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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music > VarietyRock > Pop > Soul > TV > Biopic > Progressive Rock > Documentary > Dance > Ed Sullivan's Rock & Roll Classics (1965 - 1971/Time Life DVD reissue box)/Elvis 4K (2022/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Misty: Here Again (1969/GrapeFruit Import CD*)/Randy Rhoads: Reflections

Ed Sullivan's Rock & Roll Classics (1965 - 1971/Time Life DVD reissue box)/Elvis 4K (2022/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Misty: Here Again (1969/GrapeFruit Import CD*)/Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon (2022/MVD/VMI Blu-ray)/Stacey Q: Better Than Heaven (1986/Warner Music UK/CD set/*both Cherry Red Records U.K.)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: C+/B/X/B-/X Sound: C+/B+/B/B-/B Extras: C/C+/C/C+/B- Main Programs: B+/C+/B-/B-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Misty and Stacey Q Import CDs are now only available from our friends at Cherry Red Records UK and can be ordered from the links below.

Now for a huge batch of new music releases, though it is all classic music and classic artists...

Ed Sullivan's Rock & Roll Classics (1965 - 1971) was originally issued in a big DigiPak box set by Rhino Records in the mid-2000s, but has long gone out of print and the result is an insanely expensive set if you can find it. Time Life, with a few changes (based on rights and royalties issues we gather) has reissued it in a smaller packaging and you can read about the abbreviated 3-DVD set we covered back when it was new at this link:


Extras are different here to some extent and a high quality, illustrated booklet with essays and text on the content of all discs, while the discs add never-before-released full interviews from The History of Rock 'N' Roll documentary series, including David Crosby, Felix Cavaliere, Gladys Knight, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Michelle Phillips, Peter Noone, Roger McGuinn and more, a collectible, full-color 36-page booklet, packed with archival photos and fascinating facts, along with The All-Star Comedy Special, a free bonus DVD which includes performances by the top comedians on The Ed Sullivan Show including Alan King, Flip Wilson, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Rich Little, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield and many more. Some interview clips are on the main discs, but the rest of the materials are there.

The Sullivan series just gets better and more important with age, so its nice to have this material back in print again and joins the other great releases that have been issued over the years. Hope we get more soon.

Baz Luhrmann's Elvis 4K (2022) is one of the oddest films of the year, a hit with mixed reviews, also tasked with telling yet another variant of how Elvis Presley became the main figure who broke music genre, race, color and ideological barriers to become still the most successful solo artist of all time. He made plenty of films (they all made money, even by narrow margins, the only movie star in history who can claim that) including a few fine, solid concert films late in his career and RCA sold so many tons of records of his that even when they were on the down side, Elvis music still made money or them.

This post-modern backstage musical version starts with him as a poor child in the South dreaming of a better life, discovering Gospel and soul music at a time most white persons ignored it, loving superhero Captain Marvel, Jr. and his life experiences synergisting into what become his massive, bold commercial success and eventually, critical success. The film barely covers his Sun Records years (the John Carpenter version still holds up very well) and quickly jumps to his signing at RCA Records (one of the Big Three record labels of the time) as we meet him as an adult (a fine performance by Austin Butler) with the ups and downs of his life and career following.

However, he is not always the prime focus of the film as his ballyhooing manager 'Colonel' Tom Parker narrates the 2.5 hour picture, the man who made him a star, then used him until he was dead. Not a great man, but the film tries to lessen any such criticism by casting Forrest Gump and real-life good guy/Oscar-winner Tom Hanks as Parker. With a questionable accent and a screenplay where he keeps interrupting every single time the film might take off, Hanks is more likely to get a Razzie than any major award for good acting. It is too much Hanks and not enough of him transforming into the gambling-addicted manager.

It can make this torture to watch despite all the money put into costumes, production, music rights and the like, so I guess part of the plan was just to do something different since the stories are familiar. In that, I was not totally convinced, Hanks notwithstanding. The film has other issues, including the usual 'slap-dash-Baz' approach I never liked, even if it also seems to be imitating Hanks' hit That Thing You Do way too often.

Thus, any edge that exists in the real story is sanded off, any darkness, lightened up in phony ways and that approach wears very thin very, very quickly, as the formula they agreed to goes on and on and on and on and on.

Of course, many have said they might as well have called the film 'The Colonel' with Hanks as the star, then many mighty have though it was a film about the founding of the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain. And if they ever get crazy enough to make that actual real-life story into any kind of feature film or series, they'll have to find an actor to play Colonel Sanders. If it happens in the next few years, I guess they'll land up hiring... Tom Hanks!

Extras include Movies Anywhere digital version, then (per the press release) the actual disc set adds:

  • Bigger Than Life: The Making of ELVIS

  • Rock 'N Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind ELVIS

  • Fit for a King; The Style of ELVIS

  • Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for ELVIS

  • and ''Trouble'' Lyric Video

Misty: Here Again (1969) is the complete album by a band what wanted to be Psychedelic and Progressive Rock, which makes sense at the time when you hear it, sounding like Gentle Giant, early King Crimson, early Moody Blues or when Pink Floyd was called 'The Pink Floyd' and it is a decent album for that kind of music. Progressive Rock of the time, now dubbed 'Prog Rock' as if it were never cutting edge, and it was and still is in many ways, eventually grew into its own (thanks especially to Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and albums like this or other bands you have never heard of (like Nektar) prove this was not any fluke.

