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Soft Commands (+Bonus) [Import]

Ken Stringfellow, Ken Stringfellow Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £23.74
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Soft Commands (+Bonus) + Danzig In The Moonlight
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Jan 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Video Arts
  • ASIN: B0006B9ZBI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,511,863 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good - but too varied? 25 Sep 2006
By mikem
Format:Audio CD
I had been waiting for this LP with bated breath, as Ken's Touched is one of my favourite albums of all time. Touched was a consistently excellent record, with hardly a duff track. Soft Commands has maybe five or six great songs, but there are a couple of weak moments that prevent this from being a five starrer.

First track You Drew is lovely - interesting lyrics, well-constructed and with effective piano. It is similar to Jackson Browne and has a classic 70s feel. Any Love is a beaut, a lovely strummed intro and a great dynamic range to Ken's vocals. It's a song that goes to unexpected places and then comes back to a typical Ken killer chorus. Known Diamond is a pretty piano ballad, but is a bit too slow for only the third track. It breaks the flow of the album, which is a pity when the first two tracks are so good.

When U Find Someone has some great harmonies, but is too much of a Beach Boys pastiche vocal wise. Don't Die is a bit of a power pop by numbers plodder. The quality is upped with Let Me Do, which again has great vocals and a Maccaish feel. It is another unpredictable number, and this is a great strength.

For Your Sake is the most Posies-esque track. The verses build up the tension which is released with a glorious chorus. Je Vous En Prie is a lilting paean, it seems, to Ken's wife Dominique. It feels too personal, and to my ears sounds too stereotypically "French". I almost expected Rene from Allo Allo to appear on backing vocals.

You Become The Dawn is great - a well constructed and passionately sung track which even has reggae elements! It is good though! After a short instrumental track - Dawn of the Dub, Ken delivers a couple of corkers which redeem the LP as a whole.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft Commands by Ken Stringfellow 16 May 2010
Format:Audio CD
I bought this as a present for my partner. I was very happy with the prompt delivery and he is happy with his present.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surprising change of style! 12 Aug 2004
By W. Rabeneck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
At first, I was a little put off by this album because it is so different from his previous work. But since I have really enjoyed his work with the Posies, and his first two solo albums, I continued listening to "Soft Commands", and found that, though it's not an instantly compelling album, it gets better with repeated listens.

Possibly, the main flaw of the album is that, other than "Don't Die Young", most of the songs fall into the ballad category of songs. And though they are good songs, I found myself getting a little bored by the lack of extreme tempo changes. This album would have been easier to listen to, all the way through, in one setting, if there had been a couple more fast and mid-tempo songs thrown into the mix.

That said, around my seventh or eighth time listening to the album, I found that I like these songs a lot better if I listen to them two or three songs at a time, rather than trying to listen to the whole album straight through. Ken has really written some good, stately songs for this album. "Known Diamond" and "When U Find Someone" are particularly standouts.

"Known Diamond" might be Ken Stringfellow's best song to date. It is a very stately, soulful ballad. It really deserves to be a hit, and a 'standard' that other artists would cover in the future. I could really hear Elton John or Joe Cocker having success covering this song, even after making changes to make it fit their individual styles.

"When U Find Someone" reminds me of a Beach Boy's style ballad musically, while the story of the songs lyrics reminds me a little of Don Henley's "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" because the basic gist of the story is that "The country may be at war, but ain't it good to be in love with this girl?"

