Profile for Peter Uys > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Peter Uys
Top Reviewer Ranking: 853
Helpful Votes: 21376

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Peter Uys "Toypom" (Sandton)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Trans-Europe Express
Trans-Europe Express
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey through space and time, 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Trans-Europe Express (Audio CD)
The theme of this enchanting work from 1977 is travel, giving the impression of a continental train ride with constantly changing scenery.

The overall style resembles their popular track Autobahn, with the same hypnotic qualities but with a wider symphonic scope. The vast melodic sweep provides its most memorable moments in songs like the lilting Europe Endlos and the title track, which reminds me of Bowie's Station to Station in its chugging rhythms.

The most explorative instrumental passages occur on Hall Of Mirrors whilst Metal On Metal and Abzug are both reprises of Trans Europa Express with industrial and dub undertones.

Franz Schubert is a beautiful melodious instrumental which recalls the atmospheric work of Peter Baumann and this magnificent album concludes with Endless Endless, a brief reprise of Europe Endless. This is electronic music at its very best, hypnotic and engaging. Almost as great as their masterpiece Radio-Activity.


Trans Europa Express -Ger
Trans Europa Express -Ger
Price: £17.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From station to station, 26 Feb. 2011
This is the German version of the classic album Trans-Europe Express. The theme of this enchanting work from 1977 is travel, giving the impression of a continental train ride with constantly changing scenery.

The overall style resembles their popular track Autobahn, with the same hypnotic qualities but with a wider symphonic scope. The vast melodic sweep provides its most memorable moments in songs like the lilting Europa Endlos and the title track, which reminds me of Bowie's Station to Station in its chugging rhythms.

The most explorative instrumental passages occur on Spiegelsaal (Hall Of Mirrors) whilst Metall Auf Metall and Abzug are both reprises of Trans Europa Express with industrial and dub undertones.

Franz Schubert is a beautiful melodious instrumental which recalls the atmospheric work of Peter Baumann and this magnificent album concludes with Endlos Endlos, a brief reprise of Europa Endlos. This is electronic music at its very best, hypnotic and engaging. Almost as great as their masterpiece Radio-Activity.


Cadillac Walk: The Mink DeVille Collection
Cadillac Walk: The Mink DeVille Collection
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £6.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpieces in many moods & styles, 20 Feb. 2011
Drawn from the first three albums of Mink DeVille, this compilation of the brilliant but strangely under-appreciated Willy opens with the edgy rhythm of Spanish Stroll where Spanish guitar, soulful female backing vocals and streetwise delivery reminiscent of Lou Reed guarantee a timeless classic. The stylistic variety is breathtaking, from the catchy doowop of Mixed Up Shook Up Girl to the late 70s angry punk of Gunslinger in the vein of Patti Smith or Richard Hell & The Voidoids.

A blend of moody ballad and furious rock, Venus Of Avenue D erupts in powerful riffs whilst atmospheric sax graces the tranquil parts. A galloping beat heralds the arrival of Confidence to Kill, a brief spurt of angry punk. Cadillac Walk is a brooding story song in a mix of southern boogie and new wave rock. Other energetic uptempo rockers are Soul Twist and Savoir Faire.

The most magnificent ballads on this album include the moving love song Guardian Angel, the rousing You Just Keep Holding On, the romantic This Must Be The Night and the achingly tender I Broke That Promise with spoken vocals in Spanish. And then there's the zydeco sound of the lilting and hypnotic Mazurka ...

As songwriter and performer, Willy DeVille ranks amongst the greats like Springsteen, Tom Petty, Lou Reed, John Cale, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and Michael Gira. There is real soul in his always melodious, mostly spectacular songs. The album includes a booklet with information and photographs.


Kissin Time
Kissin Time

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not particularly memorable, 17 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Kissin Time (Audio CD)
Marianne Faithfull has always been expert at staying ahead of the times, as with the seminal Broken English in 1979. Kissin' Time sees Faithfull once again at the cutting edge of pop, with assistance by Beck (Sex With Strangers, Like Being Born, Nobody's Fault), Billy Corgan (Wherever I Go, Something Good), Dave Stewart (Song For Nico), Jarvis Cocker (Sliding Through Life On Charm) and Blur, on the title track.

I have always associated her with other famous blondes of the 60s like Nico and Anita Pallenberg, so it's apt that she does a tribute to the Velvet Underground chanteuse with the expert help of Dave Stewart. But I miss the emotional resonance and the authenticity of Vagabond Ways, her previous masterpiece. After the first track, the listening pleasure only really resumes on the ironic Sliding Through Life On Charm with its witty autobiographical references. Talking of which, Marianne discusses this album in her book Memories, Dreams and Reflections.

