The Rockwell Foundation supplies precious little information about itself with this DVD, but it's apparently a charity gig helping those in need, one that appears to be well regarded in the UK, as its imperiodic appeals for assistance from superstars have been nicely met. For this one, no less stellar names than Robert Plant. Tom Jones, Joss Stone, and several others donated their talents, from which the 66-minute Rockwell: A Night of Legendary Collaborations is issued.
Plant, of course, surtopped the affair, turning in an unusual rendition of classics in his much commented upon 'blue note' style, a blend of rock, blues, and mid-Eastern modalities replete with folk instruments imbuing Led Zeppelin's Black Dog and Whole Lotta Love and then the blues standard Fixin' to Die with a very different approach. He also managed to slip in a few witticisms, getting sly in his old age. Then Joss Stone delivered her formulaic soul stylings decked out in a skin tight high hemline dress that musta had the front rows enjoying a somewhat different view of the whole affair.
Tom Jones has survived rather nicely, and, frankly, his chipper personality and somewhat mellowed—perhaps 'better tempered' would be the correct phrase—approach are more interesting now than was previously the case. Having tied myself back to box sets reissuing his old TV shows, there was so much tinsel, glitz, facade, and BS back then that one feels one is being fitted for pyrex siding while reminiscing. Now, though, even Tom is amused by the entire history, and that attitude has gone far to humanize the guy. Thus, Sex Bomb isn't the crass gig it might sound to be but rather almost campy while mildly cabaretically theatrical—in short: pretty enjoyable, with a grin and a hoot.
Then Stone joins him for a cool do on the chestnut It's Your Thing. David Gray trots up next with a string quartet, Escala, who aren't miked worth a crap, so it didn't much matter whether they were there or not. I hadn't heard of this guy before, but he's a damn good folker, and I'm sure as hell going to be catching his work after I'm done with this video. Very affecting cat, and Babylon is a great song. For the finale, most everyone except Plant (huh?) got on stage for a faltering episodic go at Let It Be. Jones shoulda just tackled it himself.
So…legendary performances? No. Not at all. Entertaining? Yeah, but at just over an hour, it goes by fast. Top slots? Plant and Gray. My rating? Whoa, hey!, is that the ice cream truck I hear? 'Scuse me, I gotta get one of them Strawberry Sparkles right quick; I'm jonesing.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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