Rockpalast, the Germany-based televison music program, has been going strong since 1974. While DVD’s of some of the shows have trickled out over the years, several historical broadcasts from the late 70s are now available, along with a few CD releases. As part of Rockpalast: The DVD Collection West Coast Legends series come several discs not to be missed. The John Cipollina/Nick Gravenites Band disc, filmed in 1980, features one of the key members of the Quicksilver Messenger Service (Cipollina) who also worked with the Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter, Mickey Hart and many other groups and artists and a blues-rock legend (Nick Gravenites), who worked with many West-Coast artists and produced the first Quicksilver album. This rare concert video features these legends of West-Coast psychedelia mixing blues and rock in a must-have DVD.
Another legendary West-Coast band was Spirit and it is featured on a disc that includes a couple of inspired Dylan covers that bear the stamp of Jimi Hendrix. Dicky Betts guests on the finale. In addition to The Byrds, his solos albums and the handful of McGuinn, Clark & Hillmen albums, Roger McGuinn briefly fronted his own Thunderbyrd band. Like the Spirit DVD, this one is also from 1977 and features a rejuvenated McGuinn tearing through Byrds classics, solo favorites and the then just newly released “American Girl,” written by Tom Petty. The cream of the entire series may be the two-DVD release Dickey Betts & Great Southern: 30 Years Of Southern Rock (1978-2000). Disc one features the band in its heyday from 1978, and disc two was recently filmed in 2008.
Blues fans won’t want to miss the Paul Butterfield Band from the Blues Legends series. The disc was from a 1978 concert and also features an interview with the late bluesman. There are also CDs in the series, with two not to be missed: Jorma Kaukonen & Vital Parts from the West Coast Legends series and Commander Cody from the Blues-Rock Legends series.