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DVD Zone: September 2006

| August 29, 2006 | 0 Comments

UNDER REVIEW 1962-1966


Music Video Distributors

You would think when it comes to The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, it’s all been said before. After gallons of ink have been spilled and miles of paper reams have been used to dissect and analyze every tidbit of minutia from the bands’ pasts, there really isn’t anything that will surprise you.

Guess what? You’re right.

Under Review and The Origin Of The Species take looks at the early careers of the two bands who have garnered almost as much critical analysis as the two heavyweights in the biz — those guys from Liverpool and that kid from Tupelo.

And, because they’re unauthorized biographies, there’s no one representing the actual bands involved. It’s merely various magazine writers and folks like Dick Taylor, the original bassist for the Stones, who are tossing out stories and opinions.

There’s really nothing wrong with that, as long as you know going in that these folks probably weren’t as privy to the juicy details as most.

Under Review covers the influences and formation of The Rolling Stones, and no, doesn’t offer anything new fans don’t already know. Yes, we know The Stones were heavily into the blues and that Mick Jagger had to have records from the likes of Muddy Waters mail ordered from Chicago’s Chess Records. However the doc does include some nice archival footage and early performance pieces.

Yet, the Stones really hit their stride latter in their career. Not that they didn’t do good work in their early years, but really, have you ever met someone who said, “You know, they had me until Beggars Banquet, then they just got too . . . out there”? In that sense, watching Under Review is a little like watching a steak be prepared for 90 minutes, then being told you’ll have to go elsewhere to get one.

The Origin Of The Species fares a bit better. The film covers Zeppelin’s evolution from the ashes of The Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin II. Since their first two albums are two of their strongest, the result is more satisfying.

Origin also does a better job of putting out information that might be lesser known, to some, such as the final lineup of the band was not, in fact, the original incarnation. Seems Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had originally tried to recruit Keith Moon and John Entwhistle away from The Who, and actually went as far as getting into the studio before that lineup was abandoned. Also, while it’s commonly thought it was Moon who came up with the name Led Zeppelin, it was in fact Entwhistle. Moon simply took the credit.

Both discs have minimal special features, and neither one offers any earth-shattering revelations. However, neophyte Zep fans could do worse than give Origin a look.

Under Review: **

The Origin Of Species: ***



R.E.M. has had a rough go of things over the past decade. I dare say they have aquired a bit of Deion Sanders syndrome — living more on reputation than any actual productivity.

When The Light Is Mine takes you back to the days when R.E.M. mattered. Blasting (or should I say jangling) out of Athens, GA, they put the Athens music scene on the map, setting every record company executive scrambling south to sign the next-big-thing that happened to be playing a frat party at U.G.

However, while on IRS records R.E.M. put out some of the most thoughtful, daring, and accomplished music of the time. Light features their video output, as well as rare television performances and interviews.

While the sound quality could be better, Light serves as a reminder of what a great American band once was, and hopefully will be again.

DVD: ***

Features: ***

Timothy Hiatt

Category: Columns, Monthly

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