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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Music > Artist > Ranchera > Punk > Soul > New Wave > Disco > Concert > Rock > Pop > Aust > Chavela (2017/Music Box DVD)/Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bam (2018)/Live At Boggo Road Jail (1993/Thorpe - Aztecs/both Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVDs)/Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden/Greatest Hits (1

Chavela (2017/Music Box DVD)/Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bam (2018)/Live At Boggo Road Jail (1993/Thorpe - Aztecs/both Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVDs)/Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden/Greatest Hits (1970/1972/Vocalion Records/Columbia/Sony/Quadraphonic Hybrid Super Audio CD/SACD/SA-CD)/Records Collecting Dust II (2018/MVD Visual DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Grace Jones and Live Import DVDs are now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia and can only play on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and DVD players that can handle the PAL DVD format, while the Lynn Anderson double feature Super Audio CD is only available exclusively through Vocalion Records as an import as well. All can be ordered from the links below.

Now for a strong group of new music releases you should absolutely know about if you like or love music...

Chavela (2017) is an interesting documentary about musician Chavela Vargas, a talented young woman who became one of Mexico's most iconic Ranchera Singer in the 1950s. Directed by Documentary filmmakers Catherine Gund (Born to Fly) and Daresha Kyi (Dispatches from Cleveland), the well made film is sure to entertain and warm your heart simultaneously.

The interviewees includes Director Pedro Almodovar, Miguel Bose, Tania Libertad, Martirio, and Elena Benarroch. The film has went on to win several awards including notoriety from AFI Docs and Outfest.

Chavela Vargas was a brave musician in a time when women didn't have the same rights as they do today. Unafraid to wear pants, smoke, and be herself in front of a live audience on stage. Her memorable music became a favorite amongst many and ultimately her presence and words become legendary. In later life, she became a muse to Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, earn a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and sold out performances even in her later years.

Special Features include...

Commentary with Directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi

Filmmaker Q and A from the New York Premiere

Interview with the Filmmakers

Rare 1991 Interview with Chavela

Live Chavela Concert Performance

Sophie Fiennes's Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bam (2018) is a fine look at the all-time music icon working on a new album she is backing herself, touring, dealing with family and looking at where her life stands now. The legend whose beginnings were out of the harder side of Disco, Punk and New Wave has several classic hits to her credit (she performs some of them here very well, far from any kind of legacy act indeed), we see her also dealing with the music business today, her ups and downs and get an honest character portrait of one of the most underrated music artists of our time and maybe of all time.

Running two hours, this never gets repetitive, boring or lost, though her feature film appearances never come up. I like her and it is amazing how well she has aged, her voice has endured and how she never sold out her audience. Still selling out shows worldwide, it reminded me of the recent look at Gary Numan's career today, but he needed to deal with issues Miss Jones has managed to dodge for the most part. Glad to see both icons doing well from what is the most underrated period of modern music around.

Though other editions offer extras, this import DVD sadly does not.

Next up is a triple DVD set called Live At Boggo Road Jail (1993) that actually collects three previously issued DVDs from the same locale and time, including a great show from The DiVinyls and uncompromising Rose Tattoo show we reviewed in the same text here...


The show we missed is by Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, whom we've covered before in compilations in the past, but never an entire disc of them. Here, they reunited for the first time since 1972 (!!!) in what is a serious genre event for Rock Music fans Down Under (et al) and the results fall somewhere between DiVinyls (still my favorite of the three) and Rose Tattoo. All three shows are worth seeing once and it is sad that since we covered the DiVinyls show, lead singer Christine Pamphlet passed away far too young.

None of the discs have any extras, unfortunately.

Next are two of the biggest albums ever released by one of the greatest of all country singers in the genre's history. Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden (1970) and Greatest Hits (1972) have been issued on one disc by the great indie record label Vocalion. Both originally issued by Columbia Records (now part of Sony Music), the first album has a title song that is one of the all-time crossover hits of all time, both the title song (sometimes also listed as ''(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden'') topped the Hot 100 and Country charts, the album was top Country and #3 200 Album Survey chart, plus it is one of the first hits to inspire an entire movie and was one of the most pop-culture referenced songs of thw 1970s and of all time. That's a classic.

Proving that classic Country Music is audiophile quality and as worthy of such upscale treatment, this new disc is a Hybrid Super Audio Compact Disc (aka SACD or SA-CD) offering the original 2-channel mixes, but especially delivering the music in 4-track sound from the original quadraphonic masters made at the time. One may wonder if it can make that much of a difference, but it absolutely does and this is now some of the sonically most capable Country in print anywhere, ever.

