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S. C. Trump "stevect" (Upminster, Essex)

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I Can See Clearly Now/Harmony
I Can See Clearly Now/Harmony
Price: 16.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in its class, 13 Oct 2011
If you feel like something light and tuneful then this certainly fits the bill. Packed with some memorable songs from the early 70s (some of which I had never heard the originals by before)this is a great double album combination from the master of easy listening arrangements. There are songs on here that stand out such as 'How can I tell her' (originally a US hit for Lobo), 'If I could make you stay' (Fifth Dimension) and 'I can see clearly now' (Johnny Nash). Elsewhere the title track 'Harmony' is just sooo uplifting and, as a closer to the set, the Conniff penned 'Here today, gone tomorrow' is one of the most poignant and beautiful songs I have ever heard.

Cinderella's Eyes
Cinderella's Eyes
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 5.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Cinderella Surprise, 9 Oct 2011
This review is from: Cinderella's Eyes (Audio CD)
Look at my other reviews and you'll see that this is definitely not the sort of material I usually go for. However, a clutch of good newspaper reviews, word of mouth and seeing Nicola perform 'Lucky Day' at the Sainsbury's Super Saturday gig at Clapham Common in September persuaded me to give this a go. I wasn't disappointed. This is a seriously good album of great tunes. Some quirky and autobiographical, some serious and some just fun. Nicola has reportedly spent many months perfecting this and it's well worth it. I'd pick out the aforementioned 'Lucky Day' as one of the highlights with her cover of the Korgis 'Everybody's gotta learn sometime' being inspired whilst the stonking 'Say it out loud' is a majestic anthem, 'Take a bite' is a hard-hitting swipe at the press and the closing 'Stick + Stones' a soaring ballad. Over and over again I keep playing this and you will too...

Raised In Captivity
Raised In Captivity
Price: 7.33

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed capture, 12 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Raised In Captivity (Audio CD)
John Wetton's informative sleeve notes tell us that this title was originally intended for his 1990 masterpiece album that was ultimately entitled `Battle Lines'. So 21 years later is this offering as good as that album ? In my opinion it's not, and believe me I have played it many times. `Raised in Captivity', recorded with massive input and assistance by ex-Yes man Billy Sherwood just doesn't quite cut the mustard for me as a combined work, hence only four stars, although it does have some great moments that only John Wetton can produce.

Starting off with the aggressive, up-tempo `Lost for words' the album gets off to a powerful start and with its abrupt silences (three I counted, not including the end), wicked drumming (Sherwood?) and stonking chorus so that we're really in a wide awake mood by the time it's finished . Puffed out of breath, the title track (co-written by Robert Fripp) follows with an atmospheric intro and it's a pretty fine song too although more laid back. So far so good gets even better with my favourite track following; `Goodbye Elsimore' is a sing-along tune with great harmonies and backing vocals topped off with a guest guitar solo from Steve Hackett. Next up is `The last night of my life' which is a reasonable (if slightly too long) song followed by the `bonus track' `We stay together' which thank heavens is included as it's one of the best tracks. After this, things go downhill rapidly. `The Human condition' is probably the worst John Wetton track I've heard - too long and just plain unmemorable. `Steffis Ring' is short and sweet but nothing special followed by the overlong (nearly 7 minutes) and very repetitive `The Devil and the Opera House' which ends up with instrumentation evaporating and just John's vocals remaining. The next song, the fairly up-tempo `New star rising' is reasonable as is the ballad `Don't misunderstand me' featuring the familiar aching Wetton vocals. Last up it's the only song not co-written by John, `Mighty Rivers' and it's a moving conclusion to the album featuring a duet with the ethereal vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen (who sung on a couple of tracks on John's Icon 2 album recorded with Geoff Downes - check out `To catch a Thief' - it's marvellous). It leaves a lasting, slightly mystic taste and makes one wish for a couple of other songs in this vein in place of some of the weaker tracks.

I can't knock John for his impressive workload in releasing his third offering in three consecutive years (after Icon 3 with Geoff Downes in 2009 and then Omega with Asia in 2010) and it's a classy looking package, but under the bonnet it's not quite as strong as other releases.

Top Of The Pops 1970
Top Of The Pops 1970
Offered by MasterDVD
Price: 4.69

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bought for a 41st Birthday...., 31 Aug 2011
This review is from: Top Of The Pops 1970 (Audio CD)
Ideal present for someone who's 41. Please note that 'Something' is not by the Beatles but is Shirley Bassey's excellent cover. A few tracks to skip here but on the whole great value for money.

