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N. Watts (UK)

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The Beatles In Stereo Vinyl Box [Boxed Set] [VINYL]
The Beatles In Stereo Vinyl Box [Boxed Set] [VINYL]
Price: £255.00

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beautiful, 18 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Let's face it, anyone reading this product will be more than familiar with the music, and it goes without saying The Beatles music is up there with the best, so I won't go into any detail on that side. I will instead just concentrate on the package of the box itself and the sound quality of the remastering.

The box itself is sturdy and glossy with an outer box which slips over the thicker inside box. Inside, each LP is packaged as per the original UK release [E.G. 'Beatles For Sale' comes in a gatefold sleeve, 'Sgt Pepper's' has the cut out's and 'The Beatles' has the fold-out poster/photos]. 'Magical Mystery Tour' of course, was originally a US only compilation of the UK double EP and 1967 singles, and is included as the album has retrospectively slotted in between 'Pepper' and 'The White Album'. The box set includes the booklet from that issue, which is similar anyway to the booklet that came with the original UK EP.

The sound on the albums is fantastic and, for me, even tops the 2009 CD's for warmth, depth and consistency. The mastering engineer explains the process invloved and it's clear a lot of love and care went into this over the past few years.

The hard back book (which fits snugly in the box] is simply magnificant. Each page is satin with photos in gloss, telling The Beatles story, with a chapter dedicated to the making of each album. If you were to buy the book seperately, it would easily retail for £60.

Although the albums can be bought individually in this newly mastered form [for £20 single/ £35 double per album], you would actually end up paying more by doing this. Essentially, by buying the box set, you end up getting the book for free!

Although £300 is a lot of money, especially given most people already own these albums from previous issues, I would not hestiate to recommend it as the box set is such a lovely package, and I think good value for money to.

That's Why God Made The Radio
That's Why God Made The Radio
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £3.48

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Pleasantly Surprised, 11 Jun. 2012
I'm completely blown away with this new beach boys album. I totally wasn't expecting it to be so good. My initial reaction to the news the Boys were making a new album for their 50th anniversary was a bit cynical and, after the last few albums (Stars and Stripes, Summer in Paradise etc)I wasn't very hopeful. How wrong I was!

THAT'S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO is actually quite a unique album in the Beach Boys cannon in that it has a sparse laidback feel about it, yet the production is still rich and full. The music is tastefullly arranged and - for perhaps the first time in their career - makes good use of silence and space between the notes. I would describe it as the sound of watching a crimson sunset over the ocean in a gentle breeze.

The vocal harmonies are, as ever, imaginitevely and immacalately arranged. OK, I have to admit some of the lyrics are quite simple (perhaps even a parody of what they think the public wants), but at the same time this simplicity enhances the beautiful music. The Beach Boys have an uncanny knack for using the beach/sea/ ocean etc etc as a metaphor for something larger than life and this record is littered with that approach.

I'm really pleased the 12 songs recorded are all new (no 'Surfin' retreads!!) without any obvious duds. The last four tracks in paricular flow really well together, having a reflective feel but without being gauche or self indulgent.

My only criticism is I feel there are too many Brian Wilson lead vocals. Don't get me wrong, i'm an avid Wilson fan, but his voice hasn't aged particuarly and this becomes obvious when you compare his lead vocals with Mike Love and Al Jardine. I would also liked to have heard a Bruce Johnston lead vocal.

My picks for the record are the mellower tracks such as'Isn't It Time', 'Daybreak Over The Ocean', 'From There To Back Again', 'Pacific Coast Highway' and 'Summer's Gone'.

In summary I think the break from making music together has done the Boys a world of good because THAT'S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO is a fresh and contemporary sounding album with a lasting appeal. It probaby adds up to their best album since Holland in 1973.

I'm now REALLY looking forward to the planned box set later this year more than ever...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2012 7:18 PM BST

Offered by Hausmusik
Price: £14.53

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Right Label, Wrong CD :-(, 24 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Summerhill (Audio CD)
I bought this CD and although it had the correct artwork, label etc, the actual content is for a different album altogether('The Revolt of Emily Young' by The Foxx).

Obviously it must be a pressing fault and for all I know the music on the Summerhill album might be fantastic, but i'll never know. How annoying!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2012 5:02 AM BST

"Galactic Ramble"
"Galactic Ramble"
by Richard Morton Jack
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should come with a warning sticker!!, 11 May 2010
This review is from: "Galactic Ramble" (Paperback)
I've owned this book since last June and I still find it endlessly fascinating. Basically what you get is what it says on the tin - A comprehensive review of albums released by UK and Irish bands from about 1964 to 1976 (plus a few anomalies released outside of this timeframe and acts who recorded in the U.K. as opposed to their homeland).