Then there are the songs, a mix of cover tunes and originals that show off Anderson's range, recorded with two different, but very effective backing vocal groups. Of course, we all know the Jordanaires from their classic work with no less than Elvis Presley. Here are the track listing for each album...

Rose Garden

1. Rose Garden (South)
2. For the Good Times (Kristofferson)
3. Another Lonely Night (Butler; Crutchfield)
4. I Don't Wanna Play House (Sutton; Sherrill)
5. Snowbird (MacLellan)
6. Your Sweet Love Lifted Me (Sutton; Richey)
7. Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down (Kristofferson)
8. I Still Belong to You (Foster; Rice)
9. I Wish I Was a Little Boy Again (Sutton; Edwards)
10. It's Only Make Believe (Twitty; Nance)
11. Nothing Between Us (Anderson)

Lynn Anderson (vocal)
The Nashville Edition (background vocals) [1-4, 7-8]
The Jordanaires (background vocals) [5-6, 9-11]

Note that #4 might sound familiar as it was featured in an early scene, very effectively, in Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise (reviewed elsewhere on this site).

Lynn Anderson's Greatest Hits

12. Rose Garden (South)
13. Cry (Kohlman)
14. How Can I Unlove You (South)
15. Stay There 'til I Get There (Sutton)
16. That's What Loving You Has Meant to Me (Sutton)
17. Listen to a Country Song (Messina; Garth)
18. You're My Man (Sutton)
19. No Love at All (Thompson; Christopher)
20. Don't Say Things You Don't Mean (Sutton)
21. I'm Gonna Write a Song (Sutton)
22. Nothing Between Us (Anderson)

Lynn Anderson (vocal)
The Nashville Edition (background vocals) [12, 14, 16-17, 19-20]
The Jordanaires (background vocals) [13, 15, 18, 21-22]

The label cleverly holds some of the good songs on the original studio album instead of giving them away one the hits set, so the overlap is limited between the two. I'll get into the technical details more below, but will say Anderson was a great singer, this is all the evidence you need with this great disc and she only recently passed away. Reba McIntyre noted how vital she was for women in Country all the way to today when she left us, reminding us that Anderson was part of a new generation of female solo Country singers (like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette and even Olivia Newton-John) that brought new honesty and realism to all women in music (by way of Patsy Cline, some would suggest) and should never be forgotten. The work holds up, sounds greater than you'd expect here and is highly recommended.

Good liner notes are the only extra.

Finally we have Records Collecting Dust II (2018) which is a sequel to a currently out-of-print documentary we never got to cover. Essentially, Punk Rock musicians (et al) spend a surprisingly rich 78 minutes talking about their favorite music, the first vinyl records (LPs and singles) they ever bought, how music first impressed them, where else they encountered music that made them dive permanently into the art form and also share other personal stories in what tends to be very fun viewing. The only flaw is I wish someone who loved music was asking them additional questions, but that would make it another kind of program.

You may recognize the names or at least some of the music bands various interviewees are (were) associated with, but either way, music lovers will find it hard not to relate to what we see and hear here. Cheers to the makers showing off the many covers and actual discs throughout.

Extras include more footage and interviews that did not make the final cut.

Now for playback performance. The 4.0 Quadraphonic DSD (Direct Stream Digital) lossless sound mix on the Anderson SA-CD is easily the sonic champ here, especially in the face of nothing but DVDs, but she was one of the first Country artists (and female artists for that matter) to get the four-track treatment when that trend started in the 1970s. The results are impressive, allow you to hear details you've never heard in any of the songs before, make the musicianship and backing vocals all the more clear and prove that Anderson was one of the best singers in the history of the genre and an American treasure. The 2.0 DSD Stereo is fine and PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo CD layer as good as any CD of her work out there, but the 4.0 mixes are revelations and audiophiles will love this disc as much as fans. Those without SA-CD capacity will want to upgrade!

Chavela is presented in standard definition DVD with an anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with English Subtitles. The film features many high quality images and great editing. While the quality of some clips are a bit rough due to age, the overall look and feel of the doc is on point.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Grace looks so good, I cannot wait to see it in HD, but the 1.33 X 1 image on Boggo and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 on Dust can be problematic at times. Both have analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage, while Dust can also have some digititis. Still, it is worth suffering some of their flaws to see the material.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Grace is fine and would definitely sound better lossless, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Thorpe (probably would also benefit from lossless treatment and restoration like the other DVDs, including an HD upscaling down the line) and Dust (talking interrupted by good music) are about as good as they can get.

To order either of the Umbrella import DVDs, go to this link for them and other hard-to-find releases at:


...and to order the great Lynn Anderson SA-CD, which includes its CD layer that will play on all CD-capable players, go to this link to order...


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Chavela)



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