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Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London)

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A Rainbow In Curved Air
A Rainbow In Curved Air
Price: £12.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Back Street Luv..." – A Rainbow In Curved Air by TERRY RILEY (2012 Esoteric Recordings CD – Ben Wiseman Remaster), 23 April 2015
This review is from: A Rainbow In Curved Air (Audio CD)
Name-checked by serious luminaries like Pete Townshend of The Who and Mike Oldfield as influences on both "Who's Next" and "Tubular Bells" – and with the British Prog Rock Band pinching CURVED AIR as their name – Californian Terry Riley’s 1969 LP on Columbia Masterworks "A Rainbow In Curved Air" has had extraordinary influence across the decades. Everyone from Tangerine Dream, Amon Duul, Can, Neu and Soft Machine - right on through to Steve Reich, Orbital and Boards Of Canada cite the man’s repetitive Electronic noodlings as seminal in the development of their sound. In fact you could say that 'all' Minimal, Ambient and Electronica music owes a debt and a nod to Terry Riley’s groundbreaking LPs. And this beautifully remastered CD (BEN WISEMAN has handled the original master tapes) digs out all those nuances and layers and keyboard flourishes as never before. Here are the Switched On Bach details...

UK released April 2012 – "A Rainbow In Curved Air" by TERRY RILEY on Esoteric Recordings ECLEC 2306 (Barcode 5013929430648) is a straightforward CD remaster (40:27 minutes) of his 2nd LP first issued late 1969 in the USA on Columbia Masterworks MS 7315 and belatedly released 1971 in the UK on CBS Records S 64564. Side 1 is called "A Rainbow In Curved Air" and is one continuous piece of Electronic Music at 18:47 minutes - while Side 2 is "Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band" running to 21:41 minutes. Produced by DAVID BEHRMAN – the album was originally Engineered by GLEN KOLOTKIN and ROY SEGAL (his 1st album for Columbia Masterworks is "in C" from 1968 on MS 7178 – which Esoteric Recordings have also reissued on remastered CD - ECLEC 2305 in 2012).

Instead of a 16-page booklet – the inlay folds out into a large 16-square display that gives the smiling face artwork loads of room to shine both back and front (the inlay also includes a photo of the rare and different French LP cover art). There is a superb appraisal of the album, its music and its inventor by noted music writer SID SMITH whose enthusiasm for his hero is palatable. It reproduces the liner notes to the UK LP and even has the trade advert from Columbia gallantly trying to explain "What does terry Riley’s music sound like?" and managing to offer up waffle like "...the beginning...inside of you..." But better is the gorgeous remaster. 24-Bit Remastered by BEN WISEMAN at Audio Archiving in London – this CD sounds sensational – unwrapping layers in the density and making it feel like you’re hearing more (and all of it sounding better). A superb job done...

As you play Side 1 – you can so hear where Townshend got the 1971 opening ARP Synthesizer piece to "Baba O'Riley". In fact "A Rainbow In Curved Air" sounds like that "Baba O'Riley" synth pattern taken to a near nineteen-minute opus – all layers and doodles and more layers – looping – rhythmic – dance music minimal – hypnotic and kind of beautiful like the best Kraut Rock is. Riley plays Electric Organ, Electric Harpsichord, Rocksichord Keyboards, Goblet Drums and Tambourine.

Because Side 2 is so busy on the ear – "Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band" sounds like there’s a hundred different instruments bombarding your speakers in a sort of Indian meets Classical meets Tangerine Dream – but in fact there’s only two – Organ and Soprano Saxophone. You also notice the way its compiled - as you reach seven minutes into the piece you can so hear where Mike Oldfield got the magnum opus sidelong construction ideas for "Tubular Bells", "Hergest Ridge" and "Ommadawn" between 1973 and 1975. And as the Organ and Soprano Saxophones drone at first and then overlap in a dance – the effect is magical really – the kind of music that will have customers running to the counters of records shops asking with a wide-eyed glint – "whose this!"

It’s experimental for sure and mad in places – but 45 years after the event – "A Rainbow In Curved Air" stills sounds extraordinarily contemporary and of the now (literally years ahead of his time). And the affection and dare we say it awe that Terry Riley is held in has been growing in the Dance and Sampling communities for decades now (a sort of "Back Street Luv").

At a spritely 79 years of age - Riley has a body of Electronic Work that now reaches into the 11’s. Well done to Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings for doing such a stellar job...and keep on twiddling those knobs (in an ambient kind of way you understand)...

Cut a Long Story Short...
Cut a Long Story Short...
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £29.18

4.0 out of 5 stars "...His Own Heart’s Desire..." – Cut A Long Story Short... by SEAN DONNELLY (2012 Spring Records CD), 23 April 2015
SEAN DONNELLY hails out of Omagh in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland (now resident in Newcastle in Co. Down) – and in his sprightly 60’s – he’s a man steeped in a lifetime of Traditional Irish song and storytelling. His voice is soft and even frail at times – but that Six Counties accent gives his singing the warmth and melancholy of say Christy Moore or Andy Irvine (who have sung his praises over the years).

Donnelly's had a steady stream of CD releases (see list below) and "Cut A Long Story Short..." is his sixth album on the self-published Spring Records Label SPRING 2012 (40:46 minutes). Donnelly plays Acoustic Guitar, Mandola, Harmonica and Mandolin - and is accompanied by Brendan Monaghan on Whistles, Uilleann Pipes, Bones and Bodhran with James Patience on Concertina. Every song is predominately quiet – an Irish ballad feel.

"Evangeline" is a Robbie MacNeill song about a lady in the audience at a slow gig - and you’re immediately hit with two things – the gentle acoustic strum and Donnelly’s distinctive accented vocals filled with years of Traditional Music and a wee sparkle in the eye. It’s followed by one of two originals "Cut A Long Story Short" and "Last Year’s Hiring Fair" and I’m amazed at how good both are – filled with wit and humanity - "...while there’s many’s the man who starts with a gain his own heart’s win the fair maiden who has his head turned...while his ardour burns like fire..."

Charles Kickham gave us the ache of "She Lived Beside The Anner" – a ballad about longing for a lass on a Sunday (a lovely air) - while the Traditionals arranged by Donnelly - "Sweet Jane In Tyrone", "The Lamb On The Green Hills" and "Carrickfergus" fill out the rest of the disc (Monaghan plays gorgeous Low Whistle on "The Lambs On The Green Hills").

"Waiting In Your Heart" is a Mike Silver love song offering comfort to his lady " the darkness of your night..." while "Aura Lea" (aka "Aura Lee") is a William Fosdick/George Poulton song about the American Civil War that dates back to 1861 and is filled with hurt and longing and the weariness of senseless battle.

