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ds "Lagerd" (West Allis, WI)

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Darktown
Darktown
Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £20.90

2 of 5 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: £17.00

5 of 5 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: £49.29

2 of 2 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
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.90

15 of 15 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.


Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £17.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but you can do better, 21 Nov 2011
This review is from: Behind the Scenes (Audio CD)
This CD is titled BEHIND THE SHADES not the mistaken title found here, 'BEHIND THE SCENES'

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 Airline Records (who released this disc) is but I do find it puzzling. Follow me closely here... It also appears as though Airline has a sister label called Great American Music Company (GARC) who released Ian Hunter Live in London in 2009. LIVE IN LONDON also contains 12 tracks from the original TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHIN' 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 AND 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 SHADES 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. I suppose it's possible that Snapper Music prohibited both Airline Records and Great American Music Company from issuing the entire TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHIN' BUT THE TRUTH between the two of 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 AND 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 TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHIN' BUT THE TRUTH is comparable to Hunter's 1980 classic Welcome to the Club and since I puchased them both 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 The Truth the Whole Truth Nuttin' But the Truth. Amen.


Procol's Ninth
Procol's Ninth
Price: £12.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly Beethoven's Ninth but still quite good, 16 Nov 2011
This review is from: Procol's Ninth (Audio CD)
(This review pertains to the 2005 Friday Music edition)
While not among Procol's finest (I believe that distinction belongs to A SALTY DOG and GRAND HOTEL) this record wraps up their "classic" period nicely. It is certainly far superior than SOMETHING MAGIC or PRODIGAL STRANGER. 'Pandora's Box' and 'Fool's Gold' were the featured tracks on American FM radio and are typical Procol rockers. Other fine selections include 'The Final Thrust' and 'The Unquiet Zone' however, the two covers 'I Keep Forgetting' and 'Eight Days a Week' are soulless and completely disposable, perhaps signifying a lack of material - essentially nothing more than Holiday Inn cover band fare. What bumps this elusive edition (Friday Music) of PROCOL'S NINTH up to a 4-star level is the inclusion of the A and B side of a rare French 45rpm - 'Adagio de Albinoni'/'Blue Danube' - 12 additional minutes of "real" Procol magic. I realize this is a pricey CD but I was patient and got it for a song 6USD. Good luck finding this one!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2014 4:07 PM BST


ALL THE YOUNG DUDES: The Official Biography
ALL THE YOUNG DUDES: The Official Biography
by Campbell Devine
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the way from Herefordshire, 16 Nov 2011
This is a fascinating account detailing nearly every aspect of one of my favorite groups/artisits of the past 35+ years (I became a Mott fan in '73 at age 12 or 13). I've always been intrigued by the behind-the-scenes workings, the other artists Mott knew and enjoyed, or perhaps didn't get along with. It's all here. Episode after episode contains detailed explanations, (and more often than not) confirmed by the various parties involved. I essentially knew the character of Ian Hunter, having read his book, numerous interviews, lyrics, etc. but what really impressed me in this book were the incisive, insightful contributions by Pete Watts and (particularly) Dale Griffin. Their candor and recollection are priceless - not just a distant or disinterested rhythm section. This caused me to go back and listen to Mott's recordings from a different perspective, one that for years I took for granted; That is, listening more attentively to Griffin's contribution. I've concluded that he's a much better drummer than I ever gave him credit for, attacking and leading rather than waiting for the songs to come to him. Great job Buff!


Quark, Strangeness, ...
Quark, Strangeness, ...
Offered by HURRICANE RECORDS BERLIN_1
Price: £8.71