I also love the lilting pop/reggae of Love & Money and the lovely pop of her cover of Goffin & King's Something Good, which is reminiscent of the type of innocent 60s songs she used to sing at the start of her career. If it weren't for the voice of course, that has dropped to a more husky tone. My tracks of choice also include Sex With Strangers with its ironic comments and nervous beat. So this is the latest manifestation of Marianne reinventing herself, and it's interesting, but not always emotionally gripping and memorable. Still, it deserves four stars for musical variety and humor.


Vagabond Ways
Vagabond Ways

5.0 out of 5 stars Mariannifesto, 17 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Vagabond Ways (Audio CD)
The predominantly somber Vagabond Ways is a shimmering masterpiece without even one throwaway track. Five of these melodious pop songs were co-written by Marianne, with Barry Reynolds involved in the writing of three of them. Quite a few are reminiscences of the 1960s, like the title track, Roger Waters' Incarceration of a Flower Child, and File It Under Fun From The Past, an equally mournful song of regret & resignation adorned by cello & viola.

The atmospheric Marathon Kiss, written & co-produced by Daniel Lanois and with Emmylou Harris on backing vocals, is truly magnificent, the distilled essence of the early to mid 1980s era Faithfull when she maintained a creative peak with three consecutive albums on Island Records. Electra, Wilder Shores of Love & the romantic Great Expectations are similar down-tempo numbers of lost love and yearning.

Her exquisite interpretations lend new meaning to Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man, the Roger Waters' song & For Wanting You, the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition. The album concludes with Marianne's recital of the poem After The Ceasefire. Vagabond Ways is on a par with her classic trilogy of Broken English, A Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances - another radiant jewel in her crown and a definite five star album. Marianne discusses this album in her book Memories, Dreams and Reflections.


No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty read, 17 Feb. 2011
This riveting sequel to 1994's Faithfull is less formal and detailed, a series of vignettes of people, places, movies, plays & music rather than a structured narrative. The first chapter deals with some unexpected, funny and frightening reactions to the first book. Along the way, her observations serve as a captivating history of popular culture since the 1960s. Yes, there are flashbacks; Marianne revisits her family background, childhood impressions and many interesting personalities and scenarios from the 60s and beyond.

She writes with candor about her long relationship with drugs but the most arresting parts are those in which she affectionately remembers friends and acquaintances, living and departed, like the author Caroline Blackwood (who was briefly married to the confessional poet Robert Lowell), Henrietta Moraes, Roman Polanski and the legendary Beat writers William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. Fans of her music will love the three chapters devoted to the recording of specific albums: Vagabond Ways of 1999, Kissin' Time of 2002 and Before the Poison, released in 2004.

The most absorbing flashbacks to the 1960s include reminiscences of the young Beatles, Stones, Brian Epstein, Andrew Oldham, Joe Orton and albums like Revolver, Sgt Pepper, Pet Sounds, Ram & Tea for the Tillerman. She shares with Bob Dylan an ambivalence towards the sixties, claiming that 1950s bohemia was more authentic with e.g. the Beats and the decade's jazz masterpieces, so unlike the mass bohemia of the next decade which resulted in much tragedy and wretched excess. Yes, and rock `n roll was born although she doesn't mention the phenomenon.

The chapter My Life as a Magpie is a brief filmography; Marianne performed in films & TV series like Absolutely Fabulous, The Black Rider, Marie Antoinette, Irina Palm, Moondance, Shopping, Intimacy, Paris je t'aime, Lucifer Rising and Girl on a Motorcycle amongst others. One of the most enjoyable features of the book is her knowledge of and appreciation of art & literature. The text is enhanced by references to Blake, Francis Bacon, Boccaccio, Brecht, Cocteau, Dante, Flaubert, Lucian Freud, Horace, Keats, Kerouac, Lowell, Maimonides, Marlowe, Murdoch, Petrarch, Pope, Rimbaud, Sartre, Shelley, Verlaine and Welles, to mention a few.

Less famous authors, actors and directors that she appreciates plus books & movies that she finds noteworthy are introduced with interesting anecdotes or brief descriptions. These include Juliette Greco, Mick Brown, Frank Wedekind, Roberto Calasso, Philip Pullman, John Cooper Powys, Pretty Baby, Les Enfants du Paradis, Innocence, The Third Man and Manon des Sources. The chapter on Decadence with reference to Huysmans' "A Rebours" made me laugh out loud due to its subversive view of nature as measured against the Zeitgeist. The protagonist finds the artificial more appealing than the organic, praising two steam locomotives whilst dismissing nature's `disgusting sameness.' Another heresy is Marianne's rejection of the artist's self-destructive Romantic urge as infantile.

Two sets of plates, one at the beginning and another in the middle, contain 29 full-color and black & white photographs; the book concludes with an index. Although the aforementioned autobiography titled Faithfull is informative and entertaining, the spontaneity of this sequel makes it the more appealing of the two. In Marianne, the wisdom of age emerges hand-in-hand with the most delightful humor. I enjoyed this sparkling read; it is as amusing as the James Young biography of Nico, Nico, Songs They Never Play on the Radio, but significantly more thought-provoking. Currently out of print, Marianne Faithfull: As Tears Go By is a revealing biography by Mark Hodkinson that charts Marianne's life and career up to 1991.


Broken English
Broken English

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue decadence, 17 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
Although the boundaries of the permissible have shifted since this album's release, Broken English has lost none of its trenchant appeal. And despite many female artists now using explicit lyrics, Why d'Ya Do It? still sounds fresh, perhaps because it originally was written as a poem by Heathcote Williams.

Her version of Lennon's Working Class Hero sounds as sharp as ever, while the brooding title track is still relevant today. On the melodic side, Lucy Jordan has become quite a standard and could easily be considered a country weepy, while Witches Song remains eerie and anthemic. The sound is typical 80's rock with tight musicianship supporting this classic monument to decadence and despair.

Marianne discusses the recording of Broken English in her autobiography Faithfull; Brain Drain was co-written by the tragic singer-songwriter Tim Hardin who might have inspired the title of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding.

This is probably her best selling album of all time for all the wrong reasons! The other two works from the same period, Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances, are equally excellent and will richly reward the listener. Nevertheless, Broken English stands tall as a masterpiece of broken taboos, subversive poetics and timeless songs.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars The fruition of Live Songs & Songs of Love and Hate, 16 Feb. 2011
Death Of A Ladies Man is an album of great depth and striking songs although some may sound harsh to sensitive souls attuned to the singer-songwriter style of the 1970s. As for the complaints about Phil Spector's production, the sound is not that far removed from certain tracks on Cohen's 1974 album New Skin for the Old Ceremony, for example Is This What You Wanted? and Lover Lover Lover Come Back To Me that have the same raw vocals & heavy rock instrumentation as opposed to the acoustic simplicity & gentle vocals usually associated with his music.

So there definitely was a precedent for Leonard the Rocker. His own aversion to the album - he completely ignored it in compiling The Essential Leonard Cohen - probably has more to do with unpleasant memories relating to the recording process, which apparently was quite harrowing, than with the actual music. There is simply nothing wrong with the melodies or the lyrics; the arrangements and the vocals are a matter of taste.

On tracks like the plodding drum-dominated Iodine, Memories with its complex arrangement and impressive saxophones & the thunderously pounding Don't Go Home his voice strains a bit against Spector's production (quite appropriately echoing the bitter sentiment of the songs), but the tuneful & twirling True Love Leaves No Traces is gentle and tender (one of his best songs) with stirring female vocals by Renee Blackley who contributes same on Iodine and Memories.

The lyrics are sheer poetry, as in "True loves leaves no traces/If you and I are one/It's lost in our embraces/Like stars against the sun" and in the acerbic Paper-Thin Hotel: "It's written on the walls of this hotel/You go to heaven once you've been to hell/A heavy burden lifted from my soul/I heard that love was out of my control." The harshest element in Iodine is the lyrics, not the drums or the overall sound which is rendered highly atmospheric by the other-worldly backing vocals.

Bob Dylan and Alan Ginsberg are credited with vocals on Don't Go Home ... a truly impressive tour de force with a rolling rhythm and vibrant percussive patterns. It is indeed an out and out rock song with powerful guitars, driving rhythms, lovely piano rolls and apparent anger which really turns out to be humor in the end. With more bombast, Meat Loaf could record a rock-operatic cover and surpass his success with Bat out of Hell.

Besides True Love Leaves No Traces, the other immediately appealing songs are the elegantly arranged I Left A Woman Waiting where Leonard's voice hovers between speaking and singing the sensual lyrics & the tuneful and buoyant Fingerprints. This fiddle feast with its lilting, propulsive beat must be one of the most catchy country songs of all time. The closest Cohen came to country again was the track The Captain on the 1984 album Various Positions.

The weighty title track Death of a Ladies' Man is gravitas at its gravest; the arrangement is majestic with outstanding doom-laden choral vocals that advance and recede, occasionally allowing a single female vocal to briefly frame his voice. And it includes segments where a single instrument or hypnotic instrumental pattern comes to the fore.

With its overall drone-like ambience it is a masterpiece so dark that one may consider it an early exploration - albeit accidental - of the direction the legendary band Swans pursued on their album The Great Annihilator in the 1990s. It would have been perfect for Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico as it calls to mind Das Lied der Deutschen on her 1974 album The End.