The Only Light On My Horizon Now
The Only Light On My Horizon Now
Price: 10.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seafaring men..., 8 Jun 2011
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Great to see this cd of an almost complete set of recordings from Marmalade on the Target label, formed by songwriter Tony Macaulay (who later penned the number one classics 'Don't give up on us' and 'Silver Lady' for David 'Hutch' Soul). The first single release 'Falling apart at the seams' was a top 10 hit in the UK whereas all the subsequent releases failed to make the charts. Incredible really as the second single 'Walking a Tightrope' was a nice song in a similar vein and was featured on 'Top of the Pops' (introduced by David Hamilton). Elsewhere, standout tracks are 'So sad' with a soaring guitar solo, a pre-Crystal Gayle version of 'Talking in your sleep', the catchy' You steal the limelight' and the Beach Boys-esque 'Hello Baby'. The extensive notes mention that 'The Blind Man' is a rare track that failed to see the light of day for many years, but it was actually featured on a similar set (but with less tracks) released on cd in 1992 'Falling apart a the'. The rare track for me on here is 'Hot and cold all over' whereas the rare track that everyone is after is 'Seafaring man', allegedly the B-side of the original single release for 'Hello baby'. The sleeve notes mention a fruitless search for this track - will it ever turn up?

The Best Of Ray Conniff
The Best Of Ray Conniff
Price: 4.57

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best of..., 15 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Best Of Ray Conniff (Audio CD)
The Ray Conniff back catalogue is pretty big and there is plenty to choose from. Contained here is my all time favourite Ray Conniff track 'There was a Girl / Killing me Softly'. If you haven't heard it, it's marvellous - knocks spots off Roberta Flack's original. The two complimentary melodies ('There was a Girl' written by Conniff) placed beside each other are a joy to be hold coupled with a great instrumental backing. Elsewhere the most well known Conniff track 'Somewhere my love' (a big hit in the States; covered by the Mike Sammes Singers in the UK) is an essential inclusion here. Other highlights are 'Memories are made of this', the rousing 'S'wonderful' and 'For all we know' which open the album and 'Goin' out of my head'.

But there are some duffers here too. 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' contains the awful "it's the real thing" section missing from the New Seekers original and 'Fernando' should not have been attempted by Conniff. 'Don't cry for me Argentina' sounds good but is a little rushed. So several tracks don't represent the best of Ray Conniff and glaring omissions are 'Harmony', 'Here today and gone tomorrow' (another Conniff original), 'Greenfields' (lovely take on the Brothers Four classic), Georgy Girl' (as good as the Seekers version), 'How can I tell her' (written by Lobo) and 'Twelfth of Never'. In fact, I can recommend the double cd coupling of 'I can see clearly now' and 'Harmony' to compliment this set as several of these tracks feature on there.

Hot Chocolate: Box Selection, Their 8 RAK Albums 1974-1983
Hot Chocolate: Box Selection, Their 8 RAK Albums 1974-1983
Price: 16.56

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag, 25 Feb 2011
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Amazingly Hot Chocolate released no albums until 1974, so this collection does not represent a complete chronology of the band's releases. A string of hit singles were released between 1970 and 1973 featuring classic tracks such as `Love is life', `I believe (in love)', `You'll always be a friend', `Brother Louie' and the original recording of `You could have been a Lady'. All of these and their associated B sides can be found on the `As, Bs and rarities' compilation. Incidentally not all later singles featured on albums either, so we sadly don't get `No doubt about it' and `I'll put you together again'.

Albums kicked off in 1974 with the release of `Cicero Park' which featured the classic Hot Chocolate sound until winding up in 1983 with the very 80s sounding `Love Shot' which was hardly recognisable as the same band save for Errol's distinctive voice. Of these original eight releases only four charted in the UK and none penetrated the top20, whereas the compilations were huge sellers. Here's my batting order of the eight albums included in this set (all released on RAK Records and all produced by the late Mickie Most).

