Profile for Stranger > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Stranger
Top Reviewer Ranking: 206,572
Helpful Votes: 59

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by

Page: 1
5 Albums Box Set
5 Albums Box Set
Price: 13.84

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to finally have this!, 23 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: 5 Albums Box Set (Audio CD)
Keeping this brief as I have only just got this, and it deserves a ***** star rating now.

What more could you want?

The Beggars remaining albums - minus Bend Sinister, for now - in a neat box.

Well mastered, this time...the original CDs were best avoided as the vinyls sounded better.

Beggars, with the Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall and This Nation's Saving Grace box sets - and now this new one, have finally delivered.

True, there were carps from some (yes, me) about the lack of live tracks / shows when this release programme first started, but they've done their best within budgets to get these to the market in a viable form.

You have here the vast majority of The Fall's recorded work from 1987-1989, including rare and unreleased tracks, different mixes from vinyl. The odd track given away on scattered compilations / music magazine freebie EPs from back in the day may have been skipped but licensing or lack of availability of masters may have scuppered them, and by and large the essential stuff is here.

At thirteen pounds or so no-one can rightfully complain about the price, and the 'missing' items I allude to circulate amongst fans or can be picked up largely for a couple of pounds or so on a well known auction website.

Don't miss out...even if you own the vinyls, at this price, this compact set (5 CD's in less than the space of one of the old 'fat case' double CD's) is a treat.

If anyone from Beggars or who has any sway with them is reading, I did notice this comment online - "Spin This Web beggars Adult Net album that got canned" about the lost Adult Net sessions...well having heard the original Spin This Web (on one of the music paper EP's of the time), I for one would love to hear that. Also I've heard rumours that Beggars *might* be planning 5.1 / DVD Audio releases of some of their catalogue...while some may laugh at the suggestion of any Fall in '5.1' I think some of the Beggars Fall material - much of which had high production values - would be ideally suited to such treatment.

In the meantime, get this box, and enjoy!

Ersatz G.B.
Ersatz G.B.
Price: 12.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Fall album!, 1 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ersatz G.B. (Audio CD)
A bit late but here's my thoughts / review.
01 Cosmos
This sets the scene - strident, punky, direct.
It's not the most complex song, as some have suggested, but this doesn't matter, it's like a mission statement, an introduction for what's to come - and, like much of the album, fun!
02 Taking Off
This conjures memories of late 70's new wave (Television, Blondie), paranoid cityscapes, and features some beautiful keyboard textures. Marvellous sound to this one - one of the biggest achievements of this album for me is the impressive production. This track just builds and builds, wonderful.
03 Nate
Another great production! How can anyone complain about this song when it *sounds* this good. Doubters! Don't listen to this on your pc speakers or a crappy portable (surely the only reason anyone could be not 'getting' this album) - try a decent set of headphones or hi-fi! Still don't get it? The mind boggles...
Nate features blistering, squawking guitar, which along with the pummelling drumming and quieter but solid bass propels the song, as MES rasps, gargles and intones his rhyme.
04 Mask Search
The Fall back in rockabilly mode, had to come sooner or later. MES' voice is close mic'd here...At face value this seems less demanding, but like much of the album, relax and let it in, and it's fun like more of this album, and keeps thing rolling and the pace fast. Enjoy.
05 Greenway
The fun quotient is upped more with this demented classic!
After the introductory it's 'good enough for...' gargles, MES' spoken style here reminds of a John Cleese rant, and it's just hysterical (more for the way it's said, than what's said)! Topped off by his ridiculous telling-off-a-naughty-schoolboy catcalling "Green-way!" The 'w*nk off...' reference was clearly thrown in (apparently a commonplace saying somewhere or other) as it just works, it's a ridiculous song, so don't expect it to make sense, just enjoy...
06 Happi Song
From the ridiculous to the sublime. Like All Tomorrow's Parties mixed with electro pop. This song and Greenway are my favourites, and they are like chalk and cheese.
07 Monocard
For some perhaps, myself included, an acquired taste. However once this grinding guitar rock track breaks into widescreen stereo, it's very absorbing.
08 Laptop Dog
Like much of this album, this is catchy and fun. It somehow reminds me of REM songs(!) - less for the vocals or sound, more the structure/composition.
09 I've Seen Them Come
Great riff! This is one of the tracks that was a 'late grower' for me. The Wings comparisons are interesting...I've never been a huge fan of Wings, that song is too discordant for me (heresy, I know)...I actually liked the earlier version of Wings, performed live 'in '82 - and curiously the chords here remind me of that early version than the more familiar one people seem to be comparing it to.
Once more, not a particularly complicated composition, but the production and performance are what matters, seems a good idea as a penultimate track - as it's both dramatic and fun. Good to have those low creepy backing vocals again too!
10 Age of Chang
This didn't overwhelm me at first, but on listening to it a bit louder now, again I'm impressed by the production techniques and performance. It's a bit lo-fi when it comes to MES' vocal, but that's deliberate and for effect, and seems to work. I must keep listening to this one a bit louder!
It's a shame this album has attracted such a wide range of opinions as the songs' relatively simple structures might mask the density of the production (ie so people might be quick to think those who dismiss the album are 'spot on'). The arrangements are very well executed. The sound may be deceptively thin in places for some: there are 'heavier' sounding Fall LPs, but there's a lot a going on here. A lot of textures, synth whines, low droning back vocals (both on Greenway and Happi Song, and adding to the humour element of the former).
I feel this album is more likely to be a grower for many if they give it a chance, just as even a track like Monocard is for me.

