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John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary)
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Memory Almost Full
Memory Almost Full
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £3.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 16 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Memory Almost Full (Audio CD)
This is a good album. If not quite great, it certainly contains many glimpses of this man's greatness, more so than the last album in my opinion. 'Chaos' seemed to see McCartney to quote Mrs Thatcher's famous quote of the Liberal Party playing the fuddled fiddle in the muddled middle". Here McCartney storms back with a much more personal and focused album, despite being a mixture of new and four year old material. For example the falsetto ballad You Tell Me' is similar to Chaos' Jenny Wren" but is more moving because it is written in the first person rather than about some Wren character...the sort which Lennon hated... 'he makes them up like a novelist' he remarked with some disdain in 1980. The lyrics here are not brilliant but at least they serve some purpose!

'Only Mama Knows' is the best rocker he has produced since....since 'Old Siam Sir' probably. And that was 28 years ago! It's a great rocker and deserves the Plastic Ono Band instruction to Play Loud! 'Mr Bellamy' is impressive whimsical McCartney. Third party lyrics maybe but the musical wackiness make up for this. The opener 'Dance Tonight' is proof conclusive that you don't need more than three chords to make a good song. Like Status Quo at their best. Although I can hardly imagine them covering this one! No this one is uniquely Mccartney, although will somone please tell me the difference between a mandolin used here and a ukekele used to such effect by McCartney at the Concert For George concert?

The best track here for me is 'That Was Me'. Great melody and great vocals both in the first two verses and then in the screaming final verse. This one will bring a smile to your face. Like Dylan on his superb last album, these elder statesmen have still got what it takes. Which is supremely pleasing. 'Cos I was starting to wonder about Paul comparing his last album to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan's latest. I needn't have worried. After listening to this track one can not help but mourn the fact that there are only two Beatles alive on this planet. Someone give me a Tardis quick to see what John and George are up to! 'House Of Wax' is also very moving with very distinctive McCartney guitar, reminiscent of the solo on 'Once Upon A Long Ago' from 1987. 'Vintage Clothes' on first listening is an oddity but now is a fine track. Original. And that's not easy from someone who's been doing this for 45 years.

'Gratitude' is the weak link here. Pretty disposable unfortunately, despite a passionate vocal which cannot lift this song above mediocrity. The backing vocals are just annoying. But the album closes with 'End Of The End' and 'Nod Your Head' which see Paul at two ends of his musical scale. The former is a decent ballad about death which is not quite the classic it could be. 'Nod Your Head' is amusing, reminds me of 'Rinse The Raindrops' from Driving Rain (2001). I couldn't help wondering if the lyric 'better than staying in bed' was a belated dig at John and Yoko. Or maybe it was just a line to rhyme with Nodd Your Head.

Who cares? I think that John Lennon would find this album eminently listenable. Who knows what he might have accomplished had he not been shot by The Biggest Loser? But at least we have a decent Paul album in 2007. That is a cause for celebration. And the bass paying by the way is a tour de force on many tracks. I think someone may have reminded him that this is one of his greatest qualities. Worth buying for the bass playing on 'That Was Me' alone.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2009 5:35 PM GMT


Surprise
Surprise
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.75

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise Indeed, 20 July 2006
This review is from: Surprise (Audio CD)
This album is the most satisfying Paul Simon solo album for me since Graceland 20 years ago! Not that there haven't been moments of genius since, on all the subsequent albums but whereas Rhythm Of The Saints, Capeman and especially the last album You're The One" were for the most part disappointing, this album is actually more in the style of his classic 70s output culminating the gentle but underrated 'One Trick Pony' from 1980. There are hints of Gracelandish guitar and Brian Eno produces some interesting soundscapes but the melody and Simon's thoughtful inciteful lyrics are mostly to the fore. Who but Paul Simon can continue to offer such astute observations about Life and its mysteries after more than 30 years? His voice also is still perfect. Quite remarkable, as David Coleman might have said.

