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Davnik "davewright29"

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The Studio Albums 1975-2001
The Studio Albums 1975-2001
Offered by becksdvds-co-uk
Price: £42.95

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My impression largely confirmed but still a decent bargain., 6 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In my 2009 review of the Rod Stewart Sessions 1971 - 1998 I suggested that unlike his two great contemporaries David Bowie and Elton John, Rod had never had a late career revival. They too both suffered artistic slumps, but Bowie has had a series of very creditable albums during the past dozen years, whilst Elton has also issued occasional albums which, if not quite up to the standards of his 70's heyday, aren't far off. No such revival for Rod, who as far as I am concerned released his last consistently decent album as far back as `76.
However since writing this Rod has issued two albums of original material and thankfully finally left the Great American Songbook, which has occupied him for much of this century, behind. Don’t get me wrong I like the Great American Songbook, but if I’m going to listen to those songs I need to hear Sinatra or some similar classy crooner interpreting them rather than Rod Stewart.
I was vaguely aware that Rod had released his first album of original material for many years with Time in 2013, however believing it probably to be once again nothing to write home about I never investigated it. It was only when I heard Love Is, the single from his 2015 album, Another Country as a Radio 2 single of the week a few weeks ago I thought maybe his new material might have some merit. Sure enough I listened to the rest of that album and then Time and I was impressed enough to purchase both and accept that, like Elton and Bowie, Rod has now enjoyed a late career revival. I believe these albums are as good as anything he’s produced since Tonight’s The Night in ‘76, even possibly since 1972’s Never A Dull Moment.
The only Rod albums I had prior to this were the Complete Mercury recordings which covers his first five albums 1969 - 74 (four of them classics) and singles and outtakes, the compilation The Story So Far, the Unplugged album, the Sessions 71 - 98 box set and the first two Warners albums, 75’s Atlantic Crossing and Tonight’s the Night from ‘76. I believed that, the occasional single apart, there wasn’t really anything essential post ‘76 and anything I needed after this was included on The Story So Far.
However after this revival of my interest in Rod I played my copies of Atlantic Crossing and Tonight’s the Night and I was appalled to hear how poor they sounded. I have never been a great audiophile and so long as I could hear the music I wasn’t that bothered about remastering. However after playing the modern discs and comparing the 70’s releases it was apparent even to my cloth ears that these original versions badly needed upgrading. I looked around and discovered that remastered versions were available, however when I saw this box I thought I may as well go the whole hog and purchase all of Rod’s post ‘76 albums in one bargain go.
I took a chance on whether the sound would have been upgraded and it doesn’t say anything on the packaging to confirm it has. However as soon as I played both the first two albums it was instantly apparent that the sound was much improved on the versions I already owned. Of course not having any of the other albums I couldn’t compare any more.
I still believe those first two albums are the best Rod recorded for Warner Bros however I was surprisingly impressed with the following pair, 77’s Footloose And Fancy Free and the following year’s Blondes Have More Fun. The latter in particular had always been on my to avoid list as I was put off by both the cover and Do You Think I’m Sexy? which I felt had been Rod’s worst single up that time (there would be worse to come), however if you get past the disco influenced most famous track (which on reflection isn’t that terrible) there is some good material on this disc, notably Ain’t Love A Bitch, the title track (an excellent rocker), Attractive Female Wanted and Scarred and Scared, the latter being one of the tracks whose alternative version appears on the Rod Stewart sessions box.
After these first four releases the quality becomes as I feared much more inconsistent. There are still some decent individual tracks and mainly sound singles however there is perhaps even more dreck, the nadir possibly being 1984’s Camouflage, which the single, Some Guys Have All the Luck apart, is an extremely poor record throughout featuring an absolutely dreadful and unnecessary version of Free’s classic but overrated and overplayed All Right Now. Rod has covered many songs by others, some famous and some not so famous, and by and large he has done a good job, but this must be his worst cover ever.
The three albums between Blondes Have More Fun and Camouflage had all been inconsistent with some further dreadful moments and the last half dozen would be similarly variable with occasional good tracks amongst the many forgettable songs. Four consistent albums out of fourteen is maybe not a particularly good return and there is probably only the equivalent of another three or at the most four albums worth of strong material on those last ten releases. None of those ten are anywhere near as good as Time or Another Country and ultimately confirmed my impression of Rod Stewart post ’76.
However despite this I would say on balance if you only have a couple of his albums from this period or you want more than a compilation it’s still worth purchasing this box at the price. Fourteen albums for £40 or so is a great bargain, even if many of those albums leave much to be desired, there are still enough good tracks to justify the outlay. Naturally there is no annotation for this price and there is the odd non album single missing, such as the Tom Waits covers DowntownTrain and Tom Traubert’s Blues so you still won’t have everything Rod released during this period

Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More doesn't necessarily mean better, 12 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mirrors (Audio CD)
Whilst it’s doubtful Reverend and the Makers will ever surpass their debut, Mirrors is perhaps their finest since. Songs such as Mr Glasshalfempty are amongst the best they’ve done and as you’d perhaps expect do actually have a more sophisticated production than that debut. Despite this being almost certainly their best album since the first and perhaps even their greatest ever, Mirrors does have a few minor irritations which prevent it being awarded five stars that so many people indiscriminately bandy about. In my opinions five stars should be used sparely and only awarded for the very best.
The cd comes with bonus tracks as standard. Now three of the bonus tracks are radio edits of three of the best album tracks, however what is weird is that radio edits are always shorter than album versions, whereas in this case they are all longer (all the tracks on the album are relatively short). These bonuses seem therefore rather pointless; they may as well have just put these versions on the album in the first place. The other bonus Mirrors (overproof dub) is to my mind even more pointless, being a twenty odd minute noise which I will never play again. By modern standards Mirrors is a relatively short, but quality, cd and it seems they’ve just unnecessarily padded it out with this stuff.
Similarly the final track on the album proper Lay Me Down runs to nine plus minutes, although the actual (excellent) song lasts half that time, the rest being silence, which is irritating when you want to download it to itunes. You have to stop downloading about halfway through otherwise you are simply wasting precious space on your ipod. I thought record companies had abandoned this irritating practice of hidden tracks which they seemed to put on so many releases at the turn of the century - although this isn’t hidden it amounts to the same thing - which just wastes disc space on cds and mp3 players. It seems that they have to make the albums quirky in some way these days. Why can’t they just issue a straightforward album anymore?
Another minor irritation is that Mirrors is supposed to be a concept album. I’m not sure what it is a concept about as there are no printed lyrics and the artwork is throwaway rubbish.
At least these quibbles don’t detract from the excellent music. However I do think a little more care could have gone into this release and more doesn’t always mean better, especially when the bonuses are barely different to that which is already on the album.

Blogging: How To Start A Profitable Blog: A Guide To Create Content That Rocks, Build Traffic, And Turn Your Blogging Passion Into Profit (Blog Mastermind Booklets)
Blogging: How To Start A Profitable Blog: A Guide To Create Content That Rocks, Build Traffic, And Turn Your Blogging Passion Into Profit (Blog Mastermind Booklets)
Price: £0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Get rich quick nonsense., 19 Jun. 2015
More get rich quick nonsense. The idea that you can earn enough from 'passive' internet income is nonsense. If that were the case everyone would be doing it and no one would be working!

Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre: A Biography of The Doors
Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre: A Biography of The Doors
Price: £4.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A ripping yarn, but full of errors and speculation., 18 May 2015
This is the latest take on the oft told story of Jim Morrison and the Doors. Mick Wall is an incredibly prolific and experienced rock music writer who can tell a good sensationalist yarn, however you know much of this book is going to be simply that - a speculative yarn from the very beginning when he tells you on the second page how the blonde cloakroom assistant at the Paris club where he alleges Morrison died, always reacted to Jim as he entered the building. How Wall could possibly know the reactions of an unnamed cloakroom attendant from more than forty years ago is unclear. Although he quotes many sources and first hand interviews with those ‘in the know’, the fact remains that Morrison’s death will be forever shrouded in mystery, which is probably the way Jim would have wanted it. Wall’s main take on it is that Morrison actually expired in the lavatory of the Paris club and was smuggled back to his apartment to avoid scandal. He was placed in the bath where he was later discovered and this became the ‘official version’ of his death for many years afterwards. Where and how Morrison passed away remains uncertain, and the fact that barely anyone, and apparently no one reliable, saw his body has forever led to speculation that he might not even had died at all in Paris in July 1971 and may even still be around somewhere. However, despite the inevitable persistence of crackpot theories, this is as likely as that Elvis remains alive.

