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Music Scene: Best of 1969-1970 - Volume 2
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Music Scene is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind program that originally aired on ABC-TV from 1969-1970. The show featured the most popular contemporary performers along with many varied musical legends. Hosted by comedian David Steinberg and special guests, M
Whereas Music Scene, Vol. 1 preserved a daring TV show's moment in the low-rated limelight, Vol. 2 shows the series in a fascinating tailspin, in the ratings cellar before cancellation in January of 1970. A bold attempt to combine liberal political comedy, harmless pop, and Woodstock-era rock & roll, Music Scene drew its guests from current Billboard pop charts, supplementing those acts with host David Steinberg's intellectual sarcasm and shrewd assaults on the Nixon administration. In these four complete episodes, however, the show is clearly dying, and while the collected performances still qualify as outstanding relics from the volatile Woodstock/Altamont time frame, it's amazing to watch Steinberg--now stripped of his merry band of cohosts--exchanging genial wisecracks for a darker, more cynical acceptance that Music Scene was doomed from the start.
The music is an eclectic, full-course buffet, from lip-synced performances by Creedence Clearwater Revival to the chart-topping ballads of Neil Diamond and Gordon Lightfoot to the defiantly leftist folk of Pete Seeger and Buffy Sainte- Marie. Unexpected highlights include Joe Cocker's sublime rendition of the Beatles' "Something" and Frankie Laine's emotional delivery of "Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain." Throughout, Steinberg is like a protestor with a lost cause, and by the time he's joined by cohost Groucho Marx for the mesmerizing final show, he's lost all pretense of mainstream propriety, and it's TV history like nothing before or since. A full menu of 21 bonus songs is icing on a bittersweet cake, from one-hit-wonders Zager & Evans ("In the Year 2525") to an impassioned "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" by Janis Joplin, whose own fate would soon echo that of this remarkable, short-lived TV show. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
- Four live-on-tape shows (11-10-69, 12-1-69, 12-22-69, 1-12-70)
- Includes final broadcast show
- 21 bonus performances
- Four Music Scene promos by the Rolling Stones
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While both of these volumes are worth having, Volume 2 takes the cake simply because some of the show lineups are positively bizarre--no more so than the last show, which the cast and crew KNEW would be the last show.
Host and comedian David Steinberg had become a good friend of Groucho Marx and invited him to be on the show. Great move. Still "with it" at age 74, Steinberg's interview with Groucho in the middle of the show is positively classic. His genuine compliments and good-natured kidding of singer John Sebastian, who is clearly in awe of Groucho, are positively touching.
At the end of the show, Steinberg brings Groucho back and Groucho pretty much takes over; so much so that Steinberg finally stops him in mid-"shtick" and says, "Uh, Groucho, I have to go home!"
Musically, this disc has some neat stuff. Pete Seeger leading a group of kids singing "Bring 'em Home" still gets you going, and you want to go start a war just so that you can send boys over there and bring 'em back.
Janis Joplin's "Try" is great, too, shot in the same studio as the Seeger bit (it appears this show was shot in various locations depending on the audience needed to make the act work.)
It would have been nice if they could have licensed the use of the Beatles' video "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (Music Scene was the only show that dared to show this video in '69, albeit with the "Christ" bleeped out), but alas, it's not here.
Interesting to see Lily Tomlin in her pre-Laugh-In days, and it's easy to see why she jumped ship before the show was finished.
The MOST interesting thing about these DVDS are the trailers that sold this show. They featured some of the comedians that showed up on the program along with comedians (including Howard Hesseman under a different name) and a band that didn't--The Rolling Stones. Obviously, the Stones were supposed to play a much bigger part in what this show was supposed to be, and somewhere between preview and premiere, that all fell through.
Whether you really need more than one version of "Take a Letter Maria" is totally up to you, but otherwise this is a great collection. Get both volumes and enjoy!
Most recent customer reviews
Although this program might be laughable by todays standards, Music Scene provides a glimpse into what we used to...Read more