Muddy Waters-Classic Concerts (2005) (NTSC)

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Released 21-Nov-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Bonus Track-'The Blues Had a Baby'
Interviews-Cast-Interview From 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' 1972
Interviews-Cast-Interview From The Molde Jazz Festival 1977
Booklet
Bonus Track-Audio only from Newport Jazz Festival
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 100:15 (Case: 120)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Muddy Waters
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Muddy Waters is most probably the greatest blues performer ever to walk the planet. I know that is a big statement but his influence is enormous and other great artists such as Buddy Guy and even the Rolling Stones quote him as a massive influence. His body of recorded work includes one classic song after another, many of which are now standards played by every bar blues band in the world. Accordingly, as a major fan of the blues, I was very excited to review this release called Classic Concerts. It certainly lives up to its name and is a great DVD production from top to bottom.

    The main program is made up of three concerts from three different eras of Muddy's career with three different and wonderful bands behind him. The first concert is his justifiably famous date at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960, which was made into an LP by Chess Records. The producers of this DVD have used both the stereo masters of the LP and the original (but much poorer) mono sound from the film in combination to ensure that the best sound quality possible is available on each track. Of the five tracks included three have been synched to the stereo masters and two retain the original mono sound (as they were not included on the LP). This performance shows Muddy at his playful and yet blistering peak as he and the band burn through four famous tracks followed by a jam with other acts at the festival including Jimmy Rushing amongst others. The version included here of Got My Mojo Working is truly incredible with power and sexual potency. Muddy's band features greats such as Otis Spann on piano, Pat Hare on guitar and James Cotton on harmonica.

    The second concert is from the Copenhagen Jazz Festival eight years later in 1968. This set, although slightly more subdued is still certainly a wonderful performance by the band. This one includes 8 tracks including two sung by Otis Spann rather than Muddy. The band this time includes Luther 'Snake' Johnson, Pee Wee Madison & Paul Oscher on Harmonica.

    The third concert in the main feature is from the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway from 1977 towards the end of Muddy's illustrious career. It is obvious that age is catching up with Muddy in this performance as he sits down through most of it, however, the musicianship of both he and the band is not diminished. This band includes Bob Margolin (who wrote the wonderful notes in the extensive booklet included), Pinetop Perkins on piano, Jerry Portnoy on harmonica and the great rhythm section of Calvin Jones & Willie Smith.

    This is a fantastic collection of live shows and to my knowledge the only live DVD of Muddy available in Region 4 (the disc is all regions encoded). Excellent and very detailed work has been done to ensure this is an excellent DVD production including a comprehensive booklet with great detail about Muddy, his career, the shows included on the disc and the process of getting the DVD together. Even the DVD itself has artwork to make it look like a 45rpm single of Muddy from the Chess label. Great work!

    Extremely highly recommended and a must for blues fans.

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Track Listing

1. Hoochie Coochie Man
2. Tiger In Your Tank
3. Rollin' Stone
4. Got My Mojo Working
5. Mean Mistreater/Going to Chicago
6. Back At The Chicken Shack
7. Train Fare Blues
8. Hoochie Coochie Man
9. Long Distance Call
10. Nobody Knows My Trouble
11. Cold Cold Feeling
12. Got My Mojo Working
13. Tiger In My Tank
14. Intro/Evan's Shuffle
15. Prison Bound Blues
16. Blow Wind Blow
17. Hoochie Coochie Man
18. Baby Please Don't Go
19. Can't Get No Grindin'
20. You Don't Have To Go
21. Got My Mojo Working
22. Credits

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good, especially considering the age and type of sources.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio. The disc is presented in NTSC so ensure your system can playback NTSC before purchasing.

    The first portion of the main feature from the Newport Jazz Festival had by far the worst video quality but I believe that it is as good as can be expected for live film footage of this age. It is in black and white and is quite dirty, grainy and noisy although always watchable. There were also some tape tracking errors although they were very minor.

    The second portion from Copenhagen was still in black & white although was significantly better in quality. There was some light grain although the picture was quite clear and sharp considering the age of the footage.

    The last portion from Molde was in colour but included a few artefacts such as comet trails from instruments and lights, quite a bit of microphony (eg 10:40) and some colour bleeding.

    There are subtitles available for the extra features but not otherwise, but this is certainly not a major issue.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent considering the various sources.

    This DVD contains an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 1536 Kb/s. This is mostly in stereo except for two tracks from the first show as mentioned above. The mono tracks were a bit muffled and indistinct, muddy if you will (ha, ha). The stereo stuff was great, with clear and distinct instrumentation, surprisingly so on the Newport tracks. I suppose considering that these have been taken from the live recording masters from the Chess Records archive, you would expect them to be good.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Some excellent extras round out this wonderful package.

Menu

    The menu included music, moving footage of the various band members for each concerts and a nice design. Good stuff!

Booklet

    A 16 page booklet is included with long time Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin writing the lines notes which are detailed, personal and fascinating. Also included are details of all the tracks included, band listings and lots of photos. It has been made to look like a passport. Bill Wyman also provides a foreword.

Picture Disc

    I don't usually consider a picture disc to be an extra but this one has been made to look like a classic Chess Records single with the same design as Chess singles of the time Muddy was recording. Another example of the great thought and detail which went into this production.

Bonus Tracks - Audio (16:51)

    Extra audio only tracks are included from the Newport performance, ones which were on the LP but not included on the film. They are presented with footage of the festival running behind and include I Got my Brand on You, Soon Forgotten, I Feel So Good and Goodbye Newport Blues. Great addition.

Bonus Track - The Blues Had a Baby And They Named it Rock & Roll (5:37)

    A track from a UK live show in 1977 which was shown on the television show So It Goes including dodgy introduction by the show's host. The track is great and another excellent addition.

Interview - Old Grey Whistle Test (4:16)

    An interview on the venerable British television show from Jan 1972. Muddy discusses the history and status of the blues which is quite interesting.

Interview - Molde Jazz Festival 1977 (6:55)

    Another interesting interview but this time Muddy gets asked lots of dumb questions and tries to respond without being rude, although the interviewer does get his back up at one point.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is available globally in exactly the same format.

Summary

    A wonderful collection of Muddy Waters concert performances including the famous Newport Jazz Festival date in 1960. Essential for blues lovers.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This is a great production all round, and includes some very worthwhile extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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