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Reviews Written by
S. C. Trump "stevect" (Upminster, Essex)

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All Time Great Movie Themes
All Time Great Movie Themes
Price: £8.25

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exodus, 12 April 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...nothing to do with Bob Marley... I bought this album soley for the wonderful track 'Exodus'. It is one of those tunes that people of my age (late 40s) have heard throughout their life but never known what it was called, nor who recorded it. I had never heard of Ferrante and Teicher before but one day this record was played on 'Pick of the Pops' and Dale Winton announced its title and artist which I hurridly jotted down. I was soon off to order a copy of this album from Amazon as I just had to have this track. The rest of the album is much of the same instrumental style with lots of film themes (which is why the album is called 'All time great Movie Themes') with swirling strings and strident keyboards; some tunes better known than others.

Wishbone Ash - Argus [2006] [DVD]
Wishbone Ash - Argus [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Wishbone Ash
Offered by para-dise
Price: £9.98

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight to a classic album, 28 Mar. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This DVD has a disclaimer on it saying that it not approved by the band nor their current and present management. That said, it still features extended interviews with Martin and Ted Turner as well as the ever present (but entirely watchable and listenable) Chris Welch and Bob Harris. So why is Andy Powell shown on the cover ?

The DVD contains quite an in depth look at the albums that preceded 'Argus', namely 'Wishbone Ash' and 'Pilgrimage' and so it's not just an 'Argus' appreciation piece. Martin and Ted look relaxed as they swap stories about the making of this classic album. Martin appears at the mixing desk for some of the songs and emphasises some of the features of the playing by isolating the parts. The bass on 'Blowing free' is excellent when 'stripped' out. Also he reveals that Andy Powell's solo on 'Throw down the Sword' was in fact two separate takes of the solo played simultaneously and so liked together that they used it. Elsewhere 'Vas Dis' (from 'Pilgrimage')is revealed as a run through that producer Derek Lawrence decided was so good that he went with it when the band didn't even though he was recording it !

After the hour log documentary there is half an hour of miscellaneous live tracks which include two different versions of 'Blowing Free' and two tracks recorded for 'Whistle Test'.

Great viewing; only one regret; all the tracks on 'Argus' are discussed except frustratingly 'Leaf and Stream' which doesn't even get a mention.
Official or not, this is recommended for Wishbone Ash fans.

Icon 3
Icon 3
Offered by Media Hessen
Price: £33.77

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Third Iconic Chapter, 22 Mar. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Icon 3 (Audio CD)
In a week where the top 10 albums contain forgettable acts such as Lily Allen, Lady Gaga and Kings of Leon, we have released the third `Icon' album from the, a-ha, iconic duo of John Wetton and Geoff Downes. Like the previous two excellent offerings and the superb `Phoenix' album by Asia (which John and Geoff were involved in), this will no doubt not join the top 10 albums next week; and more's the pity.

John's lengthy sleeve notes preface the album and provide a glimpse into the way the songs were crafted and how some of the other musicians came to be involved. It's strange that very few other bands around today seem to be making such excellent music and given radio and TV exposure, I am sure more people would be buying this if they knew it existed.

`Twice the man I was' kicks off the album in upbeat style and it's not dissimilar to `Die is cast' the storming opener from `Icon 2'. Throughout the album Wettons rich vocals dominate the soundscape but listen carefully and you can hear the subtle keyboard sounds of Downes and also the ever present Hugh McDowell, the cellist formerly in ELO (more later).

Track two is the beautiful `Destiny', opening with its church choir like harmonies before launching into a ballad in the similar type of style as `Heroine' from the `Phoenix' album.

Next up is `Green light and Blue skies'. Yes `blue skies'. I think someone has been listening to too much ELO recently as the vocoder chorus repeating the title line sounds....well, like the vocoder from `Mr Blue Sky' !

`Raven' is a quiet duet between John and guest female vocalist Anne-Marie Helder. A nice laid back song. Two other tracks later also feature Anne-Marie but this song showcases her great voice to the best effect.

Track five `My life is in your hands' is one of the albums stonkers. Soaring chorus and instrumentation builds up to a superb climax that you can't help but sing along to.

`Sex, Power and Money' is an apt song for the times starting off with a heavy thrashing opening (nice guitar work throughout by Dave Kilminster incidentally) and featuring a strident chorus. "The wealthy get richer that's the name of everyone's game" just sums it up...

`Annas kiss' is an instrumental. Not much more to say about it really.

Track eight is `Under the Sky', it's one of those soaring Asia' type songs which sits very nicely on this album.

