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John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary)
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Dirty Work
Dirty Work
Offered by hifi-media-store
Price: £11.22

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring For The Most Part, 16 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Dirty Work (Audio CD)
The production is fine and sounded very much 1980s when it first came out. So for the first few listens one was thinking this was a new Stones record, keeping up with the times. And I enyoyed it a lot. Unfortunately with hindsight this is one of the Stones least impressive offerings, although there are a few highlights. We did not know of course at the time that Mick and Keith were at eachother's throats. All we had was this album which sounded fresh in the summer of 1986 when it came out but on a songwriting level left a lot to be desired. Like the follow up 'Steel Wheels' (1989). The days of great Stones albums had with hindsight been left behind in 1980's Emotional Rescue which I maintain is the last album truly worthy of this band's name.
The title track 'Dirty Work' sounded like a pretty good rocker at the time. Now it just sounds tired. Although it is almost rescued by the superb guitar break in the middle, Those 20 seconds are at least superb. 'Too Rude' is a reggae effort which is quite pleasing but mainly if we're honest because it features Keith on vocals. And 'Sleep Tonight' is a good closing number, from Keith again. However, it is a sad reflection on any Stones album when Keith's tracks are superior or at least more listenable than Mr Jagger's offerings. But I am afraid that is the case on almost any Stones album since 'Undercover' (1983). No wonder he went solo. For a while anyway.
Of Jagger's vocal tracks, the opening song 'One Hit To The Body' sounds great, production wise. But is forgettable in the long term. Most un-Stones like backing vocals. 'Fight' is OK and the next one, the single 'Harlem Shuffle' is quite good, but is a cover all the same. Since when had the Stones' lead off single single been a cover for God's sake? Nuff said. The other tracks are pretty forgettable with the possible exception of 'Had It With You' which at least contained some of that vintage Stones grit and anger.
But there about 10 albums from The Rolling Stones which should be discovered before you even go near this one. It is not rubbish, it is just that they could and did so much better than this. Approach or as George Harrison once said Handle With Care. And what are those clothes they are wearing on the front cover??


Flowers In The Dirt
Flowers In The Dirt
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £29.79

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A True Return To Form, 16 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Flowers In The Dirt (Audio CD)
This was a return to form for sure. Easily better than anything since 'Tug Of War' (1982) and an album which showed McCartney effortlessly producing a strong album just when us fans were beginning to worry given the fallow output of the previous 5 or 6 years. This album is miles better than 'Press To Play' which is probably the weakest solo album of them all from Paul if we're honest. And so to the album.
The lead off single 'My Brave Face' is brilliant. McCartney playing great bass for the first time in yonks. The McCartney-Costello partnership producing a great set of lyrics about lost love and how to deal with it. Nine years before this became a reality with the death of Paul's beloved wife Linda. A superb start. 'Roughride' is interesting and OK but the next track 'You Love Her Too' is a great bitter-sweet ballad duet with Elvis Costello. Not on a par with 'Rubber Soul' as one contemporary reviewer said but it is not bad at all! Then we come to 'We Got Married' the next track. It is an extremely powerful song. With a very penetrating and meaningful lyric. John Lennon would have approved. Thank you Mr Gilmour for the wonderful guitar on this track. The nearest we got to Pink Floyd meets McCartney is this track, and I would venture the best song from McCartney since 'Girls' School' (1977). 'Distractions' is charming and effective and I remember how pleased I was at the time that Paul could produce a ballad so moving as this. With hindsight it is not great but clearly superior to most of his post Wings output. But 'Put It There' is utterly and effortlessly charming. And moving. A heartfelt McCartney ballad up there with the best.
Side 2 (vinyl) opens with 'Figure Of Eight' which is great although I admit this one which sounded even better when played Live. The next one 'This One' is very catchy but has not really stood the test of time. 'Don't Be Careless Love' I have tried hard to like but.....failed so far. Weakest track on the album easily. 'How Many People' is OK, inoffensive and quite enjoybale. But rather forgettable if we are honest. 'That Day Is Done' is wonderful. Great singing and very emotional. Almost the highlight of the entire album. The closing song 'Motor Of Love' starts off as being a potential classic of sorts....but soon meanders into boredom. 'Ou Est Le Soleil?' is innovatve....and more enjoyable than 'Check My Machine' (1980) although only on a par with 'Rinse The Raindrops' (2001). In other words...pretty forgettable.
But for the first Side plus 'Figure Of Eight'and 'That Day Is Done', this album deserves its Four Stars! Best album since Tug Of War and he has struggled to match it since although coming pretty close on occasions. He toured the world on the back of this....it needed to be worthy and it is.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2008 12:13 PM BST


