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Gillian Welch - The Revelator Collection

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Videos: Elvis Presley Blues, My First Lover, Revelator Life Performances:, April the 14th, Wichita, Red Clay Halo, Billy , Pocahontas, Revelator, I'm On My Way Back To the Old Home, White Freightliner Blues Bonus Track: I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll

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Rarely have an artist and a visual approach been as well matched as they are in this hour-long package of videos and concert performances featuring singer-songwriter Gillian Welch and her musical partner, guitarist David Rawlings. Welch's rootsy, all-acoustic music is pure, plain, and simple, old-sounding if not especially old-fashioned; fittingly, both the three videos and nine live songs here ("Revelator" is seen and heard in both formats), all from 2001, are in black and white and similarly free of props, effects, or any other kind of artifice. Most of the material is her own, with covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, and bluegrass legend Bill Monroe rounding out the program. Not the liveliest or most uplifting music around, perhaps, but Welch fans will, well, revel in this tasteful presentation of her work. --Sam Graham

Special Features

  • Live songs: April the 14th, Wichita (previously unreleased), Red Clay Halo, Billy (previously unreleased), Pocahontas (previously unreleased), Revelator, I'm on My Way Back to the Old Home (previously unreleased), White Freightliner Blues (previously unreleased)
  • Videos: Elvis Presley Blues, My First Lover, Revelator
  • Bonus track: I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll

Product Details

  • Actors: Gillian Welch
  • Directors: Mark Seliger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: 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: Acony Records
  • DVD Release Date: November 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000077VP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,841 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The Gillian Welch Revelator Collection DVD is 59 minutes of black and white footage of the great folk music duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Though Welch always gets solo billing on the duo's recordings, this disc does reveal that this is a duo act, as anyone who's seen them knows. There are three edited "videos" shot in a studio in Nashville, "Elvis Presley Blues," "My First Lover" featuring Welch on banjo, and the title track. Then there are nine songs filmed live at performances in Carrboro, NC and Knoxville, TN in 2001. The songs are a very tender "April the 14th," the Welch-penned "Wichita" which was a bluegrass hit for Tim O'Brien, a rousing "Red Clay Halo," a beautiful rendering of Bob Dylan's "Billy" from the Pat Garrett soundtrack, Neil Young's "Pocahontas," a second "Revelator," David Rawlings' lead vocal on the Bill Monroe "I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home," Townes Van Zandt's "White Freghtliner Blues," and a "bonus track" of the fine "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll." The moments before "Pocahontas" show Welch and Rawlings humbly discussing the box that is always behind them when they play, and a harmonica that is found inside. This casual discussion best conveys the cozy, improvised feeling that one gets a Welch-Rawlings concert. The Welch-Rawlings CDs are fine, especially Revelator, but the live concert portion of this DVD presents this exemplary folk duo in their truest form. I highly recommend this DVD as the best possible introduction for those who aren't yet familiar with Welch and Rawlings, and as a wonderful souvenir for the faithful waiting for the next chance to see them live in concert.
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Format: DVD
I saw Gillian & David perform at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul about a week or two after this footage was shot, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Considering how they were playing in the theatre where A Prairie Home Companion is recorded, I was kinda hoping they might get a live album out of that show, actually.
Not that there's anything wrong with these performances (from Cat's Cradle in NC and The Bijou Theater in Knoxville, TN), but I think the clips don't quite capture the excitement of being in a packed theatre with them and a crowd of a couple thousand hanging on their every note and word for 2 hours. The footage here is shot mostly with a steady, single camera, maybe 20-30 feet from stage in the middle of the floor. You don't see anybody in the audience, and only occasionally hear them.
As somebody has pointed out, the cuts between clips take out much of the applause, audience interaction and banter between songs. One notable exception being the point where someone asks, "What's in the box?" That leads to a discovery of a harmonica, which leads to some fooling around and what seems like a spontaneous decision by Gillian to play "Pocahontas."
I love the moment after David's messed around with the harp and then put it away, thinking that "playtime's over" (he's admitted he doesn't really know how to play it), and then she tells him to get it back out. The way she says it, and the way he responds, is amusing and sweet, and feels like a genuine glimpse into their relationship. I love concert moments like that. It's too bad the director didn't just let the tape roll for two hours to let us see more of those moments.
This is coming out like a bad review, isn't it? I don't mean to make it sound like the DVD isn't worthwhile.
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Comment 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on November 15, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Gillian Welch is one of my favorite artists today. This disc of 3 videos and 9 songs recorded live show her and David Rawlings in top form. But, I was very disappointed in the length of the disc. It clocks it at under one hour. Why not show a whole concert? The disc is shot in black and white which I suppose is for some sort of effect but after a while it gets on your nerves. There are also no shots of the crowd so you really don't even realize it's a live show except for the crowd noise at the end of each song. Also, the disc fades in and out between songs so there is no continuity between songs like you would experience in a live show. The camera angles used a little annoying as well and seem to be a litte out of focus. Maybe that's because of it being in black and white. The music is stunning, offering versions of songs by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Townes Van Zandt in addition to several by Welch-Rawlings.
This could have been a really awesome DVD but unfortunately there are enough bothersome things about it to make it only rank 3 stars in my opinion.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"The Revelator Collection" includes both videos and live performances and was shot entirely in black-and-white film by still photographer Mark Seliger (chief photographer for "Rolling Stone" magazine). Others have complained about the B&W format, but I actually like it -- it gives the performance that old-timey feel that Welch's music reflects. The fact that it was shot all at one angle makes it a little too visually static, but it gives you the feel of actually being in the audience watching the show, which is nice.
The DVD features all 3 videos from Welch's album "Time (The Revelator)" and live performances of five previously-unreleased songs: Welch's "Wichita" and covers of songs by Bob Dylan ("Billy"), Neil Young ("Pocahontas"), Bill Monroe ("I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home"-- sung by David Rawlings), and Townes van Zandt ("White Freightliner Blues").
Overall, highly recommended, even though it may just end up being one of those DVDs you play in the background (rather than something you watch from start to finish without budging), it captures the Welch/Rawlings concert experience beautifully.
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