Beautifully recorded and easy on the troubled mind - there’s a gentleness and calm to this man’s delivery as each song slides by – warm and friendly like a fire in a pub on a winter’s night. Lovely stuff...

His catalogue of CDS available online at Sean Donnelly Folk Music are:
1. Erins Lovely Home (1996)
2. Like A Morning Star Fading (2005)
3. On Breezes Fresh And Fair (2006)
4. Beyond The Open Door (2008)
5. The Winding Banks Of Erne (2009)
6. Cut A Long Story Short... (2012)
7. And Our Time Together (2014)

You Only Live Twice
You Only Live Twice
Price: £6.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Improper Advances..." - You Only Live Twice O.S.T. by JOHN BARRY (2003 EMI/Capitol CD - Dough Schwartz Remasters), 22 April 2015
This review is from: You Only Live Twice (Audio CD)
When the entire James Bond musical catalogue turned up on remastered CD in 2003 - many fans got excited under their immaculately groomed tuxedos - quietly pawing their wallets in Soundtrack glee. I was one of those nerds and was/still am - giddily proud of it. I immediately ran out and purchased 1964's "Goldfinger" and 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" on 2003 CDs - and this - for me the big daddy of them all - 1967's "You Only Live Twice" - so brilliantly scored by the mighty JOHN BARRY.

Dugout volcanic lairs, cars being dropped into the ocean from helicopter magnets, capsules being gobbled up in space by a man with a dodgy eye and a purring cat, the self-assembly gyrocopter Little Nellie in four suitcases and Japanese babes Kung-Fu-ing their way through a dozen ugly bad guys before their lentil breakfast. What's not to love? "You Only Live Twice" began the template for Bond that we've known and loved for more than 40 years and its music hasn't aged - only grown in stature.

Not only that - but there's also a huge haul of primo previously unreleased material made available for the first time here (most of it better than what was released). And like the other titles in this massive catalogue reissue series - DOUG SCHWARTZ has remastered the original master tapes for "You Only Live Twice" with real skill. Everything about the stunning Audio Quality on this CD rocks. Here are the Bond Sab details...

UK released March 2003 (February 2003 in the USA) - "You Only Live Twice (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" on EMI Capitol 72435-41418-2-9 (Barcode 724354141829) breaks down as follows (72:45 minutes):

1. You Only Live Twice (Title Song) - Sung by Nancy Sinatra
2. Capsule In Space
3. Fight At Kobi Dock - Helga
4. Tanaka's World
5. A Drop In The Ocean
6. The Death Of Aki
7. Mountains And Sunsets [Side 2]
8. The Wedding
9. James Bond - Astronaut?
10. Countdown For Blofeld
11. Bond Averts World War Three
12. You Only Live Twice (End Title) - Vocal Sung by Nancy Sinatra
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "You Only Live Twice: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" - released July 1967 in the UK on United Artists ULP 1171 (Mono) and SULP 1171 (Stereo) and in the USA on United Artists UAL 4155 (mono) and UAS 5155 (Stereo). The Stereo mix is used throughout.

13. James Bond In Japan
14. Aki, Tiger and Osato
15. Little Nellie
16. Soviet Capsule
17. Spectre And Village
18. James Bond - Ninja
19. Twice Is The Only Way

The 10-page booklet has affectionate, witty and informative liner notes from JEFF BOND (no relation) with Page 5 being a double foldout sporting an array of colour stills from the movie (Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, the Toyota 2000GT, Connery in Little Nellie etc).

But the big news here is the SOUND - this CD sounds utterly glorious. It opens with the ominous creep of "Capsule In Space" where Barry builds the music to a swirling climax - strings, wind instruments, the kettle drums - it all comes at you with such power and majesty as to be positively off-putting. It's followed by the wicked "Fight At Kobe Docks - Helga" where Bond encounters baddies on the ground and rooftops of warehouses. It starts out warm but then the bass and keys kick in and that brass refrain as Connery punches his way out of trouble (unbelievable clarity). "The Death Of Aki" is merely the theme music played in a Japanese style and again there's incredible depth in both the music and the transfer. Then you're clobbered with true cinematic genius - Barry's instrumental "Mountains And Sunsets" which literally conjures up the magic and glamour of Bond in your living room. Pure 007 comes in with "Bond Averts World War III" where all the themes we know and love about James come together in one climatic piece. Utterly brilliant...

As if the Soundtrack itself isn't the Georgie Best - you're hit with a wad of Previously Unreleased material from the original film that's been in the can for 40 years too long. "James Bond And Japan" lasts a fulsome 10:41 minutes and brings together all the best incidental music the movie has in a sort of mini Bond fest - menace and intrigue - warmth and beauty - danger looming - back to triumph - its just brilliant. But thrill of thrills is the brilliant 3:45 minutes of "Little Nellie" which will surely reduce most Bond devotees to a quivering wreck of nostalgia. As those plucked strings leads to big brass - it slinks along until you can see our Gyrocopter hurtling through the air being attacked - then you're hit with the "007" theme which is too brill for mere words - wow is the only response...

BLOFELD: "We are now impregnable!
Goodbye Mister Bond!"

Well he wasn't impregnable and James didn't go bye-byes. Open your heart to your inner 007 and get this Ernst Stavro of a CD into your Little Nellie. Improper advances indeed...

Diamonds Are Forever
Diamonds Are Forever
Price: £7.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Bitten By The Bug..." - Diamonds Are Forever O.S.T. by JOHN BARRY (2003 EMI/Capitol CD - Dough Schwartz Remasters), 21 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Diamonds Are Forever (Audio CD)
When the entire Bond catalogue turned up on remastered CD in 2003 - many JOHN BARRY fans got fidgety - quietly pawing their wallets in Soundtrack glee (from 1962's "Dr. No" through to "Diamonds Are Forever" in 1972 and beyond). And having mitched from school six times in 1971 to see "Diamonds Are Forever" at Dublin's Savoy Cinema on O'Connell Street (which I thought was the coolest thing in the world) - this little beauty was always going to be my first port of call when it reappeared in decent remastered form. And what a winner it is...

Not only is there a huge haul of previously unreleased material made available for the first time here (most of it better than what was released) - it's tastefully presented and has been remastered with pure love from the original master tapes by top Engineer DOUG SCHWARTZ (assisted and remixed by Michael McDonald) to truly spectacular effect - much like the films would be with the Lowry Process a few years later (frame-by-frame restoration). Here is the Dastardly Blofeld and comely Tiffany Case details...

