Willie & The Poor
Sound: B- Extras: B- Film: B-
Not to be confused with the great Creedence Clearwater
Revival album from 1969, this Willie & The Poor Boys is from 1985
and is a 30-minutes-long film that features the one-time union of a band
consisting of members of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Birds, The Who
and The Beatles in a revival of 1950s music.
It was early in the MTV era and Bill Wyman, who headed up the project,
knew they would have to have a film to promote the music. Here is the DVD from his personal copy.
Though not totally successful as a 1950s Rock revival,
this one-shot project is at least as good as Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man,
an album cut two years earlier in 1983.
Ronnie Lane had set up a fund for research in curing the still-prevalent
scourge known as Multiple Sclerosis, and this is how people like Wyman, Ringo
Starr, Charlie Watts, Jimmy Page, Paul Rogers, Chris Rea, Ronnie Wood and many
others met the call. The songs are as
1) Poor Boy
2) You Can
Talk It Over
Please Don’t Go
Arms Of Mine
The move back to a style of 1950s Rock was often seen as a
reactionary move to the much more liberating New Wave movement, but that
underestimates what some early Rock artists achieved and is overgeneral. Though this film and its music can be fun,
it still lacks the innocence of what it tries to capture, plus is simply not
the original music. Have these great
musicians together is a big plus, and their attempt NOT to be some supergroup
is a welcome plus. The film itself was
co-directed by the team of Eddie Arno and Markus Innocenti, who have been a
filmmaking team for a while now and this is one of their most interesting
The full frame 1.33 X 1 image was shot by cinematographer
John Metcalfe and is not always consistent in look. Sometimes it looks like a concert, and other times like a Music
Video, Happy Days and slightly American Graffiti, but the real
weak point in the program is the dancing that is sloppy. That gives away its age that it is a product
of the MTV era and that it is a revival.
At least it was shot on film.
The sound is here in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby 5.1 and a slightly
better DTS 5.1, but the program’s sound is aged a bit more than expected. This still works fine, but we have to wonder
if the original music-only masters were used or not. A documentary on the making of the program is nearly as long,
serving as the only extra on the DVD. Willie
& The Poor Boys is still an interesting piece of little seen or heard
Rock music worth a look.
- Nicholas Sheffo