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TV Reviews : How One Woman Found ‘The Minneapolis Sound’

“This is the story of one woman’s search for the Minneapolis sound. Oh, that is so corny. OK, all I have to say is that I set out to talk to musicians and fans and critics, here and on the coast, to try to find out what all the hype is about, and to see if I could come up with some sort of definition of the Minneapolis sound.

“And then we can cut to a Prince video.”

Emily Goldberg’s opening remarks provide a pretty good idea of what to expect from her documentary “The Minneapolis Sound” (at 10 tonight on Channels 28 and 15, 11 p.m. on Channel 50). Informative and funny, this review of the influential rock and R&B; scene that grew up unexpectedly in Minnesota’s largest city during the early and mid ‘80s is so good that it’s easy to forgive the slight outdatedness.

Goldberg sets off in search of a Prince interview, only to be thwarted where others have been thwarted before. (“OK, so I won’t take it personally.”) She turns to other local exponents of high-tech R&B;, most of them successful offshoots/exiles from the Prince camp--Morris Day, Alexander O’Neal, producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The last half of the hour is devoted to musicians who play a totally different style--a sort of rag-tag post-punk--led by Husker Du and the Replacements.

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The latter also refuse Goldberg an interview (because they’re “obstreperous,” their lawyer explains), but we see part of one of their unorthodox videos and hear from just about everyone else of importance on the Minneapolis scene. The interview excerpts are mainly delightful--partly because some of the people are wonderful characters (Day, Jam, members of a little-known group called the Wallets, who tour in a ‘60s ambulance and base their sound around an accordion) and partly because of Goldberg’s ear for funny, off-beat and telling moments.

“The Minneapolis Sound” is a rare pop-music documentary that’s as much fun as its subject.


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