Dick Cavett Show
By Hal Horowitz
While it's a stretch calling Paul Simon or Stevie Wonder
triple DVD set presents nine entire, commercial-free episodes where
Dick Cavett welcomed music superstars to his stage. From 1969-'74 his was
the only talk show to invite these acts to meet mainstream America, at
least half way. Although he might have been more comfortable conversing
with crusty Hollywood actors, Cavett's quick mind, relatively youthful
demeanor and respectful if slightly stilted approach worked moderately
well with music acts not accustomed to the restrictions of network
Here he interviews the good (a post-Bangla Desh concert George Harrison
is witty and honest, as is a very articulate Paul Simon), the bad (Sly
Stone in a druggy haze) and the nervous (a painfully uncomfortable David
Bowie fiddles with a cane, looking as if he wished he was somewhere else),
while holding his own, sometimes barely, with the Woodstock generation.
The latter dominates an entire show as Jefferson Airplane, David Crosby,
Stephen Stills, and Joni Mitchell hold court the day after the 1969 event.
Janis Joplin appears three times (July '69, June and August '70) and is
sharp, intelligent and affable mixing with guests as varied as Raquel
Welch, Gloria Swanson and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. A July '72 pre-concert
chat with Mick Jagger demonstrates how effectively the comparatively
straight-laced Cavett meshed with the Stones' lead singer backstage at
Madison Square Garden.
Sonically, the primitive mono sound is surprisingly well mixed, and the
discs are conveniently chapter divided to find the musical interludes, an
enormous convenience that helps skip some dull patter with Cavett's other
guests. These appearances by musicians that were rarely interviewed on
television are historically significant and will delight fans that
previously sufficed with sketchy bootlegs of this material.