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Iain (Lancashire)

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Pray To Be Free
Pray To Be Free
Price: £6.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood Red Love, Betrayal.....and Bar mitzvahs, 13 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pray To Be Free (Audio CD)
James Levy and Allison Pierce have cut a heart-shaped gem of an album....albeit then run through with the blade! Smooth musical backing, lush arrangements and production (courtesy of Coldplay's Guy Berryman) are married to sometimes edgy sentiments ('I feel like dancing... on your grave boy')and unusual and/or risque themes (see bar mitzvahs in 'The Precious Age of Thirteen' and the melodrama of 'Keep My Baby'). James' and Allison's vocals blend well together in unison and apart when trading verses and lines.
'Pray To Be Free' is mostly a platform for Levy's back catalogue of songs recast as duets with Allison (moonlighting from The Pierces) or done afresh. New songs also feature and Allison contributes too with the happy/sad country pop of 'Cry Myself To Sleep' and is co-credited with writing the title track. Musically the album draws from a number of influences (Lee and Nancy, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Serge Gainsbourg) and mines a rich seam of Americana with its more folkier and slightly countryfied numbers - the title track employs a fair amount of reverb a la Fleet Foxes (Allison is a fan).
Several tracks feature just Levy as a vocalist and these make an interesting contrast with the tracks he has cut with Pierce, although it would be be nice to hear the duo one day collaborate and sing more extensively together on an album. Their commitments outside the Blood Red Rose concept notwithstanding, i'm sure another outing under said moniker would be a twisted heartfelt delight.

If You Go Away
If You Go Away

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Brother, 19 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: If You Go Away (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Scott Walker and The Walker Brothers for many years and decided to finally buy this album after reading The Impossible Dream book on the Walkers and their solo exploits.
The main fault i can find with the music on this cd is that the extra tracks comprising of A and b sides are much preferable to the original 12 track album.
That's not to say 'If You Go Away' is a poor album. John's interpretation of the Brel standard/title track comes a close second to Scott's version and there are some nice Goffin/King numbers.
The really credible late sixties music featured here is the bonus as and bs which feature John's own songs and some more substantial cover versions. The self penned gorgeous ballads 'Woman' and 'A Dream' released together as a single and produced by Scott wouldn't sound out of place on Scott 4
John Walker seemed to have been given more artistic freedom on his own 45 releases by Philips than on lp.
If only the public had paid more attention to these singles or Philips had persevered and kept faith with him because John was a talent worth developing.
After the commercial failure of his next album on another label, he was missing in action until the Walker Brothers mid seventies comeback.

Goats Head Soup
Goats Head Soup
Price: £5.99

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little more slick & polished, but still the Stones, 25 July 2009
This review is from: Goats Head Soup (Audio CD)
Many years ago on Channel 4, as part of its art strand, there was a programme called 'J'accuse..'which took potshots at cultural icons and debunked legends. One such programme concerned the Stones and their musical output from the early seventies onwards was dismissed.
If 'Exile On Main Street' was the creative highpoint of the Stones Mark 2 (and it's far from perfect for some - vocals mixed badly, Keith cutting into Jagger's vocals off key) why should everything that followed be so easily dismissed.
'Goats Head Soup' has finally started to get its due respect as other reviews on this site have clearly seen fit to give it 5 stars.
Approached as a companion album to 'Sticky Fingers' rather than a follow up to 'Exile...' things to start to make more sense. Some of the songs follow the more sophisticated arrangements of 'Sticky Fingers' numbers - eg 'Winter' could be a sister to 'Moonlight Mile'. The rock ballad '100 Years Ago' features some of Mick Taylor's most expressive guitar playing as Billy Preston brings the song to a funky conclusion.
In spite of the good taste on show, the Stones still get lowdown dirty rude on a Chuckesque riff (see Star Star and it's lyrical content which wonderfully evokes everything right and wrong about the seventies.)
Don't take too much notice of the critical consensus of the time regarding the Stones seventies output or you'll miss out.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2011 1:34 PM GMT


