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Richard Steel (West Yorkshire, England)

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Something/Anything?
Something/Anything?
Price: 26.18

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still worthy of our attention!, 8 May 2014
This review is from: Something/Anything? (Audio CD)
I first became aware of Todd in 1974, when having newly got into Sparks with 'This Town..' single taken from their 3rd album 'Kimono My House.' I found out Sparks had made 2 albums before hand. their 2nd was 'A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing' as produced by James Lowe of the Electric Prunes, but equally as important, when Sparks were still called Halfnelson(1968-1972) they recorded their self -titled debut album
as produced by Todd Rundgren(and engineered by afore mention James Lowe) during 1970-71 and released in '71. When the band changed their name to Sparks in 1972 and got signed to Warner Bros off-shoot label Bearsville and re-released as 'Sparks' and their 1st single 'Wonder Girl.' The quality and diversity of genre of music styles of this still available album is as worthy of attention as anything Todd has put out himself.
Just listen to 'No More Mr Nice Guy's and the rip-roaring guitar solo by Jim Mankey(normaly on bass duties), or the Who-esque 'High C.'


Cuckoo
Cuckoo
Price: 7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Between two worlds, 29 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Cuckoo (MP3 Download)
Credits.
This is an essence Roise Doonan's 4th studio album, while making her journey to Crybabycry.
All songs by Roise Doonan.
Rosie: lead & backing vocals and electric & acoustic guitar and a little keyboards.
Nikki Todd-drums
Adam Richards-Double Bass
Electric Bass-Lee Smith
Electric guitar & backing vocals-Jonny Firth
Sporadic acoustic guitar-Gary Stewart
Barotone Sax-Sam Thornton
Tenor Sax-Michael Doonan

Recorded, engineered & Produced by Jamie Lockhart & Lee Smith at Greenmount Studios, Leeds.
Mixed by Jamie Lockhart & Lee Smith, 'cept track 3 (Cuckoo'), mixed by Bob Bradley, Jamie Lockhart & Lee Smith.
Mastered by Tom Woodhead at Hippocratic Mastering.

Compared to Rosie's previous released is, to say the least, a bit of a departure. Though, I have to say the title track sounds like it was left out from the album before, 'Pot Of Gold.' From the cover artwork to the music, this sounds like someone has spent too
much time watching Tarantino films and lost themselves.

Having said that and having waited so long to finally get the CD(I don't do downloads!), I realy like this album,..A LOT!!
I could hear Jake Bugg to Maddy Prior sitting comfortably among these songs, and such a quality songwriter Rosie is.
What I find some what odd is the production being so good on this album. Yet Jamie & Lee both produced the debut album 'Circles'
for Hayley Gaftarnick and it isn't as good at all. Though I do notice Lee's name is first on Hayley's album and Jamie first on Rosies'
Draw your own conclusion!!

I strong believe if this album was released at least as Rosie Doonan and The Howling North (as artist and album title), this release would have fared better. Plus, Cuckoo Records are not too great at publicity or marketing and are holding back some quality acts they have signed, such as Little Violet, and Annie Drury.

Think White Stripes working with Ry Cooder and through in folk vocals, then this your purchase awaiting :-)


Circles [Explicit]
Circles [Explicit]
Price: 7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Pay attention to this gal because She's worth it!!, 24 Dec 2013
This review is from: Circles [Explicit] (MP3 Download)
This album has been a long time coming. The Single of this 'Turn To Stone', was released 29th July 2013. Hayley has been part of the local music scene here in Leeds, West Yorkshire for over 10 years. I became aware of her back in the days when Myspace was worth bothering with, around 2005. Thankfully, she got over her Beat-boxing Laryn (Fugees) Hill inpersonating fairly quickly!

Credits.
All songs written and performed by Hayley Gaftarnick (except 'Don't Leave' by
Hayley Gaftarnick and Jonny Firth).

Recorded by Lee Smith & James Lockhart. Produced by Lee Smith (of the Leeds band Middleman)at Greenmount Studios, Leeds. Mastered by Tom Woodhead at Hippocratic.
Photography by Ashley Karrell and Matt Baxter. Cover Design by Alex Melia. Original artwork by Hayley Gaftarnick.

Electric Guitars - Jonny Firth, and Sam Lawrence. Drums - Nicci Todd and Pat Bannon. Bass & upright Double Bass - Adam Richards. Shane Durrant - Keyboards & backing vocals. Other backing vocalists Becka Ward and Rosie Doonan. Sam Thornton - Sax & Barritone Sax. Trumpet - Simon Beddoe(of Submotion Orchestra. Trombone-Ric Collie. Dwaine Kilvington - keys on 'Forget You.'

