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129 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extensive archive of unique material
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...
Published on 16 Feb 2004 by Touring Mars

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much talking
There's some great music on this DVD set. Shame it has all been bulked out with far too much talking by the presenters who introduce the various tracks. The Old Grey Whistle Test was on for years so there couldn't have been a lack of material to fill the DVD's. I discovered that playing the discs on 'Random' cuts out all the drivel, though, and only plays the music.
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by John Jamison


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129 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extensive archive of unique material, 16 Feb 2004
By 
Touring Mars (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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.
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120 of 124 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five star kicker, 16 Mar 2009
By 
knowledeayton (Hereford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
The Old Grey Whistle Test began its 16-year televisual run in 1971, largely as a vehicle for assorted singer-songwriters and groups of hairy men with guitars. After Annie Nightingale replaced Bob Harris as presenter in 1978, the music of the prevailing post-punk / new wave era began to take centre stage, and during the 1980's Whistle Test then shifted its focus further towards 'chart' music.

This box set brings together the three previously-released DVD volumes into one complete collection. The first volume was itself released on two discs; disc one concentrates on the period from 1971-78 and disc two on 1978-87. The remaining two volumes were single disc affairs that each covered Whistle Test's entire lifespan. If, like me, you were born in the 1970's or earlier, there's a fair chance you'll remember the programme to some degree, and if you're a fan of music from across the Whistle Test era, then there's an even greater chance you'll find a wealth of material here that's of interest to you.

Of the aforementioned singer-songwriters, the late, great John Martyn (twice) and a very sweaty Bill Withers are standouts, while Dr Feelgood's appearance from '75 hints at the seismic musical shift that was soon to follow. The new era is ushered in by the likes of Talking Heads and Siouxsie And The Banshees, peaking with a performance from PiL which is so astonishing it practically defies description. Tubeway Army's arty electropop and The Specials' ska provide a segway of sorts to the more commercially-orientated Whistle Test of the 1980's, though The Jesus And Mary Chain's incendiary In A Hole from '85 proves that the programme continued to dip its toes into more alternative and outré waters on occasion.

There's a lot more good stuff besides; in fact, pleasingly little is unwatchable, and some performances surprise. I've never been a fan of The Police or Supertramp, but until I watched this DVD I never appreciated that Can't Stand Losing You and Dreamer are actually...well...decent songs. And how tight (musically speaking) were the '73 vintage Fairport Convention? The extras aren't hugely bountiful, although the interviews have a curiosity value, and some of the chat from presenters and performers is interesting and insightful, if a little long-winded at times.

