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Super Duper Alice Cooper - Deluxe Edition [2dvd+Br+Cd Set]
Super Duper Alice Cooper - Deluxe Edition [2dvd+Br+Cd Set]
Price: 30.08

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Trooper, 29 May 2014
Housed in an LP-sized hardback book, this box set is a very stylish package with a well written overview plus scores of stunning photographs. The dvd/blu-ray traces the rise, fall and rise again of Alice Cooper singular, although footage of the original band is heavily featured. Instead of being the usual, formulaic music documentary, the techniques employed by the film makers - archive material, animation, an absence of 'talking heads', interweaving symbolic, silent movie excerpts etc. - create a timeless feel. There are plenty of musical excerpts, but the lack of complete tracks actually enhances the unfolding drama, helping maintain a momentum that never lets up, even in the most disturbing moments when Alice's life/career spectacularly disintegrates. The roller coaster ride ends in 1986, with a sober AC triumphing against the odds and embarking on a successful comeback that has lasted to this day.

The film isn't meant to be a complete overview of Alice Cooper's career but instead a dramatic look at how a fictional character almost destroyed the real life person playing him. A selection of interesting 'bonus' material has also been added. (Note, there are a few expletives uttered along the way!)

There's an extra DVD included, showing rare footage from a 1972 Montreal concert. It's magnificently ramshackle, presenting the original band in all it's 'theatre of the absurd' garage-rock glory. Footage of 'Dead Babies' and 'Killer' is particularly striking in the 'menace and macabre department'. Finally, there's an excellent sounding CD of a 2009 Montreux concert that rocks like hell from start to finish.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2014 12:01 AM BST

The Singles Collection
The Singles Collection
Offered by Discs4all
Price: 4.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carry On Screaming, 20 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Singles Collection (Audio CD)
Screamin' Jay Hawkins blazed a trail through late-50's rock and roll, earning a reputation for the wild, weird and wacky. His records and stage show would go on to influence artists like Screaming Lord Sutch, Roky Erickson, Arthur Brown, Alice Cooper, The Cramps, Marilyn Manson etc. etc.

This double Cd compilation showcases his work from 1953 to 1962. It's certainly eclectic! There's the expected rock and roll meets voodoo shenanigans of his big hit, 'I Put A Spell On You', plus more 'freak-outs' on tracks such as 'Little Demon' and 'Alligator Wine'. Louis Jordan-style big band jive rears its head on a couple of tracks, whilst some of his pre-1955 work is almost operatic! There's a bit of country and western swing in there too, plus a helping of blues, and definite traces of rockabilly, not to mention psychobilly!! Oh, and did I say there's also plenty of loungecore and jazz along the way?!

Some tracks are just plain bonkers! There's a crazed version of Al Jolson's 'You Made Me Love You', and an even barmier take on that old chestnut 'Ol Man River'. Then there's 'Armpit No. 6', where Screamin' Jay bewails the trials and tribulations of his latest girlfriend's body odour!! 'Darling, Please Forgive Me' has an affecting spoken introduction that then descends into shouts and moans of frenzied self-flagellation.

It's definitely all over the place! I've docked one star because there's also a handful of tracks that descend into Tin Pan Alley hokum BUT since there are nearly 40 tracks to choose from they're very much in the minority. In short, it's a scream!

One For The Road
One For The Road
Price: 8.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw Power, 18 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: One For The Road (Audio CD)
By the late 70's The Kinks had totally fallen out of favour with both the British music critics and general public - no hit singles, no hit albums and disastrous concert reviews. In America it was just the opposite, with albums like 'Misfits' and 'Low Budget' making the US top 20. In 1979 Ray Davies decided to totally strip down the Kinks sound - back to the primal, raw rock they'd had with 'You Really Got Me' in the 60's - undertake a large US stadium tour and record this live album.

