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Mark Sach

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Price: £12.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Staggeringly Inept Mastering resulting in a major mistake !, 26 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Bellybutton (Audio CD)
For all you people jumping up and down and saying how brilliant this release is, all I can say is that you haven't REALLY listened to it. I waited for this with baited breath. The sound, as one would expect, is glorious. The songs unbeatable. "What is the problem then mate" I hear you ask. Well, for a start, the mastering guy at Omnivore Records needs to be sacked. Everything was going beautifully until 'I Wanna Stay Home', then "WTF !". They have edited a far bars out of the intro, rendering the whole thing f@@@ed up. I have read about fifteen reviews of this release and no bugger has made a mention of this. So, all I can say is that all the mega fans who have previously review this edition don't know their ar@e from their elbow !
I have contacted Omnivore and asked them to let me know when the guy has been sacked.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2015 2:52 PM GMT

The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film [Revised & Expanded Ebook Edition]
The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film [Revised & Expanded Ebook Edition]
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A Beatle's Bible for the true fan !, 30 Oct. 2014
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An updated E Book version of probably the best book ever regarding the unreleased music of the Beatles. What makes this one special is that Richie actually describes the music as well as giving the background information behind what is still unreleased. Excellent stuff and perfect for every true Beatles collector.

Live At The Rainbow
Live At The Rainbow
Offered by MediaMine
Price: £14.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe CD Disc 1 - Concert March 74. Excellent but shorn........, 9 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Live At The Rainbow (Audio CD)
I'll break my review down into two parts and this is part one, which is CD 1, the March concert from the 'Queen 2' Tour. First up, the sound is excellent, it really is, and the harmonies are superb. Queen tried a little harder in the early days and this is quite evident on this disc. The intro from 'Procession' into 'Father To Son' is startling. fred also sings a few different lyrics which showcases just how new these songs were. He is probably singing the original lyrics here. It must have been very impressive if one was in the crowd. 'Ogre Battle' gives us the first chance to hear Brian's impressive 'echoplex' sound system, which just gets better and better throughout the set. 'Son & Daughter' follows and during what is labelled as 'Guitar Solo' is the embryonic 'solo' from the forthcoming 'Brighton Rock'. There is a fabulous BBC Session of this song played this way, so the idea was brewing for quite a while. Next is 'White Queen', which is my personal fav Queen song of all time. This version is simply stunning with Fred's piano playing very much to the fore during the solo. Again, this song in a very similar version is in the BBC vaults and how it wasn't added to the 'Queen 2' Deluxe edition is beyond belief. 'Great King Rat' follows and is a 'new arrangement' according to Brian. It always was a favourite amongst fans and the reception it receives is very welcome. My first gripe comes here because according to Greg Brooks 'Concert Documentary' book, they have chopped out 'Hangman' & 'Doing Alright'. 'Hangman' is still elusive amongst us 'Queenies' unless one has a very early bootleg of one of the live shows from around this period. I would have loved it to have been included on this disc as it would give everybody a chance to hear a genuine 'Queen' rarity. Oh well, never mind. The next track blew me away and it is 'The Fairy Fellers Master-Stroke'. Superb harmonies and a lovely middle section featuring Fred's piano playing a line that is quite buried on the recorded version. 'Keep Yourself Alive' sounds fresh, but I suppose it was back them, even to them. 'Seven seas Of Rhye' is spectacular as is 'Modern Times Rock n Roll' which has Fred taking the lead vocal from Roger. 'The mini medley of 'Jailhouse Rock/Stupid Cupid/Be Bop A Lula' is fine, but I would have like either 'Hangman' or 'Doing Alright' over this any day. 'Liar' charms as per usual and 'See What A Fool I've Been' is the classic workout it always has been. Overall this is a superb gig. The variety in the performance underlines just how much 'Queen' took their foot off the pedal after 'News Of The World', especially as a 'live' unit. Every tour since then, even with Paul Rogers and the latest guy, still ends with 'We Will Rock You'/'We Are The Champions' and that started in 76 unties Fred's demise in 86. They need to open with these two songs to throw everybody off the scent and wonder what is coming next .In the latter years the harmonies just disappeared too. This concert shows just what they were capable of when they really wanted to.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 9, 2014 7:58 PM BST

The Best Years Of Our Lives (Definitive Edition)
The Best Years Of Our Lives (Definitive Edition)
Offered by produXa UK
Price: £12.67

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Definitive' Edition........., 23 Jun. 2014
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It's been a great couple of years for us Harley fans. First up was the 'Cavaliers' box set which was the first two CR albums given the 'deluxe' treatment with added demos, BBC Sessions & Concert, then more recently we have had the 'Birmingham' CD & DVD set, again showcasing the first two CR albums, plus a few gems added to the set list, then finally we have this 'definitive' 4 CD version of 'Best Years', the most successful of Steve's albums ever. Regarding the album itself, it has been mastered superbly and sounds stunning in all it's glory for it. It forms CD 1 along with a few 'bonus' tracks. 'Another Journey', which continued a string of excellent 'b' sides that most artists would die for, and something that Steve would continue to do for a few albums more. Then we the single mix of 'Mr Raffles' which I always preferred to the album cut simply because the second verse of the album cut sounded almost too bare with Duncan's piano not as fully fleshed out. I always did love the little synth flourish though that came after he sings 'dream machine' which turned up again during 'Understand' on 'Timeless Flight'. Then we get two alternate versions of two key cuts. A 'rough mix' of 'Come Up & See Me' which features a different lead vocal, a couple of lyrical changes, and quite surprisingly a lovely bit of brass during one of the verses, an idea that was sadly dropped (or mixed very low) as it does add some flavour. Then finally an 'acoustic' version of the title track which I thought may have been just been the acoustic guitar & vocal isolated from the main mix, but no, this is almost a first take demo with lots of lyrical changes and a major couplet reversed. Instead of sing 'tragic' then 'magic' in the chorus he sings them the other way around, which gives a completely different vibe to the whole song.
The second & third CD's comprise the legendary gig from the Hammersmith Odeon on the 14th April 75, and what a corker of a gig this is. To many fans at the time, hearing songs from the first two albums played by this band must have been a major eye opener. Steve is on fine form, though viewing the footage that make's up the DVD on disc four, he is clearly out of his head on the happy baccy. He is grinning like a madman ! The ending of 'Sling It ' is unbelievable. And if you are wondering where the classic 'live' 'b' versions of 'Mad Mad Moonlight' & 'Sebastian' are, well they are here as this is the gig they were taken from.
It's a shame the DVD is a little butchered and only represents a few numbers, but boy is it classic footage. The bowler hat, the mad eyes, everything that makes the man such a brilliant performer is there for all to see. This film was actually a 'B' feature in the cinema at the time if you are wondering where or why it has been edited in this manner. The only clumsy bit is the intro, with a few fan's actually voicing approval that Steve is better than 'Bowie', some chance, and that 'Bowie' is too old and has disappeared ! 'Bowie' was actually on the verge of his groundbreaking 'Berlin' trilogy which by the time he had completed it, Steve was the one who had disappeared ! Some people never know do they ! Lol.
All in all though, this is an excellent package and well worth the money. Just a little afterthought, a journalist friend of mine interviewed Steve last week (June 2014) and he said Steve has plans for a complete show playing this album in full, hopefully together with 'Timeless Flight' (my personal favourite), fittingly the next two albums in the sequence carrying on from his current show which features the first two a la 'Birmingham'. Like the mans surname, 'Nice !'
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2014 7:42 AM BST

