Thursday, January 14, 2010

Motor Town, Detroit

The sudden influx of new artists at this time of year can be confusing and unstabilising, so what better antidote than a great big syrupy spoonful of Motown?

Released towards the end of last year, Motown: The Definitive Performances, is a fascinating DVD, collecting together US TV performances from the likes of Diana Ross, The Four Tops and Stevie Wonder from 1965 - 1972.

It's from a time when music television was in its infancy, and broadcasters had to abide by much stricter moral codes. So we see the singers demurely lip-syncing to lyrics about frothing carnal lust, while the rest of the band try their best to dance like well-coordinated virgins. The audience respond by clapping arrhythmically or, in poor Brenda Holloway's case, by standing behind her, talking amongst themselves.

But while the performances seem clunky and dated, the music is still amazing - and the DVD allows you to flick between new surround sound mixes, remastered stereo, original mono versions, a capellas and instrumentals. There is also, for no apparent reason, bonus footage of a Motown picnic.

All in all, it is my favourite music DVD in years.

The best clip features Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, forced to perform Nowhere To Run while pretending to have the best day of their lives at the Ford Mustang production line in Detroit.

It's the sort of idea that would never get past a commissioning editor today - but I love it. Imagine if the producers at T4 insisted that, every time he played, Mika had to take his glittery baby-gro and ridiculous perm to the Honda plant in Swindon? That'd learn him.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - Nowhere To Run

The Motown DVD is a tenner on Amazon. Go on, you know you want to.

Labels: , , , , ,

<< Home

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage