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Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London)

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Electric Warrior
Electric Warrior
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Cosmic Dancer..." – Electric Warrior by T.REX [featuring Marc Bolan] (2012 Universal/A&M/Fly 'Expanded' CD Remaster), 9 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Electric Warrior (Audio CD)
Losing my lovingly kept vinyl copy of the Rex's iconic "Electric Warrior" with the 'sticker' on the front cover (inner and poster inside too) a few years back has remained one of my big LP regrets over the years (needs must at the time and it had to be done). The British album on Fly Records sold loads (sleeve by Hipgnosis) - but for some reasons copies of an original with the sticker still intact (on the front sleeve) are far rarer than most fans know.

A similar tale of selling-woe with CD reissues... I bought the January 2012 Tony Visconti/Paschal Byrne 2CD 'Deluxe Edition' and lived with it for a while (great audio, same as this issue) – but I found the extras lacking (sold it) and I've plumed instead for this single disc version with four 'Bonus Tracks' that I actually want. A case of less is more I think (and its under four quid). Time to 'Get It On' and indeed 'Bang A Gong' for the original Jeepsters - T.REX...

UK released 17 April 2012 – "Electric Warrior" by T.REX on Universal/A&M/Fly 533 780-1 (Barcode 600753378014) is an 'Expanded Edition' single CD Remaster and plays out as follows (55:58 minutes):

1. Mambo Sun
2. Cosmic Dancer
3. Jeepster
4. Monolith
5. Lean Woman Blues
6. Get It On [Side 2]
7. Planet Queen
8. Girl
9. The Motivator
10. Life's A Gas
11. Rip Off
Tracks 1 to 11 are the 2nd album "Electric Warrior" by T. REX (formerly known as Tyrannosaurus Rex for the four previous LPs) – released 24 September 1971 in the UK on Fly Records HIFLY 6 and in the USA on Reprise RS 6466. It peaked at No. 1 in the UK and No. 32 in the USA.

T. REX was:
MARC BOLAN – Vocals and Guitars
MICKEY FINN – Vocals and Percussion
IAN McDONALD – Saxophones
BURT COLLINS - Flugel Horn

HOWARD & MARK VOLMAN – Backing Vocals
RICK WAKEMAN – Piano on "Get It On" (uncredited)

12. There Was A Time/Raw Ramp (B-side of "Get It On" – UK 7" single released 2 July 1971 on Fly Records BUG 10. Although listed as a two-part B-side – it has in fact three distinct musical sections in the song with the uncredited Part 3 sometimes known as "Electric Boogie" because of the lyrics. "Get It On" peaked at No. 1 in the UK charts and was billed as "Bang A Gong" in the USA on Reprise 1032 when it was released December 1971

13. Hot Love (Non-Album A-side – UK 7" single released 19 February 1971 on Fly Records BUG 6) – peaked at No. 1 on the UK singles charts

14. Woodland Rock (1 of 2 Non-Album B-sides to "Hot Love" – UK 7" single released 19 February 1971 on Fly Records BUG 6) – peaked at No. 1 on the UK singles charts

15. The King Of The Mountain Cometh (2 of 2 Non-Album B-sides to "Hot Love" – UK 7" single released 19 February 1971 on Fly Records BUG 6) – peaked at No. 1 on the UK singles charts

Reproduced beneath the see-through tray is that gorgeous Fly Records label with the script track lists for Side 1 and 2 - while the CD itself has the Marc Bolan/Mickey Finn photo that adorned the other side of the LP label (nice touches). The generously outfitted 24-page booklet is a fan's dream – beautifully and smartly laid out. You get updated (new research especially for this 2012 issue) and in-depth liner notes from noted Bolan expert MARK PAYTRESS – as well Melody Maker, NME, Sounds and Beat Instrumental front page repros, snaps of Bolan in the studio, on stage with T.Rex and relaxing (the poster shot). There is the rare sheet music for "Hot Love" and a picture of Bolan by a bus with his girlfriend as well as the beautiful George Underwood pencil drawings that were the inner bag – they adorn either side of the centre pages.

Original Producer TONY VISCONTI has remastered the album for this issue while the hugely experienced Audio Engineers PASCHAL BYRNE and BEN WISEMAN handled the Bonus Tracks. All of it sounds renewed and incredibly alive. There are hissy passages for sure but no tampering with the original sound has taken place to my ears - it's just breathing better now. A job sensitively done...

Right from the opening guitar chug of "Mambo Sun" – the vocals, the strings and backing singers and those cool swinging guitars – all of it sleeks out of your speakers with the swagger of a man on the up. There is a lot of hiss as "Cosmic Dancer" opens with the Acoustic and Strings – but there's no denying the loveliness of the song. The whack off "Jeepster" is shocking – that foot-stomping guitar boogie still gets me too (another effortless No. 1 single dashed off in his sleep). That lone guitar rip at the beginning of "Monolith" threatens to punch a hole in your speaker cones on this ballsy remaster – the lurching slugger beat somehow now even more epic than I remember it ("...shallow are the actions of the children of the men...oh yeah!") Side 1 ends with "Lean Woman Blues" – a one two and buckle my shoe set of Bolan Blues where he bemoans his lady's 'lean love' while those guitars riff and groan ("'re the love of my life...then you gorge me with a knife...")

What can you say about "Get It On" - a winner to this day. I was a kid in Dublin 1971 and we'd gone with the scouts to Todd Vale Camp Site near Liverpool in England for a summer outing. On the site someone had a portable singles deck and the rare picture sleeve of "Get It On"0. Sun shining down – campfires nearby cooking dinner - bopping to that infectious beat. Man we must played that sucker nine times in a row – the memory still sends chills up my arms. And here it is again with that fabulous Visconti production only better – bang a gong baby! Many peoples other fave is the slinky Acoustic Rock of "Planet Queen" – a great Bolan groove. Burt Collins provides the Flugel Horn for the pretty "Girl" – a song where Marc sounds most like Bowie who would of course release "Hunky Dory" in December of that great year (1971). More cool Bolan riffage with the " the way you walk..." groove of "The Motivator" – while both 'Life's A Gas" and the angry live-in-the-studio "Rip Off" have healthy amounts of hiss for sure but still sound like they've been given a right old dust off - unleashed even.

What I also love about this reissue is that the Bonus Tracks provide you with four truly great non-album single sides – "The King of The Woodland Cometh" like some Tyrannosaurus Rex boogie outtake, the sexy "Hot Love" and that amazing 3-part B-side to "Get It On". I’ve even isolated "Electric Boogie" as a track by itself (begins at 3:23 minutes) – what a blast.

Marc Bolan would go on to "The Slider" and "Tanx" albums and so much more until his sad loss in London in 1977 – but "Electric Warrior" is the one in the hearts of his original fans. As Bolan sang in the irrepressible "Jeepster" - "...I'll call you a jaguar if I may be so bold..." Amen to that you slinky mother...

Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells
Price: £11.70

5.0 out of 5 stars "...Two Slightly Distorted Guitars..." – Tubular Bells by MIKE OLDFIELD (2009 Universal/Mercury 2CD/1DVD 'Deluxe Edition' Remast, 9 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tubular Bells (Audio CD)
In the first half of 1973 - two chart-annihilating vinyl albums signalled a huge move away from 7" single-driven Rock to something longer and stronger – Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side Of The Moon" which landed on our doorsteps 1 March 1973 – and Mike Oldfield's Virgin Records debut LP "Tubular Bells" which hit Blighty racks in its gorgeous and highly distinctive 'Bells and Sea' sleeve on 25 May 1973. Both albums have had longevity beyond the wildest dreams of either artist and with the hindsight of more than 40 years – remain iconic and still amaze.

Having said that - fans have had their fair-share of CD reissues for Mike Oldfield's densely overdubbed, side long instrumental musical soundscapes (the HDCD version in 2000 was one) – but this 2009 'Deluxe Edition' which offers Audio and Video finally does that tape consuming beasty a solid. Here are the Sailor's Hornpipes...

UK and USA released 8 June 2009 – "Tubular Bells: Deluxe Edition" by MIKE OLDFIELD on Universal/Mercury 270 354-1 (Barcode 0602527035413) is a 2CD/1DVD Reissue and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 – "The 2009 Stereo Mixes by Mike Oldfield" (56:02 minutes):
1. Tubular Bells (Part One)
2. Tubular Bells (Part Two)

3. Mike Oldfield's Single (A-side of a UK 7" single released June 1974 on Virgin VS 101. The original B-side "Froggy Went A Courtin'" (despised by Oldfield) is not on this reissue.

4. Sailor's Hornpipe (Original Version with Viv Stanshall) – Recorded in The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire in Spring 1973 – first appeared as part of "Collaborations" – the 4th LP in the 4LP "Boxed" Set UK issued October 1976 on Virgin VBOX 1.

Disc 2 – "The Original 1973 Stereo Album Mix" (48:48 minutes):
1. Tubular Bells (Part One)
2. Tubular Bells (Part Two)
Tracks 1 and 2 and Side 1 and the LP "Tubular Bells" – released 25 May 1973 in the UK and USA on Virgin V 2001

Disc 3 – DVD (All Regions) – 2009 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes by Mike Oldfield
1. Tubular Bells (Part One)
2. Tubular Bells (Part Two)
3. Mike Oldfield's Single
4. Sailor's Hornpipe (Original Version with Viv Stanshall)

Visual Content
1. Tubular Bells (Part One)
First broadcast as part of the series "2nd House" on BBC 2 – 1st December 1973

The glossy gatefold digipak has been well thought out – each flap with interesting memorabilia – the pregnant lady advert from the Zigzag newspaper advertising the birth of new 'Virgin Releases' – master tape boxes from CBS and BASF and a very well endowed 24-page booklet on the history of the album and its aftermath by Tape Engineer and Music Historian MARK POWELL. You get pictures of The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire – Oldfield with Kevin Ayers & The Whole World (circa 1970/1971), snaps of Producer Tom Newman and a camera-shy Richard Branson along with the ever present mixing desk and Oldfield surround as always by six million instruments.

MARK POWELL, MIKE OLDFIELD and PASCHAL BYRNE are the team of three that has handling the tapes with care because the Audio is gorgeous – clear and warm and full of presence. But I would say that after hearing the 2009 Stereo Version – the original 1973 version does seem a tad flat and more hissy – but the DVD 5.1 version that I've heard on a mate's sound system is simply awesome (far better that the Quadrophonic LP experience in 1974). The "Mike Oldfield Single" (issued in a "Tubular Bells Theme" picture sleeve in the UK June 1974) is based on the Celtic Tympani section on Side 2 with Oldfield having added Oboe and other instruments. And of course the use of the opening piano refrain in the horror movie of the moment "The Exorcist" gave the album considerable exposure and made that piece of music synonymous with the LP for decades to come.

When the first portion of Side One settles into that Acoustic Guitar around 4:07 only to crescendo a few seconds later – the effect is incredible. And those doubled-up high string guitars at 11:30 minutes leap out of the speakers only to be followed by the HUGE rock guitar piece. It all leads towards the layer-after-layer-of-instruments preceded by Viv Stanshall of The Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band acting as 'Master Of Ceremonies' as he introduces each instrument in that wonderfully posh and eclectic voice of his – magic. Fans will love those warbling guitars at 8:02 on Side 2 – the girly vocals mixing with the notes to beautiful effect – even if that Pilt Down Man voice still sounds decidedly creepy. And you gotta love Vivian Stanshall clearly drunk as a skunk on the original version of "Sailor's Hornpipe" as he discusses a painting in the Manor at some ungodly hour in the morning - deliberately slurring his words by the time he gets to the end (God bless him).

I wasn't expected the DVD to be so engaging. Never mind the 5.1 Surround Mix that really leaves the Quad LP from the 'Boxed' set in 1976 in the dust – the performance of the December 1973 concert is an absolute blast (if not a little ramshackle in places). A group of seven musicians are seated in dimly lit silhouette as the piano refrain starts (with a huge Showcase logo behind them). But then as they zoom in and the lights go on – we see Oldfield seated with his Bass Guitar and stripy shirt looking decidedly uncomfortable (grin and bear it baby). Unfortunately there are no credits at the end so you can't tell who the other six musicians are – but with guitars in their hands and other instruments – Side 1 becomes this strange entirely different entity 'live' - where their guitar flicks and piano flourishes differ wildly in some cases from his. A chorus of ladies join them for the acoustic fade out. They even try some ropey water footage in the centre of it as the bells shimmer. The image does get a tad blurry in places in that Seventies kind of way – but for fans this extra is an absolute treat.

"Hergest Ridge" would follow in 1974 and the wonderful "Ommadawn" in 1975 and thereafter a career that seems to have endlessly rehashed his 1973 magnum opus for every anniversary since. A great 'Deluxe Edition' and a milestone in Rock Music's history...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2016 7:28 PM GMT

Barnstorm by Joe Walsh (2006-11-13)
Barnstorm by Joe Walsh (2006-11-13)

5.0 out of 5 stars "...Sets Me Free Without A Warning...Wonder Why..." - Barnstorm by JOE WALSH (2006 Hip-O Select CD - Gavin Lurssen Remaster), 9 Feb. 2016
It's hard for me to be rational about Joe Walsh's "Barnstorm" - I've adored it for over 40 years and this brill-sounding American CD reissue has only made matters worse.

First things first though - this Hip-O Select/Geffen CD re-issue on B0006229-02 (It has no Barcode) has had a troubled existence. It was first released in January 2006 to howls of derision because someone had used the wrong master tapes (laden with unbearable amounts of hiss) and even left gaps between the songs on Side One where certain tracks segue into each other. Mistakes were admitted - it was withdrawn and it re-appeared in November 2006. To complicate things further - there are in fact 5 variants of the album on CD - the American 1980s crappy MCA issue, the wonderful silver disc version by Mobile Fidelity in 1990 (now rare and pricey), a 24-bit remaster issued in Japan in December 2004 as a mini-album repro - with a further 2011 reissue of that in Japan on the SHM-CD format - and then this - the Hip-O Select USA November 2006 issue. I've the Mobile CD, the 2004 Japanese one and this - and to my ears - the HIP-O SELECT version out does them all...

1. Here We Go
2. Midnight Visitor
3. One And One
4. Giant Behemoth
5. Mother Says
6. Birdcall Morning [Side 2]
7. Home
8. I'll Tell The World
9. Turn To Stone
10. Comin' Down

Having left THE JAMES GANG behind after 3 great albums - Walsh recruited KENNY PASSARELLI and JOE VITALE to record his solo debut in March of 1972. It was finally released in the USA on Dunhill DSX 50130 in October 1972 with its British counterpart released November 1972 on Probe SPBA 6268 (later reissued in 1974 on ABC). It was afforded the luxury of a gatefold sleeve, which is reproduced on both sides of the gatefold inlay in colour (the inside of the UK sleeve was in black and white). There's no new liner notes though - nor any juicy bonus tracks nor outtakes - which is a damn shame - a missed opportunity there.

GAVIN LURSSEN has remastered the album - he's an engineer who did exceptional work on the two STEPHEN BISHOP Hip-O Select titles "Careless" and "Bish" and the stunning 2 CD "Gold" set for Universal by THE CRUSADERS (see separate reviews for them all). Originally produced and engineered by BILL SZYMCZYK, "Barnstorm" was always a `sloppy' album in feel (in stark contrast to say "So What" from 1974) and was always going to be a difficult album to remaster well - but LURSSEN has done a fantastic job. The instruments are live and in your face. There is still hiss on some of the tracks, but in the main it's minimal. Some love the rough feel of the recordings; it drives others crazy; personally I find there's charm in them that's missing in the more polished later albums. Walsh and his guitar have a sound and this album exemplifies that - warts and all.

The production difference for instance when you go from the slightly hissy "Giant Bohemoth" to the all-out riffs of "Mother Says" is marked. MS rocks like a monster now and even in the centre passage where all the instruments crescendo and threaten to get out of hand, this remaster holds it all together - YOU HEAR IT ALL - the drums, the wonderful keyboard flourishes - even the men giggling like loons at the end when it fades out. Superb stuff.

But then comes the gem I've been waiting for - "Birdcall Morning" - I'm lost man - I go to pieces at hearing this. After 30 years it finally sounds a fresh as a new sixpence - a beautiful song now given beautiful sound. I've A/B'd this with the Japanese issue and it's just brighter - fuller somehow - wonderful. "Turn To Stone" is the original version and is just HUGE in sound - a little `too' rough I would say for most tastes. The album ends with the lovely acoustic ditty "Comin' Down" - the strings rattling around the speakers with the harmonica playing it out.

A little know fact about one of the album tracks is worth mentioning. "I'll Tell The World (About You)" was written by ALAN GORDON and ALLAN JACOBS of the obscure American band THE MAGICIANS. Allan "Jake" Jacobs later went on to be JAKE and THE FAMILY JEWELS. The Magicians made only 4 singles on US Columbia in the mid Sixties, which are really excellent. Unfortunately, each sank without trace (never got an album out either) and they quickly disbanded. The group's last single "Lady Fingers" had help in its production from BILL SZYMCZYK - and as he produced "Barnstorm" - it was probably he who introduced the lovely "I'll Tell The World" to Walsh. The US Sundazed label have a wonderful anthology CD of the band's work called "An Invitation To Cry" which has the original of this beautiful song on it - well worth checking out. Someone has posted a video of their original version on You Tube - in fact, I wouldn't surprise me in the least if this long forgotten Sixties gem turns up in a hip 'n' happening advert somewhere near us soon - it's that good.

To sum up, the remaster on this lesser known 1972 gem is an absolute joy. "Barnstorm" is the kind of album you need to get into your life - and this Hip-O Select Remaster to my ears is the best version of it yet. Unfortunately it's been deleted for years now and has subsequently acquired a rather nasty price tag (£40 and more) - but if you've any love for this brill album and can find a copy of this CD variant - then 'Hip-O Select/Geffen B0006229-02' is the baby to have in your bathwater.

Joe Walsh once ran for President of The United States of America. On the strength of this album, I could never understand why he didn't get the job.

PS: (March 2009 footnote) The Japanese-only 2004 24-bit CD Remasters of Joe Walsh's first 3 albums "Barnstorm", "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" and "So What" complete with vinyl LP repro sleeves and inners have now become hugely expensive collector's items. Someone in Japan seems to have noticed this, because the 3 are being 'reissued' on 22 April 2009 in Japan again but on the new SHM-CD format (Super High Materials) - but this time along with the missing 4th title - the live set "You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind". They are availble for pre-order from the 2 excellent Japanese mail-order sites "cdjapan" and "mundojapan".

PPS: (October 2009 footnote) see also review for "So What" the SHM-CD

PPPS: check out his 2012 live video with DARYL HALL on "Daryl's House" where they covered "Funk 49", "Life's Been Good" and a stunning version of a forgotten Hall solo track called "Somebody Like You" (see YouTube)

PPPPS (how many P's can you have): For GAVIN LURSSEN REMASTERS see also my reviews for "Driving Wheel" by Little Milton, "Gold" by The Crusaders, "Careless" and "Bish" by Stephen Bishop, "Occasional Rain" by Terry Callier and "All Things Must Pass" by George Harrison

All Things Must Pass
All Things Must Pass
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Really Want To See You..." – All Things Must Pass by GEORGE HARRISON (2014 Apple 2CD Reissue – Gavin Lurssen Remasters), 8 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: All Things Must Pass (Audio CD)
When I bought the 2DVD set of 2002's "Concert For George" – the nearest a mere mortal like me was going to get to that stunning celebration of George Harrison's life and music/film legacy – I bawled my eyes out like a big girl's blouse. I can remember the whole sensory experience of music, emotion and video 'getting to me' on a level I found both profound and ultimately uplifting. I'd simply forgotten how good his songwriting was and I (like others) needed some reminding. Re-visiting his mammoth 3LP debut solo work "All Things Must Pass" on this definitive 2CD Apple Remaster has been the same. Wonder and awe...all over again. Here are the Apple Scruffs...

UK and USA released 22 September 2014 – "All Things Must Pass" by GEORGE HARRISON on Apple/George Harrison Estate 0602537914005 (Barcode is the same) is a 3LP Set onto 2CDs with Bonus Tracks and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (59:37 minutes):
1. I'd Have You Anytime
2. My Sweet Lord
3. Wah-Wah
4. Isn't It A Pity (Version 1)
5. What Is Life [Side 2]
6. If Not For You
7. Behind That Locked Door
8. Let It Down
9. Run Of The Mill
Tracks 1 to 9 make up Side 1 & 2 of the 3LP Box Set "All Things Must Pass" – released 27 November 1970 in the USA (30 November 1970 in the UK) both on Apple STCH 639

10. I Live For You [1970 Outtake]
11. Beware Of The Darkness (27 May 1970 Demo Version, Outtake]
12. Let It Down [Early Version, Remixed in 2000]
13. What Is Life [Backing Track]
14. My Sweet Lord (2000)
Tracks 10 to 15 first appeared as Bonus Tracks on the January 2001 "All Things Must Pass" 2CD Reissue – sanctioned by George Harrison. His son Dhani Harrison and UK singer Sam Brown added vocals to the 2000 Version of "My Sweet Lord" along with percussion from Ray Cooper. Dhani’s keyboards and vocals also bolstered up the remixed outtake "I Live For You".

Disc 2 (65:38 minutes):
1. Beware Of Darkness [Side 3]
2. Apple Scruffs
3. Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
4. Awaiting On You All
5. All Things Must Pass
6. I Dig Love [Side 4]
7. Art Of Dying
8. Isn't It A Pity (Version 2)
9. Hear Me Lord

10. It's Johnny’s Birthday
11. Plug Me In
12. I Remember Jeep
13. Thanks For The Pepperoni
14. Out Of The Blue
Tracks 1 to 14 are Sides 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the 3LP set "All Things Must Pass". NOTE: On original issues of the vinyl album the 11-minute "Out Of The Blue", the 50-second "It's Johnny's Birthday" and the 3:15 minutes of "Plug Me In" made up Side 5 - while "I Remember Jeep" (extended from 6:59 minutes to 8:05 on CD) and "Thanks For The Pepperoni" (5:26 minutes) made up Side 6. For both the January 2001 and September 2014 CD reissues – the tracks have been rejiggered as above. All songs on "All Things Must Pass" are Harrison originals except "I'd Have You Anytime" which is a co-write with Bob Dylan and "If Not For You" which is a Bob Dylan cover version.

Lead Vocals (All Tracks) – GEORGE HARRISON
Guitars - GEORGE HARRISON, DAVE MASON (of Traffic), ERIC CLAPTON (Derek & The Dominoes)
Pedal Steel Guitar - PETE DRAKE
Rhythm Guitars and Percussion – BADFINGER (featuring Pete Ham and Tom Evans)
Keyboards - BILLY PRESTON, BOBBY WHITLOCK (Derek & The Dominoes), GARY BROOKER (Procol Harum) and GARY WRIGHT (Spooky Tooth)
Saxophone and Trumpet – BOBBY KEYS and JIM PRICE
Bass – CARL RADLE (Derek & The Dominoes) and KLAUS VOORMAN
Drums – ALAN WHITE (Yes), JIM GORDON (Delaney & Bonnie, Derek & The Dominoes) and RINGO STARR (The Beatles)
Congas – PHIL COLLINS on "Art Of Dying" (uncredited)

The first thing you notice about the latest 2014 version is that the 'colourised' artwork of the January 2001 Mini Box Set has gone (as has the box) – we're now back to the more sombre original black and white artwork. I can't say I think the 3-way foldout hard card cover is an improvement on the 'colour' box of 2001 (which I rather liked) – but at least we get the fold-out lyric poster reproduced (with the colour shot of a bearded Harrison on the other side) and the three different colour inner sleeves for each album now get spread over two CD inners and the inside artwork. Harrison's own liner notes for the 2001 version return (reappraising the album from a 30-year distance - highlighting the large number of musicians involved) – but you have to go the bottom of the poster to get the real 'new' info...the AUDIO.