As I say the book remains a ripping yarn and although the story of the Doors has been told as much as any group this side of the Beatles, this is perhaps the most detailed version yet. It is therefore extremely frustrating to discover that a writer so experienced as Mick Wall should make so many mistakes and inconsistencies. On page 301 he says ‘Touch Me’ would be the last time any Doors single went top ten in the United States (number 3). On page 402 he then states ‘Love Her Madly’ became the first Doors single to become a sizeable top ten hit in March 1971! It isn’t clear whether he is referring here to the UK or the US charts, but if it’s the latter has he suddenly forgotten not only ‘Touch Me’ number 3 from 69, but the previous number ones ‘Light My Fire’ in 67 and’ Hello I Love You’ in 68 (page 265)? For the record the Doors never had a top ten hit in the UK during their lifetime, with only ‘Hello I Love You’ making the top twenty and ‘Riders on the Storm’ the top thirty, and ‘Love Her Madly’ actually reached number 11 in the States.
Another outstanding error appears on page 473 when he tells us that the first Jim Morrison biography ‘No One Her Gets Out Alive’ appeared in 1998, when I knew for a fact that I bought the book many years before that. On checking my copy which I still have I noted it was published in 1980!

Wall has written many other books on major rock bands - Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Gun n Roses, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and AC / DC amongst others, many of which I’ve read. However being a fan of the Doors for much longer than any of those bands I was perhaps more familiar with their history and therefore was able to pick up on any errors and inconsistencies more perceptively. It now makes me wonder just how accurate some of his other writing is.
It is also slightly irritating and extremely ironic that throughout the book Wall is critical of Ray Manzarek’s admittedly often irritating over the top and sometimes nonsensical way of speaking in interviews during his forty years dedicated to promoting the legacy and legend of the Doors and Jim Morrison, when Wall himself frequently writes in a similarly OTT style.

Feast Of Friends [DVD] [2014] [NTSC]
Feast Of Friends [DVD] [2014] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ The Doors
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £13.21

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No essential unseen footage., 8 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite being a huge Doors fan for many years I held off buying this as I wondered how much actual new material I hadn’t previously seen would be included; as the Doors musical and visual catalogue has been milked thoroughly dry since the revival of interest in the band began in the late 70’s / early 80’s I feared it wouldn’t be much - sadly I was proved right.

I already own quite a number of Doors dvd’s: 30 Years Commemorative Edition, which features three films - Live At The Hollywood Bowl, Dance On Fire and the Soft Parade Retrospective (the Doors last televised appearance from 1969). In addition I have the three disc collection Live In Europe 1968, Soundstage Performances, and the No One Here Gets Out Alive tribute documentary from 1981 which was one of the first pieces to cash in on Morrison’s legacy - I had it on VHS when it first came out. In effect then I had six films featuring the Doors running to around seven hours worth of material. I didn’t therefore believe that there could be very much new material of a sixties band left to release, however I recently finally succumbed.

Of course the Doors were actually film students themselves so there is maybe more celluloid of them than of many of their contemporaries. Feast Of Friends is their own 1968 documentary about themselves, never completed or previously released, whilst the Granada TV documentary has also never been shown in full since its 1968 broadcast. This dvd was therefore promoted as featuring a great deal of new and previously unseen material. This is simply not true.
Yes there are a few minutes of rare footage in both films, however seeing as most of this consists of studio doodling by Krieger, Manzerak or Morrison or Morrison talking to some priest, it is by and large akin to watching paint dry. Of course Jim Morrison was such a charismatic figure than any film of him holds some interest; unfortunately this doesn’t bear repeated viewing. All the essential material from both these documentaries is readily available on the discs I already own. So much of the Doors Are Open, and certainly all the interesting bits, was released as far back as the No One Gets Out Alive documentary. The longest sequence not previously featured is a fairly awful soundcheck of ‘Hello I Love You’ with Manzarak singing and Morrison not even present!
Whilst much of the footage from A Feast Of Friends has also been previously released, including all the best bits. The performance of ‘The End’ which takes up a good deal of the running time, is on Live At Hollywood Bowl, and the other version of the same song filmed in Canada 1967 tacked on as an extra incentive to purchase and touted as rare, is also readily available on the Soundstage Performances disc.

