This week, I'm kicking off with my review of a DVD that's part of a (hopefully) ongoing series from Daptone Records, followed by consideration of a concert from a different Rainbow line-up.
'Live From the House Of Soul featuring Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band,' Directed by Poull Brien (Daptone Records/MVDvisual, HHHH)
This DVD presents the opening installment of Daptone Records' new video series of the same name and was filmed in the backyard of Daptone's House of Soul in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Charles Bradley's voice shows evidence of the hard life he's lived doing day jobs all over the USA before returning to live in his hometown of Brooklyn. Here, he's backed by a sympathetic band including guitarist Thomas Brenneck, drummer Homer Steinweiss, bassist Nick Movshon, keyboardist Mike Deller plus a small horn section and two backing vocalists. Most of the band adds background singing to their instrumental duties. Bradley's voice is reminiscent of James Brown, though he lacks the moves. Favorite tunes include "Love Bug," the slower "Crying In The Chapel" (not that one) and "Strictly Reserved For You."
Four more song videos are bonus features; this program gets Daptone's series off to a rousing start.
'Monsters of Rock-Live At Donington 1980,' Rainbow (Eagle Rock Entertainment, HHHH)
This April 22 DVD+CD (also available digitally) features a different line-up of Rainbow than those previously heard by yours truly. Ritchie Blackmore (guitar) and Cozy Powell (drums) are joined here by Graham Bonnet (vocals), Don Airey (keyboards) and Ritchie's Purple comrade Roger Glover (bass). They were appearing at the end of a tour supporting the massively successful "Down To Earth" album. The DVD features album tracks plus Purple's "Lazy;" the CD places some tracks in probably-correct order with guitar, drum and keyboard solos.
The CD is better overall than the DVD because of completeness, though the solos are often too lengthy. New-at-the-time songs ("Since You've Been Gone" with an ending snippet of "Over The Rainbow") blend easily with Dio-era songs ("Stargazer" & "Catch The Rainbow"). Powell (who had already given notice) is a supremely powerful drummer, and there's a more-commercial flavor for Blackmore. Bonnet handles lofty vocal demands admirably. Fans of this chapter of Rainbow will enjoy this presentation.
I will be writing about one of my teen favorites that I got too late for Record Store Day: "Smash Hits" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. I'll also write about several other releases, including Del McCoury singing Woody Guthrie songs, an Alan Jackson concert DVD, reconfigured Rich Robinson solo albums, an Ivas John recording and a movie about "A Dog Named Gucci."
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.