Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Pop > Rock > Novelty > Backstage Musical > Biopic > Comedy > Teens > Punk > First Class: Beach Baby (1970 - 1977/Grapefruit*)/I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Ladies and Gentlemen... The Fabulous Stains (1982/Paramount/ViaVision/Imprint Region Free Import B

First Class: Beach Baby (1970 - 1977/Grapefruit*)/I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Ladies and Gentlemen... The Fabulous Stains (1982/Paramount/ViaVision/Imprint Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Lieutenant Pigeon: The Decca Years (1970 - 1975/7T's*)/Silverhead: More Than Your Mouth Can Hold: Complete Recordings 1972 - 1974 (Purple Records*)/Julie Tippets: Sunset Glow (1975/*all Cherry Red Records CDs)

Picture: B (Blu-rays only) Sound: B/C+/B-/B/B-/B Extras: C+/C+/B/C/C+/C Main Programs: B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Stains Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at ViaVision Entertainment in Australia, can play on all 4K and Blu-ray players, I'll Cry Tomorrow is exclusively available from Warner Archive, plus all four Cherry Red Records U.K CD releases are also only available exclusively from them as well. All can be ordered from the links below.

Now for a new set of reissued music goodies of all kinds...

The First Class: Beach Baby (1970 - 1977) is a new CD set wisely centering around the band's one really big hit, one that keeps returning to the pop culture discourse, a tribute to the original Beach Boys of all things. Its a fun song, well recorded, produced and engineered, but you may think you have heard the band have more hits when they did not. Why? Because their lead singer found himself in several bands over the decades.

As a matter of fact, lead singer Tony Burrows had a career like Paul Carrick, two great singers who kept having hits with different bands. In Burrows case, you have heard him before on classic hits by White Plains (My Baby Loves Lovin',) Brotherhood of Man (United We Stand,) The Pipkins (Gimme Dat Ding,) and Edison Lighthouse (Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes); a filmed promotion music video from the time still circulates today on this one) still get played all the time today. Burrows is a great singer and like Carrick, never gets all the credit he deserves and to repeat the press release (at the link below) their second album was not even issued in the U.S., so the band was being written off. That is stranger since this set includes over a dozen jingles they did for various products in an extensive roll of successful commercials, so whatever they were doing was working and it did not help them like it should have.

The band is fun and consistently energetic in this run of Pop/Rock work that deserves to be heard and heard again, from a more relatively innocent time of fun and joy music has lost. The musicians are slid too and Burrows has fellow vocalists who harmonize with him very well. A fun set, I'm glad this is getting the respect and treatment it deserves. Hope more of Burrows work gets this treatment too.

Daniel Mann's I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956) wants to be a biopic and backstage musical, but the problem is that the real life woman portrayed became a hardcore alcoholic, so the film wants to be realistic, yet be a classical Hollywood tale of how wonderful its lead really is. Susan Hayward is pretty convincing as Lilian Roth, a star who was on a big roll and climbing fast in the studio system when drinking sabotaged everything.

Based on a book Roth co-wrote, it is honest enough about how badly things went, how bad her life became and how she barely survived it all. The Hollywood Code was starting to go into decline at this time, but the film also has to dodge some topics, while handling others in interesting ways. Mann was a solid journeyman and handles things well, while the supporting cast including a pre-Green Acres Eddie Albert, Don Taylor, Joan Van Fleet, Richard Conte and Ray Danton are a plus.

No, some parts do not work or hold up as well as others, but this is a smart mature work with just enough songs in it to be a backstage musical, if not totally so. The classic hit ''When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin Along'' was used to ironic effect in Coppola's masterpiece The Conversation (1974, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and I have to wonder if this film was part of the inspiration for that.

The great Alex North did the music and though sadly out of print, the limited edition CD from FSM Records that even outdoes the audio on this disc, still, is one I reviewed a long time ago. You can read more about it all at this link:


Lou Adler's Ladies and Gentlemen... The Fabulous Stains (1982) is the second and last feature film the legendary producer/songwriter ever directed (the first was a more successful Cheech & Chong film, this was barely released!!!) and is another entry in a cycle of honest films about teens that started to show up in the mid-1970s and ended with Coppola's S.E. Hinton adaptions. Like Little Darlings, it has not been seen or reissued much, but is a remarkable-enough film with a young Diane Lane as a young gal frustrated with her home life. She goes on the road when Punk Rock calls and lands up in the band of the title.

Though a few moments strain credibility, this is amusing, funny, well made and an unbelievably accurate time capsule of the time. Was this too dangerous to release in theaters? Well, the conflict with older rockers and new Punk performers are here, as they travel on a bus with a reggae theme (!) and Christine Lahti is the mother, while Laura Dern is another one of the gals in The Stains, a very young Ray Winstone is a love interest from a British punk band on the same bus and the portrayal of the analog news media of the time is additionally funny.

Former Sex Pistols member Steve Jones, former Clash member Paul Simonon, long-running character actor Peter Donat and Janet Wright are among the strong, convincing supporting cast. Stains is simply a lost gem finally getting a proper HD release and not a moment too soon. Everyone should see this one at least once.

Lieutenant Pigeon: The Decca Years (1970 - 1975) is one of those great counterculture acts (like Firesign Theater) but a real band (think the wildest side of The Beatles or Zappa's many projects of the time, or Blue Swede joining the many other bands covering hit records in their own unique way with whole albums) that was being comical, but with even more irony than a Ray Stevens or even a 'Weird Al' Yankovic. Their first single 'Mouldy Old Dough' spent a month at #1 on the U.K. pop charts and that might have been the end of it, making them a one hit wonder.

