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John Heaton (Budapest, Hungary)
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Rockin' All Over The World
Rockin' All Over The World
Price: £5.78

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quo's Classic Album Through And Through, 3 Mar 2005
If we're honest Status Quo were mainly a singles band. But this is the one album of theirs which I return to time after time because not only does it contain several of their best songs but also because it is so consistent in its quality and has a continuity that their other albums did not have, at least from what I've heard..
The opening track 'Hard Time' sets the tone. Great intro, not a single this one but it sounds like one. 'Can't Give You More' is another great album track. Not too often I can say that of a Status Quo track. And it continues from there. There is hardly a weak track on this set. And when it's good it is compulsive. Not just the great rockers here of which there are several, the two I have already mentioned, plus the rollicking 'Let's Ride' and 'Rockers Rolling' and the last track the chugging rocker that is 'Hold You Back'. And of course the title track. Which runs Abba's 'Thank You For The Music' pretty close as being The Happiest Song Ever. Certainly the Happiest Rocker! I played this one at a business conference once and the result was 200 managers standing on their seats, rocking like Crazy Monkeys! There are not many songs that could have done this. Period.
The mid tempo rocker 'Dirty Water' which became a great concert favourite later. But the best version is the timeless one on this 1977 album. And then there is the ballad 'For You' which is probably second only to 'Living On An Island' (1981) as Quo's greatest in this oeuvre. Not just a three chord guitar band after all. I Love This Album. :-)


Wings Over America
Wings Over America
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £19.71

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCartney's Best Concert.....Easily!, 27 Feb 2005
This review is from: Wings Over America (Audio CD)
This is McCartney's Tour De Force Live In Concert highlight of a long career. And that was as true in 1976 as it is now. For while McCartney has done numerous tours since, mostly to great acclaim, it is here that we find Paul at the peak of his solo career, producing a concert where the Beatle numbers did not overshadow the solo material. For one good reason. The Wings songs here stand on their own here. McCartney was the only Ex Beatle who was able to do a world tour which achieved this remarkable feat. The Beatles songs on display here are wonderful of course. But the real highlights of this concert are the post Beatles McCartney classics: 'Live And Let Die', 'Bluebird', 'Let Me Roll It', 'My Love', ' Listen To What The Man Said', 'Let 'Em In', 'Beware My Love', 'Venus And Mars' to name but eight. This was a concert by a band at the height of their powers, quite possibly the biggest commercial attraction of the time, 1976. Although Abba were to eclipse Wings in the late '70s, but that's no bad thing. Bjorn and Benny were massive Beatles fans and it is fitting that the mantle should have passed into such classy hands.
Apart from the songs, listen to McCartney's bass playing on this record. On 'Time To Hide' for example. The rest of the band is also worthy of mention. Jimmy McCullough's solo on 'Maybe I'm Amazed' is inspired as is his solo track 'Medicine Jar' from the 'Venus And Mars' album from 1975. So much better than the album version, not least due again to McCartney's bass playing. Joe English's drumming is first class throughout. It was a major and noticeable disappointment when he quit the band the following year.
This is a not a nostalgia affair as all later McCartney concerts were to be, particularly those from the Flowers In The Dirt tour (1989) onwards. Not that those concerts didn't have their moments. They did. But this album remains the pinnacle of Paul's long career on the road. It showcases McCartney's band Wings at their creative and commercial peak, proving that at least One Ex Beatle went out with a live band and, at least for a short period anyway, was capable of Glorious Life After Death. Of The Beatles that is. With Lennon's death in 1980, most of this got forgotten somehow, but I record this opinion for the record. Historians, please take note! :-)
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2012 1:09 PM BST


Abba: The Definitive Collection [DVD]
Abba: The Definitive Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anni-Frid Lyngstad
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: £14.35

