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Straight Up
Straight Up
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £16.02

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Badfinger at Their Best. Classic Album, 28 Sept. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Straight Up (Audio CD)
Additional comments on the 2010 reissue.

It was great news that Apple decided to reissue their four Badfinger albums and give them a remastering. The first CD release of "Straight Up" dates back to 1993, and although the sound on the old release was great, this is a clear improvement.

The number of bonus tracks is the same, but it must be noted that four of them are different. These come from the originally unreleased Geoff Emerick produced follow-up album to "No Dice" from late 1970. This album has never been released in its entirety. But with the previously unreleased bonus-track on this release, along with the digital download only version of "Sweet Tuesday Morning" it is now possible to compile your own version of that album. A great sham that the album was never released, as it would really have been a great album, that might have secured Badfinger even more recognition.

The long period between the releases of "No Dice" and "Straight Up" did not help the band sustain their popularity, so when the group finally did release "Straight Up" around new year 1972, they more or less had to start over again. They did manage to return to the charts with the two great singles from "Straight Up", "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue", but bad management meant that their succes more or less ended there; but that's another story.

Actually among the bonus-tracks you'll find two great singles that never were. Both were stronly considered; "Name of the Game" even was given catalog number in both the U.K. and in the U.S. ( Apple 35 / Apple 1833 ). "Name of the Game" is one of Pete Ham's very best songs, which really deserves recognition as a classic. "I'll Be the One" wasn't even released until 1993, which is just as sad, as it's an extremely cacthy song that captures the folky trends of the time, and has a feel very much like that of early Lindisfarne.

Three of the bonus-track are released here for the first time ever. They're all great additions to the Badfinger song catalog, and deserve a few comments each.

The legendary unreleased Pete Ham song "Baby Please" is actually a group composition, but clearly with Pete Ham in the lead. Pete sings this great boogie-rocker and also delivers some great lead-guitar. A song worthy of Status Qou.

Tom Evans' "No Good at All" is a straight forward blues-rocker, with great vocals from Tom and some great slide guitar from Pete Ham.

"Sing for the Song", also written by Tom Evans", is probably the strongest composition of the three. Unbelieveable that it wasn't released at the time. Apple really did a bad job there, missing potential hit-songs and shelving first class material. "Sing for the Song" is a Beatles-influenced, very much in the vein of the "Magical Mystery Tour" approach. Note that this time Pete Ham excels at the piano. By the way the track-listing of the unreleased 1971 album is supposed to have been like this:

Side One: Suitcase ( Molland) / I'll Be the One (Badfinger) / No Good at All (Evans) / Sweet Tuesday Morning (Molland) / Baby Please ( Ham/Gibbins/Molland) / Mean, Mean Jemima (Molland) Side Two: Name of the Game (Ham) / Loving You (Gibbins) / / Money (Evans) / Flying (Evans/Molland) / Sing for the Song (Evans) / Perfection (Ham) - An album that really deserve an official release in its entirety.

There are fine and informative liner notes written by Andy Davis. A strongly recommended release.

By the end of 1971 Badfinger had actually recorded two albums since the release of "No Dice". The first remains unreleased to this date!. The second was released in February 1972 ( a bit earlier in the USA ), and was titled "Straight Up". Apple did not like the sound of the original album - they wanted a more polished sound. The rejected album had been produced by Geoff Emerick, and in spring 1971 George Harrison expressed wish to produce the band. Of course this was an offer that could not be rejected. George finished 4 tracks before he had to pull out to work on the Bangla Desh concert . To finish the album Todd Rundgren was recruited. Rundgren went through the recordings done with Emerick and Harrison and did some remixing on some of the tracks. Furthermore 7 new recordings were done for the album, which ended up to be Badfinger's most "produced" album - maybe along with "Wish You Were Here" - and it's indisputably among their finest. This album is one of their best loved, and it ranks among the greatest albums to come out of the seventies.
Pete Ham is the main contributor of songs to the album. His 5 songs on the album are all among his greatest. The two hits, "Day After Day" and "Baby Blue" are well-known ,and "Take it All", "Name of The Game" and "Perfection" are all stand out tracks. Tom Evans wrote "Money" and "It's Over" - the latter considered by many to be one of his greatest with Badfinger. Molland wrote the acoustic ballad "Sweet Tuesday Morning" "I'd Die Babe" ( an optimistic country styled George Harrison production ) and the two rockers "Suitcase" and "Sometimes" - both became part of Badfinger's standard concert repetoire. The album is very well produced by Rundgren/Harrison - a bit overproduced at times, some might say. The bonus-tracks are all excellent - Name of The Game and Perfection even better than the album-versions.