Black And Blue
Black And Blue
Price: £26.71

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Treading Of Water, 16 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This album is a curio. It sounds good, the production seeming a couple of notches ahead of the previous album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' (1974). But compared to that album it is song for song no worse and no better. It is not a great Stones record. 'Some Girls' (1978), the next one was...in my opinion, almost capturing the magic of 'Exile On Main Street' (1972).
So here is a band in a state of flux, trying to come to terms with the departure of Mick Taylor. A brave effort with a few highlights, but lacking that conviction and dare I say it arrogance, which defines their best work. But there are redeeming features for sure: Hot Stuff is a decent stab at disco which is pretty compelling. Fool To Cry is sentimental but quite moving really. Hand Of Fate is a standard Stones rocker but not bad at all. The rest of the tracks are interesting but as songs not exactly up there in the etchelons. Hey Negrita is a particularly lightweight reggae number, and Melody is an intersting mood piece heavily featuring Billy Preston but is pretty boring if we're honest. Cherry Oh Baby is a bit of a joke. Isn't it?
I quite like this album but cannot bring myself to give it four stars. Sorry. Good cover though!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 26, 2011 8:11 PM GMT


Mirage
Mirage
Price: £5.92

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Polished, 16 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Mirage (Audio CD)
This album holds a slightly weird place in Fleetwood Mac's history. The classic line up is there so that at least guarantees it is better than any post Buckingham or post Nicks album which followed. But compared to 'Say You Will' being such a fine return to form, post Christine McVie (!!) it struggles to compete for the most part. Because it seems to me at least that the band were going through the motions somewhat....there are several fine moments here for sure but any great sense of daring or adventure as witnessed on Tusk (1979) is lacking. This is a safe record. Almost deliberately commercial after the wounding insults levelled at Tusk, this album is easy on the ear, if not exactly Easy Listening. But Rumours (1977) was also commercial, and considerably better than this.
Of course by most people's standards this is a fine album. We have after all the superb Gypsy from Stevie Nicks, the effortless single Oh Diane from Buckingham and at least one classic from Christine McVie in the closing number 'Wish You Were Here'. 'Hold Me' is catchy and inoffensive without achieving anything approaching classic status. 'Eyes Of the World' is compulsive Buckingham in the style he so ably demonstrated on Tusk. The rest is filler for the most part, enyoyable filler I admit at times ('Can't Go Back', 'That's Alright', 'Empire State') but the Stevie Nicks track 'Straight Back' is hardly worthy of a Nicks solo effort.
So this is The Mac treading water. They could still swim but were not making many waves with this. Compared to their best work at least. If halves were allowed then this would be 3,5 max. But as they are not, I will give it four, as my expectations are ridiculously high when I think of what they are capable of. I still play this album quite often after all so it is not an irrelevance by any means!


Black And Blue
Black And Blue
Price: £26.71

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Treading Of Water!, 11 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Black And Blue (Audio CD)
This album is a curio. It sounds good, the production seeming a couple of notches ahead of the previous album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' (1974). But compared to that album it is song for song no worse and no better. It is not a great Stones record. 'Some Girls' (1978), the next one was...in my opinion, almost capturing the magic of 'Exile On Main Street' (1972).
So here is a band in a state of flux, trying to come to terms with the departure of Mick Taylor. A brave effort with a few highlights, but lacking that conviction and dare I say it arrogance, which defines their best work. But there are redeeming features for sure: Hot Stuff is a decent stab at disco which is pretty compelling. Fool To Cry is sentimental but quite moving really. Hand Of Fate is a standard Stones rocker but not bad at all. The rest of the tracks are interesting but as songs not exactly up there in the etchelons. Hey Negrita is a particularly lightweight reggae number, and Melody is an intersting mood piece heavily featuring Billy Preston but is pretty boring if we're honest. Cherry Oh Baby is a bit of a joke. Isn't it?
I quite like this album but cannot bring myself to give it four stars. Sorry. Good cover though!


