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Big Squeeze: the Very Best of Squeeze
Big Squeeze: the Very Best of Squeeze

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Squeezed out some great tunes!, 12 Aug. 2004
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I first heard Squeeze when they released 'Cool for Cats', and I remember being struck by how original it was. I was 15, and they sang about all the things I thought being an adult was about. Pop acts at the time would paint everything with a rosy gloss, and the new wave acts would just be pessimistic about everything. Squeeze just looked at it realistically.
Also they wrote fantastic songs.
Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook wrote some of the catchiest tunes to hit the UK charts, and managed to do it for years. It helped that they had some great musicians in the band too, with Jools Holland tinkling the ivories for a few years. They also managed to cover a bewildering number of styles, from the Eurythmic's like 'Take me I'm Yours' to the cod Country and Western of 'Labelled with Love'.
This collection covers their whole lifespan, and as a bonus throws in a CD of b-sides. Now that isn't normally too appealing, but this is Squeeze, so you get some damn fines songs, even though they were only b-sides.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Special Editions)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Special Editions)
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.45

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars England's greatest writer, 11 Aug. 2004
William Shakespeare is renowned for being England's greatest writer, and arguably the greatest writer the World has ever known. Most people will have come across Shakespeare in one form or another, whether it be reading him at school, hearing his works quoted, or seeing a film that is based on one of his plays. The borrowings from Shakespeare are wide and varied, and many day to day sayings such as "Cruel to be kind", "Too much of a good thing" and "Wild-goose chase" all have their origins in Shakespeare.
This book is a collection of all 37 plays, all 152 sonnets and some of his longer poems. They don't have to be read in order, and there is no reason to read all of them in one sitting - it's just great to be able to pick up a single volume to be able to read 'King Lear', or 'Hamlet', or 'Henry V' whenever the mood takes you. There is something for every mood here, from lightweight comedy to dark, harrowing tragedy.
My only criticism is that with a book this large it is often hard to keep a softcover edition in good condition. It needs a little more looking after, so if you want to keep this fantastic collection of literary works in good condition, do yourself a favour and get a hardcover edition, but for those on a budget, this is an ideal way to get your hands on some of the greatest literature ever written!

What's Going On
What's Going On
Price: £4.78

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great album is going on!, 4 Aug. 2004
This review is from: What's Going On (Audio CD)
At a time when Motown was one of the biggest hit producing record companies in the world they refused to record this for Marvin Gaye. Inspired by his brother's return from Vietnam, he ingnored the love songs that all the other Motown artists were recording, and wrote about the things in life that he cared about at the time. Fortunately he managed to get this recorded even after Berry Gordy Junior refused, but Smokey Robinson interceded for him and as they say, the rest is history...
From the title track onwards we get a heady mix of motown, jazz, blues and cool, laid-back tunes. Lyrically it is far superior to anything that previously came from a Motown artist, and it rightly deserves its place in the various top 10 albums of all time lists that it regularly gets into.
It's great music to listen to whilst driving to work, and songs like 'Whats Happening Brother' and 'God is Love' are just great to groove along to in the car.
It really is one of the best albums ever recorded!

The Lord of The Rings (Based on the 50th Anniversary Single volume edition 2004)
The Lord of The Rings (Based on the 50th Anniversary Single volume edition 2004)
by Brian Sibley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.80

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first, best and most enduring, 3 Aug. 2004
Never heard of Lord of the Rings? Where have you been??? There surely can't be anyone who hasn't heard of the epic work of J.R.R. Tolkien now that it has made it to the big screen. Once known as a book widely read by Dungeons and Dragons players and old bearded hippies, it is now shown in a far better light, and more widely read. For all the crass manipulation of literature to make money that takes place in Hollywood, at last we have something that has promoted a work of literature is the light that it deserves to be shown.
This book spurred on a generation of writers to produce either new works of fiction in the same genre (or produce third-rate copies of LOTR hoping to make money from its success), but none of them could match the grandeur and completeness of the original. It was originally envisaged as a vehicle for Tolkien to develop his linguistic experiments, and not as a work of fiction. The Hobbit came first, based on the stories he used to tell his children, and once that was published, Hobbit readers wanted more, so he somewhat reluctantly developed his notes into the basis of a story...
In a nutshell, the story was developed over a period of years, interrupted somewhat by World War II, and finished 17 years later in 3 volumes. The result is a book of unmatched magnitude, and a fantasy world so complete in detail that it is hard to imagine that it did not exist.
The influence of these books in unprecedented. They have influenced novelists, rock bands, university degrees, poets, the list goes on. The films give people the opportunity to investigate these weighty tomes, but to really experience Tolkien you have to read these books.
They do have a reputation for long and descriptive passages, and even a tendency to waffle at times, but the ultimate reward is to close 'Return of the King', sit back and smile a contented smile at having experienced the world of Middle Earth first hand.
No one who finishes these books ever regrets reading them!

