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Reviews Written by
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland)

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Park Tool CM5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber - Blue
Park Tool CM5.2 Cyclone Chain Scrubber - Blue
Price: £14.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INDISPENSABLE, 1 Jun. 2014
Never having used a tool such as this before, I am now wondering why it has taken me so long to do so. The chains on both my touring and road bikes were pretty grubby and beginning to get a little clogged up. I needed a quick simple and relatively clean means of tackling the task of degreasing both chains. This tool is quite simply a time saver. The chains came up almost like new with little effort. Simply follow the instruction on the attached card within the packaging and you really cannot go wrong. To do with a stiff brush, cleaning fluid and cloth would have taken an easy hour per bike, where as this brought the time down to around 5 mins per bike. What cleaning solution you use is probably down to personal choice. The Park brand is very very expensive and I opted for a Brand called Juice Lubes (Super Gnarl Concentrated De-greaser). I simply do not know if it is better than any other brand of cleaner, but it did my job very well. In short if you want to keep the job of cleaning your chain as mess free as possible and as fast as possible this tool is the answer. It appears to be well put together and sturdy, plus replacement brushes are available.

Live At Blue Rock
Live At Blue Rock
Price: £13.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FINE PRODUCTION, 1 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Live At Blue Rock (Audio CD)
Since discovering Mary's superb Drag Queens album many years ago I have been a firm fan, obtaining all of her studio recordings. I have seen her live on four occasions both with a backing band and solo and she has always been outstanding. I had avoided buying this live album for the simple reason that apart from two new songs (Both covers), I had what was on offer and as her material is generally acoustic based I did not expect to hear anything different from the studio versions. Wrong! Her treatment of her back catalogue here is similar to Dylan's live renditions of his songs. Different, sometimes inspired and sometimes not, but certainly interesting. The sound quality throughout is superb and even though it is a live recording the audience is muted, only being heard at the end of a song or in appreciation of a performed solo (How it should be). Do I like her treatment of some of these songs? The jury is out at present. As I am so used to the studio versions some may take a little getting used to. She plays around with the phrasing in most songs and I do not feel it always works but I must admit after repeated listening this is beginning to grow on me. The absolute highlight of the album is the closing song Wheel Inside The Wheel plus the bonus hidden song Mercy Now. However the entire play list is excellent in its choice but then so is most of her back catalogue. Of the two covers I love 'The Rocket' particularly as I enjoyed her introduction to it when I last saw her live at The Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart mid 2013, and it tells a very poignant tale. It was only after obtaining this album that I realized that this was a cover as is 'Cigarette Machine'. Her treatment and approach to both would have you believe both were her own compositions. If you have been holding off purchasing this excellent album, get out there and buy it. It is a worthy addition to your collection. Mary is always thought provoking, sometimes uplifting but never ever miserable. One of the best singer songwriters on the circuit today.

It's A Man's World
It's A Man's World
Price: £7.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars COVERS TREATED WITH RESPECT, 5 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: It's A Man's World (Audio CD)
I have never been a fan of the wave of what was termed R&B artists that emerged in the late 90s through to the present, but Anastacia has for me been the stand out performer from this herd. With strong distinctive vocals and decent songs she has always grabbed my attention so much so that I have purchased all her releases since discovering her. Dare I say it she up there with Tina Turner and the late Janice Joplin for the power and delivery of her vocals. When I spotted this recent album made up of covers I was intrigued as to how she would deliver them, particularly in the case of the out and out classics (Which most of these songs are). It is a brave person who takes on U2's One after Johnny Cash re-defined the song on his American series, but it is carried of pretty well here and remains closer to the original U2 version. She really nails Led Zeppelin's Ramble On and The Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want, probably the two outstanding tracks here and certainly my favorites with respect to her treatment. Her enjoyment and enthusiasm really stand out on the latter of these two songs. Her version of the Guns N' Roses track, Sweet Child O Mine also merits mention as being an excellent cover as does the Aerosmith cover Dream On. Possibly the one cover that just doesn't quite work (But it is almost there) is her version of the AC/DC classic Back In Black.
I would not be so bold to say that she improves on the originals of any of the covers here. That just is not the case, but she treats all with reverence, helped in no mean part by an excellent backing band who keep close to the feel and essence of the originals musically.
If you are open to the treatment of what are by and large classic rock songs by an artist not normally associated with this style of music, then you could do very much worse than this covers album by Anastacia. A little left field, a little unexpected, but very much worth while.

SealSkinz Men's Thick Mid Length Socks - Black, Large
SealSkinz Men's Thick Mid Length Socks - Black, Large
Offered by Dennis Winter leven ltd
Price: £39.96

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT FOR CYCLING, 17 Nov. 2013
I know I may be against the general opinions being expressed on these socks, but I must say they are a great disappointment overall especially given their high purchase price. I purchased these on the strength of their impressive claims (Thermal / wind-proof & waterproof). I wanted something to provide heat to my feet whilst cycling and these seemed to fit the bill. They were even being sold by a cycling outlet. However even when using with a second pair of socks underneath my toes are still numb with cold (Temp is around 5 deg C so what would it be like when it is properly cold?). These really are not suited for cycling but are probably best used as I suspect they were intended, for walking / hiking activities where you generate body heat at your feet.

ADDITION: (11/1/14) If you require protection from the cold for you feet whilst cycling I would highly recommend a good quality pair of thermal overshoes with shower protection. I recently purchased a pair on advice and must say that they do exactly what they are supposed to do. A good pair of thermal socks plus the overshoes will be suffice. Cycling in 2 deg C temperatures today and toes were kept warm. Expect to pay £30 to £40 for a decent pair but it will be worth every penny. Try however before purchasing to get the correct fit for over your shoes.

