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Teddy Pendergrass: From the Front Row Live

5.1 Entertainment // DVD Audio // December 9, 2003
List Price: $17.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Antoine Johnson | posted February 10, 2004 | E-mail the Author
Teddy Pendergrass has been a soul icon since the early 1970's. His start came as a drummer for the group "Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes". He quickly became lead singer of that group and churned out hits such as "If You Don't Me By Now" and "I Miss You". Teddy went solo in 1978 and had several hits, including "Turn Off the Lights" and "Close the Door". Teddy's appeal with ladies was undeniable, including many "ladies only" concerts. Sadly Teddy was a serious car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Confined to a wheelchair, Teddy made a comeback in the mid 80's. A precursor to current R&B singers like Jaheim and Johnny Gill, Teddy Pendergrass is an original. This DVD is a live performance in Los Angeles, recorded sometime in 2003. Here's a breakdown of what you're treated too..

The Performance:

1. Close The Door- The disc opens with a classic hit. How many people were concievied because of songs like this?? Anyway, one of the first things you'll notice about the mix, is how groove heavy it is. The horns are tight and the drums and very crisp. The vocals are pretty good, with the background vocals sounding really good.

2. You're My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration - This song is personally my favorite Teddy Pendergrass song. I will say however, that I like the studio version better, because live Teddy just doesn't take it up that notch for the crescendo.

3. Do Me - First uptempo song on the disc, and the band doesn't let off the gas. The strings are really nice in this one. The song works for me.

4. Love TKO - Another classic song, that was a big hit. This is one the best songs on the disc, everything works well together, vocals, band, background. Great song.

5. Joy - Another uptempo song. Good groove. Teddy sounds like he's starting to tire – very possible considering his condition, but the song still sounds good.

6. When Somebody Loves You Back - Another great song! A mid-tempo groove that is well done. Teddy's vocals are on point, and so is everything else.

Medley - The next four songs are a medley from the Blue Note's days.

7. If You Don't Know Me By Now - Good song, very short though. It only lasts for 2:19.

8. Wake Up Everybody - I love this song, but I don't like this version. Teddy again, sounds tired and winded.

9. Bad Luck - Teddy gets another wind, and blows this one out. Great uptempo groove.

10. The Love I Lost - Uptempo song, last of the medley.

11. Only You - Another song that really demonstrates how good this band is. This song is very good. Teddy sounds like the Teddy Pendergrass of old, and you'd picture him dancing around the stage singing this. Very good.

12. Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose - Just like "Only You", you can picture Teddy really getting into this song. The crowd is definitely feeling this one.

13. Turn Off the Lights - Another one of Teddy Pendergrass's most known songs. By this time, I think he's tired, because the vocals just aren't there. The song is good, but not the best.

14. Truly Blessed - Closing song. This one is a gospel number, and you can tell the Teddy Pendergrass got his start in the church. Great ending to a good concert.

The DVD:

Video - Nothing to really speak of this department. Every chapter displays a still clip from the concert while the songs play.

Audio - The real reason for buying the disc! The mix is very good, with the music, lead vocals, and background vocals mixed well. This is a 5.1 mix, and it's truly dynamic. There's no variation from track to track, partly because it's all from the same live mix. Very well mixed. My only complaint, would be the sometime uneven vocals from Teddy Pendergrass.

Extras - Not much in this department. There is the video version of "Love TKO", but inexplicably it's presented in 2.0, and not 5.1. I don't understand that decision. There is also a section explaining DVD Audio and speaker setup.

Final Thoughts - As a fan of Teddy Pendergrass and good music, I whole-heartedly recommend this disc. The music is well done, and for the most part the vocals are strong. Great disc. My only complaint about DVD Audio, is the packaging. The case is bigger than a standard CD case, but smaller than a DVD case – it's hard as heck to open! That aside, I enjoyed my first taste of DVD-A.

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Highly Recommended

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