Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

21Jul/096

It Came From the 70s – DVD Edition – Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, Jeff Beck

It’s 70s week here at my house. I’m watching new DVD releases from three of my favorite artists of that decade: Deep Purple, Ted Nugent and Jeff Beck. All brought something unique then and it’s time to see what’s going on nowadays.

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In the case of Deep Purple and History, Hits & Highlights 68-76, we don’t see anything current but instead the beginnings and the peak of one of rock’s heaviest and top-selling bands. The history is a nice retrospective of the group through photos and video and the hits begin with DP MK I covering “Help” by the Beatles in addition to “Hush” and “Wring That Neck” with a lineup that included Rod Evans and Nick Simper on vocals and bass guitar.

DP MK II is covered extensively as it should be since this is the classic lineup of Roger Glover and Ian Gillan along with Ian Paice, Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore. The band is on fire live and runs through over a dozen tunes in this segment, some familiar (Highway Star, Speed King, Strange Kind of Woman) and some lesser-known (Hallelujah, Demon’s Eye, Never Before).

DP MK III and IV take us through 1976 and the Tommy Bolin era. The transformation of the band in just three years is quite significant as is the amount of potential that was ultimately wasted. Years later, I’m still not sure about the tag team vocals of Coverdale and Hughes but anyway…

The highlights on Disc 2 are very cool and include MK I on the Playboy After Dark Show, MK II rehearsing for an appearance on Rockpalast, MK III as the subject of a student film known as the Leeds Polytechnic project and MK IV from Japan.

History, Hits & Highlights 68-76 is a very solid overview of the band that gathers great performances and interesting archival material in top quality. It's the package to have if you don't have any Deep Purple on DVD. If you already have California Jam and the 1972 concert, you'll still want it for all of the missing pieces.

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On to the Motor City Madman who is in a celebrating mood. Motor City Mayhem, just out on Eagle Vision, is a party designed around the playing of Nugent’s 6,000th concert on July 4, 2008. Live from the DTE Energy Music Centre, or what used to be known as Pine Knob, in Michigan, the Nuge rolls through 21 songs and brings up special guests, birthday cakes, scantily-clad women and revels in America’s independence for about two hours.

Ted loves his country, his hometown of Detroit and above all, the fact that he is free to rock and roll. It’s a little bit like church with a little bit of political rally thrown in and a lot of full speed ahead concert action. While some have fallen by the wayside over the years, Nugent is obviously working hard to stay sharp. While it would be great to have former vocalist Derek St. Holmes back for good, and he does appear here for “Hey Baby,” “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold,” Ted does a good job with being the lead singer. His guitar playing is right there and the energy generated by the band is refreshing.

This has the concert favorites (“Motor City Madhouse,” “Fred Bear,” “Great White Buffalo,” “Baby Please Don’t Go”) and a few surprises ( “Need You Bad,” “Love Grenade,” “Honky Tonk,” “Soul Man” ) along with other solid tunes from the catalog making for a good blend. If you’re looking for something new by Nugent that you can count on, this is the ticket.

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The last one on today’s list is the topper. Jeff Beck Performing This Week Live at Ronnie Scott’s is really an experience that needs to be lived on a big screen TV with surround sound to truly appreciate its beauty and depth. If you can’t do that, pick it up anyway to have for the day that you can and enjoy it on your computer in the meantime.

It is a film that truly captures you after one song and takes you on a mesmerizing trip. From the masterful playing of Beck and the interaction with his band members to the intimacy provided by the club setting, this rare chance to see an artist of Beck’s caliber up close is stunning.

His band is up to the challenge, consisting of Vinnie Colaiuta on drums (Zappa, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea) Jason Rebello on keyboards (Sting) and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, a 22 year old Australian newcomer who has toured with Chick Corea and looks like she is having the time of her life. Each player finds songs to latch on to, with “Stratus,” “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers,” “Space Boogie,” and “Scatterbrain” among them, and also give Beck plenty of room to work.

Special guests include Joss Stone on a great version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” the song Beck made popular in the 80s with Rod Stewart, Imogen Heap for two tunes with one being a version of the Muddy Waters classic “Rollin and Tumblin” that would have been perfect at Woodstock, and Eric Clapton looking like he walked over from home for a bit of a jam down at the corner pub.

Live at Ronnie Scott’s looks great, sounds great and contains great performances by a variety of musicians both young and old playing like it matters. The interviews are also cool for those who like to go beyond the music. All that adds up to a quality disc that earns my mid-year pick as Music DVD of the Year. Don’t miss it.

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  • http://www.whitecollarredneck.com Narm

    Please explain why Fred Bear doesn’t get more airplay? Song is amazing and hysterical at the same time! It’s amazical – or hysterizing. Wow – that sounds like an Aerosmith song from Get A Grip.

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