Curtis Mayfield-Live at Ronnie Scott's (1988) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Review
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 55:57 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Clive Tickner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Curtis Mayfield
Benny Scott
Buzzy Amato
Luis Stefanell
Lee Goodness
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Curtis Mayfield


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Those who like blues guitar are in for a treat. I have to admit that Curtis Mayfield Live at Ronnie Scott's (a bar in Soho, London) is an awesome gig. The soulful crooning and some amazing guitar riffs make for some exceptional viewing as Mayfield works his way through ten tracks (listed below). The playlist is split up by a series of interviews with Mayfield talking to long-time fan Paul Weller about his musical influences and his experience in the music industry. I actually found this quite annoying. The viewer is taken from an amazing live track to a one-on-one interview. This is like watching an action sequence in a movie and then having a break in the film while the stuntmen and the director chat about pyrotechnics and which driving school they went to. While this information is interesting, the proper place for it is in the extras or after the gig has been played in full. Worse yet, there is no real way to circumvent these interviews except by skipping over them. However, this is a minor gripe, and one which is compensated for by the spectacular music.

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Track Listing

1. Little Child Runnin' Wild
2. It's All Right
3. People Get Ready
4. Pusherman
5. Freddie's dead
6. I'm So Proud
7. Billy Jack
8. We've Gotta Have Peace
9. Move On Up
10. To Be Invisible

Transfer Quality

Video

    Produced in 1988 on (it appears) videotape, the video quality was never going to be terribly good. It has a tendency towards excessive grain, and some annoying MPEG artefacts. Of course, with a DVD such as this, the music is far more important. Nevertheless, a more detailed discussion of the picture is warranted.

    The picture is encoded in NTSC format. It is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced, and has the feel of a 1980s music video.

    The transfer is generally clear, but with some very distracting low level noise. The amount of smoke in the club makes resolution difficult, but this can also be put down to the quality of the master material.

    Colours have a soft muted quality, again, I believe, because of the original source material.

    There were, however, some bad MPEG artefacts. Posterization and macro-blocking are a particular problem. Sometimes it actually looks as if the walls of the club are crawling or pulsing. The worst instances of this were during the interviews with Ronnie Scott, and the crowd shots. Instances of this were at 7:38, 27:18 and 42:26. Moreover, there is persistent colour bleed as a result of the blue neon strip running in the background behind the stage. There were some minor film-to-video artefacts.

    This is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    The all-important audio component of this disc is pleasing but not perfect.

    The default soundtrack is encoded in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. There is an optional audio commentary by Kevin Le Gendre.

    All channels were utilised in the 5.1 mix, but the sound was generally driven through the centre speaker. However, after listening to the DVD through in surround, I had to conclude that the mix just didn't feel right. When I put the amplifier over into stereo, the effect was amazing. Rather than splitting what was obviously an original stereo mix across six channels, the balance was restored to its original outlay. Much like the 5.1 mix on the Robocop: Special Edition R4 release DVD, the original 2.0 stereo available on the US release just had that much more impact than the remastering.

    The subwoofer was used inconsistently to highlight the activity of the bass drum, and was generally inactive.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated with a cut from the live performance looped over in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. It appears to be 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentary

    The audio commentary by music historian Kevin Le Gendre, which runs in conjunction with the Juke Box function (below) is informative, especially if you know only a little about the history of blues/soul/jazz.

Featurette: Review

    The review is a separate feature, running 5:28, in which Le Gendre discusses the gig in the context of its time period, and the various influences in Mayfield's music and performance style.

Juke Box

    The Juke Box function allows you to select a track from the disc for immediate playback. It comes complete with an animated juke box which has a menu you scroll down to select the track you want.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R4 release appears to be identical to the R1 release.

Summary

    Curtis Mayfield Live at Ronnie Scott's is a good gig presented in a strange way on an average disc.

    The picture quality is poor, but not unwatchable.

    The audio quality feels stretched across the surround channels and plays much better in ordinary Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The extras, few that there are, are interesting, especially the review by Le Gendre, but do not justify the specific purchase of this disc unless you are a big Curtis Mayfield fan.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, October 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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