Live In Cleveland 1977
Live In Cleveland 1977
Price: 5.04

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best CD of the Cleveland 1977 concert with David Bowie, 1 Feb 2012
This review is from: Live In Cleveland 1977 (Audio CD)
I was going to knock a star off due to the jumbled track order, BUT I so highly rate this CD I feel every home needs one, and most players have 'shuffle', and so many people use ipods, pcs, play 'highlights' only the running order is not a big deal really.

This is a concert - recorded from two nights, at the Aragon Ballroom Cleveland on the 21st and 22nd March 1977, on the early '77 tour with David Bowie on keyboards, Hunt Sales on drums, Tony Sales on bass (both later joined Bowie for the Tin Machine project), and Ricky Gardiner on guitar (Ricky went on to co-write The Passenger with Iggy, presumably writing the music).

The Iggy Pop - Live CD uses the original tapes for the concert, as it has the bit where someone shouts out for "What in the World" and Bowie laughs. This was on the bootleg but on none of the official releases til now. The Iggy Pop - Live CD is slightly overloaded but actually sounds great, it has the best seperation and warmest sound of all the CD issues of the gig (a shame about the jumbled running order.

I listened to this concert religiously as I grew up, Iggy cries at the end of Gimme Danger echoing, and the "sky is black out, and it's raining" ad-libs on Dirt (reminding me of the grim scene setting at the start of Great Expectations that we'd studied at school!) all adding to already great songs. I graduated through bootleg records, tapes and later official releases of this concert.

This is the best yet : it's a shame it does not include China Girl, but aside from that it is complete. I have heard the original FM broadcast, and the editing of all the official versions got it right, there were long - wordless - gaps between songs, so the more concise editing made for an even more exciting recording.

Miss at your peril.


Blondie At The BBC
Blondie At The BBC
Price: 9.19

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant package!, 4 Nov 2010
This review is from: Blondie At The BBC (Audio CD)
This 2 disc package has a lot to recommend -

* the audio version of the classic Glasgow 1979 concert here is COMPLETE - rendering the incomplete, bitty releases of it on various official and unofficial CDs redundant
* great sound on the above gig + the TOTP appearances in particular
* DVD version of the above gig in one package
* compiles key Blondie recordings with the BBC at a great price.

Niggles? Few if any, bar...