Price: £17.91

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars XTC Heaven, 7 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Nonsuch (Blu-ray)
I've been listening to this beauty all day. If ever a band was made for 5.1 mixes then it is XTC. The multi layered complex tracks that these guy's make are stunning in normal stereo, but this 5.1 mix is astonishing. I own quite a few of these type of mixes but I have to say, this one may well be the very best of them all. Steve Wilson deserves all the accolades he will get for serving up this feast for the ears. It as been thought out so well. Nothing sounds cluttered and the placement is superb throughout. One minor difference from the original album is that 'The Disappointed' doesn't segue straight into 'Holly Up On Poppy', which in a way makes this version slightly better as one can listen to each track individually without the former ending abruptly or the latter crashing in. There are small odds & ends here and there that are different, but nothing that detracts from, what is, a brilliant album. The package overall is a lesson to many a label. The CD has the 'new' stereo album mix, without the segues as per the 5.1 mix, which means that those people who already own the original CD or Vinyl album are not buying the same thing again just to get the 5.1 mix, whilst the Blu Ray disc has, wait for it, the original stereo mix, the 'new' stereo mix, a 'new' instrumental mix, a 'new' 5.1 mix, well two of them actually, one in DTS - HD the over a standard 5.1 mix, plus (!) 23 Andy Partridge demos for the album including tracks that didn't make the cut, plus (!) 8 Colin Moulding demos, again with a few that missed out, plus (!) two promotional films AND 48 minutes of footage of the guy's working in the studios, all for under £17. The icing on the cake is that the whole set is sub labelled 'XTC - The Surround Sound Series' which tells us that this is obviously the first of a number of these releases. The very thought of having 'Skylarking' and all their other classics given the extra special treatment is enough to send any XTC fan to heaven.

David Bowie Is
David Bowie Is
by Victoria Broackes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.75

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dame At The V & A In A Nutshell, 22 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: David Bowie Is (Hardcover)
If you are intending to go to see the exhibition at the V & A or not, then you need this book. It in a nutshell, it contains photos, many close up, of all the main exhibits at the museum. From all the early 'Ziggy' costumes through to the one's he wore for the Reality tour via a breathtaking section based around the Diamond Dogs tour. As no photographs are allowed to be taken at the V & A, this is the closest you will get to seeing these items again. Apart from original lyrics shown full page, and costumes mentioned above, you also get plenty of original period photos, and documents relating to stage productions, etc. My favourite photo is of the original; model of the Diamond Dogs set. As that tour didn't come to the UK, most of us have rarely even seen photos of the set, let alone a working model ! The hardback edition of the book has a lovely velvet feel to both the front and back cover. The book overall is huge, and like the man himself, beautiful.


49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant set but the wrong approach...., 27 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Tenology (Audio CD)
First up, the music is brilliant. It has been mastered well and the real bonus in this set is the DVD, which features a large chunk of the original line up in 'concert' which shows just how brilliant they were as a 'live' band. By why the wrong approach you ask ? Well I'll tell you. Basically every track from the original first four albums and the respective 'B' sides to the singles is present bar the odd track. So why didn't they just put the all the albums in their original order and where there was a different single edit, put that at the end of each album. Not enough room ? Well the last disc (4) is 53 minutes long and as a CD can hold 80 Mins, there is plenty of room. The one really silly bit is that 'I'm Not In Love' isn't on here at all in the full length version. The single edit is here, now that is a major mistake. The packaging, though brilliant is also a little confusing. The first disc is titled the 'Singles' and as thus features the single edits, only that it has the full length 'Art For Arts Sake' and 'Somewhere In Hollywood' is the full length version which wasn't even a single. 'Dreadlock Holiday' doesn't even make this disc ? I think somewhere along the line someone had one idea but didn't tell someone else. Now if it was down to me, I would have done it like thus. Everything recorded during the first album sessions, including the 'B' sides, I would have headline under 'The 10cc' Sessions, and so on, 'The Sheet Music Sessions', 'The Original Soundtrack Sessions'. It isn't hard to do and logically it would have made sense. There record company people haven't got a clue !
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2013 2:56 AM GMT

Cavaliers [An Anthology 1973-1974]
Cavaliers [An Anthology 1973-1974]
Price: £13.63

