Various Artists

Best of Shindig [DVD/bootleg]

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Looking at the Best of Shindig bootleg DVD, one has to wonder immediately why Rhino Records' authorized videocassettes and laserdiscs of Shindig from the late '80s looked and sounded so cruddy -- from the professional-style menu that pops up automatically on start-up, this is a good job, with crisp images and loud, sharp sound; there are a few momentary glitches in the sound, minor dropouts and so forth, but generally this disc runs circles around Rhino's early '90s releases of the material from the ABC network show. The Beatles do live versions of "Kansas City" and "I'm a Loser" that are distinctly different from their studio renditions, the Everly Brothers sing "Love Is Strange," and the Byrds perform "Feel a Whole Lot Better," "The Bells of Rhymney," "Chimes of Freedom," and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" -- and that's all just to start things off. The only real disappointment is the Rolling Stones' rendition of "Satisfaction," which is very close to the standard studio version, if not the actual studio recording lip-synched. The rest is prime material, all of it really live and a lot of it refreshingly different from the studio recordings. The producers have also included just enough of the regular Shindig acts, such as Billy Preston and the Shindig dancers, so that one does get a sense of what the show itself was about, as well as its being head-and-shoulders above Hullabaloo in most essential respects -- even the one guest host featured momentarily, comedian/actor Ed Wynn, is more interesting than most of the rival NBC show's hosts. The chaptering isn't strictly by song, and there is no song list, and there are some authoring problems on some copies, but the results are worth it.