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Richard de Jongh-richiedj "Richiedj" (Watford)

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Earthbound: Complete Abc
Earthbound: Complete Abc
Price: £13.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly No Crash Landing............., 21 Jun. 2014
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I can remember nearly 40 years ago reading of Jim Webb's involvement in the new 5th Dimension album and the anticipation of getting it home and playing for the first time,and there it was,the majestic opening that was the prologue of Earthbound,Joy oh joy I cried,Magic Garden vol 2 has finally come! Well,not really it hadn't,as it turned out this is an okay album but not the great one I thought/hoped it would be,the performance is as always superb,but as had been the problem since(in my opinion anyway)the Love Lines....album the material was not always the best.George Harison's 'Be Here Now' and the Stones 'Moonlight Mile' work very well and Jimmy Webb's wonderful 'Walk Your Feet In The Sunshine' would have stood out on any of their early 'classic' albums.
I have to admit that the fact that this group produced two of my very favourite albums ever,Up Up and Away and the sublime Magic Garden(Stoned Soul Picnic isn't far behind)leaves me a little biased and loathe to be over critical,so to all long serving fans who perhaps missed this in 1975 I honestly don't think you'll be too disappointed,but to the casual buyer who may be interested my advice would be to get the three albums I mentioned above first.


Natural High
Natural High
Price: £23.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Their Height!, 30 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Natural High (Audio CD)
This 1978 album was for me the Commodores at their peak,with another perfect blend of their funky hard sound and superlative ballads. The first time I heard "Flying High" was through a fabulous record shop sound system and I bought the album there and then at the expensive import price. There wasn't an hour that went by when you didn't hear "Three Times A Lady" on the radio once it was released as a single, but the only way to hear it is the wonderful full album version - just superb. The crowning moment on the whole album though is saved for last with the magnificent "Visions",the counter-part vocal arrangement and the very tastefully written strings at the coda bringing the entire set to a perfect end. Get this while you can!


The Association (Expanded Edition)
The Association (Expanded Edition)
Price: £10.66

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harmony Pop At It's Peak!, 16 July 2013
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Guy Incognito's great review has got it spot on,but I just had to throw in my two pence worth(with inflation we'll make that a quid).
Music is about personal taste,mine has always been West Coast vocal groups(although I do love Motown and soul)and the Association have always for me been second only to the Beach Boys in the harmony technique department,and this album is probably considered the high spot of their brilliant career.
Starting with Terry Kirkman's "Look At Me,Look At You",with the usual superlative backing vocals,on to the only track you would have picked as hit single material "Yes I Will", I thought "so far so great" on my first hearing. What followed had me spellbound,Jules Alexander's "Love Affair" with Jim Yester's finest ever lead vocal is an absolute masterpiece, with one of the most intricate backing vocal arrangements you'll ever hear - stunning!The next two cuts,"The Nest" and "What Were The Words" really weren't far behind in terms of both song quality and performance.
I tend to agree with Guy about "Are You Ready",it certainly wasn't bad(they didn't know what bad was.....)but I just felt they were a little out of their comfort zone,but what the heck,it really didn't matter.
Side two continued with the delightful "Dubuque Blues" followed by another beauty in the shape of "Under Branches" with quality control certainly doing a great job."I Am Up For Europe" and the jokey "Broccoli" let the side down a little but by this point I was ready to forgive a little self indulgence.
"Goodbye Forever" has always one of those songs that the chorus, for some unknown reason,comes into my head at various times,another great Jules Alexander composition. Terry Kirkman always had the knack of writing "big" numbers and the majestic closer "Boy On The Mountain" is no exception-a fitting end to an incredible album.
By now,the one thing the Association had lost the ability, or perhaps the inclination,to do was produce a big hit single, and whereas it didn't particularly matter to us who loved the group hit of no hit,it ultimately would have to have an effect on the longevity of the group. Although there were still plenty of great moments to come!
Now Sounds have done their usual fabulous job of including a load of bonus tracks including the two singles "Just About The Same" and "Six Man Band" and the overall presentation is once again faultless.If you are yet to be enthralled by the wonder that is the Association - it honestly doesn't get much better than this.Magnificent!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 8:03 AM BST


