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Per Ception

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Entry Island
Entry Island
Price: £3.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Enter this book at your peril, 30 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Entry Island (Kindle Edition)
One of the most boring books I have ever had the misfortune to buy. I managed 93 pages. Confusing and badly written. Awful.

Norwegian Mood
Norwegian Mood
Price: £8.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it. You'll be glad you did., 19 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Norwegian Mood (Audio CD)
Beautiful singer. Great lyricist. Gorgeous musical arrangements. Warm. Lush. An album I have played many times since buying at the end of last year. You really should just buy this. It's too good for words. Check out 'Birds' and 'a lover in Berlin' on youtube. If you do - you'll order this. Best song 'Wave on rock'

Piano Man: The Very Best Of Billy Joel
Piano Man: The Very Best Of Billy Joel
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine collection that whets the appetite for more, 3 Nov. 2014
I was delighted to come across this CD because the compiler has tried to distil the best of this great man on just one CD. I did not want a 2 CD set - too much in one go. If people want 'Greatest Hits Volume 1, 2 & 3 then buy the studio albums instead. This CD is what I wanted. It gives the listener nearly 80 minutes of fine music. The term very best is of course subjective. What I will say straight away is it was the song 'All about soul' that blew me away as I had not heard it before. That does not appear on any other compilation.

This album has far too much from 'The Stranger' on it. Whilst 'scenes of an Italian restaurant fits well into the theme on that long player, on this release it is just too long. I didn't know there was a longer version of 'Piano Man'. This so called butchered version is in my opinion about right - enough verses already!

This release does what it sets out to do - namely showcasing one man's talent. I am familiar with 'Glass houses', 'The stranger' and '52nd Street'. This CD fills in some gaps for me. It is an introduction to Billy Joel. I am now going to purchase 'nylon curtain', 'storm front' and 'river of dreams' and maybe I will keep on going because this here compilation has reintroduced me to someone still relevant that I had almost forgotten.

You Don't Bring Me Flowers
You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Album, 1 Nov. 2014
When Neil burst on the scene in the Sixties, he was a great lyricist and a fine interpreter of song but much more than that he was a fantastic singer. The power in his voice was awesome. Early recordings like 'Holly Holy' and 'Brother loves travelling show' were a joy in the studio and live concert format 'Hot August night'. His vocal range was such that it all seemed effortless, allowing him to put his music and message across in a way that the likes of Dylan and Cohen could never hope to do.

After recording the triumphant 'Moods' album in 1972, Neil took a rest before emerging with 'Serenade' in 1974. Things were never the same again. What happened to that fantastic voice? Gradually Neil lost the power - that's what happened. Maybe he worked too hard. Maybe he did not look after what he had. Although his new tunes were wrapped around fine melodies and his new label CBS gave him everything he could want in the studio, the golden voice was in decay. On hits like 'If you know what I mean' it sounds like he had a sore throat. Before the end of the decade there was another successful 'live' album 'Love at the Greek' which laid bare that poor old Neil could no longer belt out the hits that made him. There was a massive strain going on when he sang. You may disagree with me on this but the simple fact is that his delivery changed. If you compare the lilting vocal performance on 'Captain sunshine' or 'Brooklyn Roads' with the affectation or strain on 'Hello again' there is a stark contrast.

Neil was still so popular that the weakened voice was embraced, and the hits kept coming. By 1979 and with the Jazz singer LP, Mr Diamond strained on everything he did and in my opinion his voice has been shot ever since, but such was the quality of songs like 'America' and 'Love on the rocks' he was forgiven. The Eighties and Nineties were not kind to Neil. It took producer Rick Rubin in the Noughties to coax something great again, but I digress as it is time to review the last truly wonderful Neil Diamond long player which is 'You don't bring me flowers' from 1978.

On this 1978 release Neil keeps his voice within the boundaries of his now limited vocal range but unlike subsequent releases there is zero schmaltz. On the opener Neil recognised the important and enduring appeal of the American popular song decades before his contemporaries Carly Simon and Rod Stewart. This is followed up with one of Diamond's greatest hits 'Forever in Blue Jeans' which he more or less talks through like Leonard Cohen would and it works well. All the songs on this album are excellent but it is at this point that a big round of applause goes to producer Bob Gaudio and the musicians assembled for this release. The arrangements are clever and I adore the cover of the Cook-Greenaway song 'You've got your troubles' which Neil sings really well.