PAUL HICKS, GAVIN LURSSEN and REUBEN COHEN are the team of three who have handled the new '2014 Remaster' – done at Lurssen Mastering in California. His in-house team have won 3 Grammies and I've raved about Lurssen's work before on more than one occasion – see reviews for "Barnstorm" by Joe Walsh on Hip-O Select, "Gold" by The Crusaders on Universal, Stephen Bishop's "Careless" and "Bish" both on Hip-O Select and Terry Callier's "Occasional Rain" on Universal 'Originals'. His modern-day mastering work includes top name artists like John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, Roseanna Cash and even actor Jeff Bridges. Just to take a like-to-like comparison – the gorgeous Pedal Steel guitar work of Pete Drake on the 2014 Remaster of "Behind That Locked Door" is so much clearer and that rhythm section positively brimming with bass warmth and gentle snare shuffles. And when Phil Spector's typically OTT Production threatens to swamp everything on "Let It Down" with a Wall of Noise – they've somehow managed to make the overall soundstage clearer yet still keep it properly muscular. And the truly wonderful Version 1 of "Isn't It A Pity" sounds just glorious, as do the huge acoustic guitars and piano on "Run Of The Mill". After the 'all things louder than everything else' remaster of 2001 – this new 2014 version is a welcome controlled tone down - absolutely gorgeous stuff.

If I'm truthful I've never really thought much of the Dylan collaboration song "I'd Have You Anytime" which always felt to me like a poor man's version of the genuinely lovely "If Not For You". But what you can't fault is the audio wallop of both it and "My Sweet Lord" – the only solo Beatles single to hit the Number 1 spot on the UK charts twice – the original Apple 7" on R 5884 in January 1971 and on reissue in January 2002 after his awful and tragic passing in late November 2001. The huge electric guitars and layered vocals of the manic "Wah-Wah" attack your speakers like its "Helter Skelter Part 2" – while the already mentioned "Isn't It A Pity" is surely his greatest solo song (check out the Eric Clapton and Billy Preston live version in HD on YouTube).

The Bonus Tracks (tagged on once again at the end of Disc 1) are shockingly good and I'd argue better than some of the indulgent fluff on the original release. Dhani Harrison's subtle but beautiful vocal and keyboard contributions to "I Live For You" make the outtake sound like a lost gem and will thrill fans. The "Beware Of Darkness" demo is an acoustic ditty and strips the finished track of its bombast. Having been used to the doomy studio swagger of the final version for so long – this wonderfully barebones "Beware Of Darkness" is unplugged - stark - his Liverpool nasal/vocal phrasing filling the speakers as the strings rattle. And that jab at Klein's Abkco – what a hoot. But best of all is "...this is called "Let It Down"..." – a truly beautiful early version of the second last song on Side 2. Frankly this is way better than the finished version for me – the feel and melody is fabulous – containing a prettiness that got strangled on the LP version. The 'Backing Track' of "What Is Life" is a busy Spector affair chugging along as the guitars and brass jab. The sitar-introduced '2000' version of "My Sweet Lord" is a strange beast – liable to be viewed as lovely by some and a 'should have left it alone' travesty by others. I like it and Dhani Harrison, Sam Brown and Ray Cooper all add something to the mix this time around.

Disc 2 opens with a huge "Beware Of Darkness" – the guitars and strings swirling into one collective sound. "...Beware of mire..." Harrison sings and you know he means every word of it. The washboard shuffle of "Apple Scruffs" has that harmonica warbling with renewed clarity and the "...perpetual mirth..." of the strange-odd "Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp..." has those acoustic guitars peeping up above the piano and pedal steel. Once again Spector smothered "Awaiting On You All" with so many instruments and voices that it's hard to work out where the song is at times. But then we're hit with his melancholic masterpiece title track "All Things Must Pass" – a song so lovely in melody that surely it would have had a shot a second No. 1 (the USA issued "What is Life" b/w "Apple Scruffs" on Apple 1828 in February 1971 and that achieved a No. 10 placing). It's still got that slightly excessive hiss present as it opens – but the warmth of the song takes over and the remaster is genuinely subtle with the instrumentation (so touching). That drum roll opening on "I Dig Love" has real clout now, as does the keyboard funk that anchors the song throughout. The guitars crash in on "Art Of Dying" (sounds like Clapton) as it races along with that Rubber Soul vocal Spector gives Harrison's lead. The double-LP proper ends on a real musical high – "Hear Me Lord". Sounding at times almost like the Faces circa "Long Player" - big guitars vie with big vocals and even bigger ideas – his personal struggle with faith filling the song with sincerity as that huge organ note lingers in the background while someone fills the whole six minutes with sweetly soulful piano fills. The remaster is a lot less bombastic than the really loud 2001 version too...and very much the better for it.

The placing of the "Johnny's Birthday" ramshackle 50-second snippet first (Phil Coulter's "Congratulations" sung under another guise) in the "Apple Jam" LP portion makes more than sense – it works. We then get four guitar battles – all instrumentals. First up is "Plug Me In" which has the feel of a Derek & The Dominoes "Layla" outtake – all soloing and no vocals – searching for a riff and not quite finding it. The 8:08 minutes of "I Remember Jeep" was fun at the time and that soulful piano interlude towards the end still makes it a cool listen. The Johnny B. Goode grunge boogie of "Thanks For The Pepperoni" is yet another guitar strut that feels like you're eavesdropping on a particularly rocky Blind Faith session. But my poison in the bunch has always been the 11:14 minutes of "Out Of The Blue" (Bobby Keys on Sax) that feels like the Faces with too many beers and one too many amps in the studio. I’m always reminded of The Rolling Stones guitar juggernaut "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" from 1971's "Sticky Fingers". I suspect like so many fans – I haven't played this stoner jam for decades...and I'd actually forgotten just how good it is...

George Harrison would return with the more tempered "Living In A Material World" single LP in 1973 and score another No. 1 with "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)" – but many remember him for ATMP. Post Beatles - he splurged - the public loved it then and have held it in affection ever since. And on re-hearing this wonderful remaster of "All Things Must Pass" – is it any wonder.

The quiet and contemplative Beatle passed too damn quickly (aged only 58 in 2001) – I can still feel the shock and hurt of it. Re-listening to this sprawling solo 'White Album' of 1970 has only made me want to re-visit the rest of his recorded legacy – and that's got to be the best Remaster compliment of them all...

Thin Lizzy by Thin Lizzy (2010-12-28)
Thin Lizzy by Thin Lizzy (2010-12-28)
Offered by FHL Store
Price: £126.85

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5.0 out of 5 stars "…Look What The Wind Just Blew In…" - Thin Lizzy by THIN LIZZY (2010 Decca 'Expanded' CD Remaster), 7 Feb. 2016
This new 18 October 2010 CD on Decca 984 447-7 (Barcode 602498444771) remasters Thin Lizzy's debut album for Decca/London Records and adds on a further 9 bonus tracks (it was initially slated for a 25 February 2008 release, but cancelled). Here's a detailed breakdown for the Expanded CD Remaster of "Thin Lizzy" by THIN LIZZY (71:40 minutes):

1. The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle
2. Honesty Is No Excuse
3. Diddy Levine
4. Ray-Gun
5. Look What The Wind Blew In
6. Eire [Side 2]
7. Return Of The Farmer's Son
8. Clifton Grange Hotel
9. Saga Of The Ageing Orphan
10. Remembering
Tracks 1 to 10 are the debut album "Thin Lizzy" issued on 30 April 1971 in the UK on Decca SKL 5082 (London PS 594 in the USA).

