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ds "Lagerd" (West Allis, WI)

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4.0 out of 5 stars The Brooklyn Boy Does It Again, 6 April 2013
This review is from: Hooked (Audio CD)
No surprise that it took the insight and creativity of Tony Visconti to tranform an erstwhile dime-a-dozen pop singer imprisoned by predictably uninspired arrangements into a classy vocalist of distinction. This album, however, could have benefitted immensely by including more bouncy selections in the vein of 'He Got Away' and 'I Wanna Be Like You.'

The Brooklyn Boy (Visconti) appears on so many of my favorite records by Gentle Giant, Sparks, Strawbs, The Alarm, The Move, Procol Harum, Bowie and T Rex. As he approaches age 70 it's good to see his name popping up in album credits again; Here on HOOKED! and more recently on THE NEXT DAY and presumably others. I hope he gets another opportunity with Woodward so he can expand and experiment even further to make her transformation more complete and permanent.

The Next Day
The Next Day
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £3.75

2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not HEROES' sequel or maybe it is, 15 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Next Day (Audio CD)
Having listened to and enjoyed Bowie from a very early age (I have vague recollections of HUNKY DORY's release, 1971) I am partial to his seventies output excepting YOUNG AMERICANS and HEROES. I also regard everything between (but not including) SCARY MONSTERS and TIN MACHINE as rubbish. That is the perspective from which I write.

This one I find neither very good nor objectionable in any significant way. It's simply OK. My main concern, though, is the sameness of mood and delivery throughout, however pleasant the individual songs may be. This sounds sterile from an instrumental perspective - like a group of talented session musicians playing perfectly but without any personal connection to the music. There's no Ronson or Eno-like imprint on any of these tracks. No memorable riffs, solos refrains, etc. Even Bowie's sax, which I wasn't necessarily fond of, could leave a lasting impression. So there is very little that clings to my memory when this CD concludes. I believe both REALITY and HEATHEN contained superior songs and melodies but are also very similar to NEXT DAY from a performance aspect.

And the cover art? Laziness and lack of creativity masquerading as profundity. Don't read too much into the cover. This is not HEROES' sequel. Or maybe it is but since I never really dug that one I don't hear it.

Favorite tracks 'Dirty Boys' and 'Valentines Day.'

The end.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 20, 2013 7:37 AM GMT


0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars some cacophonous nonsense, 10 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Amarok (Audio CD)
It appears as though Oldfield tried to patch together fragments of disparate pieces that he failed to develop into actual songs. As someone (Oldfield) who usually has a solid grasp on melody and song development there is precious little that's memorable here. On the rare instance where it seems he's on to something he abruptly switches gears into some cacophonous nonsense. What do I remember when this disc is over and done? That odd, annoying, spasmodic voice "happy." That's all I remember.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2013 8:18 PM BST

I'm So Confused
I'm So Confused
Offered by dischiniccoli
Price: £9.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars this unholy alliance backfired big time, 6 Oct. 2012
This review is from: I'm So Confused (Audio CD)
This is simply not a very good album. And I'm not speaking as someone who doesn't 'get' Richman. I've been listening to him since BACK IN YOUR LIFE. The main problem with this offering is the choice of Ric Ocasek as producer. Yeah I get that they're probably Bostonian pals from way back but he (Ocasek) has generally favored a keyboard-heavy, techno, new wavy sound throughout his career whereas Richman was always an organic and (during this phase of his tenure) acoustic troubador. The untenable thing is Ocasek's keyboard treatment on this album is neither of the techno nor new-wave nature. It is simply (in the words of another) cheezy. I mean CHEE-ZEE! Perhaps that was their intent. Whatever the case, this unholy alliance backfired big time. In EVERY instance where the producer inserted keyboards, the song would have been better served without. Sorry Jon. I'll bet you, too, realize this now. The remake of 'Affection' was neither necessary nor an improvement over the original. Why bother? This version made a mockery of the earnest, raw, soulful original from 1979. I know I'll stick with albums like BACK IN YOUR LIFE, YOU MUST ASK THE HEART and the Modern Lovers debut; simpler, more honest works that don't sound overly contrived or produced, for that matter.