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innocent And Uplifting Therapy, 27 Feb 2005
There is no other DVD out there from anyone which can guarantee a wild swinging party than this one. Whether it's a party where you invite a few like-minded friends around and have a crazy sing-along or whether you want to freak out on your own in Bridget Jones fashion.
This band were the first to take the promo video and use it as the primary method of showcasing their songs to the world. Other bands might have released classic video promos before them, most noticeably The Beatles with those weird videos for 'Strawberry Fields' and 'Penny Lane' among others dating back to the mid to late 1960s. But it was Abba who made this artform the norm. They didn't perform their new single on 'Top Of The Pops'. They just produced a marvellous video. And this was before MTV was even invented.
Their videos are not very sophisticated, by modern standards anyway. They were simple. But What An Impact they had at the time. And 30 years later they are even more irresistable. For several reasons. Their '70s clothing is obviously a highlight, and not as dated as you might think with massively flared trousers now returning triumphantly to the fashion parade. But fashion aside, these videos perfectly capture the glorious age which was the 1970s. When Abba were the biggest band in the world, when Bjorn Borg was Wimbledon champion for more than 300 consecutive weeks and Sweden could make a decent claim to be about the most important country on the Planet!
These collection of videos, especially on DVD with the related upgrade in sound quality are marvellously uplifting, almost without exception. Highlights are way too numerous to mention but if you need a few then quite apart from the all the hit singles on display here, we have superb promos for lesser known gems such as 'When I Kissed The Teacher' (Hilarious), 'Happy New Year' (Tear Jerking), and 'Eagle' (Serene). And even the lesser hits have such a charm and happiness about them: 'Bang A Boomerang' (1974) with Bjorn smiling wonderfully like a chesire cat throughout, 'I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do' (1975) with Bjorn and Benny on saxophone, and 'Head Over Heels' (1981) with Bjorn out shopping for clothes with Frida and Bored Out Of His Mind. I can relate to that!
And of the monster hits, perhaps the greatest videos are 'Knowing Me You Knowing You' (who can forget those heartbreaking farewells in the snow??), 'The Winner Takes It All' which is about as heartbreaking a record and video as that from Anyone. Then there is 'Chiquititta' with Frida almost cracking up with hysterics as the fake wind of that snowman landscape constantly blew her hair across her face! And the video for 'Name Of The Game' is so perfect, and heartfelt.
And if I haven't mentioned some it is simply because there are so many class videos here that it is difficult to fathom. 'One Of Us' is heartbreaking. 'The Day Before You Came' is a latter day Abba classic, with a video to match it, well ahead of its time. The final scene of their last single and video 'Under Attack' (1982) with the four of them walking out of that dark warehouse into a bright light is incredibly moving. And Sad.
The bonus tracks include a wonderful Spanish video for 'I Have a Dream'. Or whatever that is in Spanish. Never recorded in English, but I'll take the Spanish version and cherish it.
If you are an Abba fan and you (and your friends) need cheering up ever in this sometimes stressful and complicated world then there is No Better DVD out there. This band brought and bring such happiness to the world that it is about time it was officially recognised. Thank You! :-)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2011 12:57 PM GMT


McCartney II
McCartney II
Offered by Media Vortex
Price: £27.99

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brave But Disappointing, 22 Feb 2005
This review is from: McCartney II (Audio CD)
The start of McCartney's second solo career got off a pretty disastrous start with the 'Wonderful Christmastime' single in December 1979 which although quite an inoffensive catchy yuletide offering was so obviously no serious attempt to match Lennon's 'Happy Xmas War Is Over' single from 1971, that it must have been some kind of joke. It is far worse than the Wings album 'Back To The Egg' from earlier the same year. So it was a one off mistake we all assumed.
Then in the late spring of the following year, 1980, Paul put out a Solo Album. Called 'McCartney 2'. This would not only provoke debates as to why this wasn't a Wings record bit inevitably invited comparisons with Paul's first solo venture, entitled 'McCartney' from ten years earlier in 1970. And suffered by comparison. For this record is not only not in the same league as that inauspicious though pretty damn impressive debut, it is also not even as good as the last Wings album 'Back In The Egg' (1979). Which invited its fair share of unwarranted criticism from the usual quarters. But at least 'Back To The Egg' was a full blooded attempt at something different. With more than a few highlights and a great spirit in evidence throughout the entire album.
McCartney 2 like its predecessor from 1970, is obviously a Home Recording. Recorded at home. And in its way it is as brave an attempt at a different sound as 'Back To The Egg' or anything Paul has done before or since. But here it is a lacklustre effort, mostly. For unlike on 'McCartney', the doodling here is for the most part uninspired in its melody, vastly inferior in its lyric and just comes across as what it actually was. Not a serious attempt at making an album. And no reason to split Wings up for sure. And although Paul has said that it was not until after Lennon's death (in December 1980) that he finally decided to 'fold' Wings, it cannot be a coincidence that the poor sales of 'Back To The Egg' surely prompted Paul to try his luck under his own name, infinitely more well known after all. Not until his 1982 album 'Tug Of War' (1982) did he do this decision anything like justice. This first solo album for 10 years was a mediocre affair if we are honest. Not that you would think that from the opening track (and single) 'Coming Up'. Which was a brave and interesting single and so different from anything he'd done up to this point that you would hardly recognise it was from him. Bliemy...even New Musical Express gave it a good review. Precisely for that reason. So a good start.
But it's pretty much downhill from here. 'Temporary Secretary' is still as pretty bad as it was back then. Awful synthesiser. 'On The Way' is a pretty good bluesy rocker, 'Waterfalls' is a decent ballad for sure, and the last track of Side 1 (vinyl record) is an engaging non sensical romp which is fun to listen to.
But Side 2 is nowhere near as interesting. Two forgtettable instrumental doodles (yes, Doodles), a melodic but meandering slow number 'Summer's Day Song', the funny but disposable 'Bogey Music', the avantgarde-ish but equally disposable 'Darkroom'. Side 2 is only rescued at the end by the sublime ballad 'One Of These Days'. Which is simply Great.
So in summary, I first bought and enyoyed this album back in 1980. And even with hindsight it has its moments, if not the Tale Of Two Ditties some critics have said of it, it is at best, even from me, the tale of no more than four or five ditties. And that by my standards is a little disappointing. By this great man's standards anyway.
The bonus tracks are no better I'm afraid.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 30, 2008 2:29 PM BST


