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It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £10.40

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SO HERE IT IS AGAIN...ANOTHER DEF JAM!, 24 Nov. 2014
1988 - "Armageddon has been in effect....Go get a late pass. Step!" the opening cut from PE`s "Nation of Millions lp . Without a doubt, the greatest rap/Hip-Hop album ever with Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Griff, Terminator X, Johnny Juice, the S1Ws & the Bomb Squad in top form. All this & producer Rick Rubin behind the mixing desk overseeing the most revolutionary album ever made.

2014 - 26 years on & this masterpiece finally gets the deluxe treatment from Def Jam/Universal. There was talk of a 20th Anniversary set in 2008 but this came to nothing at the time. Pleased as I am that this set has finally been put out, & Ill get straight to the point here , there are some glaring omissions. Chad Jackson`s manic DMC mixes of "Rebel" & "Bring the Noise" are missing as are the Jam Master Jay remix of "Louder than a Bomb" & the remix for "Party for Your Right" - both available on "Greatest Misses" but certainly worthy of their inclusion here.

There really should have been a 4th disc of Chuck D`s home demos & alternate versions of the album (aka: "Soul of a Nation") as it has been rumoured that Chuck wanted these out years ago but Universal baulked at the idea of clearing samples for a second time! A complete disc of instrumentals - or even the un-released versions recorded by PE`s backing band, The Banned - might have swayed it for some fans to buy the cd again.

The dvd is a nice touch as the VHS tape has never been released officially in this format. "Cold Lampin` With Flavor" appears to be missing which if true, is a criminal omission. Some period era Yo! MTV Rap or even some of PE`s European TV appearances at the time could also have been added just to remind ourselves how much of a live force the band were.

Let's also hope the liner notes are written by someone with a love of the band & what their music stands for (at the time of writing, it appears that The Roots drummer, Questlove, has penned the notes so its looking good!). Respected journalist Angus Batey has written many informative PE reviews over the years plus there were some cracking "Nation of Millions" features in HHC (issue #223) & Wax Poetics (issue #17) which really gave readers an insight into The Bomb Squad`s production techniques. A follow-up interview with iconic photographer Glen E. Friedman would also be appreciated especially on how the visual concept of the lp was put together.

Well, there's still time for Def Jam/Universal to make changes before the official release date & maybe actually take on board comments from fans who want to see a worthwhile re-release which pays respect to the original. With this in mind, a deluxe edition of "Fear of a Black Planet" (aka: "Fear of the Dark") can't be too far off...

5* for the original - 3* for the 2014 version

UPDATE Dec 2014 - The Fight the Power dvd has been edited with the SIWs intro cut & Cold Lampin` with Flavor
missing so don`t chuck away your old VHS copy just yet. The second disc clocks in at just under 46 minutes. The sleeve notes are well written but I would have also have preferred an extra chapter by Ice-t, KRS-1, Paris, DMC or Dave Pearce. The inside booklet has some rare pics of the band, but what gets my goat is that some of the pics (Chuck`s L.A Raiders jacket) are unbelievably blurred out! The original is still a stone-cold classic - this re-issue has left me a little underwhelmed......
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Saturday Night - The Album - Expanded Edition
Saturday Night - The Album - Expanded Edition
Offered by HitsvilleUK & more
Price: £10.55

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DEDICATED TO ALL B-BOYS!!, 24 Aug. 2014
1986 was a top year for rap with long players from RUN-DMC, The Beastie Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Steady B, Just-Ice, Stetsasonic & Mantronix being in most fans collections. This set from Philadelphia duo - Schoolly School & sidekick, DJ Code Money - blew every release out the water with its tales of guns, drugs & gangs in the city of brotherly love. Rap`s first gangster album - you better believe it!

Fast forward to 2009 & ageing b-boys (like yours truly!) held their breath as a proposed cd release from Traffic Entertainment was planned & then shelved due to Sony getting cold feet over sample clearance. Five years later, & thanks to UK label Funky Town Grooves, this masterpiece is now finally available in its entirety on cd (assuming that most fans couldn't find/afford the import only Rykodisc & Vinyl Resurrection compilations!) featuring the original 7x track release & now including the additional 3x tracks ("Dis Groove is Bad", "Housing the Joint" & "Parkside 5-2") from the 1987 re-release with bonus radio & instrumental versions added causing ageing b-boys to literally cry tears of joy!

"Re-Mastered from the Original Master Tapes" proclaims the liner notes & popping the disc into the player for the first time you'll instantly notice how loud the cd is - hats off to Battery Studios engineer Sean Brennan for the sound enhancement as the tracks are given a new lease of life, especially, on the standout cuts "Saturday Night" and "It`s Krack".