Neil sings songs that suit him and for that reason he sings well. There is a little bit of disco going on (bumble bee song) but why deny that this style of music was prevalent at the time! You will often find hidden gems on his 70's releases and unless you own this album you will miss out on 'Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons' and 'Remember me' and 'say maybe'. The title track brings out the best in Diamond and Streisand where Neil speaks rather than sings and Streisand soars.

Buy this - it is second only to 'Moods' from '72.

The Original Albums Plus Bonus Tracks
The Original Albums Plus Bonus Tracks
Price: £7.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I got a name for Jim - 'Genius', 30 Oct. 2014
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Some people say that Jim's songs and style are a little old hat now but I feel confident that post 1973 he would have worked with the top producers and musicians thereafter had he lived. His legacy is here for all to see on this two CD best of that covers his three album releases and a plethora of bonus tracks.

Jim had an easy vocal style and his arrangements were relatively simple (but tastefully done) . His lyrics and observations made for entertaining and thought provoking listening. Has any song writer written a better song than 'Time in a bottle'. Harry Chapin was with us until 1981 and for me his music 1973-80 gives a glimpse into how Jim may have evolved musically. We will never know what Jim and Harry would have taught us had they graced our lives in the last 30-40 years but it is time to say thanks guys - you were the ones who spoke to us and still do long after you left us.

Second Nature
Second Nature
Price: £10.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album cover. Great album., 30 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Second Nature (Audio CD)
These five guys are consummate professionals. Very generously they give us over 66 minutes of joyous sounds. It really is a box of chocolates on offer with different textures and ideas. The album is book ended with Prog rock songs lasting in excess of ten minutes but fear not there are no 25 minute epic songs like you would find on a Transatlantic album (another of Neal Morses's projects).

Casey McPherson the Alpha Rev frontman has found a new home here and is a stunning singer and song writer. All the tracks are marvellous and get better with repeated listening. The highlights are the opener which is Prog heaven and a great tune and ensemble piece to kick off the album. There are a few love songs in the middle of this release which are both surprising and enjoyable. 'A place in your world' sung by Neal and 'Peaceful Harbor' really shine but so do the lovey dovey love proclamations like 'the fury of my love' with Casey's soaring vocals matched by Steve Morses's glorious guitar solos.

In short. This is the best 'new' release you could probably buy. I for one hate 'the Pineapple thief'.

In The Spirit Of Things
In The Spirit Of Things
Offered by roundMediaUK
Price: £3.10

4.0 out of 5 stars Not like Kansas and all the better for it., 30 Oct. 2014
This review is from: In The Spirit Of Things (Audio CD)
I have read all the Amazon reviews both here and Stateside and I agree with what everybody says whether that be a two star review or five star. All the points are valid. In fact there is so much divided opinion here - that for once - the overall **** rating is accurate. There are people who came to this album who already had the bands output to that point and for them this LP was not Kansas.

Let me just say that I am 54 and English and until 2012 the only Kansas song I knew was Carry on wayward son. That changed when I heard a snatch of 'dust in the wind' whilst watching the film 'Final destination 5.' I bought 'Best of Kansas released in 1999 and inclusive of 'the pinnacle' in the track listing. This was a wonderful introduction to the band and I was blown away by the long Prog songs on offer. Next came the box set of the first 5 albums and 'Freaks of nature'. And so it is that I know a lot about Kansas when I come to review 'In the spirit of things' which for me is the ''newest'' Kansas album I have bought.

Imagine my shock when I heard this for the first time. I was with the two star reviewers here and agreed with the three star comments about the beginning and end of the album being worthwhile. Indeed, I bought the CD on the strength of 'Ghosts' and 'Bells of St James'. That's enough for me as well - as these songs are essential listening.

The second time I heard this album it was without prejudice. I just listened and enjoyed. It does seem a little crazy that a drummer as brilliant as Phil Ehart let some programmed drums in on it but this is part of the time capsule that is 1988. All the songs have memorable strong hooks. I am not ashamed to like such old stuff. After all I was young man when this record came out and I am sure I would have enjoyed it just as much then as I did this week when hearing it for the first time.