As I say I adore the Doors, and if anything this release has inspired me to dig out my existing dvds of them once again. However no matter how much you love a band what is the point of owning exactly the same material more than once?
Oh if you are really desperate for every second of available footage, there are a couple of ‘enthralling’ minutes of silent film of them sailing to complete your collection!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2016 4:17 PM GMT

Prison Diaries
Prison Diaries
by Denis MacShane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy books from crooks!, 18 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Prison Diaries (Hardcover)
Not sure why anyone would want to buy this. A convicted criminal simply attempting to profit from his crime, sadly supported and encouraged by the Mail on Sunday which has serialised the nonsense.

A whole seven weeks inside hardly makes him an expert anyway.

Nearly ten quid for a kindle book too!
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 14, 2014 5:18 AM GMT

The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Price: £4.99

10 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than Build A Rocket but still not as good as Seldom Seen Kid or Leaders., 10 Mar. 2014
I first caught up with Elbow during the fuss about Seldom Seen Kid, prior to that I had I had just a clip of them doing Fugitive Motel on my Jools Holland Britpop dvd which I'd largely forgotten about. However I did succumb to the hype and bought SSK and was mightily impressed, impressed enough to seek out their back catalogue. I bought Leaders of the Free World and was equally impressed, but Cast of Thousands, the aforementioned Fugitive Motel apart, didn't do much for me, so I didn't bother with their first album Asleep in the Back, the clips I'd heard on the internet suggesting it was even worse than Cast of Thousands.

I did look forward to Build a Rocket Boys, hoping it would be another in the style of SSK or LOTFW, however I was immensely disappointed with what for me was an album of very weak material.

So we come to this latest release and whilst it is a genuine improvement on Build A Rocket it is no Seldom Seen Kid or Leaders of the Free World.
I do commend Elbow for their efforts to use different instrumentation and the craft and care they put into their songs, and they certainly have their own sound which stands out from their generic indie guitar/bass/drums combination, but for me there are once again too many rather tuneless slow dirges and not enough up tempo material. Added to this is the dirge like quality of Guy Garvey's voice. I know this will be considered sacrilege by the uncritical fan worshippers who blindly fling five stars around and insult anyone who doesn't, but I really don't think he's that good a singer.

I know this review will receive a barrow load of unhelpful votes and criticism, but if people really stop and listen carefully they will hear the lack of tunes and variety of tempo. I know Elbow deserve careful listening and don't reveal all their treasures instantly which will always make them worth listening to and it is still a worthy three star album, but five stars no.

It could be argued that all new releases these days are on a hiding to nothing, as coming up with a couple of great tunes, let alone an album full must be harder than discovering the Holy Grail!
Comment Comments (15) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2014 8:11 PM GMT

The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (2-Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2013]
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (2-Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ The Stone Roses
Offered by Assai-uk
Price: £9.75

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great band but not a great movie., 20 Dec. 2013
Of the great bands only the Beatles, The Clash and the Jam never reformed and for many years it looked like the Roses would be the fourth, so when their reformation was announced I viewed it with some trepidation, after all they had partially tarnished their legacy at the end of their original lifetime After viewing this film I'm still not sure what I think, although The Stone Roses remain one of my favourite bands of all time I was pretty disappointed with this release.
Seeing as the existing dvd of the Stones Roses at their peak is also quite frustrating featuring the legendary but poorly filmed appearance at Blackpool and a few TV appearances it seems we still await a definitive dvd of this great and influential band. Although there seems no chance of this happening now when the band were in their prime, unless by some miracle light could be shed on the murk that is Blackpool, I was hoping maybe we would be rewarded with a decent visual record of the reformed band, unfortunately this isn't it.

Shane Meadows, like Mike Leigh before him, is a working class director beloved of the critics, and although I think his work interesting and worth watching, for me at least it doesn't stand up to repeated viewing - indeed I found his most famous work This Is England actually unpleasant and overrated. - nor does this movie warrant subsequent views.

