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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Biography > Pop > Music Industry > Concert > Soul > Blues > Industry > Music Vide > Bob Dylan & The Band: Down On The Floor (The Basement Tapes)/David Bowie Under Review 1969 – 1973: The Calm Before The Storm (Documentaries/Chrome Dreams/MVD DVDs)/Etta James: Live At Montreux 1993 (a

Bob Dylan & The Band: Down On The Floor (The Basement Tapes)/David Bowie Under Review 1969 – 1973: The Calm Before The Storm (Documentaries/Chrome Dreams/MVD DVDs)/Etta James: Live At Montreux 1993/Produced By George Martin (Eagle Blu-rays)/Queen: Greatest Video Hits (Eagle DVD Set)


Picture: C+/C+/B-/B-/C+     Sound: C+/C+/B/B/B     Extras: C/C/B/B-/B     Main Programs: B/B/B-/B/B



Now for some new music titles you might want to catch up with…



Bob Dylan & The Band: Down On The Floor (The Basement Tapes) is the latest documentary DVD from the Chrome Dream series on the legendary singer/songwriter and shows how his collaborations with The Band changed his music for the better and launched them as a major group at the time, even if they could not hold it together and he was having his own personal problems.  This has some footage form Scorsese’s The Last Waltz and makes for a fine companion to that film showing the back story on how The Band formed, what their big successes were and tracing back their roots to American music, though they were technically a Canadian band.


This is another solid, thorough look at Dylan’s career as well, though I wished a little more of the Nashville Skyline album was discussed, it is still great to have all this original, licensed music and some songs you may not have heard or are rarer.  The original title was Bob Dylan, he Band and The Basement Tapes, but the title was shortened for whatever reason.  Extras include Mickey Jones interview clip and text contributor bios.



Just as strong from Chrome Dreams is David Bowie Under Review 1969 – 1973: The Calm Before The Storm which is part of a series of excellent coverage on Bowie that includes the following:


David Bowie (Deluxe Edition 1967 CD Set/debut album)



The Sacred Triangle – Bowie, Iggy & Lou: 1971 - 73



The Berlin Years: 1976 - 79




This strong installment covers his next three albums after 1967 including Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World and Hunky Dory, which set him on a course that made him one of the most important music artists of all time.  These works are not discussed enough, not as much as they were back in the day and I was particularly pleased with how thorough this installment was.  Don’t miss this one.  Extras include a quiz, text contributor bios and brief Birth Of Ziggy clip.


Our lone concert entry here is Etta James: Live At Montreux 1993 on Blu-ray and a pretty good show with 11 songs, but Eagle has gone even further by adding even more performances from some of her other Montreux performances (included here as extra) from 1975, 1977, 1978, 1989 and 1990 including Tell Mama, At Last and W.O.M.A.N., while Hold On I’m Coming and I Just Want To Make Love To You are among the main music set.  Seeing all this in total shows us how the survivor and one-time Atlantic Records recording artist (she helped put the label on the map) was always a fine performer and a formidable singer.  I liked the 1993 show, but really enjoyed the other performances as they also show some of her finest work and reaffirm James as one of the most important vocalists of her time and even of all time.


This also goes further than most of the fine Montreux/Eagle Blu-rays have to date, so it is nice to have all this content on one Blu-ray disc.  A paper pullout with brief, small text is the only other extra.



Another solid Eagle Blu-ray is the documentary Produced By George Martin (2012) celebrating the life and career of one of the most important, innovative and creative music producers of all time.  Francis Hanly directed the new material in what amounts to both a thorough biography of Martin (he is even interviewed by his son Giles) from his birth to early life to military career to getting a job at EMI’s small Parlophone subdivision that would change his life and music history forever.


Many others are interviewed and we see his life with his family, with his wife whom he is still happily together with, his Beatles work and the amazing, often forgotten work he did afterwards that should be more remembered.  This is a very thorough, complete program that could have gone on for hours, but it works well and there is a bonus section 52 minutes long of extended interviews that include some footage used in the main program.



Finally (also from Eagle) we have the DVD double set Queen: Greatest Video Hits which has 33 music video clips from the career of tone of the most successful and controversial Rock bands of all time.  We had originally covered a double Volume One set with less content at this link:





This version almost has the same cover.  The songs are as follows:



1)     Bohemian Rhapsody

2)     Another One Bites the Dust

3)     Killer Queen

4)     Fat Bottomed Girls

5)     Bicycle Race

6)     You’re My Best Friend

7)     Don’t Stop Me Now

8)     Save Me

9)     Crazy Little Thing Called Love

10)  Somebody To Love

11)  Spread Your Wings

12)  Play the Game

13)  Flash

14)  Tie Your Mother Down

15)  We Will Rock You

16)  We Are the Champions



1)     A Kind Of Magic

2)     I Want It All

3)     Radio Ga Ga

4)     I Wanna Break Free

5)     Breakthru

6)     Under Pressure

7)     Scandal

8)     Who Wants To Live Forever

9)     The Miracle

10)  It’s A Hard Life

11)  The Invisible Man

12)  Las Palabras De Amor

13)  Friends Will Be Friends

14)  Body Language

15)  Hammer To Fall

16)  Princes Of the Universe

17)  One Vision (from the film Iron Eagle)


Some clips are shot on film, some on videotape and some a mix of the two or film finished on tape.  Needless to say the second disc here is totally different from the previous set.  I still found this on the comprehensive side, especially as two-channel Super Audio Compact Discs of their catalog hit shelves worldwide out of Japan and the band continues to have a strong following.  Some of the clips are classic and a few are simply live stage performances.  Either way, this is a strong set worth your time, whether you are a fan or want to be introduced properly to the band.


The only extra is a nicely illustrated booklet on the Video including informative text and tech information.



The 1.33 X 1 image quality on the Dylan and Bowie DVDs are pretty good from MVD and Chrome Dreams with the usual combination of newly taped interviews, vintage film and vintage video clips well edited and with the older footage in the best shape they could find.  Though many of the queen videos are in that frame, all are presented in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentations that might upset some purists who are unhappy with some picture information missing.  I was not as upset about it, but too bad both aspect ratios could not be included where applicable.  That leaves the 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on James and Martin offering the best playback here, though they both have some motion blur and detail limits.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Dylan and Bowie DVDs are also as good as they are going to sound here, clean and with good stereo separation when stereo recording are played back, though they cannot quite compete with the fine PCM 2.0 Stereo on the Martin Blu-ray, which is even warmer, richer and more dynamic.  I miss PCM on Chrome Dreams DVDs.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the James Blu-ray concert should be the best-sounding recording here, but it has some minor soundstage limits, but the other bonus concert audio is decent and overall the quality is better than the optional PCM 2.0 Stereo tracks.


That leaves the Queen DVDs with both PCM 2.0 Stereo and DTS 96/24 5.1 mixes that are even better and are the best the band will ever sound in the format.  Still, these are the lesser tracks on the now-defunct 5.1 DVD-Audio releases of the following classic Queen albums that have become collector’s items:


A Night At The Opera



The Game




These are among the new Japanese Super Audio CDs discussed earlier, but they do not have 5.1 mixes I think more than a few fans wish they did.  The DVD-Audio (with a Capital ‘A’) format had a lossless sound format called MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) and though that format died (SA-CD did not), MLP became what we now know as Dolby TrueHD.  The DTS 96/24 5.1 cannot compete with those MLP versions of songs from those albums, but they still sound fine for old, regular DVD and are enjoyable throughout.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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