Hot Space
Hot Space
Offered by dischiniccoli
Price: £16.96

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be put in perspective..., 2 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Hot Space (Audio CD)
Just remember the time that this album was released before you listen to the criticism that it receives. I don't think there has been a single Queen album that has got away without a bad review, but this is one of the few that hasn't been appreciated after its time.
I don't think it's any surprise that it is the album that is more rooted in the music of the time than any other. It came after the success of 'Another One Bites the Dust', and that opened the doors to members of Queen (all except Roger Taylor who hated 'Another One Bites the Dust') experimenting with dance music now that it had left the discos and entered the mainstream.
The opening tracks are the most dance oriented, but that doesn't stop Brian May from hitting us with some distorted guitar and getting some solos in there. 'Staying Power' and 'Back Chat' are very much mainstream, but the Brian May penned 'Dancer' is as hard rock as disco ever got. It is followed by the worst song that Queen ever recorded - 'Body Language' - which sounds like an unfinished demo.
The album then continues with the Queen songs that we would have expected on this album. 'Put Out the Fire' and 'Life is Real' are songs inspired by the murder of John Lennon. 'Put Out the Fire' has one of Brian May's best ever guitar solos, a rough and gutsy effort that fits perfectly with this song.
Of course, it ends with their Bowie colaboration 'Under Pressure', and in between has the very underrated 'Las Palabras de Amor'.
Don't just judge this album on the reviews, as it has some great songs on it. Unfortunately it has a couple of real turkeys there too.

Little Earthquakes
Little Earthquakes
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.28

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not such a little earthquake, 2 Aug. 2004
This review is from: Little Earthquakes (Audio CD)
Breathy, sexy vocals and piano playing that defies prediction, Tori Amos was one of the last solo female vocalists to actually sound original and sincere. Unfortunately we now live in the 'Pop Idol' world of conformity, so performances like this are not heard on CD anymore.
The subject matter of the songs is wide and varied, covering everything from emotionally charged ('Girl' and 'Mother') to sometimes downright weird (there's something in almost every song here!). She really does just let go and vent whatever emotion comes to hand when she sings and plays.
'Silent all these Years' is probably my favourite here, with a melody that lingers long after the song is gone, but more as an echo than a tune stuck in your head. This really was so different from anything else at the time, and I only wish that record companies would sign more artists as original as Tori and let them record material as brilliant as this.

Sheer Heart Attack
Sheer Heart Attack
Offered by claires_media_store
Price: £8.99

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often forgotten, but one of the best., 28 July 2004
This review is from: Sheer Heart Attack (Audio CD)
The albums from 'Queen II' through to 'News of the World' were undoubtedly the best that they ever recorded, but this one gets somewhat forgotten as it sits between the groundbreaking rock music of 'Queen II' and the awesomely unique 'Night at the Opera'. It has been unfairly referred to as a rehearsal for 'Night at the Opera', but this album can stand on its own merits as a great Queen album.
It opens with live favourite 'Brighton Rock', which Brian used as a showcase for his solo delayed guitar spot and developed over the years into a showcase for this technique. It moves to the song that won Freddie Mercury an Ivor Novello songwriting award - 'Killer Queen' - their first big hit in the UK. It just seems to be one great song after another, with a breathtaking range of styles.
Not all of the songs are going to appeal to everyone, and 'Bring Back that Leroy Brown' seems to be singled out, but it fits well with the rest of the album and makes me smile every time I hear it. 'In the Lap of the Gods' is probably the most underrated track here though. It was played near the beginning of the set on their last world tour, but they didn't play it the same way as either version here - from Roger Taylor's amazing vocal at the start to the singalong ending, it's one of the classic Queen songs.
This one really does rate up there with the best!

The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
Price: £6.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes...and No..., 23 July 2004
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OK, so it's not the easiest task in the world to put together a best of album for a band like Yes. This doesn't do too bad a job, and thankfully concentrates on their early better material.
'Survival' from their first album makes it on to here as do the best tracks from the early albums up to and including the inconsistent 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'. After that, the selection is careful, but still includes a few tracks that sound really out of place, such as the bland, radio-friendly 'Calling'.
There is some criticism in other reviews of the inclusion of an early version of 'And You and I', but I find this a bonus, as it has a feeling of brightness and improvisation about it that is missing from their more polished material. I mean, criticizing it because of Jon Anderson's flat vocal - Jon Anderson's vocals on the finished product were often flat, so that's not a big issue!
This is a collection of one of the great prog rock bands of the 70's, fortunately with no too much of the 80's rock bullplop that was the result of sudden lineup changes and badly chosen producers (yes, Trevor Rabin, I mean you!).

All the World's a Stage
All the World's a Stage

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The first of many!, 21 July 2004
This review is from: All the World's a Stage (Audio CD)
It's hard to keep track of the number of live albums that Rush have released. This was the first, and came between the early heavier rush and the more synthesizer influenced middle part of their career.
The most noticeable thing about this album is that Geddy Lee plays bass and...nothing else! This is a guitar/bass/drums set up that shows them at their hard-rocking best. The only issue I have with it is that the sound quality isn't too great, and in particular the bass guitar is very low in the mix.
The songs are some of the best from their early career (spanning 4 studio albums), and there are great versions of the tracks from 'Rush' here, including a great version of 'Working Man'. They seem to have concentrated on reproducing the studio versions of the tracks, and have done an admirable job!

Permanent Waves
Permanent Waves
Price: £3.49

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It certainly did make waves, 14 July 2004
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This review is from: Permanent Waves (Audio CD)
This is probably the first mainstream album that Rush produced that appealed to anyone outside the heavy/prog rock fraternity. They had never really had radio play before, but 'Spirit of Radio' changed all that and propelled this album into the Limelight.
It has the feel of a band confident in their ability to entertain whilst no losing their grip on their personal musical direction. There are still songs of epic proportions here, such as 'Natural Science' and 'Jacob's Ladder', but they have come a long way since the early epics.
For me 'Jacob's Ladder' stands out as it has such simple riffs yet a lot of experimentation. There is one point where all 3 of them are playing in different time signatures but they are still producing music that is accessible.
One of their best!

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