FTG are planning further Schoolly D re-releases so golden age rap fans can look forward to the first self-titled mini lp (please let this have "Maniac" & "Gangster Boogie" on it - 2x mindblowing tracks from 1984!) , "Smoke Some Kill" & "Am I Black Enough For You?" also seeing the light of day. If that hasn't already got you foaming at the mouth, have a butchers at their website as expanded releases from Kool Moe Dee and The Poor Righteous Teachers are also due out very soon. Cheers!
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The Gift (Super Deluxe Edition)
The Gift (Super Deluxe Edition)
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £58.99

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE JAM - THE GIFT OF LIFE!, 4 Dec. 2012
The Jam's sixth & final studio lp was given the super-deluxe treatment by Universal in respect of 30 years since its release and 30 years since the bands split. This review is not going to breakdown each track (quality reviews already exist on Amazon) but is more on the overall presentation of the actual box set & its contents.

First impressions are positive as the lp sized candy striped box (based on the original paper bag that initial copies of the lp came in) looks very appealing. Inside we get a reproduction of the "Trans-Global Unity Express" tour program, 3x (A4 sized) prints housed in a smart wallet & a 72 page hardback book (which includes contributions & memorabilia from fans own personal collections) complete with a new interview from Paul Weller himself looking back on the album. The 4x discs are housed in individual card sleeves at the back of the book & this is what we get folks:

Disc 4 - Is the dvd and all the content on here has been available on YouTube for a few years now. You get the edited "Trans-Global Unity Express" gig from 21/03/82 (9 tracks) but we all know that the full version is out there including super-rare soundcheck footage of the band. The Spil-Op show (12 tracks) from 23/04/82 is also present here with the Danish subtitles thankfully removed. Three promo vids and the double helping of "Precious" & "Town Called Malice" from TOTP end the disc. There's no TV or live footage from Belgium, France, Holland, Sweden, Japan, Canada or the USA - a real shame as the lp was heavily promoted in these countries at the time.

Disc 3 (RT: 79:05) - Is the live cd from Wembley Arena 03/12/82 (23 tracks). The previous nights show has been heavily bootlegged ("Ready, Steady....Gone") but it's nice to have the gig in re-mastered (ie: officially released!) form. An earlier gig from 1982 or even the Hammersmith Palais gig from 14/12/81 would have been a better choice though as you do get backing singers, Afrodiziak, providing vocals on a number of classic tracks.

Disc 2 (RT: 41:43) - The demos disc (16 tracks), which includes 3 instrumentals. "The Planners Dreams Goes Wrong" feels more like a Jam track than the final lp version & "Beat Surrender" is played at a slower tempo than the single version. The bootleg cd "Skirt!" had demo versions of "Circus", "Happy Together" and the Small Faces cover, "My Mind's Eye" which could all have been included on this release and possibly omitted the previously available versions of "Precious" & "Get Yourself Together". Surprisingly, (I Got You) I Feel Good is missing. What would have rounded this cd off nicely would have been the Weller interview from the SFX tape (Issue 6 - February 1982). Weller also remarked that his demos had a more soulful feel than the finished band versions - judge them for yourselves!

Disc 1 (RT: 73:22) - Features the original 11 track lp & 10 (previously released) bonus tracks. Considered (& rather unfairly) to be the Jam's "Ball of Confusion" due to the eclectic nature of the tracks but it's still stands the test of time & is a great listen today. One little quibble is that the "Just Who is the 5 O`Clock Hero?" EP version of "War" (incidentally, available here as an extended mix) should have been track 13 (& not 21) while the Swing version of "Pity Poor Alfie" should have been on the demos disc as should have "Stoned Out of My Mind" as this definitely sounds like a demo with Weller's vocals sounding very high pitched. Minor? Maybe. Sloppy? For the price, certainly. This track was also rumoured to have used a drum machine & perhaps a direction in what Weller wanted with The Style Council. There could also have been room for the rare live outing of "Give Me Just a Little Bit More Time" to be squeezed on as this is a great cover of the Chairmen of the Board classic.

So is it worth the £80+ quid asking price. In my honest opinion, no & this should have been nearer the £45 mark as this would have been a fairer price as a lot of Jam fans will feel a bit short changed about this (especially with the 6 studio albums being released as a boxset soon for under £20). With the high asking price, there should have been a bit more content included - replicas of the Japanese "Town Called Malice" and Swedish "Just Who is the 5 O'Clock Hero?" 7" singles could have been included for starters as well as the ticket stub for the last ever gig at Brighton (11/12/82). A re-master of the actual lp on heavyweight vinyl or even the tracks made available across 3x 7"(33 rpm) singles would have been a nice touch if included. There was talk of a 10" vinyl release of the Spil-Op show intended for this set but the powers that be decided to release this separately at £20 a pop and limited this to 1000 copies (which, not surprisingly, is already fetching big monies on Ebay!).

With the music biz trying desperately to compete with the internet, they really need to take a good hard look at themselves & think of future releses that fans want & at a price thats afforable to all (some of the prices for the Pink Floyd & The Who editions are eye-wateringly high!). This release crept into the U.K charts at #86 meaning that a lot of fans gave this (& the standard 2x cd version) a miss. One positive about this release though is that it got the actual fans involved (something that should have happened for the deluxe versions of "All Mod Cons" & "Sound Affects"). The main downsides are, of course, the lack of quality control before its release and missed oppurunities for something REALLY special for fans to treasure.

