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The Way Back [DVD]
The Way Back [DVD]
Dvd ~ Colin Farrell
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £3.72

19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Abombinable show, man., 17 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Way Back [DVD] (DVD)
It's said that you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. All those involved in this shambles of a movie were quite happy to cast the truth aside but forgot to replace it with anything approaching a good story, which is nothing short of criminal seeing as it was all there to begin with in Slavomir Rawicz's astonishingly good book The Long Walk. I bought this movie on the back of reading his epic tale of the triumph of the human spirit over the inhumanity of war, false imprisonment, mental and physical torture and the cruelty of the Soviet Gulag system of prison camps. A story of comradeship overcoming all nature could throw at them, from sub-zero Siberia to the Gobi Desert and the heights of the Himalayas, surviving starvation, thirst and disease. Of the human desire to be free allowing feats of incredible endurance. This film casts all that aside in favour of limp generic characters who amble along for two hours doing and saying all manner of dull predictable cliches.People are made up, others forgotten, some arrive at the wrong time, or leave early, others die in the wrong places at the wrong time from the wrong causes. Crucial events are missed out so invented ones can be tacked on. Where's the arrest ? Where's the prisons and the actual interrigations and trial ? Where's the meeting with the native Siberian who first gave the idea to escape ? Where's the wife of the Camp Supervisor who aided the men's bid for freedom ? Where's the axe that they managed to steal that proved so vital on their quest ? Where's the farmer with his shotgun ? Where's the constant kindness of the Tibetans who provided endless food and shelter ? Where's the Himalayas for that matter ? Or the Yetis ? Okay so maybe the last one in that list wasn't vital to the story but all those other missing pieces and more left me wondering not only if the scriptwriter had read the same book i had but even if they had read a book, so complete is the feeling of this being just another product of a Hollywood makeover. You come away thinking you've seen and heard it all before in a thousand or more other films with the same lazy characters and the same lazy subplots. Could and should have been so much more.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 23, 2013 10:40 PM GMT

Hey Ma
Hey Ma
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars mmm ... chocolate !!!, 25 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Hey Ma (Audio CD)
"My works about words and sounds you can taste, violins and trumpets, chocolate cakes" sings Tim Booth halfway through this majestic, triumphant return, and so sums up both Hey Ma, and James working methods.This is mood music.Every piece here is picked from the many they improvise because it displays a mood, a feeling, a melody, hypnotic patterns that the band can't let go of and have to persevere with until Tim Booth forms the words and images that compliment them.All woven together to form songs that affect the head and the heart.It manages to be emotionally and intellectually stimulating.
I mean you can read the words and nod in agreement and think what a clever couplet/verse etc but when welded to the music it becomes unforgettable, inspiring, irresistable, troubling even.The "I'm alive" segment in the opener Bubbles for instance just makes me glad i am.If only to hear that song burst into life after its slow build up, if only to hear that line.How many other bands can make you feel that ?
Likewise the "Hey Ma the boys in bodybags, coming home in pieces" of the title track forces you to sing along in a bizarre angry/sorrowful kind of way.It is an obvious nod to the situation in Iraq/Afganistan and echoes the frustration many have over ongoing events.In track 3 you can almost touch the waterfall "cool and cold and clear" washing away the "junk" in your life, whilst the "oh my heart - come on break me two" chorus almost does exactly that.If that doesn't get you then the "i may as well try semaphore as words no longer work" opening couplet of track 6 probably will.After several listens of this cd you will end up singing along to all the songs, especially Upside with it's monumental " upside love you, downside miss you" chorus and Whiteboy with standout lines like "my mum says i look like Yul Brynner, too old for Hamlet, too young for Lear", but others will soon be burrowing deep into your mind, like Monsters with it's strange underworld tale of stray cats, feral kids, moths in the moonlight and the closing I Wanna Go Home about a drunk in a bar dying of remorse.
I've listend to a fair few new albums this year and this is still my absolute favourite.Still the one i always take with me in the car.Still the one i keep on coming back to.It is amazing, affecting, full of moments of beauty and despair.Hey Ma and James are unique, unlike anything else around.Sure is nice to have you back boys.