I can understand his repeated assertions that he wanted to stand back and didn't want to intrude on the band's differences, either in the past or whilst he was actually filming, although the bust up in Amsterdam was the most compelling part of the film. However making a non chronological documentary of a band that doesn't merely relate its history is extremely difficult, as the result is more often than not ninety minutes or so of very little substance, and so it is here. It is possible to do it - I believe The Who's non chronological The Kids Are Alright is the greatest rock movie ever made - but apart from anything else there is a lot more film of the Who than there is of the Roses and Townshend and Moon were more interesting characters to interview and film.

Why the Heaton park concert which must have been filmed in its entirety isn't included I have no idea. Presumably they are holding it back for a separate release, then a few years later they will include that and this in a deluxe package. This is usually the way it works.

The rehearsal footage of the band is worth one viewing but afterwards becomes boring, to be fair that is true of any band, and why on earth is the Warrington concert (again only a couple of songs, although Shoot You Down is one of my favourite Roses songs and one of my favourite songs of all time) filmed in black and white? I cannot for the life of me understand why modern directors insist on using black and white and the trend seems to be becoming more and more prevalent (Muse, Motorhead). We have had colour for fifty years for heaven's sake. They may think it looks arty, I think it just drains the concert of atmosphere, and following on from lots of rehearsal footage this film is crying out for atmosphere.

We get a few interviews, including the one already included on the previous dvd of a young Brown and Squire being taciturn and awkward with an interviewer. It might have looked cool at the time, and indeed when I first saw it I briefly thought it was, however all these years later it just makes them look like inarticulate morons and I think should have been omitted.
The extras have some fan interview footage which to be fair is a little more interesting than the usual nonsensical fan footage but doesn't stand repeated viewing. There is also the only existing ten minutes of the legendary Spike Island event filmed by a fan a long way from the stage. The quality is what you would expect, so again worth viewing just the once. However the bulk of the extras consist of a self congratulatory working class luvvie fest at the premiere. Reni didn't attend claiming to be ill. I wonder if he really was?

Live at Rockpalast - 1980 (CD & DVD Pack) (NTSC)
Live at Rockpalast - 1980 (CD & DVD Pack) (NTSC)
Price: £15.17

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little rock n roll band!, 20 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Rockpile were a band put together by two men who were both middle division but extremely talented solo stars. I was a big fan of Dave Edmunds at the time who by the recording of this concert had maybe half a dozen albums under his belt together with a handful of hit singles.

Edmunds had a slightly erratic career, having had his first hit in 1968 with his amazing guitar pyrotechnics on Love Sculpture's rock version of Kachaturian's Sabre Dance. He then had a huge number one hit at the end of 1970 under his own name with a cover of Smiley Lewis's `I Hear You Knocking'. He followed this with two more cover versions of 60's girl group songs in the early 70's `Baby I Love You' and `Born To be With You' both making the top ten. He'd also released an album called Rockpile. However at this point he seemed to disappear from public view, despite releasing a second album in 1975, the excellent Subtle As A Flying Mallet as the hit singles had dried up.

Meanwhile the slightly younger Lowe, having first been in the band Kippington Lodge, found a modicum of fame and critical appreciation, but limited commercial success, as the singer and songwriter in Brinsley Schwarz, perhaps the most prominent of the pub rock bands.

Strangely punk and the subsequent new wave scene seemed to be the catalyst for both artists to make a commercial breakthrough (or in Edmunds case a second breakthrough), although by then Edmunds was over thirty and Lowe not far off.

Although a great guitarist and multi instrumentalist it can be deduced from the number of covers he recorded that Edmunds wasn't much of a writer, however Lowe was, and the combination of their talents made for some great music, for example when Edmunds recorded Lowe's brilliant `I Knew The Bride' on his superb 1977 album Get It, the first one I bought by him.

Both men were also in demand as talented producers who helped shape the work of others, which may (particularly in Edmunds's case) have distracted them from their own recording and performing.

By the late 70's however Lowe was firmly established as a solo star, although never reaching the `super' bracket he had a solid career and far more commercial success than he'd enjoyed with the Brinsleys, and will always be remembered as having the first ever release on the influential independent Stiff record label.