* the DVD version of the Glasgow concert is in mono - it would not have been that hard to sync up the stereo audio version, which is present in this package.
* I have noticed the mention of a lip synched performance of I'm Always Touched By Your Presence Dear in another review. I probably did see it, as I remember the song went through my head at school, but I was very young and I cannot remember what it looked like - would have been nice to see that, maybe it's been lost.
* The booklet does not contain any sleevenotes or anecdotes...considering the task at hand - compiling the bulk of Blondie's recorded work for the BBC, while not essential, some reminscences from those involved would have been nice to read.

I have long had the audio of the Glasgow concert from 'under the counter' sources, I always felt it was a classic gig. It it true that the band go up a notch in the latter half of the gig (say from X Offender onwards, the point from which the original Radio 1 broadcast started), however I am finding the earlier portion of the gig is growing on me more as I listen to this again.
In particular I'm finding I'm loving Accidents Never Happen and Living in the Real World - tracks I rarely played on the expensive, and faulty bootleg I had which contained these until now.
It's also a pleasure and surprise to find out there were encores at the gig which didn't even reach the bootlegs I've heard - namely I Feel Good (the James Brown song) and One Way or Another. I have heard better performances of them by Blondie, but I am very satisfied to get the gig complete now, not spread across bootlegs of varying quality.
Thankfully, while sometimes official releases of gigs that have circulated from FM broadcasts sometimes disappoint by over polishing the sound, that is not the case here - the sound is clear while also retaining the power and feel of the original broadcast version.

The original OGWT 1978 session is a pleasure to see and here - well lit and Debbie in a nice brown dress, the sound is good but mono, but that's to be expected - it's a nice full sound here though, pleasing to the ear.

The TOTP appearances have the original studio songs dubbed on in stereo - I expect these were mimed to at the time so this seems appropriate.

To me the Glasgow gig DVD version is just a bonus, and to be honest one I'm less worried about. It's not brilliantly filmed or well lit, mono sound, and in my opinion a bit of a bad hair/bad dress day for Debbie. I do and have listened to a lot of Blondie (collected many bootlegs and argued for a box set of their live performances too), so the "look" is not everything to me, I must say in my defence.

Overall, any niggles I have with this release or steam rollered over by the positives : the biggest for me being the fantastic full length audio version of the Glasgow concert.

It is very interesting that the BBC - together with Chrysalis have brought this out.

My hope is that this will continue to happen with high profile artists -
I hope the BBC can help with -
David Bowie - The Omnibus "Cracked Actor" TV documentary along with an audio version of the LA concert featured in the programme.
The Fall - the BBC broadcast several concerts on radio, in particular from 1989, 1992, 1993 and 1995 - a little box of these would be nice.
The Kinks - the full Golders Green 1974 radio concert (rather than excerpts) would be nice, as well as the brilliant television concert from 1973, ending with the wonderful version of The Village Green Preservation Society with a brass band!
Robert Palmer - aside from the recent Hammersmith 83 release, Robert recorded televised concerts in 1990 and 1992 for the BBC as well as appearances on the Jools Holland programme to promote the "Drive" album.

In the meantime thanks to all concerned for this CD / DVD release - it's a credit to all concerned.

The American Film Theatre Collection: Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well and living in Paris [DVD]
The American Film Theatre Collection: Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well and living in Paris [DVD]
Dvd ~ Mort Shuman

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A surreal ride through great music!, 27 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is a strange film, however I feel the accusations of it being "very of its time" are unfair.

Any musical film is likely to be fairly indicative of when it is made, and the songs of Jacques Brel touch on so many topics - love, death, boredom, politics, frustration...they are sometimes surreal themselves, so for me, the staging does not seem so bizarre.

The film-makers were there to make a film, not record a live show, so it was bound to be theatrical, and most musicals are divisive in some way, a love/hate thing.

I like the fact it has Mort Shuman in it, partly for the fact he co-wrote many songs I love - A Teenager in Love, Can't Get Used to Losing You, (Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame and the wonderful Little Children (a big hit for Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas). Much of the success of the film is down to his appearance, he seems almost tongue in cheek at times, and makes songs like "I drive the taxi cab" seem more real here.

Great to see Jacques take part himself...and Elly Stone and Joe Masiell are magnificient in this too. Anyone who dismisses this film surely cannot at the very least enjoy the visuals in "The Statue" as Joe looks down and curses from his pedeastal?