Strings by Jamie Lockhart. Brass & strings arranged by Lee Smith.

When I first became aware of the tracks for this album, I was personaly dissappointed to note the lacking of 3 of the Best songs Hayley ever wrote, 'Hard Times'(I had tears in my eyes first I heard this song), 'Smile' and 'Tired Eyes.' And having the original versions of 'Self Destruck' and 'I Don't Mind', I wish Hayley had kept closer to them than the re-constructions of them on here. That's just my own take on that matter, but, that's part of the point of a Review.

That aside, it is obvious to anyone that knows Hayley, she had much fun making this collection of 11 songs. Maybe too much fun though, as there appears to an attempt to try too many music genres for one album. Heart-felt singer-songwriters odes to lifes many trifles, Blues, Jazz, borderline skiffle, and soul.

I love how deeply personal and honest Hayley's lyrics can be. Such as 'Circles', 'What Am I Worth?' and 'For The Last Time.' I can relate to many of the words she sings and imagine many other listeners could.

Then there is the playful humour of 'Too Close For Comfort.' If it wasn't for the swearing, this would be a radio friendly tune!

It would be fair to say this album has been dolloped in lashing of Amy Winehouse, Adele, Etta James,Duffy, Dusty Springfield, Lianne La Havas, with sprinkles of Emilia Mitiku, Carmel(McCourt),Ren Harvieu, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Josephine((Oniyama).

The impressive thing about Hayley Gaftarnick is her voice. It would be most difficult to compare her husky voice to anyone specific. Her voice is as distinctive as her name. Hayley is Leeds lass, born and bred, but is 2nd generation Polish Jewish extraction.

When you know that Hayley got into writing songs was as a cathartic process of coping with the loss of her mother when she was only 15 years old. Putting pen to paper and putting on emotional body armour has been Hayley's coping meckonism. Hayley is a survivor!

Buy this album and listen with intent and you will take away something you can relate to and treasure. The album may not be a polished stone, but is a precious jewel.


Period Piece (feat. Stewart Yu)
Period Piece (feat. Stewart Yu)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let this pass you by!, 31 Oct 2013
This is absolutely hilarious and comes across as Fame meets The Muppets in it's
sound and sense of humour, broaching the subject matter of of the female 'curse'
of Jam-rag week.

This could almost be a TV commercial but there's no product placement of anything with or without wings ;-)

Get on youtube and see the video. Do buy this song. They are leaks to be plugged!

Even though an mp3, it still rotates at 45PMT :-)


Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Price: 11.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Sparks before This Town....(They were a band), 25 Oct 2013
In affect I bought this in 1975 when both the albums came out as '2 Originals of Sparks.' The only thing new here is the early 1973 recording of 'I Like Girls.'

What I consider important to me was this period of Sparks behaved as a band, a collective of talented group members. This is noted simply by the writing credits to each song.

Sparks (Produced by Todd Rundgren. Engineered by James Lowe.
1. Wonder Girl (Ron Mael)
2. Fa La Fa lee (Ron Mael)
3. Roger ( Russell Mael)NB. This track is 95% its 1968 recording!
4. High C (Ron Mael)
5. Fletcher Honorama (Ron Mael)
6. Simple Ballet (Russell Mael & Ron Mael)

7. Slowboat (Russell Mael & Ron Mael)
8. Biology 2 (Earle Mankey)
9. Saccharin and the War (Russell Mael)
10. Big Bands (Ron Mael & Russell Mael)
11. (No More)Mr. Nice Guys (Jim Mankey & Ron Mael)

A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (Produced & engineered by T. James Lowe)
1. Girl From Germany ((Russell Mael & Ron Mael)
2. Beaver O'Lindy (Ron Mael/Russell Mael/Earle Mankey/Jim Mankey/Harley Feinstein)
3. Nothing Is Sacred (Ron Mael)
4. Here Comes Bob (Ron Mael & Russell Mael)
5. Moon Over Kentucky (Jim Mankey & Ron Mael)

6. Do Rei Me (Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein II)
7. Angus Desire (Ron Mael & Russell Mael)
8. Underground (Earle Mankey)
9. The Louvre (Rom Mael)
10. Batteries Not Included (Ron Mael)
11.Whippies and Apologies (Ron Mael)


Pot Of Gold
Pot Of Gold
Price: 13.55

4.0 out of 5 stars A Voice Made Of Honey, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: Pot Of Gold (Audio CD)
As ever, delicous listening to Rosie's voice. For any shortage on getting this
CD try www.propermusic.com

After three solo albums on Silvertop(distributed by Proper Music, Rosie
has been trying out different things. Apart from backing vocals for the likes of Peter Gabrial, and Birdy,(Rosie also plays bass on the UK and Euro dates of Birdy's
current 2013 tour for the 'Fire Within' album). Rosie did an album under the name Rose and the Howlin' North. Lately, playing as a rockier trio crybabycry, of
which material on cuckoo Records.