UK and USA released March 2003 - "Diamonds Are Forever (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" on EMI Capitol 72435-41420-2-4 (Barcode 724354142024) breaks down as follows (75:48 minutes):

1. Diamonds Are Forever (Main Title) - Sung by Shirley Bassey
2. Bond Meets Bambi And Thumper
3. Moon Buggy Ride
4. Circus, Circus
5. Death At The Whyte House
6. Diamonds Are Forever (Source Instrumental)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (Bond and Tiffany)
8. Bond Smells A Rat
9. Tiffany Case
10. 007 And Counting
11. Q's Trick
12. To Hell With Blofeld
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album "Diamonds Are Forever: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" - released December 1971 in the UK on United Artists UAS 29216 and in the USA on United Artists UAS 5220.

13. Gunbarrel And Manhunt
14. Mr. Wint And Mr. Kidd/Bond To Holland
15. Peter Franks
16. Airport Source/On The Road
17. Slumber, Inc
18. The Whyte House
19. Plenty, Then Tiffany
20. Following The Diamonds
21. Additional And Alternate Cues

The 10-page booklet has witty and informative liner notes from JEFF BOND (no relation) with Page 5 being a double foldout sporting an array of colour stills from the movie - Sean Connery as James Bond swinging from pulleys outside the penthouse apartment of Willard Whyte's Vegas skyscaper, Jill St. John as Tiffany Case in a bath washing 007's hairy chest (I'm glad someone is), Charles Grey as Blofeld posing with a sword and a menacing look, Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole at the crap tables and a brief glimpse of the wonderfully camp killer couple Putter Smith and Bruce Glover (as Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd) trying to dispense with our James via a Bomba Supreme and some flaming kebab skewers (nice). Alas there are no photos of Lola Larson and Trina Parks as the acrobatic Bambi and Thumper kicking the crap out of 007 like he deserved it. The last page has reissue credits and some discography info (United Artists released the theme song as a 7" single in the UK and USA where it charted at 38 and 57 respectively).

But the big news here is the SOUND - this CD sounds utterly glorious. Recorded in October 1971 by Barry at CTS Studios in London (Engineered by John Richards) - it was afforded all the luxury of modern recording facilities - and man does it show. The moment the brass of "Diamonds Are Forever" hits you followed by Bassey's superb vocal - you know you're in for a thrill. The brilliantly scored "Moon Buggy Ride" is pure Bond - all blasting brass and strings building until it goes into that strings only centrepiece - the audio is truly fabulous. The slinky lounge piano of "Source Material" is gorgeous too but the absolute bees knees is surely "007 And Counting" where Bond is wrestling to stop the laser satellite from space starting World War III - it's just magisterial - beautifully recorded and transferred.

As if the Soundtrack itself isn't the Georgie Best - you're hit with a wad of Previously Unreleased material from the original film that's been in the can for 40 years too long. "Gunbarrel And Manhunt" is like a mini Bond fest all rolled up into one - first you get the Sixties 007 theme we know and love - then blasting brass - then smooching strings - then menace and intrigue - back to triumph - its just brilliant. But thrill of thrills is the brilliant 4 minutes of "Mr. Wint And Mr. Kidd/Bond To Holland" where the "bitten by the bug" duo of scorpion killers are gingerly dispensing with anyone who gave them diamonds. It's masterful John Barry - slinking along - adding so much to the film (you see the thing in your mind's eye).

"If God had wanted man to fly Mister Wint...
He would have given him wings Mister Kidd!"

Well now the dapper chap has been given wings. Open your heart to your inner 007 and get this fabulous CD in your Bath-O-Sub. 'La Bomba Supreme' indeed...

Can't Wait All Night/Old Flame/Emotion
Can't Wait All Night/Old Flame/Emotion
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Hurt..." - Can't Wait All Night/Old Flame/Emotion by JUICE NEWTON (2015 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters), 20 April 2015
This is the 3rd 2CD set from England's Beat Goes On covering New Jersey's Judy Kay Cohen (Juice Newton) and her formidable Country-Rock career Stateside (see list below). Volume 3 gives us her ninth, tenth and eleventh albums while signed to RCA Victor in the Eighties (1984, 1985 and 1987) - and is a beautifully presented 2CD set with properly remastered audio. Here are the big boots, big hair and big tunes...

UK released April 2015 (May 2015 in the USA) - "Can't Wait All Night/Old Flame/Emotion" by JUICE NEWTON is on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1182 (Barcode 5017261211828) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (36:40 minutes):
1. A Little Love
2. (You Don't Hear) The One That Gets You
3. Can't Wait All Night
4. Restless Heart
5. Easy Way Out
6. Let's Dance [Side 2]
7. He's Gone
8. You Don't Know Me
9. Eye Of The Hurricane
10. Waiting For The Sun
Tracks 1 to 10 are her ninth studio album "Can't Wait All Night" - released July 1984 in the USA on RCA Victor AFL1-4995

Disc 2 (72:29 minutes):
1. Cheap Love
2. You Make Me Want To Make You Mine
3. Hurt
4. Old Flame
5. Stuck In The Middle With You
6. Feel A Whole Lot Better [Side 2]
7. What Can I Do With My Heart
8. With You
9. One Touch
10. Let Your Woman Take Care Of You
11. Both To Each Other (Friends And Lovers)
Tracks 1 to 10 are her tenth studio album "Old Flame" - released October 1985 in the USA on RCA Victor AHL1-5493. Track 11 is a duet with EDDIE RABBITT and came as a bonus track with a special edition CD

12. First Time Caller
13. Tell Me True
14. Hurt
15. Walkin' Into Trouble
16. If I Didn't Love You
17. I Still Love You
18. Someone Believed
19. Old Bye And Bye
20. `Til You Cry
Tracks 12 to 20 are her 11th studio LP "Emotion" - released September 1987 in the USA on RCA Victor 8371-1-R (LP) and 6371-2-R (CD).

There's a classy card-warp on the outside and a chunky 20-page booklet that reproduces artwork, inner sleeve musician credits and has a properly detailed essay on her entire career by noted writer NEIL DANIELS. But the big news will be 2015 remasters by ANDREW THOMPSON which are superb - full of presence and those big productions.

"Can't Wait All Night" is typical of so many Eighties Country albums - an LP peopled with the occasional nuggets surrounded by some truly turgid and bland material. Awful comes twice in the shape of other peoples song- her terrible cover of Chris Montez's "Let's Dance" has to be heard to be believed - but just as naff is a song contribution from Canadian Rocker Bryan Adams (co-written with his Producer Jim Vallance). Adams provides the rawk title track "Can't Wait All Night". Its typically 80's Rocking Country - big riffs and no point - awful frankly. The ballads however more than stand up - Newton does a lovely cover of Eddie Arnold's Fifties classic "You Don't Know Me" and even better are the two standout heartbreak tunes - "(You Don't Hear) The One That Gets You" and "Waiting For The Sun" - both are superb. Two others tunes that impress have the songwriting talent and hand of Reed Nielsen at the helm - the man-done-left-me misery of "He's Gone" and the chipper rocker that actually works "Eye Of The Hurricane" (written with band member Otha Young). A solid album with thankfully more plus points than minus...

