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A. B. Kennedy (UK)

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Shades Of Deep Purple
Shades Of Deep Purple
Price: £7.39

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "lose yourself in the purple sea of sound....", 1 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Shades Of Deep Purple (Audio CD)
...or so the blurb on the back of this album requests us to do. And you know what, on this - Deep Purple's first album - there are plenty of moments when you'll find yourself doing just that.

Opening track "And the Address" is, surprisingly for a debut album, an instrumental with a grooving riff reminiscent of Steppenwolf's "Sookie Sookie". Lots of raw guitar and Jon Lord's swinging hammond.

Next track, "Hush" is by far the most well know, and was a massive hit for the band in the US, at a time when they probably couldn't get arrested in Britain. If you're familiar with Kula Shaker's version then you'll find that the young Brit Pop pups strayed very little from the original. (If it ain't broke etc). Great stuff.

Then comes easily the weakest song on the album, and the sort of stuff that easily puts off so many Mk II fans from buying the Rod Evans era material. "One More Rainy Day" is slushy psych pop at its worst. I'm sure that Richie still wakes up in a cold sweat every now and again with the thought of having playing on that one.

But fear not, as the quality shoots back up again with Jon Lord's extended instrumental prelude "Happiness". Actually it's interesting just how much of this album is instrumental, which actually works to its advantage. Not that Rod's a poor vocalist by any means, but it's during the instrumental passages that you can really hear the development of the sound that would later straddle the world of RAWK.

And track 5 "Mandrake Root" is the best example of this. Rod does an excellent job on this number, but half way through Jon and Richie take over for a bit of a wig-out, and it's worth the cost of the CD just to own this one track.

"Help" is a rework of the Beatles song, played at half the speed. Which they actually manage to pull off.

"Love Help Me" is another excellent self penned track with a great distorted guitar riff - best heard on the bonus instrumental track (sorry again Rod!!).

And then things finish off with the song made famous by Jimi Hendrix - "Hey Joe". An odd choice of song I would have thought, given the supreme version Jimi did, but on DP's version we're treated to a Jon Lord introduction that dips heavily into his love of classical music. Something which really helps lift the song above just a bog standard cover.

And then, as with most bonus tracks, they don't really add anything that's above and beyond what was released on the original album. And this is no exception. But then, th strengths of songs like And The Address, Hush and Mandrake Root more than eliminate the need for extra gimmicks.

Anyone who is curious about this album, off the back of Hush, won't be disappointed. Anyone expecting to find a long forgotten "In Rock" will need to look else where.

The Wolf Man/Werewolf Of London [DVD]
The Wolf Man/Werewolf Of London [DVD]
Dvd ~ Henry Hull
Offered by thelastplace
Price: £16.73

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bark at the Moon, 28 Jan. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm guessing that most people reading reviews of this DVD package will be doing so to find out more about The Werewolf of London. So I'll start with this film first. It was Universal's first attempt at a werewolf film, so a lot of the genre's trappings, such as silver to kill the wolf hadn't actually been drempt up yet. So it makes for a bit of a refreshing change to see this film use it's own werewolf 'mythology'. Henry Hull is the main character. A botinist who, while searching in Tibet for a plant that only flowers by the light of the moon, is attacked and bitten by a wolf creature. He returns to England with some samples of the plant, and attempts to make them bloom with the use of his lunar rays machine. (Not sure why he couldn't just wait for the moon to do the job for him - but that's never really explained!) A second scientist of strange oriental persuasion is soon pestering him to see the plant. He explains that the plant is an antidote to "Werewolfery" (their word, not mine) and that he knows of 2 such cases of werewolves in London at this very time.

I won't spoil the rest of the story, suffice to say that the overall feel of this film has much more in common with Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, than it does with the later Wolf Man films. Hull doesn't play the character for sympathy as Lon Chaney does, but rather he's seen wrestling with the inner demons that drive him to murder. Highly recommended.

The other film of the package is of course the Wolf Man. Lon Chaney, to my mind, never really convinces as an actor. He plays the role a bit on the hammy side for my tastes. Although there's no denying that the look of the film is fabulous. Lots of dark twisted forests with mist licking round the feet, or paws, of the characters as they flee for their lives.

Anyone with a love for gothic horror will love to own these two films.

Fangtastic!! (hoho, how could I resist!!)