Slow Train Coming
Slow Train Coming
Price: £5.15

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1979 Bob Passes With Merit, 5 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Slow Train Coming (Audio CD)
This album is accessible musically and contains some of Bob's very best songs. Ignore the carps of the Anti-Jesus brigade (whoever they are!)....just listen to these songs for what they are. A man at a crossroads of his life following a messy and expensive divorce from Sara and finding a New Life in Christianity. Who can have a problem with that? It's ridiculous to even talk about. So what if some of the lyrics are confident and even derogatory to Non Believers? What exactly would you expect?? If others can't share his views or even accept them that is their problem. We all have our views. And what makes ours superior to his? All this talk about Dylan losing his objectivity and open mindedness is plain bullsh*t in my opinion. Would you prefer him to be championing the joys of snorting cocaine or drinking whiskey? Come on! This album is sincere in its delivery and the fact that his views are strong and full of conviction count as a virtue in my opinion. Kind of wish I had that conviction. In something at least. Other than Ringo Starr B Sides.
And so to the album. 'Gotta Serve Somebody' is just great, as is 'Precious Angel'....totally infectious (with tasteful Knopfler guitar)...and the next number 'I Believe In You' ranks alongside 'Every Grain Of Sand' and 'Forever Young' as Great Bob Ballads for different reasons, vulnerability, passion, just greatness. Whatever.
The title track lets the side down somewhat (pun not intended) and 'Gonna Change My Way of Thinking' is a little boring, musically at least. 'Do Right Unto Others' is sublime and 'When You're Gonna Wake Up' is thoroughly uplifting on all levels. Nice horns. 'Man Gave Names To All The Animals' is a children's song and none the worse for that. Hilarious to boot (seemed like there was nothing he couln't pull....aaahhh.....think I call it a bull etc). The closing track the piano based When He Returns is a real tour de force. Incredibly moving even if you are His Lordship Spock from the planet Vulcan. Or whatever it's called.
This album does not contain the mystique of its predecessor 'Street Legal' (1978) but neither does it display the bitter, twisted and confused (albeit brilliant) artist that that album did. Hats off Bob. Thank You for this album.


Infidels
Infidels
Price: £6.72

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jokerman?, 29 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Infidels (Audio CD)
Well the first thing to be said is that this is a pretty fine album. The highlights are up there with his best work. It is true that many songs from the sessions for this album (1983) were inexplicably omitted from the finished album. Notably Blind Willie McTell, Foot Of Pride, Julius And Ethel, Tell Me, Lord Protect My Child, Someone's Gotta Hold Of My Heart. Not many albums have such illustrious leftovers! But it is the album as it appeared which ultimately must be reviewed. So here goes.
The first two tracks Jokerman and Sweetheart Like You are both top drawer showing Dylan effortlessly rediscovering his lyrical ability of old with decent tunes and heartfelt delivery. If the album had continued like this we would be talking Blood On The Tracks Mark 2.
But then comes Neighbourhood Bully which is long and repetitive, bit like No Time To Think from Street Legal (1978) only with boring lyrics with none of the hidden meanings of that track. And no tune to speak of. Licence To Kill, a magestic ballad makes up for it and we end Side 1 (vinyl record) feeling pretty good about this album. Side 2 starts with Man Of Peace which is a decent piece which probably would have been more at home on Shot Of Love (1981). Then the single Union Sundown which I think all Bob fans are basically flabbergasted as to why it made the final line up. Boring jingoistic lyric reminiscent of Slow Train (1979)in a way and again with No Tune. Dismissable. I And I is interesting lyrically but again let down by lack of melody. The final track Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight is reminiscent of Where Are You Tonight (1978) but lacks the punch or conviction. So here we have it 4 stars + for side 1, about 3 for side 2 so we will give it 4 stars overall. The cool cover tips the balance.
Bob was to do far worse than this in the remainder of the 80s until No Mercy (1989). So this is worthy of investigation. Only thing is that this could have either have been an adventurous double, where a few weaker tracks are generously excused, or else a great single album with the dodgy songs confined to bootleg curios instead of the other way round. But we don't have a Licence to Kill (or To Remix for that matter)....so Let It Be.


