The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus

Back in December 1968, The Beatles had just released their historic “white album” and The Rolling Stones had just released what is still referred to as their greatest album ever, Beggar’s Banquet. With that celebratory vibe hanging in the air the Stones convened the high court of rock royalty for their Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus. Sort of a live carnival-like version of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, the Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus was originally planned as an hour long BBC-TV special, yet with the firing of the late, great Brian Jones from the band by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, this last gasp of the original Stones line-up lay dormant in the vaults till 1995 when Abkco finally released it on VHS. Nine years later in 2004, Abkco raises the flag again with the first ever DVD of Rock And Roll Circus remixed in 5.1 surround sound and transferred from the original 16mm negatives. On reflection, Mick and Keith were on the right track with their “circus”, enlisting live appearances from Jethro Tull, The Who, Taj Mahal and Marianne Faithful. In addition to the Stones’ performing key tracks from Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed and a rousing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, the other obvious highlight here remains the appearance of John Lennon & Yoko Ono, performing “Yer Blues” as The Dirty Mac—backed up by Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell and Keith Richards on bass. Less than a year later, Brian Jones would be dead and The Beatles would soon take their final walk on the Abbey Road, yet for a shining moment in late ‘68, The Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus was truly the greatest show on earth. In addition to the excellent digital sound and vision, the DVD also features a recent, historic filmed interview with the great Pete Townshend, who, in his own unique way, reflects back on all the key events on that fateful day in December ‘68.


Disraeli Gears
(Polydor / Chronicles)

As you can plainly hear on the 2004 Deluxe Edition: Disraeli Gears CD release on Polydor/UMG, Jack Bruce taught Eric Clapton how to sing. The second Cream album, following the incredibly fantastic Fresh Cream, the 1968 release of Disraeli Gears cemented the band’s reputation as the first bona-fide rock supergroup. Perhaps it was the unique combination of all three, including drummer Ginger Baker, as songwriters and singers, or maybe the addition of producer Felix Pappalardi and engineer Tom Dowd. Whatever it was Disraeli Gears was a quantum leap over Fresh Cream and remains one of the key musical milestones from the incipient days of progressive rock music. The double CD is spread out with a stereo mix (disc 1) and mono mix (disc 2) while both CDs are packed with meaty bonus tracks, mono/stereo outtakes, rare mixes and BBC tracks from their May ‘67-January ‘68 heyday. Accordingly, the set features a 24 page booklet. Like Hendrix, the Cream phenomenon was over way too soon, but like The Beatles and Jimi, Cream epitomized the classic ‘60s sound and their music still sparks with tangible alacrity. Unlike Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker—who went on to incredible solo careers as jazz-rock virtuosos—”Slowhand” Clapton joined the likes of Delaney Bramlett for a shot at the back to the roots pop market. Produced by the great Tom Dowd, Clapton’s 1974 solo album, 461 Ocean Blvd. was also reissued as a 30th anniversary, double CD Deluxe Edition on Polydor. In addition to Clapton favorites like “I Shot The Sheriff”, disc 2 culls tracks from Clapton’s December 4-5, 1974 concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.



Diamond Dogs

Back in 1974, David Bowie stunned long time fans by parting ways with guitarist Mick Ronson and engineer Ken Scott and recorded an album that to this day amazes and delights. Regardless of just how much Diamond Dogs freaked people out, (and that it did) you could only sit in amazement at Bowie’s post-Ziggy reinvention as Anthony Newley meets Lou Reed in a guitar rock spectacle of musical twilight zone proportions. EMI recently released their Summer 2004 double CD set of DD complete with the original eleven track album song cycle and a second eight cut CD featuring single mixes, alternate tracks and Bowie’s final work with Ronno for Bowie’s 1980 floor show musical from early ‘74. Hard to believe that just six months later, (as he did just six months before DD on Pinups) Bowie would reinvent another musical personality yet again as the Bing Crosby of Motown on Young Americans. EMI packs their 2004 Diamond Dogs double CD with a fascinating artwork and vivid timeline details of that fabled early 1974 period in Bowie’s career.

Tom Dowd & The Language Of Music
(Palm Pictures)

Behind every great artist there’s often a producer or engineer that’s so in synch with the music that his contributions can’t be understated. Case in point—The Beatles and George Martin, Yes had Eddie Offord, and so on. In that light it’s well worth reexamining the audio contributions of the late great Tom Dowd, who passed away at the close of 2002. From the start, Dowd was an innovative figure at Atlantic Records and thanks to a new DVD he can take credit for helping to mastermind some of the label’s greatest recorded achievements. A 2004 DVD on Palm Pictures, Tom Dowd & The Language Of Music takes a timely look back at Dowd’s 50+ year career, which began as Atlantic Records’ foremost engineer / producer. Whether working in the studio with greats like John Coltrane and Charles Mingus or times spent in Memphis with the Stax Records crew straight through to his ground breaking work with Cream and Derek And The Dominos, Dowd always had one hand on the studio console and another on the pulse of the greatest music of the 20th Century. Filled with new and vintage performance footage and interviews with Dowd and some of the greatest recording artists of all time—including Eric Clapton, Les Paul, The Allman Brothers and Ray Charles—Palm Pictures’s DVD provides an eye-opening look back at one of the most influential Americans ever to walk into a recording studio. The 90 minute DVD documentary is supported by fine liner notes and 90 more minutes of interviews and scenes with Les Paul, Clapton and many other musical giants. /