Her cover of the Stealers Wheel gem "Stuck In The Middle With You" is slick for sure if not a little dated - but far better is her spirited take on The Byrds "Feel A Whole Lot Better" where she makes the bitter parting feel like her own both musically and lyrically. However for me the best track is her lovely cover of the Timi Yuro gem "Hurt" which aches just as much as the original beloved by Northern Soul fans for decades now. Carol & Dean Parks gave her "With You" while Michael Anderson provided the guitar-chugging stepper "One Touch" but both feel slightly laboured by 80's synths and over-the-top Production.

Reed Nielsen once again comes up with the songwriting goods in the excellent "First Time Caller" on the underrated "Emotion" album from 1987 (considered a tab more Pop than Country although its both). Juice takes a tip from The Judds by bringing in Brent Maher and Paul Kennerley who provide the chipper stepper "Tell Me True" which works. Gary Burr co-wrote "Walkin' Into Trouble" with Reed Nielsen and her slow guitar-laden cover of Deborah Allen's "If I Didn't Love You" is excellent.

As with so many of these Eighties Country albums - it's a mixed bag of the great and the average. But for fans there's way too many ups to ignore - especially given that great new audio...

Beat Goes On has also released her 6th, 7th and 8th albums "Juice" (1981), "Quiet Lies" (1982) and "Dirty Looks" (1983) onto a 2CD set BGOCD 999 in 2009 - with her 3rd, 4th and 5th LPs "Come To Me" (1977), "Well Kept Secret" (1978) and "Take Heart" (1979) onto a 2CD set on BGOCD 1045 in 2012. All six albums were originally on Capitol Records in the USA.

Tightrope / The Blue Man / Arrows
Tightrope / The Blue Man / Arrows
Price: £10.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Candles..." - Tightrope/The Blue Man/Arrows by STEVE KHAN (2015 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters), 20 April 2015
Jazz-Fusion virtuoso Guitarist STEVE KHAN sees his first three Solo albums from the late Seventies reissued by Beats Goes On (BGO) of the UK in proper style. If you're a Jazz-Funk fan like me - there's a lot on here to get your knickers in a knot about (despite a shaky start). Here are the elastic expanded details...

UK released 20 April 2015 (delayed from March 2015) - "Tightrope/The Blue Man/Arrows" by STEVE KHAN on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1178 (Barcode 5017261211781) features 3LPs on 2CDs and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (37:57 minutes):
1. Some Punk Funk
2. Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)
3. Tightrope (For Folon)
4. The Big Ones [Side 2]
5. Star Chamber
6. Soft Summer Breeze
7. Where Shadows Meet
Tracks 1 to 7 are his Debut LP "Tightrope" - released January 1978 in the USA on Columbia/Tappan Zee Records JC 34857 and April 1978 in the UK on CBS Records 82230

Disc 2 (75:52 minutes):
1. Daily Bulls
2. The Blue Man
3. Some Down Time
4. The Little Ones [Side 2]
5. Daily Valley
6. An Eye Over Autumn - For Folon
Tracks 1 to 6 are his 2nd album "The Blue Man" - released 1978 in the USA on Columbia Records JC 35539 and in the UK on CBS Records S CBS 83146

7. City Suite - Part 1: City Monsters/Part II: Dream City
8. Candles
9. Daily Village [Side 2]
10. Some Arrows
11. Calling
Tracks 7 to 11 are his 3rd album "Arrows" - released 1979 in the USA on Columbia Records JC 36129 (No UK release)

The packed 24-page booklet repro's all artwork and track-by-track musician credits along with indepth liner notes from noted Musicologist CHARLES WARING (a regular contributor to Mojo). The outer card wrap that now accompanies all BGO CD releases gives the whole shebang a classy feel and there's 2015 remasters by ANDREW THOMPSON that let all that musical expertise shine through. Both CDs sound lovely.

Brought to Columbia Records by the Blood, Sweat & Tears Drummer Bobby Colomby and Keyboard Wizard Bob James (James Produces and provides the liner notes for his debut album) - "Tightrope" features four Steve Khan originals augmented by three covers - the Gamble & Huff O'Jays hit "Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)", Randy Brecker's "The Big Ones" and an old Eddie Heywood favourite called "Soft Summer Breeze". The debut album features a stellar cast - Mike Brecker on Tenor Saxophone, Bob James on Keyboards, Steve Gadd and Ralph McDonald on Drums and Percussion respectively - while session all-stars like David Sanborn plays the Alto Sax solo on "The Big Ones". Khan provides Lead Guitar of course with back up from class players like Jeff Mironov and David Spinozza. All songs are Jazz Fusion instrumentals firmly in the groove of Funky - stuff like "Soft Summer Breeze" feels like George Benson's "Love Ballad" from his superb 2LP set "Livin' Inside Your Love" minus the vocals with a few more Rock Fusion breaks thrown in for good measure. The worst you can say about this album is that despite all that world-class musicianship and technical flash - too many of the tunes fail to ignite into anything genuinely special. They're busy and beautifully produced and all - but only on stuff

For his 2nd effort "The Blue Man" Khan took over Production and provided five of the six tracks with "The Little Ones" being a Randy Brecker contribution. And what a difference! "The Blue Man" LP feels far more grown-up than its predecessor with the title track in particular impressing - a wonderful swirling fusion instrumental with Don Grolnick providing Fender Rhodes and ARP Pro solos to gorgeous effect while Khan finishes off the six-minute piece with some of his most fluid playing. Things take a slappy-bass Funk turn with "Some Down Time" where the band clearly goes after that 12" dancefloor market. With it's Brecker and Sanborn Trumpet and Saxophone breaks and slinky guitar flicks and driving groove - it feels like Steely Dan circa "Aja" going for the Funk for 5:28 minutes (its superb). David Sanborn provides the Alto Saxophone solo in "The Little Ones" which is again wickedly funky in ways the first album never got near (Khan playing a blinding Solo half way through both Becker and Fagen would have said yes to). And on it goes to the near mine-minute finisher "An Eye Over Autumn" which actually goes "Aja" in a big way allowing both Michael Brecker and Steve Gadd solo spots on the Tenor Sax and Drums (respectively) - a great way to end a great album.