The Album
The Album
Price: £8.34

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Timeless Album, 22 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Album (Audio CD)
This album is very nearly as good as its predecessor 'Arrival' from the previous year 1976, and that is truly saying something. And what it perhaps lacks in continuity, or marginally in consistency, it almost makes up for with the stupendous highs that are achieved on this record.
The opener 'Eagle' was initially disappointing to me on early listens, perhaps due to its slower pace but this opening track has really aged well to the point where now it is the classic it undoubtedly is. If not to freak out to on the dancefloor, at least as an album track to listen and Soar To. I apologise to my good friend Todd for my ill-advised comments about this song! It may not grab you in the way 'When I Kissed The Teacher' did as the opener of 'Arrival'. But in its own majestic way it is mesmerising and highly evocative of the lyric's subject matter: the most wonderful bird in God's creation flying so high. Over Mountains and Forests and Trees. In a way the second track 'Take A Chance On Me'is a bit of a let down after the opening track. But then again, it is so undeniably catchy and so typical of the Happy Go Lucky songs that this band produced by the bucket load that it is pretty hard to fault this song. And the impact on first listening of those first few lines with those 'take a chance take a chance take a chic-a chic chance backing vocals' from Bjorn and Benny back in 1978 was so Huge in my experience that it is guaranteed a High Place in my affections. 'One Man One Woman' is another (of so many) examples of an album track that prompts that same seven word sentence: 'How Come This Wasn't A Single?!!' The closing number of Side 1 (the vinyl record we're talking of course) was the first single I ever owned. And that may be why it is up there in the upper etchelons of all of Abba's songs in my book. Or of anyone's songs for that matter. But subjectivity and sentimentality aside, this song is truly amazing. Incredibly melodic, really great heartfelt lyrics. Many do not rate Benny and Bjorn as serious lyricists. But I do. This song says more to my ears than the whole of Punk put together. Not surprisingly therefore that it is remembered somewhat better nearly three decades on than any of that Anarchy In The UK rubbish. Sorry Tim.
But if Side 1 was close to perfection, Side 2 is rather less so. The opener 'Move On' with its silly deep voice man contributing trite rubbish is only rescued by the melody and uplifting chorus. And then only marginally. 'Hole In Your Soul' was an OK attempt at disco but Abba were to do far better in this field on their next album 'Voulez Vous' (1979). Here, this track is amusing but, ultimately disposable, filler. But just when you think they've lost the plot along comes 'Thank You For The Music'. Which may not be the best song ever recorded. But is probably the happiest. The fact that it appeals to almost anyone of any age is to its eternal credit. This song will be played and loved in centuries to come. 'I Wonder' is another lost gem of an Abba ballad, similar to 'My Love my Life' from Arrival in this respect. A melody to die for.
As with 'Arrival' this album ends a little uncertainly, with the jerky 'I'm A Marionette', interesting but hardly the stuff of greatness.
But as with 'Arrival', this album contains so much quality material that it is somewhat churlish to snipe at its minor flaws. Here we see Abba basically still on top of the world. Flying high. Over mountains and forests and trees. And History is behind me on this one.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 19, 2010 9:55 PM GMT