Preservation Act 2
(Koch / Konk)

Back in the ‘60s The Kinks were signed to Pye in the U.K. and Reprise Records here in the U.S. After recording some of the most innovative rock music of the ‘60s, things fell into place for Ray Davies, Dave Davies & company with Muswell Hillbillies, released worldwide in 1971 on RCA Records. The Kinks albums on RCA still stand out as some of their best. Muswell Hillbillies was a brutally transformational Kinks album, single handedly dispelling the myth of The Kinks as mere pop stars, much in the same way that David Bowie changed his image with his 1971 Hunky Dory release. Following the 1972 release of Everybody’s In Showbiz, The Kinks retooled again for their fabled two part Preservation series. Both the 1973 release of Preservation Act 1 and the 1974 double album, Preservation Act 2 were groundbreaking rock efforts, combining the catchy pop The Kinks were renowned for with a new socially conscientious approach to music making. Preservation Act 2, in particular made for quite a live spectacular during the fabled Kinks concert tours of the mid ‘70s. As part one of their 2004 Kinks SACD reissue series, Koch Records have reissued Muswell Hillbillies, both Preservation Act 1 & 2, in addition to the band’s final original RCA release, Schoolboys In Disgrace. Containing the same detailed booklets and bonus material as the prior Koch remasters from 1998, these 2004 hybrid Super Audio SACDs now boast the finest sound quality yet for these timeless musical masterpieces. In addition to the band’s early RCA remasters, Koch have also begun reissuing hybrid stereo / SACD remasters of Kinks titles released by Arista following the RCA years. First off are the second Kinks album on Arista, Misfits (1978), Give The People What They Want (1981), One For The Road (1980), Word Of Mouth (1981) and State Of Confusion (1983). A sound improvement over the original 1998 CD remasters, these late Summer 2004 SACD’s will be appreciated by audiophiles and long time Kinks fans, who can also look forward to early 2005, when Koch reissues more Kinks titles on hybrid SACD. /

Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
(Eagle Vision)

They were a smash at the 2004 Isle Of Wight festival, but it was their 1970 show that is still remembered one of the most memorable Who shows ever. Performing a number of Who classics—including a near complete version of Tommy and rarities like “I Don’t Even Know Myself”, “Water” and “Heaven And Hell—before a crowd of 600,000 people, The Who took the stage at the Isle Of Wight festival on August 30, 1970. The entire festival was filmed by director Murry Lerner, and now 34 years later, the filmed negative of entire 85 minute Who performance has been reproduced with amazing clarity on a 2004 DVD. For this special 2 hour DVD, the entire soundtrack of the Who’s performance has been personally remixed by Pete Townsend from original 8 track masters resulting in a new 24 bit stereo / surround sound mix. Topping off the DVD is a detailed, filmed interview with Pete Townshend, reflecting back on the magical 1970 Isle Of Wight festival. Also on Eagle Vision is a 2004 DVD from blues-rock legend John Mayall entitled The Godfather Of British Blues / The Turning Point. The 2 part DVD pairs “The Turning Point”—a 25 minute documentary on Mayall’s fabled 1969 album Turning Point with an hour long biography on Mayall entitled “The Godfather Of British Blues”. Extensive liner notes by Chris Welch seals the deal on this definitive look at Mayall’s prolific and prestigious past. Pop icons, The BeeGees are the subject of a 2003 2 disc Eagle DVD entitled The Hits And The History Of The Bee Gees. Disc one, The Official Story Of...tells the story of the Gibb brothers rise to fame with key interviews from George Martin, Robert Stigwood, Timothy White and more, while disc 2, One Night Only features a complete BeeGees performance culled from their one and only 1997 concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Special features on this nearly 4 hour DVD includes bonus interviews, photo gallery and a video for their late period smash, “This Is Where I Came In”. Fans of the late great Janis Joplin will enjoy a 2004 Eagle DVD by Big Brother And The Holding Co. With Janis Joplin entitled Nine Hundred Nights. Janis died way too soon, yet she lives again on D.A. Pennebaker’s impeccably filmed footage of Janis with Big Brother performing classics like “Piece Of My Heart”, live videos from Monterey Pop and more. Narrated by Rip Torn, the two and half hour DVD pairs classic live performance footage with interviews from Janis, Big Brother guitarists Sam Andrew and David Getz, Nick Gravenites, James Gurly, rock scribe Lenny Kaye and more along with a rare audio recording of Big Brother doing “Hall Of The Mountain King”, interview outtakes and other psychedelic treats.



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