It is utterly brilliant and rocks like hell. There's very little of the fey, pastoral side of the band on show here. Apart from a storming 'You Really...', there's an ass-kicking 'All Day And All Of The Night' plus three 'punked-up' numbers in the shape of 'David Watts', 'Stop Your Sobbing' and Ray's riposte to Tom Robinson via 'Prince Of Punks'. Six tracks from the previous year's 'Low Budget' album appear - emphasising its importance in the US - and the record kicks off with an opening tease of a very short 'You Really ..' melding into a pummeling version of 'The Hard Way', whose studio counterpart can be found on the mid-70's 'Schoolboys In Disgrace' album.

There's some wonderful audience participation for that old stalwart 'Lola' , plus the best guitar of the set , from Dave Davies, on the spirited '20th Century Man'. This whole album is woefully underrated, and definitely belongs up there with the acknowledged great live sets, such as 'Live At Leeds' by The Who. Buy it, and knock your socks off!

Sky's The Limit
Sky's The Limit
Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: 14.80

5.0 out of 5 stars On Cloud Nine, 17 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sky's The Limit (Audio CD)
One brilliant soul group + one genius writer and producer (Norman Whitfield) = one awesome album. From 1971, this freshly remastered record is one of the very best the Temptations ever recorded. It's got the sublime hit 'Just My Imagination', plus the social consciousness of 'Unite The World' and 'Man'. Then there's the wonderful 'I'm The Exception To The Rule ' - which would have made a great single with its spoken introduction and overall melancholy - and 'Throw A Farewell Kiss' with its stylish piano arpeggios and vocal harmony workouts.

Best of the lot though is 'Smiling Faces Sometimes', a 12 minute saga of paranoia and betrayal, where the group gets to strut its vocal prowess and the producer gets to flex his 'freak out' orchestrations. It's mind-blowing stuff, moving the Temptations ever closer to Sly And The Family Stone-type territory. The remastering is superb. Highly recommended.

Revolutionary Suicide
Revolutionary Suicide
Price: 18.25

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rant And Roll!, 14 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Revolutionary Suicide (Audio CD)
Julian's umpteenth album is probably his best ever. Lyrically it's very, VERY daring and musically it's all over the place - sort of DIY folk with bits of pop/punk/metal/Krautrock chucked in for good measure.

The first CD is the more downbeat. It's got two long set pieces:- 'Hymn To Odin' and 'The Armenian Genocide'. The former takes a jaundiced look at religions emanating from the Middle East and the latter is self-explanatory! Both begin quietly and gradually, over many, many verses - (thank goodness the lyrics are printed in the CD booklet) - things reach a stupendous climax. Sandwiched in-between is the shorter 'Why Did The Chicken Cross My Mind'; the most outspoken lyrics of all are on this track which rails against some aspects of Islam.

The second CD is more upbeat overall, although the final track - 'Destroy All Religion', er is there a pattern emerging?! - is more of a drone. 'Russian Revolution Blues' has some very clever wordplay, pointing the finger at all the major powers for what happened in Cambodia re-Pol Pot. 'They Were On Hard Drugs' is actually just bonkers; Julian's rather cultured voice seemed so incongruous it made me laugh. There are also two poems but these are just printed and not voiced!

Quite an astonishing album in many ways then but it'll never trouble the charts in a million years!

Price: 18.07

5.0 out of 5 stars ROAR Power!, 31 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rockabilly (Audio CD)
This is utterly, utterly wonderful. It's raw, it's primitive, rocks like hell and has more spirit, energy and honest musicality than all the crap that's currently in the charts.

Horst hails from Germany, sings in perfect English, and trails himself as an 'international one-man band'; although a trio of others do help out at times here. 'Rockabilly' might be the title but that genre just loosely underpins everything - think vintage Elvis meets prime Iggy Pop with some Motown, punk and even heavy metal chucked in for good measure!

'Please Don't Leave Me', like many of the other tracks, pushes the instrumentation into the red until you fear the speakers will blow! 'Lonely' summons up the ghost of Roy Orbison, with Horst's singing very muscular and emotive. A theremin (!) makes an appearance halfway through 'Don't Drink And Surf', sounding like a dentist's drill gone mad!!

