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Reviews Written by
A. P. Monblat (Sutton, Surrey United Kingdom)
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Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: 7.18

3.0 out of 5 stars Tower of Power are a good band, quite classy too, BUT....., 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
As this covers a major part of the band's career, I am reviewing the band as much as the five individual albums included in this package. Tower of Power are a band whom the critics admire, unlike say Chicago, although frankly I prefer the harder-edged sound of early (not late) 70s Chicago. ToP are talented musicians, but it probably helps if you are a proper jazz fan. That said, absolute jazz PURISTS would say they sold out, which is daft! At times ToP sound like the 1960s never happened. They are ploughing their own furrow, seemingly greeting the dawn of the 70s as though that decade had followed on from the 50s. This may or may not be a problem, but what is a problem is that like say the Meters, they are not as talented at writing really memorable, tuneful songs - or instrumentals for that matter - as they are at playing their instruments. Thankfully there are a few exceptions, namely the tracks I had already heard before buying this box. 'Don't changes horses in the middle of a stream' is one such among perhaps seven or eight tracks across the first four albums (the fifth album has none, not the singer's fault though, just poor composition). But even these tracks are merely good, rather than brilliant. The rest I now discover are a bit underwhelming, especially the ballads, which are generally quite dreary (sorry). Mind you, for me to like a soul ballad it needs to be exceptional - check out for instance "In the Rain" by the Dramatics or 'Love Jones' by the Brighter Side of Darkness. The latter is seriously obscure but marvellous.

So, to summarise, you will like this if you like ballads as much as funk, and like a pleasant well played and at times quite punchy jazz-soul groove, but are not expecting anything too dramatic such as the likes of innovators War and Mandrill produced during the early 70s. Kool and the Gang in their early were also much more interesting (but not in the 1980s). ToP are just a bit too traditional/mainstream for me I now conclude; they never really "let rip" in the way some of their contemporaries did. They are talented alright, but, for me, seem to lack much desire to take a few risks and break out of their comfort zone.

At the end of the day, even though I have mixed feeling about ToP now, I am not that sorry I bought this bargain priced package. But I won't be playing it too often, and I'll never play the fifth disc.


Greatest Ever Prog Rock: The Definitive Collection
Greatest Ever Prog Rock: The Definitive Collection
Price: 6.51

4.0 out of 5 stars Good if you are a prog rock virgin., 2 Aug 2014
No progressive rock in your possession? Then buy this, as it has many, many great prog bands on it, but not every last one obviously. If you do have some compilations already, however, you will end duplicating several tracks you already have. Especially if you have the brill Time Machine - A Vertigo Retrospective [Box Set].

Jefferson Airplane's track will appeal to prog fans, but is more psychedelic than prog. To my mind progressive/prog was a mainly British (and to some extent European) thing. There was certainly some great American music in the late sixties/early seventies, but it was not really prog as we would recognise the genre - I'd be interested in people's views on this. (Of course a certain US demographic liked UK prog - it complemented rather than duplicated their own music.)


Greatest Ever Bubblegum Pop
Greatest Ever Bubblegum Pop
Price: 5.00

1.0 out of 5 stars beware this box if you like bubblegum, 1 Aug 2014
this is what the inaccurate description says:

"Purists might tell you that the golden age of Bubblegum Pop occurred strictly between 1967 and 1972, but in reality its scope was far wider. "

wrong - either it is bubblegum or it isn't. Bubblegum was a very specific genre that lasted from 67 to 69 and was only purveyed in America. Green Tambourine and Quick Joey Small are bubblegum anthems that appear on virtually every proper bubblegum compilation. Neither of these are here any more than the other key tracks are - except Sugar Sugar. So this is 59 light pop tracks, and one bubblegum track. Some pop comps which don't even claim to be bubblegum have more bubblegum than this deceitful rubbish! For a reasonably proper bubblegum compilation buy 25 All Time Greatest Bubblegum Hits [Import] or Vol. 1-Bubblegum Classics or Vol. 2-Bubblegum Classics or Vol. 3-Bubblegum Classics. Or get really groovy and buy all four!


