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Rock & Roll Party: Honoring Les Paul
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Showing 1-10 of 113 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2011
Les Paul was a bona fide genius. I've played acoustic and electric guitar, as well as tenor and baritone sax (although nowhere near the level of the guys on this DVD), for many years so I know what kind of monster musicianship went into playing it. In case you didn't know, Les Paul (and his friend Leo Fender, working separately and whose last name you should also recognize) had everything to do with the invention of the electric guitar. In addition, Les Paul invented recording studio techniques that are still in use today. Though the equipment has changed, those techniques are still the same. Everyone who uses a recording studio today - including myself - is still using many of those same techniques today.

I first saw the edited PBS version and just HAD to buy the DVD. Take it from an old-school rock'n'roller: I'm telling you THIS SHOW IS NOT TO BE MISSED! The show was recorded on what would have been Les Paul's 95th birthday in 2010 in a tiny club in NYC. You'll have a better seat than anyone who was actually at this invitation-only event.

The show features the amazing guitar work of Jeff Beck, the gorgeous Irish vocalist Imelda May, who, when she covers the 1950's Les Paul and Mary Ford records contained in the show, is a dead ringer for Mary Ford. Ms. May did the same trick Ms. Ford did on the original Paul and Ford Records of the 1950's (one of Les Paul's many inventions) - she pre-recorded the harmony vocals on such songs as "How High The Moon", "Mockingbird Hill", "Tiger Rag" and more - and sang the lead vocal live with the band and the recorded harmony tracks - essentially singing harmony with herself. Each of the guest artists came out in turn and did their stuff, and boy, did they do it UP! The show features a great horn section for some of the tunes, such as the theme from "Peter Gunn", plus Brian Setzer, Gary U.S. Bonds and lots more. If you're a fan of REAL rock 'n' roll, you are going to want this DVD or Blu-Ray disc in your collection...and you'll want to turn it up!!!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2011
The Irridium show itself is fabulous. As if things couldn't get any better, there are a plethora of extras on this disc that are certainly worth mentioning.

There's a 15-minute bit with JB in his home with some of his most treasured guitars, relating a story to each one, that is just fascinating to watch. A Strat gifted from John McLaughlin? The Seymour Duncan "Tele-Gib" traded for the 1954 Yardbirds-era Esquire, and subsequent regret? A plastic guitar from Jimmy Page? A '54 Sunburst Strat that some guy just GAVE him? The "workhorse" Telecaster? Yep, pretty kewl stuff!

There's 1983 concert footage of JB playing live with Les Paul that's a hoot; LP tries to yank Beck's cord out of his Strat after a particularly blistering solo, and JB then tries to return the joke by de-tuning LP's; all in great fun.

From the same show, there's a Les Paul solo performance where he showcases his "little black box", which allows him to first layer several tracks spontaneously, then play lead over them. It reminds you just how much of a genius this guy was, not only as a musician, but as an inventor and engineer.

Then there's a long interview with JB. It's unfortunately marred by an annoying Entertainment Tonight/Access Hollywood-wannabe who obviously attended The Diane Saywer School Of Overanimated Interviewing. JB does relate a lot of his early life and influences, both from his family and music, and the over-acting-fake-tan-bimbo aside, it's damn interesting.

All of this may get overlooked with the other reviews in the excitement of the Irridium show, but anyone who is interested in purchasing this great DVD should know what else lies in store.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
OK - I confess to being a hardcore Beck fan. But this DVD is the one that will pull in anyone who had wondered what the "buzz" about Jeff Beck is. He does spot-on versions of songs that you have probably heard from the original sources (Les Paul & Mary Ford, for example) - but his playing is in homage to the sources, and is not overly modified, as too many artists would have done.

And..."The Train Kept A Rollin' " is worth the price alone. You hear Jeff do a nod to his Yardbird days, yet retain the aura of the original song. Wow.

Imelda May adds vocals on about half of the twenty tracks - and she is amazing. Her obvious love for the music pops right out of the screen. The rest of the musicians are likewise stellar - including Imelda's husband, Darrel Higham on guitar and vocals (he was part of Jeff's Big Time Playboy band, and added chops to the "Crazy Legs" CD,also a classic).