Overall, an excellent package.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical History, 30 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
It's a concept that quite simply would not exist today-live band in studio with no audience no lighting, no stage show,just the band-but as an archive of how things were done so differently in terms of music and music programming,some of this is unmissable essential stuff.Take the Edgar winter clip for example.The brief was, turn up, plug in and the next ten minuites is yours-do what you will.So, he hung a huge keyboard around his neck, played that AND saxophone AND drums (even though he had a drummer)and created thejazz/rock/God alone knows monster that was "Frankenstein".Or Focus, who had hard rock and Finnish yodelling with seasonal wishes as a bonus.Every fan who watched marvelled at the prog rock madmen,everyone else who tuned in by default-parents mostly- stared in barely disguised bewilderment and asked what in the name of the Lord they were watching.It just wouldn't happen now in these days of corporate sponsored MTV rock, but then it was unique, a thing of beauty and occasional deliberate perversity,alienating and enthralling in equal measure. Live audiences,light shows even were added to the mix, but the sense of avant garde and risk taking continued.Highlights include magnificent performances of "Give my compliments to the chef" by the quite bonkers Sensational Alex Harvey band, Jesus and Mary Chain's "in the Hole" "Freebird (of course) and so many others. Top of the pile though, by a long long way-an absolutely incredible "Rosalita" by a young, hungry and not-quite-so -ego- bloated Bruce Springsteen and the E street band. What an unbelievably accomplished and fiery performance from a band on top of their -or anyone elses-game. I defy you not to be swept away by this.Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum is John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett redefining minimalist on "Really Free"Or PIL's searing "Careering".OGWT broke Meatloaf in this country-forgive them if you must-and of course the legendary New York Dolls "mock rock" appearance has rightly gone down in history.This DVD is a MUST for music fans of every stripe. It is wondrous.Oh, and Robert Wyatts "Shipbuilding",and the Undertones, and the Jam, and...and...oohhh just own it. Please.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much talking, 24 Aug 2011
This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
There's some great music on this DVD set. Shame it has all been bulked out with far too much talking by the presenters who introduce the various tracks. The Old Grey Whistle Test was on for years so there couldn't have been a lack of material to fill the DVD's. I discovered that playing the discs on 'Random' cuts out all the drivel, though, and only plays the music.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bobtastic!, 30 Aug 2004
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It's a gem and a joy, that's all there is to it really.
However, the joy is tinged with sadness too. Why don't we have OGWT and the inventive, sophisticated and - yes, I'll use the word - progressive music the programme showcased today? I know people will cite 'Later... with Jools Holland' but it's really not the same thing. And as this DVD collection shows, even OGWT wasn't quite the same without Bob Harris. Have you noticed how as Bob's hair has got shorter the whisper has become louder? Anyway, if you want to see as well as hear real music, made by real people with real talent and not the product of a computer and a record company focus group session with some twelve year olds, then this is a must have. I'm not saying everybody got it right all of the time, but even the failures are a damn sight more interesting than today's mass market pulp-pop. You doubt me? then buy this DVD and watch 'The Sensational Alex Harvey Band' you'll see I'm right.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nostalgia in a box, 18 July 2004
By 
Ms H. M. Conner "where Mary Poppins meets Att... (downwind of Bournville) - See all my reviews
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My relationship with music is completely 'I know what I like' - and I like this - from Richard Thompson to Val Doonican, through 98% of everything in between.
At Seventeen? wonderful. Year of the Cat? yes please. Shipbuilding? Never knew I loved it until now.
The commentary is as good as the music, and adds a lot to it.
I keep settling in to watch just one track, and then waking up after seven more 'just one' tracks, each more unmissable than the last.
I actually bought it for my husband's birthday - it was right there on his wish-list, honest! - but it would have been on mine if I'd known it existed.
Can't praise it highly enough - I've had a couple of experiences lately when a sitcom or drama revisited didn't live up to the memories. This exceeded the memories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did we really tune in every week to watch this?, 22 Nov 2011
This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
I used to watch Grey Whistle Test faithfully but had forgotten just what was aired and of course this music was the vogue although we didn't recognise it at the time. So it was very interesting to tap back into the popular music of the 1970's and over the last 30 years. Easy to be critical of the sound and camera work but this was the real thing at the time. Well worth being reminded of how we were.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful content...........but technically flawed !, 1 Jun 2007
By 
John Hegarty (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
The range of musical excerpts from a programme I fondly remember watching every Tuesday night during it's early years is so broad that a review, per se, is largely redundant. The mix of full-on live, live vox with backing track, and entirely mimed (though mostly very well) can be viewed as either quaint or irritating.

The original purchase I made had a fault: toward the start of most tracks there was a very short (less than a second) pause/jump. While it didn't ruin my enjoyment it was (is) irritating. Amazon, as is their way (for which I applaud them) replaced it instantly. Sadly the replacement has the same fault: so the Beeb are to blame. Beware.

Personal highlights include Kristofferson/Coolidge dueting "Help Me Make It Through The Night....real sexual tension, a young Tom Waits (Tom Traubert's Blues), Talking Heads (Psycho Killer), Robert Wyattt (Shipbuilding), Head Hands & Feet with Albert Lee and a pre-Chas'n'Dave Chas Hodges (Warming Up The Band), Gary Moore & "Friends" (i.e. Thin Lizzy) just to see the wonderful Phil Lynott again, and, maybe best of all, Stevie Marriott a la Humble Pie doing Black Coffee....definitely LIVE.

If it wasn't for the fault I'd have given this 5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shoot the presenters, 6 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
There are some wonderful, evocative and memorable performances on these discs, and if they had followed the format of using the original programme introductions or used optional on-screen captions, I could watch them again and again.

Unfortunately the BBC have a habit of employing presenters who prefer the sound of their own voices over the artists they are introducing, (as happens during every televised music festival). The result is a series of lengthy and tedious personal reminiscences that interrupt the flow and pace of the music, are extremely annoying on first viewing and make a second play unlikely except to people who like to keep one finger on the fast-forward button.

An excellent idea, a welcome trip down memory lane, but a flawed presentation. Interview the staff next time if you like, BBC, but put them in a section at the end so we don't have to listen to such interminable drivel, subjective views that are of no interest to anyone other than the person speaking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OGWT-4 disc set, 25 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] (DVD)
Overall, a good retrospective on the OGWT years especially for the price. Some classic performances especially from Edgar Winter and Lynyrd Skynyrd (which appealed to me) as well as later stuff which I was not so enthusiastic about (it's an age thing, I guess). The set is basically earlier discs repackaged (i.e. it's the 30th anniversary set expanded) but that's not a real issue. The presenter interviews between tracks are a bit tedious - on some discs they are part of the video track so tricky to avoid. Discs 1 and 2 are particularly annoying as direct track access is not possible as with discs 3 and 4. These are minor points and, to reiterate, for about 9 quid, there's over 9 hours of great stuff here.
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Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977]
Old Grey Whistle Test - Volumes 1-3 Box Set [DVD] [1977] by The Old Grey Whistle Test (DVD - 2005)
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