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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Country > Short FIlms > Rock > Pop > Counterculture > TV > Backstage Musical > Multi-Channel Mus > Crank It Up! Colt Ford: Live At Wild Adventures (2014/Eagle DVD)/The Doors: Feast Of Friends (1967 - 1968/Eagle Blu-ray)/The Four Seasons: Super Audio Best (1961 - 1962/Frankie Valli/Top Music/Intermu

Crank It Up! Colt Ford: Live At Wild Adventures (2014/Eagle DVD)/The Doors: Feast Of Friends (1967 - 1968/Eagle Blu-ray)/The Four Seasons: Super Audio Best (1961 - 1962/Frankie Valli/Top Music/Intermusic S.A/Super Audio CD/SA-CD/SACD)/Jersey Boys (2014/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Genesis: Three Sides Live (1981/Eagle Blu-ray)/Style Wars (1983/MVD Visual Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Four Seasons Import Super Audio CD, which has a regular CD layers for all CD, DVD & Blu-ray players, can be ordered from the links below.

Here's some new music releases worth noting, including a few you should know about...

Crank It Up! Colt Ford: Live At Wild Adventures (2014) is a concert by the solo Country act I had never really heard of before. He is obviously vying to be the next big thing, but none of the music stuck with me and despite his energetic efforts on stage, I got nothing new out of what he and his band were doing (stage performance, material and the like) so unless he is continuing what most acts in the genre are doing these days or finds a new approach to his next material or presentation, who knows where his work will lead.

There are currently two discourses in the Country genre, one is the one resembling older Rock music of the 1970s into the 1980s, then there is this rougher approach that wants to be like early, politically incorrect Country Rock that seems more like a schtick than the real thing no matter what the artists intents or sincerity might be. This set, despite the energy and effort, did not stick with me.

Extras include a Behind the Scene featurette and piece called Mr. Goodtime TV.

The Doors: Feast Of Friends (1967 - 1968) is the latest release of archival material by a ban whose early demise due to the loss of lead singer Jim Morrison has been primarily that by necessity. This time, we get some oft-sampled short films (and video-shot material) showing the band in their all-too-brief prime. Once again, if Morrison had not had issues, you can see he had plenty to say and do with a band that was more than up to delivering it and saying a few things of their own.

Before I continue, here is a link to our growing list of coverage on releases by and about the band (11 before this one) and you can read/look up more here...


This time out, the terrific efforts to clean, preserve and upgrade the archive of the band gives us three short films that have been sampled often, plus an outtakes reel in HD of footage that we are lucky survived at all. The title film, Feast Of Friends, is the one that offers a reel of outtakes in addition to the original pogram as the band originally intended, a film of the band that the band made of themselves and you have definitely seen clips of it sampled over the years. It is well done and I have never seen it look so good reminding us that they were just behind The Beatles in keeping records of themselves on film. They are themselves and it is really fun. The outtakes dubbed Encore only confirms how well most things were going... until the obscenity arrest.

The Doors Are Open is the 1968 Granada Network special where the British makers try a take on the band as a political activist music group, though that was not the case with much of their music. Maybe they were subversive by default, but the special tries just the same and we get some great footage of them just the same. The End rightly rounds things out from a 1967 Canadian TV broadcast (yes, they got around in their too-brief existence) with a great concert performance introduced by Noel Harrison (The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The Big TNT Show) plus interviews with all the members as well. They are great here too and if you like the band or are curious about them, this is a great place to start.

Extras include a booklet on the films, but we'll count all four shorts as the main program.

The Four Seasons: Super Audio Best (1961 - 1962) is a new hits set featuring the ever-popular Rock Pop Vocal band led by Frankie Valli and is great companion to the film and stage musical about the band Jersey Boys, because instead of being the usual hits-only set, it offers their early hits and many recordings (and remake/cover tunes) they cut before they found their sound. That shows us just how good their harmonies were before they found their sound and those lesser-heard track here will never sound better than they do here. For the full technical means in which they were transferred, here's some specs for you:

  • SADiE Digital Precision Mastering

  • 32bits/192kHz High Resolution Mastering

  • Monitor Power-Amplifier: Lavardin Model IT

  • Mastering Monitor: Audioplan KPNZERT III

  • Power System: Isoclean Power Conditioning System

  • Mastered with Black Rhodium Cable

  • Hybrid Stereo, Plays on all SACD and CD Players

  • Remastered by Povee Chan

  • Made in Austria by Sony

Top Music/Intermusic S.A has yet again come up with a Super Audio CD serious music fans will be interested in getting. This set starts off with the first two of their 5 #1 his, then the cover songs kick in as follows...