Caston & Majors (Expanded Edition)
Caston & Majors (Expanded Edition)
Price: £7.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caston - one of the Majors of Motown!, 29 Mar. 2013
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Eric's Charge's first class review pretty much sums it up,but like Eric I was so knocked out when I saw it was going to finally come out on CD,I feel I just want to also express my delight at this album.
The name Leonard Caston first came to my attention when I heard "This Used To Be The Home Of Johnny Mae" off the Eddie Kendricks debut album in 1971,at the time he was only a co-writer but very shortly he was co producing Eddie's albums with Frank Wilson and they all had a fantastic,not to mention unique,quality about them that made them amongst my very favourites from the Motown stable(and I am one of the sad sorts who gets just about everything that is released with the M stamp).
So,when I saw he had an album out, teamed with Carolyn Majors,I couldn't wait to get it home to play.The opening track "Child Of Love" had me straight away,heavens this was going to be a great album I said to myself,I have to admit Carolyn's "There's Fear" brought me down to earth a little and it dawned on me that there was a certain pattern starting to form here(like the naive soul I am I didn't even twig from the cover...)and not being the biggest of religious sorts I was beginning to wonder if I was going to enjoy this quite like I'd hoped.After "Satisfied Mind(Sing)","I'll Leave A Light In My Window" and "No One Will Know" I realised the subject matter didn't matter one bit and I loved the album.

The "lost album" bonus tracks,as Eric says" are a seamless continuation and are a "bonus" in every sense of the word.Rather than being a religiously themed collection of songs(not that there's anything wrong with that),I see this as just another showcase of what a great,and very underestimated,talent Leonard Caston was.


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £14.04

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art's Gallery!, 4 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Another brilliant set from the Original Album Classics series gives us AG's first five glorious albums.It's such a shame that when Simon and Garfunkel split Paul seemed to take the "coolness" of S&G with him and I know one or two fans of the duo that continued to buy Paul's albums but considered Art a little too MOR.No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't convince them that they were talking nonsense,they were both making great records!
From "Angel Clare" right through to the wonderful "Scissors Cut" we are treated to original songs mixed with covers that are equally given faultless performances and delivered with a passion that is sometimes perfectly understated and never "hammy".His tuning and intonation are as perfect as they always were with S&G and for me personally he was one of the finest vocalists in the business.My own favourites were "Watermark" and "Scissors Cut", the former especially treating us to superlative songs from Jimmy Webb and for me are both alone worth the price of the complete set.
If you've only heard AG on the radio singing "Bright Eyes" and "I Only have Eyes For You",please invest a few quid in this delightful collection,I honestly think you won't be disappointed in the slightest.


Tantalizing Colours: The Reprise Recordings
Tantalizing Colours: The Reprise Recordings
Price: £8.60

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MC Squared = Harmony Treat, 3 Oct. 2012
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Another unearthed gem from the wonderful Now Sounds label,MC Squared finally get an album released 46 years after recording it,how frustrating must that have been?
Musically I suppose,they sit midway between the Mamas and the Papas and Spanky and Our Gang,although you get the distinct feeling that they saw themselves more like Jefferson Airplane.Their sound was a bit of a paradox,sunshine pop harmonies complementing self penned serious subject matter such as "Do You Care" and the anti Vietnam "Adults Only".I can only suspect that the reason that perhaps Reprise decided not to release the album was the lack of anything resembling a hit single and figured that by 1968 there were plenty of other bands/singers addressing serious stuff(Jefferson Airplane,Leonard Cohen,Doors etc) that had the appropriate credibility and image to go with it.Whether that was a correct decision or not we'll never know,but I'm just grateful to have a very enjoyable set from a more than capable vocal harmony group.If you have the Mamas and the Papas,Spanky and Our Gang,Eternity's Children or Sunshine Company in your collection then I strongly recommend that you give this a listen.


The Complete Warner Bros. & Valiant Singles Collection
The Complete Warner Bros. & Valiant Singles Collection
Price: £12.29

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth Of Harmony Riches!, 7 Jun. 2012
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What an absolute treat this is,two discs filled with great songs sung by one of the very best American vocal groups of the sixties.I first heard the Association in 1966 and have loved them ever since.
At the start of their career folk rock was the in thing and this is reflected in the first two tracks,perfectly okay but they didn't really give an indication of what was to come.It was the ultra cool "Along Comes Mary" with the distinctive harpsichord and guitar intro followed by Jim Yester's excellently fitting lead vocal,obscure(drug related?) lyrics and what was to become the trademark backing vocals that made everyone sit up and listen, as well as being their introduction to the US top ten.But something completely different was to come next,the follow up single was a beautiful slow love song sung by a different lead vocalist(Terry Kirkman) with a classy baritone voice - Cherish was nonetheless just as cool as "Mary" in it's own way and stayed at number 1 for weeks,ending up being one of the best selling singles of the year in America.The flipside "Don't Blame It On Me" was a real gem,a great number delivered with a passionate Russ Giguere lead vocal, the trumpet imitating backing vocals making you realise that these guys were very special.Then came the pyschedelic "Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies","Looking Glass" and the wonderful,heartbreaking "No Fair At All",sadly all minor hits but all lead by different vocalists - how many singers did this group have for heavens sake? Just as it was thought that the Association had had their day(two misses at the top ten usually spelt the end of the road in those days)along came Windy and placed the group back where they belonged, at the top of the US charts.A cracking song,another harpsichord intro,a great driving lead vocal and top notch backing vocals - how could it fail! The rest of disc one is filled by more first class songs,"Never My Love",Everything That Touches You" - both monter hits in the states, and their only British hit "Time For Living".The "B" sides which were anything but throwaways are all included here,each one filled with the best backing vocals you could ask for.
Disc two has everything disc one has except one crucial factor - a big hit.But no matter, the quality was every bit as good and "Goodbye Columbus"(from the film of the same name),"Under Branches","Look At Me Look At You","Along The Way" and Jimmy Webb's "PF Sloan" are all sensational - in fact there really isn't a duff moment across either disc.The booklet that comes with this superb set gives a short narration of every track by various group members and is the cherry on the top.Summing up then-so much talent,so many brilliant songs and not nearly enough long term success - if only they had taken "McArthur Park" when Jim Webb offered it to them. Great Stuff!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2013 11:34 AM BST


That's Why God Made The Radio
That's Why God Made The Radio
Offered by Entertainment Direct
Price: £4.79

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's Why He Made The Beach Boys!, 6 Jun. 2012
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I bought my first Beach Boy album,Shut Down Vol 2, in the Summer of 1964 with 2 weeks paper round money(thankfully i could afford to give it up last winter) and since then I have bought every album of theirs.Despite loving many,many groups and singers spanning many genres over the last 48 years(and still buying new stuff such as Keane,Coldplay,Snow Patrol etc)I have considered the Beach Boys to be my favourite group but have also tried my very best to stay objective when assessing any new material.There is no denying they have had one or two suspect moments over the years,with me personally considering the three albums from the the mid 70's their lowest point(it's only my opinion BB guys please don't shoot me)but when you've made over thirty albums,lost two absolutely pivotal members along the way in tragic circumstances and provided some of the most wonderful listening moments in so many people's lives,a below standard album or two can be easily forgiven,expected even.
So taking all the above into consideration I have to say "That's Why God Made Radio" is a delightful album.Sure they have recruited the help of a few more than capable friends,with Jeff Foskett especially making the top end of the harmonies sparkle almost as if Carl is still standing around the microphone,but what the heck,the end result is a BB album that is full of great harmony drenched vocals performing some of the best songs in a very long time.From the lovely wordless "Think About The Days" opener,to the latin feel of "The Private Life Of Bill And Sue",right through until the very end of the closing "Summer's Gone",it's the majestic backing vocals that fill the speakers from both sides - in short it's the very reason most of the long standing lovers of the band joined the club in the first place.To top it all,in "From There To Back Again" you have a song and performance that would stand up alongside their very best of any album or era,that's saying something after fifty years.A particularly significant point for me is that they are no longer trying to sound like "cool young guys cruising for chicks in the stingray on the way to the beach",and thank heavens for that. They do make a nod to the old days here and there,quite naturally,but they are no longer pretending to be living them.Elder statesman growing old-ish gracefully - even you Mike.........................maybe.
Even if you're not a big Beach Boy fan,if excellent harmonies is what you're after this is an album you would not be disappointed with - and you'd be making some old men VERY happy!(myself included)


