Profile for Philip S. Walker > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Philip S. Walker
Top Reviewer Ranking: 66,049
Helpful Votes: 472

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Philip S. Walker

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
pixel
John Renbourn Fingerstyle Guitar (Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop Audio)
John Renbourn Fingerstyle Guitar (Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop Audio)
by John Renbourn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.67

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tutorial material from Mr Renbourn, 20 Jun. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are three of John Renbourn's excellent tutorial books published as one. The DVDs that come with the individual books are replaced by CDs and, true enough, the references between the book and the discs could have been made more clear. I haven't seen the DVDs so I can't say how much you are missing in that department; all I can say is that I have had a lot of enjoyment from the CDs and the scores (both notes and tabs) and I think others will too. Even if you are not yet up to the demanded standard as a player, there is a lot to be learned here. Apart from that, there are enough complete songs on the discs to make up one single and quite amazing CD with Renbourn in a relaxed and informal mood. I consider this very much a bargain and recommend it warmly. There are a whole bunch of professional acoustic guitar players out there today, particularly in America, using watered down versions of Renbourn's techniques in a very commercial manner, making New Age and Christmas records and exploiting the term 'Celtic' to a downright nauseating degree. What you get here, however, is honest music with character and emotion - the real thing, coming straight from the master himself.


Made To Love Magic
Made To Love Magic
Offered by Side Two
Price: £10.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few fantastic tracks and some that should have been left in the bin, 22 May 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Made To Love Magic (Audio CD)
On the whole, this disc doesn't live up to the great music released by Nick Drake in his lifetime and it doesn't cast much light on the way he worked and developed his talent and individual songs. It contains mainly alternative takes that were aborted for obvious reasons plus one hitherto undiscovered song, which is rather weak and badly performed (the poor chap was clearly cracking up at this point and his voice is practically gone). One track, the otherwise outstanding "Time of no Reply", is wrecked by an overwrought orchestral arrangement dubbed on to the only known recording of the song, a BBC session which is available elsewhere in its original form, thank God. However, the alternative arrangement and performance of "Three Hours" is nothing short of astonishing, and there are a few other bright moments such as "Thoughts of Mary Jane", featuring Richard Thomson on guitar, and "Magic", also overdubbed with an orchestral arrangement by Robert Kirby, but this time it really works. Some of this material has has been out before (according to the sleeve notes this current disc features sonically improved version - but then they would say that, wouldn't they). Still, even during the weakest moment on this all too typical "flogging a dead horse" disc the genius of Nick Drake still shines though, which is why, all in all, I grant it three stars.


Uncovered
Uncovered
Offered by zoreno-uk
Price: £10.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly balanced Irish folk by excellent flautist, 11 May 2009
This review is from: Uncovered (Audio CD)
I often find that Irish music on CD is either under- or over-arranged. In this case the balance is just perfect. In fact, everything is perfect on this recording, though not in a calculated manner that leaves out room for emotion. On the contrary, rather than being a show-off in love with his own technical abilities (though God knows he owns them), Garry Walsh is the kind of musician who sees himself as as vehicle for good tunes and the feelings they represent, past and present. The arrangements and the backing is pleasantly varied, yet there is a strong sense of coherent style. His choice of instruments is slightly unusual, but only so much that it makes way for a personal sound. Perhaps most interestingly of all, the tunes are highly unusual, many of them recorded here for the first time ever. The explanation for this can be found in the sleeve notes, which are well worth consulting, too. Someone has criticized this disc for "only" being around 40 minutes long, but I disagree. Too many folk CDs today just go on and on, and as a listener you lose interest, particularly if it is all instrumentals. Walsh gets it all right. I cannot recommend this enough to anyone with even the slightest interest in Irish folk today.


