This is the fourth of six reviews of DVD releases selected from the Quantum Leap series of "Rock 'n Roll Legends" 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.
Although this release features only five of Martha Reeves' hit songs, it provides almost nineteen minutes of energetic live performance by Reeves and her original Vandellas. Performed live at Little Darlin's, The Rock 'n Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida, these songs capture the spirit of the original hit recordings combined with the energy that can only come from a live performance. It should be noted here that order of performance on the DVD is not the same as listed on the package. There are two different performances of "Dancing in the Street" included here, providing a sixth performance track. I would question inclusion of the first version, which seems to be performed with a lack of enthusiasm by all concerned. The second version is a powerful performance and perhaps the best in this set. This one could have stood on its own without inclusion of the weaker version earlier in the set.