The production is partly flawed but the arrangements and clever playing make up for that. The chugging riff that starts off 'House on fire' is infectious. 'One big sky' could be a John Farnham song but again so what - this album is good. It is part Kansas and part something else. All the songs have something to offer and Steve Walsh is in fine voice. Billy Greer is not a great singer but like the Kansas of old when it was either Robbie or Steve singing - I like the band employing two vocalists.

In my humble opinion Masque, Point of Know return and the opening two songs on Leftoverture are classic Kansas. Add a smattering of singles like 'hold on' and 'fire with fire' and Kerry Livgren Kansas is a wonderful place musically - BUT having recently discovered 1988 Kansas and 1995 Kansas I am having a ball all over again. FREAKS OF NATURE is my favourite all round Kansas watermark but 'in the spirit of things' is also a great listen. Buy it.

The Morning Lasted All Day
The Morning Lasted All Day
Price: £9.99

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The morning last all day certainly did !, 30 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Johnny Marr and Dave Gilmour have worked with this band and Lindsey Buckingham has produced them. Their one hit was a classic and written about 1963 and Kennedy. Apparently 'Life in a Northern town' is some kind of homage to Nick Drake, and I am all for that. So far so good, I hear you say. Well, I plumped for this deluxe double CD retrospective. Worth a tenner surely? The answer is yes and no. Yes - I have satisfied my curiosity. Yes it has that big hit on it. Yes there are enough good songs for one album. But no, no, no - not two albums worth of songs ...but hey so what I only paid said tenner. No - it is not all great. A poor mans Prefab Sprout to be truthful. Lots of samey songs. Kate St John's oboe should have been more to the fore. When they get it right it is glorious. 'This world', and 'Indian summer' and their cover of the Smith's B side ''Please, please, please'' are highlights but it is heavy weather and an endurance test to listen to more than six songs at once.

New Morning
New Morning
Price: £17.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a great discovery, 30 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: New Morning (Audio CD)
I have recently purchased the new release 'Second Nature' by Flying Colors (which is a 5 star album by the way). That CD brought Casey McPherson to my attention for the first time. He is a great lyricist and the best 'new' singer I have heard in a long time. That is why I checked out his 'other' band - ALPHA REV. When I heard 'Colder Morning' and the title track ' New Morning' on 'YOUTUBE', I was knocked out. The whole album is great and shows how versatile the aforementioned Casey is. If you like well crafted songs with strong hooks that get better with each listening - then give this album a listen. Hell - just buy it!

Sing To The Moon
Sing To The Moon
Price: £4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh - like the morning dew., 12 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Sing To The Moon (Audio CD)
Very often, the most complementary reviews are the shortest ones (ie. 5 star). The message is clear - buy it. It's perfect. 'Nuff said except in this case we are dealing with a new artist and a debut album so perhaps a little bit more narrative is required....and why not? I could run out of superlatives for this record but lets just say that once in awhile I hear something refreshingly different (usually this would be in the rock or jazz genres) but here with Laura Mvula is an album by an artist that has in my humble opinion created her own genre.

The album has soul, pop, and orchestral / choral arrangements. In turns it is stark (She) and upbeat (green garden, flying without you), sassy (that's alright) and downright dreamy (sing to the moon, I don't know what the weather will be) and heartbreakingly gorgeous (make me lovely, Can't live with the world).

In short this is a richly textured album that just works. There are in the region of 50 musicians on this masterpiece. And Laura's voice is wonderful. The way she sings ''Hey there you shattered in a thousand in a thousand pieces, weeping in the darkest night'' as the opening lines to the title track moves me as does her admonishment ''who made you the centre of the universe'' on the song 'that's alright.'

If the opening song 'like the morning dew' with it's unusual backing vocal and rich orchestral arrangement doesn't hook you, I would be surprised.

I once read a review on Amazon that was so good that I bought the album. It turns out that album was the worst I ever heard (see my review for 10,000 maniacs) - so I would use this cautionary tale to say don't take my word for it that 'Sing to the moon' will never be out of your CD player for months - but at least check it out!!!!!!!!!!!

I am betting you will be glad if you do.

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