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better now than then, 21 Aug 2011
This review is from: Quark, Strangeness, ... (Audio CD)
Didn't care for this one at all in '77. To me it was symptomatic of the drastic stylistic changes virtually all '70s art rock/prog bands underwent in the late seventies. Consider Strawbs, ELP, Renaissance, Horslips, Genesis, 10cc, Gentle Giant, Queen, Camel, Focus, Klaatu, Triumvirat, etc. etc. Not to mention the dissolution of King Crimson, Roxy Music, Van Der Graff Generator, among others. Bowie was an exception. I haven't heard this one in 33+ years and guess what? I was wrong as it's stood the test of time nicely. It still retains some of the trademark Hawkwind jamming and spacerock on 'Damnation Alley,' 'Fable of a Failed Race' and 'Forge of the Vulcan.' In addition Hawkwind seemed to have acquired a greater sense of humor on tracks like 'Spirit of the Age' and the title track. 'Days of the Underground' employs a detectable punkish vibe that sometimes surfaced on earlier albums. 'Hassan I Sahba' unveils an Eastern quality (thanks to Simon House' violin) coupled with the expected dense Hawkwind driving rhythm of yore. QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM sounds more relevant today than it did then.


Stand Fast Stand Steady
Stand Fast Stand Steady
Offered by HANG LOOSE Records
Price: £14.84

2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry. Not Gary Miller's Finest Hour, 7 Aug 2011
This review is from: Stand Fast Stand Steady (Audio CD)
First of all it's difficult to find this CD at any of the amazon sites. You must enter "Miller and Weihrauch." Simply entering Gary Miller will NOT produce this result. Perhaps that's a good thing. While it was comforting at some level to see Miller making music again in '05 (he last appeared in 2000 with Mad Dogs and Englishmen) it was less comforting knowing that this would be his re-emergence statement. Even though there are several familiar songs here like 'Pitman Tom,' 'The Colliery,' 'Easington' and 'Do-Li-A' Miller sounds tired and uninspired or maybe just bored. It should be noted that this album was recorded under trying circumstances as he was ill at the time. Having grown up aside his accordion playing brother Glenn in the Whisky Priests for all those years Miller probabably felt a degree of security with that instrument but the pairing of Ralf Weihrauch with himself just doesn't seem natural. Weihrauch is a musician of some note in Germany's folk circles but this just seems to be a forced project. Weihrauch's passive voice doesn't jibe with Miller's rough-hewn, gut-level vocal delivery. I suspect this is the byproduct of an agreement between friends. You know how it goes..."We really ought to do an album together." "Yeah, sure thing." Whatever the case this is not Gary Miller at his finest. In 2010 he recorded the far superior REFLECTIONS ON WAR which he was still hesitant to regard as a comeback album. That tells me that greater things are on the horizon for Mr. Miller and his legion of fans.


First Few Drops
First Few Drops
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £42.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Early E.P.s, Singles & Demos 1987/88, 6 Aug 2011
This review is from: First Few Drops (Audio CD)
These are the humble (in their inception) yet intense (in their delivery) beginnings of one of my favorite bands who never quite made it. Bedeviled by a few missteps and the politics of the music industry The Whisky Priests will forever be regarded as also-rans, acknowledged for their greatness by only a select few. These are their first recordings (that initially appeared on a series of EPs and singles in those years) that launched a bit of a buzz in England. That buzz was quickly squelched due to self-admitted naive band decisions and the unscrupulous powers that orhestrated those decisions. So at a time when this band should have made significant inroads and impact in the blossoming folk-punk scene in the UK they were, in effect, neutered. The Whisky Priests were the brainchild of twin brothers Gary and Glenn Miller. Gary was the singer/songwriter/guitarist whose literate and insightful lyrics complemented the traditional music in their early repertoire perfectly. His unique voice coupled with Glenn's driving accordion playing provided the trademarks for this band. These are raw, soulful (Re: from the heart - NOT in the R&B sense) recordings that will appeal to fans of early Pogues and Billy Bragg. Also, for those folk-rock fans who desired more of an edge than Oysterband/Men They Couldn't Hang/Levellers provided The Whisky Priest should satisfy. Contained on this CD are early renditions of songs that have since become staples in their live setlist throughout the '90s like 'The Colliery' and 'Grandfatha's Fatha' While personnel changed from album to album and concert to concert the spirit of these songs and others remained basically unchanged.

At the time of this writing the price of this compilation is quite high at amazon so if you're intrigued let me recommend this trio of stellar Whisky Priests CDs:
Power and the Glory - 1994
Life's Tapestry - 1996
Think Positive - 1998


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