The great thing about the book is that it gives you a description of the music and in most cases the crux of the matter - is a particular album worth buying. There are 10 respected authors who contribute to the reviews, with the obvious intention of reviewing LP's in their specialist area. There are also plenty of contemporary reviews which are just as intriguing to read.

At the back of the book are plenty of lists compiled by the authors (e.g. best acid-folk LP's) as well as their own individual top ten LP's from within the book.

As I say the book needs a warning sticker on it 1)You will find it hard to put it down 2)You will find the need to buy a ton of albums mentioned in the book

Skip Bifferty
Skip Bifferty

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reissue, 9 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Skip Bifferty (Audio CD)
This CD includes the original album plus all three singles and their respective B-Sides plus a couple of tracks that were unreleased at the time.

Skip Bifferty were a stellar British underground band from the late sixties who were championed by the late, great underground DJ John Peel. Their sound features the strong Stevie Winwood-esque vocals of Graham Bell as well as excellent harmonies by the rest of the band. The 14 tracks on their sole LP are jaw-dropping, featuring spare guitar licks, a kick arse rhythm section and supreme piano parts by Micky Gallagher. The songs are very catchy indeed and stay in your head for days. It features rockers such as the opening 'Money Man', compelling ballads like 'Come Around', wispy flower-power tracks like 'Orange Lace' and the Cilla Black covered 'Follow The Path Of The Stars' which is a very dynamic performance. There are also plenty of great psychedelic moments on the album such as 'Inside The Secret' and 'Time Track'. It's incredible this album isn't more widely known.

As previously mentioned it also features their singles, including the near hit 'On Love' and Spencer Davis Group soundalike 'Man In Black'. This CD is highly recommended if you are a fan of late sixties pop/rock.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2010 1:17 PM BST

Raw But Tender
Raw But Tender
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £30.79

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Vocals and Groovy Acoustic Backing, 25 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Raw But Tender (Audio CD)
Recorded in 1973 when she was still a teen, it is remarkable what a strong and expressive vocal Jaki Whiten possessed. The material on the album is very roots based, spanning Blues, Folk, Country as well as soft acoustic folk-rock.

Although Whitren was British born and bred, her vocal mannerisims sound much more like her American counterparts such as Joni Mitchell. It's a lovely style that is bluesey but not overpowering to let the wonderful songs shine through.

The songs are all self penned by Whitren and flow from one to another with great conviction. They are reflective and heartfelt but warm and welcoming. They are certainly never melancholic or self-pitying and the set is pleasant and uplifting because of this.

The album has lots of colour in the instrumentation, from the baroque woodwind arrangement of 'Oh Little Boy' to the jazz infected brass of 'But Which Way Do I Go?' as well as nice folk flourishes on Banjo and Dobro on 'New Horizon'. There is also a wonderful understated string arrangement on 'Give Her The Day'. The band that backs her up includes a rhythmn section of Fairport Convention members Pat Donaldson and Gerry Conway plus arrangements and various instrumental support by Rob Young, Ivan Chandler and Stuart Cowell. The musicians provide quite a groovy backing in part due to the voodoo congas that is heard on several tracks.

Although the musical backing is very good it really is Whitrens' show. In short this album is a something of a masterpiece from the era and is well worth a spin as an alternative to 'Tapestry', 'Blue' and 'Just Another Diamond Day'.

We Are Ever So Clean: Expanded Edition
We Are Ever So Clean: Expanded Edition
Price: £10.98

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toytown psychedelia at its best, 25 Sept. 2009
Twee, humourous, vibrant, psychedelic, fun, melodic, whimsical - Yep, you name it this album is all of these and it's all the better for it. For me this album sums up all that was good about British music from the period. The tongue seems to be planted firmly in cheek and it doesn't take itself to seriously, yet the result is quite an artistic success.

The album definitely creates a world of its own as you can probaby tell by reading the song titles. Along with bands such as The Idle Race, (Syd Barrett era) Pink Floyd, World Of Oz Kaleidoscope and The Hollies etc it neatly sums up that very British of genres called Toytown Psychedelia.

