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Reviews Written by
F Arnold "sweet fa" (London England)
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M'Bemba
M'Bemba
Price: £7.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, 18 April 2012
This review is from: M'Bemba (Audio CD)
I agree with T. Michaels in his review from early 2011. In the light of a sudden interest in African music by my son (21) I have been revisiting some of the outstanding albums of this genre that I have been listening to since the mid 80s. Salif Keita has always been my favourite (he has the greatest voice, the most tantalising rhythms, the best live gigs and the best musicians and singers). And although Soro will always have a special place in my heart (think of the first time you heard this ground-breaking album, with the real musicians, the haunting female choruses, the soaring voice of Salif Keita etc), this album runs it very very close. Just let the tunes wash over you (play it very loud!!,)the toe-tapping rhythms and the heavenly backing vocals transport you to a different place. I guarantee that you will replay it once you come to the end. A fantastic album in any genre!!


Soro
Soro

5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting a masterpiece, 18 April 2012
This review is from: Soro (Audio CD)
It's several years since the last reviews of this essential album and it is time, in the light of what seems to be a revival in popularity of West African music, to re-assess it. And it still stands up!! Although I had listened to quite a lot of world music when this came out in 1987, this was the album that really opened the music up to western audiences with its great mix of western production values (recorded in France), its toe-tapping beat throughout, the backing vocals (unmatched for many years after) and the awesome voice of Salif Keita. I don't altogether disagree that it might seem a bit dated now, nearly a quarter of a century later, because Keita has gone on to make a number of masterpieces since (look for M'bemba and Mouffou) and there have been some extraordinary albums from the likes of Nahawa Doumbia, Rokia Traore, Fatoumata Diawara, Vieux Farka Toure and so on.

But this electrifying album started all that, and the concert tour that accompanied it was mesmerising, one of the best gigs I have seen in nearly 50 years of concert-going, where all the stops were pulled out with his voice, the choir and the band (virtually unchanged from the studio musicians that made the album).

If you need to be reminded of its greatness, listen to the first two tracks while trying to transport yourself back to the late 80s and ask yourself, honestly, if anything you had heard before in world music had prepared you for the fantastic guitars, the horns, the extraordinary female chorus, the thumping rhythm section, and that searing, soaring voice, still a wonder to hear in modern music of any genre.

This is the album that should kickstart your world music collection!


Hello Cruel World
Hello Cruel World
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year 2012?, 4 April 2012
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
A bit early for the annual accolades, I know, but this is an album of such outstanding musicianship and lyricism that I would be surprised if another surpassed it this year. After the stunning One to the Head One to the Heart with Tom Russell, who really expected this masterpiece? But clearly the events of 2010 which so affected Gretchen Peters have provided a springboard for some of her most honest, personal and telling lyrics to date, not to mention the beautiful tunes she creates from some quite 'down' lyrics. Not easy to pick a highlight but, for me, Idlewild and Five Minutes had me almost in tears. An absolutely essential purchase. Stunning!!


We Have Made A Spark
We Have Made A Spark
Price: £11.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rose Cousins does it again!!, 27 Mar. 2012
This review is from: We Have Made A Spark (Audio CD)
Rose Cousins is the singer-songwriters' singer-songwriter. She has a fabulous crystal clear voice, and writes exquisite songs of love, loss, hope, despair, vulnerability and everything in between. She uses musicians and backing singers who provide the most sympathetic support for her basically simple songs (and plays guitar and piano herself) - and she has produced an album of breathtaking beauty. Sometimes with just piano and strings, sometimes with a small band of superb musicians (Charlie Rose on steel and the rhythm section of Billy Beard on drums and Zack Hickman on bass (also producer and arranger of strings)stand out), often with a wondrous group of female backing vocalists and even a poignant duet with the brilliant Mark Erelli on Bruce Springsteen's 'If I should fall behind', this album has no standouts; every song is a gem, lyrics coaxed out by Rose's fabulous voice

That now makes a trio of wonderful albums by Rose Cousins (you should check out the 'The Send Off' (2009) and 'If you were for me' (2006) and she now ranks as one of the very best singer-songwriters at work today. Just one minor complaint. There are only 9 songs new to her repertoire. She reprises (beautifully and differently) two tracks from the aforementioned 'Send Off' album, but eight new compositions in three years is not what you would call prolific. Nevertheless, THE album of 2012 so far!