Me And Mr. Johnson
Me And Mr. Johnson
Price: £7.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "god" plays the devil's tunes quite well., 25 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Me And Mr. Johnson (Audio CD)
This is another one of those albums that to me just begs a review, if only because of the wide gulf that exists between some of the criticism attached to it on these very pages and the sheer enjoyment that come with listening to it.I mean if this is mall music as one reviewer wrote, then i must be shopping in all the wrong places.
Now I'm no Eric Clapton fan, this being the only album of his i own, and purchased only for its association with the legendary Robert Johnson, but i can certainly appreciate what he has done with these classic songs.Mr Johnson's originals may well be some of the most influential music every recorded,but we should not forget just how raw they were.One bluesman on his acoustic guitar scratchily recorded in the 1930's.The question we need to ask of this tribute is whether E.C. could have done any better in replicating them.In my opinion the answer to that is no.(hence the 5 stars) Not only do we have Mr Clapton's excellent guitar playing , his band have also added some pounding piano and pulsating organ,and a driving back beat as well as some bittersweet harmonica flourishes.A modern sheen that never loses sight of the fact of the blues they are aiming for, and that for me is the crux of the matter, it is still the blues.The slow songs are sad and mournful, the upbeat numbers gritty and gutsy.Me and Mr Johnson is what every tribute album seeks to be, a perfect mixture of the old and the new,a fine sum total of emulation and addition.For that Eric and his crew deserve many thanks.

I'm Not There
I'm Not There
Price: £9.10

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Noone Does Dylan Like Dylan., 10 Dec. 2007
This review is from: I'm Not There (Audio CD)
By their very nature, tribute compilations like this can be very hit and miss affairs.Getting different acts to cover others songs , even when focussing on one particular artist can produce varying degrees of success.To do so with Bob Dylan, who has displayed so many styles, ranges and persona over so long a career is further fraught with danger.For example few can match Dylan's own vocal snap and bite and authentic bluesy backing on such tracks as "Maggies Farm" or "Tombstone Blues", or duplicate his delivery on "Wanna be Your Lover" or "Please Crawl Out You Window".As a previous reviewer has mentioned "Watchtower" is just too obvious, whilst "Times" is played with such a straight bat (especially when compared with the recent Bryan Ferry version) as to be almost dull, and personal favourites like "Ring Them Bells" or "Cold Irons Bound" are but pale imitations, stripped of the power Dylan gave them.However that doesn't mean they are without virtue, (a great song is still a great song), and neither does it detract from the good tracks on offer on these discs, of which there are plenty.
Often it is the songs done quite simply that sparkle."Lonesome Death" and "When The Ship Comes In" being fine examples.As is Ramblin' Jack Elliott's ramblin' "Tom Thumb's Blues".Even the cover of a cover "Moonshiner" with it's haunting "the whole world's a bottle, and life is but a dram ..." ending, comes close to matching the intensity of Dylan's 1963 offering, and Blonde on Blonde wild mercury sound is obtained with the awesome "Stuck Inside of Mobile" and a "Just Like a Woman" which imitates the mathematical phrasing Dylan sought in live performances circa 1966.Other highlights include "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Goin' To Acapulco" where Glen Hansard and Jim James respectively merely accentuate the melodies already present in the Basement Tapes versions.Likewise JW Hardings "As I Went Out One Morning" and "St. Augustine" (another personal favourite) use what was already there in the fairly uncomplicated originals to good effect.A hint of violin in a simple "Simple Twist", and the use of spanish horns in "One More Cup Of Coffee" add to the song instead of trying to override it and are all the more special for it.Even the opera amid Willie Nelsons "Senor" only boosts the latin flavour of the song, and Antony and the Johnsons deserve only praise for their take on "Heaven's Door".It may take a few listens to appreciate but in turning the tune into almost a funeral dirge they only seek to compliment the lyrics.
What these CD's reveal of course is that noone can better the originals.The best example is shown with the title track, Sonic Youth's valient attempt not able to build up in the intense way Dylan and The Band manage.Even a superbly performed "Pressing On" (another favourite!) doesn't make the hairs on my neck stand on end like Bob manages in the way he sings the line "it runs in my veins", but that just shows the genius of Dylan, and that is exactly why such tributes exist at all.