And whereas the electronic production was slightly ill-fitting to some of the Hearts And Bones tracks (eg Cars Are Cars) but worked triumphantly on other cuts ('Allergies', 'Think Too Much Part 2) here it mostly works too. No amount of production on any album can disguise the melodic and lyrical genius of the man. He is simply more consistent overall in this respect than anyone. Including Paul McCartney.

Did I, possibly the biggest Beatles solo fan on the planet, really say that? Well Yes I did. This album is a pretty triumphant return to form, sadly unlike Paul's last rather lacklustre effort. So Go On Paul, top your mate next time please.

Highlights here are the first song 'How Can You Live In The North East?' The witty 'Outrageous' is superb. 'Wartime Prayers' is fine, although not the classic it is made out to be in some quarters. 'Beautiful' is nice and infectious as is 'Sure Don't Feel Like Love' and 'I Don' t Believe You'. 'Another Galaxy' is Paul Simon's answer to The Beatles 'She's Leaving Home' best part of 30 years later. It works wonderfully. The other tracks all have something to commend them and then comes 'Father And Daughter', an absolute Paul Simon classic, where simply awesome melody and delivery come about as naturally as naturally as a cool mountain stream. Sublime end to a fine album. Thank you Paul.


No Dice
No Dice
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £15.18

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 22 May 2006
This review is from: No Dice (Audio CD)
1970 was not such a bad year for Beatles fans or it least it's that way in hindsight. We had decent albums from all four Beatles, a grand total of six if you don't count the Jam disc on 'All Things Must Pass'. And in the case of John's Plastic Ono Band, George's 'All Things Must Pass' and Ringo's Beaucoups Of Blues' I think decent is an understatement to say the least. And for those who disagreed with Lennon's statement (from the following year actually): 'It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important' we had Badfinger. For a while they actually appeared to be The Beatles reincarnated no less. Joey Molland was a McCartney lookalike who could rock out like Lennon, Pete Ham wrote and sang like McCartney, Tom Evans was thoroughly Beatlesque in every respect and Mike Gibbins drummed like some mad Ringo.

Of course, Badfinger ended up hating the Beatles comparison. But here on their second record, as on their first, they sounded just like them...no mean achievement in 1969/70.

The album opens with the catchy rocker 'I Can't Take It' featuring a passionate Ham vocal and some soaring guitar. Then 'I Don't Mind' (Evans-Molland) has beautiful harmonies reminiscent of 'Because' from Abbey Road'. 'Love Me Do' is a gripping rocker with afore mentioned mad drumming. 'Midnight Caller' is up there with similar gems from McCartney's pen, 'No Matter What' was a great rocker and a smash single and deservedly so. And then if Side One (vinyl) had not contained enough class material, the Side finished with 'Without You' which later would be a smash hit for Nilsson....and err...Mariah Carey. The original version here of this Ham-Evans song is earthy (as Tom put it) but quite gripping all the same. And less syrupy.

Side 2 opens with a great country number 'Blodwyn' which the Beatles would probably have asked Ringo to sing. Here Pete sings this thoroughly infectious song with aplomb. 'Better Days' is a class rocker from Joey, with him and Pete showcasing their considerable guitar talents to great effect. 'It Had To Be' shows Mike Gibbins could write a decent ballad, although he asks Pete Ham to sing it for him. Probabaly wisely. 'Watford John' is the one slightly weak moment here. A rocker but going through the motions somewhat. But then this album closes with two superb numbers: 'Believe Me' (Evans) which sounds rather like 'Oh Darling' (from 'Abbey Road again). Superb vocal from Tom. And then 'We Are For The Dark' which is one of Pete Ham's all time greats, and should be much more widely recognised in my opinion. The bonus tracks are interesting and great to have.

Badfinger are remembered now for two or three songs at best and that is an injustice if ever there was one. Their best work was up there with The Beatles. Honestly. Not said lightly.