My favourites: Take it All, Baby Blue, Name of The Game (both versions), Day After Day, Perfection and It's Over
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2013 8:55 PM GMT


Not Ready To Make Nice
Not Ready To Make Nice
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be a Hit, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Not Ready To Make Nice (Audio CD)
"I'm not Ready to Make Nice" is the first single from the new Dixie Chicks album "Taking the Long Way". Like the rest of the album the song was produced by Rick Rubin ( Red Hot Chilli-Peppers ) and his influence is quite audible. The traditional country direction that the previous album "Home" suggested has been abandoned in favour of a more mainstream pop-rock approach. The song is a Dixie Chicks original ( like all songs on the new album ) and it's very strong - both musically and lyrically ( dealing with Natalie Maines' controversal political comments ). Great production that suits the song perfectly. Deserves to be a hit!

The B-side "Everybody Knows" is a more country-influenced track and more like earlier Dixie Chicks recordings - also a fine song.


Les Chansons D'amour
Les Chansons D'amour
Price: £3.93

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Compilation of Hardy's Early Years!, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Les Chansons D'amour (Audio CD)
Though this is obviously a "cheapo" release with very sparse information about the tracks and the artist, it is actually a pretty well compiled CD of some of Hardy's best early recordings.

Containing most her of biggest hits like "Ce Petite Coeur", "Tous les Garcons et les Filles", "La Maison Ou J'Ai Grandi" and her only British top 20 hit-single "All Over the World", the CD gives a fine introduction to the most melodic and catchy side of Hardy.

A few harder to find tracks have also been included, among those English versions of some of her biggest hits in France.

For those who are not familar with Hardy's Vogue recordings or who just like intelligent 1960's pop, this CD is highly recommended.

If you want more of the same there is double CD called "The Vogue Years" covering her 1962-67 period brilliantly.


Hollies/Would You Believe?
Hollies/Would You Believe?
Price: £8.42

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hollies - Growing Songwriters!, 17 Sept. 2006
These two original albums were first released in 1965 and 1966. Compared to their two previous albums, the first thing that strikes you is how the songwriting partnership Clarke/Hicks/Nash had grown. On the first albums most their songs were more or less filler. Strangely enough they still used the psudonym "Ransford" for their song-writing credit.

Here most of their songs are highlights on the albums. On "The Hollies" "Very Last Day", "Too Many People" and "So Lonely" stand out. Their version of "That's My Desire" is great too!

On "Would You Believe Me" their material is even stronger. "Hard Hard Year", "Fifi the Flea" and "I've Got a Way of My Own" are simply great. On this album the material is generally much stronger, making it one of the essential albums of 1966. They bring new life into Buddy Holly's "Take Your Time". The single "I Can't Let Go" is incredible catchy and irressistable. And finally my favorite on the CD the old country classic "Stewball" - magnificent vocal harmonies!!

Especially "Would You Believe" is a clear indication that even greater songs and albums were to come. After this album the band began to write many of their hit-singles themselves, and the vast majority of the songs on their following albums were Clarke/Hicks/Nash material.


Zombie Heaven
Zombie Heaven
Price: £42.84

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Zombie Heaven!!, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Zombie Heaven (Audio CD)
The Zombies were one of the most talented British bands of the 1960's. You could say that this band had it all: Two prolific songwriters, two outstanding singers and four great musicians.

This 4 CD box contains all their released material ( singles, EP's, albums etc. ) + a vast amount of rarities; demos, outtakes, alternate takes and live recordings.

Most of their original output is well-known, and the majority of it is simply outstanding.

They only released two albums in their time. Their first. "Begin Here" is an uneven mixture of rhythm'n blues standards and Zombies originals.

Their covers of songs like "I Got My Mojo" and "Roadrunner" I have always thought their weakest output. Their vocals simply do not fit the r&b style. But apart from these few exceptions, all their released material is first class.

Unfortunately their success in the singles charts was short-lived; even though they released great singles throughout their career. They experienced an unexpected come-back in 1969 with "Time of the Season", but this was at a time, when they had practically split-up.

Their second ( and last released ) album "Odessey and Oracle" is considered a rock-classic - which is very well-deserved.

A third album was planned for release, to cash in on the success of "Time of the Season", but this album called "R.I.P" was unfortunately never released. All tracks from this abandoned album are also included on "Zombie Heaven".

Try to programme your CD player and hear how it would have sounded. Personally I think it comes very close to the high level of "Odessey and Oracle"

CD 1 contains their first album and early singles.