Extra Texture
Extra Texture
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £14.77

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing, 21 Feb 2005
This review is from: Extra Texture (Audio CD)
OK this is where it gets more difficult. They never set exams like this at school. Like asking a Beatles fan to defend a frankly mediocre George Harrison record. Blimey. All right, here goes. First of all it must be said that this album is probably among the weakest Beatles solo albums, at least from the 1970s when they still mattered to people. Non fanatics should tread carefully here. And probably not beyond the superb opening track. This track 'You' was actually written for another artist, Ronnie Spector four years earlier in 1971 and is so upbeat and out of character with the depressing tone of most of the rest of the album that it's not even funny. The lyrics admittedly consist of George singing variations of 'I Love You' and 'You Love Me' about 20 times but the music is joyous and triumphant and for once here at least the horns of Tom Scott et al are used to great effect. Not unsurpisingly this was the only song from this album to feature on any George Harrison compilation. Anywhere. It is brilliant.
And now to the rest of the album. Well, firstly it must be admitted that on this album George, for some reason unknown to me, displays virtually none of his masterful guitar talent, slide or otherwise. This had been a crucial feature of his first two solo albums, particularly the second. But we had seen this trend starting with the previous album 'Dark Horse' and regrettably there is even less here.
And so the songwriting is the only thing left to rescue the album. At best the standard here could be descibed as hit and miss. In an uncharitable mood it could be described as depressive, lacking in any humour (apart from one track), virtually melody free and with lyrics so simple and repetitive at times that you could be forgiven for thinking they had been written in a kindergarten. It hurts me to say this. And there were thankfully to be several returns to form in later years. But this record, Oh Boy, is it hard to justify.
At least the second track 'The Answers's At The End' is a positive moment of sorts. It contains probably the best lyric on the album with its great line 'Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass....you know his faults now let his foibles pass.' And with a passable tune too. The next track 'This Guitar (Can't Keep From Crying') immediately invites comparisons to that White Album George classic. With horrendous results. At least when he recorded the follow up to 'Here Comes The Sun' with 'Here Comes The Moon' four years later in 1979 the latter, although obviously inferior, did at least feature a seductive melody and positive lyric. Here the follow up is just unmemorable and uninspring in all respects unfortunately. The next track 'Ooh Baby'is so embarrassingly weak that even George himself left it out of his 'I Me Mine' book which contained commentary on all his songs to that point (1979). The last track of Side One is 'World Of Stone' is quite tuneful but painfully slow and depressing all the same.
So will Side 2 (of the vinyl record) provide us with any relief? We start off with a brief instrumental reprise of 'You' which is of course fine and then we come to 'Can't Stop Thinking About You'. Which again is quite a nice tune but here we have the title repeated no less than 28 times. And to think, people criticise Paul McCartney for his lyrics. I don't think he ever reached such pits. The next 'Tired Of Midnight Blue' is a Good Song, though amidst the company here it is pretty easy to be misled. Quite good shall we say. 'Grey Cloudy Lies' finds George unusually writing a song on the piano! But it suffers from the mood of chronic depression that pervades most of this album.
At least the last track has some considerable merit, with its Pythonesque 'Everything Is Dinky Doo' lyric and upbeat tune.
Unfortunately taken as a whole this is a hard album even for George fans to listen to due mainly to the absence of the uplifting spirit and sublime guitar that dominate his best work. George himself descibes this period as 'depressing'. For, despite having met by this time Olivia, with whom he would share such a happy second marriage, his artistic confidence in his own ability seems to be at an all time low. It is an album I rarely return to. But that is not to say Never. It is still a product of Geroge Harrison and so by definition has some redeeming features. These few include the first and last track and are the reason I have refrained from giving this album 2 instead of 3 stars. But it's so goddamn depressing. The lyric which would sum up the mood of this album is from 'Grey Cloudy Lies' : 'Now I only wanna be...with no pistol at my brain'. Not the George we like to remember particularly.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2010 9:48 PM BST


