Reviews roundup – Ritchie Blackmore vs. The Jam vs. John Wetton

RITCHIE BLACKMORE The Ritchie Blackmore Story RITCHIE BLACKMORE
The Ritchie Blackmore Story DVD
Eagle Vision

Ritchie Blackmore was my favourite rock guitarist, by far.  Pre hey nonny no, his classical fusion inspired an entire generation of widdlers.  So I’ve been looking forward to this.  Of course, it’s an official release, so I should have known better.  Because, good as it is, it’s a bit of a missed opportunity.

There’s nothing here that Blackmore diehards won’t have heard before, although it’s good to get some of it from the horse’s mouth, as he has been interview shy for a long time.  Add in a wide assortment of talking heads, with contributions from, deep breath, Brian May, Glenn Hughes, Lars Ulrich, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, the late Jon Lord, David Coverdale, Gene Simmons, Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Vai, Graham Bonnet and Ian Anderson.

It would have been good if more time had been spent on the early years, when he was developing his style in a variety of acts (Joe Meek sessions, Screaming Lord Sutch etc), but with a Rainbow tour-ette to sell next year, Mr Blackmore seems keener to concentrate on he fame years.  Long time fans may come away wishing for more, but there is plenty here for the younger folks who will come to this with a fresh eye.

There is also a deluxe edition, containing the DVD, a DVD of “Live In Tokyo” and 2CDs of “Live In Tokyo” all contained in a 60 page 12” x 12” hardback photobook with a black and silver front cover. “Live In Tokyo” is the first official DVD & CD release of the 1984 concert by Rainbow from the Budokan, Tokyo and was the last Rainbow concert before Ritchie Blackmore & Roger Glover went on to reform Deep Purple.

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THE JAM About The Young Idea THE JAM
About The Young Idea DVD
Eagle Vision

That’s a lot of Jam.  Over 3 hours worth, to be precise.  Which will make Jam fans very happy.  But it’s a bit of a long haul for the rest of us.

See, I’m happy to watch music documentaries about anyone, regardless of whether I value their music or not.  But there is a lot of art and fart about this, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering it shares a title with an art exhibition about the band.  There’s lots of contextualising about the band and their place in history.  Well, I entered my teens as The Jam hit their peak, and I can assure you, they meant less than zero round my way.

This has been made by the fella behind the Beatles Anthology stuff, so expect lots of serious looking people looking serious.  However, for fans of the band, there is tons of archive footage for them to enjoy, with their entire Rockpalast show from 1980 and bonus live material from 1979 and 1981.

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JOHN WETTON Live Via SatelliteJOHN WETTON
Live Via Satellite
Primary Purpose

John Wetton must be downsizing, because he’s flung out an awful lot of archive material of late.

In case you don’t know, John Wetton has been in Asia, UK, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and many others, all whilst keeping a solo career ticking over.  This release combines two acoustic solo concerts, one of which was broadcast on the internet, and a Swedish radio broadcast thought lost in a fire.

For a pair of old radio broadcasts (1998 and 2002), they sound great.  And with a total of 20 tracks, he wanders far and wide across his career, with plenty of solo tunes, alongside some Asia hits and a dip into King Crimson for ‘Starless’.  He is in fine voice, and this is one of the archive sets that really should be heard by fans of the man.

He’s been poorly of late, so best wishes to him, and thanks for this very enjoyable double disc.

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