CD 2 contains "Odessey and Oracle" and "R.I.P" + a few alternate version.

CD 3 is the rarities CD featuring Previously unreleased demos and various rare recordings.

CD 4 is all BBC live recordings, showcasing the Zombies as a terrific live-band.

The 64 pages booklet ( high-quality paper and print ) is sheer pleasure. The book simply has it all: Foreword by Tom Petty, biography, extensive discography, notes to all tracks, plenty of photos, reproductions of single-covers etc.

This CD box is simply highly recommendable.


Head
Head
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £25.93

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Outstanding Recordings in a Mixed Bag, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Head (Audio CD)
"Head" was the last Monkees album to feature all four original members. Guitarist Pete Tork left the band shortly after finishing the album.

Though it's a soundtrack and not a regular album it contains some of the Monkees' finest recordings. Especially the two Carole King songs "Porpoise Song" and "As We Go Along" are outstanding. Also Tork's "Can You Dig it" and Nesmith's "Circle Sky" are Monkees classics.

Only 6 tracks on the original album are actually music. The rest of it is soundclips and dialouge; some of it quite entertaining.

Taken from the sleeve notes Jack Nicholson played a big part in the album's/movie's creation, which sounds to be pretty weird.

The bonus tracks are mostly alternate takes - most interesting is the fine live version of "Circle Sky" recorded in May 1968.

The list of guest musicians is impressive, featuring names like Leon Russell, Bill Chadwick, Dewey Martin, Carole King, Neil Young and Ry Cooder.


Rick's Rarities 1964 - 1974
Rick's Rarities 1964 - 1974
Price: £15.70

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Big Positive Surprise, 17 Sept. 2006
This Rick Nelson was really a big positive surprise for me. The CD contains rarities from his Decca period ; from 1964-74.

I never cared very much for his early Decca albums ( up till his formation of the Stone Canyon Band - the two country albums are okay), and most of the songs from that period that are included here, are in fact better than a great deal of what was originally released.

The opening track, Sonny Curtis' "I've Been Lookin`" is among these positive surprises. Recorded in 1964 with great guitarist James Burton, it's a track that comes pretty close to the sound of his great Imperial recordings.

"I Need You" is not the same song that was released as a single on Imperial, but the song is almost as fine, which says quite a lot, since "I Need You" is one of my all-time Rick Nelson favourites.

Most of the non-album singles which are also included are pretty good, though not outstanding.

Next positive surprise for me was the unreleased song "Freedom and Liberty" which Rick wrote himself. A beautiful song with a tasteful sparse arrangement showing that Rick as early as 1965 was beginning to develop the sound that would eventually blossom with the Stone Canyon Band. The lyrics may sound a little naive today, but there is an innocent charm to them too. The re-recorded version in a more country-flavoured style from 1967 is equally good; both versions are included here.

A previously unreleased Jerry Fuller song can also be found here. Fuller wrote a lot of Rick best songs for Imperial, and "Peddler Man" is a song which reminds me a lot of "Travellin' Man", and it's almost as great. Interesting that it features the great Byrds guitarist Clarence White.

Rick's self-penned single "I'm Called Lonely" was also "new" for me; a fine song from his country-period.

"Moonshine" is song untypical of the material Rick usually chose; recorded just before the formation of his own band.

The previously unreleased "Lady From Baltimore" which though it sounds like a demo-recording is great performance, showing the early incarnation of the Stone Canyon Band, featuring Allen Kemp, Randy Meisner and Shanahan. Same band gives a fine performance of "I Think It's Going to Rain Today".

"Promises", the B-side to "She Belongs to Me", is another Nelson original which is CD released here for the first time. The song was also a highlight on the fine Live album from 1969, "Rick Nelson in Concert - The Troubador 1969".

Last track is another Stone Canyon Band recording, featuring the Dennis Larden line-up. "California Free" would have fitted nicely onto the "Windfall" album; yet another Nelson original.

Though a few of the tracks may be under par, I'll have to give the CD five stars.


Northern Lights - Southern Cross
Northern Lights - Southern Cross
Price: £6.49

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greats Songs - Great Vocals, 17 Sept. 2006
"Northern Light, Southern Cross" was the last Band album that I really got into. Their first 3 albums were immediate favourites, but "Cahoots" was a disappointment and I did not like "Moondog Matinee" ( all old covers ) at all, when it was released in 1973; later I have come to appreciate that album too. I actually thought it was over with the Band. So I guess I never really gave "Northern Light, Southern Cross" the chance it needed and deserved, when I was first introduced to it around 1978. The songs somehow did not appeal to me at the time.

