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Various Artists

Let It Rock DVD

Review by Steve Alspach

"Let It Rock" by Eagle Vision is a DVD that gives us a thoughtful look at the origins of rock and roll. The main occasion was a 1995 concert in Toronto's Massey Hall for Ronnie Hawkins, one of the pioneers of rock and roll in the 1950s. Joining him in this concert were none other than fellow pioneers Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. The Band, in its post-Robbie Robertson incarnation, was in attendance as well.

If you like you rock nice and rootsy, "Let It Rock" is an excellent DVD to have. It's impressive to hear "The Hawk" tear up "Who Do You Love" or Jerry Lee rip through "Whole Lotta Shakin'" and after all these years still make it sound fresh. The Band chip in with a couple of songs, most notably "The Weight," and Levon Helm and Rick Danko put a formidable amount of feel into that classic. Lawrence Gowan, a relative youngster and a member of Ronnie Hawkins' band, barrels through "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Long Tall Sally" that would give Little Richard a run for his money. Carl Perkins gets his spotlight with "Matchbox" and his all-time classic, "Blue Suede Shoes." And if that wasn't enough, Jeff Healey was there as well to add some scorching solos that would leave you shaking your head in amazement.

The DVD has some good bonus features as well. There is a video for a new song of Ronnie's called "Days Gone By" that pays homage to some of the legends of rock who have shuffled off of this mortal coil (Carl Perkins, for example).

There is also a well-researched bonus feature, "At the Crossroads of Rock and Roll," that examines the origins of rock from Memphis and its being exported across the ocean to England. This feature has interviews with Carl Perkins, one of his sons, and many of the people who were instrumental in spreading rock across the globe, including some of the members of Bill Haley's Comets. There is some great footage here which also includes the backstage banter of the Toronto concert. This feature is well directed, produced, and researched by Steve Thomson and is well worth checking out.

Eagle Vision has come up with a winner of a DVD with this affectionate look at the music - and its makers - that took the world by storm and, after some 50 years, shows little signs of slowing down.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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