Various Artists

Vat of Chocolate: The Smothers Brothers Music Archives Vol. 2

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Sure, this DVD compilation comes from clips taped from the E! channel, and yes, much of it's mimed, not live. Still, these late-'60s excerpts from The Smothers Brothers are not only reasonably enjoyable television performances from a wide assortment of major late-'60s rock acts, but also a document of how most American viewers got their first or principal exposure to many of them. There are hit songs by several major groups, most notably Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth"), the Doors ("Touch Me" and the much less overexposed "Wild Child"), the Byrds ("Mr. Spaceman," "Goin' Back"), Jefferson Airplane ("White Rabbit," "Somebody to Love"), the Hollies ("Carrie Anne," "Dear Eloise"), the Association ("Along Comes Mary," "Windy"), and the Who ("My Generation," "I Can See for Miles"). The Who clip in particular is easily the most famous on the disc, as it includes the exploding drums/guitar smashing scene (at the end of "My Generation") that later provided the memorable intro for the Who documentary The Kids Are Alright. Also on hand are performances by an assortment of other big (Ray Charles, Cher) and smaller stars, like Steppenwolf, the Blues Magoos, the Chambers Brothers, the Electric Prunes, Cass Elliot, Ike & Tina Turner, Harry Belafonte, and Paul Revere & the Raiders. Even mildly unexpected songs or moments aren't frequent, but some of those include Ray Charles improvising on the saxophone; the Everly Brothers covering Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried"; Mason Williams playing his instrumental hit "Classical Gas" in an unusual set featuring cutouts of Williams playing various orchestral instruments; and the insertion of footage with numerous images of contemporary social turmoil into Harry Belafonte's rendition of "Carnival Parade."