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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Folk Music > Politics > Counterculture > Rockumentary > Soul > R&B > Multi-Channel Music > Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 (MVD Visual DVD)/Billy Paul: Live In Europe (1973/PIR/Sony/Vocalion Limited Edition Hybrid Super Audio CD/SACD/SA-CD Hybrid Quad Import)/The Rolling Stones

Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 (MVD Visual DVD)/Billy Paul: Live In Europe (1973/PIR/Sony/Vocalion Limited Edition Hybrid Super Audio CD/SACD/SA-CD Hybrid Quad Import)/The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus (1968/ABKCO remastered Blu-ray w/DVD + 2 CD Set/Limited Deluxe Edition)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Billy Paul: Live In Europe Import Super Audio CD hybrid disc will play on any CD player, but the high definition soundtracks are only available with an SA-CD player, is from our friends at Vocalion Records in the U.K. and can be ordered at the link below while this limited edition is still in print.

Next up are three vital concerts of great music you should experience....

We start with a Rockumentary-era show that has sadly become lost in the shuffle of so many catalogs, is also more about Folk music, yet the politics and counterculture it represents are as vital and important as any such film of the era. Woody Guthrie All-Star Tribute Concert 1970 is finally available for the first time (for whatever reasons) and turns out to be a major music event. Peter Fonda and Will Geer narrate (between performances) the tribute with plenty of footage of the people who lived the pain and suffered through the awful events Guthrie made immortal in his classic music work.

His son Arlo Guthrie leads an amazing ensemble of great musicians and singers (including friends of his late father) including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, Odetta, Country Joe McDonald, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott among others. The performances are first rate, the archival footage priceless and often stunning, what is being said as valuable now as it ever was and the resulting show is the music business and its artists at their very best.

Cheers to MVD for being able to get this out there for people to finally see. Even if you are not a Folk Music fan, as an exercise in pure music cinema, you have to see it to believe it. I wished it were longer, but we get bonus performances that last just over 12 minutes, including ''1913 Massacre'', ''John Hardy'' and ''Pastures Of Plenty'' that includes Arlo Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack Elliott adding comments.

Next up is another amazing show, Billy Paul: Live In Europe (1973), a great solo show by Philadelphia International Records' great soul singer in amazing form. He only sings five songs: War Of The Gods, Brown Baby, Thank You For Saving My Life, Me & Mrs. Jones and the Elton John classic Your Song, but he gives these prolonged, leisurely, remarkable, with the audience performances of each that he makes the evening a true event and this recording captures it incredibly well. Lasting just over 33 minutes, I just wish this were longer, but PIR skipped a double album. Would that have been too intense?

Either way, if you only know him for his biggest hit, you are in for a huge surprise as this work proves he was more than the equal of the other big male soul vocalists of the time like Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Johnnie Taylor. However, this is a limited edition disc, so get it while you can before they run out, especially since this 4-track Quad version has been out of print since the album was issued over 45 years ago!

Last but absolutely not least is The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus (1968), the Michael Lindsey-Hogg rockumentary that has only really been available to the public for the last 20 years! We originally covered its older DVD release and you can read more about the film itself at this link:


ABKCO Records has remastered the film from its original 16mm elements in 4K (supervised by Director of Photography Anthony Richmond, B.S.C., A.S.C.!) and also upgraded the sound from its original multi-channel magnetic soundmaster, resulting in an upgrade more than worthy of the two other Stones films out on Blu-ray that originated on 16mm film, Gimme Shelter (from Criterion) and Stones In The Park (reviewed in its import Blu-ray edition elsewhere on this site, but still not on Blu-ray in the U.S. for some unacceptable reason.

We are lucky to have the Limited Deluxe Edition that offers a great new regular Blu-ray, upgraded DVD and 2 CDs with extra material never issued before in a book-like case that has a very high quality booklet (48 pages) in it with incredible pictures and solid text. The Blu-ray and DVD offer two frame choices for the film, the original 1.33 X 1 image as shot on 16mm and a widescreen 1.78 X 1 image that loses the top and the bottom of the image a bit, but is not bad. The 1.78 X 1 is a new presentation is brand new, but as good as it looks, I prefer the original block style version because you can see more and it feels more authentic.

The set repeats all the extras from the older DVD except the Fat Boys piece, then adds more Dirty Mac music, the CD materials noted, the booklet noted and Pete Townshend interview. This is a great all out upgrade Stones fans, fans of such films and fans of anyone else performing here will want to get while supplies last. It was worth all the trouble.

As a matter of fact, save a few shots that show the age of the film or are in-between footage or down a generation because of optical printing, the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image and even the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers of the film on Blu-ray have exceptionally excellent and accurate color, nice depth and definition for the 16mm format and its great the elements survived all these decades so we can seer them looking this amazing now. I always felt 16mm was more than HD-ready and now, it continues to prove to be even better and 4K ready, so be ready to be impressed.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image DVD (whose alternate 1.33 X 1 presentation centers the square in a 1.78 X 1 frame like the Blu-ray) on the new DVD are just better enough than the DVD to notice in direct comparison, but until an actual 4K disc is issued, the Blu-ray is the disc you have to see.

The Billy Paul disc has no video, but the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Guthrie DVD also looks very good, also was shot on 16mm and looks so good here, I hope we get a Blu-ray at some point. The only sound option is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, but it sounds good for the format.

What the Billy Paul SA-CD does have is three soundtracks: ultra high-definition DSD (Direct Stream Digital) lossless sound in the 2.0 Stereo and especially 4.0 Quadraphonic version that is amazing, holds up incredibly well and really brings the concert to life. It was issued this way back in 1973, but those copies are hard to find and hard to find equipment to play back on, so having this version from the original soundmaster is stunning and all serious music and audiophile fans will want to grab this all-too-rare Quad concert. Only so many concerts got this top rate treatment then. There is also PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo for all CD players, but it is weak by comparison, especially versus the 4.0 mix.

The Stones Blu-ray also marks yet another first, the first classic concert remixed for 12-track sound. In this case, your audio choices are Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems), Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and PCM 24bit/48kHz 2.0 Stereo lossless sound mixes and the Atmos has the most clarity, impact, detail, depth and warmth, making it the version that matches the amazing image and feels the most 'live' of all, though the other options are not bad either. Stones fans happy with the older ABKCO SA-CDs of the Stones (some of which are reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the amazing 50-track Blu-ray Audio only edition of GRRRRR! with all the hits in three version of 96/24 2.0 Stereo (now sadly out of print) will love the sound here. The PCM 16/44.1 2.0 Stereo on the CDs are fine, but also sound a little dated and limited as it is still an older format.

The Stones DVD offers lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but they sound aged and underwhelming.

You can order the Billy Paul concert while supplies last from Vocalion at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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