Big Girls Don't Cry

You're The Apple Of My Eye

Never On Sunday

Yes Sir, That's My Baby


La Dee Dah


I Can't Give You Anything But Love

The Girl In My Dreams

Oh, Carol

Lost Lullabye

I've Cried Before



Spanish Lace

The result is a very interesting opportunity to hear the band trying to find its sound at a time when covers were very commonplace and in clarity this impressive, adds dimension to finding out more about their story. Hearing Valli trying to find his voice in these hits and favorites is interesting with the band trying to find their harmony, the influence/competition of The Four Lads, Ink Spots, The Hi Lows and The Lettermen are also here, bands they and The Beach Boys would succeed in the Rock Era and along with Motown acts, conclude that style of vocal group as one who brought it to peak.

This sounds really good, though the copies of their first two #1 hits (Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry) have some limits, yet I hear things in this version I have not heard in previous copies. This is the first time their music has ever been issued (outside of any audiophile vinyl that might be out there) that the band has had any of their songs issued in a high definition digital audio format and that is a good thing. Even if these non-hits are songs they are not known for, it gives us as interesting, unusual and even rare look and listen to the band working to get it together much like early songs by Three Dog Night before they found their sound. That makes this set worth getting, especially if you are an audiophile or fan. They could all sing well and Valli is one of our great lead singer voices.

A paper pullout with notes is the only extra.

Clint Eastwood takes a shot at making a big screen backstage musical out of Jersey Boys (2014), the huge hit Broadway show based on the music and conflicting stories of the four members of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, so it is no surprise that the SA-CD above is being issued at the same time this Warner Blu-ray/DVD set also comes out. The film was not the hit all expected (I will not blame Brett Ratner for causing problems as co-producer, but it may be a bad omen for him at Warner Bros., so we'll see), but Eastwood has to take the most responsibility for what does and does not work here.

The cast of mostly unknowns are good including John Lloyd Young finding his way into the Valli role with ease and Erich Bergen in an easy-to-underrate turn as Bob Gaudio, but it is not a film that stays with you and it should considering the untold backstory to the band's successes and lesser-known failures. Take way the stories, especially ones that you could have heard in a radio-only interview and the flaws and problems of a lack of visual flair (being period is far from enough), uneven storytelling in general (they took four clashing narratives from the band members and tried to make it into one) and a certain gritty sense missing and only parts work over the whole. Also, the Jersey/Italian jokes wear thin quickly, much like letting the characters break the fourth wall constantly to talk to the audience constantly. Maybe they should have gone for a single voiceover, if that, but it holds things back and the ending rings false. Also, some of the covers of the songs are not as good as they could have been.

Maybe Eastwood using HD video when he is so used to being a 35mm film man might also have played into the unevenness here, but the transition from stage to screen falls too short unfortunately and I was disappointed as a fan of the band. I did however, like and catch one solid piece of intertextual casting.

The great Christopher Walken plays a gangster-type who befriends Valli early. A great music talent himself, Walken's career was forever melded with Valli when his classic solo hit Can't Take My Eyes Off You became the beloved favorite song of the best friend characters Walken and his friends sing to in a classic scene from Michael Cimino's masterpiece The Deer Hunter (1978) which won Walken a Best Actor Academy Award and remains one of the greatest performances in an amazing career. Nice touch!

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the discs add three Making Of featurettes: From Broadway To The Big Screen, Too Good To Be True and Oh What A Night To Remember.

Here is the link to a concert from the band in their 1992 configuration in Atlantic City we covered as a DVD import that is pretty good:


Stuart Orme's Genesis: Three Sides Live (1981) is the popular, oft-reissued concert film by the once-Art/Progressive Rock band that once featured Peter Gabriel, who had left for an incredible solo career. Phil Collins sadly took over as lead singer in a move that proved commercially solid, but artistically flat. Now restored in high definition from the original 16mm shoot, Eagle has issued the Blu-ray version of the now-Universal Music release. The band was with Atlantic Records at the time.

Soon to launch into one of the most forgettable, silly and crassly solo careers of all time (perfect for the let's leave reality 1980s mode), Collins sings with no effort beyond the groups hits, the trio can play and the songs sound like their hit records, yet that seems mechanical and contrived. Odder still, Collins looks petulant, out of his element and a bit mechanical versus what I remember of seeing this concert decades ago. Honestly, save for fans, nostalgia or as a curio, this is not a great show despite its longtime home video success and its only saving grace is that it was filmed. However, it also has longings to be a Rockumentary, but with MTV a year away and how this film has nothing to say, this is the death of the Rockumentary if nothing else. If you have to see and hear it or this cut-down version of the band, this is as high quality a way as there is to do so. Judge for yourself if you still care.

