American Masters

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  • Various - Good Rockin` Tonight-The Legacy Of Sun Records (DVD)

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    ”Sam Phillips’s Sun Records will forever be best known as the label for which Elvis Presley made his timeless first recordings. But Sun earned its legendary status by also recording any number of other blues and rock & roll greats, including Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. This 112-minute, 2001 documentary from PBS’s American Masters series features plenty of reminiscences by Sun old-timers (including the ever-voluble Phillips, who was not, apparently, universally loved by his artists) and some vintage film footage. But the best moments come when more contemporary artists–ranging from Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and Mark Knopfler to Live, Third Eye Blind, Ben Folds, and even Kid Rock–do their versions of Sun classics like ”Honey Don’t” and ”That’s All Right Mama.” Several of these performances can also be found on the excellent Good Rockin’ Tonight CD; the documentary is good, but if you have to make a choice, go with the CD. -Sam Graham

    Description

    Historians may never agree about where and when rock ’n’ roll was born, but they do agree that an entrepreneur in the world of music named Sam Phillips began a revolution and spawned a legacy when he created Sun Records. This Memphis-based success story defined some of the most appealing roots of American popular culture with such seminal artists as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and so many others, all reprised in this two-hour American Masters film with such performers as Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and Live, many accompanied by Elvis’ original sidemen, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. Highlights include a moving rendition of ”Lonely Weekends” with Jerry Lee Lewis and Matchbox Twenty, and an emotional reunion of old Mississippi Delta musicians. Songs: That’s All Right (Paul McCartney), Honey Don’t (Ben Folds Five), Rock n’ Roll Ruby (Mark Knopfler), I Walk the Line (Live), My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It (Robert Plant & Jimmy Page), Blue Suede Shoes (Johnny Hallyday), Who Will the Next Fool Be (Zucchero), Cry, Cry, Cry (Third Eye Blind), Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Malcolm Yelvington and Kid Rock), Lonely Weekend (Matchbox Twenty).”

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