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The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 3

9 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Aug 29, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From 1971 to 1987, Tuesday nights in the UK meant The Old Grey Whistle Test, the live music program that ended the broadcast day for the BBC. The list of performances from The Old Grey Whistle Test is a treasure trove from across the musical spectrum, rock, blues, R&B, punk. You name the genre, it was represented on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Volume three raids the BBC archives for more vintage performances from the top acts of the day, including Jackson Browne, Roger Daltrey, Joe Jackson, King Crimson, Supertramp, B.B. King, Simple Minds, Humble Pie and many more. Roger Daltrey himself introduces his performance of "Giving It All Away," and presenters Mark Ellen and David Hepworth provide hilarious and insightful commentary on all the performances, looking back on the history of one of the most remarkable franchises in the history of music.

Like its two predecessors, this third volume of performances from English television's Old Grey Whistle Test is a primer on eclecticism, an overused term that is nonetheless appropriate here. Packed into a little more than two hours, these 28 clips represent virtually every style of popular music, profound and trivial alike, that was in vogue when the show made its early-'70s to mid-'80s run, including traditional and contemporary folk, singer-songwriters, rock (hard, classic, and progressive), blues, punk, and new wave, along with other, less easy to categorize sounds. Better yet, most of the performances are live (others have live vocals over a pre-recorded track), and some are exceptionally good. Fairport Convention, soldiering on well after the departures of singer Sandy Denny and guitarist Richard Thompson, display their considerable chops on the instrumental "Brilliancy Medley" (Thompson appears elsewhere on the DVD in a duet with then-wife Linda); blues guitarist Freddie King and his band are deep in the pocket on the aptly-named "Boogie Funk"; Janis Ian reminds us what a poignant, well-crafted song her hit "At Seventeen" was; and Public Image Limited, Johnny Rotten's post-Sex Pistols outfit, are surprisingly powerful and compelling, as is King Crimson, with founder Robert Fripp joined by guitarist Adrian Belew, drummer Bill Bruford, and bassist Tony Levin. Of course, the show's Brit-centric booking policy will leave some viewers wondering what bands like Japan, Orange Juice, and Half Man Half Biscuit did to deserve this kind of exposure, while others may applaud the producers' showcasing the borderline unlistenable Jesus and Mary Chain even as they reach for the fast forward button. But with the rest of the acts ranging from Johnny Winter and Jackson Browne to Joe Jackson, John Martyn, and the Jam (and that's just the J's), surely there's something here for everyone. The cheeky, often amusing voice-over commentary available for most songs is the best of the bonus features. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Commentary by presenters Mark Ellen, David Hepworth, and Andy Kershaw
  • Reminiscences by Roger Daltrey, Jools Holland, Rick Wakeman, Bob Geldof, Roddy Frame and others
  • Artists' gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Harris, Anne Nightingale, Dave Hepworth, Steve Howe, Mark Ellen
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,440 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Old Grey Whistle Test, Vol. 3" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Shred on September 15, 2006
Unbelievable! They did it again! As they did with volume 2 of this series the US version of this DVD has many artists REMOVED from the disc.

Last time around it was Be Bop Deluxe and Stanley Clarke they removed.

Now, as I predicted, they removed the great ROBIN TROWER!

What were they thinking?!!! Robin Trower was hugely succesful here and many of his fans would love to see his OGWT performances. I have his performance from the PAL disc and it is nothing less than stunning, it's the BEST performance on the disc!

Also omitted are David Bowie, Sade, Brinsley Schwarz, and Al Stewart.


The people who put out these discs are IDIOTS!

Meanwhile they left on performances, I won't name which, which have NO meaning to Americans and are not that great.

My suggestion is DON'T buy this disc and go to Amazon UK and buy the PAL version of this disc, the COMPLETE disc and see if your DVD player will play PAL DVD's of which some will.

This is ANOTHER botched DVD like Volume 2, as are The Allman Brothers-Great Woods, and Black Sabbath's-Last Supper with constant talking over the music.

BOOOOO!!!! SHAME!!!! You guys screwed up yet ANOTHER DVD which could have been great.


I won't give this ANY stars because they botched this so bad!
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pierson on August 15, 2006
I saw this on another web page and thought I would pass it along...

Meet Me On The Corner - Lindisfarne
Jamaica Say You Will - Jackson Browne
Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
I Get By - Stealers Wheel
Giving It All Away - Roger Daltrey
Black Coffee - Humble Pie
Brilliancy Medley - Fairport Convention
Boogie Funk - Freddie King
Dreamer - Supertramp
Jumping Jack Flash - Johnny Winter
A Heart Needs A Home - Richard and Linda Thompson
At Seventeen - Janis Ian
Couldn't Love You More - John Martyn & Danny Thompson
Fires Of Spring - Chris Rea
'A' Bomb In Wardour Street - The Jam
When It All Comes Down/Hold On - BB King
Sunday Papers - Joe Jackson
Chelsea Girl - Simple Minds
Frame By Frame - King Crimson
Are Friends are Electric - Tubeaway Army
Careering - PIL
Ghosts - Japan
Rip It Up - Orange Juice
No-One Is To Blame - Howard Jones
In A Hole - The Jesus & Mary Chain
Sweet, Sweet Baby (I'm Falling) - Lone Justice
All I Want For Xmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit - Half Man Half iscuit
Walk Like An Egyptian - Bangles
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Hartley on August 30, 2006
Volume 3 of the BBC's "Old Grey Whistle Test" archival highlight series is a bit of an improvement over the previous installment (see my review of Vol. 2 on this site). I realize the choice of performance clips in any given collection provides an endless catalyst for subjective argument-but let's just say that there are fewer "turkeys" in this outing! I still have some overall issues with these "dumbed down" U.S. versions, but until I'm ready to stop whingeing and spend a small fortune on the original British PAL releases, I guess this is what I (and my fellow hapless American consumers) are stuck with. As before, the breadth of the show's run is represented well, from early 70's to late 80's. Fans of British folk get a real treat this time out, with fine performances from Lindisfarne, Fairport Convention, Richard & Linda Thompson and John Martyn. One of the highlights for this reviewer is the clip of Johnny Winter really tearing up the house with his classic cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (I find the sight of a leaping, caped albino guitar virtuoso oddly reassuring). One very positive improvement over the previous volumes is on the technical side-someone at the BBC finally "got" it and gave us an a la carte option to select and play specific performances (should have been a no-brainer from day one!) By the way, I know the gentleman from Germantown was trying to be helpful, but his track listing is incorrect. Bowie, Brinsley Schwarz, Robin Trower, Al Stewart and Sade are NOT on this compilation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Brill on August 22, 2007
Unless you happen to be nostalgic for the self aggrandized commentary by former hosts and guests, I would suggest looking elsewhere. As a fan of Volume One of this series (although not without its own faults) Volume 3 (and 2) are complete let downs that seem to bask in the embarrassment of lip synced performances - which unfortunately dominate this DVD. The most obvious being Steppenwolf who clearly are using the original LP cut of "Born to be Wild" as a backing track. Why do you want to pay money for a pretty tame and all around lame line-up that don't even play live? As the DVD progresses chronologically, the format of the show gets more slick and even more unwatchable.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John of Sunhillow on January 8, 2011
In the description for this, it lists Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe as "actors," as though they're on it. But are they? No one mentions them in the reviews. Please let me know if they're on this, so I know whether to buy it or not. Thank you.
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