tual or even documentary footage.

Since the dead spots are as inevitable here as anywhere, this

these previous made-for-videos had

their flaws, both did include new interviews and did follow journalistib tradition. Yet somehow, Early Days is no schlockumentary, either. lt's a forgiveably pleasant coffeetable-book on videotape, with actor John Heard's narration like that of a knowledgeable older friend looking over your shoulder as you turn

By Drcnk lovece

THE SPECTR'JM Directed by Phil Tuckett. Warner casseffe. Beta Hi-Fi, vHs Hi-Fi. 51
min. $29.95.

straight-ahead concert tape isn't easy to sit through for 51 minutes straight-especially since Tuckett chose to shoot on film rather than the more immediate-seeming videotape. And yet, paradoxically, Tuckett's other directorial choices are brilliant, a word my readers know I don't use lightly. Rather than downplay or passively record Dio's stage pyrotechnics, Tuckett uses them to paint the TV screen. He looks at everyone in the band, and he's not afraid to hold shots longer than television's cus-tomary four to six seconds. That's risky in as jangly a medium as TV, which has to grab your attention over and over and over again. But Tuckett and film-editor Dave Douglas try and, most of the time, succeed. Dio should blow them a few kisses.

the pages.
This type of project tends to be predictable, of course, focusing on popular favorites to the exclusion of important lesser-knowns. Except for Carl Perkins'and Frankie Lymon's well-deserved coverage, the bulk of the program falls on Presley, Berry, Holly, Haley, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis. Soundtrack nods go to Big Mama Thornton and Gene Vincent, though they're never shown, and there's a delightful bit where the Chords'original "ShBoom" segues into the Crew Cuts' white cover version. But otherwise, such important pioneers and predecessors as Eddie Cochran, Roy Orbison, Lloyd Price and Ray Charles aren't even mentioned. And when shots of old pre-rock rhythm-andbluesmen and black doo-wop groups do appear, guess what? No subtitles. Fact and fantasy tend to blur.
News clips and old rock-movie

I n concert. Ronnie James Dio is a I onarming nost. He smiles, he
btows kisses, he gives the audience his trademark hand-signal -which, whatever else it might be, is a variation of the deaf's sign-language symbol for "l love you." While all this descends into schtick soon enough, it's hard not to like the guy. Dio's much-touted voice has a lot to do with this, of course, even though it's in only adequate form this particular show. His band certainly doesn't give him any compe-

tition-they seem more concerned with showing off speed-of-sound licks than with playing much of anything besides interminable scales.
Yet beyond even his talented tonsils, it's obvious, watching R.J. glide about a stage festooned with lasers, smoke bombs, giant hydra-headed snakes and Egyptian icons, that he's sharing communion with an audience hungry for the good ol' days of hard rock concerts, the days before passels of motley clowns turned the music into a circus. lf you don't like this concert tape, don't blame it on Dio. Director Phil Tuckett is another story, though. Going for a bit of the good ol'days himself, he sidesteps the einerging notion of hybrid concert-conceptual tapes (such as Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry, Thomas Dolby's Live Wireless or Duran Duran's Srng Blue Silver\, where a video concert's inevitable dead spots are avoided via concep60 FACES

Directed by Patrick Montgomery and Pamela Page. RCA/Columbia casseffe. Beta Hi-Fi mono, VHS HiFi mono. 59 min. $29.95. ock and Rotl: The Early Days is no documentary or, if you prefer, rockumentary, whatever that means. Don't expect The Compleat Beatles or Girl Groups, in other words. While
VHS Hi-Fi VCR courtesy GE

El rf

scenes become indistinguishableso much so that when co-scripters Patrick Montgomery, Pamela Page, Robert Egan and Louise Betts try to describe the social currents behind rock's formation, we're left wondering if the visuals are actual. At one spot, what's supposed to be very early Elvismania is from years later, with a model of RCA's trademark dog Nipper sharing Presley's stage. Too, much of the performance footage has been synched with records, just like rock videos. Why? Did that many films outlast the authentic audio tracks? These significant lapses aside, any project covering a subject as rich as early rock will almost inevitably provide treasures. A 1957 Ed Sullivan clip gives us as valuable a look at the Crickets as of Buddy Holly himself. We see Elvis setting standards, Jerry Lee killin' 'em (live, not synched!), Pat Boone defining what rock is not, and Steve Allen uncharacteristically making an ass of himself. On the dark side, the insane bigotry of an "Alabama White