After 'Straight Up' the follow up to this (see separate review which I have yet to write!), the later years would see some mixed quality material from Badinger until their grand return to form with the classic 'Wish You Were Here' album from 1975. After which terrible things happened including two band members committing suicide. I won't go into why that happened as that would make me angry and depressed in equal measure. But this band's legacy survives, no more so than right here on this wonderful album from 1970.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2008 11:01 AM BST


Revolver
Revolver
Offered by The Music Warehouse
Price: £9.80

37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staggering, 16 April 2006
This review is from: Revolver (Audio CD)
There is so much to marvel at on this 1966 album that is it is difficult to know where to start. I think if one thing stands out it is the sheer melodic brilliance of Paul McCartney whose songwriting is at an absolute peak throughout. 'Here There And Everywhere' is just about his most affecting ballad, even perhaps topping 'Yesterday' from the previous year. The melody is made in Heaven and I don't use that word lightly. 'For No One' is a masterpiece with its descending chord sequence and beguiling melody. And this is from a man with no classical music training! And if that wasn't enough we have 'Eleanor Rigby'. No wonder Lennon was effusive in his praise of his partner on this album. The standard of these three songs is so high it's not even funny. McCartney would reach these heights in later years but when you've reached this level it is hard to equal. Here on this album his touch is one of sheer genius. The other two McCartney songs are hardly lightweights either: 'Good Day Sunshine' brims with optimism and colour, in the same way that Harrison's 'Here Comes The Sun' was to do 3 years later. And 'Got To Get You Into My Life' is a soulful classic with its distinctive horn refrains and thought-provoking and uplifting lyrics.

And that's just Paul's contribution.

Meanwhile Lennon is exploring other avenues such as the world of dreams in 'I'm Only Sleeping' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows' and when one hears these songs presented alongside Paul's melodic masterpieces, one can truly wonder if this is the same band. Here John and Paul perfectly compliment eachother and although the styles are different, it makes for a captivating listen. On this album, The Beatles were at the peak of their powers and believe it or not were still touring the world singing 'She Loves You' at this point. No wonder they quit touring. They saw it first on 'Rubber Soul' from 1965, that there was another world to discover in the studio, away from the screams and adulation. Where they could reach artistic heights only dreamt of previously. There is still some evidence of the rock and roll days from Lennon on the blistering 'And Your Bird Can Sing' and 'Doctor Robert' both featuring some great electric guitar and harmonies to boot. 'She Said She Said' may not be much of a song but the delivery is electric. And Loud.

And then we come to The Quiet One. George Harrison. 'Taxman' is one hell of an opener and timeless in its message and about the most pulsating thing Hari Georgeson has committed to vinyl. Even Roy Carr and Tony Tyler were impressed. The other two George tracks are weaker for sure but fit the format perfectly.

And somwhere buried in here is 'Yellow Submarine' which many people have slighted over the years. OK so it's a children's song which sounds a bit lost amidst it heavier brothers here. But in its way it is timeless. And after all it led to the film of the same name which must stand as one of the greatest animated films for kids. Ever. Ask any Blue Meanie if you're not convinced of this.

And Ringo. Well he learnt to play chess on Sgt Pepper. Here he is more than once called upon to produce the goods, particularly on 'She Said She Said' and 'Tomorrow Never Knows'. And on the single 'Paperback Writer/Rain' single released at the same time but not featured on the album. On these tracks his drumming is massive. No wonder this is the accepted pinnacle of The Beatles' entire career. Up against some pretty stiff competition for sure but song for song I struggle to see how any band could topple this album. Not even The Beatles. One word to sum it up? So many spring to mind but I will settle for one. Staggering :-)
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2012 6:08 PM GMT


