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Fergal Woods "Axe Victim" (Leitrim, Ireland)
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Kosmogonias
Kosmogonias
Price: £14.60

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Go for the download version instead !, 15 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Kosmogonias (Audio CD)
Have just recently bought the CD + DVD version in Spain and regret that I didn't get the download instead. The DVD is in Galego with no other language options available. It consists of a 20 minute interview with band members with only snatches of music thrown in and a second item contains Art Nouveau images with what I would describe as a New Age theme. I'm guessing the CD is a concept album with astrological associations. The exorbitant price charged means if you are not a Spanish or Galician speaker the DVD is totally redundant hence my advice in the review title.

What of the music? It's very good just like fans of this fine group have every reason to expect. They are not as blatantly Celtic as the other well known Galician groups (even though they generally use instruments associated with traditional music) but rely more on excellent punchy original material which sometimes borrows from Irish or Scots repertoire and occasionally uses the trademark sound of the Gaitas (Galician bagpipes) to add spice to their mix.

Most of their earlier CDs featured female vocals but Kosmogonias marks a departure. Their new vocalist is also credited with playing gaitas and has a lovely voice which especially impresses in the opening track "Alala de Noite", but his singing style moves the band even further away from any Celtic leanings. Other fans may well welcome this but if Berroguetto are aiming for a more "international" sound then why did they release a DVD that no one else can fully appreciate?

Many of the instrumentals on this recordings are well up to the band's normal standard but for me the second half of the recording features weaker material than the opening 5 numbers (the exception being the album closer) and a couple of the later songs come across as fillers. Personally I feel the band should stick to instrumentals as these have much more to offer.

If you're new to the group opt for "Hepta" instead. The download is the more viable option until their record label releases a CD only version.


ARE YOU READY!
ARE YOU READY!
Price: £12.01

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wait is finally over !, 8 Sept. 2012
This review is from: ARE YOU READY! (Audio CD)
After a wait of over 30 years we have finally got a digital version of The Atlanta Rhythm Section's Live Double album from 1979. The good folks at BGO / Gott records have added this release to their most welcome review of the Georgia band's back catalogue from their glory days in the 1970's and early 80's.

The release is a compilation of 13 songs mainly from concert performances, but with a couple of live studio sessions added, and features all their best material covering the period of their first 7 albums. "A Rock'n'Roll Alternative" provides 4 of the tracks here, all of which showcase the musical dexterity of players who were sometimes written off as "just studio musicians". The ARS never had the hard man image of the Allman Bros or Lynyrd Skynyrd, and indeed did not tour with the same regularity, but through the sheer strength of their songwriting, and superb vocals from Ronnie Hammond, produced a long line of albums that consistently bettered all their fellow Southern Rock bands.

The digital remaster has very fine sound but some more used to modern live recordings may find this slightly too warm, with the opener "Sky High" being a bit bass-heavy, but clarity is spot on otherwise. Personally I would have preferred Hammond's vocals just a touch more forward in the mix. That said I still love this and the guitar sound in particular is very impressive. Bailey's guitar sounds and playing are top notch and JR Cobb's slide cuts through with greater effect than on the original vinyl.

The selection here shows the variety of the bands material with ballads, grooves and rockers all tastily performed. "Another Man's Woman" was almost always the main talking point of this album because it was one of the first non-jazz CDs to feature an extended bass solo. This sounds quite dated now (think of Billy Sheahan, Stuart Hamm, Geddy Lee etc.) but the track was a great jamming number and should be just judged in that context. Likewise "Champagne Jam" where again all the players were given opportunities to solo to a great slice of Southern boogie. The only negative I can come up with is that the harmony department (studio albums featured multi-tracking of Hammond's background vocals) is not as evident in the concert setting.

I presume buyers will be mainly life-long fans who will welcome this opportunity to complete the set but this recording (which features excellent liner notes as well as the original art work from the vinyl issue) can be readily recommended to newcomers as an alternative to the "Best Of Atlanta Rhythm Section" released on Polydor. That recording omitted 2 of their best early numbers - "Conversation" and "Back against the Wall" (since covered by Travis Tritt) and they are accorded very fine treatments here. Better still check out all the BGO ARS "Twofers"

A bargain buy, a piece of rock history finally restored, a fitting tribute to the late (and very) great Ronnie Hammond, a musical heritage to treasure - Buy it, Turn it up and thank heavens for companies like BGO who are keeping this great music alive !


Mais Uma Pagina-Deluxe
Mais Uma Pagina-Deluxe
Price: £42.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong follow up, 2 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Mais Uma Pagina-Deluxe (Audio CD)
Maria Gadu has produced another powerful selection of music to prove her self-titled debut album was no flash in the pan. This 14-track offering confirms her standing as one of the finest singer-songwriters in the business today, and shows a noteworthy progression down her chosen musical path.

