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3.5 out of 5 stars15
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2004
Pop is the music of the rebel. But it's also the music of the non-rebel, and with the OGWT, from the heart of the BBC establishment, non-rebellious, thinking-person's pop reached its zenith. Of course, punk knocked it all down in 1977, and with the help of Saturday Night Fever disco, pop suddenly became physical again. The OGWT never really recovered, and once Bob Harris had gone, competition from C4's 'The Tube' etc meant its days were numbered.
Which was a great pity, as all three OGWT compilation DVDs illustrate. The OGWT was a superb, must-see programme scheduled late on Tuesday evenings. You had to watch every show, firstly because there was no other TV programme showcasing 'album' music, and secondly because the Radio Times never told you who would be appearing.
In the early 1970s I was at a boarding school, and our house was rationed to a TV maximum of three hours per week. Which programmes we watched were decided by the prefects (which brought them much undeserved popularity), and it says much about the quality of OGWT that this programme was always chosen.
These DVDs have something of the feel of the TV programmes, except that they don't contain any interview material nor any of the wonderful animations chosen to accompany some tracks. (I never cease to be surprised at the number of occasions when I discuss OGWT with friends and they mention the 'Skiers' video chosen for Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells'.) The introductions are, by and large, marvellous, if only to see how the artists look 30 years on. Perhaps Bill Nelson has weathered the years better than most, only a little pudgier of face. Particularly good is Roger Daltrey, whose interviews are spread across this and DVD three. Not for the first time do we hear an artist lamenting the arrival of CD, and with its poorer sonic quality and its destruction of the art of album cover design.
The musical highlights, for me, are most of the 70s stuff, particularly The Who, Joan Armatrading, Bruce Johnston, AWB, and Roxy Music. The DVD will probably bring few new converts to the programme, but it's a treasure trove for those of us who were there at the time.
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on 29 October 2003
After some initial hesitation, curiosity finally got the better of me and being pleasantly surprised by Vol. 1, I decided to take a chance with this one too. Overall, I'm glad I did because in spite of some appalling dross (Loggins & Messina, OMD and The Pet Shop Boys), there are a few true gems here that I doubt you'd be able to find anywhere else.
For me, the performances by Argent, Montrose, Be Bop Deluxe (who's music I've never actually liked) and Siouxsie & the Banshees are the main highlights. But even these are totally eclipsed by the truly sublime performance of "Don't Believe A Word" by "Gary Moore & Friends" (the latter mainly comprising other members of Thin Lizzy). It's worth buying for this alone.
Let's just hope that Vol. 3 offers up some of the more interesting bands that others have mentioned. As is the way of these things,in the end it simply comes down to personal taste...
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While accepting Vol 1 had more enthusiasm by the presenters in parts than was comfortable, it still remains a very enjoyable two disc set of what was (given the sheer overall range and quality) and left you wanting more.
Sadly Vol 2 leaves you concerned this series is heading rapidly downhill. Reasons for this view are:
- Only one disc when the sheer volume of material available plus pricing versus the double set of Vol 1, leaves you feeling definitely short changed
- Some real dross that does not look like it will not stand repeated viewing (Loggins & Messina; OMD; Tom Verlaine; Thomas Dolby and the Andy Kershaw Skiffle Session being worst cases I suspect)
- Introductory comments by different musicians/presenters that are inappropriate (Rick Wakeman on Roy Harper esp.); too self serving (Roger Daltrey and Jools Holland) rather than being about the show; or repetitive (the many different comments on problems with MU rules and the studio layout for recording plus later change to having an audience for some shows, could probably have been better edited into a single extra on problems with overall recording and presenting the show across the years).
However the good news is that there are enough good performances and historic items to just about justify buying if 1970s to 1980s music is your bag. While I am sure everyone has their own favourite artistes they want to see again on the next issue (mine being Jack Bruce and Friends and David Bowie)I hope a rethink for content and format will occur for Vol 3 - my only other wish is that consider using some of the amazing graphics for certain pieces of music that were an early feature of the show(the cartoon for Pink Floyd's "One of these Days being one I remember best).