The album was well received - especially by Britain’s influential RADIO 1 DJ David "Kid" Jensen, who championed the band and their platter as much as he could. In 1973 Kid Jensen put substance to his love of the band by turning up as the vocalist in the story song “The Hero & The Madman” on "Vagabonds Of The Western World". The style of Lizzy’s debut was a mixture of Rock, Folk and even some Jazzy and Progressive elements. It highlighted Lynnot's great voice and lyrics and Eric Bell’s superbly diverse guitar playing. The catchy riff of “Look What The Wind Blew In” (lyrics above) would have made a good lead off single, but no 7” ever came off the album. Standing alone it makes for a warm listen, but it’s the bonuses on this issue that make it an all together most tasty beast.

Track 11 is “The Farmer”, the A-side of Lizzy’s legendary debut single on Parlophone Records DIP 513. Issued in IRELAND-ONLY, it was mistakenly credited to THIN LIZZIE and released on the last day of July 1970. Its first CD appearance came on the superb “Vagabonds Kings Warriors Angels” 4CD Box Set from 2001. As the band was an unknown, its release in that summer of 1970 went completely unnoticed and legend has it that it shifted less than 100 copies. A genuine rarity, the definitive authority that is the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide of 2012 lists it at £1000, but try finding one! Its inclusion here in upgraded sound quality is a genuine bonus to fans (it wasn’t on the original 1991 re-issue CD). As to the song itself, it’s not a great track by any stretch of the imagination - it’s also the only song in their cannon to feature the original keyboardist Eric Wrixon. Unfortunately, its equally rare and unheard B-side, “I Need You”, ISN’T represented on this new reissue (no explanation) - a very real shame that.

12. Dublin
13. Remembering Part II (New Day)
14. Old Moon Madness
15. Things Ain’t Working Out Down at The Farm
Tracks 12 to 15 make up what’s known as the “NEW DAY” EP. Recorded across 3 days in July 1971, the non-album 4-track Extended Play was released in Britain after the album on 20 August 1971 as Decca F 13208. Most copies came in a Decca Label Bag, but rare ones carried a beautiful gatefold picture sleeve (very rare and again very expensive – £300+ - I’ve only ever seen one in my life). It was also a MAXI PLAY EP, in other words it spun at LP speed of 33 1/3. Its four tracks were laid out as follows:
Side A: 1. Dublin 2. Remembering Part II (New Day)
Side B: 1. Old Moon Madness 2. Things Ain’t Working Out Down at The Farm
Their first outing on compact disc came on the 1991 reissue of the album as its only bonus tracks, and in the relatively early days of CD issues, the sound quality was good, but not great. In 2000 two of the tracks turned up on the “Classic – The Universal Masters Collection” set in hugely improved sound quality. This October 2010 issue is the first time ALL FOUR TRACKS are presented in the one place in truly exceptional remastered sound quality. Eric Bell’s guitar work on “Remembering Part II (New Day”) is just great and makes this extended release makes for a much more rocking listening experience.

16. Look What The Wind Blew In
17. Honesty is No Excuse
18. Dublin
19. Things Ain’t Working out Down At The Farm
Tracks 16 to 19 are 'December 1977' remixes and re-workings – they first turned up on the 1979 UK Decca compilation album “The Continuing Saga Of The Ageing Orphans” and have never been on CD before. They contain guitar and keyboard ‘extra’ contributions from Midge Ure (of Ultravox) and Gary Moore. However, in order to sequence that 1979 compilation from CD you’ll need 3 CD remasters - “Thin Lizzy”, “Shade Of A Blue Orphanage” and the DE edition of “Vagabonds Of The Western World” (see my review).

The newly upgraded 16-page booklet is peppered with black and whites photos of the boys looking confident and chipper and a very cool and rare poster naming them as the support act to the FACES on the 8th of October 1971 in the Royal Ballroom at Boscombe in Bournemouth. The knowledgeable and detailed liner notes by MARK POWELL go into the band’s history as Orphanage, Phil’s stint with Ireland’s Skid Row, their debut single on Parlophone in Ireland and their eventual signing to Decca in the UK. It’s very well written and its all been run by Philomena - Phil's mum.

As with "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage" and the 2CD Deluxe Edition of "Vagabonds Of The Western World", PASCHAL BYRNE has remastered this 2010 CD with hugely improved results. I've raved about his work before (see my reviews for "Ain't No Saint" the 4CD John Martyn box set and "Blues From Laurel Canyon" by John Mayall), and this set is no different. The first generation tapes have been used - not too brash - fantastic presence - each track a revelation.

Taking their name from a character in the 'Beano' comic book called "Tin Lizzie", the band were still a three-piece at this point - PHILIP LYNOTT on Vocals and Bass, ERIC BELL on Guitars and Keyboards with BRIAN DOWNEY on Drums. The famous dual guitar blasts of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson are years away, so those expecting "Fighting" or "Jailbreak" should really look further ahead.

SCOTT ENGLISH produced the stage-rehearsed 10 songs in 5 days in January 1971 – and the result was a great debut rather than just a starting point. Rockers like “Look What The Wind Blew In” and the Hendrix-influenced “Ray-Gun” sat comfortably alongside more folky offerings like “Honesty Is No Excuse” and the early Horslips folk-rock vibe of “The Friendly Ranger Of Clontarf Castle” (I come from Clontarf in Dublin). The bass and plucked guitar of “Clifton Grange Hotel” is fantastically clear and the hiss that seemed to inflict previous versions of “Saga Of The Ageing Orphan” is largely gone. The “New Day” EP sounds far better too over the 1991 CD issue. And I love the rocking guitar work put in by Midge Ure on the 1977 modernized remix of “Things Ain’t Working Out Down At The Farm”. Very nice indeed…

To sum up – lovers of lesser-known Seventies rock sound invest in this - the remaster is fabulous, the bonus tracks genuinely good and I picked it up for less than a fiver.

Recommended like the refreshing breeze on Dublin’s Dollymount Beach.

PS: see also my reviews for the 2010 versions of "Shades Of A Blue Orphanage”, the long-delayed 2CD Deluxe Edition of "Vagabonds Of The Western World” as well the 2CD Deluxe Editions of "Fighting", "Jailbreak", "Johnny The Fox", "Live And Dangerous" (2CD/1DVD) and the single disc versions of "Bad Reputation" and "Classic Thin Lizzy: The Universal Masters Collection"…

Don't Be Bad! - 60s Punk Recorded In Texas by Big Beat
Don't Be Bad! - 60s Punk Recorded In Texas by Big Beat
Offered by M&E Store-UK
Price: £23.43

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4.0 out of 5 stars "...Lost In A Crowd..." - Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas by VARIOUS (2015 Ace/Big Beat Records CD Remasters), 7 Feb. 2016
“...Raunchy Gulf Coast garage from the vaults of Huey Purvis Meaux’s Crazy Cajun empire – 26 tracks sourced from the original master tapes featuring 10 Previously Unreleased...” it says on the rear inlay for “Don’t Be Bad!” and who am I to disagree.

Covering young acts recorded by Pasadena’s notoriously eccentric Entrepreneur and local-band Producer Huey Meaux between 1964 and 1967 (at either Pasadena Sounds or Gold Star Studios) – what you get here is angry young American Men growling 26 times about girls they love but who lie and cheat on them all the time (apparently its always their fault too). The music is very Sir Douglas Quintet – “She’s About A Mover” territory. What I wasn’t expecting though is the quality – track-after-track of stormingly great Sixties Garage that lovers of guitar thrashers and bashers will have to own. It’s not all unmitigated genius for sure – but the good stiff far outweighs the ordinary. Here are the Topless Guitar details...

