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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Folk > History > Politics > Counterculture > Industry > Jimi Hendrix – The Guitar Hero + Legends Of The Canyon: The Music & Magic Of 1960s Laurel Canyon (2010/Classic Artists/Image DVDs)

Jimi Hendrix – The Guitar Hero + Legends Of The Canyon: The Music & Magic Of 1960s Laurel Canyon (2010/Classic Artists/Image DVDs)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Documentaries: B/B-



The Classic Artists label always issues interesting music product on DVD and two new releases continue their solid track record.  First comes Jimi Hendrix – The Guitar Hero (2010) narrated by the great guitarist Slash, is one of the most interesting releases on the legendary guitar innovator who died long before he should have.  Unlike most presentations which are either impersonal, shallow or just show the great vintage footage of Hendrix playing and let it speak for itself, this is one of the most informative and rich pieces on the genius to date.


Told chronologically, nothing is held back on his personal life, opinions, the racism he encountered and how his talent sent ripples through the Rock community on both sides of the Atlantic, even if he had to go to England to finally be discovered.  Slash is also among the interviewees as is legendary photographer Henry Diltz, who made so much of this possible.  I really liked this and it was done so well that it stands out from so much good work we have seen lately in the Rock Documentary cycle.  Dave Mason, Eric Clapton, Mick Clapton, Eric Burdon, Paul Rodgers, Ginger Baker, Steven Stills, Micky Dolenz and Bev Bevan are among those interviewed.


Legends Of The Canyon is almost as good thanks to the participation of Stills, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Van Dyke Parks, Gerry Beckley, David Crosby and Michelle Phillips.  At first, I thought it might be a companion to an excellent book on the subject called Laurel Canyon – The Inside Story by Michael Walker, which I recommend and you can read more about at this link:





Though there is some crossover between the book and the documentary, the DVD offers so many things the book simply could not that they should frankly be experienced as a set.  It is one of the greatest stories ever about American Music and too bad it is often just written off as mere counterculture nostalgia.  It is so much more and this program is impressive.  I just wish it was longer.



The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both likely originates in 1080i HD tapings, but both have good color and look good, including vintage stills, analog video footage and especially film footage that are all welcome additions in explaining the stories here.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in both cases include well-recorded interviews, classic music in stereo and even mono (a good number of licensed songs exist in both) and some older audio is absolutely monophonic, but both are well edited audiowise too.


Extras include extended interviews with the principals interviewed in both cases and Henry Diltz’s 8mm film footage of many celebrities on both sets, with Hendrix featuring The Monkees 1967 Tour (Hendrix almost joined (!), but was an opening act later) while Canyon adds Crosby, Stills & Nash & Joni Mitchell at Big Bear, Stills in England in another clip & silent footage of the original Woodstock and 20-page booklets with essays, illustrations, stills and text inside their respective cases.  Hendrix adds a stills section of photographs & memorabilia and a full-length performance of Hendrix & The Experience playing Hey Joe at the Marquee in London.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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