Help!
Help!
Offered by the_record_factory
Price: £6.95

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effortless Class, 27 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Help! (Audio CD)
For some reason this album has quite often attracted less than flattering reviews complaining that The Beatles were tired and such like. Yeah right. I wouldn’t mind being tired if it meant I could churn out tracks like ’Ticket To Ride’, ’Yesterday’, ’I’ve Just Seen A Face’ and ’You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.’ Perhaps it was because from their next album ’Rubber Soul’, released just a few months after this one in 1965, the music The Beatles produced was taken to such heights that it was virtually beyond criticism. So this was the poor relation after the exuberance of ’A Hard Day’s Night’ and before the psychadelia of the mid 60s output? Well that would be a pretty ridiculous conclusion. This album’s songwriting was for the most part far superior to that on ’Beatles For Sale’ from the previous year and only marginally less consistent than ’Rubber Soul’.
When discussing a weaker link amongst Beatles albums, one does not think of Anne Robinson. And this album was way above what most bands were producing at the time and still sounds remarkably fresh and vibrant 40 years later. If you can I would avoid purchasing Beatles compilations. Their original albums are so much more rewarding. They each give a snapshot of where they were at the time. But blink and you’ve missed a few beats as the next album was always different. Other artists have successfully reinvented themselves it is true. David Bowie, Dylan, even The Stones on occasions. The Beatles did it with practically every album.
Other tracks worthy of note here are ’The Night Before’ from Paul, a fast catchy number with great backing vocals. ’I Need You’ is a simple but effective and quite charming Harrisong (check out Tom Petty’s version on Concert For George). ’You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’ is one of those lost Lennon classics that one finds on most Beatles albums. Among the covers, ’Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ is delivered with gusto and ’Act Naturally’ is a suitable vehicle for Ringo’s country vocal (he was to do a whole album of country songs in 1970 after the split entitled ’Beaucoups Of Blues’, to great effect).
A couple of the other songs are a little ordinary but only by this band’s Everest High standards. The title track was a genuine cry for help from Lennon (or so he said later) but is actually one of their less engaging singles. Not that it’s bad or anything. On the whole this album finds The Beatles at or very near their peak. I rediscovered it recently and it was great. It is the kind of album that you forget how good it is. And surely ’Ticket To Ride’ is their most majestic single for their early-mid period.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2011 6:52 PM BST


The White Album
The White Album
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £21.42

