New Music DVD Titles Are First Rate

by Robert Kinsler

A number of new DVDs (several also available on Blu-ray) celebrate the far-flung corners of the musical universe in essential, bonus material-loaded packages.

kansas_miracles-out-of-nowhereArtist: Kansas
Title: Miracles Out of Nowhere (Epic Records / Legacy Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Kansas, Rush, Queen

Tell me more: Phil Ehart, Dave Hope, Kerry Livgren, Robby Steinhardt, Steve Walsh and Richard Williams are not well known names but together their collective efforts as Kansas racked up scores of gold and platinum albums along with iconic singles such as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” On the newly-released 78-minute documentary “Miracles Out of Nowhere” the Topeka-spawned troupe finally gets a long-overdue celebration with archival footage, band interviews and assessments from the far-flung likes of Brian May (Queen), Garth Brooks and producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen).

An accompanying audio CD features includes some choice dialogue from the documentary, as well as deep album tracks from Kansas including an outstanding live performance of “Can I Tell You” recorded on “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in February 1974. The title also includes a wonderful 24-page fully-illustrated booklet. Information: KansasBand.com

paul-mccartney_musicares-tributeArtists: Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Neil Young, more
Title: A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney (Shout! Factory)
You might like if you enjoy: Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Dave Grohl, James Taylor

Tell me more: Paul McCartney’s legacy as singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and live performer looms so large that a special event featuring the powerful likes of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Coldplay, James Taylor and Diana Krall, Duane Eddy, Alicia Keys, Alison Krauss & Union Station and others performing some of his masterworks only scratches the surface of the 18-time Grammy winner’s expansive songbook. But on Feb. 10, 2012, Sir Paul was honored as the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year with a memorable benefit concert that is now available on DVD or Blu-ray.

Highlights include Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s fiery reworking of “I Saw Her Standing There,” Coldplay’s gentle version of “We Can Work It Out” and Alicia Keys’ piano-anchored “Blackbird”; the icing on the cake is that McCartney and his top-tier band join in the fun to perform a blistering “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Junior’s Farm” early in the event, and team up with “Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh for an epic “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End” to top things off. Proceeds from the sale of “A MusiCares Tribute to Paul McCartney” will go to MusiCares, an organization that ensures that musicians and music industry professionals have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need. Information: ShoutFactory.com.

joe-bonamassa_muddy-worlfArtist: Joe Bonamassa
Title: Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks (J&R Adventures)
You might like if you enjoy: Joe Bonamassa, Alvin Lee, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf

Tell me more: Joe Bonamassa is one of the world’s greatest living blues guitarists, and like many of the genre’s modern-day proponents he is always looking for an opportunity to honor the greats who paved the way for him. The newly-released “Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks” (available DVD and audio CD) honors both Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf via a special concert filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheater over Labor Day weekend in 2014. The event is divided into three sections; the first section features a tribute to Waters, the second features reworkings of Wolf’s most beloved material, and a six-song third act puts the focus on Bonamassa’s original work.

The uptempo “Tiger In Your Tank,” “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (with its slow intro and accelerating build complete with burning guitar and harmonica) and “All Night Boogie” (with Bonamassa and Kirk Fletcher trading lead guitar work) are among the many standout performances on the highly-recommended release.  Information: jbonamassa.com.

mystery-science-theater-3000Title: Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXII (Shout! Factory)
You might like if you enjoy: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Svengoolie, RiffTrax

Tell me more: Although the long-running “Mystery Science Theater 3000” was widely recognized for its groundbreaking skewing of bad movies, music (courtesy of both original songs as well as the use of a wide-range of references and even sung bits) was always was an important part of the Satellite of Love’s trajectory. The latest in Shout Factory’s ongoing series of four-episode sets (available March 24) of the series includes season five’s “Hercules,” the Steve Reeves-starring 1958 film scored by the great Italian composer Enzo Masetti.

That memorable episode also features astronaut Joel Robinson and his robot pals referencing everybody from Tom Jones and Pete Townshend to the Thompson Twins, Michael Bolton and John Lennon. They even use one of their skits to celebrate the soft rock legacy of early ’70s hit makers Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. Information: ShoutFactory.com.

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