Rockarchiv: Musikladen Highlights Vol 1, 2 [no label, 2DVD PAL hungercity 6437, 6454]

The opening shots in a new series highlighting the myriad treasures still lurking in the archive of Germany’s number one rock and pop TV show round up a very esoteric selection of performances, with little regard for either chronology or content. Shifting, on volume one, from Little Feat and 10cc (a beautifully shot “I’m Not In Love”), to Steeleye Span and Suzi Quatro, and onto Rachel Sweet and Tina Turner, the sharp-eyed remote controller nevertheless needs negotiate the likes of the Jacksons, Hall & Oates and Meatloaf, while the mid-1970s were scarcely Billy Preston’s finest hour. Unless, of course, you happen to like him, in which case your own view of this collection might well lean the other way entirely.

Sparks (a histrionic “Something For The Girl With Everything”) and Nazareth (that throat-scarring “Love Hurts”) should be highlights in anybody’s book, though, while volume two’s exhumation of performances by Marianne Faithful (“Ballad of Lucy Jordan”) and Lene Lovich (a completely mad “Bird Song”) are likewise above criticism. Unfortunately, the remainder of that disc seems devoted to upsetting any sense you may have had of what really made the music industry tick through the latter half of the '70s. Madness tip a hat to the 2-Tone movement, but return visits from Tina Turner, Suzi Quatro and Rachel Sweet are accompanied by the likes of Wilson Pickett, Robert Palmer, Sister Sledge and, saints preserve us, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Oh, and a spot of bizarre Europop from Tim Curry, complete with a cod foreign accent and a band that must be seen to be believed.

So, something for everyone, and everything’s for someone - which was always what made Musikladen so exciting in the first place. Wonderful quality as well. - Dave Thompson

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October 10, 2008