132 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic Brilliance, 19 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The White Album (Audio CD)
This was a brave follow up to Sgt Pepper. So completely different and so diverse, it is a virtual dictionary of all musical styles. When I first heard it in 1978 I was completely blown away. This is the album where they were not only on top of their game but also had the self confidence to put out an album of no less than 30 songs! One has often come to the conclusion that there was no room in one band for three such stupendous songwriters. So here they got around that by releasing a brilliant double album. There has been much talk of how things might have been better had they reduced this to a single album. What bollocks! For a start, no Beatles fan has ever agreed which tracks should have been shelved. As Paul says in one of his finest lines ever: ’Shut up it’s the bloddy Beatles album’. That it is, and we are eternally grateful.
John Lennon never reached the peaks he reaches here. All his songs are wonderful. From the finger picking ’Dear Prudence’ with a stomping bass line from Paul to the tour de force group effort ’Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ to the supremely melodic ’Sexy Sadie’. Who ever said that McCartney wrote all the melodies is sadly mistaken. This is a melody to die for. And there is ’Julia’, the sweet and moving lament to his lost mother and the Mother he had found in Yoko. ’Revolution’ needs no introduction. Even if this slower album version is slightly inferior to the raucous rendition on the B Side of Hey Jude, it is mighty fine all the same. ’Cry Baby Cry’ is a wonderfully atmospheric piece with Paul contributing some suitably eerie piano. Even the lesser Lennon numbers are exciting: Glass Onion (with its famous tribute to Paul), ’Everybody’s Got Something To Hide’ sees The Beatles rocking like they never had before. And ’Bungalow Bill’ is a fun sing-along but with a dark lyric which is wonderful in its parody of the tiger-shooting guy who was with them at Maharishi’s camp where everyone was supposed to be peaceful! ’I’m So Tired’ has to be the ultimate Lost Album Track. No one seems to know this masterpiece outside the inner Beatles fan circle. Take a listen as Lennon said in the intro to his song ’Scared’ 6 years later. ’Yer Blues’ is another band tour de force, recorded in a small room with all four Beatles. Which was not the case for every number here.
And Paul, the other half of that great songwriting partnership has never surpassed the quality of material he produces here. With the possible exception of the Beatles’ final album ’Abbey Road’. ’Back In The USSR’ is a timeless rocker, ’Obla-Di Obla-Da is effortlessly magical. As is ’Matha My Dear’ (where does he find these melodies from?!). ’I Will’ and ’Blackbird’ are two of his very finest acoustic numbers. Which as we know, again to quote Edmund Blackadder, is up against some pretty stiff competition. And then we have here from Paul ’Helter Skelter’, ’Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ and ’Birthday’, three stupendous rockers that you could easily be forgiven for thinking that Lennon was behind them. But No. As most people know by now Paul could rock with the best of them. God Bless You Paul.
And if that wasn’t enough, we have four George Harrisongs. ’While My Guitar’ is marvellous. Another masterful group performance, albeit without any contribution from Lennon. But Eric Clapton’s wonderful distorted guitar solos and Paul’s piano intro and stomping bass line make up for that. ’Piggies’ and ’Savoy Truffle’ are minor gems. But ’Long Long Long’ is a George ballad up there in the etchelons. The way it follows the mayhem of ’Helter Skelter’ is a genius of progamming.
Oh I forgot ’Honey Pie’ from Paul, the superb following number to ’Revolution’. Sublime. And then buried on Side 3 (vinyl) is ’Mother Nature’s Son’ which is close to the definition of Beauty.
Ringo chips in with his first composition ’Don’t Pass Me By’, which The Band told George was their favourite off the album. It is infectious. And then following the avant garde collage ’Revolution 9’ (the only track whose inclusion is even remotely controversial) we have Ringo singing ’Good Night’. A perfect close to a pretty near perfect album. They would go to produce two more albums after this but this is the last album where, despite the tensions and the obvious individuality of the 30 tracks on offer here, TheBeatles believed in themselves wholeheartedly. It is quite possibly their greatest masterpiece.
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 8, 2015 12:26 AM GMT


The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.10

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music From The Red Planet, 7 Feb. 2006
The opening track ’Five Years’ introduces this album as it means to continue. Sounding weird, beautiful, compelling and completely other worldly. The previous album had had the track ’Life On Mars’….well, frankly one listen to this album at the time should have prompted the question are there recording studios there too ’cos it sure as hell sounds like it. This is not just down to Bowie’s alien vocals which are superbly evocative throughout this set but the sound of the whole band too. They use the same instruments as had been used on countless albums beforehand. Yet here the piano sounds ghostly, the drums surreal and the guitar I can only describe as ziggy. If such a word exists. If not, it bloody well should.
So back to the start. ’Five Years’ is a marvellous futuristic piece full of fear and love and things just slipping away. These were to become major themes on Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album two years later. ’Soul Love’ is beautiful. A general comment: Bowie rarely reached the melodic heights he reaches on this album. ’Moonage Daydream’ is wonderfully freaky…far out as Bowie sings…great guitar from Ronson and a good punchy horn section in the middle. ’Starman’ was a hit single and is about as catchy as anything Bowie has recorded. And what’s wrong with that? Any song with the line ’Let all the children boogie’ is alright by me. ’It Ain’t Easy’ brings Side 1 (vinyl) to an uneasy close. A little depressing this one.
Side 2 (vinyl) opens in superb fashion. ’Lady Stardust’ is my favourite Bowie piano song, rivalling anything in this vein from ’Hunky Dory’ (where it’s up against some pretty stiff competition to quote Edmond Blackadder). And another tune from another world.
’Star’ is the only track here which doesn’t amaze. It’s OK. But then the album closes so strongly that one quickly forgets anything but perfection. ’Hang Onto Yourself’ is a superb frantically paced number where the intense playing perfectly matches the desperate lyric. The title track should need no introduction. It is brilliant. And also recorded at Record Plant Mars. It’s funny that at the time Bowie’s whole persona was this mad Ziggy character. Now 34 years later, this album survives as just Great Music. So it’s not all in the presentation, thank God. Otherwise we’d all be still raving about Adam And The Ants.
’Suffragette City’ is compulsive stuff, both musically and lyrically. Presumably this is the capital of The Red Planet. And you can see why. Then the album closes as all great albums do with a stupendous number. ’Rock And Roll Suicide’ contains one of Bowie’s most captivating lyrics and most affecting vocals. Give me your arms…cos you’re wonderful. The kind of words you would say before everything turns black.
The great thing about listening to this timeless classic album from 1972 is that one almost feels as if one is there. In some mad parallel universe. Where people freak out to moonage daydreams whilst pushing through the market square. Where Time takes a cigarette and puts it in your mouth. And where all the children boogie.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 9, 2010 12:52 PM GMT


