THE OLD GRAY WHISTLE TEST – a DVD review

6 12 2009

This may not pique the interest of some of you punk-assed newbies to the planet, but my wife received the above-referenced DVD as a birthday present from her sister and last night we fired that mother up. Believe you me, it was a sublime walk down memory lane.

For starters The Old Gray Whistle Test was a live music TV show in Britain during the very early seventies, hence the inability for most of you to relate to it since you were all no doubt still in your old man’s sack jumping ball to ball. I wasn’t even aware of this show because it never aired in the USA, but since my wife grew up in Scotland she was well acquainted with it. It ran for about fifteen years, and it had a rich history of having attracted to its stage early music legends like Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Curtis Mayfield, Rory Gallagher, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Bill Withers, The Damned, The Ramones, The Police, Emmy Lou Harris, and more – all included on this DVD. It was indeed a very special treat to again see these people perform live on-stage, and these were more like studio performances, not the over-produced horse dung that the pop-starz of today only seem to be able to lip-synch in their performances.

One excellent example on the DVD of what I mean is Edgar Winter, who begins his seminal number “Frankenstein” by playing the synthesizer hung from his neck, then switches to a saxophone, does double drum riffs with the band’s drummer, then switches back to the synthesizer to finish the song, all the while his shoulder length gossamer white hair flowing like some albino ghost possessed with passion – quintessential seventies Rock and Roll.

I include it here for your enjoyment. You’re welcome.

In addition to the live music the producers have also included interviews with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Robert Plant, and more.

I highly recommend this, if for no other reason than the history lesson it teaches. These folks had talent that has stood the test of time. My old man was indeed wrong when he used to holler “Turn of that goddamned rock and roll!”

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