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on 14 June 2004
I think the trouble with the whistle test production team is that they're far too nice and want to please all the people all of the time.
from what I remember of the programme itself it was always pretty eclectic but there was always something on worth watching. The same can be said these compilations from the vaults of Auntie Beeb.
I bought the first (double) disc with fond memories of some classic performances of the 70's and while there were some included there seemed to be better ones left out.
So on to the second helping. Again, there are one or two reasonable appearances but nothing to drool over, and it seems to concentrate far too heavily on the latter part of the 70's and the mundane 80's. although having said that the highlight for me is Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive" a mixture of "live" and computer based music fronted by the man himself and a manic pixie punk backing singer who steals the show (anyone know who she is?).
There are some others like Prefab Sprout (80's again? what am I griping about?), Hall & Oates and Roy Harper and it's good to see Annie Nightingale in her prime. But it's still missing the classic cuts. Where are the Steely Dans and the Eagles? - maybe next time.
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on 22 October 2003
This dvd starts in great fashion with the superb Albert Lee in Heads Hands and Feet and a rousing rendition of Warming up the band,lots more highlights along the way depending on your taste,my own favs. from this are Kevin Ayres, Roxy Music,BeBop Deluxe,Montrose,Bruce Johnston,Joan Armatrading,The Undertones and the afore mentioned Heads Hands and Feet.One proviso for all you fellow Humble Pie fans out there,Black Coffee performance as listed does not exist,this listing needs revised Amazon!With The Pie 5 stars,without 4 stars.
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on 20 October 2003
Did they really use up all the good stuff for the first volume? The answer has to be yes as this DVD seems to be made up of forgettable performances and second rate stories. If you're a 70s/80s obsessive with minority tastes I suppose you'd find it interesting. But if you were just a fan of the show and want to see great performances by memorable bands, accompanied by witty anecdotes, I'd stick with volume 1.
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on 23 January 2004
After recently viewing the excellent Vol 1, I was eager to buy
Vol 2 as soon as humanly possible. There are some utterly incredible performances such as Kevin Ayers and the George Duke project (my personal favourites). But then comes the less than wonderful 80's era that spews out some complete dirge (except Suzanne Vega's excellent "Marlene on the Wall". How on earth did anyone give permission to put that OMD "track" on the DVD? I would put thati n my top ten of worst ever songs.
Vol 2 is nevertheless salvaged with some great stuff!! Definitely
consider purchasing this.
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on 27 February 2005
More from the OGWT archives. Some good - stand up be Bop Deluxe ("Maid in Heaven"), Hall & Oates ("She's Gone"), Tom Verlaine ("Days on the mountain pt 1"), Prefab Sprout ("When love breaks down"), Joan Armatrading ("Love & Affection"), Patti Smith Group ("Because the Night"). Some exceptional stuff too: the Who with Keith Moon, one of the biggest bands to make it into the OGWT studio, mime along to "Relay" (Roger Daltry has some interesting things to say about those much-vaunted OGWT live performances). 1972 Roxy Music doing "Ladytron", all fake leopardskin and Bryan Ferry doing his best Rita Haywarth impression. Shane McGowan and the Pogues ("Dirty old town"). A glimpse of one of the best early 70s American hard rock bands, Montrose, with Sammy Hagar on vocals for "Bad motor scooter", long before he was tempted to join Van Halen. But some dreadful rubbish too (Loggins and Messina, Judee Sill, OMD, Heads Hand & Feet, the English whimsy of Kevin Ayres).
The menu is easier to negotiate this time, but the sound quality is a little dull at times. Some good interviews with performers from the OGWT era too - Bill Nelson, Roger Daltry, the ever-amusing Rick Wakeman.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2003
This disc is certainly better than the 30th anniversary discs (Vol 1.) - mostly because the contributors are over the "isn't it great seeing all this again" syndrome and really talk about the music, "Whispering" Bob is as good as ever and the extras are nice, if a bit quirky (Squirrels!) Just watch the Hall and Oates Performance from '76 to see what we miss now on TV - bring back the Whistle test!
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on 18 July 2007
Some great tracks with the odd duffer thrown in, but its all down to personal preference really, the main worry is the cheap production. Poor graphics, menu, editing and only Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono! See what Led Zep can do with a discs sound!
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