The Pretty Things

Pretty Things [Video]

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

There are two hours of footage of the Pretty Things from the 1960s and early '70s on this bootleg DVD, and given the general scarce accessibility to visual records of this cult band (especially in the U.S.), one would be inclined to be thankful for the mere existence of something like this. It's better than having nothing at all, but it also suffers from problems that should serve as a caution to anyone but serious fans of the band. Most of the clips are not in optimum quality, and sometimes the images are quite shaky; in all cases, it's obviously not taken from the source, and sometimes quite obviously from copies pretty far removed from the source. One live clip of "Honey, I Need" from the mid-'60s is in particularly horrendous, almost unwatchably bleached-out shape (though the music for that scene, oddly enough, comes through fairly well). Nevertheless, the rest is viewable if not great, and does at least give listeners a chance to see the band in action, both in genuinely live performances and promotional videos. The mid-'60s clips (including a few with original drummer Viv Prince) include live versions of strong early Pretties songs like "Big City," "Honey, I Need," "Don't Bring Me Down," and "Midnight to Six Man." At times the band's electrifying enough to live up to the most vivid accounts of its legend, particularly in the songs done before live audiences in Holland and Germany (one version of "Roadrunner" is particularly rambunctious). There are also some mid-'60s promo films from the Skip Alan lineup, one of which has some dark live footage. The psychedelic era isn't ignored, drawing on the scenes from the psychsploitation film What's Good for the Goose in which the band played (pretty well, actually). All this takes up an hour of the DVD, but the second and final hour is a big letdown, consisting wholly of what seems like home movie footage of the band circa the early '70s. The band's seen playing on-stage, hanging out, and getting around various outdoor locations, with an accompanying soundtrack taken solely from Pretty Things studio recordings of the late '60s and early '70s. It's hard to imagine even rabid fans wanting to see that segment more than once or twice, and most viewers will get hardly any enjoyment out of it whatsoever.