Extras include seven full-length versions of four songs in the film and three not, all sounding better than they did in the film.

Tony Silver's Style Wars (1983) is back for a fourth time, but this time, it is finally hitting Blu-ray after some serious restoration work. That transfer debuted on the newer DVD reissue we covered a little while ago. Extras repeat all the extras from the first disc of the DVD set at this link, including the feature length audio commentary track:


This time, the reason to see it is because it looks so good despite flaws one could expect from what is an orphan film (i.e., no major studio, record label, production company, et al, was spending money to save, preserve and protect it). Though it is not a successor or replacement for the deluxe DVD set by not having all the extras they had, the biggest highlight is how great the art and graffiti look, especially the works with an advanced use of color. Detail is better too, but to see just how wide-ranging the color was on the best works for the first time for most who will see this shows what was lost often when NYC subways cars were cleaned. That now helps make it an even more effective testament for how great the work that was being rejected was and shows why this art and style is still with us over three decades later. Videophiles will even be impressed with this disc at its best.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Colt is not bad for the format, has some good color, but also has some softness and minor flaws that hold it back, yet it is the better of the two DVDs here (Jersey Boys is very soft despite looking good on Blu-ray) and is about the equal of the Genesis Blu-ray. The Genesis Blu-ray is here in a 1080i 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition presentation off of its full color 16mm shoot, which can also be said for the most of the 1080p 1.33 X 1 shorts on the Doors set (the Feast Of Friends: Encore is rougher 16mm shown more like 1.66 X 1) and 1.33 X 1 1080p image on Style Wars. They all make decent arguments for how good 16mm (too often bashed by film-haters who act like HD video is the best thing since sliced bread) film can look.

However, Style Wars has some warping and frames that jump, though the restoration group tried to smooth those parts over. Some Doors shorts include analog NTSC color and black and white video upscaled decently and Doors Are Open is 16mm black and white film from the British Granada Network. Oddly, despite being the most consistently clean, Genesis is also too often the faintest and most detail-challenged so either these either flaws from the shoot, bad restoration or that the film elements did not age or were as well stored as they should have been. Maybe some tampering is here too. Style Wars at its best has the best color on the list.

That leaves the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Jersey is the newest entry here production-wise and one of the first time's Eastwood has abandoned 35mm film for HD, with mixed results. Some shots look great, others not as good due to being styled down to show age. That strategy does not always help the picture, but it is clearly the choice they made for the narrative.

As for sound, all four Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, with The Doors (especially when the original studio tracks are added in 5.1 from their early lossless glory from the out-of-print DVD-Audio masters) and Jersey Boys are the top performers of the four. There are monophonic moments on all four Doors short films, especially when the band is singing live, but even that has been preserved, restored and presented well. The Encore short only has PCM 2.0 Stereo, and The End has PCM 2.0 Mono, but the 5.1 on the other films shine. Jersey Boys has its silent moments, but this is a well recorded, consistent film, if not spectacular. All the music is sung by the cast to the end, then original Four Seasons hits are dropped in the end credits, though they do not sound as good as they should like stereo spread around a little awkwardly. That is why the two #1 hit by the band in DSD (Direct Stream Digital) on their Best Super Audio CD hits set sound better in DSD 2.0 Stereo despite the limits and the rest of the tracks sound better than anything reviewed here. The PCM 2.0 Stereo CD tracks are not bad, but no match for the DSD, so if you get this disc, get a player that can do the very high definition DSD sound!

The other two DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 Blu-rays are Genesis, which sounds better in 5.1 than its PCM 2.0 96/24 Stereo, but the lossless DTS-MA is also 96/24, yet can show the age of the recording a bit despite what sounds like a professional job. That leaves Style Wars, which can only do so much with its original monophonic sound, but the PCM 2.0 Mono has an unusual harmonic distortion ceiling that was not on the previous DVDs and is absent on the DTS mix for whatever reason.

That leaves the Colt Ford DVD with regular DTS 5.1, which is a little limited, making it sound no better than the lossless DTS on the Genesis and Style Wars Blu-rays, meaning the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo track fare worse. This one should sound a bit better and lossy DTS (3-to-one compression vs. 12-to-1 for Dolby Digital) has little to do with it.

As noted above, you can order The Four Seasons Super Audio CD with CD-compatible tracks from Intermusic at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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