I'm so pleased to get this, my father and I enjoyed this on video when I was young, so to track it down on DVD has been a treat!

Station To Station
Station To Station

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Featuring the best live album of all time..., 1 Oct 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Station To Station (Audio CD)
Is Nassau 76, the concert included here, the best live album? - in my opinion, it is, yes.

Has the official CD of it got the odd defect, as some have alleged? I won't disagree with all that I've read there.

However myriad software, the easy availability of facilities to write reviews online has turned a lot of us into armchair critics...

Dig deep, or simply give any album - even a classic one - a cursory listen and there will be "imperfections" we can fuss over.

The bigger picture here is that this release features one of the best concerts ever, and it has a lot to offer compared to any prior (bootleg) release. As noted elsewhere, there are minor differences in the sound - for instance that of the guitars - on this mix compared to other versions fans will have heard. Both the rhythm guitar and lead guitar can be heard the most vividly can hear practically every note clearly, and yet the recording still retains the atmosphere of this very exciting gig, which is no mean feat.

For those unsure of whether to take the plunge on this CD set, focussing on the live album, these are some of the positive points and clearest / most obvious differences between this release and earlier recordings of the Nassau '76 gig -

Starting with Station To Station, it's been claimed this is one of the most exciting songs in Bowie's catalogue once it gets going, and I won't disagree. On the live version here, with the first thud of the bass drum - the presence is so clear! You could imagine being onstage amongst the musicians. Also the backing vocals are much clearer too, and while much has been made of a little too much focus on the drums elsewhere, on here it's just right...the skipping drumming is amazing!

Moving on to the next track, Suffragette City, the rhythm guitar sounds clearer and much less compressed and less 'countrified' than on prior versions of this concert. Very clear drumming, again, which is a good thing here. There's also a nice pre Michaal Jackson-esque "ooh!!" at the end of the track, followed by a laugh, both of which had been edited out of the familiar FM broadcast version.

On Stay in particular, once more the funky rhythm guitar part, care of Carlos, here is much more audible, and this is a good thing...

Waiting For The Man
This is where this set really starts to come into its own...this track, along with Life On Mars / Five Years, had only been heard via the Bowienet site before, and both this track and the latter medley had cuts due to tape errors.
Thankfully a complete dub has been found of both.
This is great news, as these songs are no outtakes, and fortify an already wonderful concert!
This version of the Velvet Underground song also includes this poem

"No hill's too steep
No mountain's too tall
...With hope and Faith
You can conquer them all"

paraphrasing Helen Steiner Rice's inspirational piece...high drama in the last 'feeling so good, feeling so fine..." chorus too!

Next up is Queen Bitch. This song did get a brief release on the RarestOneBowie CD, albeit in a different mix here - ie keyboard centre, guitars left and right channel as per the rest of this release, as opposed to the keyboard in one channel, lead guitar in the other, rhythm guitar central on the Rarest CD, and the rather clinically mixed extras on the earlier Station to Station CD.

Life on Mars / Five Years
This medley is mesmerising...I've waited so long to hear this complete and in excellent quality.
As noted above, this was incomplete on an earlier 'broadcast' on Bowienet, due to a tape fault. Thankfully a complete tape has been found - quite possibly not first generation, as some have alleged - but the songs sound simply beautiful here. Relax and enjoy.

Panic in Detroit - the backing vocals are clearer, and this edit works well!

A minor detail but it's nice to have the extended crowd, anticipating / cheering for an encore, in between Diamond Dogs and Rebel Rebel too.

On The Jean Genie the blistering guitar solo here sounds cleared and better than ever, and again, the extended croud cheering outro helps with the atmosphere of the gig.

So...for every negative comment about the presentation of the gig / whole box here, I believe there is a positive to counter it.

It's at an exceptional price too...not so long ago twice the price would have been proclaimed reasonable by retailers...and whether you have a recording of the Nassau gig or not, you either gain a fantastic album and gig that you have not got, or at the very least one with some bonuses you didn't have, so what's there to lose?