Drastic Fantastic
Drastic Fantastic
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Talent + a cute nose = long career., 9 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Drastic Fantastic (Audio CD)
Bob Dylan once said he's never influenced by artists under the age of 50.While i'm not quite that discriminating i must admit i very rarely explore bands or singers without them having a handful of albums behind them to fully judge their longevity. In the same way it's said everyone has a book in them the same could be said for albums.I'm sure everyone could write a dozen sets of lyrics, steal some tunes and hit the charts.That doesn't guarantee any of them would be any good of course and hence my reluctance to join the fanclubs of every new sensation. Miss Tunstall however is the exception to my rule.
Having been tempted by the excellent "Eye to the Telescope" this offering proves Kt has talent in bundles(and my faith isn't in vain). It's not a direct copy of her debut which some reviewers seem to think of as a negative issue, but instead sees her grow and mature as a songwriter and performer. Drastic Fantastic still contains the hooks to drag the listener in (like Suddenly I See did originally).Songs like Hold On, Hopeless, Saving My Face and the irresistable I Don't Want You Now bristle with feeling and attitude and had me tapping my fingers on the very first listen. But Kt also has an emotional depth very few contemparies can match.Here tunes such as Beauty of Uncertainty and Someday Soon come into their own growing in meaning and importance with every new play. Drastic Fantastic is another 11 songs to add to what i believe will become an amazing body of work.If Miss Tunstall can continue producing such a standard can you imagine how extraordinary her Greatest Hits Package will sound in about a decades time ? And for once i'll be able to say i was there (almost) at the start! Now did i mention her cute nose ...

Radio 1 - Established 1967
Radio 1 - Established 1967
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.17

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Game of Two Halves, 9 Oct. 2007
There are two theories as to why this compilation varies between the great and the mediocre.The first is obviously that modern music is mostly rubbish and therefore all the classic songs are crammed onto the first of these cd's.Certainly when you get a great artist attempting a great song you tend to get great results.With the exception of Mika's mauling of Can't Stand Losing You, the first half of this is uniformly excellent.Special mention to Robbie Williams, The Feeling, Foo Fighters, Kylie And KT, Franz Ferdinand, Lilly Allen, Keane and James Morrison.Hell they're all pretty good even Mcfly !! and the Streets version of Your Song is so divine in it's beautiful simplicity that it's quite breathtaking.
The second part of this set however pales in comparison.Only Razorlight, Paolo Nutini and The Fray get their teeth into great songs, though The Stereophonics and The Kooks try damn hard to turn their picks into gold dust.So was there really so few classic songs from the last 2 decades or have some artists chosen badly? My second theory on all this is that we are all too close to recent music to distinguish true greatness.I think of British Bands like The Smiths, U2, Beautiful South to name but 3 amazing singles groups who are not represented on these discs and wonder if there is an element of rivalry that prevents contemparary bands from covering them and others like them.(respect to Corinne Bailey Rae for overcoming this and providing a superb closing song)But then that's just my opinion, who buys compilations and expects to like every song on them? They of course vary enormously, just like peoples tastes.I'm sure some listeners out there think Madonna deserves 2 tributes !These CD's are still worth buying though if just to intrigue and fascinate.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2007 6:41 PM GMT

Change is Gonna Come: The Voice Of Black America 1963-1973
Change is Gonna Come: The Voice Of Black America 1963-1973
Price: £10.81

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth Is The Light, 17 Sept. 2007
It's been said that the devil has all the best tunes.This simply ain't so.As Elvis acknowledged in his '68 comeback special all the best music has its roots in gospel and rhythm and blues.The songs on this album are closer than most to those roots, documenting the human rights struggles in America during the late '60's and early 70's.Whilst the 23 songs can only form a small part of these turbulant times they do show the wide range of styles employed by artists to put their message across.From the economic struggles of "When Will We Be Paid " to the social realities of "The Ghetto", from the vengeful "The Prayer" to the hopeful "Someday We'll All Be Free", from the harsh tale of what happened to "George Jackson" to the strong, despite all the deprivations and degredations, truimphant cry of "Free At Last", from the mocking humour of "Forty Acres and a Mule" to the sarcastic commentary of "The Revolution ...", from the fragile beauty of "Cryin' In The Streets" to the sheer force of "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing" (in which the mighty James Brown doesn't so much as ask for the door of equality to be open as employ a battering ram on it!) all these songs show how important music can be when used as a force for change.They form an articulate and moving history of a struggle which still resonates today.In "We Are Neighbours" the Chi-Lites sing how "The Truth is the Light" because along with the rest of the artists on this disc they knew the rights to which they aspired and demanded could not and would not be denied.The devil doesn't have an answer to match these songs.To go back to Elvis he ended the '68 Comeback Special with "If I Can Dream" a song which wouldn't have been out of place here because to me it don't matter about the colour of your skin when it comes to appreciate and identify with the emotions and the struggles contained on this record.All you have to do is be able to listen.