The Blast
The Blast
Price: £11.64

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob's Bleak Blast Could not have been Better, 2 May 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Blast (Audio CD)
Bob Fox has been relying on ensembles to back him on later CDs, but here he is alone with his guitar. It is British revival folk at its very best, a bunch of traditional songs mixed with new ones, delivered by one of the finest voices today. Production in the normal meaning of the word is practically non-existent, as it should be on a recording like this one, and though the guitar playing is at times intricate, it is never allowed to steal focus from the songs. As you would expect the repertoire has its fair share of "collier songs", and in fact the overall mood is so bleak it could make a June Tabor record seem like an episode of "Friends"; but Fox seems to save his jollier moods for his collaborations with the equally amazing Stu Luckly, so it all evens out in the end. The only thing I can recommend more than buying this CD is to go and see the man playing "live", perhaps even with Luckly right next to him on stage.


Resurrection
Resurrection
Price: £8.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Nice sleeve notes, shame about the music, 29 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Resurrection (Audio CD)
Don't believe the hype like I did, this is an awful CD. Nothing wrong in my book with wanting to copy the Beatles, but you have to be able to sing in tune at least. You also have to show just a little bit of originality, but from the first track onwards (which incidentally is drowned in reverb to the point of parody) there is absolutely nothing worth writing home about. At their best the songs are amateurish pastiches built over well-known Beatles material, at their worst they sound like US light entertainment music of the day (1969). The singing is just plain awful, the harmonies are drab, the overdubs suffer from poor timing, and to cap it off the mix is a frightening example of just how badly stereo effects could be misused in the late 1960s. Okay, the guys were just teenagers, so what can you expect? But why on earth put this out now, since it was so rightfully shelved in the first place by EMI?

The sleeve notes are goood, though, and as the band leader suggests the experience they relate (of going to London, meeting the Beatles and recording at Abbey Road) was more important than the actual making of the "album". He couldn't be more right.


On The Shore
On The Shore
Offered by HURRICANE RECORDS BERLIN_1
Price: £14.22

9 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor sound on this CD version, 28 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: On The Shore (Audio CD)
Please note that I'm only reviewing the mid-90s Sony Budget release of this disc, though Amazon may choose to place it along with other versions as well.

Judging from the praise that others are giving this particular reissue of the Trees' (to some) legendary album, most people today listen to music very differently from what they did a few decades ago, when striving for good sound reproduction from your Hi-Fi was all the rage. Don't get me wrong, CDs CAN be made so that they sound good, but this isn't one of them, to put it diplomatically. Flat, metallic, a pain inflicted on the eardrums.

Later versions of this album may be better sounding, but then you may not find such matters a problem, in which case you're a luckier man than I.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 6, 2012 10:19 AM BST


Robin Trower: Living Out Of Time [DVD]
Robin Trower: Living Out Of Time [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robin Trower

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the best "live" DVDs ever made, 27 April 2009
Trower a Hendrix clone? Are you kidding? Just look at me, I'm crazy about Trower's music and I don't even like Jimi Hendrix! Yes, he was a great innovator but let's face it, the guy couldn't sing, he never realized what it means to be part of a band, and he wrote songs that were calling out for much bigger arrangements than a guitar trio.

So here's my private version of history for you: When Hendrix died, Robin Trower picked up the mantel and perfected this new style of electric guitar playing. He didn't have Hendrix's raw bite and aggression, but he made sure to have a truly superb singer in the late great Jimmy Dewar and a superb producer, and he started his solo career after leaving Procol Harum by making two fantastic albums. Then, admittedly, things gradually deteriorated. Bill Lordan, who replaced original drummer Reg Isadore, was never my favourite Trower musician, sounding as if he was constantly trying to slow down the pace. The album "In City Dreams" stood out, but it really isn't until this DVD that Rob the Tower, now 60 years old, reaches his full potential. This live set is nothing short of stunning, captivating, super soulful, with perfect vocals from Davy Pattison and a truly fine rhythm section. The songs are well-chosen, mainly taken from the earliest and latest part of the immense repertiore, and stretching from straight blues to some more experimentive tones. Wonderful music, wonderful playing.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 3, 2012 3:33 PM BST