Her soundscape has moved away from the acoustic flavour of her last album to a much fuller band sound where swirling retro organ sounds and subtle wah-wah guitars add exquisite textures to her trademark melodies and choruses. Production is superb and in addition to the punchier band feel occasional brass, woodwinds and string quartet add a new dimension to her sound.

Gadu again crosses a number of styles with traces of reggae, an almost 60's beat club feel and a couple of beautiful songs in English added to her usual relaxed groove and her voice is even stronger this time. Two duets are included, the second of which resembles a Portuguese Fado style. Overall there are a couple of more mundane songs here which haven't quite caught my imagination in the same way as her first album which is why I've deducted a star.

"Estranjero" is for me the highlight and a really delicious performance. The above mentioned ballads in English ("Like a Rose" and "Long, Long Time") are not far behind but there are plenty of punchy mid-tempo songs which will go down a treat in concert. The best of these are "Axe Acapella" and "Linha Tenue".

Hopefully we won't have too long to wait to see her in this part of the world. This CD was originally released in Brazil at the end of 2011 and has been available for download ever since. That is a much more reasonable option than the astronomical prices being charged on most sites.

Not as instantly catchy as the debut album but definitely one of the best young artists on today's music scene.


Maria Gadú multishow ao vivo (blu-ray)
Maria Gadú multishow ao vivo (blu-ray)

5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Brazilian Talent since Pele !, 9 Mar. 2012
This is a rather special concert performance and a rather amazing achievement for an artist who had only one studio album to her credit when she recorded it. This smokey voiced girl is still only in her mid 20's but she already possesses the finely-honed skills of the classic singer-songwriters and looks like she was born with a guitar in her hands. She also looks totally at home on stage and has a quite remarkable rapport with her audience.

Firstly the technicalities - the camera work is excellent (and a vast improvement on other Brazilian DVDs in my collection) and the picture clarity is demonstration class. Sound is also superb and there are a variety of extras, with bonus tracks recorded in studios and an informative interview with Maria. The English subtitles are unfortunately quite poor. I used them once just to get a flavour of her lyrics, and have no real need of them again.

The music is superb. Gadu is a wonderful songwriter with very catchy choruses that I fell for without having any understanding of the language (almost exclusively Portuguese). Her band are used for about half the tracks and are fine musicians perfectly tuned into Gadu's style. Keyboards and electric guitar are especially impressive without playing a note more than is necessary. Some of the remaining tracks use a string quartet and Gadu also does a number of duets with only acoustic guitar(s). 2 of these are with Luiz Mura and Leandro Leo who have dueted with her on studio recordings previously. The look on her face while listening to her musical partners, whether players or singers, shows her love of music and performing, and this also rubs off on her audience who sing along with every note.

I've already reviewed the CD release of this concert and docked a star for the level of audience participation left on the audio tracks. I've no such complaint here. One really feels part of the whole experience and I can now appreciate why the crowd roars it's approval at regular intervals. The musical highlights come thick and fast and are too numerous to mention. Gadu writes music that's universal in it's appeal and basically avoids samba and bossa nova. I can't really think of a comparable singer-songwriter but her voice does remind me of a softer version of Tracey Chapman.

My own favourite songs are "Shimbalaie", "Historia de Lilly Braun" , the gorgeous "Dona Cila" and Jacque Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas". There are 30 or so songs between the concert and the extras and this release scores top marks on every level. You might have guessed but I think this lady is rather wonderful, and this is currently my most played Blue Ray. Her self-titled debut solo CD has also hardly left my player. She's streets ahead of all the well-known Brazilian "divas" and is most definitely worthy of your attention


Maria Gadú Multishow - Extras
Maria Gadú Multishow - Extras

4.0 out of 5 stars Charismatic Concert Performance, 2 Mar. 2012
I've already given her self-titled "debut" a 5 - star award and this live CD has a couple of dozen tracks which feature practically that whole album plus another 5 of her songs from earlier recordings. The "extras" referred to here are a number of duets and an ensemble Maria performs with some of her favourite musical partners who made guest appearances at the concert, in particular, Leandro Leo. What these performances, and the CD in general, show is that Gadu simply loves making music, and whether it is collectively or on her own doesn't seem to matter!

The concert was recorded in 2010 to a wildly enthusiastic audience. I'm afraid their enthusiasm is what's preventing my giving another maximum score. The engineers have left in too much of the audience participation and unfortunately this distracts from my enjoyment. I don't blame the crowd for singing along and would have done so myself if I were lucky enough to have been present at the recording. Careful editing could have reduced this problem. which is a shame because these performances and the material is immaculate and the CD contains almost 80 mins of music.