Album Number 3 "Arrows" features liner notes from none other than Donald Fagen of some Seventies Group I worship (can't remember their steam-powered dildo name). It opens with the two-part twelve-minute "City Suite" which comes on like Todd Rundgren's Utopia just finding their Funky Nirvana on the bedside table beside their copy of the Kama Sutra. It funks and chunks and twists around guitars and Saxophones until about five and half minutes in - the tune goes into a Piano/Drums battle that is followed by a groovy guitar passage. We get laid back with the pretty "Candles" which sports cleverly echoed Lead Guitar and Saxophones. Despite being surprisingly hissy in the transfer - his playing is superb on it and probably Khan's best work across the three albums. Michael Brecker provides Soprano Saxophone on the slinky "Daily Village" where Don Grolnick's work on the ARP and Fender Rhodes gives the tune a West Coast funky polish. But my fave on the album is the beautifully crafted finisher "Calling" - a mid-tempo shuffler where Errol "Crusher" Bennett gives it some fabulous Percussion throughout (also features Sax Solo by David Sanborn).

It's not all genius for sure and I can't help feel that even with those nuggets on "Arrows" and the debut "Tightrope" - "The Blue Man" album is the cream of the crop. Fans will love the presentation and audio and should dive right in...
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Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: £12.44

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Mighty..." - Original Album Series by GROUNDHOGS (2015 Parlophone/Warners Music Group 5CD Mini CD Box Set Remasters), 18 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
When the "Original Album Series" first appeared in 2010 it was entirely WEA artists and albums. But with the EMI umbrella of labels now in the fold - we're suddenly getting fresh blood - a whole flurry of associated labels and artists in this massive and popular 5CD mini box set series. So far we've had Robin Trower, Edgar Broughton Band, Kiki Dee, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull - and in amongst them is of course England's very own grunge-before-there-was-grunge rockers - The Groundhogs (fronted by ace guitarist Tony McPhee).

This 2015 instalment in the "Original Album Series" misses out their uber-rare debut album "Scratching The Surface" from 1968 on Liberty and gives us the five studio efforts that followed (all now rare and expensive on original British vinyl). And at a tad above two quid a CD - this 5CD set is properly great value for money.

Each of these albums has received a quality CD remaster in the last two decades (many in 2003) - each fitted out with bonus tracks and comprehensive booklets. As it is with most "Original Album Classics" - the bonuses have been stripped away and each album placed in a dinky 5" card repro sleeve with just the front and rear artwork reproduced. But as fans will know Discs 2, 3, 4 and 5 listed below came with tremendous original artwork when first released on vinyl all those years ago (gatefolds, cartoon sleeves, die-cut holes etc) and that's completely lost here which is a damn shame really. But the good news is that there's been no compromise on the Audio front - they've simply used the PETER MEW Abbey Road Remasters (mostly from 2003) and each is ballsy, clear and full of presence. Here are the world saving details...

UK released February 2015 - "Original Album Series" by GROUNDHOGS is a 5CD Mini Box Set (with 5 x 5" Repro Card Sleeves) on Parlophone/Warners Music Group 0825646179732 (Barcode the same) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (33:55 minutes):
1. B.D.D.
2. Daze Of The Weak
3. Times
4. Mistreated
5. Express Man [Side 2]
6. Natchez Burning
7. Light Way The Day
Tracks 1 to 7 are their 2nd studio album "Blues Obituary" - released September 1969 in the UK on Liberty Records LBS 83253 and in the USA on Imperial LP 12452. The 1996 CD Remaster is used.

Disc 2 (41:14 minutes):
1. Strange Town
2. Darkness Is No Friend
3. Soldier
4. Thank Christ For The Bomb
5. Ship On The Ocean [Side 2]
6. Garden
7. Status People
8. Rich Man, Poor Man
9. Eccentric Man
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 3rd studio album "Thank Christ For The Bomb" - released June 1970 in the UK on Liberty Records LBS 83295 and in the USA on Liberty LST 7644. The 2003 CD Remaster is used.

Disc 3 (39:49 minutes):
1. Split - Part One
2. Split - Part Two
3. Split - Part Three
4. Split - Part Four
5. Cherry Red [Side 2]
6. A Year In The Life
7. Junkman
8. Groundhog
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 4th studio album "Split" - released March 1971 in the UK on Liberty Records LBG 83401 and in the USA on United Artists UAS 5513 (with different artwork). The 2003 CD Remaster is used.

Disc 4 (36:32 minutes):
1. Earth is Not Room Enough
2. Wages of Peace
3. Body In Mind
4. Music Is The Food Of Thought
5. Bog Roll Blues [Side 2]
6. Death Of The Sun
7. Amazing Grace [Traditional Song cover]
8. The Grey Maze
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 5th studio album "Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs!" - released March 1972 in the UK on United Artists UAG 29347 and in the USA on United Artists UAS 5570. The 2003 CD Remaster is used.

Disc 5 (39:21 minutes):
1. I Love Miss Ogyny
2. You Had A Lesson
3. The Ringmaster
4. 3744 James Road
5. Sad Is The Hunter [Side 2]
6. S'one Song
7. Earth Shanty
8. Mr. Hooker, Sir John
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 6th studio album "Hogwash" - released November 1972 in the UK on United Artists UAG 29419 and in the USA on United Artists UA-LA008-F. The 2013 CD Remaster is used.

Proceedings open with "B.D.D." (Blind, Deaf & Dumb) which clearly lays out the bands Rocking Blues credentials (all songs on the "Blues Obituary" album are by McPhee). But as well as (Reverend as he's known on the sleeve) McPhee's frantic axe playing - you also get his not-so-great monotone voice and the very basic production values he gave everything. This is down and dirty stuff as evidenced by the wicked Blues of "Daze Of The Weak" - a standout on the record. The Bass of Peter Cruickshank and Ken Pustelnik's Drums on "Time" and "Mistreated" are now clear in the remaster transfer and give the track a very Juicy Lucy swagger.

For most people 1970's "Thank Christ For The Bomb" and its illustrious 1971 follow
Up "Split" are probably their first introduction to the band's particular brand of Rock with a Blues and even Prog twist. "Shafts of moonlight light up the floor..." McPhee tells on "Darkness Is No Friend". In April 1970 Liberty Records UK tried a 45 on LBF 15346 by coupling the unlikely duo of "Eccentric Man" and the slow plod of "Status People" on the B-side - but it raised little interest. There are times when "Ship On The Ocean" sounds like doom-laden Black Sabbath on a jangly guitar tip. The four-parts of "Split" are probably fan's fave while the hard-rocking "Cherry Red" takes no prisoners chugging along in its rough 'n' ready path. The near six-minute "Groundhog" has McPhee going solo - sat on a chair with his amped up slide guitar - stomping his foot like John Lee Hooker meets ZZ Top meets Rory Gallagher as he whizzes up and down those strings like he owned the Blues. What a winner and it ends the album on a real high (the remaster is fabulous).

