DVD Review: "Jukebox Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 1"

Payless Entertainment, Australia, 2006, PAL Region: 0, Screen Ratio: 4:3, Running Time: approx. 60 minutes, Audio: AC3 Stereo, Color: B&W

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, Jan 2007

This budget DVD release from Payless Entertainment in Australia is a rock 'n' roll goldmine! Featuring 16 music video tracks from the 1950s it is a treasure trove of historic recordings.

There are six Elvis tracks and ten other classic performances which will delight lovers of the golden era of rock 'n' roll. The Bill Haley & His Comets audio only recording of Rock Around The Clock is also played over the introductory credits.

And if the background images are anything in the opening credits to go by other volumes in this series will be also an essential purchase - they show seminal performances by other legends including Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The four Elvis music performances are taken from his television performances on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show and The Ed Sullivan Show in the mid 1950s. They are:

  • Heartbreak Hotel
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • Don't Be Cruel
  • Too Much

Many fans will have these versions several times in their collections, but who can ever tire of watching the young, dynamic Hillbilly Cat at his loose-hipped best? This is the raw, uninhibited King of Rock 'n' Roll playing with his rapt audience.

In addition, two newsreel footage tracks will be welcomed by many Elvis fans. They are the full version of Elvis Returns To Tupelo, and Elvis In The Army. They offer a wonderful audio-visual record of "Elvismania" at its peak.

It is unfortunate very little other video footage exists of Elvis at the peak of his rockabilly powers turning young girls into a screaming, saturated mess and tearing up stages across the nation. This is pure rock 'n' roll gold!

The 10 non-Elvis tracks on the DVD are:

  • Peggy Sue (Buddy Holly)
  • Walk Right Back (The Everly Brothers)
  • Why Do Fools Fall In Love (Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers)
  • Travelin' Man (Ricky Nelson)
  • Ain't That A Shame (Fats Domino)
  • Baby Workout (Jackie Wilson)
  • Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin)
  • Okee Shamokee Pop (Big Joe Turner)
  • Hey Good Lookin' (Hank Williams)
  • Wake Up Little Susie (The Everly Brothers)

The classic performances of hit songs by legendary stars such as Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin are nicely complemented by the lessor known track, Okee Shamokee Pop, by Big Joe Turner and the country standard, Hey Good Lookin', by the immortal Hank Williams.

While these stars may be largely forgotten by today's mainstream media, there is an electrifying resonance apparent as we watch the young, handsome Ricky Nelson, or listen to the velvety smooth vocals of the inimitable Mr Fats Domino in what is a very inventive music video clip for the time. The Big Joe Turner performance is nicely introduced by a very amusing dose of on-stage humor, and it is always a pleasure to see the "Black Elvis", Jackie Wilson, perform.

Buddy Holly's performance of Peggy Sue on The Ed Sullivan Show exudes a rock 'n' roll rawness that commands our attention, while a young Frankie Lymon (only 13 at the time) provides a seasoned performance well beyond his years. Bobby Darin's stylish signature tune, Mack The Knife, is a favorite of many and is nicely done here. Similarly, The Everly Brothers, despite their own personal estrangement, enjoy popularity with many rock 'n' roll fans and their two tracks do not disappoint.

The release works particularly well in presenting The King and Princes of rock 'n' roll together. It is a stage show not seen in the 50s and one we can only marvel at how good it would have been.

The sound quality on the DVD is generally very good and while the black & white video has been remastered it does show its age.

Regardess, Jukebox Rock 'N' Roll Vol. 1 is chock full of entertainment value with its diverse historic audio-visual treats. Each of the performances is offered on screen surrounded by a mustard yellow frame. Initially disconcerting, you quickly forget about this as you are captured by the seminal, rock 'n' roll music which transformed a world forever more than 50 years ago.

Reflecting a time of excitement and innocence, this release is one you will treasure and play again and again.

Verdict: Jukebox Rock 'N' Roll is a great, value-for-money release showcasing many of the legends of rock 'n' roll at their peak. Savour a piece of rock 'n' roll heaven!

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