Neil Young’s Music Box – Here We Are In The Years (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD)/Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970) + McCartney II (1979/Concord Records/Hear Music CD sets)/Pearl Jam – Under Review (MVD DVD)/Peter, Paul & Mary 25th
Anniversary Concert (1986/Shout! Factory DVD)/The Roaring 20s: Mick Jagger’s Glory Years (MVD DVD)/Twisted Sister – Double Live (Eagle DVD
set)/Yesspeak (MVD Visual DVD set)
C+/X/X/C+/C/C+/C & C+/C+ Sound: C+/B/B/C+/C/C+/C+/B- Extras: C/B/B/C/D/C/C+/C Main Programs: B/B/B/B/C+/B/C+/B-
set of latest music releases are on the strong side and has something for
almost everyone, including new materials on legendary artists you might be as
big a fan of as I am.
Not to be
confused with a separate series of music DVDs dubbed “Music Box”, Neil Young’s Music Box – Here We Are In The
Years is actually the latest installment from the Chrome Dreams gang from
about one of the most significant artists the industry ever had. It deals with his roots and influences, then
goes onto show his influences all the way to the grunge movement. It also differs from the Neil Young 1976 – 2006 DVD they issued, which we reviewed at this
about his career, while other volumes have been about specific albums or time
periods. A new type of Chrome Dreams
program about roots, origins and influences is starting to surface as the
greatest single DVD series on music continues to cover new ground. I really enjoyed this one, it has some very
rare looks at works by Young that do not get enough credit and it is very much
worth your time, especially since they license all the original music. Extras include text contributor biographies
and more interview footage.
rollout of reissues of the post-Beatles works of Paul McCartney, Concord
Records and Hear Music have issued two CD sets of what was not only his first
solo albums, but then-rare solo albums at that.
McCartney (1970) was a total
break from all the work he had done in his first band that he had to break up
in order to save it from a financial fate he felt would be a disaster. With all that money tied up in legalities,
this album would be a quiet, self-reflective, even raw look at the man who had
become a happy family man, was ready for new adventures different from the past
and knew he’d get there with a great partner, his wife Linda.
the first album where their chemistry debuts and all 13 tracks are here,
including an early version of Maybe I’m
Amazed. We can now see this as a
quietly bold statement of independence, knowing he could lose Beatles fans who
were unhappy the dream had to end and showing a private side that he did not
have to show. The album has actually
grown in subtle strength over the years and the bonus CD includes two version
of Maybe I’m Amazed (one from One Hand Clapping, the other Live At Glasgow 1979), two more tracks
from the latter performance (Every Night
and Hot As Sun), two out-take tracks
(Suicide and Don’t Cry Baby) and a demo called Woman Kind.
McCartney II (1979) arrived as he was leaving
his second big band, Wings, which was a much larger commercial and critical
success than many seem to remember these days.
This time, he pairs things down again, but with a twist. The album is interested in some Punk Rock
forms, but is especially his New Wave music work, complete with a cover that
spoofs Andy Warhol art, paired-down arrangements in most cases and is among his
most experimental post-Beatles work.
11 tracks is Coming Up, the studio
version that had one of the first big hit Music Videos (Paula and Linda play
various versions of famous music artists and even themselves) while the genius
that made these movements possible has his most direct fun with the sound and
feel of a form that would be around for a while. It is another triumph for McCartney and when
some fans did not get it or the album, he proved he could still be a few steps
ahead of his audience and they may or may not get his work.
proven further when the Live At Glasgow
1979 version of Coming Up became
a hit (single entendre drug reference notwithstanding, populists who were and
are more likely to want drugs while listening to anything cling to this
version, rejecting the studio cut with unusual contempt for “some reason”) but
also turns out to be a solid version of the song, proving how good a song it is
in the first place. It is included here
on the bonus CD includes in this set along with Blue Sway (with Richard Niles Orchestration), Check My Machine [Edit], Bogey
Wobble, Secret Friend [Full Length
Version], Mr. H Bomb/You Know I’ll
Get You Baby, All You Horse
Riders/Blue Sway and another masterwork, even if it is an edited version: Wonderful Christmastime.
are quality paperboard foldouts that also include informative, illustrated
booklets. For more Paul McCartney, start
with this link to the Band On The Run
CD reissue set:
doubt, if I had to make a short list of the greatest Rock bands of all time,
the list would be shorter if I began in 1985.
