Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Funk Redux & Blues Reflux

Thunder Soul is a documentary charting the career of the highly successful Kashmere High School Stage Band and their funkalicious musical output. The predominant focus is on the band leader/teacher, Conrad Johnson, and his influence in changing their performance from the usual standards to cover versions of James Brown and their own compositions and the culminates with the inevitable reunion performance held in his honour. I think the film would've benefited from some more of the music given I imagine most people are unfamiliar with their work but it's still a lovely watch with some genuinely touching moments and laughs as the band gather again and dust off their mojo but in the end a little bittersweet as Johnson's health deteriorates throughout the filming.

I've never been a huge fan of post-Cream Clapton but the documentary Eric Clapton & His Rolling Hotel is quite interesting for it's unguarded frankness, with Clapton appearing drunk and/or high throughout and coming across, mostly, as a bit of a tit. Filmed while on a train-based European tour there's some nice performances scattered throughout the film but it's the one on one interview segments with Clapton which are most revealing, particularly the discussion of Hendrix's death and the writing of Layla. It's not bad, a nice look at the life of a megastar on tour but I can't say it's worth watching unless you're somewhat interested in the career of Clapton. In this era of media management I can't help but suspect it's appealing candour is what's impeded a DVD release but if you are interested a VHSrip is out there.

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