This is the first of six reviews of DVD releases selected from the Quantum Leap "Rock 'n Roll Legends" series featuring stars of the late-Fifties and early-Sixties. This DVD series is quirky and uneven, yet manages to be both interesting and entertaining.
These nostalgic releases feature live performances by popular stars, often years after they were in their prime, mostly at Little Darlin's, a nostalgia club in Florida, but also at other locations. Some performances are taken from television or movies, including a documentary from Canada's National Film Board. A horde of other popular stars, and some not so well known, make guest appearances. The visuals, on clips often apparently dubbed from old film stock, range from disconcertingly blurry to quite good but never flawless. Usually, the music makes up for the lack of visual clarity.
There's a "Fanzone" that includes biography, discography and other background information. As well, the "Quantum Leap Propaganda" section features a variety of interesting, sometimes documentary plugs for events and products as well as web links.
While this "Rock 'n Roll Legends" series includes other DVD releases, in these six alone, you can see performances by some 25 vintage artists, singing not only their own hits but other popular songs of the era. Any one of these releases provides an interesting, if eccentric, window on this past time. Together they present a fascinating pastiche of popular music as it was a half-century ago.
Rock 'n Roll Legends: Bobby Vee features five of Bobby Vee's biggest hits performed live at Little Darlin's, The Rock 'n Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida. The music is energetic and well-performed and the songs retain the sound of the original hit recordings. The audience is lively, filling the dance floor throughout the performance, and Vee is clearly having a ball interacting with them. There's something a little off-centre about doing the bunny hop to "Walking With My Angel" or asking the dancers to twist to "Rubber Ball" but Vee and his audience carry it off. The track-listing on the package does not match the actual order of songs as performed.