Among the added tracks on the DVD there are a great interview with Jeff, a clip of him showing off his "toys" (a guitar selection to die for!)and two pieces with Les Paul showing why he will always be remembered both as an artist and an inventor. The clip of him and Jeff jamming in the '80s is joyful and charming. Talk about loving what you get paid to do!

I plan on loaning this DVD out to my friends - the ones who wonder why I am such a Beckophile. I'm sure it will blow them away as much as it has blown ME away.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2011
I think what is missed in all the reviews is the fact that Jeff Beck is not even the best part of this performance. Sure, Jeff can play this style he grew up with as good as anyone, but the real focus here should be Imelda May and her band. First, Imelda May's vocals are why Jeff Beck decided to do a project like this in the first place. She is an amazing blues/rockabilly singer who has really created her own sound in recent years. Her husband Darrel Higham is also singing lead vocals throughout the show. Darrel is an incredible lead guitarist and fantastic vocalist. Trust me, had Darrel been playing lead guitar, he would have MORE than held his own against Beck or Setzer. Jeff is icing on the cake with Imelda May's drummer and bass player and Darrel really keeping this "train rolling"!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
JEFF BECK-ROCK & ROLL PARTY HONORING LES PAUL: When six string guru JEFF BECK decided to throw a ROCK & ROLL PARTY in honor of his mentor LES PAUL, creator of the solid body electric guitar and recording innovations like multi-tracking, he certainly didn't skimp on the entertainment; the tight as a drum-head backing band for this rockabilly boogie woogie wing-ding is straight out of an ELVIS PRESLEY flick, led by pompadoured cool-daddy singer/guitarist DARRELL HINGHAM. BECK also shares the stage with HINGHAM's wife IMELDA MAY, a stunningly sultry sex kitten who coos, caresses, yips and yells like a possessed retro-chic soul-mama, truly a shimmy-shakin' talent to marvel at. BECK and MAY lovingly channel LES PAUL & MARY FORD's pioneering fretwork and echo-saturated vocals to recreate early fifties classics VAYA CON DIOS, MOCKINGBIRD HILL, and HOW HIGH THE MOON, retaining the high-spirited zing and novel beauty of the originals. The man with an axe to grind also takes on jump bluser TINY BRADSHAW's swingin' chestnut TRAIN KEPT A ROLLIN', (which BECK's old band THE YARDBIRDS memorably covered), plus steam-heat instrumentals PETER GUNN, APACHE, and SLEEP WALK with neck-breakin' chops and passion to spare. Sixties soul slinger GARY "U.S." BONDS shows up for the crowd-participation pleaser NEW ORLEANS, followed by twanger revivalist BRIAN SETZER, who busts out EDDIE COCHRAN's TWENTY FLIGHT ROCK to cap off this funky, fast-paced tribute. Surely LES PAUL was smiling down from his heavenly throne this very special evening.

RATING: FIVE SOLOS
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2011
Really late last night i was flipping the channels and happen to see a 'rockabilly' concert going on at PBS. I stopped to watch awhile. I'm sure I had heard the singer before (Big Sandy?)....but who is that great guitarist next to him? He sure looks a lot like Jeff Beck? He plays blistering solos (short and compact, true to songs of the era) like Jeff Beck.
Jeff Beck is a rock/jazz fusion genius, it can't be him playing sideman on a rockabilly band? Then they brought out this beautiful singer that looks a lot like Scarlett Johansen with a weird hair-do, and she beautifully sang 50's songs with what sounded like 2 of the Puppini Sisters. I wondered if I was dreaming?

Finally, they had a 'pledge break'...OMG! It WAS Jeff Beck!!! The singer is new to me; Imelda May, from Ireland.
You read the details above about the concert and the over-dubbing trick of Imelda. All I can add is that this was great, a lot of fun, and makes me appreciate these classic songs anew. I'm only bummed I have to wait to get the CD, and I'm on my way to find some Imelda May albums.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2011
I agree with all the positive comments that have been expressed so far so, I wont repete them and will just offer a few more comments.

