Joe Strummer, Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt, Billy Joe Shaver, and Brian Jones
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., July 14, 2006
"I had so much footage of him being such a humble, nice guy that he looked pathetic," confesses director Dick Rude at a Tribeca Film Festival Q&A, assured in the knowledge that his 67-minute Joe Strummer: Let's Rock Again (Image Entertainment) leaves the late Clash frontman in a heroic spotlight. Reeling from the deservedly disappointing reception to his first album in 11 years, Strummer and his Mescaleros rebounded that much fiercer on 2001's Global a Go-Go, whose world tour serves as a heart-warming/
wrenching epitaph to the full-throttle life of a public servant. Next up, Clash time capsule Rude Boy. Neil Young: Heart of Gold (Paramount) unspools its own audio-visual bullion, Prairie Wind's pitch-perfect debut at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2005, in one of Jonathan Demme's finest films. The director's intimate, often hilarious narration of rehearsal footage crowns two hours of bonus material on a second disc, including Young's acoustic performance of "Needle and the Damage Done" on the Johnny Cash Show, 1971. Producer/director Margaret Brown, cinematographer Lee Daniel, and Texan firebrand Joe Ely lay back nice and rambly on their commentary accompanying Townes Van Zandt: Be Here to Love Me (Palm Pictures). Brown's 2004 documentary has already schooled a new generation of truth-seekers in the mystic ways of long, tall, departed Texan TVZ, and 30 added minutes of firecracker anecdotes from his family, Steve Earle, and Mudhoney's Steve Turner only add to the legend. Devendra Banhart's bonus performance of "Colorado Girl" reaches out to youthful torchbearers. Billy Joe Shaver's Live From Austin, TX (New West) kicks up more Lone Star existentialism in the guise of an Austin City Limits taping from 1984. The late, great Eddy Shaver steals the show with lighter-fluid Strat lines, while his papa swings for the moon and/or that "Oklahoma Wind." Destined as a tour-bus classic, Stoned (Screen Media) does some lurid, cable-ready mythologizing of its own on the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, while soundtracking the White Stripes, Faces, and Bees. Performance meets Laurel Canyon. Jones never had it so good.