UK released 27 April 2015 (May 2015 in the USA) – “Don’t Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded In Texas” is a 26-track CD compilation on Ace/Big Beat Records CDWIKD 327 (Barcode 029667432726) and rocks out as follows (63:32 minutes):

1. Top-Less Girl – BARRY & LIFE (1967 USA 7” single on Pic 1 142, A)
2. Don’t Be Bad – THE DRIVING WHEELS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
3. The Fall Of The Queen – DESTINY’S CHILDREN (1966 USA 7” single on Ventural V-730, A)
4. Girl Said No – WHAT’S LEFT (1966 USA 7” single on Capri 520, A)
5. Cuttin’ Out – THE PIRATES (1965 USA 7’ single on Back Stage 5001, A)
6. Her Loving Way – GAYLANN LADD (1965 USA 7” single on MGM 13435, A)
7. I Don’t Need Help – THE SANDS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
8. Again – THE PEOPLE (1965 USA 7” single on Ventural V-724, A)
9. Lively One – THE PASSIONS (1965 USA 7” single on Pic 1 117, A)
10. Better Come Get Her – THE TRIUMPHS (1966 USA 7” single on Pacemaker PM-238, A)
11. It’s You – THE ACTIONEERS (1965 USA 7” single (1965 USA 7” single on Shane 57, A)
12. Lost In A Crowd – THE DODADS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
13. To No Place Of Its Own – THE PHINX (2015, Previously Unreleased)
14. Farmer John – THE ARGYLES (1966 USA 7” single on Pic 1 136, A)
15. Baby, I Need You – THE ECCENTRICS (1966 USA 7” single on Shane 60, A)
16. She Comes Running – THE DRIVING WHEELS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
17. Gotta Tell Her – THE BLUE DIAMONDS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
18. Dirty Dirty Game – GAYLAN LADD & THE EAST SIDE TRANSFER (2015, Previously Unreleased)
19. Open Your Eyes – THE SANDS (1966 USA 7” single on Capri 522, A)
20. Don’t Tell Me – THE CHANCELLORS (1965 USA 7” single Caddo 102, A)
21. Honey Hush – THE LOAFERS (1964 USA 7” single on Tear Drop 3028, A)
22. Mona/Who Do You Love – THE PIRATES (2015, Previously Unreleased)
23. Don’t Go In My Room Girl – BOB & GAYLAN [Bob Sharp and Gaylan Ladd] (2015, Previously Unreleased)

24. Everything’s Right – THE PHINX (2015, Previously Unreleased)
25. Hour Glass – BURNER AMBURN (2015, Previously Unreleased)
26. Bring me – THE DODADS (2015, Previously Unreleased)
[Notes: All Tracks are MONO - Tracks 2, 7, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25 and 26 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED]

The 16-page booklet has typically indepth and fact-filled info from noted fan and music writer ALEC PALAO (of El Cerrito, California) that includes recollections and memorabilia from those who were there. There are label repros of rare US 45s on Ventural, Back Stage, Tear Drop, Pic 1, Capri and Caddo – as well as publicity photos for The Triumphs (rear cover) and The Chancellors, Scotch Tape boxes, a press release for Bob & Gaylon and even a handwritten letter from The Driving Wheels to Huey Meaux. Wonderfully illuminating as always with Ace. NICK ROBBINS does his best with grungy Sixties recordings and frankly most pack a wallop you wouldn’t expect. The audio does dip in and out as each recording varies from very good to great – but overall stuff like the superb “Cuttin’ Out” from The Pirates sounds amazing.

“Top-Less Girl” starts out with some dude telling us “ ugly stick for’s prevention of cruelty to wood week...” as he waxes lyrical about a girl with not a lot of clothing on her upper parts to a backdrop of suitably grungy guitars and Doors-like keyboards. What a winner! But that’s as nothing to the compilation’s first discovery of worth – the title track by The Driving Wheels recorded in October 1966 and stuck in a vault all these decades. It’s a fantastic driving shaking fuzzed-up guitar thrasher with guitarist Tommy Bolton giving his tremolo-arm some torture – a proper Punk/Garage gem. Speaking of angst-guitar playing – “The Fall Of The Queen” features a properly great solo from Tom Maxton of Destiny’s Children (he’d formerly been with Pasadena’s Lord Wellington Five) while you wonder why the ludicrously catchy “Cuttin’ Out” by The Pirates wasn’t huge (very Them in its own way).

We get some Dylan “Blonde On Blonde” harmonica wailing on the warbling “Lost In A Crowd” while we go Association almost Mamas and Papas for the pleasingly melodic “To No Place Of Its Own” (both excellent unreleased tracks). “Farmer John” continues in Troggs fashion for “Farmer John” where The Argyles are in love with the daughter with Champaign eyes. British youngster Bob Sharp (then 21) teamed up with Waco’s Gaylan Ladd (then 18- both with Waco’s local band The Dawgs) for “Don’t Go In My Room Girl” – a good stab at mid Sixties pop commerciality. Not all of the unreleased stuff is super-brill and you can hear why they were left in the can. But it fascinating after all these years to discover that there is stuff still left to discover...

Superlative release from Ace’s label imprint Big Beat Records and recommended with a big T for Texas...

Tir Na Nog by TIR NA NOG (2001-11-21)
Tir Na Nog by TIR NA NOG (2001-11-21)
Offered by FHL Store
Price: £24.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...The Land Is Misty...My Eyes Are Too…" - Tir na nOg” by TIR NA NOG (2012 Esoteric Expanded CD Remaster), 7 Feb. 2016
Being a Dubliner I instantly knew what "Tir na n'Og" referred to – translated, it's Gaelic for "Land Of The Young" (locally pronounced Tier Nah Nogue). We had the stories rammed down our willing throats in History class in school. It comes from the ancient Irish tales of warrior king Ossian (or Oisin in Gaelic).

I've had this Prog-Folk duo's debut album on vinyl for decades (as well as the other two they did for Chrysalis - "A Tear And A Smile" from 1972 and "Strong In The Sun" in 1973) and loved them all to bits. In truth though - some of the hippy-dippy fay lyrics ("Aberdeen Angus") might make even the strongest constitution cringe 40 years on. So why bother? Because in-between all that mythology are strangely beautiful melodies and tunes wrapped up in strings and acoustic guitars that are fabulous - as sophisticated as Roy Harper on Harvest and just as cleverly constructed. In fact in places they sound like Tyrannosaurus Rex and what they might have become if Bolan hadn't gone completely Rock - or even the acoustic side of early Seventies Jethro Tull with a little Nick Drake string arrangements thrown in for colour. Guitarists and singers Sonny Condell and Leo O'Kelly made a lovely racket. Here are the mushroom and fairy details...

UK released November 2012 - Esoteric Records ECLEC2357 (Barcode 5013929435742) runs to 51:54 minutes and breaks down as follows.

1. Time Is Like A Promise
2. Mariner Blues
3. Daisy Lady
4. Tir Na Nog
5. Aberdeen Angus
6. Looking Up
7. Boat Song
8. Our Love Will Not Decay
9. Hey Friend
10. Dance Of Years
11. Live A Day
12. Piccadilly
13. Dante
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Tir na n'Og" UK released May 1971 on Chrysalis/Island ILPS 9153. Tracks 14 and 15 are bonus tracks - "I'm Happy To Be (On This Mountain) and "Let My Love Grow" - a UK 7" single on Chrysalis/Island WIP 6090 issued in 1970 (both non-album tracks at the time). The 16-page booklet features liner notes by noted writer TREVOR BOYD and reproduces the lovely gatefold sleeve of the original LP, pictures that rare 7" picture sleeve (out of Europe) - features music mag reviews and even sheet music.

A word about the sound - the remaster handled by MARK POWELL and PASCHAL BYRNE is truly gorgeous - clear instruments, warmth on every track with the top quality original production values of Bill Leader now fully on display. It really is a fantastic job done. I've done tags on both of these guys before (pictorial lists of their work).