The drummer in the band is one of the best rock drummers I have ever seen. I certainly have not seen any better.
He is the ultimate R&R timekeeper........extremely "tight", powerful and never drops a beat.

Gary US Bonds is a real treat and he is great even at the age of 71 when this was recorded!

Imelda May's version of "(remember) Walikng in the Sand" is fantastic and if you never really liked this song before, you will absolutely love Imelda's and Jeff's' soulful version. If you were not an Imelda May fan by then, that song will finally make you one.

Just get this!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For one night only - June 9, 2010 -,a date that would have celebrated guitarist/inventor/music legend Les Paul's 95th Birthday ( he died 8/19/2009 at age 94), rock guitarist Jeff Beck hosted "party" at the small 200-seat Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. In the audience were names like David Bowie, Meat Loaf and Steven Van Zandt. But they didn't take the stage. On stage, and captured on video, were Beck along with British rockabilly singer Imelda May and her band. For 90 minutes there was, virtually, non-stop music. Beck gets about 10 words out of his mouth, but does all his communicating with his fingers on the fretboard. May sings on about half of the 27 songs performed and there are one-shot vocals by guests Gary U.S. Bonds and Stray Cat Brian Setzer. Beck does his solo thing on Paul classics like "Sleepwalk" and "Peter Gunn".

But it's not ALL rock and roll. While Paul's early Trio work is mostly overlooked, there is a large segment devoted to his Capitol years and the recordings he made with then-wife Mary Ford. May uses vocal tape looping (pre-recorded) to do a creditable re-creation of Ford's vocals on their hits "The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise" and "Vaya Con Dios". As the program progresses, Beck takes the beat more into rock and roll territory but never breaks a sweat. Paul never had ROCK hits but that isn't to say he couldn't play rock guitar. (After all he invested the solid body electric guitar which Beck plays.).

The concert itself would be a reason to get this DVD but the bonuses make it a must have. First there is a 26-minute interview with Beck at his home in the UK. Next is an 18-minute "Behind the Scenes" featurette that mostly shows Beck's fans anxious to see him. (Paul is rarely mentioned). Two performances of Paul playing with Beck in 1983 (From the Rock `n Roll Tonite TV show) show how Paul could match - or beat - Beck at hard rock if he wanted. There's a 14-minute section on Beck and his large guitar collection and a four-minute performance of Paul (again from 1983) demonstrating his patented "black box" which allowed him to layer his guitar sound.

I can't think of any music fan - whether a young kid just starting out on guitar or a baby boomer who remembers Paul from his 45 hits with Ford - not getting a lot of enjoyment from this DVD.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Jeff Beck surpassed everyone from the Yardbirds. He's probably the best electric guitar player in the world, judging from this live concert. Buy the DVD along with the CD. You'll be astonished from the beginning to the end. I've watched the DVD about 12 times, and I'm still not sick of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
This DVD is great for many reasons. It not only showcases the incredible and unmatched guitar skills of Jeff Beck (the world's greatest guitarist), but also the beautiful Imelda May's great vocal skills as well as Leo Green's great sax skills and Trombone Shorty's great trombone skills. Its also a nice tribute to Les Paul, who was a friend of, and influence on, Jeff. The DVD points out that Les invented the solid body electric guitar as well as many guitar and recording techniques that are still used by guitarists and sound engineers today. The music is all 50's and early 60's pop, rock and rockabilly, consisting of 1) some of Les and wife Mary Ford's top hits, 2) some tunes by contemporaries of Les who were influenced by him, and 3) some tunes that Jeff felt Les would have appreciated. Highlight songs for me included a blazing "Peter Gunn", a dramatic and beautiful "Walking in the Sand" (seeing Imelda slink by Jeff while Jeff's doing an incredible riff is worth the price of the DVD by itself!), beautiful versions of "Sleepwalk", "Apache", "How High the Moon", "Tiger Rag" and "Vaya Con Dios" and a rollicking, stomping version of "New Orleans" (with Gary "U.S." Bonds) . Excellent bonus features are included. Watching this DVD leaves me at times thrilled, at times amazed, and at times joyful. All in all, its great, rollicking fun and very highly recommended!
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