Shot Of Love
Shot Of Love
Price: £4.34

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving & Melodic, 27 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Shot Of Love (Audio CD)
A test of a good album is whether you come back to it in later years and rejoice...or grimace. Here I can say that, on relistening to this 1981 album recently, that rejoicing outweighed grimacing by about 8 to 2 if not 9 to 1. Even the lesser tracks seemed appealing after 24 years. Dead Man for example I always rather disliked but here I can hear things I never heard before....like Jim Keltner's thumping drumming and pretty interesting keyboards from Someone Or Other....but mostly it is Dylan's conviction in the lyrics he is singing which carries the most appeal. There were moments afterwards for sure, but here on this album we have Dylan mixing heartfelt religious lyrics, as on this song with moments of humour and self deprecation as on the piano-based Lenny Bruce and Ringo-flavoured Heart Of Mine respectively for example.
Even the title track kicks ass. Because it is Dylan saying we don't need drugs to get through Life. How often have you heard him say that on record? It is an abundant truth but we are all weak of course and so we don't like hearing it. But it's true. Love Is the answer as Lennon said in 1973 on Mind Games, but here in a different context, it rings true equally. We all need a Shot Of Love if we're honest. Property of Jesus is a little defensive, but again the sentiment is sound. Why regail at others who have found happiness, in whatever form, when it might be better to examine oneself? Maybe 'you've got a heart of stone' sounds harsh, this is precisely what the Anti-Christian Dylan brigade must have appeared to him as at the time. Faith or religion is an intensely personal thing which should be respected as such. Period.
And then we have the Hightlights here....which cross all boundaries but those of the most bigoted atheist. Every Grain Of Sand is a masterpiece of personal vulnerability if there ever was one. In The Summertime is gorgeous. Trouble is less digestable but moving all the same. Watered Down Love is sincere and pretty groovy if you ask me.
I just like the whole style of this album. It is heartfelt...without being condescending. As parts of Slow Train Coming (1979) might have been (not true for most of Saved (1980) mind you). OK so the cover was pretty awful. But no worse than Self Portrait (1970). Which also contains several hidden gems if you care to listen!
So take a leap of faith of a Non Religious kind (well, not necessarily anyway) and give this album a chance. The inclusion of the B Side Groom Still Waiting At The Altar is a welcome addition and should tip the balance for any waverers out there. Here we hear Dylan still producing the goods and caring about what he is singing about. Not too much mystery here, just heartfelt and pretty moving lyrics, with several good tunes to boot, about the only thing missing from the Saved album in my opinion. And one Bona Fide classic in anyone's book, in Every Grain Of Sand. Worth the admission price for this track alone. Even Satan must have thought Oh S*** when he heard this one.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2011 8:48 PM BST


