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The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1

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3 Responses to “The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1”

  1. Gavin Wilson says:
    126 of 127 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great collection of 70′s and 80′s performances, September 21, 2003
    By A Customer
    This review is from: The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1 (DVD)

    The British are way ahead of us when it comes to release vintage performances on DVD. The Old Grey Whistle Test got its name from a Tin Pan Alley test; it was said that agents would have the doormen for the building come in, listen to a song and see if it was worthwhile. The test was whether the “old grey” folks could whistle the tune. The Old Grey Whistle Test had a variety of different types of performers over the years. While rock did dominate it wasn’t the only type of music presented.

    This DVD presents the following performances and performers:
    Alice Cooper-Under My Wheels
    Elton John-Tiny Dancer (solo)
    Curtis Mayfield- We Gotta Have Peace
    Randy Newman – Political Science
    Bill Whithers – Ain’t No Sunshine
    Rory Gallagher – Hands Off
    Bob Marley & the Wailers – Stir It Up
    Roxy Music – Do The Strand (with Eno but lipsynched)
    The Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein
    Captain Beefheart-Upon the My O My
    Little Feat- Rock ‘n’ Roll Doctor
    John Lennon – Stand By Me
    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird
    Emmylou Harris – Amarillo
    Bonnie Raitt – Too Long At The Fair
    Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues
    Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
    XTC – Statue of Liberty
    Blondie – I’m Always Touched By Your Presence, Dear
    Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – American Girl
    The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You
    Bruce Springsteen – Rosalita (filmed concert performance)
    Iggy Pop – I’m Bored
    The Specials – Message to Rudi
    The Damned – Smash It Up/I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
    The Ramones – Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
    U2 – I Will Follow
    REM – Moon River/Pretty Persuasion

    The interviews are fairly good as well. The John Lennon interview was a treat for me as a long time Beatles fan. Also interviewed are Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen. Producer Mike Appleton has included an audio commentary. There’s also an artist’s gallery where you can read about the performance and artist. In special features mode a guitar will appear in the upper right hand corner and take you directly there. After you’ve read it, it takes you directly back to the performance.

    Each of the Whistle Tests 6 presenters give really interesting (and occasionally funny)stories about either the performance or artist they’re discussing. Why the BBC choose to release this as a single disc set when compared to the UK version is a bit strange.

    There’s also a two page booklet that includes the performances, a little background on the show and a paragraph or two from the producer. That’s becoming more of a rarity now as many companies are discontinuing these. I personally like them as it allows you to see the chapter you want prior to the DVD starting. Disney is experimenting with discontinuing theirs for certain discs as is MGM.

    I bit of caution about the British two disc set; On the British website it states it is a region 0 so it can be played anywhere. I have heard complaints from various folks that this isn’t so. Since I don’t have the 2 disc set from the UK, I can’t comment directly but be wary.

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  2. Anonymous says:
    29 of 29 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Awesome collection of music, September 17, 2003
    By A Customer
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1 (DVD)

    In regards to a previous review, you ARE able to play individual songs. You simple go to the special features section of the disc and you can scroll through the individual performances and choose at your own will. This set is awesome. It includes the following:
    Alice Cooper, Under My Wheels
    Elton John, Tiny Dancer
    Curtis Mayfield, We Gotta Have Peace
    Randy Newman, Political Science
    Bill Withers, Ain’t No Sunshine
    Rory Gallagher, Hands Off
    The Wailers, Stir It Up
    Roxy Music, Do the Strand
    The Edgar Winter Group, Frankenstein
    Captain Beefheart, Upon the My O My
    Little Feat, Rock ‘n Roll Doctor
    John Lennon, Stand By Me
    Lynyrd Skynyrd, Freebird
    Emmylou Harris, Amarillo
    Bonnie Raitt, Too Long at the Fair
    Tom Waits, Tom Traubert’s Blues
    Talking Heads, Psycho Killer
    XTC, Statue of Liberty
    Blondie, Presence Dear
    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, American Girl
    The Police, Can’t Stand Losing You
    Bruce Springsteen, Rosalita
    Iggy Pop, I’m Bored
    The Specials, Message to You Rudi
    The Damned, Smash It Up/I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
    The Ramones, Rock ‘n Roll High School
    U2, I Will Follow
    REM, Moon River/Pretty Persuasion

    There are also interviews with Elton John, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen. There are commentaries and tidbits about each act. I wish we were given the two disc set, but hopefully if this sells well, perhaps in the future.

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  3. Anonymous says:
    15 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A fantastic selection of 70s performances, October 3, 2004
    Gavin Wilson
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    This review is from: The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 1 (DVD)

    Pop is the music of the rebel. But it’s also the music of the non-rebel, and with the OGWT, from the heart of the BBC establishment, non-rebellious, thinking-person’s pop reached its zenith. Of course, punk knocked it all down in 1977, and with the help of Saturday Night Fever disco, pop suddenly became physical again. The OGWT never really recovered, and once Bob Harris had gone, competition from other TV programs such as Channel 4′s ‘The Tube’ etc meant its days were numbered.

    Which was a great pity, as all three OGWT compilation DVDs illustrate. The OGWT was a superb, must-see programme scheduled late on Tuesday evenings. You had to watch every show, firstly because there was no other TV programme showcasing ‘album’ music, and secondly because the Radio Times (the UK’s TV listings magazine) never told you who would be appearing.

    In the early 1970s I was at a boarding school, and our house was rationed to a TV maximum of three hours per week. Which programmes we watched were decided by the prefects (which brought them much undeserved popularity), and it says much about the quality of OGWT that this programme was always chosen.

    These two DVDs have something of the feel of the TV programmes, except that they don’t contain any interview material nor any of the wonderful animations chosen to accompany some tracks. (I never cease to be surprised at the number of occasions when I discuss OGWT with friends and they mention the ‘Skiers’ video chosen for Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’.) The introductions are, by and large, marvellous, if only to see how the artists and DJs look 30 years on.

    The musical highlights, for me, are most of the 70s stuff, particularly Bill Withers (a fantastic performance of his ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, very much like the Carnegie Hall version on CD)and the Edgar Winter Group’s ‘Frankenstein’, but there is so much else.

    These DVDs will probably bring few new converts to the programme, but it’s a treasure trove for those of us who were there at the time.

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