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pikeyboy (carmarthen, uk)

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Truelove's Gutter
Truelove's Gutter
Price: 4.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Dark Yet (But It's Getting There), 21 Jan 2010
This review is from: Truelove's Gutter (MP3 Download)
It's almost impossible to criticize Mr. Hawley, but I feel myself pulling against the tide of unstinting praise levelled at this opus. While certainly (to my ears) far from his best, it may well prove his most mature and enduring release. Where "The Sun Refused To Shine" left its last shimmering refrains at the close of "Lady's Bridge", and seemed to hint at something more cinematic and picturesque to come, I find "Truelove's Gutter" on the whole to be something of a retreading over familiar ground, only rather grander and more epic in scope. Personally, I feel RH has never really recovered from missing out on the Mercury Prize the year he clearly deserved to win with "Cole's Corner" and so cast an eye over the Elbow blueprint and decided something more dark and epic was required in order to be taken more seriously, when he himself knows full well there is nothing wrong with a lighter, more populist touch (ask The Beatles). Myself, I'm no huge Elbow fan: I think "The Seldom Seen Kid" is alright, but I won't be listening to it again in a hurry. It don't float my boat. RH, however, for his muscular larynx alone is another kettle of cucumber, and he doesn't need to hide behind all the distractions of a multivaried array of glass harmonicas, musical saws, and so on. Tom Waits is the master of that, and I prefer him with just a piano or acoustic guitar, not cloaked behind various guises. Hawley's masterpiece is still "Cole's Corner", where he elegantly displayed use of a beautiful baritone to match that of Mr. Walker (S). "Truelove..." had it been made recently by Scott (W) would be a welcome return to fire and glory, and "For Your Lover, Give Some Time" has more than the odd Brel-ish shade to it. The single, "Open Up Your Door" has a beautiful coda an the final refrain, but it has already been usurped in order to sell luxury ice cream. The best tracks are the longest two: "Remorse Code" and "Soldier On" with its opulent crescendo, for me, take pride of place as classics to match anything in Hawley's canon, but I hope he lets more light in on his next outing. What about an album of eclectic covers, a "Pin-Ups" for the times. Just a thought.


Astral Weeks
Astral Weeks
Price: 9.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Poetry, Perfect Songs, 22 Nov 2008
This review is from: Astral Weeks (Audio CD)
Is this the greatest album of all time? Truthfully, I don't know. At the tender age of 18, I thought so. I had no concept of Van Morrison except for Dexy's great cover of Jackie Wilson Said. So, I got on the train to Chester, because they had Penny Lane Records, and I knew I'd find it there. I bought it together with St. Domininc's Preview, so that if I didn't dig Astral Weeks I'd have the album with JWS on and all would not be lost. From the floating, opening strains of the title track, I was immediately hooked. I had never heard anything so fresh, so free, and I already loved Dylan and The Beatles and - for good measure - Scott Walker, but nothing matched this, until I later discovered the likes of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Neil Young, etc. But it has to be said - Nick Drake aside - none of the others mentioned ever released an album as self-contained, as cohesive as this. It seems to exist in its own little bubble of time and space, and that time and space belongs to every person who rediscovers this, truly the greatest work of Van Morrison's fairly illustrious career. Perhaps that's why he decided to turn his back on it for so long, I don't know. Perhaps the weight of expectation created by its legend was outweighed by his need to carve out a career without succumbing to popular taste, i.e. to do his own thing. It really is difficult to fathom, when I read people saying they just don't 'get' this album, but each to his/her own tastes, I say. No amount of flowery prose will ever make me 'get' i.e. Joni Mitchell's Blue, though I like it a lot more than some of hers. Or anything on earth that will ever make me 'get' OK Computer, which seems to have replaced Astral Weeks at the top of everyone's current lists. Or Stone Roses, which is just about as good as, say, The Scars to me, and certainly a league below something like Crocodiles by Echo and the Bunnymen, which was great at 14, but I don't wish to hear it now. One thing's for sure: I'll be listening to Astral Weeks long after all the rest has fallen by the wayside, along with other evergreen classics such as Bryter Layter, What's Going On, Harvest, Blood On The Tracks, I'm Your Man, Dream Letter, and many more as well. Thus: no words will ever do justice to the way these songs stir such deep emotions in me. Astral Weeks always was and always will remain the album of adolescent awakenings, wherein poetry and song walk hand in hand, and the results, almost by chance, far exceed the sum of the parts. If you don't 'get it' now you never will. That's life! Still, I can't help feeling a little sorry for those who would overlook the beauty and majesty of Van Morrison's finest hour.