Emotional Rescue
Emotional Rescue
Offered by nagiry
Price: £12.72

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Of The Jaggericans, 26 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Emotional Rescue (Audio CD)
Well I must say this album has aged really well. From its rather undeserved reputation as the poor younger brother of 'Some Girls' (1978) which was such a sublime return to form to now what I consider to be only marginally inferior to that album and a good deal better than every Stones album since. This album still showed the boys in full swagger, with creditable experiments into disco and much more besides, including a couple of classic Stones rockers. I use classic somewhat sparingly as they have produced coiuntless rockers since, some of which are OK, some better than that. But here on 'Let Me Go' and 'She's So Cold' they sound great and if they care about what they are singing about. Unlike say 'Rock And A Hard Place' (1989) or any rocker from Tattoo You save the single 'Start Me Up' when the rockers on Side 1 sounded nothing less than filler. But enough of the negative! Back to this album.
The first track 'Dance' sounded dispensable at the time and is still hardly classic stuff. But it does create the mood for the album. Even the second number 'Summer Romance' which I always though was pretty weak sounds pretty good 26 years later. The reggae number 'Send It To Me' is perfectly creditable, and better than 'Hey Negrita' of similar vein from 1976.
Then we have 'Let Me Go' which is just great and should be played Loud. 'Indian Girl' is a good ballad in the style of 'Wild Horses' (1971). Mick J knows how to sing ballads like this!
Side 2 (of the vinyl record) opens with 'Where The Boys Go' which again is good played loud, although as a song is not quite up to scratch. But then on 'Down In The Hole' we have the Stones playing a slow blues ballad as convincingly as anything since 'I Got The Blues' from Sticky Fingers (1971). It may have sounded a little out of place in 1980, but is none the worse for that. The title track 'Emotional Rescue' sounds innovative and interesting after all this time, even though it failed to crack the Top Ten at the time. So what? Then comes 'She's So Cold' which contains a bitter lyric for sure but is infinitely more appealing than the rock material this band has made since. Witness 'She Was Hot' (1983), 'Little T And A' or 'Black Limousine' (both 1981) for example....compare those to this track! And then to crown it all we have Keith at his finest. 'All About You' is pretty close to being my favourite track of his (Slippin Away from 1989 runs it close, and 'Before They Make Me Run' (1978) is even better!).
So all in all, here we have a very creditable effort which they didn't tour off the back off it's true but then maybe that's a good again as I can't believe I am the only person to infinitely prefer studio Stones albums vs the endless live albums we have been subjected to. 'Still Life' (1981) for example....what the f*** was that??
Sorry to be so negative. I love these guys and in the period 1968 up to 1980 at least I can't really find much to criticise on their albums. Given that Tattoo You (1981) was too much like a collection of leftovers and therafter I think they lost some if not all of their inspiration, I believe this album to be the Last Great Stones Album. Not quite five stars....but close.


Chaos And Creation In The Backyard
Chaos And Creation In The Backyard
Price: £7.10

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Damn Good, 21 Sept. 2005
After a few listens I would say that this album is as good as Driving Rain and almost as good as Flaming Pie and better than anything else besides since Flowers In The Dirt (1989) though not on the same level as he reached with Wings in the 1970s. For the most part, I would choose virtually any of the Wings album above this....Back To The Egg and Red Rose Speedway included.....but there is no surprise here. McCartney produced seven or eight albums in the 1970s which will remain closer to my heart.
But.....isn't it great that he is still producing albums of this quality?? I hope when I'm 63 that I still have as much to say. Not Say Say Say...this is much better than those albums from the period 1983-7. Stand out tracks are there in particular the sublime ballad This Never Happened Before and the unusual At The Mercy, not to mention the very moving Too Much Rain which is a Healing Song as moving as Little Willow from Flaming Pie (1997) or 'Tug Of War' (1982). And Jenny Wren and Anyway are also more than worthy of mention. Almost the most pleasing aspect of the album is that Paul is playing piano so much, sadly lacking in the last 20 years.
When I first heard these songs I was a little cynical as to whether they could pack an emotional punch. But they do. My Hungarian wife was complaining about how crap it all was.....until I got her to read the lyrics. Now she is a convert to at least 4 or 5 tracks. But I maintain that this album does not contain any weak links....just a few tracks that may not be up to the standard we have come to expect.
Unfairly.
If Paul produced an album as moving or melodic as Wings' London Town 28 years later now in 2005, I would be Maybe Amazed. As it is we have a pretty fine album here. I am proud of him. Given the pretty disappointing last Ringo album, it seems that Paul alone is capable of Keeping The Beatle Flag Flying. How ever twee...very me...that sounds. Four Stars Indeed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2008 12:16 PM BST


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