Gadu's first official solo album from the previous year was largely acoustic guitar driven. Here however she uses her band - and an exceptionally fine unit they are too - so energy levels are up, grooves are funkier and the songs bristle with vitality. Gadu shows up more established Brazilian "Divas" by singing in perfect pitch and with great expression. She possesses a most attractive "smokey" voice and writes very catchy melodies. It doesn't matter whether you understand Portuguese or not as these melodies are international and I would also suggest timeless !

Amazingly, considering her studio album was less than a year old when this concert took place, the audience sings along with every word. Also pretty amazingly Miss Gadu already has enough outstanding material (after only her second studio release) to fill a generous sized compilation CD. Her best known track "Shimbalaie" is of course featured here and the audience singing along with "Dona Cila" (dedicated to Gadu's grandmother) is very moving. I'm hoping that the Multishow DVD will someday appear at a reasonable price as I would find that preferable to this audio version.

The band feel on this CD was carried over into the January 2012 release "Mais uma Pagina" which is another remarkable achievement, and I can't see any limits to this singer's potential - MAJOR MAJOR STAR in the making !!


Field Of Stars: A Story Of The Road To Santiago
Field Of Stars: A Story Of The Road To Santiago
by Susie Tarver
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Camino Trails and Trials, 6 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having completed 5 Caminos I've got to say this brought back many memories, even though I've not done the route Susie describes, and in such an easy and winning style. There are several tips about alberges I'll try to use/avoid on future Caminos. I found her closing chapters brilliant at describing the anti climax and the sense of loss when leaving someone you've walked with for a long period. This feeling goes hand in hand with the enormous sense of achievement and Susie articulates this paradox quite beautifully.

It may be a good idea to start this book before setting out on a Camino but to postpone finishing it until after you return. Some of the descriptions about the hostels may put some people off altogether, and the author is to be congratulated for her common sense "warts and all" descriptions of her Spanish soujourn.

It's a very worthwhile read but I must correct a number of factual mistakes - Susie claims early on that a village called Montsegur near Bordeaux was where the Cathars put up a final resistance during the Albigensian Crusade - that Montsegur is hundreds of kilometers away and south of Carcassone!! She claims the "English Way" and the "Northern" or "Coastal Way" are one and the same - not so ! The English Way is south from a Galician port (traditionally Ferrol, or often Corunna) while the other is west from the Pyrenees along the Cantabrian coast. One other glaring mistake was the claim that it wasn't Cortez who brought chocolate back from the New World but in fact "Columbus nearly 2 centuries earlier" They were actually near contemporaries and it was closer to 2 decades than 2 centuries !

These are minor quibbles but overall this is an eminently readable and humourous account and is a worthy companion for anyone who has done, or is thinking of taking, the pilgrim trail to Compostela.


Gadu, Maria - Multishow Ao Vivo - CD
Gadu, Maria - Multishow Ao Vivo - CD
Offered by momox co uk
Price: £21.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Show, 3 Feb. 2012
I've already given her self-titled "debut" a 5 - star award and this live CD features practically that whole album plus another 5 songs from earlier recordings. The concert was recorded in 2010 to a wildly enthusiastic audience. I'm afraid their enthusiasm is what's preventing my giving another maximum score. The engineers have left in too much of the audience participation and unfortunately this distracts from my enjoyment. Careful editing could have reduced this problem. which is a shame because these performances and the material is immaculate !!

Gadu's first album from the previous year was largely acoustic guitar driven. Here however she uses her band - and an exceptionally fine unit they are too - so energy levels are up, grooves are funkier and the songs bristle with vitality. Gadu shows up more established singers like Maria Rita in particular by singing in perfect pitch and with great expression. MR and indeed several other Brazilian "divas" have problems staying in tune !

Amazingly, considering her studio album was less than a year old when this concert took place, the audience sings along with every word. Also pretty amazingly Miss Gadu already has enough outstanding material (after only her second studio release) to fill a generous sized compilation CD. Her best known track "Shimbalaie" is of course featured here and the audience singing along with "Dona Cila" (dedicated to Gadu's grandmother) is very moving. I'm hoping that the Multishow DVD will someday appear at a reasonable price as I would find that preferable to this audio version.

The band feel on this CD was carried over into the January 2012 release "Mais uma Pagina" which is another remarkable achievement, and I can't see any limits to this singer's potential - MAJOR MAJOR STAR in the making !!


Meu Canto
Meu Canto
Price: £16.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Getting better with age., 2 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Meu Canto (Audio CD)
Uxia is a highly accomplished Galician singer songwriter. She possesses a lovely voice and can sing across a range of styles from the Celtic folk of her homeland to pop, light jazz or world music. Her warm tones are utterly sympathetic and make her one of Spain's leading vocalists. She performs mainly in her native tongue - Galego, though I suspect some of these songs are in Portuguese.

