Various Artists

Playboy After Dark [DVD] [Silvertone]

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Playboy After Dark [DVD] [Silvertone] Review

by Richie Unterberger

Shortly after this bootleg DVD of 30 rock songs performed on the Playboy After Dark series in the late 1960s and early '70s came out, Morada Vision came out with an official collection of Playboy After Dark episodes that included a few performances by some of the same artists (Ike & Tina Turner, Canned Heat). Should more episodes of Playboy After Dark be made commercially available, this bootleg will be made redundant. However, the official compilation presents complete episodes that also include comedians and crooners. This bootleg, on the other hand, focuses solely on the rock performances broadcast on the series, including clips not only by the aforementioned Ike & Tina Turner and Canned Heat, but also Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Taj Mahal, B.B. King, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Steppenwolf, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, and Country Joe & the Fish. The quality, though not as good as it would be if transferred from the best available sources, is pretty good. And, most importantly, the performances are mostly live, and quite good and interesting for the most part. Highlights include Deep Purple doing their hit "Hush," the just-post-Gram Parsons-Byrds, with Clarence White on guitar, doing a couple of Dylan covers, Fleetwood Mac's "Rattlesnake Shake," the Grateful Dead with Tom Constanten in the lineup, doing "Mountains of the Moon" and "St. Stephen," Linda Ronstadt singing less slickly than in her superstar days, offering "Lovesick Blues" and "Long Long Time," B.B. King presenting his hit "The Thrill Is Gone," and the Sir Douglas Quintet pumping out "Mendocino" and "She's About a Mover" in fine form. The colorful, campily sexy audience dancing and costumes complement the music well, and if at times they verge on the absurdly dated, that's part of the fun. If you're not so much interested in the Playboy After Dark series itself as you are in the rock music featured in the show, this is a good condensation of highlights, at least until such time as those who control the material might want to put out an official such package themselves.