1. Cicero Park (DNC) - The first album and for me the very best. Right from the opening notes of the opening title track we're treated to the distinctive Hot Chocolate sound of beautifully arranged strings arranged by John Cameron (throughout all subsequent tracks until replaced by synthesisers in the late 70s). The album is packed with memorable tracks including the perennial `Emma' (surely the best Hot Chocolate track ever?). `Changing World' is a wonderful ballad with great guitar licks from Harvey Hinsley. The song is mistakenly listed in the booklet as being an unreleased single - it was released, and it's edited and it's quite easy to purchase on the internet. `Disco Queen' another hit single with wicked guitar bursts and finally a big and brassy sound on `Funky Rock n' Roll'.

2. Hot Chocolate (no. 34)- The eponymous second album features a number of hits and classic album tracks. Listen again to `You sexy thing' and marvel at those strings subtlety arranged and inserted by John Cameron (and never mind the 80s remix!). `A Child's Prayer' is another wonderful single well known and again, string-laden. More obscure album tracks like the brooding `The Street' , `Dollar Sign' (about the lure of money) and `A warm smile' (a track penned by band members other than Errol Brown & Tony Wilson) where Harvey Hinsley is given room to stretch out his guitar playing in an extended instrumental break are high quality.

3. Man to Man (no 32) - The third album (you get the picture?). The title track should have been a big hit but stalled just outside the top 10. A classic lyric from Errol and some quietly spoken lines plus those long held chords. Other big hits adorn this album in the bassy ` Don't stop it now', `Heaven is in the back seat of my Cadillac' and the re-recorded version of `You could have been a lady'. Highlights less well known are the album closer `Seventeen years of age' and `Sex appeal'.

4. Every 1's a winner (no 30) - The fourth album. Wonderful riff on the extended version of the title track needs no introduction here - you've all heard it, but it does benefit from the longer cut here rather than the shorter single version. `So you win again' was the band's only chart topper and was penned by the prolific Russ Ballard. Another great sounding guitar and string arrangement that you never get tired of hearing. `Put your love in me' is five minutes of bliss with a very mysterious instrumental track. Other less known highlights are `Confetti Day' and `Sometimes it hurts to be a friend'.

5. Class (DNC) - Album number six. By now we're into the 80s and this is not as classy as the previous four by any stretch. There are however some memorable tracks; `Are you getting enough of what makes you happy' has an intro and guitar riff to die for. Fantastic sound. `Losing you' is Russ Ballard's `So you win again part 2' released as a single which amazingly failed to chart. A creditable cover of `Walking on the moon' finds the Hot Chocolate sound in tune with this sparse Police track and Errol's voice well suited. `Children of Spaceman' is quite unlike anything else; tucked away as a B side it's a great track. Finally `Love me to sleep' is a moving ballad.

6. Mystery (no 24) - We're well into the 80s at the time of this release and it's a patchy album apart from `Girl crazy' which is acceptable pop, `Chances' a nice ballad and the best two tracks on the album' It started with a kiss' and (surprisingly) another longer version of `Are you getting enough happiness'. Elsewhere `Emotion explosion' is quite awful and sounds like Earth, Wind and Fire and `You'll never be so wrong' (written by Ricky and Kim Wilde) is one of the worst single releases by the band.

7. Love Shot (DNC) - 1983 and getting worse. Few redeeming tracks are on here. `I'm sorry' co-written by label mate Adrian Gurvitz and `I gave you my heart (didn't I)'. Otherwise it's really not my cup of tea at all.

8. Going through the motions (DNC) - Errol Brown has admitted to having writers block around the time of this release (1979). The album features eight monotonous tracks. A near nine minute version of `Mindless Boogie' is just too much to bear. The title track is only partially saved by it being the last HC track with John Cameron's string arrangements. The album really is what it says though, and I won't be playing it very much!

Finally, the package itself. Excellent value for money although the eight page booklet included is very sparse and features some typos and mistakes. There are some notes included, but they amount to two sentences on the back of the CD! EMI could have given us a much more detailed booklet with full size photos of the album sleeves perhaps. The running orders from the albums have had to be slightly re-jigged in places for timing reasons e.g. `'Dollar sign' from `Hot Chocolate' is put out of sequence at the start of disc 2 before `Man to man' begins.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2013 6:18 PM BST

The Charisma Years (1970-1973)
The Charisma Years (1970-1973)
Price: 19.35

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the good here and it's marvellous, 10 Feb 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
let's get the bad bit over with first; the packaging does leave a lot to be desired, but the content of the four discs more than makes up for this. A shame really, as EMI have proved they can do it with the excellent 'Refugees - Charisma' set released in 2009 which includes a really extensive booklet packed with information about the artists (and two Lindisfarne tracks incidentally). This set could have included full size album sleeve reproductions and Ray Laidlaw's 2005 notes about the Live album but the booklet is just a few pages, although it does reproduce the iconic inner sleeve photos from 'Fog on the Tyne'.