SONNY CONDELL plays Guitar, Mandolin, Moroccan Pottery, Drums, Tabla, Jews Harp and sings while LEO O'KELLY plays Guitar, Electric Bass, Dulcimer, Tin Whistle and alternates lead vocals with Condell. All songs excepting "Hey Friend" (by Dolan) are original compositions.

It opens with the mid Sixties Simon & Garfunkel folk of "Time Is Like A Promise" (features ANNIE CROZIER on Psaltry) and progresses very nicely into "Mariner Blues" which is where Condell's quirky chord changes first come into focus. The title track even has UK Folk hero BARRY DRANSFIELD on Fiddle. "Looking Up" is superb because it leaves much of the mythology behind and becomes sophisticated Acoustic Rock. But Side 2 opens with probably the most haunting song on the album - O'Kelly's "The Boat Song". It sounds beautiful with its Nick Drake string arrangements (done by Nick Harrison who later did work on The Rolling Stones "Angie") and stories about leaving (lyrics from it title this review). Harrison's work also turns up on the pretty "Piccadilly". The album finisher is another wonderfully off-the-cuff Condell melody "Dante". But you can see why the A of the single failed (nice to finally see it on CD). But its B-side is a gem - a lovely air by Condell called "Let My Love Grow".

They morphed in the late Seventies in the affectionately remembered SCULLION who made 5 albums in Ireland (none are on CD to my knowledge) including the fab "Balance And Control" in 1980 produced by the mighty JOHN MARTYN. Condell even made a CD album in 2013.

TIR NA NOG would definitely be an acquired taste for some. But for me there was always something magical in those hooks and songs - and now their albums have the properly beautiful sounding remasters their catalogue has always deserved.

Seed Of Memory by Terry Reid (2013) Audio CD
Seed Of Memory by Terry Reid (2013) Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Everyone Will Be Treated Right..." - Seed Of Memory by TERRY REID (2004 and 2013 Beat Goes On CD Remaster), 7 Feb. 2016
Originally released on CD in May 2004 - this September 2013 UK reissue on Beat Goes On BGOCD 619 (Barcode 5017261206190) gives me a damn good excuse to review this cool and overlooked nugget of an album by one of England’s best Rock singers – TERRY REID.

1. Faith To Arise
2. Seed Of Memory
3. Brave Awakening
4. To Be Treated Rite
5. Ooh Baby *(Make Me Feel So Young)
6. The Way You Walk
7. The Frame
8. Fooling You

The vinyl LP was originally released June 1976 in the UK on ABC Records ABCL 5162 (ABCD-935 in the USA) and was his 4th label outing. His 1968 US debut LP on Epic "Bang Bang You're Terry Reid" and the UK follow up on Columbia "Terry Reid" from 1969 marked his more rocking side - while the mellow and slinky "River" from 1973 on Atlantic is more akin to what you get here.

Living in the USA at the time - his buddy GRAHAM NASH produced and brought on board an array of West Coast top players for "Seed Of Memory". Names like DAVID LINDLEY, AL PERKINS and TIM WEISBERG give the proceedings a very Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young feel with a little Boz Scaggs "Silk Degrees" and Neil Young's "On The Beach" thrown in for good measure (if that makes sense).

Reid famously turned down the lead vocalist spot in both Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple - and why they wanted him is in evidence here - his raspy pipes in full-on Eddie Hinton/Frankie Miller mode. All tracks are self-penned and it's mellow one moment, sexy the next and so on. The languid acoustic strumming of "Brave Awakening" feels like a mid-Seventies CSYN or Graham Nash song while "The Way You Walk" is the lone rocker - feeling like Neil Young let loose in the studio (great stuff). And his ability to pen a moving and plaintive ballad goes all the way back to his first US 45 "Mayday" (off "Terry Reid") on Epic 10498 which is fabulous stuff - that skill reappears on one of the album's undoubted highlights "To Be Treated Rite". Silly spelling of 'right' notwithstanding - it feels huge even now - acoustics and strings swirling around with a lonesome Bob Dylan harmonica refrain too (lyrics from it title this review).

ABC tried a 7" single by issuing the wonderfully funky Rock/Soul/Reggae vibe of "Ooh Baby (Make Me Feel So Young)" backed with "Brave Awakening" on the B in August 1976 on ABC 4137 - but it tanked despite being such a good track and as commercial as anything around at the time. "The Frame" is slinky Steely Dan/Boz Scaggs territory with lovely brass fills. At first the 7:21 minutes of the album finisher "Fooling You" feels overly long and slightly schmoozy but it works it ways into you - especially the gorgeous harmony vocals with Nash and James Brown's main man Fred Wesley floating in on some lovely horn. So why don't you know about this record? ABC ran into financial difficulties soon after the album was released and "Seed" never received the due plug it deserved (the terrible cover artwork didn't help either). And its been kind of underground ever since..

It doesn't say who remastered this Beat Goes On CD (43:15 minutes) - but the sound is really great - so well done - full of power and never compressed. It was superbly produced in 1976 anyway - but the remaster has brought that out big time.

Reid made another album for Capitol in 1979 called "Rogue Waves" (also re-issued in 2004 by BGO) and then a WEA album in 1991 called "The Driver" (which features a storming cover of the old Sixties fave "Gimme Some Loving"). Since then its been occasional live appearances to adoring audiences.

A cracking good album that you will return to again and again and make you want to track down everything he's ever done. This is a good place to start that journey...

Cold Fact by Light In The Attic (2008-08-19)
Cold Fact by Light In The Attic (2008-08-19)
Offered by M&E Store-UK
Price: £23.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "…Searching For Sugar Man…" – Cold Fact by RODRIGUEZ (2008 Light In The Attic CD Remaster), 7 Feb. 2016
Sometimes in a lifetime of scouring through racks for musical thrills - you stumble on something just a little bit special that it seems no one has noticed (including myself). Back in the Nineties when I was upstairs in the grotty and cramped Cheapo Cheapo Records in London's Rupert Street on one of my twice-weekly forages - Vincent who worked that floor would stand behind his tiny counter space and smile because he knew I always spent money and would take chances.

So there I am - flicking through manky reused plastics - once again raiding the soundtrack section to add to my 40 or so John Barry vinyl albums. And if the mood took me (and it always did) - I'd then move over and mosey through the nearby Easy Listening Section where Phil Cording (the cantankerous old geezer who owned the place and worked downstairs) would lump all sorts - Labi Siffre, Nick Jameson (of Foghat) and Rodriguez. I'd see the sleeve of what Phil clearly thought was some Jose Feliciano lookalike and think naught of it. "Cold Fact" would in fact sit there for months on end at £2.50 - and no one but no one would pay any attention to it all (even the Soul Boys who would be scouring the basement area for Kent compilations on Ace Records). But then years later came the American reissue label Light in The Attic Records quickly followed by the sensational 2012 movie "Searching For Sugar Man" (see separate review for the BLU RAY) and Rodriguez LPs stopped being sold for £2.50 'real fast'...

Back in the 2000's "Light In The Attic" was a relatively unknown reissue label in the mainstream - but their quality was on par with Bear Family and Ace Records - names that speak volumes to collectors all over the world. LITA had put out both Rodriguez albums onto CD - "Cold Fact" (1970) and "Coming From Reality" (1971) - in 2008 and 2009 - way in advance of the movie. While they raised eyebrows with their musical quality and sumptuous presentations (for a relative unknown) - the film busted the music open like a floodgate.