1972 was a busy time for The Hogs - two albums in one year. For March's "Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs!" - McPhee seemed to have discovered Funk or at least his guitar-strumming version of it. The opening three tracks are all almost Jonathan Richmond in their frantic jagged pace and I love them. There's also a warmth and mellowness to his Side 1 finisher "Music Is The Food Of Thought" where he increasingly sounds like a concerned Michael Chapman. The Audio Remaster on this album is superb by the way - cymbals, flute and bass - all the backing-instruments so clear. The crudely recorded and doom-treated guitars return with Side Two's "Bog Roll Blues" which again swings in a strange Groundhogs kind of way. The fantastically played Acoustic Guitars on "Death Of The Sun" are superb but again the song is undone by his deadpan vocals treated with some echo in the mix. There's a Soulful church organ and guitar version of the Traditional "Amazing Grace" which is ruined by fuzzed excess and the album finishes on the ten-minute Ten Years After boogie of "The Grey Maze" sounding like a throwback to the best stuff on "Split".

By the time "Hogwash" arrived in late 1972 - the public wasn't really listening and as a result it's hard to find an original vinyl copy - so its CD presence here is welcome. Stuff like "I Love Miss Ogyny" just don't have a tune - better is the jagged Prog rhythms of "You Had A Lesson". But again his vocals grate. The live-in-the-studio "3744 James Road" is preceded by a "1, 2, 3 4!" count in and is probably the best track on the album where the band sound like Alvin Lee's Ten Years After in 1972 with McPhee letting rip on some truly impressive and wild guitar playing. "Hogwash" was another McPhee Self-Production - but this time the audio quality was on the up and you can really hear it in the power of the remaster where both Cruickshank's Bass and the Drums of Clive Brooks leap out of the speakers at you.

It's not all genius by any means and with that deadpan set of pipes of his - I've always felt that The Groundhogs were an acquired taste. But if you've any affection for them - then this latest addition to the impressive "Original Album Classics" is a must own...

Lights, Camera, Soundtracks: The Ultimate Guide to Popular Music in the Movies
Lights, Camera, Soundtracks: The Ultimate Guide to Popular Music in the Movies
by Martin C. Strong
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Love Me Tender..." - Lights, Camera, SOUNDTRACKS: The Ultimate Guide To Popular Music In The Movies by MARTIN C. STRONG, 17 April 2015
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The key thing to note about Martin Strong's Movie-Music tome (yet another truly amazing body of work) is to 'not see' the word SOUNDTRACKS emblazoned in the centre of it's 10" x 8" cover. What you need to focus on is the subtitle below - "The Ultimate Guide To Popular Music In The Movies". This needs some explaining...

This 2008 large-sized paperback publication on Canongate (UK) does not give you endless discographies on every Soundtrack ever released (what book could) - but instead largely deals with 'music within movies' and the artists who contributed to those scores (an impressive 900 + Pages). This can be confusing. In a book with the word SOUNDTRACKS at its very centre - fans will be astonished when they go to the Index at the rear to 'not find' names forever associated with Film Music like John Barry, Roy Budd, Bernard Herrmann, Maurice Jarre, Ennio Morricone, Lalo Schifrin, Thomas Newman, Alan Silvestri, John Williams and Gabriel Yared - but instead find references to T-Bone Burnett, Willie Hutch, Daniel Lanois, Penguin Café Orchestra, The Ramones and Neil Young.

So what do you get? Like his two Folk Music Volumes (see reviews) - Strong has chosen to break his monster work into three separate sections:

1. Rock Movies/Musicals and Pop Fiction - Pages 1 to 420
2. Rockumentaries and Performance Movies - Pages 421 to 594
3. Pop/Rock Scores and Blaxploitation - Pages 595 to 906
4. Index - Page 907

Inside each of the 1500+ entries you get details like year of release, film-company, director, stars, music soundtrack catalogue numbers and tracks, vinyl spin-ofs - and a properly great appraisal of the movie and the music contained within. Take for instance Barry Newman's ubercool "Vanishing Point" from 1971 - you get a soundtrack review that touches on Strong's staggering knowledge on Mountain, Delaney & Bonnie and Big Mama Thornton whose music peppers the film. The "FM" soundtrack entry provides stuff about Steely Dan and all the other artists involved (even has vinyl discographies for selected artists too). There's three different sets of eight-page colour plates (one for each section) breaking up the endless facts and details and feature artwork for soundtracks like "Almost Famous", "Stardust", "The Girl Can't Help It", "Slade In Flame", "Buena Vista Social Club", "Down From The Mountain (concert from O Brother, Where Art Thou?)" and Badly Drawn Boy's "About A Boy" as well as photos of musical icons featured throughout the book like Jimmy Page, Nick Cave, Curtis Mayfield and Tangerine Dream.

And while you would expect to see entries on obvious monster-music-movies like American Graffiti, The Blues Brothers, The Commitments, Dirty Dancing, Easy Rider, 8 Mile, Evita, Fame, Footloose, Good Morning Vietnam, A Hard Day's Night, Love Me Tender, No Nukes, Purple Rain, Rock Around The Clock, Saturday Night Fever, The Wall and Woodstock - you also get Coolsville and Retro Fun in Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Crow, Earth Girls Are Easy, Empire Records, Grand Theft Parsons, High Fidelity, Natural Born Killers, O Brother, Where Are Thou?, Pretty In Pink, Pulp Fiction, Repo Man, Reservoir Dogs, The Rutles, School Of Rock, Stomp The Yard, This Is England, Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine and Wayne's World. And how good is to see minor masterpieces like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (Beatlesmania), "Shag: The Movie" (Sixties Dance Craze) and "This Is Spinal Tap" (Metal Spoof) be given decent entries of their own.

You get superlative biopics like Walk The Line (Johnny Cash), Ray (Ray Charles), The Doors (The Doors), Bound For Glory (Woody Guthrie), Lady Sings The Blues (Billie Holliday), That'll Be The Day (Buddy Holly) and Great Balls Of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis). And how cool is to see Nick Cave and Warren Ellis in a guide like this along with Orbital, Sigur Ros, Serge Gainsbourg and Vangelis.

Rockumentaries include Let There Be Rock (AC/DC), The Last Waltz (The Band), Let It Be (The Beatles), Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (Chuck Berry), 101 (Depeche Mode), Renaldo And Clara and No Direction Home (Bob Dylan), Concert For George (George Harrison), Rainbow Bridge (Jimi Hendrix), The Song Remains The Same (Led Zeppelin), Let's Make Love In London Tonite (Pink Floyd), The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (Sex Pistols), Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads), Rattle And Hum (U2), The Kids Are Alright (The Who) and 200 Motels (Frank Zappa).

