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Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71)
Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71)
Price: £12.23

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What might have been, 18 Dec. 2010
Many years ago, in mid 70s, I bought an Island sampler album (I don't remember the title, I lent it to a ¿friend? and never returned it). In that album there was a song called 'The Carpenter', by an unknown band called Clouds. I remember them because they sounded like The Nice, they were an organ leaded power trio, but with more raw sound and power. I never could get any Clouds album, in Spain or in some trip to London or Paris. With the renaissance of prog rock in the last times, Beat Goes On Records have released a 2 CD compilation, collecting all the music The Clouds recorded in those five years 66-71: the two UK official albums (Scrapbook and Watercolour Days) and the USA album (Up Above our heads). And many more songs from singles or rare archive items hidden in the vaults (i.e., Paul Simon's 'America', many years before Yes covered it).
The liner notes are complete and tell a sad story, about a band that was in the wrong place (Chrysalis), with the wrong manager (Terry Ellis) and in the wrong time (because of the emergence of certain band fronted by one-legged flute player that monopolized the manager's efforts).
But the music speaks for itself, and only 'Watercolour Days' keep a reasonable balance between power and musicality. The other albums are plenty of ups and downs. The drummer (Harry Hughes) was fantastic, and Billy Ritchie played organ with talent and energy. Sadly, Billy or Ian Ellis voices were not as good as their skills on their instruments and the songs sometimes were long and boring improvisations. These two albums were lacking in cohesion but you could find somehow good tracks in them.
Don't try to listen the two CDs in a row. It's better to take the first album (Scrapbook), and spin it two or three times. And the same with the rest (as if you were listening the LPs, not the CDs). Then you will be able to appreciate the sound of this band, rough and ready but quite interesting.
There were many bands that followed the path open by The Clouds, as The Nice, EL&P or Atomic Rooster, to quote just a few ones.
This pack, IMHO, is not a must-have, nor a masterpiece, but bring us back from the vaults an interesting band to re-discover in modern times.


Live
Live
Price: £12.63

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best live albums in rock history, 17 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Live (Audio CD)
There have been in rock history absolutely stunning live albums. I'm thinking, for example, in "Yessongs" (Yes), "Before the Flood" (Dylan & Band), "Live Rust" (Mr. Young), "Absolutely Live" (Doors) ... "BJH Live" is one of them. The band was in the peak of their creativity and in top form, they had released their best studio album (Everyone is everybody else) and the sound was clean, strong and cohesive. Lots of guitars, lots of mellotron (played by the great late Woolly), no orchestra, and all the beauty and subtlety of their great themes from the Harvest years are there. And, as some reviewers emphasize, the songs sound better live than in studio.
A real must have. An immortal live.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2010 12:59 PM GMT


Emerald
Emerald
Price: £7.18

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back home again, 3 May 2010
This review is from: Emerald (Audio CD)
After the big disappointment the last album "Explore" was, I don't expect too much from Stivell. The Pro-Tools abuse, the lack of creativity and the multi-repeated clichés sank "Explore" in the deepest abyss of Alan's work. Luckily, "Explore" has been an exception in the well-crafted body of work Alan has been delivering to us, his loyal fanbase. "Emerald" is, as the title describes, a real gem, a wonderful work. Probably his best recent work. You've roots, you've electricity, you've all the good things Alan knows to do very well. Forget techno, forget muzak, Alan. This is the music you feel, the music we feel. Thanks for be back home again.


Explore
Explore
Price: £19.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Creative exhaustion, 22 July 2009
This review is from: Explore (Audio CD)
I have been as well (and I am actually) a Stivell's loyal fan since ages. I have been in Stivell concerts in the 70's (three times) and in the 90's (two times). I love not only his old masterpieces (Renaissance, Chemins de Terre, E langonned, Olympia, Dublin, Tir Na Nog, The Mist of Avalon et al), even his minor works (Raok dilestra, Trema N'Inis, Legend), and even his recent albums (Back to Breizh, One Douar, Brian Boru) ... But this "Explore" is, really, his worst album. It is like a patchy collage made, as a cheap pastime, with too much ProTools and little creativity. I honestly disagree with the five stars reviewer: this is not an "exploration", this is pure muzak. Wake up, Alan, your loyal fanbase don't deserve this kind of rubbish.


Alchemist
Alchemist

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Past-time in good company, 16 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Alchemist (Audio CD)
Caution, classical music lovers : this is not a typical renaissance music compilation!. This is another GEM for people with open ears, Mr. Pickett's courtesy. Philip Pickett is well known for his work with The London Early Music Consort, and David Munrow colleague. But Mr. Pickett, for the pleasure only, is also known for his work with english folk-rock stalwarts Albion Band, Ashley Hutchings et al. Can you imagine what kind of music flows from that background when Mr. Pickett simply wishes to have a good time with his pals?. You can hear in this album renaissance rhythms absolutely and incredibly updated, medievil jazz from the Tudor Court caverns, flying music of the spheres (REAL music from that place, not the Oldfield's stuff!), lisergic medieval hymns and many more scintillating musical themes ... Again: absolutely stunning. If you can, purchase as well "The Bones of All Men", with Mr. Pickett relaxing from the lectures with Mr. Richard Thompson and other guys ...


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