Take the plunge and enjoy it!
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2010 5:19 PM BST

Where The Faces Shine Volume 2
Where The Faces Shine Volume 2
Price: 32.39

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good box set!, 13 Aug 2010
This set is far more balanced than the first Where The Faces Shine box set : the first one scores incredibly highly for its interviews with the personnel involved (inc Glen Matlock and Brian James), and for it striking photography, but did not score so high for sound quality.

This gets good marks for both...this time around instead of interviews with the players we get a good essay from Kris Needs. The music is presented in better quality than last time...having read a negative review regarding the sound quality - which I personally am quite happy with - it still may not be for everyone, but the vast majority of what is on offer here is very high quality by bootleg standards, and close to or not far off official live album standards. Less than a quarter is from private recordings, the rest is from mixing desk recordings and is fine to my ears.

The first two discs in particular - The Ritz New York City 9th December 1982 and Keystone Palo Alto, California. 13th February 1983 - are very high quality recordings, both in terms of audio and performance, the second gig being prefaced by an interesting pre-recorded intro by Iggy about his life being in "Little Boxes", honest and open in Iggy's unique way.

Disc Three: Odds 'N' Sods includes all the pre-Blah Blah Blah demos in one place at last - including Fire Girl, which is the unlabelled final track on the disc. If there's one fault on this disc it's an uncleaned up vinyl scratch on "Sick of You" of the things that prevented giving me the box 5 stars. The track is live from Bristol 1987, from a high quality audience recording. The vinyl bootleg may have been the most common source of that track, but why not seek another fan who had it without the scratch (I did)? Or try removing it...there has been good vinyl scratch removal software for at least a few years now...a shame as it is a classic version of the track, if not the best version, and to feel forced to listen to it on another source, or grimace and bear a scratch noise that should not be there is annoying to say the least, when that disk is otherwise a fine round up of Iggy recordings from 1983-88. I say this sort of thing in the hope Easy Action clean up (pun sort of intended!:) their act, which they certainly did for the California Hitch Hike CD...

Disc 4 and 5 concentrate on a Detroit gig from 1986. It's a mixing desk recording, and like some it lacks guts a bit, but as Easy Action say, Iggy puts his all into it being a hometown gig.

Disc 6 is a warm up show for the 1988 tour, recorded at the Whiskey A Go Go, and again Easy Action opine that this gig represents Iggy giving his all more than some of the other recorded gigs. I'm not one to argue : I have found that the highest quality recordings can be beaten in terms of performance and emotional power by gigs in lesser audio quality, and this gig and the one above aren't bad audio quality at all, they are still above average.

Ultimately much as I love some live 86-88 Iggy live material - and I must not leave out the live 88 DVD in the package which is great to have - for me the best parts are disc 1-3, the two high quality '82 and '83 gigs and the very useful compilation of demos and live tracks on disc 3.

There is plenty here for the Iggy fan, and arguably the rock fan who is curious about Iggy. The latter type of collector who buys this may need to be one who is prepared to open their wallet and take a chance as this may not be cheap at any given time (it was a good deal when I bought it, especially with the bonus live 89 disc which I doubt no longer comes free with this), but I think most would find this a good deal and a good listen too.

Heroin Hates You
Heroin Hates You
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 13.51

5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: Heroin Hates You (Audio CD)
First off, why five stars?

Why not...the "problematic" sound quality is actually rather good.

The concert itself is excellent, demanding's not pop (small p), it's not "radio-friendly" (ironically since it's from a radio broadcast)....but does it pull you in and make you part of that world for the hour and a quarter of its duration? It certainly does!

It is true that this release has been eclipsed a little, by the release of the excellent "Californian Hitch Hike" CD on Easy Action - from a concert around the same time (mostly from San Francisco 27th November 1979, and a little from 29th November '79).

So why this CD?