To Luna (+Bonus) (Jpn)
To Luna (+Bonus) (Jpn)
Price: £46.63

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vastly underrated singer-songwriter, 24 April 2009
This review is from: To Luna (+Bonus) (Jpn) (Audio CD)
First released in 1971, this is US singer-songwriter John Parker Compton's first solo LP after the break-up of the amazing Appaloosa and a duo album with violinist and subsequent jingle maestro Robin Batteau. It is simpler and more American sounding than the Appaloosa album (which could have been recorded by Nick Drake's long lost twin), with a touch of Van Morrison c. "Astral Weeks". Like most things Compton has appeared on it isn't a fault-free album, but there are enough glorious moments here to grant it a three-star rating in my book. In fact, I would probably have given it four, had the transformation to CD not left a bit to be desired. Also, the insert could hardly be less informative. However, this is an extremely rare album by an excellent singer-songwriter and well worth having if you like his other efforts. Just don't expect something quite at the same level as his incredible 1969 live performance along with Batteau, released under the title "Live at Turk's Head Coffeehouse". If there ever was a rediscovered gem from the 1960s, that is it!

Compton still performs and records, but I find his attempts to update his style vastly disappointing compared to releases like the above. May he one day throw away his plectrum and return to former finger-picking glory, preferably alongside Batteau and leaving out the modern discount technology.


The Guitar Of John Renbourn
The Guitar Of John Renbourn

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Library music from Renbourn at the peak of his game, 23 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For those who don't know, KPM is a label for library music, i.e. background music meant to be used by makers of films, TV programmes, radio plays etc. In other words, KPM don't make real albums where the artist and producer carefully set up track listings for a coherent listening experience. Furthermore, the music isn't really music in a normal sense, but rather rudimentary themes presented at various lengths to create or support an immediate atmosphere. Still, labels like KPM often use well-known musicians and composers, and hence their records have in some cases become highly collectible.

John Renbourn has made two albums for KPM, with "The Guitar of ...", here given a broader release, probably coming as close as anything ever will to a library disc sounding like a commercial CD (his other KPM release is identical to one of his official discs, so don't worry too much about how to get hold of that one). Recorded in 1977 it represents the acoustic guitarist at his very best, with flute, electric guitar and female vocals also featured on various tracks - all wonderfully performed. This release is not quite on par with his outstanding album "The Hermit" from around that same time, but certain tracks come very close, and at other times it is just very interesting to hear the artist work within an unusual framework. (And if it's just some nice yet characteristic background music you're after, it works very well, too.)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2012 6:48 PM BST


Fair England's Shore: English Traditional Songs
Fair England's Shore: English Traditional Songs
Price: £13.16

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb re-issue job and extremly good value for money, 21 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fellside must be the masters of under-self-hype, because by the look of it this is simply a CD reissue of Peter Bellamy's rare 1968 solo album "Fair England's Shore". Well, it's a lot more than that. On their own website the label advertise it as a double CD for the price of a single disc issue. Well, again, it's more than that. In fact, what you get here are THREE extremly rare vinyl albums stuck on to two CDs. The albums are, apart from the above, "Mainly Norfolk" (also from 1968) and 1969's "The Fox Jumped Over The Parson's Gate". An awful lot of collectors of the English folk revival would jump over an awful lot more than the parson's gate to get hold of this music! Since it's mostly just Peter "the Singing Crumhorn" Bellamy belching out these amazing songs on his own, occasionally accompanied by one other instrument or harmony voice, it's nice to have on CD (yes, I know about the lifelessness of that medium, but listen: no crackles and inner groove distortion, which seems to be particularly pronounced with Bellamy's sharp and piercing voice - and where would you ever find the vinyl anyway - and do you have a fortune to spare?). In fact the sound here, which was probably not the most professionally recorded in the first place, is quite good, not too digital, and seemingly taken from the original master tapes. On top of all that, fiddle genius Barry Dransfield appears on some of the tracks on Disc 2. Now, that's pretty good value for around eight quid I would say.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7