October 19, 2008

Gleason's rock classics on DVD

Late this summer Eagle Vision released two additional TV programs, originally produced by S.F. Chronicle’s jazz and rock critic Ralph J. Gleason and aired on PBS, on DVD. Go Ride the Music and West Pole closely follows Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog, which came out last year on DVD. The Dead are featured in all three. In A Night at the Family Dog (one hour recorded in 1970 in Chet Helm’s ballroom) Pig Pen is caught singing Hard to Handle and the band goes into China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider. Santana and the Jefferson Airplane also perform.

In the newer (almost 5 hour) two disc set Jerry has a cameo appearance alongside with Quicksilver, David Crosby, and the Jefferson Airplane. On West Pole, the band does New Potato Caboose, and the Sons of Champlin, the Steve Miller Band, and others appear. All three programs are evocative of early 1970s San Francisco. Michael Parrish reviewed Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog in the Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008 issue of Dirty Linen. He found the DVD release to do “an excellent job of conveying the sights and sounds of an era that is often discussed but rarely portrayed as clearly and vividly as it is here.”

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