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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

Canned Heat

Live at Montreux 1973 DVD (2 Disc)

Review by Gary Hill

I don't know what it is with labels these days. Well, actually I do. I just don't like it. Here's the thing, and I'm betting you've noticed this trend. The label will release something – a CD or (in this case) DVD. Then several months (or maybe a year) later we get the same thing reissued with something extra added to it. I'm sure that this is designed to get the hardcore fans to shell out money twice for the same item. It's not that the products aren't good. It's just that it seems a little dishonest. Why not issue both versions at the same time – at different prices – and let the consumer decide which one they want? The truth is the completists would still buy both of them. It's the more casual buyer who would benefit from this. Frankly the ones who bought the original set probably feel pretty ripped off now. While I think that this is something that needs to be said, it isn't restricted to this product (or label) alone. It seems to be an industry wide issue. Maybe it's that sense of getting ripped off that has people avoiding buying product, not all the downloading.

OK – with that out of the way, let's look at this release. It's actually quite a good one. This band was one of the more interesting bluesy acts coming out of the late 1960's and early 1970's, and this concert showed them at their best. You can read more about that part of the product in the review I did of the original edition. What is added here is a documentary on the band called “The Canned Heat Story.” This documentary covers the original era of the group all the way up to the modern era. The story is told by drummer Fito De La Parra. It is augmented by archival footage and interviews with the surviving members of the band. It is a great documentary, really. It's very informative and entertaining at the same time.

Frankly, this set is a great deal. My only issue is that they should have assembled it this way to begin with. I guess that means that those who waited to purchase get the better end of the deal. This is a superior product to the original release. And that one was quite good to begin with. Fans of Canned Heat and vintage blues based rock, if you haven't already got the first version, by all means pick this up. If you did buy that original release, then you still might want to think about trading up – assuming you can get a decent price for the copy you already have.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 2 at
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