The Blaxsploitation section features the Soul, Funk and Social Consciousness of James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Miles Davis, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack and Mario Van Peebles to name but a few. You get entries on Shaft, The Payback, Cleopatra Jones, The Harder They Come, Black Caesar, Superfly, Across 110th Street, Hell Up In Harlem and WattStax. But weirdly this section also has stuff like Simon & Garfunkel's superb inserts into "The Graduate", Bowie's work on "The Buddah Of Suburbia", Keith Emerson's keyboards on "Nighthawks" and Willie Nelson's country contributions to "The Electric Horseman".

What's also fascinating is to see the double-association entries (first the film then the artist most closely associated with it) - Buffalo 66 (Vincent Gallo), The Namesake (Nitin Sawhney), Aguirre Wrath Of God (Popol Vuh), Paris, Texas (Ry Cooder), Local Hero and Brooklyn Bridge (Mark Knopfler), Gladiator (Lisa Gerrard), Chelsea Walls (Jeff Tweedy of Wilco), Birdy, Passion: The Last Temptation Of Christ, Long Walk Home and Rabbit-Proof Fence (Peter Gabriel), The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) and One From The Heart (Tom Waits).

It has to be said that the omissions and inclusions will infuriate - you find frivolous crud like "Popeye" is given a detailed entry but the brill retro Fifties Rock 'n' Roll of "Back To The Future" isn't here. While I can dig Prince's fabulous funk in "Batman" - do I ever want to read about Howard The Duck or Xanadu. But these are minor niggles in a book that I know I will be dipping into for years to come and still finding something interesting to read about.

So if you want your "Leningrad Cowboys Go America", "Expresso Bongo", "Purple People Eater" and "Young, Hot 'n' Nasty Teenager Cruisers" explained in detail - look no further than this fabulous splurge of info on Music in Movies.

Even if it frustrates at times (the split layout) - I love this Martin Strong reference book and can only imagine the years it took to research and collate. Both he and Brendan Griffin deserves your fistful of dollars - they genuinely do. Genius and a Yellow Submarine thrown into the bargain...

It Tears Me Up
It Tears Me Up
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £39.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I've Got Dreams To Remember..." - It Tears Me Up: The Best Of Percy Sledge (1992 Rhino CD - Stephen Innocenzi Remasters), 16 April 2015
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This review is from: It Tears Me Up (Audio CD)
Famed for his torch-ballad style and forever linked to "When A Man Loves A Woman" - this typically superb 23-track CD compilation from those lovely bods over at Rhino goes a long way to showing just how much more there is to PERCY SLEDGE. There's a lot of gorgeous Soul on here - there really is. Let's get to the Warm and Tender details...

Released April 1992 CD on Rhino R2 70285 in the USA and Rhino 8122-70285-2 in the UK and Europe (Barcode 081227028527) - it breaks down as follows (70:43 minutes)

1. When A Man Loves A Woman (April 1966 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2326, A)
2. I'm Hanging Up My Heart For You (on the 1966 US Mono LP "Warm And Tender Love" on Atlantic 8132)
3. Put A Little Lovin' On Me (on the 1966 US Mono LP "When A Man Loves A Woman" on Atlantic 8125)
4. Love Me Like You Mean It (April 1966 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2326, B-side of "When A Man Loves A Woman" - see also 1 for A-side)
5. It Tears Me Up (April 1966 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2326, B-side of "When A Man Loves A Woman")
6. Warm And Tender Love (July 1966 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2342, A)
7. Love Me Tender (May 1967 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2414, A)
8. The Dark End Of The Street (on the 1967 US Mono LP "The Percy Sledge Way" on Atlantic ATL 8146)
9. Take Time To Know Her (March 1968 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2490, A - see also 15 for B-side)
10. Try A Little Tenderness (on the 1966 US Mono LP "Warm And Tender Love" on Atlantic 8132)
11. Bless Your Sweet Little Soul (1969 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2594, B-side of "My Special Prayer")
12. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (1969 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2679, B-side of "Faithful And True")
13. Sudden Stop (1968 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2539, A)
14. Stop The World Tonight (1971 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2826, A)
15. It's All Wrong But It's Alright (1968 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2490, B-side of "Take Time To Know Her")
16. Drown In My Own Tears (on the 1967 US Mono LP "The Percy Sledge Way" on Atlantic ATL 8146)
17. Out Of Left Field (1967 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2396, A - see also 22 fro B-side)
18. Kind Woman (1969 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2646, B-side of "Woman Of The Night")
19. Cover Me (1967 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2453, A)
20. That's The Way I Want To Live My Life (1971 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2826, B-side of "Stop The World Tonight")
21. Push Mr. Pride Aside (1970 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2719, B-side of "Too Many Rivers To Cross")
22. It Can't Be Stopped (1967 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2396, B-side of "Out Of Left Field")
23. Rainbow Road (1971 USA 7" single on Atlantic 2848, A)

With photos from the Michael Ochs Archives the 18-page booklet also features great liner notes by noted writer and Musicologist DAVE MARSH. Three album covers take up full pages prints - "The Percy Sledge Way", "Take Time To Know Her" and "It Tears Me Up" -while there's great snaps of Sledge with Esther Phillips and Atlantic's Jerry Wexler and a live shot of the Wicket Pickett with Esther Phillips and Percy clearly enjoying themselves and the show. STEPHEN INNOCENZI carried out the remasters from original tapes and the largely Mono Audio is uniformly great.

After the obligatory perennial of "When A Man Loves A Woman" (which still packs some emotive punch) - you're hit with one of those Sixties confessionals that Sledge ate for breakfast - the wicked "I'm Hanging Up My Heart For You" (a Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham tune) where Percy thanks his woman for ending his cheating ways (what a gal). Things boogie up into Blues Brothers territory on the dancer "Put A Little Lovin' On Me" but return to a classic pleader "It Tears Me Up".

Again you're hit with a lesser-heard gem "Warm And Tender Love" which was issued in the UK on Atlantic 584 034 as an A-side in July 1966 - as lovely as Sixties Soul gets. Unsung heroes continue with the fabulous B-side "True Love Travels On A Gravel Rod" which was covered by Presley first - but my poison is a superlative take on it by Nick Lowe on his "Impossible Bird" album from 1994. There's also the Steve Davis song "Take Time To Know Her" where his mama tells him to take stock before he commits his heart (unfortunately Percy didn't listen). Pretty cool too is the B-side "Push Mr. Pride Aside" from 1971 - a track you rarely hear anywhere. "Rainbow Road" is a smoocher too but by 1971 I doubt anyone was listening - which is a damn shame because it's a belter.

Minus the decent liner notes - this 1992 compilation was rejiggered in March 2007 for the UK and European market as the 22-track "The Platinum Collection" (with the same great Rhino remasters) and a budget price that is often less than four quid. Whichever set you pick up - Percy Sledge deserves your money and your love...

