The Bonzo Dog Band

Compile... [DVD]

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In common with other Anonymous Film Archive bootleg DVD releases of rare vintage rock footage, this suffers from such sub-standard image quality and variable sound levels (and all-around sub-standard professionalism in the packaging) that it can only be recommended to hardcore Bonzo Dog Band fans who want at least some visual evidence of the group in motion. There's not much here, the late- '60s TV and film clips adding up to barely more than a half-hour. Certainly most of it's rare, though, or at least not very apt to show up on U.S. television, though no doubt at least some of it's been preserved and rebroadcast somewhere. While the sources of the material are (no big surprise) wholly unidentified, it can be surmised with confidence that much of this comes from the archives of the German TV program Beat Club, and the British comedy program Do Not Adjust Your Set, for which the Bonzos supplied frequent musical interludes (and which also featured Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Jones in their pre-Monty Python days). Unfortunately, as was the standard during the era, most if not all of the clips are mimed. With the Bonzos, however, there's some compensation in that the group were more visually expressive, and visually humorous, than most groups of the era, using some outlandish costumes and making some of the goofiest, well-timed faces of any '60s band to have a chart single. There are probably more versions than you want of "I'm the Urban Spaceman" here, it being their only true hit, but there are some less-traveled tunes as well, like "The Equestrian Statue," "Mr. Apollo," "Canyons of Your Mind" (in which Neil Innes mimes the atrocious solo to over-the-top groupie-like appreciation from Roger Ruskin Spear), and "The Sound of Music." There's also a brief spot of solo Spear, perhaps dating from his post-Bonzos solo career.