Although I didn't go to many concerts and never have done even when younger (can't do with the crowds and all the jumping up and down and clapping, I would sooner listen to the records) I did actually see Rockpile which must have been around the time of this concert. Unfortunately by the time they appeared I was so drunk I remember more about the support act Lew Lewis's Reformer than I do about Rockpile, so can't compare my non existent memories of them with this performance.

Although I was familiar with much of the set list owning most of the songs, only `You'll Never get Me Up In One Of Those' had I never heard of, there were a number of surprises in the performance. Firstly the lead singing, although dominated by Edmunds towards the end, was shared much more evenly than I expected, not only with Lowe, but also the second guitarist Billy Bremner, who also takes a lot more solos than I would have expected, considering Edmunds was such a fabulous guitarist. Bremner and Edmunds actually look a little like brothers, both being similar stature with similar hairstyles and jackets, whereas the taller more animated Lowe is jacketless. Secondly, although Edmunds stands centre stage as befitting a front man, it is Lowe who makes all the announcements and talks to the audience, Edmunds merely having the odd, `Thankyou.' Indeed Edmunds seems rather detached from the audience throughout and seems to be concentrating on his playing and singing. Maybe he just wasn't a natural performer, and that could be why for all his talent and reasonable success he never became a major star, although I have read that he just didn't want it. There is one song, the excellent `Ju Ju Man' also recorded on Get It, where the three of them sing a verse each, so in effect what I was expecting to be a band with two front men actually had three, how many bands can say that? At this point it is only fair to mention drummer Terry Williams too, who lays down a solid beat throughout.

The set list is all you could have expected from these musicians at the time, so we get `I Knew The Bride' and `Ju Ju Man,' from Get It (although I would have loved to hear them perform Bob Seeger's `Get Out Of Denver' as they recorded a devastating version on that album) Edmunds later and bigger hits, `Girls Talk', `Queen Of Hearts' and `Crawling From the Wreckage' from his most recent album at the time Repeat When Necessary, `Singing The Blues' recorded by Edmunds later, a sprinkling of Lowe's solo material including `So It Goes,' that first Stiff single, and a couple of the expected Chuck Berry numbers (any rock n roll band can never go wrong with Chuck). There is one song `Trouble Boys', another excellent rocker recorded by Edmunds on his Tacks On Wax album, where Bremner takes the lead vocal, as he does on several songs previously recorded by Edmunds, however what is odd is that Bremner is credited as the writer on this release whereas on the original version I have it is credited to a B Murray. Maybe that is Bremner?

Although Rockpile were a brilliant and immensely talented rock n roll band and deserved more success than they actually had - I believe they only recorded one album credited to them as a collective unit and the solo careers of Lowe and Edmunds always took precedent - there are a couple of minor irritations on this release.

Firstly the sound and picture quality is what you would expect from the time and that can't be helped, although it still comes as a shock as I played it immediately after watching Black Sabbath's `Gathered In Their Masses' 2013 release, and had to turn the sound up to twice that level.

The other thing is at the end when they went off and came back for three encores. I think this is all rather unnecessary as we know all artists always do an encore and when they leave the stage barely acknowledging the audience we just know they are going to come back. The whole running time is only 65 minutes and a good five minutes of this is `dead time' with just shots of the audience at the end cheering while the band are offstage. I think it breaks the flow of the performance and was irritating. One encore is quite sufficient. Only when they come back for the very last song `Down Down Down' (an older Edmunds recording from his Rockpile album) which Lowe claimed they hadn't performed for a long time does it seem a genuine unplanned addition to the set, as by this time Edmunds has taken his jacket off and has his shirt completely unbuttoned as though he was in the middle of getting changed!

Nevertheless a highly recommended memento of a great little rock n roll band!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2014 7:12 AM GMT

Plays for Britain - The Complete Series [DVD]
Plays for Britain - The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin McNally
Price: £7.00