The moods of the album are upbeat and bouncy one minute yet sad like a naughty schoolboy the next! Full of wonderful orchestrations there is not a dull moment on the record. My personal favourites are 'I'll Be Late For Tea' which sounds like a hit single, 'Love Is' featuring a lovely Cello arrangement and 'The Intrepid Balloonist's Handbook Volume 1' which is about as wacky as the title implies!

This CD issue features a lot of bonus tracks of which easily the best is the album outtake 'Everybodys Talking' which is a bit harder edged than the rest the album proper but just as good.

Certainly recomended to fans of Sgt Pepper this curious album should not be missed.

Between The Buttons (UK Version)
Between The Buttons (UK Version)
Price: £6.99

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classy Melodic Stones Album, 25 Sept. 2009
It still puzzles me why this album is so criminally ignored, especially in direct comparison to 'AFTERMATH' which is considered a classic by critics. There isn't a duff track on the album (how many other Stones albums can you truly say that about? Maybe 'STICKY FINGERS'?) which is completely written by Jagger/ Richards.

Perhaps the most striking difference when compared to most Stones albums is that it is far less rock/ rhythmn & blues orientated; instead its an album chock full of melodic pop songs. Lyrically it still features the 'poison pen' approach that the Stones have always been good at but with a new found musical awareness (check out the waltz time accordian driven 'Backstreet Girl' or psych-pop of 'Yesterday's Papers').

This perhaps is the key to the success of the album, as the music goes into Dylan terrority ('Who's Been Sleeping Here?'),vaudeville ('Cool, Calm, Collected'),psychedelia ('Please Go Home') and Dixie Jazz ('Something Happened To Me Yesterday'). In addition the songwriting is very strong as they rely less on riffs and more on melody and harmony. On several songs Jagger seems to really attempt to stretch his vocal range and its actually quite appealing.

The Stones would continue in this "softer" direction with the even more psychedelic (and indulgent) 'THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST', before returning to their roots with 'BEGGARS BANQUET'. They haven't really strayed too far from their core sound since. Given the fact that tracks from this album are rarely found on Stones comps it makes getting this album all the more essential.

Moonkyte: Count Me Out
Moonkyte: Count Me Out
Price: £16.46

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raga Styled Acid Folk, 25 Sept. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Moonkyte: Count Me Out (Audio CD)
Another band that was "discovered" by John Peel (and likewise featuring sleeve notes by JP); this is an excellent album of raga rock. This is truly hypnotic and psychedelic music based around spacey chants and exotic instrumentation like sitars, hand drums, harmonium and the like.

The album dives into the spiritual yearning of many of the great acid-folk records of the era (think Comus, The Incredible String Band, COB etc) though this album is far less "Folk" orientated. In fact its inspiration seems a far more chemically assisted hallucinogenic dream mare so strong is the underlying sense of paranoia!

For me the highlights are the opener 'Search' (as the name implies), the catchy raga rock of 'Way Out Hermit' and 'Jelly Man' which closes the album. There are at least five or six tracks that could be included on a psychedelic compilation.

My only criticism would be a (slight) lack of variety as the pace, tone and construction of the songs are similar, but don't let that dissuade you from an otherwise engaging record.

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
Price: £8.41

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scorching release, 23 Sept. 2009
Wow, what an album. This is another (almost) lost sixties treasure. What is most resonant is the amount of variety on the album, and yet it still all works as a complete whole. You get the opening Hendrix influenced 'Intro/ Mother Wtites', the catchy pop psyche of 'Mary Jane', jazz-blues with a humouros cover of 'I was Cool', a superb instrumental in 'Walter Sly', hippy rock with 'Air' and mod with the motown sounding 'Looking For A Happy Life'.

Next up is the albums highlight 'Flames', which has to be one of the decades best singles. Featuring an incredible bubbling bass line, crunchy guitars and awesome lead (and harmony) vocals, this track is worth the price of admission alone.
Things cool down with the next track, the Beatles influenced and mellotron drenched ' What's The Point of Leaving'. There's more mllotron and lovely minor chords on 'Long Nights Of Summer' before the three psychedelic tracks that closed the original album. Featuring many of the era's sonic tricks (phased instrumentation, backwards tapes, distorted vocals, tempo changes) the original album ends just as strongly as it started.

In addition this CD features all the bands' mono singles from the time ('Mary Jane' is especially different from the album version), so this set is definitely good value for money. This album would be reccomended to fans of mid-late sixties psychedelic/ beat music, and would probably appeal to fans of early progressive rock too. Enjoy!!!

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