Citizens Council" reminds us of MTV's own longtime refusal to give even today's token playtime to black acts. Such moments make the tape worthwhile, and worth seeing. Early Days certainly glosses over early rock's exploitative evils, but it's yet an entertaining introduction that gives credit to the R&B, country blues, Texas swing and gospel in which rock'n'roll sinks its roots. Besides which, the nifty archival footage gives the right Reverend Jimmy Snow a chance to define the form more righteously than he would
ever know.

phantom-like sonic presence that fills your room and takes you out of it at the same time. As fine as this is on the original Beta Hi-Fi cassettes of these re-releases (the VHS versions are in conventional stereo), the laserdiscs' soundtracks give each of my speakers depth of character worthy

of Steinbeck.
Except for the defunct Kajagoogoo, the choice of artists to

Directed by David Mallet, Jim Yukich. 14 min.

Directed by Paul Justman.
11:48 min.

Directed by Simon Milne. 11:05 min.

Directed by Val Garay, Russe// Mulcahy. 14 min.
Pioneer Artisfs laser videodiscs. Stereo with CX noise reduction.
$10.95 each.

kick off these discs seems intelligent, though the clips themselves are lar from current. Bowie, J. Geils (with now-solo Peter Wolf still fronting) and the protean Motels are among the few contemporary bands to manage both critical and commercial-success, and most of their videos here hold up as well as audio records to repeat playing. (All but the J. Geils videos have been reviewed in past issues of FACES.) Since some of these clips are almost two years old now, their repeatability is a credit not only to the performers and the directors, but also to the form. As some of the emerging rock-video retrospectives are demonstrating, music clips have a lifetime surpassing their creators' basically promotional intentions. With a showcase as fine as these laserdiscs, the form has no excuse not to grow to fit the limits-wherever they are-of the technology Not only that, but these discs are several bucks cheaper than their
Sony Video-45 counterparts.

ing that high. A&T favor, for example, a "dirty" directorial style, such as that of Hill Street 8/ues, and that's fine. lt has its place. But not on every damn clip. Jim Carroll is the nominal "star" of this collection, and the video for his cover of Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" is as insufferable as Carroll himselfscore one for aptness. You can practically smell the trouble immediately when A&T start serving up stopaction animation and oh-wow symbolism., a form-and-content recipe

ideodiscs are to videocassettes what records are to tapes, sharing the same advantages and disadvantages as their audio brethren. Unlike cassettes, you can't record on them. Even so, laser videodiscs (not to be confused with the inferior and now defunct RCA needle-and-groove system) spin out picture quality no cassette can match, as well as sound that none but Beta Hi-Fi and VHS Hi-Fi cassettes can approach. With Pioneer's belated introduction of a laserdisc player people can actually afford ($300, the price of a lowend VCR), more and more rocksters -and rock stars-will be discovering the disc's many benefits. One of them is absolutely kick-ass.
audio. These 8-inch discs' amazing sound isn't so much a matter of dynamic range-which the specs say are virtually identical for disc and HiFi tape-but of ambience, that

If V

With Jason Harvey, The Jim Carroll Band, The Lenny Kaye Connection,

that never changes. The lack of ideas here is a shame not just because it undercuts Sony's admirable notion of showcasing
little-known bands, but also because it reinforces Peoria's vision of New York City. The songs aren't all alike here. They range from the blue-collar "l've Got A Right" (Lenny Kaye) and "Kids on the Street" (Go Ohgami)to the '60s-style pop of Cindy Bullens' "Jimmie, Gimme Your Love" (performed by Village Volce gossip hack Michael Musto), and the city can reflect the spectrum much better than with A&T'g muddled mirror. Not coincidentally, the tape's best clip-for Jason Harvey's "Easy Street"-was written and co: produced dy the performer himself. His ideas are conventional, but at least the clip doesn't look like New Wave Night at a suburban disco. Why Aldighieri and Tripician pursue passe avant-gardism and hoary video techniques, I don't know. I just hope Danspak // is strike ll.l

Michael Musto & The Must, and Go Ohgami. Directed by Merrill

Aldighieri & Joe Tripician. Sony casseffe. Beta Hi-Fi, VHS stereo.30
min. $19.95.


-must work cheapIYI rripi.i"n

errill Aldiohieri and Joe

what other explanation for this amateurish follow-up to last year's equally amateurish Danspak? As coproducers/directors once again, A&T have not only dredged up video ideas almost as old as Reagan, but repeat them over and over and over and over

The general feel to these six clips isn't so much one of avoiding rockvideo cliches, but of not even reach-