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An extensive archive of unique material
on 16 February 2004
4 DVD's packed with classic rock music history from the extensive archives of the BBC, 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' was (and still is) unsurpassed in its range of artists, and boasts a dazzling array of live performances by the best musicians the world has to offer. This boxset represents a significant saving over buying the whole set individually, although some of the content on Volumes 2 and 3 may be surplus to requirements, there is still plenty of quality throughout this extensive collection of material.
Volume 1, (a double DVD set), contains some 5 hours of material, including Elton John, John Lennon, Tom Petty and Bob Marley in the studio, and a rare live performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing their magnum opus, 'Free Bird'. Any self-respecting aficionado of 1970's rock music would consider ownership of these 2 discs as utterly essential.
Volume 2 is slightly less essential, albeit still an intriguing selection of performances, but this time more from the late 70's, early 80's (moving into the punk ear) with artists such as The Who, Roy Harper, The Adverts, The Undertones, Patti Smith and Siouxie and the Banshees. Volume 2 is considerably more concise than 1, at under 2 hours worth of material.
The new Volume 3, however, has more material, at about 3 hours long. Performances from David Bowie (with 'Oh You Pretty Things' from 1972), Steppenwolf's 'Born To Be Wild', Al Stewart, BB King, The Jam ('A Bomb In Wardour Street'), King Crimson and, more recently, The Jesus & Mary Chain. There is also interviews with Bob Harris, Roger Daltrey, Roddy Frame, Rick Wakeman, Nick Lowe, Edwyn Collins, Jools Holland and Bob Geldof.
Ultimately, the Old Grey Whistle Test was really about showcasing the art of performance above all else, and this boxset is an important document of a generation of wonderful performance artists. The big question is, will we ever see the likes again? Just incase we don't, I recommend buying this boxset for posterity, not to mention the best part of 10 hours solid musical entertainment to cherish for a lifetime.