In the mid-sixties there was a song that hit the pop charts no less than five times, and was performed by countless bar, garage, tex-mex, soul and psychedelic bands of the period. Wilson Picket had the big hit--chart-wise--but the best rendering of the song was from a "live" version by Cannibal and the Headhunters (my favorite name devised by a sixties rock band). It was a good song, a bit raw perhaps, but it was still the perfect anthem for the young people of the day. The record was called "Land of a 1000 Dances," and there were almost as many ways to get the feet moving and the heart pumping. A good deal of the charm of watching the movie is supplied by the go-go dancers (female and male), who perform the dances of the era: the swim, jerk, frug, shake, pony, monkey, the fly, watusi, and many others. The dancers are splendidly choreographed into the musical numbers, while not diminishing any of the energy of the music. In fact, no one ever accused James Brown of needing any help in cutting loose--and he doesn't disappoint here . Vintage footage of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones is priceless. And some performers--Bo Diddly and Ike and Tina Turner--have brought along their own bands to accompany the madness. Other musical highlights include Jan and Dean singing and skateboarding to "Sidewalk Surfin'"; Leslie Gore's infectious vocals; The Miracles demonstrating "The Monkey,"; and the most aerobic and best choreographed dance sequences in the film, performed by eight female go-go dancers in the background of the girl group, The Ronnetes. The only negative things about the film are the overall sound quality, the deafening screams from the audience and the singing of Smokey Robinson (he's in bad voice) which reminds me of the rock singer in the "Flintstones" episode, who ate too many pickled dodo eggs and his lost voice. The film overcomes its few minor drawbacks and stands today as one of the few filmed records of the music world at that time.
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