This, her most recent, album was recorded in Rio de Janeiro and is perhaps her finest release to date. Musical backing is very spare with mostly just 2 acoustic guitars for company. This gives a lovely relaxed and intimate setting which complements her voice. The material becomes a bit more eclectic towards the end of the program where cello and flute change the overall mood of the album. Accordion also appears and gives a nice subtle jazz effect in places.

The first 3 tracks are particularly fine with the 3rd song "Os Teus Ollos" being as beautiful a duet as you are ever likely to hear! It's a most popular Galician songs and this is my favourite of 5 versions I've got. The remaining songs are not quite up to that standard but are very easy on the ear and are quite beautiful when Uxia doubles up on her own vocals. The album finishes with "Alala de Marinas" which is a track she recorded before. It's a very beautiful song and the Brazilian acoustic guitars add a new dimension to conclude a really lovely collection.

As I don't understand the language I cannot comment on the lyrics so I may even be unfair in not going for 5 stars but this is really attractive music, and deserves as wide an audience as possible.


Let It Roll
Let It Roll
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £13.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Feat !!, 31 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Let It Roll (Audio CD)
This album should not be this good! After the sad passing of main inspiration Lowell George, it appeared that we'd seen the last of this band. CDs after "Sailin' Shoes" / "Dixie Chicken" / "Feats don't fail me now" had won less praise from the music press. For most bands that would have been the end of the line. Luckily for us that didn't happen in this case. Newcomer Craig Fuller along with the "old reliables" came to the studio with a collection of excellent material and produced the finest and most consistent recording of their entire career.

Fuller turned out to be an excellent choice with a voice super smooth or powerfully rugged as required, and he was aided and abetted in the vocal department by the equally inspired choice of Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt who contributed ideal backing vocals. Musically the band was as good as ever with great chugging rhythms, glorious funky spaces and a superb variety of styles.

This is one of my most listened to CDs (from nearly 4,000 albums) and the title track is my favourite piece of rock and roll (in it's original sense) ever with it's magnificent brass stabs and off-beats. "One Clear Moment" has a chorus you remember after first hearing and "Hanging on to the Good Times" is Fuller at his very best with a superb vocal performance."Listen to your Heart" has a depth of musicality that few groups even aspire to, let alone achieve ! If these are the high points then there are no real lows and this is a release to savour. Sadly the follow-up never reached the same height but ALL Feat fans should acquire this without any hesitation - and everyone else who loves rock music with a special touch of class. Absolute winner !


Maria Gadu
Maria Gadu
Price: £28.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Recording, 30 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Maria Gadu (Audio CD)
I've been dabbling in Brazilian music over the past 18 months or so and having come across this lady's name a couple of times I decided to download 2 of her albums after hearing some brief samples and checking out her Youtube offerings. She has a lovely expressive voice. The first time I listened seriously to this album I played it through twice. It's that good ! I've since been playing it every day looking for a reason not to award it 5 stars and you know what ? - I can't find any !!

The reason for my reluctance is Maria is only in her 20's, this is her first major label recording, and if you start with 5 stars what happens if she goes on to produce even better music? The songs are almost exclusively in Portuguese but apart from a couple of obvious Latino rhythms she's not another samba or bossa nova merchant. She veers more towards a combination of Marisa Monte's pop and the Mexican Lila Down's adventure. And she writes most of the material here (8 tracks of the 13 are her own originals) and like the classic songwriters many of these songs end before you want them to! Hardly any of the tracks extend much past 4 minutes and there is NO padding!

The first few songs feature delightful chord changes - guitar seems to be her favourite instrument - which is fine by me. She uses both acoustic and (understated) electric guitars as backing and the arrangements are never cluttered. Gadu writes in (and beautifully handles) a variety of styles from old fashioned singer - songwriter to Latin flavour to funk and she also casually throws in a bluesy jazz number. Wit is even added to this heady mix when she finished the above jazzer with the Pink Panther theme. She is also equally at home on her own with her guitar or in a band setting. This bodes very well for her future that she won't be pigeon - holed and Gadu has the voice and naturally relaxed but powerful singing style to become a major international star.

She sings a French song "Ne me quitte pas" composed by Jacques Brel which works brilliantly in her musical setting. She does a couple of excellent songs in English on her follow up - (which doesn't yet show on Amazon's inventory) and her original material without exception is flawless. Like I said I've been trying not to give 5 stars but I read in my research a comment on Miss Gadu by no less than Caetano Veloso who tipped her as one of the most exciting talents EVER produced by Brazil so I will now add my humble voice to endorse that most eminent opinion. This album is guaranteed musical pleasure


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