’s Air Force performing “Early In The Morning”.  Ehhh...it’s hard to pinpoint the dislike, and certainly hard to recommend.  Best advice here is go light on the ex-Cream.

Also on the disc:  Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, Mountain, Family, Motorhead, Jethro Tull, Man, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Stone The Crows, Yes, and more...



Posted 4/21/14.....

Airplay:  The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio.....a documentary released in September 2013; written and directed by Chris Gilson & Carolyn Travis.

1.)  As seen on PBS, this revelatory tale begins with the early days of AM Radio in the U.S.A., and the impact that early disc jockeys--and their pioneering playlists of rhythm & blues “race records”--had on the American music scene and society at large.

2.)  Interviewees include the regional disc jockeys from the late 1950s and early 1960s who first championed black music to their listening audiences--Dick Biondi, “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, Wolfman Jack and Casey Kasem, among others.  There is also footage of deejay Alan Freed, who organized the first shower-of-stars type concerts that brought out fans across the color lines...

3.)  Note:  There is a web companion piece to this documentary, which you can access by going to www.theairplaychannel.com, and here you’ll find information on the formative on-air jocks who broke ground and broke down barriers, including Pittsburgh’s own Porky Chedwick (2/4/18 - 3/2/14), who spun his sounds beginning in 1948.  Porky--the self-described “Daddio of the Raddio”--was the first white deejay on the Eastern Seaboard to air exclusively rhythm & blues, and he helped launch the careers of Bo Diddley, Little Anthony, and Smokey Robinson.

4.)  Also covered in the documentary:  The payola scandal which kneed Freed to the ground...the rise of the Top Forty format and FM radio...the effect of corporate influence...and the birth of satellite radio.



Posted 4/7/14.....

20 Feet From Stardom.....2013 Oscar-winning Documentary available now on Netflix, home DVD, etc.

Musicasaurus.com rates this a five-star (or in our case, a five T. rex) production.

•       The film is just 90 minutes long, and it is a beautifully edited work that provides an emotional wallop.

•       The film explores the impact of individually unheralded backup singers who, through their participation and extraordinary talent & passion, have helped shaped our collective appreciation of some major musical artists’ recordings

•       Back-up singers who reveal their hopes, dreams and challenges most notably include Merry Clayton and Darlene Love, but also lesser-known but no less talented performers such as Claudia Lennear, Judith Hill, Táta Vega, and an incredible should-be-a-star named Lisa Fischer.  The latter almost steals this documentary’s thunder through a short but spine-tingling session with Sting in the studio...

•       The whole film is a work of art and a tale that needed to be told...and Clayton’s story may be the best of the lot.  In a June 2013 interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Clayton told host Terry Gross about getting the call (literally) to do a vocal cameo for the Rolling Stones back in the Fall of 1969.  The song that she recorded late that night with the band was “Gimme Shelter”: 

“Well, I’m at home at about 12–I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said ‘you know, Merry, are you busy?’ I said ‘No, I’m in bed.’ He says, ‘well, you know, there are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come?’ He said ‘I really think this would be something good for you.’”...

(Musicasaurus.com’s interjected comment here):  So Mary, who was tired, pregnant, and had NO idea who the Rolling Stones were, gets out of bed and rushes down to their studio where she first runs into Keith Richards, who explains what they would like her to do: 

“I said, ‘Well, play the track. It’s late. I’d love to get back home.’ So they play the track and tell me that I’m going to sing–‘this is what you’re going to sing: Oh, children, it’s just a shot away.’ It had the lyrics for me. I said, ‘Well, that’s cool.’ So I did the first part, and we got down to the rape, murder part. And I said, ‘Why am I singing rape, murder?’…So they told me the gist of what the lyrics were, and I said ‘Oh, okay, that’s cool.’ So then I had to sit on a stool because I was a little heavy in my belly. I mean, it was a sight to behold. And we got through it. And then we went in the booth to listen, and I saw them hooting and hollering while I was singing, but I didn’t know what they were hooting and hollering about. And when I got back in the booth and listened, I said, ‘Ooh, that’s really nice.’ They said, ‘well, You want to do another?’  I said, ‘well, I’ll do one more,’ I said ‘and then I’m going to have to say thank you and good night.’ I did one more, and then I did one more. So it was three times I did it, and then I was gone. The next thing I know, that’s history.”



Musicasaurus.com is on Spring Break....Please come back for brand new postings on Monday morning, April 7th!


Posted 3/10/14.....

Strewn around a daughter's deserted bedroom, now office space, at home:

Clapton and Winwood -- Live From Madison Square Garden.....Most electrifyin’ track = “Them Changes” where Clapton rings out a riff that is repetitious but never for a second loses its gut-crunching power.

Lee Ritenour -- Overtime.....A two-disc set that has a bit too much restraint, the way some “light jazz” ensembles do.  At times, this DVD skirts that area somewhere just north of elevator music, but a favorite track of mine is “Beyond The Storm” where Ritenour and pianist Dave Grusin excel and provide some spark.

Joe Cocker -- Mad Dogs & Englishmen.....Quite the roadshow, with tour orchestrator Leon Russell putting together a rock solid revue (behind Cocker) consisting of eleven total singers and ten players...A few of the best performances from this 1970 tour include:  “Feelin’ Alright”, the song originally written by Traffic’s Dave Mason, and “The Letter”, a soulful, almost gospel fervor rendition of the Box Tops’ 1967 hit single.