Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall..'

One of the cool things I get to do every few weeks is go through the TV shows I've stored on the DVR and burn the ones I want to keep onto DVD. And since I have to burn the discs in real time, I've had some great shows to watch over the past couple of days.

Apart from big setpiece events like the Grammys, the Hope for Haiti fundraiser - with some truly remarkable performances - or the Civil Rights commemoration at the White House, here are some of the shows I've been looking at:

'Three Girls and Their Buddy' featuring Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin in concert with their longtime sideman and one of my favorite guitarists and songwriters, Buddy Miller. I've been a fan of Buddy (and his wife Julie) for years, so this show is just great, and goes some way towards making up for the disappointment that Buddy was ill when we went to see the tour at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The girls still made it a great night, though.

'Ramble at the Ryman' is a film featuring the drummer of The Band, Levon Helm, with a show of his in Nashville with guests like Buddy and John Hiatt among others.

'Jimi Hendrix - American Landing', part of Ovation TV's series on 'American Revolutionaries - Rock and Soul' for Black History Month. The film looks at how the Jimi Hendrix Experience made the transition from being a huge act in 1960s Britain to breaking the US market. A big part of that was their appearance at the Monterey Pop festival in 1968, and this movie documents that performance.

'No Journey's End' is a short film about the work of Canadian singer Loreena McKennitt, whose distinctively ethereal voice complements many indigenous instruments and styles and can transport you to any corner of the earth.

I had also stored a bunch of episodes of 'Later With Jools Holland' with some terrific spots by an eclectic mix of artists, including one show with the reunited Joe Jackson Band who I remember seeing in 1979, and whose first two albums - 'Look Sharp' and 'I'm The Man' were just brilliant examples of a combination of new wave energy with clever songwriting. Really glad he's still gigging.

Finally, 'You're Gonna Miss Me' on the Sundance Channel, is a sobering and unsettling look at the challenging life of Roky Erickson. A compelling, voyeuristic film, so much of it is not really what you'd call uplifting, but in the end it has something of a bitter-sweet redemptive quality that rewards you for persevering with it.

More video treasures in a few weeks.

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