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £12.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 BY ONE OF THE BEST!, 15 April 2012
This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
The Original Album Series seems to get mixed reviews with the negative ones being mainly about the cardboard mini sleeves,true you can't usually read the original sleeve notes without the help of a strong magnifying glass but nevertheless I for one think it's a brilliant idea(the series that is)and am very grateful to be able to obtain 5(or in this case 4 including one double)albums for near enough the price of one.I've always thought of Dan Fogelberg as one of the finest singer/songwriters and bought a number of his albums as they came out.His first "Home Free" was a fairly low key affair in so much as it was mainly basic rhythm section and vocals but it was Dan's endearing voice that made him stand out for me.His second album "Souvenirs" is not included here but it's a wonderful collection and after buying this I would add that to your basket also(no I'm not on commision).Then came "Captured Angel" and this is where the big orchestrations started gracing the great songs - now you're beginning to get more than your money's worth.But it was with "Netherlands" that I started placing Dan into my premiere league.Starting with the magnificent symphonic opening title track which holds your attention and doesn't let you go until the very end.The achingly beautiful "Dancing Shoes" renders you spellbound,Dan's voice has a delicate quality but at the same time you know this is a strong character telling the story.The rest of "Netherlands" is all top quality and slips in and out of my top ten favourites from time to time.Having said all that,"The Innocent Age" is a double album of an incredibly constant high standard.Representing disc one, the title track,the understated and very touching tribute to his musician father "Leader of the Band" and the wonderful story about Dan's chance meeting with an old flame "Same Old Lang Syne"are as good as you'll find anywhere.On to disc two you can't hear the join where the quality is concerned, with the lovely "The Lions Share","Only The Heart May Know","The Reach" and the grandeur of the final track "Ghosts" rounding off a double album that is impossible to find fault with unless you're being unreasonably picky.If you're unfamiliar with Dan Fogelberg and have read this out of curiosity,I hope I've convinced you to give it a try,if I ran shop and you'd bought it from me I'd offer a "satisfaction or your money back" guarantee - can't say fairer than that!


Anything Goes (Deluxe Expanded Edition)
Anything Goes (Deluxe Expanded Edition)
Price: £9.90

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre But Beautiful!, 14 April 2012
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For a few of my fellow music loving friends of the mid 60's,Harpers Bizarre were a little too twee and tame for their liking and pretty much dismissed as an oldies covers outfit.Now even though their perception was partly correct,they also missed the fact that a few future highly credible musical luminaries were very much a part of making Harpers Bizarre one of the most interesting and diverse pop outfits of the mid to late sixties.Leon Russell,Van Dyke Parks and Randy Newman all contributed either arrangements,their playing prowess or fabulous songs to complement the very distinctive,and charming,sound of the group.
The opening track sets a 20's/30's feel with a mock radio announcer introducing "Anything Goes" sung by the legendary composer Cole Porter which after the first verse is taken over by the fabulous horn intro of the Harpers Bizarre full version.A great,and very original,start to the album.Next comes another Porter number "Two Little Babes In The Woods" which is good but then comes the first Randy Newman delight in the shape of "The Biggest Night Of Her Life",what a great song delivered in the deceptively innocent HB style.Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's classic "Pocket Full Of Miracles" comes next but it's the song it makes way for,another Randy Newman composition "Snow", that starts to make this so far good album turn great.A wonderful melody,a great lyric and a delicate vocal performance wrapped up in a very thoughtful arrangement - not a lot else to say really!There are what I consider to be a couple of fillers in "Louisiana Man" and "Milord" as we progress through what was side 2 of the album,not a criticism just an opinion.Milord in particular is a great number but it should always have oomph when performed and that is lacking a little on this version.As we move along to the wonderful "Jesse" once again we get treated to a 5 star song with exactly the same ingredients used in "Snow",just lovely.But the highlight of the album is saved for last,Van Dyke Park's "High Coin" is an absolute gem and has always been a song that I've had to stop whatever I'm doing and listen intently to.I can't pretend to understand what Van Dyke's lyrics mean,"Heroes and Villains" has been one of my favourite Beach Boys singles for 46 years and I still haven't a clue what it's about,but quite honestly I think that's what might be part of the attraction of the man's lyrics for me,the mystery plus the plain simple fact that they sound bloody good no matter what he's on about!High Coin has fairly sparse rhythm track but that is countered by a wonderful complex vocal arrangement behind the superb melody that if written in notation would form the contour of a roller coaster - dare I call this a masterpiece? Oh go on then!
The bonus tracks of this fabulous mono reissue are well worth having,Malibu U as far as I know was only available as a "B" side and the lovely "Cotton Candy Sandman" is the single version and markedly different from the album version(Harpers Bizarre 4).
I was loving just about everything I heard in 1967(or it seemed like it anyway)and we were spoiled by the wealth of great vocal groups such as the Association,Turtles,Spanky and Our Gang,5th Dimension and a host of others,I'm tempted to say that if you liked all those then you'll love this album,but I'll stay cautious and just say that this is a well produced and excellently sung collection with enough great original songs to make it one of my personal favourites - and I love all the groups I mentioned above!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2014 12:54 AM BST


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