DM readers, if you’re looking for a way to spend that Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, I have a really good suggestion for you: Turn-On, Groove-In, Rock Out! The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1 put out recently on DVD by Resurrection Productions. I don’t recommend it lightly, I recommend it very highly. It’s a great value too, with nearly three hours of primo rock-n-roll footage that had been stored in a garage for years, unseen. For a certain type of rock snob, this 2 disc set is heaven.
To be honest, I never heard of Barry Richards, but the DVDs provide instant context for his fascinating four-decade-long career in broadcasting: Richards was a well-known rock jock and concert promoter in the Washington DC metro area in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and he also hosted a number of “free form” TV shows on local UHF TV stations. This 2 disc set is packed to the gills with clips from these shows, featuring an amazing early Alice Cooper performance (they do “Black Juju,” which is THE Alice Copper song, I personally would want to see them perform live, you might agree with me), Richie Havens, Little Richard, a fantastic set from Muddy Waters, Jamul, Humble Pie, The Bob Seeger System, Crow, Rory Gallagher, The Illusion, Fats Domino/The Byrds and Tommy Bolin’s first band, Zephyr. Along with the musical performances—always live, never lip-synced—were goofy, innocent segments taped with local high school students and long forgotten acts like comedian “Uncle Dirty” and Iron Jaw Samson, a fellow who ate light-bulbs. There are also 2 hours of audio only segments with the Beatles, Flash Gordon actor Buster Crabbe, comedy troupe The Ace Trucking Company (where Fred Willard got his start) and others.
What’s so amazing about these vintage performances (aside from the music itself, of course) is the journey from the wholesome B&W 60s era segments to the more, um, decadent era of the 70s clips. It’s pretty insane to see how quickly American teenagers grew out their hair (and beards) and took up pot smoking, and that happens pretty much right before your eyes with The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1. (Just as quickly, the disco era takes over and Richards goes on to Studio 78 his disco show (which is not included here).
Below is a a brief sampling of the treasure trove you’ll find on Turn-On, Groove-In, Rock Out! The Barry Richards TV Collection Vol. 1 available only from Resurrection Productions.