Fork In The Road
Fork In The Road
Price: 6.67

5.0 out of 5 stars The most complete musician ever, 22 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fork In The Road (Audio CD)
Neil writes the most beautiful melodies anyone could wish for. He is equally at home with hard rock and soft rock. His electric guitar playing has an exquisite quality which even the greats such as Hendrix could not emulate. Melody and guitar have never combined to such perfection as they do on the track, "Just Singing a Song".


100 Hits - 80's Weekender
100 Hits - 80's Weekender
Price: 5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good in parts, 22 Feb 2014
There are some great tracks - well known and otherwise. Especially JOYCE SIMS who is a real talent who writes her own songs (words and music) unlike most disco singers.

Trouble with this comp is that the benefit of the good tracks is diluted by all the tepid pap that is also here in vast quantity. If you are happy to programme two thirds of the tracks out every time, and you have no compilations already, this is a good use of 4.50p


Pure... Psychedelic Rock
Pure... Psychedelic Rock
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars great introduction to 60s/70s music, 16 Feb 2014
If, unlike me, you have not got two-thirds of the tracks already, this will be a really good one to pick up. Soul Sacrifice is but one of numerous gems.......


Csn
Csn
Price: 9.15

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No end of 70s dumbing down on this one!, 11 Jan 2014
This review is from: Csn (Audio CD)
I am not sure that precise historical context matters all that much - this is just a great timeless album that should be applauded regardless of its specific point in rock music history. This is one of the best CS&N albums - the group showed no hint of the dumbing down that others like EW&F, Jefferson Starship, Journey, Genesis, Yes and Chicago - in fact a fair proportion of great artists that started in the late 60s/early 70s - were showing as the 70s drew to a close. The 80s held new bands and delights in store, but the older bands continued alongside them and this 1977 offering is I can happily say vintage CS&N. It is to their early masterpieces as, say, "Physical Graffiti" is to "Led Zep II", or "Animals" is to "Meddle". Floyd and Led Zep clung onto quality longer than most, and so did CS&N. To me, it's the music that counts - not the latest tribal focus. I like acid rock, prog rock and punk rock among many other genres - they all produced a lot of good music. Sometimes a hippy/flower power track is better than a punk one; sometimes the reverse is true - it depends on the particular tracks in question. On "CSN" there is a lot of full-on electric music - I particularly like "I give you give blind"; this is not on the 4CD best of pack, but deserved to be.


Viva Tirado
Viva Tirado
Price: 5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars NOW RELEASE IT ON CD, 1 Nov 2013
This review is from: Viva Tirado (MP3 Download)
If you like Latin rock with its ace hammond organ and electric guitar playing backed by all manner of exotic percussion, then you will love this! Santana were not the only purveyor of this genre. El Chicano made several superb albums in the early 70s (and one or two since after a long absence). Sadly recognition was not granted - poor promotion; definitely not poor music. This is their debut album from 1970 and it is a brilliant start to their career. The title track is particularly fine, but every track plays its part fully in the overall work.

It is finally available again, but so far only on MP3. Now we need a CD release.


Carnaval: The Best Of Santana
Carnaval: The Best Of Santana
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for an intro, 2 Oct 2013
Plenty of awesome tracks from down the decades here at a bargain price. As usual not enough of the Rolie-led stuff makes it - "Hope You're Feeling Better" should be here, but you will get these when you dig deeper into the back catalogue after this appetite-whetter. After this buy the first four albums from 1969 to 1972 and take it from there! The 1969 album is home to the awe-inspiring "Soul Sacrifice", which this compilation lacks. I ended up buying the lot - and at over 30 albums it is a lot over 45 years from a hard-working artist who never takes much time off.


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: 10.70

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From band to Axelrod, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
This is great value for those on a budget who want a comprehensive low cost way to acquire or reacquire this fantastic (literally) late 60s psychedelic US rock. Musically it is wonderful stuff all. Some of the albums are pure "band", and some are led by David Axelrod, with whom the band did not entirely agree artistically, but who was great too. It was actually an Axelrod-led track that got onto the Easy Rider soundtrack - my intro to the Electric Prunes back in the day. Axelrod liked turning religious music into psychedelia. And it worked!


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