Bridge Over Troubled Water
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Price: £3.00

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their Classic Swansong, 12 Jan. 2006
Easily their classiest album and such a great swansong too. Paul Simon was to go onto a remarkable solo career after this and that whole chapter is worth an entirely separate discussion. Here he and Garfunkel get together one last time and produce a masterpiece.
The album from 1970 is so choc-a-bloc full of classics that it is hard to know where to begin. Well, with the title track of course. A gorgeous piano-based ballad with a tune to match and a truly uplifting lyric. Paul Simon has said he was forced into writing a third verse but it doesn’t show, in fact the build up towards the end of the song with rousing harmonies and then Garfunkel’s passionate closing vocal is just sublime. How many singers can reach those notes? No wonder you can count the cover versions of this classic on one hand. El Condor Pasa again carries an infectious and beautiful tune and uses the South American pipes nicely, something Simon would expolore more on his first solo album two years later.
’Cecilia’ is a joyful romp with a levity which belies the sad lyric about infedility and loss. The next track ’Keep The Customer Satisfied’ is a minor masterpiece, with an amusing lyric and a fun tune. On any other album of theirs it would be a stand out. Here there so many classics (see how they shine!) that it’s a lot harder. The closing number on Side 1 (vinyl) is a remarkable tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright. It is beautiful. Garfunkel sings the lead perfectly and is perfectly complimented by Simon for the ’architects may come and architects may go’ section.
Then we come to The Boxer which is a bona fide classic in anyone’s book. OK so maybe the lai le lai section goes on a tad too long? Controversial I know. ’Baby Driver’ and the cover of the Everlys’ ’Bye Bye Love’ are the only tracks which seem somewhat out of place on this album. Mainly because they both appear a bit trivial, especially when surrounded by such heavyweights. ’The Only Living Boy In New York’ is however is a lost gem of an album track with a melody up there with Simon’s very best and the lyric which is the closest Simon ever got to commenting on the split with Garfunkel. I didn’t even relaise this until a couple of years ago, mainly because he refers to his partner as Tom. But of course Tom And Jerry was a previous incarnation of Simon And Garfunkel. Before they realised that their own names were better than some stupid cartoon.
And of course as with most great albums there is a great closing track. Here it is ’Song For The Asking’. Another top class ballad from Paul Simon. One might be tempted to think that he had put all his eggs in one basket and left his solo career lacking of a few more highlights, such is the majesty and incredible songwriting form displayed by Paul Simon on this wonderful album. Fortunately that was not the case and the first three solo albums were all five star classics. Exploring different moods, styles and more sparesely produced for the most part. But no less brilliant for that. But back to this album. Forget the compilations. This album practically reads like one and has the continuity of style and purpose that few Greatest Hits albums can ever hope to have. Just as The Beatles had done the year before with Abbey Road (1969) this partnership signed off whilst at the very top of their game. And if you want humour check out Garfunkels’s enormous moustache on the front cover.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2012 5:34 PM GMT


