Greatest Hits Live [DVD]

by: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

This is actually a very good set of performances from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with guest stars Stella Parton,Gus Hardin, and Darrell McCall, though, unfortunately, marred by the lack of information and misinformation found on many of these Church Street Station reissues, the Nashville Network's TV show taped at Orlando, FL's Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House. The music -- thankfully -- flows seamlessly, with the guest stars admirably holding their own with the headliner. And luckily, there are no disjointed and out of place artists thrown in the middle of the set to beef up this package, as on other projects from Church Street Station, so the viewer gets a consistent and well documented set of country songs by these veteran artists. Sadly for Darrell McCall, his excellent "Down the Roads of Daddy's Dreams" is a free "bonus" track tucked inside a ten-question "fanzone", although some computers and DVD players can read it as a separate track. For everyone else, you have to put up with the ten questions in the "fanzone" before you get to view his selection. This mid-'80s version of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, from the Partners, Brothers and Friends era, is in fine form on that 1985 album title track and others, energetically driving through nine selections like "Cadillac Ranch," a tune featuring audience handclaps and superb camera work. This project in particular has better camera angles and clarity than some of the other releases in this series and the audio is terrific. Fiddle, guitar, bass, and piano are all in unison and heard with a mix that equals the fine visual editing; the tight band even gets sloppy at the end, which is a plus. A sincere spin of "Mr. Bojangles" concludes the entire program, of course. There are 14 selections from four artists, though not running the full 75 minutes promised on the package...more like 40 minutes or so including an extra 3:34 for the "lost" Darrell McCall offering. And it would really be nice if the producers got the names correct -- Gus Hardin has no "g" on the end of her name as posted on the back cover. Parts of this 1984 Church Street Station concert were previously released on the K-Tel Entertainment label as Church Street Station, Vol. 5 issued in 1986 and The Best of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on that same imprint in 2003. One can also find tracks from this collection on K-Tel's compilation Church Street Station -- Live -- Show 56, 57, 58 and, after all these mutations, it would be appropriate if the next label gets the historical information and the other essentials correct. ~ Joe Viglione, Rovi

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