'Power Of Soul' is kind of Northern Soul meets Rockabilly, with a wonderfully strong vocal from Horst, whilst 'Wrong Side' channels his inner-Deep Purple! Talking of heavy metal, 'Born To Rock' is a dead ringer for early AC/DC - it knocks spots off the rubbish they're turning out these days. 'Nancy', meanwhile, hitches some pounding drums to a quasi-'Batman' riff, with Horst making it a modern day version of The Champs' 'Tequila'.

Every so often there is also a short blast of an increasingly deranged rockabilly instrumental between the main tracks. Finally there's one more surprise - a 'hidden' last track! It begins with the theremin creating a Dr. Who-type soundscape which then morphs into something that wouldn't have been out of place on the first Suicide album; Horst screams his lungs out!!

So, it's brilliant and a MUST buy.

Wayne County At The Trucks
Wayne County At The Trucks
Price: 11.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely NOT a Plain Jayne!, 18 Aug 2013
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Sick of the airbrushed guff that passes for 'rock' these days? Then head back nearly forty years to take a walk on the wild side with Wayne.

The record is a mixed bag of live tracks - from performances in New York City and Germany - plus a few studio tracks. In 1974 Wayne was initially being touted as 'the next big thing' (by Bowie's Mainman management) and the live portion here is from his 'Live At The Trucks' - an Alice Cooper-meets-Iggy Pop-in a lunatic asylum transposed to Broadway sort of show!! Sadly, Mainman soon got cold feet and Wayne alleges he was unceremoniously dumped whilst Bowie pinched all his ideas!!!

Anyway, the record! I've docked one star because of the live sound; it's superior bootleg quality for the most part but Wayne's in-between speeches (or rants!) are a little distorted. At first you think you've got the wrong pressing when a group of men start chanting in the style of a voodoo initiation ceremony, but it's just Wayne's backing singers introducing him. He arrives, gives a lurid speech, then off we go into the storming 'Wonder Woman'.

If you don't like profanity then now's the time to switch the record off because 'Stick It In Me' leaves very little to the imagination! Actually, it's so bonkers that you just have to laugh. Wayne was a huge Dave Clark Five fan(!) and 'Stuck On You' is his excellent tribute to them - an all out rock attack.

The studio version of 'Man Enough To Be A Woman' was basically Wayne's calling card and it rocks like hell here. There's also an excellent long version of 'Max's Kansas City' which namechecks all his then contemporaries - who all went on to the success that eluded him!

Overall then this is a very good raw, primitive rock and roll record. If Wayne had 'played the game' and toned down his act somewhat he'd probably have had major success - since he always was an excellent vocalist with a vivid lyrical style and hired first class musicians - but he wouldn't and that's history folks.

One Man Band (Bonus Tracks)
One Man Band (Bonus Tracks)
Price: 12.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Right Down To It, 17 Aug 2013
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This is Ronnie Dyson's second album, from 1973, with SIX bonus non-album tracks. It's Motown-meets-Philly with a bit of Northern Soul, funk and disco chucked in for good measure! Supper club soul? Not a bit of it - the tunes are mostly superb, Ronnie's voice is both powerful and aching plus the arrangements, production and remastering are first class.

Things kick off with the title track, a US hit, written and produced by Philly stalwarts Thom Bell/Linda Creed. It's fantastically poignant - the tale of someone determined to always be on the outside looking in - and reminds you of a VERY superior Stylistics single. Then there's a wonderful cover of the Delfonics hit "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely", which has diametrically opposed lyrical sentiments to the title track!!

"Give Into Love" has an intriguing arrangement - at one point it sounds like an electronic harpsichord in the mix! Then there's his UK hit, "When You Get Right Down To It", an aching masterpiece. One of the best tracks is the enigmatically titled "A Wednesday In Your Garden", written by - of all people - The Guess Who's Randy Bachman! It's a tale of someone desperately trying to leave a failed relationship and Ronnie gives his all here, his tenor soaring to the heavens one minute and down in the depths of despair the next; there's some very dramatic orchestrations here!!

A cover of The Beatles' "Something" isn't that strange since The Fab Four always held a fascination for black American musicians. Sandie Shaw's "Girl Don't Come" though seems, at first, bizarre beyond belief! However, Ronnie acquits himself well on both tracks, with some particularly dramatic orchestral and piano flourishes on "Something".

