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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Fantasy > Comedy > Scottish > Country Music > Hard Rock > Heavy Metal > Funk > Soul > Disco > Rock O > Brigadoon (1954/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Anthology (2017 compilation/Capitol Records/Universal Music CD Set)/Slipknot: Day Of The Gusano (2015/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-

Brigadoon (1954/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Anthology (2017 compilation/Capitol Records/Universal Music CD Set)/Slipknot: Day Of The Gusano (2015/Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray w/CD)/Tower Of Power: Ain't Nothin' Stopping Us Now (1976/Sony/Vocalion Quadrophonic Super Audio CD/SACD/SACD w/CD layer)/The Who: Tommy - Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2017 (Universal Music/Eagle Blu-ray)

Picture: B/X/B-/X/B- Sound: B/B/B & B- (CD)/B+, B, B-/B Extras: C/C/C/C-/C Main Programs: C+/B-/C+/B/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Brigadoon Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series, while the Tower Of Power SA-CD can only be ordered via the Vocalion music label. All can be ordered from the links below.

Vincente Minnelli's Brigadoon (1954) is originally a 1947 stage musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe (whose hist include Camelot and My Fair Lady, both with hit films of their own), but MGM was cutting costs at a time they were trying to move away from musicals, but also unfortunately when they were embracing new technologies like stereo, color and widescreen filmmaking. That makes this tale of a trip to a mystical Scottish locale not as magical as it could be, but the cast and crew still give it their all and come up with a musical that may not always be successful, but is unique and ultimately purely cinematic just the same.

Gene Kelly and Van Johnson are New York guys overseas in Scotland when they come upon the secret, hidden title village that only comes alive (or materializes for that matter) every one hundred years for only a day? What timing then that they arrive on the century mark for the place to come alive!

It is a silly, hokey premise and the songs and costumed musical numbers go all out to deliver the otherworldlyness, but like later films of Finian's Rainbow and the musical remake of Lost Horizon (both reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), the film misses the mark overall despite having some moments worth sitting through the whole film to get to. Also like those films, none of the songs much stuck with me, though fit into the narrative situation enough and supporting cast members like Cyd Charisse (whose legs almost look like they'll rip the cloth backdrop in two!), Elaine Stewart, Barry Jones and uncredited performers/future stars Stuart Whitman, George Chakiris, Barrie Chase and Madge Blake (Aunt Harriett in the 1960s Batman TV series) help.

The result is a mixed-success-at-best worth a look, especially so well restored as it is here. At least they are very ambitious and tried.

Extras include the Original Theatrical Trailer, audio-only outtake of ''There But For You Go I'' and three musical sequences cut from the film, but only here in dated, letterboxed presentations instead of new HD retransfers that disappoint a bit.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Anthology deals with the laid-back crossover band that may now be referred to as an Americana band or Roots Music, but was just another smart Country & Western band that were always good, talented and should have had more hits than they did. Their early work was at Liberty Records (later a country label before folding) and United Artists Records, gaining a solid audience and having more success in Country. This 2017 compilation from Capitol Records/Universal Music covered key songs from 1967 to 2009, including their three big pop hits (#4 on CD 1, the first two tracks on CD 2) and when you see the amazing list of artists joining them on many of these tracks, you can see the respect they commanded through the years. The full tracks listing includes...


  1. Buy For Me The Rain

  2. Some Of Shelly's Blues

  3. Uncle Charlie Interview

  4. Mr. Bojangles

  5. Randy Lynn Rag

  6. House At Pooh Corner

  7. Opus 36

  8. Fish Song

  9. Jambalaya (On The Bayou)

  10. Grand Ole Opry Song (featuring Jimmy Martin)

  11. You Are My Flower

  12. Tennessee Stud (featuring Doc Watson)

  13. I Saw The Light (featuring Roy Acuff)

  14. Honky Tonkin'

  15. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (featuring Mother Maybelle Carter)

  16. Cosmic Cowboy (Part 1)

  17. Battle Of New Orleans

  18. Bayou Jubilee/Sally Was A Goodun

  19. Ripplin' Waters

  20. Mother Earth (Provides For Me)

  21. Bowlegs


  1. An American Dream (featuring Linda Ronstadt)

  2. Make A Little Magic (featuring Nicolette Larson)

  3. Shot Full Of Love

  4. Dance Little Jean

  5. Colorado Christmas (featuring Emmylou Harris)

  6. Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)

  7. Fishin' In The Dark

  8. Workin' Man (Nowhere to Go)

  9. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (featuring Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman)

  10. The Valley Road (featuring Bruce Hornsby)

  11. When It's Gone

  12. Waitin' On A Dark Eyed Gal

  13. Bless The Broken Road

  14. Catfish John (featuring Alison Krauss)

  15. The Lowlands (featuring Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen)

  16. Tears In The Holston River (featuring Johnny Cash)

  17. Midnight At Woody Creek

  18. The Resurrection (featuring Matraca Berg)

I admit that on the plus side, there are some good songs here I had never heard and on the other hand, a repetitiveness that may be their style, but as this is not my music, did not work for me or stay with me. However, there is nothing phony about any of the songs here. These are serious, true artists who never sold out or sold their audience out and for that reason alone, this is a very worthwhile release, especially sounding so good.

