This is the third 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.
In the world of popular music, the Shirelles are both important and influential. The first all girl group to ever score a number one record, the Shirelles are touted as the first ever girl-group, defining the genre and becoming the template for all who followed. For a while, they had as powerful an influence on my generation as The Beatles had later. I can remember in my mid-teens sitting with a group of friends in the cafe of the main bus depot in downtown Calgary as we played "Soldier Boy" over and over on the jukebox, all of us singing along at the top of our lungs. Needless to say, we were finally thrown out of the place. There you have it, the ultimate girl-group as an incentive for rebellion.
This release features "Soldier Boy" and six other Shirelles' hits performed live at Little Darlin's, The Rock 'n Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida. The sound is true to the original hit recordings, but with the energy that only a live concert can bring to the music. These are solid, well-written pop songs penned by some of the best songwriters of their era and they stand up very well to the test of time. This is a fun concert to watch and may even inspire you to get up and dance to the music. Who knows, you may even want to sing along, over and over again.