Babbacombe Lee Live Again
Babbacombe Lee Live Again
Price: £13.58

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a well-kept secret, 3 Sept. 2012
BABBACOMBE LEE (1971) remains one of my all time favorite Fairport albums. And from roughly 40 albums to select from, that's quite a statement. It didn't receive much love in '71 (when it received mainstream distribution via A&M and Island) and it's re-creation in 2011-12 is ostensibly a well-kept secret among Fairport fans. Reduced to a quartet in 1971 this band has had numerous members come and go in the intervening years but remaining from then 'til now are Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. This was then the brainchild of fiddler Dave Swarbrick. It's taken a duo of fiddlers to replace him in Ric Sanders and Chris Leslie. That's a whole lot of hyperbole, of course, since Leslie devotes much of his time to the mandolin and he joined the band a decade after Sanders. But the point is, Swarbrick was virtually irreplaceable. Both Sanders and Leslie are incredible musicians, and more than abley fill the void instrumentally, but Swarbrick's mournfully broken yet empathetic vocals will never be equalled by the sweet and perfect Chris Leslie tenor. 'Newcomer' Gerry Conway (who joined the band in '99) assumes Dave Mattacks' role perfectly. With a lifetime of experience in British rock and folk-rock, no-one could have been a better replacement.

So 40 years later it is very satisfying that Fairport hasn't forgotten this erstwhile neglected classic. It's true to the original with no unexpected twists or turns. The only surprise to the casual listener, perhaps, is how good this band can still be. Much of their more recent work leans heavily toward the generic 'soft-rock' side of the folk-rock music spectrum but this release demonstrates that their British folk roots are still strong.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a day late and a dollor short, 3 Sept. 2012
This is really one fine rock 'n' roll album. The two previous Mott records had mixed results - some really good songs but a questionable lead vocalist. For this incarnation the former Mott fellows enlisted the services of singer and songwriter John Fiddler. His songwriting and vocal abilities far surpass those of Pete Watts and Nigel Benjamin respectively (the two main contributors to DRIVE ON and SHOUTING AND POINTING). "One More Chance to Run" has all the ingredients of a 'classic rock' staple and the two covers "Wild in the Streets" and "International Heroes" should have both been hits to some degree. The remaining Fiddler (and co.) tunes are all good to very good. "Big Drift Away" sounds like an early seventies hippy anthem with anachronistic keyboards. I don't get excited about demos or alternate mixes so the bonus tracks did little to enhance this CD. In summary, too bad the Mott quartet couldn't have procured the talented Fiddler a couple of years earlier.

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Price: £15.94

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars still means "It's OK", 6 July 2012
This review is from: Darktown (Audio CD)
In Hackett's vast body of work, this one probably falls somewhere in the middle -- clearly not the prevailing sentiment of the Hacketteers' contributing reviews found here. It simply doesn't measure up to ACOLYTE, SPECTRAL MORNINGS or his more recent successes TUNNEL'S MOUTH and SHROUDED HORIZON. I feel this is an improvement over the mediocre GUITAR NOIR but contains many of the same flaws that befell that album. Steve Hackett has a history of recording his rhythm sections on the cheap including the abysmal CURED, much of GUITAR NOIR and now DARKTOWN. I don't know if this was for budgetary concerns or if Hackett prefers that sound. I suspect the latter. In the eighties the flavor of the day was drum machines, bass keyboard, programmed rhythm, etc., however, in 1999 (and 1994) that type of approach is inexcuseable, particularly for an artist widely regarded as an innovator in progressive music. It was a bad idea in the eighties and an even worse one in the nineties. My hunch is that there is a world of talented drummers and bassists who'd love to work with a musician of Hackett's calibur and reputation. Many of the tracks on DARKTOWN are fine but would sound much better if re-recorded with a full band. I just can't get beyond this recurring lapse in Hackett's judgement hence my 3-star rating. But hey, 3 stars still means "It's OK."