First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Minimum, 22 Nov 2008
I am writing this review at the same time as I'm refreshing my memories of it. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, but for anyone to give it one lone star! I'm sorry: did I miss something? This is an album by JIMI HENDRIX, dear! JIMI....you know, set fire to his guitars, played it with his teeth....Oh! never mind....the trolley will be round in a minute....nice cup of tea for you, dear!
Seriously; this is a brilliant record, and would have spun Jimi out almost in a new direction. 'Dolly Dagger' and 'Angel' are two of his finest recordings. Much of it has a more soulful feel than his previous albums. I'd recommend it to anyone.


The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners
The Very Best of Dexys Midnight Runners
Offered by gowingsstoreltd
Price: 11.71

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Not To Like?, 19 Nov 2008
The irony of calling this 'The Very Best...' wouldn't have gone unnoticed by dear old Kevin himself. Released, originally, as a cut-price cash-in on the success of 'Come On Eileen' and 'Jackie Wilson Said', the record company padded out the rest with off-cuts and b-sides, thereby ensuring that we - as devoted fans who've long since lost all our original vinyl - can buy these great tracks on one cd, without having to hunt for hours through secondhand record shops. This album is worth the price of Cliff Bennett's 'One Way Love' alone. 'Come On Eileen' we all know - it's been played to death - but it is still a great song. What's not to like about this one?


Veedon Fleece
Veedon Fleece

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ranks With His Best, 9 Nov 2008
This review is from: Veedon Fleece (Audio CD)
One man's meat is another man's poison. When it comes to musical tastes, there's no truer expression. Now, whereas I don't feel that this is Van's finest hour by a long chalk, it is utterly indispensible in terms of his back catalogue. It follows on from the Celtic Soul Orchestra period, and directly after what may come to be perceived as his greatest opus: I refer, of course, to the magnificent live album 'It's Too Late To Stop Now.' As far as studio albums go, 'Veedon Fleece' ranks with his best, but it is not as good (in my opinion) as 'Moondance', 'St. Dominic's Preview', 'Into The Music' or the best of them all, the evergreen 'Astral Weeks', still it's pretty damn close.


Blue Afternoon [VINYL]
Blue Afternoon [VINYL]
Price: 22.22

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Whale Blues, 1 Nov 2008
This review is from: Blue Afternoon [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I have to admit I don't presently own a copy of this album, but before my vinyl collection was ripped off by so-called mates, I had everything by Tim, a total obsessive. This was always one of my favourites, and to me, far superior to Starsailor, which seems to be the one that acolytes clamber for. Back in the early eighties, when I started devouring everything Tim, I expected Starsailor would blow my boots off, like another Astral Weeks or Forever Changes, but it was always too wigged-out for me, and its greatest track - the ever-lovely 'Song To The Siren' - I subsequently learned was an old track, which could really have been included on any album preceding 'sailor. Blue Afternoon, however, is the real deal, which along with Goodbye And Hello and Happysad remains for me one of Tim's finest moments. Again, some of the songs predated the album, and there is a lovely YouTube vid. of Tim singing 'Happy Time' in a very bossa-nova type way. That's the song which opens Blue Afternoon, and it only gets better from there on in. 'Chase The Blues Away', 'I Must Have Been Blind', 'The River', 'Cafe' and 'Blue Melody' are among the finest songs Tim (or anyone, for that matter) has written. This album cannot be recommended highly enough. I have most of the tracks in one form or another on compilations, with the distressing absence of 'Cafe'. One day I'll have them all again. Fantastic stuff!


Harvest
Harvest
Offered by Dirty Deals UK
Price: 6.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Harvest (Has Surely Come), 23 Oct 2008
This review is from: Harvest (Audio CD)
Like another reviewer in these pages, once upon a time I too was quick to dismiss Neil Young, but now I wear the sackcloth and ashes and berate myself for not picking up on his vibe sooner. This is a stunningly good and deceptively easy album to listen to. I bought it in a job lot, with several other albums by NY, and for weeks and weeks now I have woken up and gone to sleep listening to nothing else but 'Harvest' 'After The Goldrush' 'On The Beach' 'Tonight's The Night' 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' and 'Greatest Hits', knowing that sooner or later the hook of 'Old Man' and 'Heart Of Gold' (songs I've always loved) would eventually place the key in my hand that would unlock the beauty and genius of this man. I love all these mentioned above, and I am buying more at the weekend: 'Zuma' and 'Comes A Time' and 'Harvest Moon'. I have to say, much as I love the others, this album goes way beyond praise: it is up there with (in my book) 'Astral Weeks' 'What's Going On' 'The Gilded Palace Of Sin' 'Blood On The Tracks' and several others I could name. Why didn't I get it all those years ago? Because Young is not a conventional songwriter in one sense; lyrically, all his albums seem to comprise of one never-ending travelogue through the dreams, aspirations and wreckage of the generations, which is all more grist to his mill, as he is able to sonically sculpt the most amazing and simple tunes and wrest the heart and soul from passing moments. I could not recommend this album higher.


