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Reviews Written by
S. F. Eales "Dogstar" (Manchester UK)

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Dirt Farmer
Dirt Farmer
Price: £12.03

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable album from a remarkable survivor, 6 Feb 2008
This review is from: Dirt Farmer (Audio CD)
Normally I would hesitate to give an album 5 stars since - somehow it goes against the grain to say that any record ticks all the boxes and couldn't be improved upon. However I am delighted to make an exception for Dirt Farmer which is so good in every respect that to award it anything less than 5 stars seems curmudegeonly. That Helm has produced such a great record is all the more remarkable since he has recovered from surgery for throat cancer to make it. And the voice, though maybe a little rougher than it used otm be is in fine shape, whether singing alone or in harmony with his daughter Amy. The material is a mixture of folk, hillbilly and gospel with some R and B flourishes, played with great flair and sensitvity by Helm and his fellow musicians. At nearly 70 years of age Helm is already an American legend and judging by Dirt Farmer has a lot more good music in front of him.

The Definitive Collection
The Definitive Collection
Price: £7.20

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not definitve but pretty damn good anyway, 1 Oct 2005
Like any 'definitive' collection this one most decidedly isn't, in fact it's something of a ragbag - BUT it is most certainly excellent and while not the last word on Martin's career to date is a pretty good inroduction to what he does. There is a fine range of material here, all of it - bar the stomping 'Lakes of Ponchartrain' showcasing his quite remarkable ability as a guitarist (and occasionally banjo player). His voice is a more variable instrument veering between the rich and effective to the annoyingly whiney but even when the latter is the case his magnificent guitar playing more than compensates. It's the instrumentals, however, that really stand out, 'First Cut Is the Deepest' and 'Plains of Waterloo/James Connolly' in particular, though the songs 'Shawnee Town' and 'One More Day/Boots of Spanish Leather' are fine performances. Just occasionally his arrangements slip into the over-fussy ( the introduction to 'Clerk Sanders' for example ) but we can forgive him a few small lapses for such overall excellence. Highly recommended and only misses the five stars since I ( and probably most other fans ) would quibble about some of the items included here on a so-called definitive collection.

Bete Noire
Bete Noire
Price: £7.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Ferry, 18 Mar 2003
This review is from: Bete Noire (Audio CD)
Something of a 'forgotten' work in the Ferry canon, Bete Noir repays seeking out if it passed you by. Its a dense, moody recording, with Ferry' songwriting in good form and his voice sounding good against the swirling mix. My personal favourite is the delicately swirling Zomba with its plaintive vocal but the opening track Down In Limbo run it a close second.

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