The Power of Eternity
The Power of Eternity
Price: £8.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Comfortable For Its Own Good, 2 Jan. 2008
This review is from: The Power of Eternity (Audio CD)
For me, the high water mark of Wishbone Ash releases over the last few years has to be "Bona Fide". It harnessed all of the traits that I love about Ash's music, and then spiced things up with some surprisingly hard guitar lines and rockin blues. So it's against this album that I find myself constantly placing Power of Eternity against, and sadly I'm finding this new album coming up short.

The opening track is, for my money, the best on the CD and kicks things off with a good catchy guitar riff. Things then take a bit of a curve with Driving a Wedge, which sounds like Wishbone Ash giving their take on a new Red Hot Chilli Peppers track, with slightly less edge. And they actually pull it off which is a nice surprise.

After that, there are just not enough memorable melodies or guitar lines to keep you coming back for more. (Although I really like Disappearing which has a rhythm guitar hook writen by Andy Powell's son, and as a result sounds really fresh and very different from the rest of the album.) I love the fact that Wishbone Ash are still going, and continue to release new material, rather than living off their early 70's heyday. I'd just prefer if they injected a bit more of a bite into their next release.

Gracious! / This Is...Gracious!
Gracious! / This Is...Gracious!
Price: £12.51

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Desperate Need of Some Quality Control, 4 Dec. 2007
Gracious are probably best known through their association with Vertigo records, rather than for their musical output, which is a shame, as some of their music is really very good. But then some of it is not quite so appealing. And there lies the rub. Their first album was created almost like a musical collage, with snippets of different tunes and melodies all strung together to tell the rather grandiose tale of Heaven and Hell. While the concept is great, what they really needed was someone in the quality control department. The good riffs and melodies are fabulous, and you can't help but wish that they'd taken more time to develop those into more than the 30 second bursts that they tend to be. But then I suppose that might have detracted from what is a slightly nieve, certainly dated, but ultimately very enjoyable listen.

Their second album sounds much more developed, which robs it of some of the 1st album's charm, and therefore pushes it more into the light of comparison with other UK prog bands of the time. And sadly finds Gracious lacking. The first track is a 20 minute opus which benefits greatly from the much needed quality control. Although you find yourself losing interest at points as it drifts over you. The remaining tracks are much more conventional in structure and length, but again, never succeed in unleashing any truly memorable melodies which stick with you.

If you're looking to complete your Vertigo collection, or just hanker for some early prog and melotron, then there's much to enjoy here. Just don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.

Your Vice Is a Locked Room & Only I Have the Key [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Your Vice Is a Locked Room & Only I Have the Key [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poe Inspired Cracker, 2 Dec. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This film has Edgar Allen Poe all over it. It's a dark, tense psychological gripper set largely in a decayed crumbling villa, and centred on the tempestuous relationship between Edwige Fenech and her drunken, sadistic, failed writer of a husband Luigi Pistilli. Unlike other Gialli films, there's not a lot of action to speak of. Most of the story takes place in the villa itself. What this film does have which many of it's conteporaries don't, is a really intense feeling of foreboding - tension - and the knowledge that some sort of madness is lurking round the next corner.

Things take a turn for the worst for Luigi when one of his mistresses is brutally murdered with a sickle. Naturally he becomes the prime suspect. Luckily for him he has a petrified, submissive wife to provide him with an alibi. However when their maid is also killed in their villa, Luigi knows he needs to hid the body or take the wrap for two slayings he may or may not have committed.

All seems fine once more until Luigi's niece, the beautiful Anita Strindberg decides to show up unexpectedly, and begins to manipulate the minds of both her Aunt and Uncle for her own personal gains.

This is a brilliant film, perfect for curling up with during that next electrical lightening storm!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2015 7:32 AM BST

Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Head On Collision Between Thrash & Maiden, 30 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Alienigma (Audio CD)
Agent Steel was a name I saw mentioned in magazines during the late eighties, but never quite got round to listening to them. However after reading a review of this, their most recent album, I decided it was time to rectify the balance and give them a spin. And man, am I glad that I did.
Their sound is a combination of old school thrash with some very tasty Geoff Tate / Bruce Dickinson sounding vocals and melodies (without the air raid siren wail). On paper it doesn't look so tempting, but to the ears it gels perfectly. I've never been a big fan of the grunting, glass gurgling vocals that took over the thrash scene. So to hear some quality vocals at the head of a thrash metal barrage makes me a happy man. Go on. Lock yourself in the house. Turn it up loud. And stage dive from the wardrobes. You know it makes sense!