Moving On
Moving On
Price: 13.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Remendy To The Confusion, 28 Sep 2013
This review is from: Moving On (Audio CD)
For those wanting to Get 'Moving On' by Rosie Doonan and not the Vin Garbutt as continually wrongly shown here, try www.propermusic.com
Both 'Moving On' and 'Pot Of Gold' are there for shy of 12.


Brave [DVD]
Brave [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kelly Macdonald
Price: 8.50

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Brave in linear screen, 23 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Brave [DVD] (DVD)
I would have enjoyed this product more if it weren't for it being in Widescreen 2:39:1. We pay a fortune for DVD's. We pay a fortune for BIG screen TVs. Why do we bother?! The irony, is we watch the previews and opening titles in large screen. Then the main movie comes on to take a third of the screen off your TV view disappears. If this product came in Letterbox screen, I would've sent it back!!!

The only way to enjoy a 2:39:1 screen is if you were born a chemeleon.


Terminal Jive
Terminal Jive
Price: 6.93

2.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments but not as good as No.1 Heaven, 25 Feb 2013
This review is from: Terminal Jive (Audio CD)
In fairness the Mael brothers were guests on this album. However, there're some gems on here. The lead single 'When I'm With You', though failed to chart in the UK despite good radio coverage, it was Sparks best ever seller in France. The follow-up single 'Young Girls' was maybe not the best choice for commercial success. Noisy Boys and Stereo had they been released would have all but got a chart placing somewhere in Europe.

Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermeyer.

Side One
1. When I'm With You (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
2. Just Because You Love Me (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
3. Rock'n'Roll People In A Disco (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
4. When I'm With You-Intrumental (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)

Side Two
1. Young Girls (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
2. Noisy Boys (Harold Faltermeyer/Keith Forsey/Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
3. Stereo (Giorgio Moroder/Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
4.The Greatest Show On Earth (Harold Faltermeyer/Giorgio Moroder/Ron Mael/Russell Mael)

By one year after this album the Sparks duo moved back to LA and had become a fully fledged Band again!


A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing
A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 39.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves more attention and respect!, 23 Feb 2013
Considering this initialy came out the same year as Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album, I would say this was the better album!

Going from sound engineer on their 1st LP James Lowe Produced & engineered this one himself with much pride. The 'sound on this record could easily sit alongside the like of any T. rex release of the same period. This is amongst my very favourite Sparks albums. I didn't hear it 'till 1973 and to the ears of a 13 year old. It was always a disappointment and puzzlement why the Sparks fans of '74 who bought Kimono My House and Propaganda, didn't pick up on and buy these two earlier albums. Neither would EVER reach the UK album charts!! I especialy like these albums with Ron before the swept back Chaplin/Hitler/Zaper-esquue hair and tash.
George Vogal arranged the Strings on 'Here Comes Bob.' Kip Tulin, there then 15 year old brother of Mark Tulin(Bass player with The Electric Prunes, played the accordian on 'Beaver O'Lindy.'

The band line-up on this and Sparks, to this day I say is the best there's been.
Track writing credits:
Girl From Germany (Russell Mael/Ron Mael)
Beaver O' Lindy (Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Earle Mankey, Jim Mankey, Harley Feinstein)
Nothing Is Sacred (Ron Mael)
Here Comes Bob (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
Moon Over Kentucky (Jim Mankey/Ron Mael)

Do Rei Mi (Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein III)
Angus Desire (Ron Mael/Russell Mael)
Underground (Earle Mankey)
The Louvre (Ron Mael)
Batteries Not Included (Ron Mael)
Whippings and Apologies (Ron mael)

After this version of Sparks split later in '73, Harley went to law school,
Earle became a studio engineer and later much respected underground producer, working with the likes of The Runaways to Helen Reddy. Jim took things hard and would not emerge into music world till joining up with Jonette Napolitano, forming Dream 6 and then Concrete Blonde with albums that would supass anything Sparks could manage.


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