An illustrated booklet with tech info and a new essay on the band by Holly Gleason is the only extra.

Slipknot: Day Of The Gusano (2015) has the band releasing another Blu-ray (this time with a CD) in what is a combination of a new concert with a documentary approach for fans that sometimes even tells us something about them. Even non-fans like myself are bound to learn something we might not have expected, but for the most part, this is a fans-only release that will satisfy them if no one else. It is a way to get new fans who may already be interested in their music, however.

The concert tracks are...

The Heretic Anthem
The Devil In I
Me Inside
Wait And Bleed
Before I Forget
Spit It Out
Metabolic / 742617000027
People = S#!t
Surfacing / Til We Die

As I watched, it seemed all too familiar, yet I actually had reviewed an earlier concert that I forgot way more of than I expected. I had to remind myself just what was on the earlier release, so that should show the extent of how involved I could ever get with this band. Still, this is a quality release and good for fans and the curious.

An illustrated booklet with brief tech info is the only extra.

For more Slipknot, try our coverage of this previous Bu-ray...


Tower Of Power: Ain't Nothin' Stopping Us Now (1976) has the funk/soul band leaving Warner Bros. for more success in their first album for Columbia Records. The result is one of the Oakland, California band's best and though they are only now known too often for their now-legendary horn section, they were a full-fledged band as good as any in the genre and beyond then and now. Thus, I was really happy to hear that this album (now owned by Columbia Records owners Sony) was not only being licensed to the smart music label Vocalion (who obviously love and appreciate great music) but in the 4-track Quadrophonic sound mix that really brings out the music and in the underrated, still very much alive Super Audio CD format. You can play the CD layer if you get this disc, but it is yet another argument to get an SA-CD player if you do not have one.

At the time, the title song and track six got the most airplay, but it was still the era of album buts and to the credit of soul and emerging disco/dance radio stations, they would play even more from this solid album. The tracks include...

  1. Ain't Nothin' Stoppin' Us Now (Castillo; Kupka; Bartlett)

  2. By Your Side (McGee; Coulter)

  3. Make Someone Happy (Beck; Rogers)

  4. Doin' Alright (Conte; Head)

  5. Because I Think the World of You (Kupka; Biner)

  6. You Ought to Be Havin' Fun (Tubbs; Castillo; Kupka)

  7. Can't Stand to See the Slaughter (Kupka; Castillo)

  8. It's So Nice (T & E Castillo; Bartlett; Kupka; Biner)

  9. Deal With It (Thompson)

  10. While We Went to the Moon (Kupka; Bartlett; Castillo)

Until recently, music from the funk and disco era were derided as disposable and not sonically good, but that was a big lie (sometimes for political reasons we will not go into here), but this is an album with fine vocal performances (just because they are known for horns, they were not an strictly instrumental-only band by any means) and having an outstanding reissue of one of their best albums more than sets the record straight. This album is at least a minor classic of its genres and era, so if you are interested, it is worth going out of your way for.

A booklet with a new essay on the band by David Zimmerman is the only extra.x

The Who: Tommy - Live At The Royal Albert Hall 2017 has the remaining two members of the great band doing their famed rock opera for the first time, but despite the previous video versions we've covered including the feature film, they had actually never performed the full work live on their own, famously having guest singers to play the various roles Pete Townsend created decades ago in his immortal classic. You can read about the earlier versions starting with this link...


My impression with the work has never faded or dimmed, especially in that it may be even more important now than ever, so this concert (done for charity) is as timely as ever. As for the performance, the musicianship is fine, but the overall performance was a mixed bag for me, especially since the original album remains one of the greatest double albums or albums ever made. Still, not bad considering they've lost half their members and they continue with more of their hits afterwards. The songs include...

    1) Introduction

    2) Overture

    3) It's A Boy

    4) 1921

    5) Amazing Journey

    6) Sparks

    7) Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)

    8) Christmas

    9) Cousin Kevin

    10) The Acid Queen

    11) Do You Think It's Alright?