Live Rails
Live Rails
Price: £15.64

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a good chance you'll be amazed, 11 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Live Rails (Audio CD)
An impressive live document showcasing most of the material (6 of the 8 tracks) from OUT OF THE TUNNEL'S MOUTH by Hackett and his crack band. My personal feeling is OotTM was his finest release in 30 years so hearing it essentially performed live within months of its release is fine by me. Given Hackett's lengthy body of work one gets a clear indication of what the most meaningful/influential periods from his past are; If I'm not reading too much into it, that would be mid-'70s Genesis and SPECTRAL MORNINGS('79) and DEFECTOR('80) from his vast solo canon. LIVE RAILS includes five Genesis (1973-76) cuts as well as five more from those two solo albums. Here is a premier guitarist redefining (perhaps even rediscovering) what it means to be in one's prime, backed by an extremely talented group, many of whom have honed their skills with Hackett for a few years. Nick Beggs (Iona) seems to have settled in as this band's bassist with his hard-driving and intricate playing. Drummer Gary O'Toole also handles vocals on the Genesis tracks (sound familiar?) "Blood on the Rooftops," "Firth of Fifth" and "Broadway Melody" yet fully distinguishing himself from either of that other band's two lead singers. Keyboardist Roger King continues his role as Steve Hackett's right hand man.

Steve Hackett is not resting on his laurels. He is continually exploring new sounds thus expanding his comfort level. Given the resounding success of the follow-up BEYOND THE SHROUDED HORIZON (2011), I submit, an artist on the upswing.

Steve Hackett fans already know what he's all about. However, if you're generally a rock music fan but somehow unfamiliar with this man please get LIVE RAILS and OUT OF THE TUNNEL'S MOUTH and BEYOND THE SHROUDED HORIZON and just concentrate on the songs, the guitar playing. There's a good chance you'll be amazed.

...Or if you've turned 60 and think there's nowhere to go but downhill, perhaps this will serve as inspiration to forge ahead with strength and confidence.

Beyond The Shrouded Horizon
Beyond The Shrouded Horizon
Price: £36.41

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On a Sustained Roll, 19 Feb. 2012
I started out as a relatively strong Hackett fan having purchased each of his 1st 6 solo releases and having essentially lost interest in Genesis after WIND AND WUTHERING. Those first 4 solo records were quite good even the inconsistent PLEASE DON'T TOUCH (c'mon, 'Hoping Love Will Last'?). I found CURED particularly hideous and HIGHLY STRUNG only slightly better. And that's where it ended for many, many years. As one reviewer so aptly put in another review (and I'm paraphrasing) "as much as I admire Hackett and his abilities, no Hackett album has fully satisfied me." Even with those great early records, tracks like "Leaving," "The Toast" and "The Virgin and the Gypsy" bored me to tears. So I walked away from Hackett after HIGHLY STRUNG without any great reservations. I figured he peaked early like so many other of my favorite artists. I checked back with GUITAR NOIR in '93 and knew I hadn't missed anything. Sounded like standard album rock (Asia) to me. Thanks for the good times Steve. GENESIS REVISITED was nice but I preferred the originals. And again, that's where it ended.

It wasn't until earlier this year when trying to decide upon which CDs to spend a Christmas gift certificate at a local record store that I noncommitedly picked up SHROUDED HORIZON as one of my selections. As a 2CD album there just might be a couple of tracks that'll be worth it. Wow, was I wrong! There are fully 22 tracks worth hearing. Even slower, poppier cuts like "Looking for Fantasy" and "Til These Eyes" are artfully done. Unlike many Hackett fans I have absolutely no problem with his voice. I'd much rather hear a less-than-perfect lead voice singing with heart (the songs he composed, no less) than the plethora of cliched poseurs littering the pop and rock fields.

Mechanically and artistically he doesn't seem to have lost a step at all. In fact his so-called "shredding" is every bit as explosive as in decades past. His progressive tracks are among the most original within the genre in the entire 21st century - in fact, since the seventies, I'll venture a guess. I also believe his more pastoral/acoustic selections (which comprise a significant portion of his repertoire) are better realized compositionally. I had my doubts years earlier when I read of his blues affections. I may have to go back and give BLUES WITH A FEELING a try. On this album his blues piece "Catwalk" is a scorcher. And bluesy riffs infiltrate many numbers with great effect. Hackett, it appears, given his penchant for blues, classical, rock and world stylings in recent years has a better grasp on dynamics and composition than ever before.

