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N. H. Foster "Crazy Diamond" (UK)

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Price: £13.66

5.0 out of 5 stars King King to assume crown, 4 May 2013
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This review is from: STANDING IN THE SHADOWS (Audio CD)
Alan Nimmo has a hard earned reputation as one of the best and hardest working guys on the Blues circuit, courtesy in the main as part of the Nimmo Brothers. Now two albums in, with the release of this absolute gem, King King deserve to be up there in the same category as The Nimmo Brothers.

No second album syndrome here, Standing in the Shadows builds on the solid foundations of debut Take My Hand.Now let's get a bit controversial here and see where we go. Alan Nimmo is one stunning guitarist but what about his vocal, in my view it is getting stronger and stronger and on a couple of tracks in particular there are shades of the one and only Paul Rodgers!! Deep and gravelly yes but incredibly soulful at the same time. Just listen to What Am I Supposed to Do and of course the Rodgers penned Heavy Load. Both quite majestic but not in any shape plagaristic.

Throughout the ten tracks the sound is very contemporary combining true blues with soulful grooves and the running order is terrific giving the album a natural flow and the production is pin sharp. Credit to Alan Nimmo too for not hogging the limelight, such is his confidence in his own ability, he gives his band mates every opportunity to shine and they sure take it up. Brilliant keys and the rhythm section underpin the whole damn lot, working in perfect tandem.

Nimmo is a one hell of a guitarist and he has the innate ability to build songs around his sound and punctuate rather than dominate with his blistering solos, Taken What's Mine and the magnificent A Long History of Love amply demonstrate the fact. In equal measure Nimmo delivers punchy riffs and low down grooves a plenty.

Eight original compositions and two brilliant covers, the aforesaid Heavy Load and even better in my view, the Frankie Miller classic Jealousy. This blues staple literally has never sounded better it is awesome, there's fine melody and it is all topped off with a gut wrenching solo from Mr Nimmo.

There are no fillers here, ten strong tracks clocking in at around 50 minutes and that is 50 minutes of blues rock of the highest order. Oh and by the way, just like The Nimmo Brothers, live King King are brilliant, powerful and hugely entertaining. Until you can catch them live catch this!!

Joe Bonamassa: An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House [Blu-ray] [2013]
Joe Bonamassa: An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House [Blu-ray] [2013]
Dvd ~ Joe Bonamassa
Price: £19.99

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, 29 Mar 2013
At around 7:30pm last Saturday evening my conscious world came to a standstill for about two hours when I had my first viewing of Joe Bonamassa An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House DVD. It is quite simply stunning. Masterpieces are traditionally found hung on the walls of Art Galleries but Bonamassa has created a visual and aural masterpiece within the perfect setting of the Vienna Opera House.

The world knows Bonamassa is one the greatest guitarists in modern music history but that reputation is built on him being plugged in and playing at full volume. This must have been a terrific gamble and challenge for him to deconstruct so many of his best known songs down to their basic parts and put them back together. Credit the man for taking such a risk at this stage in his career. The result is much more light and space for Bonamassa to fill with his vocal, much more mature and better than he is given credit for. The songs themselves are brought front and centre and more than prove themselves to be of genuine high quality. Massive credit is also due to long time producer, Kevin Shirley for drawing together the band, for the arrangements and the vision to help Joe make the project happen. And what a band, a truly eclectic mix of world class musicians drawn from different cultures and very different genres of music. There is fellow American Arlan Schierbaum on keys and a host of other instruments, Swedish folk player Mats Wester, awesome percussionist Lenny Castro and Ireland's Gerry Connor, as adept with a Fiddle and Banjo as JB is with a guitar

So to the songs, drawn from Bonamassa's back catalogue. I must admit to wondering how Joe's more muscular, rock hued numbers would translate to a totally acoustic natural arrangement and sound, the answer is overwhelmingly impressive on every level. Every song here is given a completely different lease of life and the void left by the electric guitar solos and mammoth riffs are filled with the great man's acoustic prowess or the brilliant interpretation and improvisations of his band members. Unbelievable to discover they had never met, let alone rehearsed until 72 hours before the show.

If you are a fan of JB then all of your favourites are here from Palm Trees, Helicopters and Gasoline to Stones in my Pathway, Athens to Athens, Dustbowl, Ball Peen Hammer etc. With a show and musical prowess as skilled as this it would be churlish to identify standouts, but I was entranced at the mid set segue of Ballad of John Henry, Dislocated Boy and Driving Towards the Daylight, totally totally captivating. And what can be said of the set closer and encore of the hauntingly beautiful Mountain Time, the epic that is Sloe Gin and the scaled down beauty of Seagull. All I can say and admit, is the hairs on the back of my neck were on end and there were tears of raw emotion in my eyes.