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harley's 'Decca Tapes' !, 29 Oct. 2012
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I bought this set, as most people will, for disc three, the one that contains the 'early' versions. Well, if you ever wanted to know how the 'Rebel' may have sounded prior to being signed (Hence my title description) then this is the bunny to have. Nearly all the 'Menagerie' album and the 'JT' single are here in more or less 'live in the studio' demo form. The versions of 'Sebastian', 'Mirror Freak' and 'Judy Teen' are astonishing !. 'Death Trip' isn't quite yet fully formed, but is a lovely version nonetheless. Steve hadn't fully found his voice yet, and sometimes sounds hysterical. This disc is worth the admission price alone. The rest of the set contains remastered versions of the first two albums plus the BBC Sessions set, with the added bonus of 'Hideaway' to the early gig set, plus a couple of nice 'OGWT' songs. A couple of alternate mixes also turn up, notably a version of 'Mr Soft' which shows how a subtle remix can be the difference between a hit single and a miss. The 'Peel' radio session is also included. The booklet is great, with some nice photos and sleeve notes with nice reminisces from Mr Nice himself. Interestingly Steve mentions the gig that is due at the end of November where he is playing the first two albums back to back with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, so no doubt this set is aimed and has been put together with that gig in mind. Superb stuff.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2012 4:35 PM GMT

Pet Sounds
Pet Sounds
Price: £35.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sounding disc marred by an authoring error !, 28 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Pet Sounds (Audio CD)
As the other reviewer has already said, sound wise this is probably the best you are going to get regarding this legendary album. hence the five stars. However a major authoring error has meant that the first five seconds of 'here Today' are tagged onto the end of 'I Know There Is An Answer' ! As these discs are THE benchmark it baffles me as to how this has slipped through the net. maybe the 'temporarily unavailable' stance on both Amazon UK & US means that someone has now noticed this schoolboy error.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2012 10:30 PM BST

Station To Station
Station To Station
Offered by SmokeCDs
Price: £69.90

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Live At Nassau' (Digital Download) A re-assessment, 27 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Station To Station (Audio CD)
First of all I would like to say that I have bought the Deluxe, Standard & Digital download version of 'STS', and despite what other people have commented about the 'Live' set, take it from me, there is nothing wrong with it. Maybe the others have got a duff copy or whatever but MY copy is excellent. The audience is mixed further back than the bootleg, but in no way is this 'tinny' or 'compressed'. The sound is magnificent and is crystal clear and consistent all the way through. The person who say's the levels are all over the place is having a laugh. I read the reviews here first and then played it fearing the worst. I thought they had to be wrong, and they are. In the Deluxe package, Harry Maslin goes into quite a lot of detail of how the concert was recorded and overseen by himself. I very much doubted he would would have waxed lyrical about a set that someone has described as 'bootleg' quality ! The set up is as follows. Carlos Alomar and his vocal to the left, Dennis Davis' drums are panned Hi Toms to the right and Low to the left, so when he plays around the kit we get a wonderful sweep from right to left. Tony Kaye's keyboards and vocal are centre, as is George Murray's bass and occasional vocal, and there is plenty of bass. How someone can say it has no bottom end is beyond me. George has a very 'toppy' sound overall, but he has a lovely warm bottom end when he goes there. Stacy Heydon's guitar and vocal is to the right. The mix is superb, especially on 'Station To Station' & 'Stay' where the two guitarist's trade licks and this is a lovely left and right trade off. The only grumble I have is that for the digital download the 'Panic In Detroit' unedited mix should have been placed where it was in the original concert, instead of being tagged on at the end as a bonus track. I tried to move it into its correct position but this only caused a gap where the track was faded up at the beginning and another gap at the end where it was faded down. This unedited version is also a slightly different mix to the one included in the Deluxe and Standard versions in that the guitars are central, whereas the Deluxe and Standard versions have the guitars mixed as per the main set, Carlos to the left, Stacey to the right, plus there is an intro for Stacey and an intro for 'Changes, which is not on the Unedited mix. I'm sure it wouldn't have taken much for this to have been mixed the same as the main set and placed in its appropriate position. Then the Edited version should have been a bonus track, though its not really needed at all if this had been done in the first place. But as I say, Don't be put off by what you have read elsewhere, this is without a doubt the Dame's best ever 'Live' gig that is officially available. Excellent.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2010 3:54 PM BST

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