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Neatly highlights the differences between pre- and post-punk,
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This review is from: The Old Grey Whistle Test - Vol. 3 [DVD] (DVD)
Under Bob Harris and Mile Appleton, the OGWT wasn't too dissimilar to 'Unplugged'. Your best chance of getting on the show came if you played an acoustic guitar and sang. Hence Richard and Linda Thompson, John Martyn (brilliant here with Danny Thompson on acoustic bass), Fairport Convention, Janis Ian (fantastic voice) and Lindisfarne. If you were basically acoustic but had expanded to a band, that was OK -- hence Al Stewart and Stealers Wheel. If you played grand piano, well the BBC workmen could be persuaded to wheel one into the tiny OGWT studio, and this enabled Jackson Browne to play a great version of 'Jamaica Say You Will' and Daivd Bowie to pretend to play to 'Oh You Pretty Things'.
If you were irrevocably electric, such as Steppenwolf or Robin Trower, your chances of getting on the OGWT seemed less good, but here both bands put in great performances.
But perhaps the highlight of the whole DVD is the exception: Humble Pie's soul-laden 'Black Coffee'. As other reviewers have commented, Steve Marriott had a good claim to be Britain's greatest white soul singer.
The best interviews are given by Rick Wakeman and Roger Daltrey. As Neil Young has also pointed out, Daltrey suggests that the CD took away some of our enjoyment of albums: the sound wasn't as good as vinyl, and cover art seemed to be destroyed at a stroke.
I was less taken by some of the post-CD performances, such as that of the Bangles. If this is the best girl band the OGWT ever filmed, I'll eat my hat. (Didn't the 70s OGWT once show Joan Jett and the Runaways?) The King Crimson song is interesting -- I'd never seen the 80s line-up before -- but it's a shame that drummer Bill Bruford was so poorly illuminated.
Will there be a DVD 4 of the OGWT? I notice that only DVD 1 has been released in the USA. We'll just have to hope that the BBC respond to the fans' demand for some of the animated videos that the OGWT production team used -- such as for Steve Miller's 'Swingtown', Led Zep's 'Trampled Underfoot' and Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells'.