Various Artists

Ed Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics, Vol. 2 [Video/DVD]

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The second volume of pop/rock clips from The Ed Sullivan Show is a bit of a disappointment, though it includes some interesting and fun footage. In comparison to the first volume (which covers hits of 1965-1967), the selection of artists is rather mainstream, including Tom Jones, Oliver, Brooklyn Bridge, B.J. Thomas, the Carpenters, and Gary Puckett & the Union Gap. Sure, there's also the Chambers Brothers doing "Time Has Come Today," the Beach Boys with "Do It Again," a couple of early hits by the Jackson 5, the Supremes in their last television appearance (doing "Someday We'll Be Together"), and Creedence Clearwater Revival playing "Proud Mary." Considering that this and volume one are the only two of the nine volumes in Rhino's Ed Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics Boxed Set that are available separately, though, it seems like an inconsistent selection given the much larger pool of better 1967-1970 clips that appear elsewhere on that box. That isn't to say what's here isn't enjoyable, even if it's sometimes on the middle-of-the-road path musically. Creedence Clearwater Revival doesn't show up on many vintage rock videos, which adds value to the "Proud Mary" clip; the Jackson 5, fronted by a preteen Michael Jackson, go through their steps with a great deal of verve on what were a couple of their very first major TV appearances; and Tom Jones sweats earnestly on "Delilah." The scenes also show the program's sets and camera work getting progressively more mod and even psychedelic, in a trendy sort of way. And in a hokey sort of way at times, too: A stage prop cloud bursts into a mini-thundershower over B.J. Thomas on "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and Spanky & Our Gang's "Like to Get to Know You" has a double exposure with the band miming to the hit with their instruments on one part of the screen, and miming to the hit in a fake cocktail party-like situation on the other. Most of these clips seem either mimed or done to a backing track with some live vocals, which takes away much of the differences in arrangement that are so satisfying in watching old footage, though Brooklyn Bridge's horn section hits some pretty live-seeming sour notes on "Worst That Could Happen."