Discovery
Discovery
Price: £5.70

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, 21 Feb 2005
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
The follow up to 'Out Of The Blue'. Expectations were High. And I was not disappointed at the time. Although for example the opening track 'Shine A Little Love' is rather too disco-ish and let's face it...ordinary (by their standards)... to rank as an ELO classic, the rest of of the album contains so many highlights that simply delighted at the time, and equally so 35 years later. 'Confusion' is just perfect in its McCartneyesque melody, 'Need Her Love' is up there with the great ELO ballads, the melody again seemingly made in Heaven. 'Horace Wimp' is Beatlesque for sure but rather too manufactured for my liking. Even a tad annoying if I'm honest. 'Last Train To London' is a disco single yes, but a great one. Play this one Loud. 'Midnight Blue' is even better than 'Need her Love'. Beautiful. 'On The Run' is an upbeat, utterly infectious ELO song. 'Wishing' is good but not great. The closing number 'Don't Bring Me Down' is absolutely brilliant and when played loud is about the best rocker they ever recorded.
So a bit of a mixed bag here as they struggled to follow up their masterpiece 'Out of the Blue' from the previous year. And before they returned with the timeless album 'Time' (Ha Ha) in 1981 which may be their best record of all.
From most bands, an album of this quality would probably prompt multiple cartwheels in the corridor. And there is a lot of very fine stuff here. It's just that when you're a band as talented as the Electric Light Orchestra, you set standards pretty high. And the facts are that this album is inferior to the previous two 'A New World Record' (1976) and 'Out Of The Blue (1978) and to the next one 'Time' (1981).
But that shouldn't detract from the highlights here, which are as timeless as anything they ever did. Jeff Lynne, between 1976 and 1981 very rarely put a foot wrong. This album may have displayed a minor dip in quality but this was hardly noticaeble at the time and contained enough golden eggs to keep the ELO flame alive. They were on this album still a Mightily Talented Band.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2013 8:36 PM GMT


Walls & Bridges
Walls & Bridges
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £14.95

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Lennon, 21 Feb 2005
This review is from: Walls & Bridges (Audio CD)
A few too many negative things have been said about this album about this album over the years, despite the ecstatic reaction to it at least in the US on its original release more than 30 years ago. Lennon treading water, depressing, notasgoodasimagine and such like.
It is in fact a truly remarkable piece of work. Lost Weekend or not, this is Lennon's creativity and genius on highly visible display here, on nearly every track. The opener 'Going Down On Love' is a less arresting opener as, say 'Imagine' was three years earlier. But in its haunting minor key melody and gripping lyrics and peerless vocal it is a minor masterpiece. When Lennon sings 'will somebody please please help me?' he really means it. This album continues the return to form which 'Mind Games' was from the previous year, and the main reason is that Lennon is writing about personal experience as opposed to fighting some political cause. And this is what he does best, with only very a few exceptions The second number 'Whatever Gets You Thru The Night' is a joyous ode to survival in the midst of adversity. In this case, losing Yoko no less... which we know was No Minor Event. And the lyrics are very witty and amusing, in particular the timeless trio of 'Don't need a sword to cut thru flowers', 'Don't need a watch to waste your time' and 'Don't need a gun to blow your mind'. Great stuff indeed and you can throw these lines into conversation 30 years on and guarantee an 'Oh that's good' reaction!
'Old Dirt Road' is hardly a classic as a song (when Nilsson covered it in 1980 it became a bit ordinary) but what it does beautifully is convey an atmosphere. Would have worked well on the soundtrack to 'Blazing Saddles' for example. 'What You Got' is a great rocker with another great line, if not exactly original: 'you don't know what you got....until you lose it'. So true. Then there is 'Scared' with a thoroughly harrowing lyric and great minor key melody (again), this time on stomping piano. This track could have been on the first solo album JL Plastic Ono Band but this one is if anything, even more personal. 'Hatred and jealousy, gonna be the death of me' Lennon screams he Really Means It.
Side 2 (of the vinyl album) opened with No 9 Dream, which Lennon himself dismissed (somewhat) as 'craftsmanship'. Who cares? It's a truly beautiful melody and a great ghostlike vocal. 'Surprise Surprise' is about as close to a thowaway as there is on this album, but even here the harmony vocals of Elton John take this rather ordinary song to a higher level. And by the way Elton's contribution to 'Whatever Gets You Thru The Night' does the same to greater effect (listen to the lacklustre version on the Lennon anthology and you will know what I mean!). 'Steal and Galss' is Son Of 'How Do You Sleep', this time (presumably) aimed at Allen Klein. Less convincing in its delivery no doubt because the resentment on this occasion was rather less severe. A great song all the same. 'Beef Jerky' is an amusing if lightweight instrumental which brings us to the closing number 'Nobody Loves You' which is probably even more effective on the Anthology version (a rare event). Again, a beautiful number, full of very personal and moving sentiment. The album version is perhaps a little over produced in its Spectoresque strings and horn section, but this is basically very minor criticism. The middle eight 'well I get up in the morning' section brings goosepimples on both versions. A very moving song. 'Ya Ya' brings things down to earth int he same way as 'Her Majesty' did at the end of 'Abbey Road'. ,
All in all, this album is a triumph , about the definition of Triumph Out Of Adversity if you ask me. Ringo at the time in 1974 called it the best album of the last 5 years. And he was probably right. But now, 30 years on, it is more than that. More than that.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2010 12:04 AM BST