Price: £4.25

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Positively 1st Rate, 21 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Dylanesque (Audio CD)
Like several reviewers before me, i too cannot take this disc from my c.d. player.Being a Dylan devotee rather than a Ferry fan i of course recognise the brilliance of the originals but i am also open to the different interpretations that can be done with Dylan's songs and that he has done himself over the years in every concert tour.Even so this comes as a very pleasant suprise.That Dylanesque was knocked out in under a week gives it a edgy spontaneity Bob would be proud of and far from being the velvety crooner some have portrayed him, Ferry's voice betrays a lived-in fragility which perfectly suits the songs.I mean you can't sing lines like " I started out on burgendy, but soon hit the harder stuff" in the blusey harmonica driven opener convincingly without such a talent.Likewise in the beautiful slower "Make You Feel My Love" and the equally affecting "Postitively 4th Street" Ferry's voice gives new impetus to the words blending with the sparse piano accompaniment and "Knockin' On Heavens Door" is given the sensitive reading it's mournful origin deserves.The highlight for me though is the jaunty "Simple Twist if Fate" which despite being played that bit faster never loses sight of the beguiling world weary plot within it.

I must admit that for me the album tends to tail off towards the end, the lovely "If Not For You" is kinda cast adrift next to the only briefly diverting "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", and a "Gates of Eden" which doesn't really grab my attention.All is almost retrieved by a lively "All Along the Watchtower" which closes the set, and hating to end a review of such an enjoyable disc on a sour note i did find myself wondering what other Dylan songs i would love to hear Bryan Ferry try out (think Street Legal, Oh Mercy or Time Out Of Mind stuff), and an album that leaves me wanting more sure has something going for it.Put me down for Dylanesque 2 !

Southern Nights
Southern Nights
Price: £42.33

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That's (More Than) All Right (Mama), 13 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Southern Nights (Audio CD)
For a while i was put off buying this particular FTD release due to the negative comments it had recieved.Thankfully i finally relented and am very glad i did.I don't know what the previous reviewers were listening to or on what they were listening, but Southern Nights sounds fantastic.Sure Elvis doesn't quite reach the heights he did in his peak live years of 1969-72 but given not many other performers even come close then we could damn most other live recordings using that particular comparison.

For me the best thing about this cd is that it's a collection of songs pulled from early 1975 concerts rather than a full show allowing the compilers to pick and choose the best songs from the available tapes.Thus we get awesome renditions of Steamroller Blues, Polk Salad Annie and You Gave Me a Mountain as well as superb rarer performances of songs such as Help Me, It's Midnight and I'm Leavin'.Even the much maligned Bridge Over Troubled Water cuts the mustard for me, as does virtually every song on this album showing just how great Elvis and his Band continued to be throughout the 70's, despite others misconceptions to the contrary.

American V: A Hundred Highways
American V: A Hundred Highways
Offered by The Music Warehouse
Price: £6.81

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Final Recordings., 4 July 2006
Well it certainly looks like a Johnny Cash cd.The same iconic black and white shot of the "gnarly headed" legend, his name emblazened bodly across the top, as much as a statement of intent as a title.It's only when we peer inside and find the notes not written by the man himself, but the wonderful Rick Rubin that we are sadly reminded that Johnny is no longer with us, at least in the flesh, for "A Hundred Highways" certainly gives us the spirit of the great man.It has all the elements of yet another classic American Recording.Cash sings songs of God, whether it be admitting his own weakness in the opener "Help Me", or the strength he found in "I Came To Believe", or telling the "ramblers, gamblers and backbiters" in the stomping "God's Gonna Cut You Down" that justice will visit.Cash sings songs about trains, in Hank William's mournful "On the Evening Train" or on his own "Like the 309" where he compares his struggle for breath with a wheezing train,"Asthma coming down like the 309" and show us that he still had the address of the "Home Of The Blues" tucked away in his back pocket right to the end.Cash even sings a prison song in "I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now", but it's placing at the end of (maybe) his last album suggests the chain gang is merely this mortal coil.And it is this subtext, the history behind these last recordings, Cash's own mortality and the death of his beloved wife that permeate this whole album.From the coffin being loaded onto the Evening Train whilst the child is crying, through the message of "I'll meet you further on up the road", to the obvious "Rose Of My Heart", and the sadness of "our good times are all gone" in "Four Strong Winds" these songs are dedicated to the passing of June.It's not an easy journey, as Johnny sings on the gorgeous reading of "If You Could Read My Mind" about the ending being too hard to take, but this is a truly beautiful and moving album where every song fills you full of joy or brings you to tears, or often both.I just hope there'a few more gems hiding in the vaults yet.All in good time.

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