I was so pleased with this CD that I (within days) purchased TUNNEL'S MOUTH, METAMORPHEUS, TO WATCH THE STORMS and TOKYO TAPES with LIVE RAILS on deck. His current band is a creative powerhouse and I can't wait to hear more than the 30 second snippets to LIVE RAILS.

Finally, so pleased was I with OUT OF THE TUNNEL'S MOUTH too, that I conclude Steve Hackett has never released two finer albums in succession than BEYOND THE SHROUDED HORIZON and TUNNEL'S MOUTH. And after 35+ years that's saying a mouthful.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2012 7:07 PM GMT

Live In London
Live In London
Price: £11.22

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album but..., 25 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Live In London (Audio CD)
First things first. Tracks 1-12 from this disc are taken from Ian Hunter's The Truth the Whole Truth Nuttin' But the Truth, a 2-disc live album recorded at London's Astoria, 2004, issued by Snapper Music in '05. I'm not certain what the licensing agreement between Snapper and Great American Music Company [(GARC) who released this disc] is but I do find it puzzling. Follow me closely here... It also appears as though GARC has a sister label called Airline Records who released Ian Hunter Behind the Scenes (sic) in 2008. BEHIND THE SHADES also contains 12 tracks from the original The Truth the Whole Truth Nuttin' But the Truth album. The tracklisting on both of these single disc budget releases (BEHIND THE SHADES and LIVE IN LONDON) is slightly different, each containing 4 tracks not found on the other, and each sharing 8 of the same tracks. The reason I say Airline Records and GARC are related is that the liner notes on each are identical (verbatim), the Hunter cover photos on both CDs are derived from the same 1970's-era shot of Hunter AND the record label personnel are also identical for both Airline and GARC. Now I'm not necessarily questioning the legitimacy of Airline and GARC but assuming they both have authorization to release tracks from TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHIN' BUT THE TRUTH why on earth did they share so many of the same tracks while omitting four? The shared tracks are: 1.) Once Bitten Twice Shy, 2.) I Wish I Was Your Mother, 3.) The Truth the Whole Truth Nothin' But the Truth, 4.) All the Young Dudes, 5.) Cleveland Rocks, 6.) Michael Picasso, 7.) Roll Away the Stone, 8.) All the way from Memphis. Songs found on neither Behind the Scenes (sic) nor LIVE IN LONDON but included on the original The Truth the Whole Truth Nuttin' But the Truth are: 1.) Twisted Steel, 2.) Knees of my Heart, 3.) 23a Swan Hill, 4.) A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. My feeling is, since these two affiliated budget labels are going to carve up the original album why not (between the two of them) include the entire concert?! I suppose because the 4 omitted tracks are regarded as later-period Hunter (nineties and beyond) the labels feared Hunter fans wouldn't recognize these newer tracks. If so, they drastically underestimate us. It's possible that Snapper specified to both Airline and GARC that they cannot release the entire 2-disc live album between them.

Another beef concerning both BEHIND THE SHADES and LIVE IN LONDON is the fact that Hunter's old Mott the Hoople mate Mick Ralphs shares lead guitar with Hunter's current lead guitarist Andy York for these recordings and there is no indication who plays lead on what song. Inquiring minds want to know. Now if you don't care about these details but merely want to hear a few Hunter and Mott classics performed live in the 21st century either BEHIND THE SHADES or LIVE IN LONDON might be to your liking. On the other hand if you, like me, are more concerned with program details and the entirety of the concert recording I suggest you purchase TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHIN' BUT THE TRUTH.

I don't have any quibbles about the sound quality of these budget discs (they both sound fine). In fact I think the source material is comparable to Hunter's 1980 classic Welcome to the Club. And since I puchased both budget discs for a grand total (including P&H) of $12.32 I don't have a real problem with them individually. Just bear in mind that they are truncated recordings, the complete program found on TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHIN' BUT THE TRUTH.

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