Music In Brief: Music On DVD Edition

Music In Brief: Music On DVD Edition

On Columbia/Legacy's reissue of Blue Öyster Cult's Some Enchanted Evening, the second disc contains an hour of video from the same tour that produced the 1978 live album. The sound is cruddy and the picture is lousy, but it's still exciting to watch five unassuming-looking guys—sporting soft-rock duds and neatly trimmed hair—throttle their guitars for extended layered solos. There's no "Godzilla" or "Don't Fear The Reaper," sadly, but covers of "Kick Out The Jams" and "Born To Be Wild" ground BÖC's wild, semi-serious science-fiction epics in a context of working-class rock 'n' roll… B

Continuing on the "bonus DVD" theme, Al Green's The Definitive Greatest Hits (Capitol)—a fine upgrading of the R&B singer's 30-year-old anthology—includes an extra disc with vintage TV performances. The best comes from a 1978 Soundstage appearance, where Green works out "Love And Happiness" with a live band, shedding his reserved, spiritual soul-man persona. A pair of early '70s songs (including "Let's Stay Together") look comparably staid, while recent acoustic performances from VH1 Classic come off merely mellow and wise. None stand up to "Love And Happiness," which was shot the same year that Talking Heads had a hit with an abstracted cover of Green's "Take Me To The River." Here, Green puts the soul and passion back in his own music, before anyone else can strip it away… B+

Toward the end of the 2005 Camper Van Beethoven reunion tour, chief singer-songwriter David Lowery invited his other band, Cracker—and all the side bands and solo projects that the CVB/Cracker axis has been a part of—to perform at a two-day festival for hardcore fans. The DVD The First Annual Camp Out Live At Pappy And Harriet's Pioneertown Palace (MVD) distills the whole weekend down to just over two hours, which does a disservice to the two headlining bands, who both perform only a handful of songs, in surprisingly rote, exhausted fashion. But sidemen like Victor Krummenacher and Greg Lisher come off well on their own, playing loping country rock with exotic overlays. And all those CVB diehards who've insisted for years that the offshoot act Monks Of Doom is just as good as its parent band will be happy to know that the Monks' short set of spacey southwestern-roots fare warms up well in the California sun. B-

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