This concert, recorded at the Stardust Ballroom in Los Angeles, straight to air on Jed The Fish's programme on KROQ on 30th November 1979, is not quite in the same hi-fidelity as the above gig. The recording seems to be *almost*'s hard to tell if the soundmixers had enough on their hands mixing the sound to the venue itself or whether it's simply 'master' issues...what I do know is a stereo recording doesn't seem to have materialised so to date this is the best version we have got (sorry Easy Action...your own release of this on the Where The Faces Shine Vol 1 box set doesn't quite match up to the sound here in my opinion).

Part of me hopes a true stereo recording may surface one day, but given over thirty years have passed already, I won't hold my breath...

However, this gig really packs a punch, and certain tracks (China Girl, Real Cool Time and Knockin' Em Down In The City) are better than the versions on the aforementioned California...CD.

Moreoever, this concert is packed with bizarre, hectoring rants by Iggy...seemingly to troublemakers in the crowd, although surprisingly, Ivan Kral implies in the sleevenotes to the California CD that Iggy would actually be directing such rants at the most fervent fans in the crowd, who loved it!

It's an experience to savour...I used to listen to this concert complete, on tape, on journeys to London for record shopping in the 80's, and it made the day special.

Now, along with the California Hitch Hike CD too, I have a pair of souvenirs of two storming gigs Iggy did just before the 70's turned into the 80's, that I was too young and far away to attend, but I feel that have become part of my life.

Make them part of yours and see what you are missing!

Price: 13.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: Gold (Audio CD)
I have to concur with the other reviewer, this is an amazing album...less polished than a lot of his later work. Neil has sporadically produced enduring work to this day, but personally I find this set, and the first Hot August Night to be the only live albums of his I have time for, no disrespect (I did enjoy the TV special he did a couple of years back though).

The only fault if any is the collector in me wonders if there's more!? This was recorded for a radio broadcast, for forces radio, I think, and while it's a good length as an album (about 50 minutes), I wonder if the live show was longer?

Either way it's a fantastic listen - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

California Hitchhike
California Hitchhike
Price: 12.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential!!, 4 Aug 2010
This review is from: California Hitchhike (Audio CD)
This album is's the perfect Iggy solo live album that I've longed for since my early 20's...I used to listen to the Iggy LA Ballroom 79 gig on my walkman when going up to London back then, and marvelled at it. The LA recording was a peerless performance, marred only for me by the fact that despite being apparently from an FM broadcast it was in mono. Numerous efforts to trace a stereo recording failed. Later I found a San Francisco 79 FM recording, that was in stereo...but this was marred by speed defects ('wow and flutter'...minute speed fluctuation that gives a 'wobble', particularly to high pitched or keyboard sounds).

Iggy's California Hitch-Hike album here puts all that right : it's taken from the 27th and 29th Novemeber shows in San Francisco (immediately before the aforementioned LA gig). I knew the 27th gig had been recorded in high quality but had never heard it til now, and the 29th show recording sounds better than the bootleg recording I had. Thankfully the speed issues are sorted out, and the songs from the 29th (discernible from the very few from the 27th by slightly better sound) are presented in a 'thicker' mix than on the 29th recordings I'd heard. This is good in many ways...Brian James' guitar tended to 'slice' through some of the songs in the mix on the earlier bootleg recordings, and while his solos were good, that overamped guitar sound could become overbearing. Here, the more judicious mix allows the whole band to 'breathe' / be heard when Brian solos (I think the onstage sound mixer had probably been responsible for upping the guitar to the fore in the other recordings, like I say that's been put right here).

The show has amazing performances of Real Cool Time, Take Care of Me, You Really Got Me, New Values, Play It Safe, China Girl...I should point out that it's arguable the contemporaneous songs were stronger performances than their studio counterparts on Iggy's albums at the time. The sound, as implied by the sleevenotes starts ever so slightly rough, possibly due to tape damage, but quickly gets's a powerful sound and show!

Add to that, it's cased in a beautiful elongated slipcase, has a postcard of Iggy and his band, a booklet with sleevenotes, an interview, and many colour and black and white shots from the shows.

This is an essential I've gone to lengths to point out, this does make earlier privately circulated recordings redundant...I don't work for Iggy or his record company, I'm just an enthusiast who hopes you'll get this and love it too!

Page: 1