On the Beach
On the Beach
Price: 5.83

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Damascene Conversion: Revolution In The Heart..., 20 Oct 2008
This review is from: On the Beach (Audio CD)
Years ago, I bought 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' on the recommendation of a trusted friend, who told me it was considered an idiosyncratic masterpiece in the vein of 'Astral Weeks,' though musically miles apart. Whereas I liked the album, I was never the biggest fan of extended musical jams, which 'Cowgirl In The Sand' and 'Down By The River' sounded like to me. In short, I couldn't love it, and I already knew 'Harvest,' 'After The Goldrush' and Youngs work with Buffalo Springfield particularly well. What I was looking for was that rare nugget that makes you fall in love with music all over again. Then, recently, I was drawn in by the effusive reviews of the reissued 'John, The Wolfking Of L.A.' by John Phillips, and it is a fairly consistent and good portrait of the West Coast scene of the early seventies, but once again, I couldn't think of it as this great lost masterpiece that others assured me it was. So, when I read the reviews of 'On The Beach' which mentioned Nixon, Manson, and a whole host of other themes in connection with this album, I was a bit sceptical. Then, someone said, listen to it first, before you part with your pennies, but I either want something or I don't have it, so I bought it last sunday, and suddenly my whole faith in the marriage of mind and music and lyrical genius was once again well and truly restored. Not only with this album, but also 'Tonight's The Night' which also looked chancey at first, but it is hard to separate the two as they're both so different in their way, but both leagues away from 'Everybody Knows...' in my opinion. Young has a genuine, honest voice, and a feeling for people and situations that most reminds me of Lou Reed in his most tender moments, though again, they are musically unalike. And to all those who took time to go online to say that 'Ambulance Blues' is one of the greatest 9 mins ever committed to disc, I'd have said before sunday that they must surely be exaggerating, but now I know different. The sustained wisdom and generosity of the song's narrator puts Young in the same league lyrically and musically as Bob Dylan at his very best. There is not one bad note on this album, and really I'm stuck for words to explain just why. But that is the beauty of music for you: you have to go out, buy this record, and listen to it over and over again until it all sinks in (probably two or three plays of this one) and before you know it you have found another favourite. Sheer class!


Don't Stand Me Down
Don't Stand Me Down
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 60.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Rowland's Third Time, 9 Oct 2008
This review is from: Don't Stand Me Down (Audio CD)
I bought this album the first time it came out, and I've loved it ever since. At the time, I have to admit, the image that Kev was projecting was mildly baffling. The fact remains that, through various personnel changes, his on/off relationship with the media, and his perennial need to hijack the masters of each album to hold the label to ransom, Dexy's seemed to always thrive at the point of near-disintegration. Unfortunately, his antics started to wear on the public-at-large, who only wanted more of Eileen and sadly overlooked this all-time classic. Now, I'm glad to hear 'Kevin Rowland's 13th Time' restored to its rightful place as the opener to this spellbinding set of songs, and a little baffled as to why it was ever left out in the first place. It sets the pace of the whole album, and sheds more light on 'The Occassional Flicker' which follows and which never seemed an obvious opener back in 86. Anyone who knows anything about this album will know that it famously borrows bits and bobs from just about everywhere, but Kev being a true artist and maverick completely makes them all his own. The stab-at-comedy intro to the blistering 'This Is What She's Like' becomes dear and nostalgic over time, and the closer 'The Waltz' always brings a tear to the eye, being like a clarion call-to-arms for a lost age of beauty. As for 'One Of These Things' borrowing heavily from Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves Of London,' as Kev notes anyway, the little whistled motif over the top of it improves it endlessly. This time round, also, Kev has opted to return to the original title of the album's best song, 'My National Pride.' I preferred 'Knowledge Of Beauty.' There's really no need to defend so fiercely your Irish ancestry, Kev, and I don't think you could have a more musically-Irish concept than a 'knowledge of beauty.' It could read as Christy Moore's epitaph. If you don't possess this album, buy it immediately if you care about music, it will haunt and possess you entirely.


Ambition
Ambition

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 7 Oct 2008
This review is from: Ambition (Audio CD)
Read Jon Savage's 'England's Dreaming' and get a whole new perspective on the importance of the new wave of 77, and similarly a new perspective on the relevance of Subway Sect to those times. This is one of the best single releases of the last fifty years: I stand by that view.


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