This DVD is not just a music show it is also part music history lesson as the instruments on show command attention in their own right, Bonamassa's hugely impressive array of twelve acoustic guitars, O'Connors Banjo and Fiddle through to Harmonium, Accordian and Glockenspiel, of all things, then we have Castro's massive array of cultural percussive instruments from Africa right through to South America. Just to top it all off, Wester dazzles on a Nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument. When have you ever come across such an ecclectic collection of instruments led by a Blues Rock phenomenon? Never, I think is the answe

I cannot praise Bonamassa, Shirley and the band enough for this wonderful show that we can all now share. The best I can do is say a huge thanks to all involved.

Finally just buy this, dim the lights turn the sound up and prepare to truly amazed!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2013 9:09 PM GMT

The World Is Yours
The World Is Yours
Price: £15.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Harmony, 14 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The World Is Yours (Audio CD)
Only mid March but I know I have come across one of the albums of 2013. The World is Yours is The Union's third album and it has built on the solid foundations of their earlier offerings. This is an album of wonderful songs and musicianship and a very intelligent album.

The name of the band is totally apt because Luke Morley and Pete Shoulder together really is a union of wonderful talents, from Morley's superb guitar tones, from full on rock to acoustic sensitivity. Then young Mr Shoulder, who simply has a stunning, unique voice that seems equally at ease with ballads and rockers. The World is Yours is primarily a rock album but there is enough here to suit most palettes. In addition to aforementioned rock and balladry there are elements of Blues and splashes of Country/Bluegrass.

Praise to Morley and Shoulder too for the thought that clearly went into the arrangements and running order of the album. It has a wonderful flow dovetailing the different styles to such an extent that there is a natural pace to the album and the listener is led from track to track in a way that encourages deep listening.

The title track is majestic, opening with delicate acoustic riffs that soon develop into hammer blow rock riffs underpinning a brooding melody and vocal from Shoulder. Here the attention to detail is apparent as the next track, The Perfect Crime is a beautiful acoustic lament. What Doesn't Kill You is in itself a killer track rammed full of heavy riffs that pull Shoulders vocals into Coverdale/ Plant territory. The album then closes with a simply wonderful ballad, You Can Share My Dream, haunting, heartfelt then sliding into an instrumental outro.

Morley has a well earned reputation as a great songwriter able to create stories within any song structure and Pete Shoulder is clearly of the same ilk. The Union have created a really strong musical bond that is out of the top draw.

Lord Is Waiting the Devil Is Too
Lord Is Waiting the Devil Is Too
Price: £34.02

5.0 out of 5 stars I'll go for the Devil!, 26 Feb 2013
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Have to admit this one slipped under my radar on release in 2011. I only picked up on Johnny Sansome when the title track appeared on a CD accompanying the Classic Rock Blues Magazine.
I am so glad I did this is a real five star gem, Blues for the road! It really does deserve to be heard whilst gunning the car, volume up and elbow resting on the sill.
Johnny Sansome and his band are pretty unique in a number of ways, the sound is rooted in the best traditions of the Blues but these guys take it way down and dirty. Sansome's vocal is as gravelly as a 100KG bag of hard core and his Harmonica playing is absolutely stunning, so powerful it comes across like a second vocal. What can I say about guitarist and all round musician Anders Osborne? Other than his guitar has got so much reverb it is enough to make a certain Neil Yount sit up and listen, it is grungy, metronomic and as a resuty almost hypnotic. Stan Moore on drums supplies the piston pumping backdrop that drives the lot forward.
The title track is terrific, in fact the title says it all, bad to the bone. You Know Who is a mid paced groove that just gets in your head and won't let go and album closer shows a slightly softer plaintive side, 'Leavin' brings the volume and tone down with a beautiful Harmonica intro from Sansome, lifted by a superb shot of finger pickin and a rock solid drum beat. No need for words, the music speaks volumes. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, as the saying goes; 'all killer, no filler!'
I am sure glad I discovered Mr Sansome, I promise you will be too.