Imagine
Imagine
Offered by westworld-
Price: £19.98

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lennon's Absolute Zenith, 21 Feb 2005
This review is from: Imagine (Audio CD)
This album is Lennon's biggest commercial album, discounting compilations of course of which only 'Shaved Fish' (1975) display any kind of continuity, being put together by Lennon himself. And it finds him pretty damn close to his artistic peak too. It has truly stood the test of time and one can listen to this album and enjoy it in nearly any mood, which is more than be said of its triumphant predecessor 'JL Plastic Ono Band' from the previous year. Lennon himself called this album the same as the previous one but with 'sugar coating for conservatives like yourself', a comment written directly to Paul McCartney. Another example of a vindictive and unnecessary comment which at the time were all too prevalent, but no less irrelevant all the same. The differences are more than sugar coating for sure. For a start, George Harrison contributes on most tracks and not just in the background on rhythm guitar. Of his three solos on this album, the first is the slide guitar on 'Crippled Inside' not only instantly recognisable to afficionados as being the work of Mr Harrison but is also wonderful to hear. I can think of only a handful tracks from George's own work where George has fully utlised his slide guitar skills: 'Beware Of Darkness' and a few others from 'All Things Must Pass' (1970) and 'Sue Me Sue You Blues' from the following album 'Living In The Material World' (1973) and bits and pieces on 'Thirty Three And A Third' (1976) and more on his following album 'George Harrison' (1979). But by and large George seems to have been somewhat embarrassed his slide guitar talents after his first and perhaps second solo albums. Here on Crippled Inside' he is playing it with gusto! The second solo on 'Gimme Some Truth' is so brilliant it is hard to describe, and perfectly compliments the viscious diatribe of Lennon's brilliant lyrics. And the third does the same on 'How Do You Sleep', which despite its ridiculous and unwarranted attack on Paul McCartney, remains a giant of a song. Paul must have contemplated quite a few things when he heard this, such is the brilliance and directness of the playing and singing here. We are eternally grateful to Linda for talking him out of such things.
You are perhaps wondering why I have spent so long discussing George Harrison's contributions to a John Lennon album. It is simply because it is this and this alone which takes 'Imagine' in my opinion to a higher level than its predecessor. The songs on the first album were just as good, in fact probably better on the whole.
But this album's highlights are so high that they make you quite giddy. The title track is absolutely timeless of course....simplicity and beauty in its tune and Utopian lyric. Does it really matter than this song is an overly romantic vision of the human ideal? Written by a millionaire? It is still wonderfully uplifting and timeless. Surely, as surely can be, this song's lyric will provide food for thought just as long as the human race is in existence. Whereas McCartney probably reached his absolute zenith with 'Hey Jude' or his sublime contributions to the 'White Album', 'Let It Be' and 'Abbey Road' albums, for Lennon's zenith, you need look no further than this album's title track. And you don't have to be a raving, liberal Lefty to say this.
'Jealous Guy' is also a masterpiece, although it remains a mystery why The Beatles didn't make more of this one when it was first presented to the group early in the White Album sessions. Too similar to McCartney's 'Mother Nature's Son' according to Lennon's recollection. A pretty lame excuse if you ask me. No matter. It surfaces on this album as the absolute classic it undoubtedly is. 'It's So Hard' is a good Pastic Ono Band style rocker, 'I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier' similar in style but somewhat less appealing it has to be said. There are two more ballads hidden away on here, of which 'Oh My Love' is outstanding and 'How' is somewhat less impressive. The closing track 'Oh Yoko'is a joyous ode to Yoko, but slightly pales on repeated listenings.
All in all, when this album is good it's so good that it's not even funny. The odd lesser moment and a nasty attack on McCartney are easily (well, quite easily) forgiven amidst such brilliance. Lennon would struggle to match the consistent quality of this album on his next two offerings (plenty of great moments not withstanding of course!) and it wasn't until 'Walls And Bridges' (1974) that we saw him in full clover again.
When he finally returned to the music scene in 1980, he produced some wonderful songs. And if he had released 14 songs of his own instead of sharing that album with Yoko, we might be talking of the 'Double Fantasy' album as Lennon's artistic zenith. Which it very nearly was, despite that. But he didn't. And so the Imagine album must remain as the pinnacle of a great solo career.