`Don't go out tonight' has some great instrumentation from Downes and advises staying in and watching TV..lyrically not far from `Last good time in town' from the Eagles `Long Road to Eden' album - perhaps all older rockers are getting a little tired ?!

The penultimate track `Never thought I see you again' is as finer pop song as you would find on any album by any artist. A great melody that would sit very nicely on the R2 playlist in the same way as `An extraordinary life' from `Phoenix' would have done. Five minutes of bliss.

Finally the anthemic `Peace in our time' closes the album in strong style. Not quite the high of `Rubicon' which closed the `Icon 2' album, but a great ending to the album none the less.

So, in summary; obviously a great album, but compared to the previous two `Icon' albums and `Phoenix' I would rate it as not quite as strong overall. Certainly there are some outstanding songs to be found here, but there are a couple of weaker moments also, hence I am giving only 4 stars as I cannot award 4.5. That's 4.5 more than Lily, Lady and the Kings would have got however !

Price: £8.90

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your would not believe how good this album is...., 19 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Fox (Audio CD)
This is the first time I have ever bought an album purely on the strength of reading on-line reviews. Sure I already had the singles from the album; `Only you can' and `Imagine me Imagine you' but had no real intention of further discovering music from Fox until the ringing endorsements proved irresistible.

So was I disappointed after shelling out largely blind ? I have to say that the first listening was not great but then how many classic albums can you honestly say were fantastic on first listening ? I initially hated `Abacab' by Genesis I recall and similarly I didn't go much on `Argus' by Wishbone Ash on first hearing. However, as most music lovers know, you have to persevere sometimes and after another couple of listens to this gem of an album I was hooked.

What greets the ears upon listening is a sound that belies its 1975 production date. As another reviewer has already remarked, if you removed the dates from the sleeves and maybe gave the cover a more contemporary feel, this could easily pass for more recent vintage. It hasn't got that 70s feel of (say) Mud or Slade but its own unique synthy, crisp and at times AOR sound. When you think that number one when `Only you can' was number four was `If' by Telly Savalas that says it all about dated music (although admittedly a lot of the top ten that week was pretty good).

First up is a superb cover of Ketty Lester's `Love Letters' which matches and possibly surpasses the original and definitely knocks spots off Alison Moyets dreary version. I love the synth instrumental break and Noosha's (Susan's) distinct vocal style lends itself perfectly to the song. The second single `Imagine me Imagine you' with its slinky `doo lahs' follows up next and deserved better than a number 15 chart placing. `Juggler' and `Patient Tigers' are both excellent mid tempo songs. The latter has an intro that reminds me of `Ol'55' by the Eagles.

The debut Fox single `Only you can' that reached the top ten is presented here in slightly different format from the 7" version and features a catchy 30 second introduction which then abruptly changes to the main tune. Nooshas sensual moves on TOTP when performing this song are still clear in my mind, dressed as she was in a kind of elegant Marlene Dietrich style outfit. To quote Gerald the Gorilla from `Not the 9 o'clock News', "the production is amazing !" with the instrumental section of the song distorting from channel to channel before returning to the middle. In fact the entire production of the album is fresh and crisp and has obviously had lots of care and attention lavished upon it by the bands founder member and guitarist Kenny Young. `The More' is one minute plaintive song that closed of what was side one of the original album; nice strings on this.

`Spirit' opened up what was side 2 and it has some great harmonies from the chaps in the band! `He's got Magic' follows and it's a thumping great `oom pah' type song which is fairly belted out by Noosha and features a false ending before more wondrous production sees the song fade in and out again across the channels like a busker in a subway tunnel. The piece de resistance of the album are the final three tracks. `Picies Babies' is a superior song on any album and features guitar, bass and congas strongly and another cracking Noosha vocal on futuristic lyrics with an eerie harmony echo. I love the bassy instrumental ending. `Love Ship' drifts sweetly along before floating sideways via a string instrumental break to the storming final track `Red Letter Day' fades in which is one of those tunes you cannot get out of your head. Noosha's vocal range shows up really well on this song (think of Kate Bush) and the (at the time) innovative synthesisers compliment brilliantly. More sonic treats are served up with the vocals floating around the channels at times.

Even if the CD was only the original album tracks described above that would be enough to delight (and the digital sound quality of the album is superb). However we also get four extra tracks included which are B sides and the Noosha Fox minor hit `Georgina Bailey' which caused minor uproar with its subject matter when released. The first two tracks `Out of my Body' and `If I point at the Moon' are actually really good. `Georgina Bailey' I never really liked much and its B-side `Pretty Boy' is OK. For these tracks the sound quality doesn't seem quite so good as the main album.