46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia isn't always all it's cracked up to be!, 5 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have always been fascinated by the single play. Partly because I vaguely recall some of them when I was a kid, partly because many of them are no longer available - now wiped, partly because the format doesn't exist on modern TV anymore. The BBC's Play for Today and the earlier Wednesday Play (although I am too young to really recall that) were major components of the 60's and 70's TV schedules and it would be unthinkable that there would come a time when the single play would disappear completely from the box. It did actually linger on in some format or other into the 80's and 90's (BBC2 `s Screen Two) but by then it wasn't a regular virtually weekly feature as it had once been. Of course there were so many single plays produced during those apparently halcyon years that it stands to reason that many would have been stinkers. We tend to remember classics such as Cathy Come Home, but how many were quite rightly forgotten?
Although the quality single plays are mostly associated with the BBC ITV also produced their fair share, most notably in the Armchair theatre series. This series Plays for Britain broadcast in 1976 is a sort of sequel to the earlier Armchair theatre. As very few single plays are available on dvd, apart from work by the likes of the most lauded practitioners such as Mike Leigh and Dennis Potter I purchased this to see if my interest in the format was justified. I can unequivocally say at least on the basis of this dvd it most certainly was not. Nostalgia is frequently a deceptive beast and so it proves here.

Despite the fact that we have some extremely highly regarded writers and directors I can honestly say that these plays were a wonderful cure for insomnia, not one of them sustaining my interest for any length of time. I was also surprised at how poor the production values and in some cases the acting was as late as 1976.

Howard Brenton was one of the coterie of fashionable left wing theatre playwrights in the 70's - David Hare, David Edgar, Howard Barker and the older Trevor Griffiths being other members of the group. I had read a couple of Brenton's plays of the period so was familiar with his work. The Paradise Run is by no means the worst play in this collection, but it is as boring as any of the others. The second half seems to feature different characters, although as I'd lost interest by then maybe it hadn't.

Brian Glover was a memorable character actor and a stalwart of the single play. The Play for Today trilogy about the three Yorkshiremen being one of the most memorable of the entire series. I can't recall who wrote these, but Glover starred in them. His Sunset Over Brixton about a young footballer is perhaps the best play here, but that's not saying much and again I struggled to stay awake.

Similarly Roy Minton's Fast Hands has a sports based theme, this time boxing. The storyline is again thin and broken by a lengthy fight sequence.

Henry Living's Shuttlecock was the only one of these plays to remotely sustain my interest and that was largely due to a rather irritating over the top performance from Dinsdale Landen as a sleazy cad. Landen was one of those actors, rather like Tom Bell, who was so beloved of the critics, but who seemed to overact in everything he was in.

The worst of a poor bunch is Roger McGough's The Life-Swappers, which is one of those popular at the time confusing non naturalistic plays so hated by the critics and viewing public, but apparently beloved by the programme makers. McGough, who was better known as a poet and member of The Scaffold sixties group doesn't seem to have written many other television plays.

Finally we come to Steven Poliakoff's Hittng Town, the only one of these plays I was previously familiar with. Not only had I seen it before on TV, but it was originally a stage play and I'd read the script. I recall Poliakoff was still in his teens at the time and was regarded as a theatrical sensation. He is still the darling of the producers and critics even today. Maybe it's a fault in my intellect but I've always found his work slow moving, confusing and an excellent cure for insomnia. Hitting Town is actually quite fast moving compared to much of his later work, but ultimately, despite having the longest running time of any of the plays here, is still a lot of sound and fury signifying very little, and like most stage plays adapted for TV betrays its origins - the mannered performances being one example. Hitting Town has the longest running time of any of the plays here, however all clock in at well under an hour as they filled a sixty minute schedule. It was a great relief to see that in those days there was only one advert break, unlike today when the adverts seem to last longer than the programmes they constantly interrupt.

I say the single play doesn't exist in the twenty first century; however a format of it was still running relatively recently. This was series such as Jimmy McGovern's The Street or Paul Abbot's Clocking Off, which were scheduled as series with recurring characters, but were in effect single plays with a different storyline each episode. Prior to viewing Plays For Britain I had re-watched some episodes of The Street (sadly the excellent Clocking Off series isn't available on dvd, presumably for copyright reasons) and couldn't believe not only how much better the acting was and higher the production values, but how much more engrossing the story lines were. Whether this was because I personally prefer the more naturalistic style or because they are genuinely far superior I'm unsure, however I feel it may be the latter.

However what this disappointing series of Plays for Britain has demonstrated to me at least is that television of the past wasn't always superior, that is not to say of course that the 60's, 70's and 80's didn't produce some great series and indeed excellent single plays, it's just that Plays for Britain aren't it!
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