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December 2002








Best Of Bowie
(Virgin / EMI)

Virgin Records—one of the many fine imprints in the EMI family of labels—recently released Best Of Bowie from rock icon David Bowie. Any album that chooses a title like that had better deliver the goods and Virgin keeps it’s promise with not one, but two distinctive Bowie Best Of CD collections and a double disc Best Of DVD set described as “a career encompassing helicopter ride over one of the most prolific and perennially avant-gard artists of our times”. Some of Bowie’s staunchest long time fans still maintain that Bowie’s blueprint for success was actually fleshed out a couple years before “Space Oddity” took the U.K. pop charts by storm during the Summer of ‘69. Both Virgin’s 20 track single CD Best Of Bowie and the more comprehensive 38 track, expanded double CD version of Best Of Bowie kick things off with the ‘69 smash “Space Oddity”. An authoritative greatest hits collection for fans old and new, the double disc Best Of Bowie collection—clearly the more intriguing of the two Virgin Best Of CD offerings—compiles all the big hits along with various rarities and ‘radio edits’ and 45 rpm single versions of famous album tracks like “Heroes”, “Golden Years” and “Fame” all the way to 21st Century Bowie singles culled from Earthling (1997), hours...(1999) all culminating with a radio edit of “Slow Burn” from the 2002 album Heathen. For long time Bowie supporters, the double DVD Best Of Bowie on Virgin / EMI is a nothing short of sensational. As a musician, actor and film composer, Bowie was always at the forefront of music video. The 47 track double DVD Best Of Bowie set kicks off with three mind blowing video performances Bowie recorded circa 1972 on the U.K. BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test with the original Spiders From Mars including the late, great Mick Ronson and the rhythm section of Trevor Bolder (bass) and Woody Woodmansey (drums). Ronson was such a valuable partner of Bowie’s during the early ‘70s and thankfully a number of the early videos here feature his superb guitar work and harmonies. While the first DVD focuses on Bowie videos from ‘72 up through and including the early ‘80s (including his 1985 duet with Mick Jagger on “Dancing In The Street), the second DVD features more videos beginning with the 1986 “Absolute Beginners” video directly by Julian Temple and ending up with a pair of videos from Bowie’s ‘99 album ...hours. Clocking in at 4+ hours, the double DVD set defies description, is thoroughly amazing to watch and more or less reestablishes David Bowie among the most prolific and accomplished British rockers of the 20th Century.

The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
(Criterion Collection / HVE)

Long renowned as one of the best ‘60s rock and roll concerts ever captured on film, the legendary Monterey Pop was reissued in 2002 as a three DVD box set entitled The Complete Monterey Pop Festival by the NYC-based The Criterion Collection. The box set is being distributed and marketed by Chicago-based Home Vision Entertainment. Taking place in San Francisco during the weekend of June 16, 17, & 18 in 1967, The Monterey International Pop Festival—produced by the late, great John Phillips and rock impresario Lou Adler—was directed and filmed in glorious color by cinema vérité wizard D.A. Pennebaker. The original Monterey Pop film, released in 1968, was a star-studded event featuring music legends such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, The Mamas & The Papas, Simon & Garfunkel, Ravi Shankar, Jefferson Airplane, Eric Burdon & The Animals and more. In fact there was so much more than Pennebaker could fit in the original film that the concept of a comprehensive overhaul of the Monterey Pop movie was an event just waiting to happen. Now, 35 years after the famed San Francisco rock festival took place, Criterion Collection and Home Video Enterprises have finally issued the ultimate Monterey Pop DVD box set. Disc one features the original 1968, 79 minute movie, while disc two pairs the entire 12 track Jimi Hendrix appearance with the 5 track Otis Redding appearance. Rock fans might remember that both the Hendrix and Redding performances were culled and released on a trendsetting Lp—one side Jimi, one side Otis—on Reprise Records back at the dawn of the ‘70s. But perhaps the best reason to pick up on this superbly packaged three DVD Monterey Pop box set is disc three entitled The Outtake Performances. This is the fortuitous place where that extra, unused footage that Pennebaker shot really comes into play. Never before seen performances from The Byrds, The Who, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Association, Buffalo Springfield (ironically featuring a completely animated David Crosby filling in for Neil Young) Al Kooper & The Blues Project and more that didn’t make the original movie cut really shines here. Always the cultural icon and movie-making trendsetter, Pennebaker was right on the money with Monterey Pop and his expert filming of these once in a lifetime performances from the biggest names in 20th Century rock, makes The Complete Monterey Pop Festival one of the most important concert reissues ever put on DVD. The DVD sound is superbly restored by Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer while the mind-blowing (had to use that phrase somewhere here!) 64 page book that accompanies the 3 DVD set provides a solid music history lesson indeed. Interviews galore and the glorious color movie footage—including behind the scenes footage with the stars, including a resplendent Brian Jones—adds a new glow to that once in a lifetime ‘60s happening simply known as Monterey.