Overall, I find this to be a really nice album. As I said earlier, you might have to listen to it several times before it really starts coming together for you; and it listens better as individual songs than it does as an album that you can play straight through; but it really does have some good songs that you'll find creeping back into your mind later, when your not listening to the album.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars now let's not be hasty 7 Dec 2004
By myself - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I notice a lot of complaints that this record is different from Ken's other work. I won't deny that's true - it is quite a departure - but I don't agree with those who have written it off based on that. Ken Stringfellow is my idol and although I was slightly put off by the absence of his usual guitar pop, a little attentiveness reveals the same personality in these songs that graces everything he's written. The magnificent melodies, vivid poetry, and overwhelming emotion are all there, though communicated differently. "When U Find Someone", "For Your Sake", "Cyclone Graves", and "Death of a City" all have a grand, anthemic quality that makes them instant classics, in my opinion. "Cyclone Graves" has incredible and inspiring lyrics, and is a favorable contender for my personal top five songs of all time. I also love the European-sounding ballad "Je Vous En Prie". About half the songs are less emotional than Ken's usual stuff, and don't excite quite the same love - but they have a great deal of personality and are loveable enough in their own way. I think if you like Ken Stringfellow for the quality of his songwriting, and prepare yourself going in for something different, there's no reason you wouldn't love Soft Commands.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Together we can burn the world 8 Aug 2004
By J. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
OK, it's not the stunning power pop of the Posies, but fans of good songwriting can't go wrong with this one. Quieter, more piano, less guitar. But Ken's voice is stronger than ever here, and melodies and images from these songs will linger. The first tune to grab me was "When U Find Someone," sonically a perfect knockoff of Beach Boys harmonies, but dark, initially confusing lyrics about George W driving Saddam to lover's lane, to slip him a cruise missile I presume. The military-sexual metaphor would make Elvis Costello proud, not to mention the earnestly-delivered refrain, "together we can burn the world." "Any Love," "Known Diamond" and "Death of a City" are also standouts.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Softer Sounds, Perhaps - But No Less A Commanding Presence 3 Jun 2005
By James M. Cayon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Posies are, without a doubt, one of the truly great American bands, but on this, his third album, Ken Stringfellow, very much a kindred spirit, moves into the rarified realm of this world's most special composers. As anyone that has heard the Posies' cover of "O-O-H Child" by the Five Stairsteps can testify, this white boy's music was informed by a great deal of classic soul - not only is the band's version virtually indistinguishable from the original, but I wouldn't haven't have dared hope for a first-verse quote from "Tighter, Tighter", by Tommy James and one of my Top 10 favorite songs, as a tag-on. So, while "The Lover's Hymn" on Touched, his second effort, came as nothing less than a revelation, it really shouldn't have surprised me so much, though the expansive metaphysical lyrics were still remarkable by any standard. Soft Commands is nothing so much as a fascinating recreation of an era when AM radios gushed sounds full of joy and wonder out into the cosmos, such an accurate reflection of our soundtrack growing up in the early Seventies, with a slightly more sophisticated delivery and choice of subject matter. These were my formative years above all others, and Deep South gospel-tinged numbers like "Let Me Do" and "You Become The Dawn" would've fit in effortlessly next to both "O-O-H Child" and "Tighter, Tighter". Despite Altamont, the Sixties hadn't succumbed entirely to cynicism yet (Watergate and the ignominious exit from Vietnam would deal seeming death blows to 'the dream') and plenty of hits still chimed with the California-based arrangements and surf harmonies characteristic of "When U Find Someone". But that song, the mighty "Known Diamond" and the lament shrouding "Death Of A City", a possible companion to "Fall Song" from Success, place Soft Commands firmly in a strange, mournful, ironic post- 9/11 land. Elsewhere, "You Drew", "Any Love" and the urgent "Don't Die" are an intriguing melange of Don McLean, Bread, and yes, the Hollies (possibly as interpreted by Gram Parsons, true). There's no question that Soft Commands is a very different collection of songs as compared to Touched, but hardly unrelated, either - it should be clear they only differ in that softer, sweeping keys, rather than dry, lumbering guitars, are the essence of this fascinating masterpiece (then again, "The Lover's Hymn" always was telling of what was to come.....)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 14 July 2004
By L. Leal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
You just can't go wrong with ken stringfellow. He's amazing. Things here are very heavy on melody. I hear a definite influence from scott mccaughy (if you've never heard the minus 5...then you don't like music...and I pitty you). I think it's a good change from other records. Soft commands shows the more keyboard/piano driven side of ken's work.
Touched is still my favorite...because it's just a wonderful peice of work...but this is a very VERY close second.
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