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Morten Vindberg (Denmark)
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The Vogue Years
The Vogue Years
Price: £7.98

66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable!, 24 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Vogue Years (Audio CD)
This double CD collection covers Francoise Hardy's recording period with Vogue Records 1962-1967. Hardy was only 18 years old when she recorded the songs for her first album in 1962; so it was very unusual that she was allowed to record so much of her own material; great thing she was, because she was ( still is ) a very accomplished songwriter. In fact most of her biggest were written or co-written by Hardy herself.

The song selections concentrate on her first 5 albums ( 1962-66 ) and contemporary singles and EP tracks. Her 6th much-acclaimed Vogue album "Ma Jeunesse Fout le Camp" is only represented by "Qui Peut Dire" and "Voila". Most surprisingly that her last Vogue original album ( in Frech language ) "Comment te Dire Adieu" is not represented at all.

Never the less, this is a great compilation featuring the vast majority of her best songs of the period - obviously some great songs had to be left out; simply because lack of space. I can't help mentioning just a few songs that are missing ( seek them out elsewhere!) . The 1964 EP-track "Jaloux" is one of my favourites, which I have not yet been able to find on a CD. The album tracks "Avant de t'n Aller" and "Je Pensais" would have been great additions as well.

These early recordings from Hardy which founded her reputation as the greatest French international pop-star of the 1960's have stood the test of time, and sound remarkably appealing after all these years; where the output by many of her contemporary colleagues like Cilla Black, Petula Clark, Connie Francis or even Marianne Faithful ( her sixties recordings!) often sound pretty dated.

If you are not familiar with the early years of Francoise Hardy's career this collection would be the ideal place to start getting to know her. Outstanding songs like "Le Premier Bonheur du Jour", "Le Maison Ou Ja' Grandi", "Ce Petit Coeur" or "Rendezvous Automne" are more than likely to hit you - actually most of these songs are!

The 16 pages booklet features some nice pictures and a short biography, but only sparse information about the songs themselves; where they were first released etc. Personally I would have loved to have a little more information about the recordings, circumstances around them etc.

Still, until the 4 CD box featuring her complete Vogue recordings is available again, this CD is indispensable!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2010 7:26 PM BST


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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few Nice Tracks, but Mostly quite Forgettable!, 24 July 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The DC5 were among the most succesful bands of the 1960's. They had a long string of hit singles during 1964-70 on both sides of the Atlantic. What were their strengths then; since today, they seem to be more or less forgotten?

I remembered some of their biggest hits from the later 1960's like "Red Balloon" and "Everybody Knows", both of which I nevered really cared for, but encoured by a big fan of the band I took a chance and bought this 2 originals on one CD.

Having listened to it 3-4 times now, I'm not very surprised that the group is on the way into oblivion. They did have a great lead singer in Mike Smith and did write occasional fine pop-songs, but judged from these two 1964 and 1965 albums ( supposedly among the best ) most of their material is quite average and forgettable.

A few songs, though, deserve to be brought out. "Because", "Anytime You Want Love" and "I Cried Over You" are fine Mersey-type ballads. Also interesting among the 6 bonus-track to find Neil Young's "Southern Man" which the band released as a single in 1960.

The sound on the CD is okay, which actually surprised me having seen the one sheet folded "booklet" with no information and just white pages in the middle. It actually looked like a bootleg; but I must assume the Hungarian label has rightfully achieved the legal rights to release this CD.


Birdland
Birdland
Price: £13.89

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Surprise!, 7 July 2006
This review is from: Birdland (Audio CD)
It has been more than 30 years since the previous studio-album from the Yardbirds. Now original members Jim McCarty and Chris Dreja have reformed the Yardbirds with lead-singer and bass-player John Idan as their new front man. Since the release of this 2003 album, guitarist Gypie Mayo and harmonica-player Alan Glen have been replaced by equally qualified musicians Ben King and Billy Boy.

I was fortunate to see this terrific new line-up here in Denmark in April 2006. What a concert! It surpassed my wildest expectations. Young guitarist King is capeable of playing all the original Yardbirds guitar-parts with inspiration and conviction. The same thing can be said about the harmonica-playing of Billy Boy. Lead singer John Idan has a very sympathetic stage appearance and sounds very much like Keith Relf. Original drummer Jim McCarty is a terrific musician, he more or less appears to be the leader of the band. McCarty joins in on most choruses and takes an occasional lead vocal now and then. Guitarist Chris Dreja is reliable as solid rock.

I had to buy their new album, which I honestly was not aware had been released. And I was not disappointed; on the contrary. Often re-unions are pale extracts of what once was. This is not the case with the Yardbirds. Half of the songs on the album are re-recordings of old Yarbirds favourites; the other half new songs - most of them written by McCarty.

The re-recordings are very true to the originals - better sounding without losing their sixties feel. Some of them actually surpasses the originals; especially the opening track "I?m not Talking".

The new songs reveal McCarty as a fine songwriter ( actually he wrote a lot with the original Yardbirds, too ). His new writing has the same "feel" as the originals, and new and old material blends perfectly on the album. Among the fine new songs the at least three of them deserves a mention. McCarty?s "Crying Out for Love" is a very catchy tune. Sounds like a 1960?s song; could easily have been a hit in those days.