Arrival: +DVD
Arrival: +DVD
Offered by momox co uk
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Auspicious Arrival Indeed!, 20 Feb 2005
This review is from: Arrival: +DVD (Audio CD)
People say Abba are the ultimate Singles Band. Well, whether that's true or not, and it quite possibly is, with their massive quota of global mega hits so dearly loved worldwide no less if not more so than they were at the time 30 odd years ago. And I guess there are many who will not venture beyond 'Abba Gold'. But for someone with an in-built dislike of compliation albums, timeless though 'Gold' and 'More Gold' are, I feel compelled to write this review.
From 1976 to 1981, Abba released five albums of the highest quality. For every hit single there was an oustanding album cut, and it is hard to believe that more of them were not huge hit singles. 'Happy New Year'(1980), 'Thank You For the Music'(1977) unbelievably were not singles in the UK at the time, and there are other nuggets such as the wonderfully moving 'Eagle'(1977),'Kisses Of Fire' and 'As Good As New' (both from the Voulez Vous album from 1979) and 'Andante Andante'(from the Super Trouper album of the following year 1980) which could easily have topped the charts given the chance.
But this album, 'Arrival' from 1976 is where they first confirmed that stamp of quality which differentiates them from being a band capable of only producing a few hit singles to a band capable of producing a whole album of incredible consistency that it just takes one's breath away. Other great bands have not managed this even once, The Eagles, Queen or The Police for example. That may be a tad harsh and will probably produce a violent response from some quarters, but I think those bands are more Singles Bands than Abba are, at least during this golden 5 year streak from '76 to '81.
And so to this album. The cover for a start is timeless. The four Swedes coming down to Earth to basically conquer the planet, or at least Europe,...in a helicopter! Someone should have contacted Tom Baker, these guys were far more likely to conquer the planet than the Daleks or Cybermen ever were.
The opening track 'When I Kissed The Teacher' is possibly their greatest ever album track not to grace a 45rpm single. But with the abundant choice of rich quality material on this album it's understandable, if not forgiveable, that this one was overlooked.
The next track 'Dancing Queen' really needs no further words. It is quite possibly Pop Perfection. And the next track 'My Love My Life' is such a majestic beautiful Abba ballad, which many thousands of people have probably not even heard of. Their loss. Same goes for 'Dum Dum Diddle' which may contain a slightly silly lyric but unquestionably contains that mark of greatness that is all over their best work. Then we come to 'Knowing Me Knowing You' which closes Side 1 (of the vinyl album). Need I say anything? An unbelievably moving song with all four contributing that classic call and response lyric, the type of stuff which REM fans were to drool over ten or fifteen years later. It all started here.
Side 2 opens with 'Money Money Money' which was a monster hit of course. And if I'm honest this one slightly pales on repeated listening. Minor criticism maybe but I must refrain from the sycophantic in this review on occasions to retain some credibility.
'That's Me' the next track is another lost gem. Abba in 1976 were at the top of their game. Melodies from Heaven, and the singing and harmonies of course are simply awe-inspiring. 'Why Did It Have To Be Me' sees Bjorn and the girls share lead vocal duties, to tremendous effect. This song is hilarious and immensely uplifting, especially given the subject matter of a broken love affair. Only Abba could get away with this.
The last two tracks are probably of a lesser quality. 'Tiger' again has a silly lyric this time without a sublime melody to save it. And 'Arrival' is a nice melodic instrumental but would probably be more at home as the B Side of 'Mull Of Kintyre'.
But taken as a whole, this album is dynamite. A good two thirds of this album is Abba at their absolute peak. The inclusion of the wonderful 'Fernando' single, recorded during the same period as a bonus track basically takes this album into the stratosphere. By helicopter presumably :-)


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