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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Country > Drama > Telefilm > Blues > Rock > Documentary > Counterculture > New Wave > Filmmaking > Alan Jackson: Keepin' It Country - Live At Red Rocks (2016/Eagle DVD)/Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors (2015/Warner DVD)/Johnny Winter & Dr. John: Live In Sweden 1987 (MVD Visual DVD)/Pride And Joy:

Alan Jackson: Keepin' It Country - Live At Red Rocks (2016/Eagle DVD)/Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors (2015/Warner DVD)/Johnny Winter & Dr. John: Live In Sweden 1987 (MVD Visual DVD)/Pride And Joy: The Story Of Alligator Records (1992/MVD Visual Blu-ray)/Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents (2015/Film Movement Blu-ray)/The Kingdom Of Zydeco (1994) + Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale Of Two Cities (2015/Mugge/MVD Visual Blu-rays)

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

Here's the latest group of music releases you should know about...

Alan Jackson: Keepin' It Country - Live At Red Rocks (2016) is a pretty good recent concert by the very successful Country performer, but the sad thing that struck me is in an era where the genre he thrived in has transmuted into some very bad pseudo Rock/Pop music in too many tired hands, he is one of the last of a line of uncompromised performers in the genre who is the real thing; authentic, purely Country without any of its edge sanded away and has not forgotten the real roots of the genre.

Taped May 17, 2015, the 15 songs performed include Gone Country, I Don't Even Know Your Name, Livin' on Love, Good Time, Small Town Southern Man, The Blues Man, Who's Cheatin' Who, Little Bitty, Country Boy, Drive (For Daddy Gene), Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning), Don't Rock the Jukebox, Here in the Real World, Wanted, Chasin' That Neon Rainbow, It Must Be Love, Song for the Life, Pop a Top, Angels and Alcohol, You Never Know, As She's Walking Away, Remember When, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere, Chattahoochee, Where I Come From and Mercury Blues. Not for everyone, but succeeds in setting out to do what its wants to do, making serious Country fans happy.

An illustrated pullout with text and color illustrations is the only extra.

Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors (2015, directed by Stephen Herek) is the first of several planned telefilms based on the extensive catalog of extensive hits by the Country Music powerhouse and it also happens to be qualify as a faith-based project. However, in a rare turn, it is not a preachy, phony, formula entry. Instead, it is about Dolly's childhood and the real life story of how her mother made her a coat out of what she could when they had nothing. This only goes so far, but is not bad and Rick Schroder is especially interesting as her father.

However, it is only worth a look, nothing I was shocked or surprised by, but it is family-safe enough and the only thing Parton fans could compilation about is that the period is only brought to life so well. Oh well.

Deleted Scenes and a Making Of featurette are the extras.

Lennart Wetterholm's Johnny Winter & Dr. John: Live In Sweden 1987 is the latest of a long series of releases of Winter's work from MVD and this one has Dr. John joining him in an hour-long show (the actual show likely lasted longer) and include Sound the Bell, Don't Take Advantage of Me, Mojo Boogie, You Lie Too Much, Sugar Sweet, Love Life & Money, Jumpin Jack Flash and Prodigal Son. It's a solid show and Blues fans will be particularly happy, but this is otherwise really for fans of the performers and that's not a bad thing.

A performance of Prodigal Son from 1972 is the only extra.

Robert Mugge's Pride And Joy: The Story Of Alligator Records (1992) is not only the solid look at an independent record company surviving and sometimes thriving by embracing at the time what thought of as a declining genre in Blues music, but turns out to be an excellent time capsule and historical look at the record industry in its later years of big success before new technology caught it off guard (along with some of the arrogance that the employees of Alligator had to deal with) that puts this over ands makes it a must-see.

At the center if this all is Bruce Iglauer, the founder of the label who is very funny, candid, blunt and holds nothing back about how his label operates and how its become his life. Much of this can be thankless, but the roster, people and success seem to make it just about all worth it. Again, Blues fans will like the music more than those who don't, but this is a fine film more than worth your time.

Bonus audio from 10 performances from the 20th Anniversary celebration of the label is the only extra.

Don Hardy's Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents (2015), a performance group that was more theatrical than Genesis (hear that Phil Collins!?!) could ever be and up there with DEVO, Bowie and Zappa as being as bold and on the outside of things as possible all the way to trying out things with then-new media like videotape and the rise of video to go to new places most music artists had not considered. Like DEVO, the band had issued one of the first 12-inch LaserDiscs exploring new visual dimensions (both from Criterion's Voyager Press label became serious even releases for serious music and video fans), so having this new documentary on Blu-ray is a belated-but-welcome event.

They may not be a music and performance act for everyone, but the material is always challenging, interesting and hardly any music acts since have been this bold, ambitious or even attempted to be this innovative. This is a remarkable overview of their history so far and is a must-see for all serious music, movie or art fans.

Adding to this impressive Film Movement Blu-ray release are a great set of extras including

footage of the band's first EVER performance at The Boarding House in San Francisco, footage & outtakes from their uncompleted film Vileness Fat. three remastered classic short films they made (now in HD!), new short film created from never-before-seen footage from The Residents' Hello Skinny sessions for their song Mellon Collie Lassie, animated short film from an unfinished feature called Freak Show, pioneering found footage short film called The Walking Woman, short on the delivery of one of only two existing copies of the Ultimate Box Set to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC contained in a refrigerator! How can you miss that one?

We conclude with two more Robert Mugge's work, The Kingdom Of Zydeco (1994) and Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale Of Two Cities (2015), a concert documentary and documentary with plenty of concert performances that show us in great detail the people, sound ands origins of Zydeco music. The Blues/R&B combo is brought together by Southern Louisiana Creole culture synthesizing into a very unique and distinct sound fans of the former larger genres are likely to embrace, but even if they are not your favorite music genres, we get some interesting music and a genre that is as American as it is World Music.

Mugge has painstakingly filmed and recorded as much of it as he could so you can get the full impact of the sound, feel and culture that makes it all possible, which he really has a knack for. If you like or discover you like this music, you'll love both releases, but if it might not be your thing, a little can go a long way. Fortunately, all materials have superior journalistic integrity and it is great to have them on Blu-ray.

Kingdom as a 55-minutes long Rosie's In The House Tonight film, while Crossroads adds the 1996 film Iguanas In The House (27 minutes), a 10-minute intro to the main film by Mugge and A Royal Title (3 minutes) with Michael Tisserand are the extras.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Residents and Crossroads, plus 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Pride and Kingdom can show the age of some of the materials used as expected, but they look as fine as they ever will in the format and Pride (shot in color and 16mm) is the most consistent. We bet it was shot in Eastman Color. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Jackson and Coat tie for third place, looking pretty good for the older format and clean enough, but the 1.33 X 1 color, videotaped image on Winters has some analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, cross color and possibly a bit of tape damage. However, there's not much more to fix any of that without spending a good bit of money.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Residents, plus the PCM 2.0 Stereo on all three Mugge Blu-rays have their ups and downs, though the Zydeko releases are a bit weaker, these all sound as good as they are likely to and cheers to Mugge for recording things as well as he was able to at the time. The regular DTS 5.1 on the Jackson DVD (it has lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 that are not as warm, though the DTS can sound a bit bass-ish) ties the Residents and Pride Blu-rays for best-sounding releases here, then the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Coat ties the sonics on the Zydeco Blu-rays for second-best sonics, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on Winters is stereo-at-best if that seems a generation down and is the poorest performer in that respect here.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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