There ain't no mountain high enough to keep Judge Paul Corupe away from you, babe, but a restraining order just might.
Funkier than a mosquito's tweeter.
Ike Turner is one of the most underrated rockers of the 20th century, an enormously talented and perceptive musician whose misfortunes and troubled personal life have completely eclipsed his career and his importance in modern music. As the mastermind behind The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, a musical road show that brought down packed houses with a distinctive rhythm and blues sound, Ike seems destined to become known solely for introducing the world to Tina Turner, one of the music industry's most powerful female soul singers.
There's more to The Ike and Tina Turner Revue than Tina's forceful vocals and stage presence, though. Backed by the Kings of Rhythm, Ike's brass-heavy band, the Revue bridged the rich blues-rock vein Ike had been mining since the 1950s with the upsurge of funk that had been steadily gaining popularity since the late 1960s. The Revue fit somewhere between the smooth, organic Memphis soul sound and the bombastic style of James Brown, all the while offering soulful workouts of rock and roll hits by unlikely bands such as The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was a formula that brought accolades to Tina, and laid the groundwork for her successful solo career as a big-haired pop crooner in the 1980s, even if Ike was never able to emerge from under the weight of his mid-1970s scandals to achieve a comparable level of fame.
Spotlighting the band just after the release of "Proud Mary," Ike and Tina Turner: Live in '71 captures the band at the peak of its popularity working through a well-polished set of blistering classics:
• Them Changes
From "Them Changes," an instrumental track that first introduces the band, to the barn-burning, ten-minute version of "Proud Mary" that finishes off its set, the band's dynamic live show as presented here is a polished, professional showcase for Ike and Tina's considerable musical abilities. The obvious main attraction, Tina belts out the hits in her raspy voice while heating up the dance floor with her backup act the Ikettes. Never overbearing, Ike's bluesy six-string proficiency is the perfect complement to Tina's charismatic enthusiasm, as he leads the band through a set that manages to retain some its raw clout despite some obviously tight orchestration. With minimal stage banter and barely any pauses to catch their collective breath, Tina, Ike, and the band put their all into this visually exciting concert that should be a revelation for those only familiar with the teased hair and spiked heels of Tina's later work.
Originally recorded for a Dutch television broadcast, the concert here is subject to many of the obvious limitations of thirty-year old video: weak blacks, a soft focus that reveals a lack of strong details, and glaring light reflections off of guitar bodies and cymbals. The sound, however, is top notch—beautifully remastered to bring across the full range of Tina's explosive voice and Ike's fierce guitar slinging in either Dolby surround, stereo, or DTS. As for extras, there is a "Restoration Comparison," which shows the significant amount of work that has been done to brighten up the transfer, and a "music video," which is really more of a trailer for another of Eagle Vision's concert DVDs, Soul to Soul. Also included in this package is a CD of the almost complete concert, which drops "Them Changes" to make room for three cuts that never made it to air: "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "Land of 1000 Dances," and "Respect." It's maybe a bit strange to include an audio recording of more or less the exact same performance as featured on the DVD, but I thought this was a nice addition.
Much has been made of Ike's controlling nature, but aside from how that may have negatively impacted his personal life, there's no denying that his impeccable management of The Ike and Tina Turner Revue produced one of the most highly entertaining rhythm and blues showcases of the 1970s, and this DVD is a tribute to the talent of all involved.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Vision
• Soul to Soul Music Video
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