The bluesy "Mr Saboteur" has a slightly more modern approach; lyrically dealing with the fear of terrorism that people in the modern world apparently has to live with. Great recording with both guitar and harmonica solos. Another McCarty song.

The closing track "An Original Man" is a fine group composition written for original singer Keith Relf. Another melodic song with a beat not unlike the Who?s "Disguises".

Interesting guest appearances from people like Jeff Beck, Jeff Baxter, Brian May, Joe Satriani and Slash add to the appeal of the album.

Fine booklet with lyrics, photos and great artwork from Dreja, who was also the man behind the legendary "Roger the Engineer" cover.

Highly recommended listening!

And a must-have for fans the Yardbirds.


Listen Listen: The Definitive Collection
Listen Listen: The Definitive Collection
Price: £9.23

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Emitt Rhodes!, 24 Jun 2006
Merry-Go-Round, led by singer and songwriter Emitt Rhodes, only achieved to release one album. This album "Live-You're a Very Lovely Woman", named from their first AM single released in 1967, has until recently been fairly easy to find at second-hand record stores. The band released a couple of more singles during their short lifespan. They officially disbanded in 1969, but the band had been in ruins months before, due to internal problems . Some of these AM Records recordings were in fact Emitt solo projects, and when Rhodes left for Dunhill Records in 1969-70, AM Records decided to release these later Merry-Go-Round recordings in Rhodes' name as "The American Dream". This obviously did not help Rhodes' solo career that two albums appeared almost simultaniously on the market bearing his name. He did have a minor hit with his first Dunhill single "Long Time No See", though. A paradox it is that both records are in fact pretty outstanding; especially his first Dunhill album is a classic. Rhodes only released 3 albums before he stopped his recording career.

The Merry-Go-Round album is a typical 1960's release, obviously greatly inspired by the Beatles, but still very American in sound - a bit like Buffalo Springfield or early Jefferson Airplane. It contains some great songs like "Time Will Show the Wiser" ( covered by Fairport Convention on their 1967 album ), "On Your Way Out", "Had to Run Around", "Gonna Leave You Alone" and the single-tracks "Live" and "You're a Very Lovely Woman".

During 1967-68 Rhodes' songwriting and singing style became even more Beatles-influenced and these songs sound very much like The Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" recordings. He even sings with a British accent. For fans of the Beatles ( especially McCartney ), Badfinger or Left Banke this CD release is highly recommended. It contains the complete AM Records releases + a few previously unreleased tracks. Enjoy tracks like "Saturday Night", "Man He Was", "Pardon Me" and "Till the Day After" - and if you feel like more of the same, look out for Rhodes solo-releases.


The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
Price: £6.87

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Denny's First Solo Album!, 24 Jun 2006
Sandy Denny's first solo album was recorded shortly after she had disbanded her group Fotheringay in late 1970. All Fotheringay members were present at the recordings of Sandy's album, so it's no surprise that quite many songs sound like Fotheringay. The opening song "Late November" was actually intended for a second Fotheringay album, that was never finished. Fotheringay did record the song and that version is included among the bonus-tracks. Though only one song , the great "Blackwaterside", is a traditional folk-song, there is a very folkish feel to many of Sandy's own songs. Especially on "John the Gun" and the title track.

Other songs are quite complicated, both musically and lyrically ( her lyrics at times are pretty cryptic ). "Next Time Around", "The Optimist" and "Wretched Wilbur" may be the easiest songs to get into, but eventually they are bound to grow on you.

Two tracks "Down in the Flood" and "Let's Jump the Broomstick" ( and 2 more among the bonus-tracks ) are rockers a little in the same vein as the "Bunch" project recorded in early 1972 with most of the same people, who are backing Sandy on this album. Among them the outstanding guitarist and song-writer Richard Thompson.

Though the album may sound slightly more dated than her other solo-albums, it's still a great album.

My favourites are "Blackwaterside", "Wretched Wilbur", "Crazy Lady Blues" and both versions of "Late November"


All Things Must Pass
All Things Must Pass
Price: £19.64

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George's Greatest!, 24 Jun 2006
This review is from: All Things Must Pass (Audio CD)
"All Things Must Pass" was George Harrison's first real solo album ( the previous only contained instrumentals). Most of the songs were written while the Beatles were still existing, and George was writing so many great songs during the final years of the 1960's that, when the Beales finally folded in early 1970, he had songs enough for a double album. Eventually it turned out to be a triple album, with the 3rd record containing "jams" with George and his good friends, such as Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon.

Like most Harrison fans I regard "ATMP" as George finest album. Many of his greatest songs come from this LP. Though there is a great variety of styles and moods on the album, particularly the ballads stand out. Songs like "Isn't It a Pity", "Run of the Mill", "Behind That Locked Door", "Beware of Darkness" and "I'd Have You Anytime" are simply moving. His version of Dylan's "If Not For You" beats Dylan's own version by miles. Among the other up-beat number I especially like "What is Life". The bonus-track "I Live For You" is gem; incredible that this song was not originally included.