However, they landed up making three studio albums including several cover songs and at least half of the songs have no singing and barely any backing vocals. With no hits or much of any other appearances in the U.S. market, this new double CD set is a big chance for anyone who loves music, comedy and something different (and even fun) to catch up to some great work that holds up well, pushes some basic boundaries that you would not even hear in today's mostly boring music market and by talent that knew what it was doing.

If anything, the set reminds us of how much we have lost in the world of music, a certain heart and soul disappeared after the Disco era folded. Fortunately, these recordings survive well and I cannot recommend them enough to those interested.

For years, many in the U.S. have heard about Michael Des Barres, from some of his groupie sexcapades to seeing him acting in some B-movies to sometimes actually hearing him sing, yet he had no hits in the U.S. market. So what was the excitement about? Was he really this great 1970s Rock performer, singer and personality or was that all a myth? Well, the new CD set Silverhead: More Than Your Mouth Can Hold - The Complete Recordings 1972 - 1974 proves he is actually the real thing, up there with KISS, Led Zeppelin, Rainbow, Slade and The Rolling Stones for singing testosterone credibility and his stint in this band proves it.

Consisting of two studio albums and a huge helping of live performances, this group had the non-stop energy, ideas, lyrics and otherwise to deliver what was the rock scene at the time and Des Barres might be one of the most underrated male vocalists of his time, which says something from such a golden period. The material is as good as their competitors, but the playing and singing is the evidence he and his band of the time here were the real thing. Now the hype makes sense and it is odd and sad they or he did not have at least one big hit or one hit wonder in 'the states' but this 6-CD set shows they should have. Now you can hear why.

And then we have Julie Tippets: Sunset Glow (1975,) who as Julie Driscoll, had a 1968 hit with a song that became the theme song of the classic 1990s British TV situation comedy Absolutely Fabulous: This Wheel's On Fire. Soon married to her boyfriend Keith Tippett, she added solo work to work with his band and this album was the result. With more naturalistic vocals, more personal and private ideas and a more laidback style, she shows a uniqueness and range you did not necessarily hear in much Pop, Adult Contemporary, Rock or singer/songwriter work from women at the time despite the Carole Kings and Linda Ronstadts of the world.

That was soon to change, but many singers like herself were not necessarily getting the airplay or attention they deserved, the commercial success of women in the business still not what it should have been despite amazing sales by the likes of Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Helen Reddy, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John. If anything, Tippets was not having any hits and if she did, was still likely to be unfairly limited like Lulu and Kiki Dee were, women who deserved way more hits than they got. That is why hearing this album is still fresh like early Kate Bush and that's what makes it so interesting to revisit and more than worth reissuing.

Those interested should catch it and Cherry Red has already scheduled a duet album she did around the same time.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image on Tomorrow can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and has a surprisingly good amount of nice, clean, clear shots that help it all be more vivid, even when it is in Noir territory. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix has been restored as much as possible from its original theatrical optical monophonic sound, but has its sonic limits and shows its age. Since we know how great the soundtrack sounded on CD, the music recording is just too sonically better to go with the older dialogue tracks, so a total upgrade was sadly impossible. Still, great work again from Warner Archive.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Stains can also show the age of the materials used, but this too is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film, what there have been of it. Color is decent and there are more fine shots here than you might expect. Also, it captures the look of the music scene at the time to its credit. In that, this holds up well enough. As for sound, the film was intended as a theatrical optical mono sound release, but we get two soundtracks here in a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix and a PCM 2.0 Stereo version that is a little weaker, but they are about even.

All the CDs are here in PCM 2.0 16/44.1 Stereo and sound as good as they can, though Pigeon was recorded to have distortion and even a sense of warping at times, but that's the style. Then the many live Silverhead recordings show their age more than expected and can be on the weak side or even monophonic, so be careful of volume switching and high playback levels on those. Otherwise, this is the best these are ever going to sound in the long-running CD format.

Extras include the expected booklets for all four CD releases, though the First Class bonus tracks were so extensive, we counted those as extras, Stains has a limited edition slipcase for the first 1,500 copies, but all versions also add a Feature Length Audio Commentary Track by director Lou Adler

  • A second Feature Length Audio Commentary Track by actresses Diane Lane and Laura Dern

  • NEW Audio commentary by film critic / author Lee Gambin and musician / journalist Allison Wolfe

  • NEW I Don't Put Out: Punk, Anger, X Feminism: video essay by film historian Kat Ellinger

  • NEW Lizard Music: The Late Night Culture of the Fabulous Stains: video essay by author Sara Marcus

  • Audio Interview with actress Marin Kanter

  • NEW Keep On Rocking!: interview with actress Debbie Rochon

  • and a Photo Gallery

That leaves Tomorrow adding three clips from the MGM Parade TV series with Hayward promoting the film, a newsreel of the film's premiere, another clip with two MGM films winning top acting prizes, an Original Theatrical Trailer and a musical short called Conference, with the real life Lilian Roth as the star, running 20 minutes, in black and white.

To order the Ladies and Gentlemen... The Fabulous Stains Imprint Region Free import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and other hard to find releases at:


...and to order any of the four Cherry Red Records U.K. CD imports, go to these links by title:

The First Class: Beach Baby (1970 - 1977)


Lieutenant Pigeon: The Decca Years (1970 - 1975)


Silverhead: More Than Your Mouth Can Hold - The Complete Recordings 1972 - 1974


Julie Tippets: Sunset Glow


...and to order the I'll Cry Tomorrow Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com