Girl Group Chronicles: Video Reviews!

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Girl Groups: The Story Of A Sound (1983)

MGM/UA Home Video

Rating: 10/10

It's hard to believe this video could get any better. Sure, maybe if they tacked on another three or four hours and added in every girl group performance that still survives on video tape it could get an 11/10 rating, but with only 65 minutes to work with, this documentary is a sensational companion to Alan Betrock's book of the same name. Told completely by the artists, producers, and songwriters themselves, this video covers almost all the bases - the doo-wop influences, the boom, the bust, and the memories. With clips of performances by the Dixie Cups, the Supremes, the Shangri-las, the Ronettes, Darlene Love, Mary Wells, the Exciters (one of the very first music videos, and it's in colour!), and the Angels, there's something for everyone. Interview subjects include Ellie Greenwich, Leiber and Stoller, Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, and Arlene Smith (lead singer of the Chantels). A visual and aural journey back to a more innocent time, like the Marvelettes' postman, this really delivers. Alas, at one and hour and change it leaves you hungry for more. Do I hear a call for an updated version? Please?!? (Will Stos)

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Shindig! presents Groovy Gals (1991)

Rhino Home Video

Rating: 9/10

Thirty minutes? There are some modern music videos on, Much Music, MTV and the Box that seem to last longer. If 65 minutes was barely enough time to squeeze together a documentary, you can bet this small collection of live performances from ABC's 1960s series Shindig leaves you wanting more! But, what they do give us is gold! Performances by Ketty Lester, Aretha Franklin (before she demanded Respect) Lesley Gore, the Toys, Fontella Bass, the Supremes, the Shangri-las, Petula Clark, the Blossoms, Tina Turner, and Jackie DeShannon range from gentle swaying to gritty twisting and thrusting (well, not quite thrusting, there were censors after all). Highlights include Aretha's soulful version of "(It's In His Kiss) The Shoop Shoop Song," the Shangri-las' colourful "Give Him A Great Big Kiss," and Tina Turner's wild take on "Ooh-Poo-Pah-Do." Throw in an old sponsor spot for "Milk, the Vitality Drink," and you've got one great half-hour of entertainment. There are some slight technical problems (ie. some bad framing and cut-off names on the screen), but considering the time this was produced, it's quite good. My suggestion, pick it up and put it on when the modern ABC delivers another lack lustre sitcom. (Will Stos)
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