Temple Of Rock - Live In Europe [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Temple Of Rock - Live In Europe [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Michael Schenker
Price: £11.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schenker Shines Bright, 29 Jan 2013
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This is one awesome music DVD. Michael Schemker has always been one of my favourite rock guitarits, despite his idiosyncratic reputation. Live in Europe really does recapture those halcyon days of Schenker when he was the mad axe man with Scorpions, UFO and MSG.
What I have always admired most about Schenker is his innate ability to deliver searing or dextrous solos one minite and sledgehammer riffs the next and believe me it is all captured here. To hear the classics of the aforementioned classic rock bands brought up to-date by the man himself is a privilege. He looks in great physical shape too, including the cool tattoos.
You cannot help but recall the glory days when you see Schenker teamed up again with his Scorpions buddies, the mighty Herman Rarebell on drums and Francis Bucholz chugging out the basslines.Doogie White is a great choice on lead vocals too as he can carry the Meine, Mogg, Barden mantle with aplomb.
Of course Schemker is the star of the show, so plug in, turn up the volume, turn out the lights and get ready to rock. Into the Arena and Armed and Ready tear at you from the start and the pace and the classics don't relent until the encore is done. From the Scorpions era, Another Piece of Meat, Rock You Like A Hurricane blister from the speakers. Holiday, with its combo of accoustic beauty segued into crushing riffs, as majestic as ever. Then Coast to Coast, the most brutal riff laden instrumental rock track ever. Plenty to delight UFO fans too with equally top quality versions of Lights Out, Let It Roll and Shoot Shoot. No Schenker show would be complete without Lights Out and Doctor Doctor and these versions are jaw droppingly good. To hear Schenker crank out Doctor Doctor again is really special.
I cannot recommend this DVD enough for fans of these bands, Schenker or just brilliant classic rock.Get it and play it now!

Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town
Thin Lizzy: The Boys Are Back in Town
by Harry Doherty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.56

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Rock 'n' Roll Cowboys, 18 Jan 2013
If you are a hard rock fan, let alone a Thin Lizzy fan this is a must read and must look. A stunning book, a biography of the band and a real pictorial treasure.
So much has been written about Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy and it is a treat to finally be able to read about one of the greatest rock bands of all time from two people that were in the thick of it.
From the humble beginnings on the Irish Showband Circuit to Arena Rock and that final unforgettable tour and Reading in 1983. Doherty and particularly Gorham are honest in their assessment of what was so good about Lizzy and what was always eventually going to bring the band down.
I love Gorham's own personal views on Lizzy's awesome canon of albums, again honesty is to the fore. I love the way he describes how the band worked together and reveals a side of himself I would never have imagined. Times of doubt that he was up to the job! Doherty was obviously real close to the band and gives the reader an insight in to the dynamics of the various line ups of the band as well as great characterisations from the larger than life Lynott to the shy Snowy White.
The photography is simply stunning, there are some truly iconic shots of Lynott, The Leader and the band. So powerful, having been at so many of the band's gigs I can recall the stage sets, the outfits and the unique dynamism of Thin Lizzy. The place where they always really came alive. I could almost feel that crackle of excitement waiting for Phil and the boys to hit the stage and then proceed to rip it up.
Now that Scott and Brian have finally brought the curtain down on Thin Lizzy,this book provides a brilliant epitaph to what for me will always be the greatest hard rock band in my life time.
'Are You Out there?' Of course we are still out there!!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2013 7:56 PM GMT

The Best Of Fca! 35
The Best Of Fca! 35
Price: £12.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frampton Stays Alive, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Best Of Fca! 35 (Audio CD)
Frampton Comes Alive is rightly regarded as one the seminal live albums of all time. 35 years on it still has a vibrancy and energy that is all too often lost in the transfer to the live format.
Whilst it may be considred herecy to describe FCA35 as even better, it is certainly at least as good. In my opinion, it does raise the bar even higher for a number of key reasons. Frampton remains one the finest guitarists of the last 40+ years and on this album his experience and sheer genius shine through from start to finish. The Classic FCA tracks are all here in their glory but given a slight facelift to freshen them up and add an extra vibrancy.. The famous voicebox makes its customary entrance and Frampton is in his element toying with the crowd in its use. A rasping Jumpin' Jack Flash really kicks in a way that Jagger and Richards would enjoy. Show Me The Way, Baby I love Your Way and Do You Feel Like We Do really take you back to the halcyon Days. Superb indeed. That however, is far from it as we are lavished with three discs clocking in at almost three hours and the delights keep coming. In my view, Frampton's version of 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps has always been the best. The version here demonstrates that in full, the emotion and feel Frampton rips ffrom his guitar is awe inspring. Gems from his more recent catologue keep up the momentum then a real surpsise, a cracking two song salvo; I Don't Need No Doctor ripping from the speakers and then a low down groove of Soundgarden's classic Black Hole Sun, a monstrous version.
Guitar geniuses don't come much better than Frampton and throughout he displays an endearing humble self deprecating sense of humour.
Truly stunning, if like millions you own the original Frampton Comes Alive, you really need to own this!!