Savile Row Mens Blue Herringbone Button Down Casual Shirt Size L
Savile Row Mens Blue Herringbone Button Down Casual Shirt Size L

2.0 out of 5 stars Looked great in the picture, looks rubbish after a wash, 8 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very disappointing. This shirt looked so good in the picture and out of the box, but I should have guessed when I felt the material, because it has happened to me before. It was nice and soft (on both sides) but after one wash, the material looks 'bobbly' and it is impossible to successfully iron out the creases. Consequently it cannot now be worn as a smart/casual option. Although the design and colour were exactly what I was looking for, you can get much better quality and value from Marks and Spencer's 3-packs. I shan't be making the same mistake again.


Crumpler CUPCAKE 4000 washed oatmeal - case
Crumpler CUPCAKE 4000 washed oatmeal - case

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little cupcake!, 1 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent, funky, cool camera bag that does not look like a camera bag. I got the oatmeal 4000 (with the turquoise piping!) and I am very pleased with it. My camera with standard lens, plus a telephoto lens, plus batteries and memory cards and lens covers all fit snugly. But the best feature is that you wear it over your head and hanging to the side or back, then swing it round to the front to access the camera. Quick and easy. Nice product


Crucifix In Dreamland
Crucifix In Dreamland
Price: £6.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joy of joys - the man is back!!, 7 Jun. 2011
I bought' Mannequin' (Marc Jordan's first album) after it was played on Bob Harris' programme in the UK in the 70s and have been following his career ever since, often with frustration as he seems to have 'disappeared ' from time to time and then, oh joy a new album appears.
I waited years for 'Hole in the Wall' to appear and only found it because my then local record store had it on import (there was no marketing of any of his albums. Incidentally I think 'Hole in the Wall' is his best album - leastways it is the album of his (or virtually anybody else) that I play most out of my 3500+ collection.
I tend towards his pop-oriented stuff, and consequently, for me, the new album is a gem. And again, I might have missed it if it had not been for a link to Ron Sexsmith (the brilliant 'Your love was all') on Spotify
Great songs, great arrangements, and the usual exquisite voice (his must be one of the most versatile in music today). Marc Jordan's catalogue of music stands up to anything produced in the last 40 years, and this is an essential purchase.


Come On Home
Come On Home
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.34

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it!!, 3 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Come On Home (Audio CD)
I got this out of my record collection for the first time in quite and while (there are a lot to choose from)and put it in the machine and expected to get on with some other stuff while it was on. BUT, you cannot ignore this record, so I just sat and listened to just about the best blues album of the last 20 years. Great choice of songs, brilliant arrangements and playing from top class sidemen, and an outstanding performance by Boz Scaggs. If you like your record collection to have a nice mixture of different musical styles, this must be near the top of the list for your blues collection. Just get it!!


Loverboy
Loverboy
Price: £4.67

5.0 out of 5 stars A nice change of direction, 2 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Loverboy (Audio CD)
I came across Brett Dennen last year (courtesy of a friend) and instantly bought up his back catalogue of beautifully crafted soft folk/country-rock singer songwriter fare. What a great way with words he has, and what great tunes he composes. And what an expressive voice. As someone suggested, was he the new Dylan?
Well, he has certainly blown that comparison - along comes an album of almost exclusively pure pop music. But what pop music!! You need to listen to it a couple of times before you get it, but in many ways this is the equal of both 'So much more' and 'Hope for the Hopeless' - the same way with words and tunes and still that great voice. Perhaps only 'Song for Leaving' has the same sound as the earlier albums, the others are poppier, rockier, bluesier than what has gone before (with additional brass, stinging slide guitar, and heavier on the keyboards and mellotron) but just as good. And amid a plethora of great music coming out in the folk and alt country arena, this will still find a place in my 'best of' list for 2011. Go discover! Just a pity about the album cover, but please don't let that put you off!


Reckless
Reckless
Price: £8.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, just awesome!!, 2 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Reckless (Audio CD)
This is the best goddamn bluegrass you are ever likely to hear, excellent songs sung and played by players at the very top of their game. The formidable Chris Stapleton (he of the songwriting chops and one of the best voices in the business), Tammy Rodgers (as good a fiddle player as there is, Alison Krauss included) with exquisite harmony vocals, Mike Henderson (on mandolin predominantly) , one of the most versatile instrumentalists around. I remember seeing him and Tammy Rodgers as part of the Dead Rekoning band with Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan about a dozen years ago and they were phenomenal). And driving it all along is the brilliant tight rhythm section of Mike Fleming on bass and Richard Bailey on banjo.

if you thought you didn't like bluegrass because it is too yee-haw, think again. This is bluegrass with balls. And it does not get any better than this group (sadly Stapleton has left to concentrate on songwriting but one can but hope that he writes the nest Steeldrivers album) Essential.


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