Other reviewers have mentioned the `missing' B-side `Silk Milk' from the later single `S-S-Single Bed' which is a great track not available on CD. I guess given the later vintage of the two final bonus tracks there is no reason why that should not have also featured as there is easily enough playing time. It would have been nice...

Trivia point; one of the guest musicians credited on the sleeve is the Z-Z-Top lookalike Lee Sklar who years later formed part of Phil Collins's touring band on guitar.

To summarise; if you're reading this and are tempted as I was to `buy blind' then I would certainly endorse that. A wonderful album.

Beverley Craven
Beverley Craven
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten artist worth reappraisal, 10 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Beverley Craven (Audio CD)
This for me is THE Beverley Craven album. A cracking set of diverse songs that sound as good today as they did when they were first released in 1997.

First up is Beverley's most well known song `Promise me' with its tinkling piano intro and rather dated lyric about lighting up another cigarette. It's a timeless track and needs no eulogies here. Almost as well known is the second song `Holding on' which was the second single and then follows (would you believe) the third single release `Woman to woman' which lyrically is girlie talk. One of the album highlights follows next and it's the beautiful ballad `Memories' followed by the touching 'Castle in the clouds'. An abrupt change of style comes next with the reggae style of `You're not the first' (a style explored further on the next album) but it works well amongst the stream of ballads and slow songs. `Joey' is an almost unaccompanied piece which is sandwiched between the up-tempo `You're not the first' and the next track `Two of a kind' which used to open Beverley's live show. The ethereal `I listen to the rain' is the penultimate track before the sumptuous feast of `Missing you' closes the album in grand style with a wonderful New Orleans jazz band accompanying and playing out the track.

Well worth digging out if you own this album and haven't played it for ages and if you haven't got it then it's as good as anything that the current crop of singer/songwriters are producing these days. Time for a new album Beverley !

The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum
by Sarah Wise
Edition: Hardcover

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Old Nichol exposed, 7 Dec. 2008
I first picked up on the Old Nichol when researching family history and getting a map of Shoreditch circa 1890 when the areas was being 'cleared'. Curiously, I bought the two maps before and after this time and saw the horrendous labyrinth of streets that made up the Old Nichol and the tidy Arnold Circus that replaced it and still exists today. Little seemed to be known about the Old Nichol until this book (save Arthur Morrisons seminal 'A Child of the Jago' where Jago meant Nichol).

This book paints a good picture of what life was like in the Old Nichol and the events that led to its demolition. Revd Osbourne Jay, who was vicar in the Parish in its latter years is given quite a sympathetic portrayal although in hindsight his motives are a little flawed perhaps.

The book is a little heavy going in its middle sections and there are too many number references to appendices which I could not keep flicking back and fourth to. Also, my interest was in a relative born in Old Nichol Street in the 1840s but there is little reference to whether life would have been as harsh then as it was in the late 1880s. The lack of photos is frustrating but I guess there are none; there was nothing really photogenic about the area. The biggest revelation for me was that the landlords of these shameful properties were respected and wealthy folk.

This book is recommended for anyone with an East End family background or a curiosity in a forgotten area of shame.

All The Lost Souls (Deluxe Edition)
All The Lost Souls (Deluxe Edition)
Offered by westworld-
Price: £9.98

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost Soul worth finding, 1 Dec. 2008
Following the superb debut album `Back to Bedlam' was never going to be easy for James Blunt but this album, originally released just over a year ago was an excellent effort. Songs like the compulsive `1973' and the moving ballads `Same Mistake' and `Carry you Home' are the standout tracks. However, scratch below the surface and there are more classic James Blunt songs lurking. `One of the brightest Stars' is a truly moving piece whilst the softly starting `I really want you' (here presented in a vastly superior `radio' mix which includes added instrumentation) grabs your brain and you just can't stop humming it. `Annie' is co-written by Jimmy Hogarth (he, who is `Jimmy' in `So long Jimmy' from `Back to Bedlam') and along with `Give me some love' is one of the two riff based songs on the album. Other ballad highlights elsewhere are `Shine On' and `I can't hear the Music', the former being a highlight of James's live show.