In this case, they had a small single with ''Hot Cinnamon'' but not big enough to keep them going, with any album unreleased, until now. Yes, over half a century later, you can hear where they were going and it reminds us how much ambitious talent with ideas the music industry used to have. Unlike some other such albums I have heard over the years, they had some more potential and did get signed to EMI. Fortunately, this 13-track set has its moments (including a song called ''Animal Farm'') and it is definitely worth hearing if you are interested in the most underrated genre it all Rock Music.

A booklet and the four live bonus tracks are the extras.

Andre Relis' documentary Randy Rhoads: Reflections Of A Guitar Icon (2022) is about one of the greatest guitarists in Rock Music history and pretty much music history, one who we lost early, but more than beat the odds by becoming a legend early in his career and rightly so. Originally a for-hire guy like sop many young musicians, he was supposed to be in an early version of Quiet Riot, but it did not work out, until one of the greatest twists of fate in Rock history happened.

Ozzy Osbourne was still the lead singer of Black Sabbath when his drinking was so bad by 1979, even they thought it was too much (imagine that!) so instead of just sitting back and drinking his career away, Osbourne decided to go solo and landed up hiring Rhoads as his guitarist. The resulting debut solo album, Blizzard Of Oz, was a massive hit as big as anything Sabbath had had and the rest is history. He later was back with Riot, giving them the edge over other Rock had 'hair' bands and giving them major commercial success until he was gone at age 25.

L.A. Guns guitarist Traci Guns narrates this pretty thorough release that brings back that period of music, that period of how the music industry used to be and re-reminds us of the talent and apparently great guy we all lost. Running 85 minutes, it could have easily been longer because it is that good, but it is worth seeing once, even if his music is not necessarily yours.

Extras include a trailer, exclusive Quiet Riot performances, never-before-seen footage of Rhoads with Quiet Riot and two on-camera interviews: one with Riot photographer Ron Sobol, the other with Riot bandmates Rudy Sarzo and Drew Forsyth.

And finally we have Stacey Q: Better Than Heaven (1986,) the biggest hit album by the one-time Madonna backup singer with material that was in the same vein, one of a few she managed to get made and released. She can sing and has an interesting personality, but there were just not enough interviews or promos (though I liked her music videos) to give her the kind of separate representation and developed identity to stay in the spotlight. She also looked great and as good as any of her 'competition' as it were.

This new 2-CD set has the album, plus a bunch of remixes of her songs, many of which were issued on the sadly not-made-much 12-inch single format for dance clubs, et al. Originally issued by Atlantic Records, whose WEA distribution also handles Madonna, a few singles like ''We Connect'' were issued, but the one song that became such a huge hit that it may have stunted her career and is here in no less than seven versions (eight if you count the abstract acapella piece ''Stacey's Dream'' is the dance classic ''Two Of Hearts'' that was a worldwide hit.

Of course, the one thing the song does that a madonna song would never have done is take her singing voice and electronically manipulate it with the infamous 'I I I I I I, I I I I I I, I Need you, I NEED you' line that made all those 'I's almost sound like 'A's at times. Then she sings normally, but it was a hook that worked and is he number one reason people still remember her and her song. As for the rest fo the tracks, they also want to be electronic, New Wave, danceable and catchy and the results vary, but it is an album aimed at a younger audience for its time.

That is why it is interesting to hear it now, especially now that the vast majority of music is digitally recorded, with rare analog exceptions, from a time analog recordings were striving to sound like something from a future that has now come to pass to some extent. I was curious enough to hear it all these years later 35+ years later and it holds up a bit better than expected.

Fans will be thrilled, but there are things for the unfamiliar to hear as well, so those interested will get a kick out of this set no matter what they think in the end.

A booklet and the bonus tracks are the extras.

Now for playback performance. Though it has its sporadic editing style and is all over the place, the 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image is the best-looking release here, though two of our five releases are audio-only and this is the only 4K release here. Color can be very good and when it is not all over the place, you do get some good-looking scenes, especially as compared to the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the passable, regular Blu-ray. Both offer a lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) soundtrack, but it is not always as impressive s it could be and it offers more of the same fancy pointlessness as all other Luhrmann films, so no surprise there.

Randy Rhoads has a 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer that is a mix of every kind of film format and more than a few analog video formats than you might even expect, but it is as well-edited as anything here and the impact is solid. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless sound mix does what it can with the audio, which does include music, but it includes many live and rare tracks that would not benefit from the hard work that takes place with a well-controlled and thought out studio recording. Still, I cannot imagine it being any better than it is here and you have much interview audio. The combination is just fine.

The 1.33 X 1 on the Ed Sullivan DVDs has some stock movie film footage (16mm and 35mm) that was transferred long ago, plus despite how well the catalog of video sources has been kept, you still get a some analog videotape flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage. Add that these are transfers from a few decades ago and expect more softness (including in newer interviews) at times than expected. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the actual episodes show their age, though it has been slightly made to sound stereo-like and all interviews are simple stereo. Until the owners consider going wild, upscaling the video and considering lossless audio on some kind of Blu-ray high definition release, this is the best these will look and sound.

Both CD releases have PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo and sound fine for their age, but Misty shows its age and not because of any budgetary reasons because it is well-recorded for tis time, but because of its age in ways that cannot be avoided. The Stacey Q set sounds strong and was meant to be played loud in dance clubs, et al, so it has aged well and never sounds muddy.

To order the Cherry Red Records UK CD import releases, try the links next to their titles as follows...



Stacey Q


- Nicholas Sheffo


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