A Hard Day's Night
(Miramax / Buena Vista)

There aren’t many music movies that qualify as pop culture milestones yet that honor surely goes to A Hard Day’s Night, the 1964 movie event that made The Beatles a household word. Honoring the movie decades after it’s 1964 motion picture release, Miramax has put together an excellent 2002 double disc package Collector’s Series edition of A Hard Day’s Night that pairs a newly restored version of the original b&w movie with another DVD loaded with eye-opening interviews with many of the featured actors and key behind the scenes biggies like A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester, movie producer Walter Shenson, screenplay writer Alun Owen, photographer Robert Freeman and long time Beatles confidant Klaus Voorman to name a few of the legends on hand. While none of the Fab Four appear on the interview portion, The Beatles are represented by their history making producer Sir George Martin who recalls with clarity every little nuance as to just how he and The Beatles made the movie music. The double disc DVD reissue of A Hard Day’s Night on Miramax is a history lesson on ‘60s pop culture, which The Beatles more than anyone else truly defined. The newly restored film looks great and packed with all the bonus material makes it a sure fire winner.



Winds Of Change / The Twain Shall Meet

Two veritable artifacts from the heyday of The Summer of ‘67, Winds Of Change & The Twain Shall Meet were joined at the hip on a 2002 two CD set from England’s leading reissue label Beat Goes On. BGO’s double disc reissue features intriguing liner notes describing the history and importance of these classics from Eric Burdon & The Animals, who are still best remembered for that great British invasion favorite “House Of The Rising Sun”. This mid-late ‘60s version of The Animals was not too different than the original band that featured Chas Chandler and Alan Price. As BGO's double disc set proves, Burdon—together with fine players like guitarists Vic Briggs and John Weider—was able to make a significant pop culture statement during that pivotal ‘67 period. Burdon’s Animals classics “San Francisco Nights”, “Monterey” and “Sky Pilot”—songs that brilliantly reflected the anti-Vietnam war mood Burdon was going for—are here in their full psychedelic glory. Burdon’s original 1967 liner notes are truly a revelation and new 2002 notes from Alan Clayson tells the whole story of just where both albums fit in the group’s history. The restored sound quality of both these studio gems combined with a detailed booklet makes it another fine example of BGO’s top notch approach to reissue CDs.

To Understand - The Early Recordings Of Matthew Sweet

Another well done 2002 compilation on Hip-O Records is To Understand - The Early Recordings Of Matthew Sweet. Starting out with the 1983 Sweet-composed “Southern”, recorded with The Buzz Of Delight-produced by Don Dixon, this 79 minute, 22 track Matthew Sweet CD compilation covers rare b-sides, remixes, unreleased tracks, music from his mid-80s recordings with The Golden Palaminos and the best of his album releases for Columbia and A&M Records. Pop fans in the know were on to Sweet's pop genius early on and many still swear by these original ‘80s sides which are strongly considered among his best works. An excellent CD booklet and the amazing amount of pop gems included here make To Understand one of the best pop compilations of 2002.

The Supertones...Are Go!
(Golly Gee)

Mid 2002 additions to the Golly Gee catalog of American surf-rock favorites includes a 32 track reissue two-fer CD from New York City’s best surf-rock band The Supertones entitled The Supertones Are Go! Featuring the masterful guitar sounds of the great Tim Sullivan, the single disc CD pairs two classic out of print Supertones albums—The Wet Set (recorded 1996) with Ride The Wild Twang! (recorded 1992)—that have been superbly remixed for optimum sound quality. Add in 3 bonus tracks—’Tones covers of Del Shannon’s “Runaway”, the ‘60s instro classic “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” and the Rimsky Korsakov “Bumble Bee Twist”—and you come up with a real treat for ‘60s guitar instrumental mavens. In 2002 Golly Gee also released a new CD from the Brazilian group Estrumen’n’tal entitled Surfme’n’tal. Described as metal-surf-punk instrumental music, the sound reflects influences like The Ventures, The Ramones and Dick Dale. The 14 track CD smokes from start to finish and if you like your guitar instrumental sounds hard, loud and fast Estrumen’n’tal is it. Golly Gee Records and Double Crown Records team up for an old fashioned battle of the bands album competition on the 32 track CD War Of The Surf Guitars!. Golly Gee recording artists The Supertones, The Honkeys (another GG band with a 2002 instrumental album entitled Tequila Mockingbird) and Ralph Rebel square off, track by track, against Double Crown artists like The Boss Martians and Big Ray And The Futuras. Filled with one smoking guitar instro after another, War Of The Surf Guitars! is a powerhouse of retro-flavored instrumental rock. /

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