Haywire Riot
Haywire Riot
Price: £11.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Estes Excellence, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Haywire Riot (Audio CD)
Having a considerable stint as a member of Lynyrd Skynrd could be viewed as a blessing or curse. Blessing in terms of opening doors and getting respect, curse in terms of expectations and constant comparisons. After several listens to Mike Estes'Skinny Molly and their second album 'Haywire Riot' this should all be consigned to history. Skinny Molly stand up in their own right as an excellent band and purveyors of superior southern blues rock.
Of course with the heritage of the band there are shades of Skynrd but the primary colours here are original and bold in hue. There is a real interesting juxtaposition between many of the southern blues bands and Skinny Molly in that on this album none of the eleven tracks is more than three and a half minutes and in total the album clocks in at around thirty seven minutues. As silence falls do you feel deprived? No, when an album is this good the adage 'less is more' sometimes really does apply and it sure does here. The track listing, by design or luck results in a feel that the songs rattle by like a locomotive on greased tracks.
As one would expect the musicianship is of the highest order with Estes and Jay Johnson taking turns to excel with some stunning lead guitar interplay and the rhythm section is really strong throughout. This is not an album for stretched solos, there are plenty of them but they are short, sharp and executed brilliantly.
The lyrics are sharp and incisive too, listen to 'Shut Up and Rock,' where Estes is clearly railing against today's pampered egotistical stars.
Stand out tracks are many including the above named and add to that the slow burning 'Lie to Me' the raucous ''Bitin the Dog' and the call to arms of 'Dodgin Bullets' and you get an insight into what Skinny Molly are all about.
This is a truly excellent album and currently I set it alongside ZZ Top's La Futura as contenders for my Souther Blues album of 2012, it really is that good.

Almost Always Never
Almost Always Never
Price: £11.02

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A True Talent Blossoming, 5 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Almost Always Never (Audio CD)
On this her third album, JST demonnstrates that she is blossoming into one of the leading lights of the current Blues/Rock revolution. Almost Always Never is an album that oozes confidence. Within the 12 songs and at just over 60 minutes, JST displays more than her obvious Blues roots, she weaves in some soulful sounds on opener 'Soul Station' and a funky groove on 'Maybe Tomorrow' and even a Country tinge to 'Army of One.'
In my own opinion there are some real masterpieces threaded through the album, 'Piece of the Sky' is a real slow burner that showcases one of many searing solos.
Jealousy is destined to become a fan favourite. Here JST shows a glimpse of personal experieince perhaps? Broken love, broken heart and guilt. Some emotional vocals are held together by David Garzo's beautiful keys and then Joanne comes in with a truly haunting solo that is stunning in its execution.
'Standing to Fall' also stands out for me as JST and Garzo first play in sync and then vie for supremecy with a brilliant combination of Hammond and Guitar.
Album closer, 'Lose Myself to Loving You' is quite simply majestic and for once Garzo really does take centre stage showcasing a lovely piano solo aligned to some dextrous runs. JST is not completely in the shadows though as she lays over this soundscape a torn hurt vocal.

I think this a fabulous album from a fabulous talent. The highest compliment I can pay this lady is that in my opinion she is fast emerging as the female response to Mr Bonamassa. From me, praise indeed as I consider JB the best guitarist on planet earth right now!

Still Frame Replay
Still Frame Replay
Price: £17.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Germanic Mayhem, 9 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Still Frame Replay (Audio CD)
When you open an album with a title track as strong as 'Still Frame Replay' that features a truly searing contribution from a certain Joe Bonamassa then I think you know you are on to a winner!

Thus far this is one of my albums, not just Blues albums of 2012, it is really that good. Still Frame Relay as an album is low down hard driven blues and a showcase for an exceptional talent. The guitar playing, Bonamassa aside is awesome and at times, strange as it may seem, vocally Mr Freischlader reminds me of John Mayer. No bad combinzation in anyone's books.

Agressive, sparse, tight, challenging and rewarding.

If you really do like guitar driven Blues Rock this is an essential addition to your collection!

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