Among the few greats since without a doubt is Pearl Jam and the new
Chrome Dreams Pearl Jam – Under Review installment
does a great job of covering the rise and enduring success of a band that never
sold out, has plenty to say, is far from finished and defines a high gold
standard in what it is to be a great band.
The great 90 minutes start with their origins and moves to releasing
albums on their own after a tremendous run with Epic Records. Impressive, original music is all over the
place and it does justice to the band, though this could have gone on
longer. Extras include text contributor
biographies and 17+ minutes audio interview with Vedder.
of three retro concert titles, Peter,
Paul & Mary 25th Anniversary Concert (1986) has been issued
by Shout! Factory on DVD (this was shot on analog tape) and is loaded with
irony. Here they are giving one of their
last major concerts in the middle of the Reagan era, with the audience seeming
to be unaware of what is really going on or what is actually happening to the
country. Talk about being
sideswiped. The show itself is not bad,
but I ma not the biggest fan of the trio and songs like El Salvador seem quaint (especially at the time when The Clash are
releasing multi-disc albums called Sandinista!)
but you can hear it is them, they still have their fleeting chemistry and give
a good show to please their fans. Other
songs include Puff The Magic Dragon, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, Wedding Song (There Is Love), Leaving On A Jet Plane, If I Had A Hammer, Power, Blowin’ In The Wind,
This Land Is Your Land and Goodnight, Irene among the 19 track
here. Conspicuously absent is I Dig Rock & Roll Music, which
speaks volumes about their limits as performers, but now you can see for
yourself. There are no extras.
of the three Chrome Dreams DVDs we have this time is The Roaring 20s: Mick Jagger’s Glory Years which covers his 1962 –
1972 period where he goes from newcomer to demonic symbol of the counterculture
to outright rocker hitting a new stride.
A biography as much as a music history piece, it once again is loaded
with rarities, licensed music and is a very thorough. Fans will even be surprised and
impressed. Extras include text
contributor biographies and more interview footage with the band’s assistant.
on the Stones on Blu-ray, DVD and Super Audio CD, start with this link that
includes more Chrome Dreams releases:
Twisted Sister – Double Live (Eagle DVD set) continues Eagle’s
rollout of titles from the band following a DVD/CD set with almost the same
cover, but different content, as reviewed at this link:
what I had to say about the band in that review. The concerts here are not bad, with the first
being a 14 song set from 1982 at the North
Stage Theater and the second being part of the New York Steel concert held weeks after the events of 9/11. Fans will like it, while others will feel a
little bit goes a long way, but at least they know how to treat their
fans. Extras include a Photo Gallery and
interviews with the band.
we have Yesspeak, a double DVD set
centered around a 2003 reunion concert of the original lineup of the band Yes,
including Jon Anderson before bowing out (for now?) from band activity. The result is a solid concert that can have
uneven moments, but is still pretty good and includes performances of We Have Heaven, South Side Of The Sky, Heart
Of The Sunrise, Long Distance
Runaround, The Fish, Awaken, I’ve See All Good People, Roundabout,
Yours Is No Disgrace and more. We also get an all-audio concert and
ten-section featurette on the band that includes interview segments with each
of them. Not bad.
X 1 image across most of the DVDs are what we expect from DVDs at this point,
though the Chrome Dreams/MVD titles start with that frame and have various
aspect ratios as some footage is letterboxed.
The Peter and first of the Twisted concerts are the softest
offerings here as they are early NTSC analog recordings, which is to be
expected. The second Twisted concert is listed as an anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentation, but it is also 1.33 X 1, but the Yesspeak concert is that way, which should
make it the best-looking of all the DVDs here, but it has softness and even
aliasing issues for some reason.
DVDs have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (save Dolby Digital 5.1 on Yesspeak) and they all sound fine for
that lossy format, save Peter, which
is more compressed throughout and that source might even be second
generation. That leaves Yesspeak being the best sounding of all
the DVDs, though the Chrome Dreams/MVD titles deserve credit for making
sometimes rough, early monophonic audio sound as good as it can. That leaves the PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo audio
on the McCartney CD sets the sonic
champ with superior sound for the format remastered to very high standards that
make al this material sound the best it ever has outside of vinyl.
- Nicholas Sheffo