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez (pronounced Sees-Toe) was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1942 to recently emigrated Mexican parents. From the early to late Sixties - Motown had put the Motor City on the musical map - so emerging singer-songwriters cut their teeth in bars and cafes, soaked up the campus and street politics and hoped to get noticed. After an early 7" single in 1967 on Impact that folded without trace - enter Producer Dennis Coffey and Sussex Records (home of Bill Withers). Sixto's debut American album "Cold Fact" was released March 1970 on Sussex SXBS 7000 - followed the next year by "Coming From Reality" in November 1971 on Sussex SXBS 7012. But despite their musical quality - few noticed locally. Legend in fact has it that "Coming From Reality" sold less than 20 copies. But let's get to the album in question - "Cold Fact" - reissued August 2008 in the USA on Light In The Attic Records LITA 036 (Barcode 826853003629) it's laid out as follows:

1. Sugar Man [Side 1]
2. Only Good For Conversation
3. Crucify Your Mind
4. This Is Not A Song, It's An Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues
5. Hate Street Dialogue
6. Forget It
7. Inner City Blues [Side 2]
8. I Wonder
9. Like Janis
10. Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme)
11. Rich Folks Hoax
12. Jane S. Piddy

Opening with acoustic chords and clever Mike Theodore keyboard jabs - "Sugar Man" talks of "silver magic ships" bringing "colours to my dreams..." and as his voice fades out in a deathly echo - the drug references are no longer cool. It then goes all Psych Rock in the fuzzed-up "Only Good For Conversation" (doesn't really suit him) but things so stratospheric for me in the gorgeous "Crucify Your Mind" - a track I'm always playing. It has a brill melody - clever vibes after each set of lines and a fabulous brass backing that makes it feel like Jose Feliciano doing Soul.

"The Establishment Blues" struck a chord with kids in South Africa because of its lyrics - words like "I opened the window to listen to the news...but all I heard was the Establishment Blues..." The same applied to the superb Side 2 opener "Inner City Blues" where Rodriguez echoed their young yet restricted existence - "papa don't allow no new ideas around here..." The bass and guitars are harshly separated on "I Wonder" but it doesn't stop it from a being a great song - and when the organ kicks in as he sings, "I wonder does hatred ever end..." - it sounds like "Blonde On Blonde" Dylan - Sixto making social comments that are astute and matter. "Like Janis" feels like Dylan circa "New Morning" where he sings, "I know you're lonely..." Both it and "Gommorah" are very hissy - but the tunes feature slick guitar playing and "Gomorrah" some ill-advised kiddies singing. The album's other great song "Rich Folks Hoax" slams greed in all kinds of high places - "the priest is preaching from a shallow grave..." and some music industry type "don't tell me your recipes for my happiness..." It ends on the attacking "Jane P. Diddy" where he accuses someone of being "pimp and paint" - nice.

The "Coming From Reality" album that followed "Cold fact" (on Light In The Attic LITA 038) has "I Think Of You" - as lovely a melody as you've ever heard. The album finisher "Cause" has stunning lyrics - "Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas..." The CD reissue even has three tracks from his aborted 3rd album - "Can't Get Away" showing how well his songwriting had progressed. After them make a beeline to the wonderful "Searching For Sugar Man" BLU RAY to get the full story.

A forgotten classic - now no longer forgotten - because people cared enough to see it resurrected. Nice to know minor miracles like that can still happen...

PS: this review is dedicated to Phil Cording and his Staff - Vincent and Jack. Phil sadly passed away a few years back...RIP and thanks for all the records...

Expecting Company (Expanded Edition) by Sassafras [Music CD]
Expecting Company (Expanded Edition) by Sassafras [Music CD]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Beans And Things..." – Expecting Company by SASSAFRAS (2014 Esoteric Recordings Expanded CD – Paschal Byrne Remaster), 7 Feb. 2016
Now here's a sweetheart. I remember a pal of mine in Dublin who was Wishbone Ash mad at the time and was pigging out on "Argus" and "Pilgrimage" on an almost daily basis. It didn’t take him long to discover the twin lead guitars of Cardiff's SASSAFRAS who came on like a combo of Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash – a mix I’ll take any day of the week. I never thought I’d see their brill 1973 debut on CD and you have to say that Esoteric Recordings of the UK (part of Cherry Red) have done a bang up job with it. Great audio from original tapes, interviews with Lead Guitarist Dai Shell, repro of the original and distinctive Ian Murray gatefold artwork, period photos etc - very tasty. Here are the beans and things...

UK released April 2014 – "Expecting Company" by SASSAFRAS on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2442 (Barcode 5013929454248) is an Expanded CD (two bonus tracks) and breaks down as follows (46:28 minutes):

1. Electric Chair
2. Busted Country Blues
3. Beans And Things
4. Across The Seas Of Stars
5. School Days [Side 2]
6. The Way Of Me
7. The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg
8. (a) Expecting Company (b) Meanwhile Back In Merthyr
Tracks 1 to 8 are their debut album "Expecting Company" – released December 1973 in the UK on Polydor Super 2383 245.

9. Oh, Don't it Make You Want To Cry
10. Kansas City Wine
Tracks 9 and 10 are a non-album UK 7" single released July 1974 on Polydor 2058 497 in the UK

The 5-piece Welsh band SASSAFRAS featured Vocalist Terry Bennett (ex Exit), dual Lead Guitarists Ralph Evans and Dai Shell, Ricky John Holt on Bass and Rob "Congo" Jones from Drums (Jones was ex Dave Edmunds' Love Sculpture). PHIL SAMPSON produced the original album and PASCHAL BYRNE has done the transfers and CD remaster from original master tapes. Paschal Byrne has compiled, researched and co-ordinated the release in conjunction with the band – and his huge experience of CD remasters shows (has done hundreds of these reissues). This CD sounds fabulous – really great Audio – all the instruments 'there' in the mix – not too trebled up for the sake of it either.

It opens with a huge fan fave "Electric Chair" – a five-minute slice of wicked Classic 70ts Rock – riffs that hook and stay. You're also struck by the band’s sound (so Wishbone Ash) - Terry Bennett's great gravely vocals out front backed by interlocking guitars and a tight rhythm section – in fact the group sounding like they’ve been playing together since 1970 never mind early 1973. The trio of Ricky Holt, Ralph Evans and Dai Shell wrote all the songs except "Across The Seas Of Stars" which is by Ricky Holt and "The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg" which is by Steve Finn. After the boogie of "Electric Chair" – the countrified jaunt that is "Busted Country Blues" comes as bit of a pleasant shock. It’s witty lyrics, harmonising vocals and Elvin Bishop hog-rhythm is very Area Code 615 - an American Country-Rock band Shell liked (their "Stone Fox Chase" was used as the theme to "The Old Grey Whistle Test"). We go back to Rock and MAN territory with the excellent "Beans And Things" – a crowd pleaser to this day whenever they play live (the licks flicker like wild in one speaker while the harmony vocals come out of the other – and it has that clever keyboard break half way into its 5:35 minutes). We end Side 1 with a guitar ballad – six minutes of the pretty "Across The Seas Of Stars" which is almost like the Byrds in its harmony structure.

Side 2 opens with more twin-axes in "School Days" which (with an edit) would have made a great lead-off single. "The Way Of Me" again mines that Man and Wishbone Ash groove – Bennett's vocals really making the tune (the bass on this track is amazing too). We get a little Heavy Metal Kids Rock 'n' Roll on "The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg" – where (uncool title aside) the vocals and boogie-guitars chug along very nicely. The album finishes of a two-parter (a) Expecting Company and (b) Meanwhile Back In Merthyr – probably the best sounding tracks on this reissue. The complex vocal lines are impressive (almost Prog) - while Part 2 goes into a faster twin-guitar battle that is very Man. The single shows how they'd progressed – far removed from the sound of the album – why it's almost AWB in its brass Funk rhythm like Ned Doheny years later on Warner Brothers. The B-side is a straightforward 3-minutes of Barroom Boogie (boys in the band) that's actually impressive. Brilliant extras...

Their debut isn't an out-and-out masterpiece for sure – but it’s a hugely accomplished start. They would release two further LPs - "Wheelin' 'n' Dealin'" on Chrysalis CHR 176 in April 1975 followed by "Riding High" on Chrysalis CHR 1100 in July 1976 – both of which were put on CD by Gott Discs in 2005 but is hard to find now. In the meantime – check out the classic 70ts Rock of Sassafras – remembered with real affection for a reason...

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