A lot of the acoustic guitars are played by Badfinger's Pete Ham and Tom Evans, who were two young very talented song-writers themselves and who had already witten the classic "Without You" at this time. For Pete Ham, who wrote Badfinger' greatest hit-records, Harrison may have been the biggest inspiration among the Beatles. There are many similarities among these two great musicians' songwriting and musical arrangements. Try listen to Badfinger's "Straight Up" album, which was partly produced by George.

This 2 CD set is must have for any Beatles or Badfinger fan!


Sleepless Nights
Sleepless Nights
Price: £7.08

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Collection!, 24 Jun 2006
This review is from: Sleepless Nights (Audio CD)
This post-humous collection of Gram Parsons recordings was originally released in 1976 - 3 years after his death. 9 tracks are Flying Burrito Brothers recordings from early 1970 and 3 tracks were recorded during the "Grievous Angel" sessions. The 3 later tracks are duets with Emmylou Harris.

There are no Parsons originals included. The Burritos were planning to record a whole album of "pure and honest" country music. Most tracks are pleasant, but nothing extraordinary.

Parsons had a good voice for country music, but this collection does not give the answer to how he could become a legend in country-rock. There are some fine vocal harmonies with Chris Hilmann and with Emmylou Harris things rarely go completely wrong.

Of the Burrito songs "Sing Me Back Home", "Your Angel Steps Out of Heaven" and "Dim Lights" are really good, and "The Angels Rejoiced Last Night" with Harris is the highlight of the album.


Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
Price: £5.92

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Too Old to Rock'n Roll!, 24 Jun 2006
The 1970's was an extraordinary productive and fruitfull period for Jethro Tull ( 12 studio-albums!!).

Some of these are derservedly regarded as rock-classics, such and "Stand Up", "Thick As a Brick", "The Minstrel in the Gallery" and "Songs From the Wood". The rest of them are simply very good rock-albums. This album obviously belongs to the second category.

"Too Old to Rock'n Roll" is a concept album, telling the thought-provoking story about the old rocker, Ray Lomas, who had become too old to rock'n roll, but the again becomes hip, when the trends in music and fashion suddenly change.

Like on all Tull albums there are some terrific songs and melodies here. The playing and production is as always impeccable. The title track is for me the stand-out strack, and songs like "Crazed Institution", "Pied Piper", "Chequered Flag" and the bonus track "Strip Cartoon" are other highligts.

The album also contains a fine cartoon version of the story - good to make a quick over-view of the storyline.

Recommended!!


Blaze
Blaze
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £35.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine 1960's Pop Album!, 24 Jun 2006
This review is from: Blaze (Audio CD)
"Blaze" was Herman's Hermits' last regular album; first released in 1967.

Thinking what other rock/pop album were released that year ( Sgt Pepper / Axis Bold as Love / Disraeli Gears etc. ), it's no surprise that this album did not 'cause much attension at it's time. Most of the album could just have been recorded in 1964-65, and clearly the heyday of the band was coming to an end.

But apart from this, it's actually a fine 1960's pop album; several fine songs, fine production etc.

The band members were even beginning to write fine songs themselves. On this album "Busy Line" and the bonus-track "Nobody Needs to Know" are good examples of this.

Other highlights are Donovan's "Museum" and "Don't Go Out into the Rain".

So this is probably their most consistent and mature album.

Great with 12 bonus-tracks. All singles A's and B's from 1968-69. The rare B-side "London Look" was a nice surprise for me.


Smile
Smile
Offered by nagiry
Price: £9.49

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One One Wonderful!, 24 Jun 2006
This review is from: Smile (Audio CD)
"Smile" was the album that was intended to be the Beach Boys' follow-up to their highly regarded 1966 album "Pet Sounds". Personally I've always felt that "Pet Sounds" was somewhat over-rated, and that several of the songs were quite dull.

"Smile" was a very ambitious work that Brian Wilson worked on in the studios while the other Beach did the touring. Sadly he never succeeded in finishing the album, though most of the strongest tracks have appered on later Beach Boys albums such as "Smiley Smile" and Surf's Up".

Most Beach Boys fans have heard bootleg versions of the unreleased album, and there is no doubt that the album would have been a masterpiece.

Now Brian Wilson has re-recorded the whole album, as it was intended. He has used 1960's studio equipment to achieve the original sound. And the result is quite impressive. The songs and the music is great. The vocals are much better than I had dared hope for. Of course, the voices of the original Beach Boys, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Al Jardine and Mike Love are missed. Brian's own voice has also lost some of its strength over the years, though it is still very good.

The result is a great album, which deserves all five stars, but I it really surprised how close these songs are to the bootleg version I have of the album. It seems that the album was actually very very close to be finished, when it was abandoned.

Maybe it's too much to hope/ask for, but I hope that Capitol eventually will release the original recordings, because even though these new recordings are great, they can never surpass the magic of the originals.

Besides the two hit-singles "Heroes and Villains" and "Good Vibrations" the highlights for me are the beautiful "Wonderful", "Wind Chimes" and "Surf's Up"


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