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Kapow! Bam! Holy Late Sixties Rock with Prog Undertones Batman!', 15 July 2008
This review is from: Shazam (Audio CD)
Yes, i like the super hero cover to this overlooked classic from the Brummie quartet. With only six songs on the album and with rock bands of the era in general getting more indulgent and less creative (it was very much longer tracks, deeper grooves and wider trousers at this point in rock history folks) you may approach with caution. But crucially, the Move haven't forsaken their melodic nous and if this album does mask a writer's block on the part of Roy Wood (3 cover versions and a retread of 'Cherry Blossom Clinic' complete with extended classical coda that conjures up images of Nigel Tuffnel's guitar heroics) the results are still worth hearing.
Highlights include 'Beautiful Daughter' which features my favourite Carl Wayne lead vocal and an epic take on Tom Paxton's 'The Last Thing On My Mind'. Opening track 'Hello Susie' sounds like something Oasis would put out now - actually the bonus track 'A Certain Something' has a string arrangement by Tony Visconti that i'm sure 'inspired' the Oasis track 'Whatever'.
Other bonus tracks include 'Curly', a kind of folk/bubblegum crossover and 'Wild Tiger Woman' which nails Queen's modus operandi a couple of years before they formed (the track is about a femme fatale and sounds like a forerunner to 'Killer Queen'). The cherry on the cake to top things off is a slightly different mix of the hit single 'Blackberry Way'.

Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express (The Expanded Edition)
Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express (The Expanded Edition)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forster & McLennan Go Forward With Heads Full Of Steam, 23 Jan. 2007
This has got to be one of the best alternative/indie albums of the 1980s. Superior to the much over-rated 'The Queen Is Dead' by the Smiths, which was released in the same year and crucially (unlike many contempory releases of the era and to be frank, other Go-Between albums), it has stood the test of time well. Anybody familiar with the band knows the score - Five songs written and sung by Forster, five written and sung by McLennan, no slack, no filler. The two songwrtiters compliment each other well, while at the same time offering something different. As lyricists, both like telling a story or setting a scene. Named after a famous book, it's no surprise that the lyrics by both writers seem literate & clever. McLennan's highpoints include the wistful string-laden ballad 'The Wrong Road' - one of those of songs that intrigues but doesn't give up its air of mystery. Forster's, the driving, melodic jangly rock ot the opener, 'Spring Rain'. The group's sound on this album is tastefully embellished with strings, accordian, piano and woodwind. The Go-Betweens rave reviews never translated into huge record sales: one way of defining a cult band unfortunately. But like all good cult bands their musical legacy lives on for good reason. So buy this album and spread the word. PS Grant McLennan RIP Melodic Dude

Classics & Collectibles
Classics & Collectibles
Price: £8.44

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scott the Artist meets Scott the Crooner, 19 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Classics & Collectibles (Audio CD)
This compilation is more for die hard fans than for anyone with a passing interest in the enigmatic singer - it rounds up material from his critically acclaimed first four albums (most of cd1) with some of the more middle of the road material he recorded in the late sixties/early seventies (cd2) and 2 Walker Brother songs. Some of the reviews in the music press were quite dismissive of the material on the second cd, but i feel some of the critics were missing the point, Scott's voice made him a household name and some of these songs,recordings and vocal performances are top quality. Admittedly there is some cornball on cd2, but there's also Randy Newman and Jimmy Webb covers. So along with self-penned material like 'Plastic Palace People' and 'Angels of Ashes' and Brel songs, we get to hear Scott's versions of movie songs 'The Me I Never Knew' and 'This Way Mary' (both by John Barry and Don Black)and 'I Still See You' from The Go-Between. Standards like 'The Impossible Dream' are wheeled out and if you listen carefully to 'Who (Will Take My Place)', you will hear a lyric as angst-ridden as anything Scott would write himself. It's hard for most Scott fans to make sense of the man's career and not every fan likes everything he's done (don't mention 'Tilt' to me!), but this compilation is ideal for anyone with a strong interest in Scott's post Walker Brothers career.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2013 6:06 PM GMT

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