Powerage
Powerage
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerage Indeed!, 30 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Powerage (Audio CD)
Recorded around their peak and released in 1978, the same year as their famous live album ’If You Want Blood’, this album is full of that trademark AC/DC rhythm guitar which is used to great effect on virtually every track. The songwriting has come on leaps and bounds from the previous album ’Let There Be Rock’. ’Sin City’, ’Riff Raff’ and the marvellous second track ’Down Payment Blues’ are bona fide rock classics. The quiet bit in Sin City when we just hear Cliff Williams’ hypnotic bass line while Bon sings eerily about Ladders….and snakes is perfect, reminiscent of the escape bit from ’Jailbreak’…in both cases we of course get what we want and expect at the end, the reentry of Angus and Malcom Young’s angry and electrifying guitar.
There are other great moments too. ’Gone Shootin’ particularly, great riff…and personally selected by Beavis and Butthead to appear in the movie they made. ’What’s Next To The Moon’ is pretty fine, slightly let down by the chorus. The ’Rock And Roll Damnation' single from 1978 (not on the original vinyl album but included here) is just great and should preferably be played Very Loud. It is a far more effective opener than the original album opener Gimme A Bullet which decent but hardly in the same league. Minor grumble is the strange omission of ’Cold Hearted Man’ which I always liked a lot. Surely ’Up To My Neck In You’ was more dispensable? In my opinion they should not have touched the original song line up however and included the single as a bonus track on the end. Also what happened to the superb back cover picture of the band??
Minor grumbles indeed. For at the end of the day most of what made this album great is of course still here. Massively. And to sound this fresh and exciting 27 years later is quite an achievement.


Live Peace In Toronto 1969
Live Peace In Toronto 1969
Price: £14.79

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Brilliant, 20 Nov. 2005
Let’s be honest. Side One (Lennon) is superb. Side 2 (Yoko) is at best of historical interest. Yoko has done far better than this. This is Yoko at her most violently avant garde and it grates on the ears. She would find her mark with later albums, in particular on ’Approximately Infinite Universe’ (1972) and ’Feeling The Space’ (1973) and of course later on the wonderful ’Double Fantasy’ sessions. But here she is just annoying I am afraid.
But so to Side One. Here we hear Lennon in front of a live audience for the first time since the Beatles’ last tour of 1966. He is altogether a different animal. He sings a riveting version of Carl Perkins’ ’Blue Suede Shoes’, a really heavy and magnificent version of ’Money’ so that it is a different song altogether. There follows loud and slightly ragged versions of ’Dizzy Miss Lizzy’, ’Cold Turkey’ and the White album track ’Yer Blues’. They had after all only rehearsed for this concert on the plane on the way over to Toronto. There is also a spirited version of ’Give Peace A Chance’. So most of all this is historical document. Lennon…in concert….without the Beatles. Quite an event in itself.
But it is this Side One from Lennon which makes this album memorable. And even then we have to put up with intrusive yelps and screams for Yoko on these Lennon numbers. Which are completely misjudged. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big Yoko fan both of her music and her spirit. But here she is just intruding. And is seemingly completely unoblivious to the fact.
So this album is somewhat frustrating. To either buy or to listen to. But, at its best, for me for example on the heavy version of ’Money’ which runs rings around its 1963 Beatles’ recording, it is utterly brilliant. Almost worth 4 stars, but reduced to 3 on account of Side 2 I am afraid.
And what happened to the free calendar?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2008 11:08 AM BST


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