DVD Review: Jim Croce Live

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Gary_E, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

    May 6, 1999
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    I was a sophomore in high school when Leroy Brown was a hit on the radio in the early seventies. A friend of mine lent me his album, You Don't Mess Around With Jim and I was hooked. As an aspiring guitar player, I was struck by the sound he generated, both from his acoustic guitar melodies and his lyrical ability to tell a simple story by creating interesting characters. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was a song generating a lot of radio airplay and Jim Croce was beginning to get hot as an artist.

    Shortly thereafter, he was killed in an airplane accident.

    He mostly did gigs in small clubs and his mainstream popularity soared following his sudden death. The only video performance I remember seeing of him, was an appearance he made on The Midnight Special television show performing Leroy Brown.

    While scouring through a music DVD standup display at Best Buy, I was surprised to see this title among other $11.99 discs. The packaging didn’t yield much information about the source of the video or the quality of the audio but it didn’t matter since I’ve always sought any type of video presentation of his music.

    All of the footage is shot in small venues and as Croce himself states during the presentation, he preferred performing in these intimate settings. The quality of the video and audio on this DVD ranges from good to fair. Considering the obvious low budget taping quality, coupled with the fact that the videos are thirty years old, the greatness that was Croce still shines through. The audio is 2 channel dolby stereo and is nothing spectacular but consistently clear and crisp.

    Many of his characters (Leroy Brown, Big Jim Walker, Roller Derby Queen, Rapid Roy)are represented and he explains the history of each song. Some of his beautiful, simple love songs are also represented. As I watched this disc, I was taken back to the memories of the sweet acoustic guitar harmonies Croce and Maury Muehleisen could produce. The song These Dreams, which was not a mainstream hit, is my personal favorite and perhaps one of the best love songs ever written.

    Strangely, the Midnight Special footage is not included on the DVD.

    Aside from the live performances, there are music videos for I Have To Say I Love You In A Song and Photographs and Memories, as well as a cartoon from the Sonny and Cher Show (Leroy Brown), Croce’s home movies, remembrances from Loggins and Messina and Randy Newman (who toured with Croce) and a commentary track from his wife Ingrid and son A.J.

    I own many great music DVDs, most with more glitter and sonic profusion but this disc touches a special place in my heart and I wanted to share my thoughts of it with you.

  2. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

    Apr 25, 2002
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    Thanks for doing so, Gary. I need to track this down. I wasn't even aware of it until I read your post.

    BTW, Lover's Cross is probably my favorite Croce ballad, among many.
  3. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

    Aug 15, 2003
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    Lake Worth, Florida
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    I like Croce as well. I have the Mobile Fidelity vinyl album of "Don't Mess Arounf with Jim" and the guitar and music is sonic nirvana. Will have to check out this DVD. Thanks for the info.
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

    May 9, 2001
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    North Texas
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    Wow! I can't believe Next Time, This Time is on there. That is one of my favorite Croce songs, and one that is not on the live CD I have. I wish I could hear live versions of songs like It Doesn't Have To Be That Way (a great Christmas song) and Alabama Rain, but he might not have done those songs in concert. At any rate, this sounds like a great set-list, and a must-buy.

    1. Prologue: Photographs And Memories
    2. You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
    3. Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)
    4. Roller Derby Queen
    5. One Less Set Of Footsteps
    6. Next Time, This Time
    7. Speedball Tucker
    8. Lovers Cross
    9. Workin’ At The Car Wash Blues
    10. Interlude: I’ll Have to Say I Love You In A Song
    11. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
    12. New York’s Not My Home
    13. The Hard Way Every Time
    14. Rapid Roy
    15. These Dreams
    16. Epilogue: Time In A Bottle

    Sadly, I was only a little over three months old when Jim died. Wish I'd had the chance to see him live. [​IMG]
  5. Dane Marvin

    Dane Marvin Screenwriter

    Jul 21, 2003
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    My friend brought this DVD into work and played it the other day. Great value for less than $12. Jim Croce was one of the greatest in the hailstorm of singer/songwriters that thrived in the '70s. "Operator", for reasons I don't even know, has become my all-time favorite song.

    I'm glad to see that "Lover's Cross" is included there. A wonderful and underrated song. The glaring omission for me is "I Got a Name", which is one of the catchiest and most inspiring songs I've ever heard. Probably would have been included, but I guess they just didn't have any footage of him playing it.

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