Luckily with the re-releases of all the Band`s original albums ( with bonus-tracks and great informative booklets ) I chose to give this album a new chance. Now I realize that this album is really among the Band`s finest; which says a lot!!

The original album consisted of only 8 tracks, which was due to the relatively long playing time of the songs. They recorded 9 songs for the album, but the great track "Twilight" never made it to the album, but was released as a 1976 single instead. The version included here is not the finished version, but an early take of it. "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is also an early version of the song; to get these 2 great songs in their finished shape, go for the re-release of

"Islands".

The opener "Forbidden Fruit" is a typical Band-rocker sung by Levon Helm, in his best "Stage Fright" style; this is one of the longest tracks and it features some of Robertson`s rare guitar-solo work. Sadly some Band members did not take the warning in the song seriously enough.

The ballad "Hobo Jungle" is beautifully sung by Richard Manuel; a song that is somehow often overlooked. One of my favourites on the album.

"Ophelia" was also released as a single and was actually a minor hit (#73) - it`s a song written in 1920-30`s style.

"Acadian Driftwood" is one the standouts. Great melody and the blend of the three great Band voices is a thrill. On their early albums this was one of their trademarks. The song tells the story of the Acadians, a native people, who was removed from their home to another place in America. A moving story told over many verses.

"Ring Your Bell" is sung by Manuel with Danko and Helm helping on the chorus.

"It Makes No Difference" is another standout. Danke delivers one his best vocal performances on a Band record. Again all three great voices join in the chorus.

"Jupiter Hollow" is the one track that I never really got. It`s a kind of funky tune sung by Helm.

"Rags and Bones" again, sung by Manuel, features another original Robertson guitar-solo.

Both bonus-tracks are good, though especially "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is not as good as the finished version that can be found on the "Islands" re-issue.

A great album, where all three great vocalists show to their best advantage, both individually and collectively
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2014 5:35 PM GMT


The Kink Kontroversy
The Kink Kontroversy
Price: £7.54

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End of the First Era, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: The Kink Kontroversy (Audio CD)
The Kinks Kontroversy marks the end of the first hard rocking era of the Kinks; the follow-up album would be produced by Ray Davies himself.

The album is mostly songs in the well-known Kinks-style. All songs except one are selfpenned, and though it is a mixture of rockers and and softer songs, this is probably on of the most hard sounding Kinks albums, which of course has a lot to do with Shel Talmy`s production style.

Apart from Estes`"Milk Cow Blues", which I find unnecessary and pretty uninteresting, there are not weak songs here. The single "Till the End of the Day" which was the first Kinks single I bought back in the 60`s, is another "You Really Got Me"- rip off; but it`s the best of them all. The B-side "I`m on an Island" is another highlight.

There are several indications of the more sophisticated songwriting that was to come. Songs like "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" (bonus-track) and "Where Have All Good Times Gone" show that Ray Davies had already developed as a songwiter both lyrically and musically. The great ballad "Ring the Bells" also shows Davies softer side.

My favourites are "Till the End of the Day", "Ring the Bells", "I`m On an Island", "I Am Free" and "You Can`t Win".


Unhalfbricking
Unhalfbricking
Price: £2.99

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairport Transition, 17 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Unhalfbricking (Audio CD)
As Ashley Hutchings says in the notes, this 3rd Fairport album contains various different styles that somehow, by luck?, hang very well together.
It`s an album that ends the beginning era of the band. With the following album "Liege and Leaf", also released in 1969, Fairport Convention established themselves as pioneers of English folk rock.

On the this album there are still clear influences from American country, pop and rock`n roll. Songs like "Cajun Woman" and "Million Dollar Bash" would not have fitted later Fairport releases.

This is an album of transition. The last to feature drummer Martin Lamble, who sadly was killed in a car-accident, and singer Ian Matthews.

Longtime member Dave Swarbrick appears here for the first time, though only as studio musician on four songs. But his influence cannot be overrated; check out "A Sailor`s Life" . New drummer Dave Mattacks also appears for the first time, though only on one of the bonus tracks, which is actually an outtake from "Liege and Leaf"

Sandy Denny contributes classics like "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" and "Autopsy".

Richard Thompson`s best song here is "Genesis Hall".

My favourite is Dylan`s "Percy Song" with it`s beautiful vocals and great building up!

The band`s only hit record "Si Tu Dois Partir" is also there. It's a free-and-easy cover of Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now"

Both bonus tracks a good, fit the rest of the album fine!


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