The 2nd May
The 2nd May
Offered by lpcdreissuesltd
Price: £10.27

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May Blitzed !, 8 Oct. 2007
This review is from: The 2nd May (Audio CD)
Gather round kiddies and get a taste of a sadly overlooked power trio from the start of the 70's. That golden age of scuzzy dirt under your finger nails reefer rockin when the Brits really ruled the roost when it came to hammering out electrifying guitar riffs. This is May Blitz second album, and it's a much more experimental affair in it's songwriting - throwing in the odd jazzy rhythm or flute solo to colour their pounding guitar. And all the better for it actually. My only gripe with this otherwise highly recommended album, is the inclusion of a large drum solo at the end of side one. I know it was the 70's man, and maybe dudes dug that kinda thing back then, but listening to it now, it has the wiff of a time filler. Which is criminal as the other songs on the album are excellent. Well worth getting yer grubby hands on!

Price: £19.34

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a disappointment really, 28 Sept. 2007
I knew nothing of what Spooky Tooth would sound like before I bought this compilation, but I love early 70's rock in all forms, so I thought I'd give this a chance purchase to see what I'd find. Things start off very promisingly indeed with the excellent 'Sunshine Help Me' from their first LP. The next two songs (also from LP 1) are covers, and to my mind, really don't add much. Personally I've never been a big fan of 'Tobacco Road' anyway, so the thought of a cover version doesn't get my heart racing. But then we move onto their second album, which most reviewers seem to rate as their best. And I have to say I was pretty let down. The songs don't really seem to fire on any cylinders at all. They neither rock out, nor are they heavy on the americana, they just seem to glide by. The rest of the material post LP 2 has a harder rock edge to it, but again the songs just lack in the originality department to make them stand out from the crowd. Looking back throught the history of rock, there are many bands that never seemed to gain the sort of commercial success that their songs seemed to demand, and then there's others that fell by the wayside because they just did not cut the mustard. And Spooky Tooth fall into the second category.

Fuzzy Duck
Fuzzy Duck
Price: £9.90

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Duckin' Fantastic, 28 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Fuzzy Duck (Audio CD)
The more people who now about this album the better! It was only originally released in a limited run of 200 LP's which, listening back on the reissued CD, was a serious crime. The music and style fit very nicely around Atomic Rooster territory (without the gothic tendancies). If you're familiar with Tucky Buzzard, then you'll be surprised to hear they kick things off with a version of 'Time Will Be Your Doctor' - thanks to the fact that the original Buzzard drummer plays on this album too. And I have to say I prefer this version of the song. It's more loose and has much more room for improvisation in it, which really lets the song groove. Mrs Prost comes next, which ignites with some great jazz drumming timing, and lets you know that these guys are taking you on a great ride! Other highlights include the superb 'Afternoon Out' and 'Country Boy'. If you love early 70's hammond rock - but don't know this band - then don't be too hard on yourself. Just make sure that you rectify the situation immediately!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2010 6:49 PM BST

Frankenstein Conquers the World [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Frankenstein Conquers the World [DVD] [1965] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspired Lunacy, 26 Sept. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Oh yes, now yer talkin'. The plot for this film is just fantastic. It starts in the castle of Baron Frankenstein (although he's not referred to as Frankenstein in the film - this is the name given to the monster.. but I digress..). It's 1945 and the Baron has just given life to a reanimated heart. Then in burst the Nazis and whisk it away. It's taken by submarine to Japan to be tested on, in the hope of finding a way to help mankind. Unfortunately, just minutes after the heart's arrived, the atom bomb is dropped on the city.

Cut to 1964, and a couple of doctors notice a strange boy playing in the streets. After much to-ing and frowing it turns out that Frankenstein's heart had the ability to generate body parts (!) Stick with me. And the result is this little boy. Unfortunately he doesn't stay little for long. Soon he's growing at a phenominal rate.

Queue appearance of Baragon, a monster who burrows under ground, and has a taste for eating cattle and humans. Frankenstein has a run in with some media hungry reporters - escapes - and is then accused of eating said cattle and humans.

Eventually Frankenstein and Baragon meet with inevitable monster movie consequences.

This film was directed by Ishiro Honda (the creator behind all the early Godzilla films) so the movie certainly has the overall feel of a Godzilla film. However what makes this different from the Godzilla films is the fantastically crazy story, which actually helps support the build up to the monster punch up - as opposed to being a bit of a time filler between monster action.

If you love Toho Godzilla movies then this should be on your Christmas list.

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