So what else can you possibly add to this already superb album ? Well there's the one new song recorded by James and premiered on his recent tour `Love, love, love'. I didn't actually go too much on this song when I heard it live but repeated listening proves that its is another classic. Three live cuts then make up the extras on disc 1. Noddy Holder and Jimmy Lea's first number one hit for Slade `Coz I luv you' was a rousing live song which featured James running off the stage and into the crowd to the rear and waving to those sitting at the back (as I was at the O2). He then continued the song at a piano off-stage from the rest of the band and the cheers you can hear on this rendition from Glastonbury bear this out. `Young Folks' is a gentle song performed on a radio broadcast and then finally we get James's version of Supertramps `Breakfast in America'.

The second CD (which is a DVD) features a pot pourri of live cuts of which the first three songs are recorded live at the Abbey Road Studios and the next two feature a concert recorded in Paris where the audience singing in `Goodbye my lover' is particularly evident (and loud!). There are promo videos for the singles off the album along with short documentaries on their making. The collaboration with Sinik entitled `Je Realise' is a welcome inclusion here as are a `Return to Kosovo' (where James served in the Army) and a short profile of James.

Worth buying ? If you're a James Blunt fan you have to have this even if you already own the album. If you haven't got the album already, then what are you waiting for; buy this version now!

The Katie Melua Collection
The Katie Melua Collection
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £12.01

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Track list for the live DVD, 20 Nov. 2008
I can't add much to the other reviews other than say what a great purchase this set is from Katie. A selection of her best tracks, three great new songs, two songs not on her standard albums and the fantastic live Rotterdam DVD where Katies 2008 live set can be relived in all its glory, complete with between songs chat. For those interested, these are the live songs on the DVD :-

1. Piece by piece
2. I do believe in love
3. My aphrodisiac is you
4. Crawling up a hill
5. Mary Pickford
6. Blues in the Night
7. If you were a Sailboat
8. Ghost Town
9. Thank you, Stars
10. Perfect Circle
11. What I miss about you
12. Spiders Web
13. If the lights go out
14. Scary Films
15. Spellbound
16. Mockingbird Song
17. The closest thing to Crazy
18. Nine Million Bicycles

19. On the Road again
20. Kozmic Blues
21. I cried for you
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2015 3:02 PM GMT

Stranger in Town
Stranger in Town
Price: £9.08

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger I've found, 14 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Stranger in Town (Audio CD)
I have been a music fan for most of my life and it's to my eternal shame that I have never heard this album properly until quite recently. A chance hearing of 'We've got Tonite' on the radio led me to seek out this album which most surprisingly is only currently available on import. What a treat I discovered.

The album kicks off with the uptempo 'Hollywood Nights' and is a full blown start to proceedings. Some nice lyrical phrasing too. A measly number 42 this made in the singles charts over here in the punk-obsessed late 70s. Next up is a true gem which scaled the heights of number 4 in the US charts but didn't figure here at all. 'Still the same' is a marvellous ballad with verses that take that steady climax towards a soaring chorus with a great arrangement on the backing vocals. 'Old time rock n'roll' is one of only two non-originals on the album and is well suited to Bobs vocal style. Next comes ' Till it shines' which features the guitar of Glenn Frey from the Eagles and it's another mid-tempo type song with a classic chorus. This is followed by 'Feel like a number', a similar style track to 'Hollywood Nights' and then a cover of Frankie Miller's 'Ain't got no money' with slide guitar from Don 'Sharkey' Felder (again from the Eagles). The albums seminal moment is the aforementioned 'We've got Tonite'. Listening to this track in its remastered splendour with the 'phones turned up you can really appreciate the subtle arrangement with the gentle entry of the high hat followed by the full drums and then those gorgeous harmonies that echo Bobs moving lead vocal. It's a track that tugs at your emotions and features a soaring bridge section, again with backing echoes. This could hardly be bettered and words fail me at the pathetic number 41 chart placing this single achieved in early '79 (number 12 in the US doesn't do it justice either). The penultimate track 'Brave Strangers' is the longest track and features a mid song slow section with the distinctive "hand was shakin'" lyric. Great track and one I do recall being repeatedly played on Nick Horne's 'Mummies Chart' at the time. This just leaves the final track and it's a slow song entitled 'The famous final scene' which is a rousing and moving finale to just under 40 minutes of superb music. Every track a winner. Highly recommended.

Candle In A Chatroom
Candle In A Chatroom
Price: £4.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Another talent spotted by Mr Batt, 9 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Candle In A Chatroom (Audio CD)
Currently supporting Dramatico labelmate Katie Melua on tour, Andrea is a great new talent. With her excellent supporting band, Andrea provides a superb warm up act for the main show and an engaging stage presence. This song is an excellent debut from the lady and given the right radio exposure should propel Andrea to the fore. Look forward to the album.

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