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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

John Sebastian

Welcome Back: Live at Iowa State University DVD

Review by Gary Hill

John Sebastian might not be a household name outside of certain circles, but it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve heard his music. Whether it’s the Lovin’ Spoonful hits like “Nashville Cats,” “Younger Girl” or “Darling Be Home Soon” or the theme song to the “Welcome Back Kotter” television show, it seems likely you’ve heard something from this guy. This DVD captures a live performance from 1987. The music here is delivered acoustically and comes in somewhere in the neighborhood where folk and the blues meet pop music. It’s a good performance that is live. That means this has warts and blemishes, but also lots of character and spirit. David Bromberg is a featured guest in this show. It’s a cheery sort of event – and that pretty much applies to anything and everything from Sebastian. I remember a Steve Martin skit from way back when where he said that you couldn’t play sad music on a banjo. Well, I’d say that if that’s true, John Sebastian is the banjo of songwriters. His music will pretty much always make you feel at least a little happy. There are a few bonuses on this set (most notably a backstage interview), but really the concert by itself makes this worthwhile. The videography is what you would expect from the time period. It’s good, but not great by modern standards. This is highly recommended for John Sebastian fans, but would also make an excellent introduction to this incredible artist.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at
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