That The Spirit Needs / Memphis Menu / Compartments
That The Spirit Needs / Memphis Menu / Compartments
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Peace Of Mind..." - That The Spirit Needs/Memphis Menu/Compartments (2015 Beat Goes On 2CD - Andrew Thompson Remasters), 15 April 2015
Puerto Rican Flamenco Guitarist and Singer JOSE FELICIANO (one of the first Latin American Superstars) had released a staggering 11 albums with RCA Victor before he decided in 1971 to largely ditch the cover-versions formula that had stood him so well - and try a few tunes of his own. And that's where this rather lovely 2CD set from England's Beat Goes On (BGO) comes in. It gathers together three rarely seen (and largely forgotten) albums from 1971, 1972 and 1973 where he made an unsuccessful dash for the singer-songwriter market dominated at the time by James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Carole King. "Musical Menu" didn't chart at all - with "That The Spirit Needs" and "Compartments" barely scraping Nos. 173 and 156 (respectively) on the American Billboard Rock LP charts. But that doesn't mean that there aren't goodies to be had here - there are (Steve Cropper and Bill Withers guest). Here are the dark glasses and the simple songs...

UK released April 2015 - "That The Spirit Needs/Memphis Menu/Compartments" on Beat Goes BGOCD 1179 (Barcode 5017261211798) is a 2CD set and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (69:34 minutes):
1. Come Down Jesus
2. The Spirit
3. Wild World
4. Border Song
5. Only One
6. Take Me To The Pilot
7. She Let Me Down [Side 2]
8. Daytime Dreams
9. My Last Farewell
10. Mellow Felling
11. Pay Day
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "That The Spirit Needs" - released in the USA on RCA Victor LSP-4573 and in the UK on RCA Victor SF 8223. All tracks are Feliciano Originals except these cover versions "Wild World" (Cat Stevens), "Border Song" and "Take Me To The Pilot". Produced by Janna Merlyn and Jose Feliciano.

12. Magnolia
13. River Song
14. One More Mile
15. Never Leave You
16. Tale Of Maria
17. It Doesn't Matter [Side 2]
18. Good Times
19. Lay, Lady, Lay
20. Where Is My Woman
21. Movin'
Tracks 12 to 21 are the album "Memphis Menu" - released 1972 in the USA on RCA Victor LSP-4656 and in the UK on RCA Victor SF 8309. Side 1 is the "First Course" with Side 2 being the `Second Course". All tracks are Feliciano originals except these cover versions - "Magnolia" (J.J. Cale), "One More Time" (Mark James), "Good Times" (Marc Benno), "Lay, Lady, Lay" (Bob Dylan) and "Movin'" (Jackie DeShannon).

Disc 2 (41:19 minutes):
1. Simple Song [Feliciano song]
2. Me And Bobby Jane [Leon Russell cover]
3. Don't Fail [Seal and Crofts cover]
4. Find Somebody [co-write with Carl Marsh and Steve Cropper]
5. Hey Look At The Sun [Nelson Angelo cover]
6. Peace Of Mind [Loggins and Messina cover]
7. Sea Cruise [Huey "Piano" Smith cover] [Side 2]
8. Compartments [Jose Feliciano/Bill Withers song]
9. Yes We Can Can [Allen Toussaint song, Pointer Sisters cover]
10. I'm Leavin' [Feliciano song]
11. Things Are Changing [Donald Paschal cover]
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album "Compartments" - released May 1973 in the USA and UK on RCA Victor APD1 0141

It comes in the now customary card wrap (which lends the reissue a classy feel) and a jam-packed 24-page booklet with thoroughly comprehensive liner notes from noted writer JOHN O'REGAN. It provides lyrics to the first two albums on Disc 1 (but not "Compartments") - and as eagle-eyed collectors will notice - uses the reissue artwork for "That The Spirit Needs" which initially came in an untitled elaborate gatefold sleeve. The booklet is well done and extends it reach right up to 2014 on Feliciano's career. ANDREW THOMPSON did the expertly transferred remasters at Sound Mastering In London and they sound beautiful.

Most of the tracks on "Spirit" have the Acoustic Guitar to the fore accompanied on occasion by orchestral arrangements (from George Tipton) or guitar overdubs with Feliciano playing a wide range of instruments including Bass, Congas and Organ. Jim Horn putts in Flute on "Wild World" and "Mellow Feeling" with Buddy Emmons playing Steel Guitar on "My Last Farewell". The opening duo of "Come Down Jesus" and "The Spirit" are good rather than great while his fast-tempo take of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" doesn't really do anything for a lovely song. Things improve on "Border Song" where his voice is similar to that of 1971 Elton John. Other pretty entries include his "Daytime Dreams" and "Mellow Feeling".

He opens the "Memphis Menu" album with a great cover of J.J. Cale's wonderful "Magnolia" (from his "Naturally" album) and you immediately notice the improvement in Production Values (co-produced by Steve Cropper of Booker T. & The MG's.). Feliciano's own "It Doesn't Matter" is lovely feeling a little like a cross between Don McLean and Gilbert O'Sullivan. Mark James provides "One More Mile" (he wrote "Suspicious Minds" brought to Number 1 by Elvis Presley) and Marc Benno's "Good Times" is probably the best cut on the album.

But the best album of the three is "Compartments" which features some stellar guest contributions that genuinely up the game of almost every song (with the whole album again co-produced by Steve Cropper and Jose Feliciano). Leon Russell lends his distinctive piano style to "Me And Baby Jane" - a hurting tale about a first love in school who then later loses herself to drugs. Jim Seals and Dan Crofts play Guitars, Mandolin and sing Backing Vocals on their own "Don't Fail" (very hall & Oates kind of tune) while Loggins & Messina provide Background Vocals on two - "Simple Song" and "Peace Of Mind" (Messina also does a Guitar Solo on "Peace Of Mind"). His keyboard player J.A. Spell gets very Leon Russell meets Fats Domino on Jose's cover of Huey Smith's wonderful "Sea Cruise". None other than Soul Maestro Bill Withers co-writes "Compartments" with Feliciano and also plays Rhythm Guitar. Claudia Lennear (of "Brown Sugar" fame), Jessie Smith and Robbie Montgomery contribute Backing Vocals to the ballad "Find Somebody", the Soulful groove of "Hey Look At The Sun", the cool Funk of "Yes We Can Can" and finally the brassy pop hit "Things Are Changing". This is probably the best sounding of the two CDs.

These albums represent the lesser heard sides of Jose "Light My Fire" Feliciano's cannon of work - and well done to all at BGO UK for getting them out there...

PS: Beat Goes On have also released "Alive Alive-O" (a double album) on BGOCD 794, "10 to 23/Fireworks" on BGOCD 795 and "A Bag Full Of Soul/Fantastic Feliciano" on BGOCD 817

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