Here are my highlights from each of the five Charisma albums featured and a summary of the bonus tracks.

Nicely out of tune - 'Winter Song'. Just amazing. Listen to the production and sympathetic inclusion of the second guitar part which is placed on the right hand channel (and as for Rod's bass playing.....). People rave about Bob Johnston's production on the subsequent albums but John Anthony did a pretty good job on here.

Fog on the Tyne - 'City Song'. The harmonies have a unique sound texture to them at the end of the chorus. Alan Hull's vocals have seldom sounded so persuasive. A hidden gem of a track.

Dingly Dell - 'Court in the Act'. A rousing opener to the band's live set and second single from the album. Great dual vocals from Jacka and Alan.

Live - My least favourite album on the Charisma label. Over-long renditions of 'We can swing together' lasting 17 minutes (with endless harmonica playing of 'Auld lang syne', 'Jungle bells' and the like) and 'Clear White light' lasting 11 minutes(with Bo Diddly in the middle) spoil this for me. I do like the shorter songs in their raw live form, especially Jacka rolling the 'R's on the opening 'Together forever'. It was no doubt a lot of fun being there and the live feel is very well conveyed by the sound production.

Roll on Ruby - A lot of the album with the Mk2 line-up is not traditional Lindisfarne, but I do like the riff based 'Steppenwolf', another classic Alan Hull track sung mainly by Jacka.

Onto each of the (new) bonus tracks:-

'From my Window' and 'On my own I built a bridge'. These songs are included alongside the 'Nicely out of Tune' tracks having previously being tucked away on the 'Buried Treasures' compilations. Both are mono recordings but are none the worse for that. It proves how many good songs Lindisfarne had to hand in the early days. 'From my window' was one of the first songs that Rod Clements ever wrote.

'Lady Eleanor' US mix. As noted in the excellent earlier review by Jimbo, this is also the single version of the song released in the UK reaching no. 3 in the charts. For me the definitive version I grew up with listening intently on the radio chart rundowns alongside Slade and T.Rex etc. I never heard the album version until years later.

'We can swing together' US mix. A more punchy version of the song than the UK version, abbreviated, different but nothing special.

'Scarecrow Song' US mix. Sounds the same more or less as the standard version, but then we get a much longer, keyboard dominated instrumental fade-out. For me the original version faded abruptly. This feels like the right length fade and definitely adds to the wonderful Alan Hull song.

'Meet me on the corner' demo version. I originally heard this track on the 'Repeat Performance' compilation as I didn't have the 'Finest Hour' compilation (where the sleeve bills it as appearing) and was blown away by it. Although it's a demo, the harmonies give this famous song a very different sound. The phrasing is different in places too such as "lay down your bundles of rags and reminders" with the word 'bundles' an octave higher.

'January Song' rare version from a Norwegian compilation. How did the Norwegians get hold of this take? It's great to have this rare version, but at over six minutes it's too much of a good thing with an instrumental middle section and then a repeat of the first verse.

'Taking care of Business' US mix. Nice alternative version with a slightly stripped down feel. The most traditional sounding Lindisfarne song on the 'Roll on Ruby' album and the first and only single taken from it.

'North Country Boy' US mix. Sorry this is horrible ! Someone appears to be trying to sound like Joe Cocker in places. Almost unrecognisible from the standard version.

'Roll on River' US mix. Nice alternate version of this slow-burner of a song.

....and don't forget; unbilled but also included is a version of 'Nobody loves you anymore' that ends rather than fades out.

In summary, everything you could want from Lindisfarne's output from the famous Charisma label and at a fantastic price. I can't think of anything they've missed here that I would want to have included (apart from a better booklet), it's all there and more.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 15, 2013 9:58 PM GMT