    12) Fiddle About

    13) Pinball Wizard

    14) There's A Doctor

    15) Go To The Mirror!

    16) Tommy Can You Hear Me?

    17) Smash The Mirror

    18) Underture

    19) I'm Free

    20) Miracle Cure

    21) Sensation

    22) Sally Simpson

    23) Welcome

    24) Tommy's Holiday Camp

    25) We're Not Gonna Take It


    26) I Can't Explain

    27) Join Together

    28) I Can See For Miles

    29) Who Are You

    30) Love, Reign O'er Me

    31) Baba O'Reilly

    32) Won't Get Fooled Again

It takes guts to do this and know it will not turn out like some fans might like ti too, but one of the greatest bands of all time are still fearless and since they also never sold their fans out, the work is real.

An illustrated foldout with some tech info, plus a Behind The Scenes clip and the projected video during the concert for The Acid Queen and Pinball Wizard are the only extras.

Of the three releases with video, all happen to be Blu-rays. They play back well enough, but the 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image on Brigadoon is fully restored, was shot in the original and slightly wider version of CinemaScope and ever rarer in the color format chosen. Instead of dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor, Eastman Color by Kodak, Pathe Color, Agfacolor, FerraniaColor or FujiColor, this was an early MetroColor labs film that that means it was in Ansco Color. With a richer, darker color scheme than its competitors, this color film (Ansco had merged with Germany's Agfa before WWII until the U.S. Government seized the company, eventually taken over by GAF after the war), Minnelli loved it and used it until the end when the MGM/Ansco contract ended.

They may have had their budget slashed, but Minnelli and Director of Photography Joseph Ruttenberg (Comrade X, The Philadelphia Story, Two-Faces Woman, Mrs. Miniver, Gaslight, Gigi, Kismet) not only use the very widescreen frame to its fullest extent, but handle the superior color palette of the film, costumes and sets with great ease. I bet it was much harder work than it looks. I have seen this previously on 35mm film and still saw detail there not even here, yet the color here is often more accurate, so that says something on how good the film has been preserved and saved. Thanks to Blu-ray, you can see the depth intended and despite some flaws, you can now experience the look and feel intended pretty much throughout. This is also the best example of AnscoColor on video to date, so anyone with a serious home theater or (Ultra) HDTV should get their hands on this one just for that.

The two music Blu-rays offer 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers, but Tommy is more consistent and has slightly better color, while Slipknot sometimes jumps to fake black and white for its interview/documentary segments and both have some flaws from the interlaced nature of their cameras.

As for sound, I'm please with most of the sonic performance here, but the Tower Of Power Super Audio CD even manages to top the performance playback on the three Blu-rays here with its 4.0 DSD (Direct Stream Digital) Ultra High Definition lossless Quadrophonic sound from the original soundmaster prepared at the time of the albums release. Even more than the recent 4.0 Main Ingredient SACD we covered from Sony and Vocalion, this album sounds top rate, is up there sonically with anything from Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang or Parliament/Funkadelic (and maybe Chic too) from the time and shows sonic progress over the kind of soul Main Ingredient and similar vocal groups like Blue Magic, The O'Jays and The Stylistics did at the time.

Of course, any horns sound great and this is a special album indeed, heard best here, though the DSD 2.0 Stereo and PCM 2.0 Stereo regular CD sound are not bad, but pale as compared to the 4.0 mix. Serious music fans will want to hear this disc!

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Tommy (a non-stop concert), Slipknot (which takes breaks from the concert for talking) and Brigadoon (issued in its best theatrical presentations in 4-track magnetic stereo sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects) all sound fine, but with limits. Tommy has a few down moments and a few times the sound is just not the very best, especially after so many versions of the rock opera, including a 5.1 SACD of the original album! Slipknot can be harsh and too loud beyond what the genres they cover offer, while Brigadoon turns out to have a more enduring soundmaster than expected with the 4-track sound smoothly upscaled to 5.1 and the non-musical moments sounding closer to the musical ones than you usually get for films o this time period. Glad the soundmaster survived.

Tommy and Slipknot also have PCM 2.0 Stereo counterparts that are not as good on their Blu-rays, but even poorer and more limited (even slightly compressed for some reason) PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo on their CD versions underwhelm. Yet, with its older recordings, both Nitty Gritty Band CDs have cleaner, clearer, more wide-ranging performance as if new transfers had to be done of all the various sources. It sounds great and fans of the band are in for a very pleasant surprise.

To order the Brigadoon Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


and to order the Tower Of Power 4.0 Quad SACD w/CD layer album exclusively and directly from Vocalion Records at this link...


- Nicholas Sheffo


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