Not sure what 2013 has in store for us Jam fans, although, its rumoured that a new dvd and live cd boxset ("Jamplification!") may be doing the rounds soon - hopefully with a few rare foreign performances being included. Universal should, in my book, get Dennis Munday back on board to oversee any future projects & also to take a look at the 2x Facebook sites - The Jam Anthology & The Jam Memorabilia (both a credit to the band) - when planning any future releases, just to get a truer flavour on what fans really want!

Can I also recommend the new book, "Thick as Thieves - Personal Situations With The Jam", as this gives you a fantastic idea on what the band really meant to their fans (The Jam-Army!) between 1977-1982. Cheers!
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Lion Goes From Strength To Str
Lion Goes From Strength To Str
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £5.86

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLADE GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH....., 3 Feb. 2011
Thank heavens for Original Dope as this masterpiece has been criminally out of print since 1993 - and even then it was an edited single disc version. 2010 finally sees the original vinyl version re-released as a deluxe 2 cd, 26 track package with Blade rumoured to have overseen the project himself and with original engineer No Sleep Nigel back in charge of the re-mastering.

Blade was not like any U.K rapper back in the day. A familiar face in New Cross, South London he set up his own label (691 Influential) and basically sold all 12"s himself without any record company help. This album was also funded by 3000 pre-orders from fans - Stereo MC`s, Carter USM and Blaggers ITA included - based on the strength of his previous releases - now that's what I call being independent!

Thankfully, the re-mastering hasn't compromised on the lps original lo-fi feel with stand-out tracks "100%", "Take it to the Edge", "Fade Em Out" and the show stopping "Dark and Sinister" (with fellow brit MC Mello) given a new lease of life. Coupled with (Rhyme Cut Core's) DJ Grazzhoppa`s frenzied turntable skills, this is one cd that just has to be played at it's loudest!

The NME, back in the day, reviewed the lp as being "The roar of this lion is sometimes of pain, but mostly it's a snarl of repressed anger and a show of solid strength. F- Compton and turn your attention closer to home". Wise words indeed.

Blade has now sadly retired from the music business, but fingers crossed that we can see him back on the live scene touring this album. Lets also hope that Original Dope can put out 1992`s "Survival of the Hardest Working" EP soon coupling all the classic early 12"s and instrumentals as an expanded release as this was the original blueprint for this work of art. Cheers!
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Sound Affects
Sound Affects

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SOUND AFFECTS - 1980-2010!, 22 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Sound Affects (Audio CD)
This 2010 deluxe edition is a good release - my personal feeling is that with a bit more effort, Polydor/Universal could and should have made this an absolute killer release. So, why the criticism you ask - Well, Disc 1 is the original 11 track lp which clocks in at 36 minutes so basically around 43 minutes free space could've been used for more un-released tracks hidden in the vaults. Jam A&R man Dennis Munday`s 2006 book, "Shout to the Top" on the band, indicates some of the recordings still held and surely these lost classics (a number of acetates were cut for "Going Underground" & criminally omitted here!) could have been dusted down and included on this release - & upped it`s overall VFM factor!

Disc 2 has the bonus material although a few of these tracks have already popped up on "Extras" & on the "Direction, Reaction, Creation" box set from a few years back. A little disappointing that no 3rd disc was included to really tempt the fans - this could either have been a live disc from the legendary Newcastle City Hall gig (28/10/10) or a DVD of the complete German Rockpalast TV broadcast (30/11/80) - on both occasions, the band were at their un-stoppable best. Bootleg recordings from these gigs indicate that at least 8x tracks from "Sound Affects" were played at each show so it would have made sense for it`s inclusion. Also missing are the Promo vids for "Start!", "That`s Entertainment" and the rarely seen "Dream Time".

The sleeve notes also seem to give a slight Weller bias - Foxton & Buckler hardly get a look in nor does producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, designer Bill Smith or revered rock photographer Pennie Smith. Shame as it would have been nice to hear their input on the concept of the lp. Foreign release pics of the lp, promo items, the planned sleeve for "Pretty Green" or even snippets from the super-rare songbook would have also been a nice touch if included. Maybe I should also drop the guys at Record Store Day a line to see if the 4 Side Affects EP can be given a timely re-release!

To end on a positive note though, the original lp still sounds the business today with the likes of "Start!", "That's Entertainment" & "Man in the Corner Shop" being some of the finest tracks that the band ever recorded. The un-released demos of "Waterloo Sunset", "Monday" & "Scrape Away" are nice touches and show the band moving away from their so-called "Jam-Sound" into new territory (although The Beatles/Kinks/Small Faces influences are still apparent). This is the album that also broke the band in the States where U.K sales were matched with a chart placing of 72.

Lets hope rumoured news of "The Gift" re-issue are true and that Polydor/Universal can really get their act together for this one - although a double 35th Anniversary release of "In the City" & "This is the Modern World" complete with the 100 Club gig (11/09/77), related demos, radio sessions, TOTP appearances & pre-Polydor recordings would be more my cup of tea.

Additional note: just check out this superb review from The Quietus -
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