Of the bonus tracks, the first two - "We Can Make It Last Forever" and "Just A Little Love From Me" - have Northern Soul written all over them; Jimmy Ruffin meets Harold Melvin and should have been big hits. There's a very nice, soaring ballad - "Life And Breath" - written by George Clinton, whilst "The Captain Of Your Soul" comes on all late-Temptations mixed with Diana Ross's "Surrender".

There are a couple of lesser tracks (for which I've docked one star) - "Lady In Red" is just disco by numbers, whilst Neil Sedaka's "The Love Of A Woman" has some great bossa nova(!) rhythms but not much of a tune.
Overall though this is a very worthwhile purchase.

The Definitive Alice Cooper
The Definitive Alice Cooper
Price: 8.80

5.0 out of 5 stars C(r)op A Load Of This!, 15 Aug 2013
Alice Cooper has just recently stunned/wowed/amazed etc. 20,000 people at The Cropredy FOLK Festival!! He's picked up a whole load of new fans who're now interested in buying from the back catalogue. HERE is where to start.

There are several Alice compilations but only this one is remastered. It contains all the original group's big hits - "School's Out", "Elected", "No More Mr. Nice Guy" etc. - plus some album tracks, including the epic "Halo Of Flies". Try playing the latter in the dark and it'll scare the pants off you!

Solo Alice is represented by his big ballad hits of the late 70s - "Only Women Bleed", "I Never Cry", "You And Me" etc. - as well as the rocking "Department Of Youth" and the sinister, jazz(!) overtones of "Welcome To My Nightmare". His two biggest non-Warner Brothers label hits - "Poison" and "Hey Stoopid" - are also included.

Although this IS the best greatest hits set currently available it isn't totally comprehensive. As it's just a single CD there's no room for several lesser hits that he had on Warner Brothers (such as the wonderfully quirky "Clones") and later non-Warners big European hits like "He's Back" and "Lost In America" are also omitted. Nevertheless it's an essential purchase for beginners.

For new fans who want to dive straight into individual albums then I'd recommend:-

1. "Billion Dollar Babies" - the newly remastered deluxe double CD version has a live concert added from 1973.
2. "Welcome To My Nightmare" - Vincent Price has a cameo here!
3. "Brutal Planet" - get the DVD as well; it's brilliantly shot and Alice gives an awesome performance.
4. "Welcome 2 My Nightmare" - his most current release. Get the FANPACK collector's edition as it contains a huge magazine covering all of Alice's career.


From Ward to Whitehall: the Disaster at Mid Staffs Hospital
From Ward to Whitehall: the Disaster at Mid Staffs Hospital
by Julie Bailey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.10

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh What A Tangled Web They Weaved ......, 11 July 2013
....when they practised to deceive. According to the author, lying was the least of it - how about wilful neglect, calculated cruelty, physical assault etc.

Whether this book is well written or not - it actually is - is beside the point. Julie Bailey had the guts, tenacity and a burning desire for justice when she, and a few others, decided to 'blow the whistle' on what was happening at Mid-Staffs hospital. Here she sets out what happens after her mother is admitted and it's not for the faint-hearted. She uncovers an institution that seems to be rotten to the core - from a thuggish porter, to some couldn't-care-less nurses, arrogant doctors and self-serving management; not to mention a further network of nasties in the guise of local MPs, GPs, board members etc. etc. Of course there ARE many good people connected with the hospital BUT they daren't speak out and a culture of 'me first' prevails.

It's all literally terrifying stuff, but can it really be the gospel truth or the exaggerations of an embittered individual? The Francis Inquiry report points to the former not the latter.

It may be a book about one hospital but it also serves as commentary on humanity in general. People tend to go with the flow and only a few brave souls dare to differ - after all 'whistleblowers' are never popular, especially if they expose part of the community they live in.

Julie Bailey deserves a medal for bravery whilst some others in the book deserve a prison sentence. Naturally the 'establishment' will see that never happens.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2013 1:19 AM BST

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