Live At Wembley Stadium [DVD] [2003]
Live At Wembley Stadium [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Tony Banks
Price: 7.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We're gonna play some new songs..., 23 Jan 2011
....and we're gonna play song old songs". So says Phil Collins near the start of this (Old) Wembley Stadium concert played in front of 288,000 people over four hot July nights in 1987 (I was there on the Friday). In fact, due to reasons discussed at length elsewhere we only actually get one old song on this DVD and that is 'Los Endos' near the end (not counting the medley of cover version hits played as part of the 'Turn it on again' encore). It's like playing your favourite album and missing out the best track. The 'In the Cage'/' that quiet Earth'/'Afterglow' medley was placed after 'Brazilian' in the running order and fitted perfectly in the set and still sounds great on my recording from the Radio live broadcast. Nothing for me can eclipse the sheer live ecstasy of hearing the familiar opening notes of 'Afterglow'. Without it included, this superbly filmed, expertly played live show is just not the complete item. It is worth four stars easily though, and certainly the renditions of 'Abacab', 'Brazilian' and 'Home by the Sea' are fantastic. Also worth noting is that the 'Invisible Touch' tour was the only time the band played this track faithfully live without the childish, unnecessary alteration to the lyrics. One thing Genesis never had to worry about was the shock factor; the sheer brilliance of the music spoke for itself. Buy this for Genesis at their commercial peak and for nostalgic memories of an iconic stadium.

Eye In The Sky: 25th Anniversary Edition (Remastered/Expanded)
Eye In The Sky: 25th Anniversary Edition (Remastered/Expanded)
Price: 6.36

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye Opener, 5 Dec 2010
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Funny how you get into some bands. I bought an album in 1982 in my local record shop and on the counter was a pile of flexi discs for this album entitled 'An Eye Opener'. I must have played the wretched piece of floppy plastic over and over again as the quality of the music (Sirius/Eye in the sky/Psychobabble/Old and Wise) which was edited together in teasing segments was so good. Needless to say a full purchase of the album soon followed, as it did I suspect for many other music lovers lured in by this very effective marketing ploy. The remaining APP albums soon found their way into my collection too.

Now, 27 years later the music needs no such ploys to music afficiandos. 'Eye in the Sky' along with its predecssor 'The Turn of a Friendly Card' are probably the creative peak of Alan Parsons and his equal partner, the late Eric Woolfson. The album scarely has a duff track on it with the possible exception of 'Step by Step' which Alan Parsons has been quoted as being not too keen on himself. The opening 'Sirius/Eye in the Sky' is as good a song of this genre that you're ever going to hear with its dramatic keyboard opening, Ian Bairnson's perfect guitar solo before merging into the wonderful title track sung so well by Eric Woolfson. The singles record buying public of the UK missed out on a treat with this song unlike in the US where in the summer of 1982 it peaked at number 3 behind two other songs that also missed out in the UK and followed another 'Eye' song up the charts! ('Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor). 'Children of the Moon' is a bit of an anticlimax after such a quality opening but it's a bouncy song ably sung by Pilot's David Paton before the soothing fade to 'Gemini' sung by Chris Rainbow who contributes a lot of the backing vocals throughout the album (checkout his 'looking at you' echoes on the title track). 'Silence and I' is a mega seven minute track full of great instrumentals, time changes and a wonderful orchestral score by Andrew Powell. Eric Woolfson once again sings lead vocals. Ian Bairson's guitar is much to the fore in the fade out. Lenny Zakatek features on virtually all APP albums and on this one he has two tracks. 'You're gonna get your fingers burned' is ideally suited to his rougher edge voice and it's the album's sole rocker. 'Psychobabble' is sung by Elmer Gantry and it's an oddball type song with an unusual intro featuring some wonderful bass lines from David Paton and the English Chorale feature in the middle section. A great live track this one. Each APP album features some sort of instrumental and the second one on here is a perfect piece of infectious synth pop called 'Mammagamma'. The aforementioned 'Step by Step' (the second Lenny Zakatek song)is the penultimate track and it's...well OK; not one I'd select to play on it's own. Last, but definitely not least is 'Old and Wise' and I don't mind saying (if you pardon the pun) that it's brilliantly sung by Colin Blunstone. A big hit in the UK this one (one week at number 74) the song features lush orchestration and a brilliant sax solo played by Mel Collins in the fade out.

So what else can this reissue offer to enhance what is already a fantastic album? Some demo outtakes and snippets of the songs that either are buried in the original mix or recorded but not used. An Eric Woolfson song 'Any other Day' that didn't make the album in the end but was recorded some years later. It's great to also hear Eric singing 'Old and Wise' with a different backing track arrangement (minus the orchestra and sax). Not as good as Colin's rendition, but a great version nonetheless. The extensive sleeve notes provide insight and background to the album although this issue is minus the song lyrics included previously.

In summary, a great album highly recommended.

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