The sleeve notes credit "Spector & Cohen" as composers of each and every track with no further information as to lyrics or music. Spector was responsible for all vocal arrangements and for rhythm arrangements on six tracks. The two exceptions are I Left A Woman Waiting & Iodine where Nino Tempo takes the credit. Phil definitely set out to recreate his famous wall of sound with seventeen backing vocalists and an array of instruments that includes guitars, drums, keyboards, synth, bass, percussion, fiddle, sax, flute, trombone, trumpet, organ and vibes.

Proof of the quality of these compositions can be found on the excellent tribute album I'm Your Fan where True Love Leaves No Traces is given a breezy 1970s pop treatment by Dead Famous People & Don't Go Home With Your Hard ... is covered well enough by David McComb & Adam Peters. I loved Death of a Ladies' Man when it was released in 1978 and I appreciate it even more now. Like everybody else, Cohen is allowed to shout sometimes. If he doesn't like the production, nothing stops him from re-recording these great songs.


live songs LP
live songs LP

5.0 out of 5 stars Anguished, harrowing, melancholy, 16 Feb. 2011
This review is from: live songs LP (Vinyl)
Live Songs, released in 1973, is a compilation of live performances in London & The Isle of Wight in 1970, and in Berlin, Brussels, London, Paris and a "room in Tennessee" in 1972. The stirring female backing vocals that characterize Cohen's best work are prominent throughout and come from Donna Washburn & Jennifer Warren on the 1972 tracks and from Aileen Fowler & Corlynn Hanney in 1970. The album is one of Cohen's early classics and should be part of every fan's collection.

The brief intro Minute Prologue & the songs Passing Thru, Please Don't Pass Me By & Queen Victoria are rare, if not unique to this album. It would be great if studio versions existed. The prologue expresses something quite meaningful for devoted fans, the yearning Passing Through ("glad that I ran into you") is tuneful and rhythmic, colored by scriptural imagery and a clever pun or two whilst the mystical masterpiece You Know Who I Am gets a delicate & reverential treatment.

Bird On A Wire has a brief spoken introduction in French, something about searching for freedom in the heart of the night, and the lyrics slightly stray from the original in a few places. The centerpiece of the album is the 14-minute long Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace) with its spoken sections and harrowing, almost unbearably painful message. Some very perturbing truths about the human condition are conveyed in this anguished performance. Phew! A more digestible song in the same vein is The Captain on Various Positions.

The sensual track Tonight Will Be Fine is performed up-tempo with appealing fiddle and banjo. I think this more rhythmic version has an additional verse not found on the original from Songs from a Room. In his classical acoustic style Story of Isaac and Seems So Long Ago Nancy are tenderly interpreted and there is also a gentle acoustic instrumental titled Improvisation. Live Songs concludes with Queen Victoria that appears as a poem in his poetry books Flowers for Hitler of 1964 and Selected Poems 1956 - 1968 published in 1969.

These performances have a quality, subtle or raw, that re-interprets the familiar songs in a different light; a side of early Cohen that fans will miss out on if they don't own this album. This rawness of e.g. Please Don't Pass Me By later manifested on the Phil Spector-produced Death of a Ladies' Man to the consternation of many of Cohen's fans, but it was always a part of his musical make-up, as demonstrate here. Live Songs is an exceptional album of great splendor and power, an essential recording in Leonard Cohen's work.


Songs from The Road
Songs from The Road
Price: £42.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One dozen diamonds in the mine, 16 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Songs from The Road (Audio CD)
These 12 tracks from the 2008/2009 world tour were selected for their special qualities as explained by producer Ed Sanders in the sleeve notes. They represent a blend of the familiar - refreshed and rejuvenated by innovative arrangements - and the obscure. The "greatest hits" are Bird On The Wire, Suzanne, Famous Blue Raincoat, Hallelujah, The Partisan and Chelsea Hotel.

The highlights, however, are three lesser known songs, i.e. Heart With No Companion, Lover Lover Lover and Closing Time. Lover Lover Lover's lilting rhythms transform the song far away from the harsh 1973 studio version on New Skin For The Old Ceremony whilst the slightly amended lyrics and jazzy treatment give Bird On The Wire a whole different feel.

From Gothenburg in Sweden, there's an austere, acoustic rendition of Avalanche from Songs Of Love And Hate. The buoyantly performed Heart With No Companion in Oberhausen, Germany, raises gooseflesh with the lines "through the days of shame that coming, through the nights of wild distress". The only outdoor performance is of Hallelujah at a festival in California and the album concludes with a vibrant version of Closing Time in London, Ontario.

No tracks from Dear Heather, I'm Your Man, Recent Songs, or Death of a Ladies' Man are included; live versions of songs from the last two are available on 1979 Field Commander Cohen which was recorded in the UK in 1979 and released in 2000. Cohen's first live album, Live Songs (1974) is also highly recommended for its rare tracks like Queen Victoria and Please Don't Pass Me By.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20