Israel Nash's Rain Plans
Israel Nash's Rain Plans
Price: £9.54

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL DEAL, 5 Oct. 2013
A mix of West Coast harmonies & country rock with very much an early 70s hippy flavor would I suppose be an apt description of the content of this the third studio release by Israel Nash and his band. In many ways this is a natural progression from his last album (Barn Doors) although this new release is a little more laid back in its feel. If you are a fan of Neil Young you cannot miss the influence throughout and this is no bad thing. This is probably most noticeable on the second track 'Through The Door'. Each and every track on this release is excellent with no fillers resulting in an album which is consistent in its quality from start to finish.(No mean feat for any album). If I was forced to choose a favorite I would have to at this point in time pick the title track (Rain Plans). I have just returned from seeing Israel Nash and his band performing live at the Real Music Club in Belfast and have been blown away by an excellent performance. As would be expected this album was heavily featured in his set list. Should you get the opportunity to see him live I would urge you to do so.

If you are a fan of Neil Young, The Rolling Stones during their late 60s early 70s heyday, or Crosby Stills & Nash, then Israel Nash should tick all your boxes so to speak. A good song writer with a tight backing band producing first rate classic country rock. What more does anyone need?

Crank Brothers Multi-10 Tool  Bike tools & maintainance - Gold, Each
Crank Brothers Multi-10 Tool Bike tools & maintainance - Gold, Each
Price: £16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD QUALITY, 19 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not wishing to be caught short whilst out cycling, I wanted to have a useful multi tool to address most tasks as carrying an assortment of screw drivers and keys was not a practical option. This compact tool not only has the most common tools included, but they are of a sufficiently good quality to sustain use for many years to come. This tool is not especially cheap but quality is always vital in this market and I would highly recommend this as a sensible purchase. Where tools are of concern the old saying " You pays your money and you take what you get" is of paramount importance. A good purchase well worth the money

Minoura Bicycle Stand  DS-30BLT, Black
Minoura Bicycle Stand DS-30BLT, Black
Price: £18.60

4.0 out of 5 stars ADEQUATE, 19 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was looking for a small portable and convenient service stand for my bicycles and having read reviews on this item, it appeared to be just the ticket. For what it is it is adequate given the price (Expensive given the construction and materials used). I have used it just the once and fitting it to the rear wheel of my Dawes Galaxy is tight to say the least as there are the quick release fittings on the bike to accommodate. However once in position,and once the locking nut has been tightened it does the job well allowing the rear wheel to be lifted of the ground to facilitate gear adjustments etc. Recommended if all you require is a simple service stand. It is highly compact and easily portable in your vehicle.

Surepromise AA282 Key Fob Remote Shell
Surepromise AA282 Key Fob Remote Shell
Price: £3.25

5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT FOR OUR C3, 12 Aug. 2013
From the outset this is not a genuine Citroen or Peugeot key casing with the appropriate logo. The lack of which some have lamented in their reviews.(Does this really matter in the greater scheme of things?) This is an after market replacement but non genuine part at a mere fraction of the cost of the dealer part which to be quite frank is scandalous at £100 or more. You can as is suggested relocate the internal electrics from the old key fob to this new one, but this really is not necessary. The upper external casing where the two flexible pads has disintegrated on my key was easily replaced with the compatible section of the new casing. The electronics remained in the main body of the original key as did the actual key section. Consequently the entire repair took around two minuets or less and all that was required was a small star head screwdriver to free the original top casing section and to re secure the new casing section to the old lower body of the key. Could not have been simpler. In essence the only part of the new key shell that you really need is the top half of the casing with the two flexible points for opening and locking. The remainder is surplus to requirements unless you really need to use it. Result is a key renovated for less than £5 as against the extortionate dealer price of a replacement.

The Very Best Of Dr. Hook
The Very Best Of Dr. Hook
Price: £3.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before They Became Simply Dr Hook, 13 April 2013
Dr Hook were initially known as Dr Hook & The Medicine Show up until 1975, but for the purpose of this review I shall simply refer to them as Dr Hook.

There are two distinct eras of the music of Dr Hook and this compilation released in 2000 covers a large part of what is to my mind their best period. (The early 1970s) Classics such as Life Ain't Easy, Roland The Roadie, Cover of The Rolling Stone, Queen of The Silver Dollar, Sylvia's Mother and my all time favorite Dr Hook song Carry Me Carrie are all here. Virtually all the songs on this release were written by the late Shel Silverstein (He of 'A Boy Named Sue' fame). As someone has already pointed out, this covers only their first three albums under CBS / Sony, so a few tracks such as I Got Stoned & I Missed It / A Couple More Years & Everybody's Makin' It Big But Me are missing. However this does not take away from the overall package. The general feel of this compilation is of country rock with more than a little bit of humor thrown in. The vocals of Denis Lacorriere (main vocalist) are superb showing emotion especially on Carry Me Carrie , Sylvia's Mother and Ballad of Lucy Jordan to name three. Of the 24 songs on offer here at least two that I am aware of have been covered by other artists. The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan famously by Marianne Faithful, and here in Ireland The Queen Of The Silver Dollar was given the Irish Country treatment (Never a great move but at least it was a nod in the right direction).

Very much an essential cog within country rock history and a band that deserves much more recognition than they get for their contribution to early 70s music. If you have always found their output of the 1980s to be lightweight pop, then I urge you to have a listen to this collection. It might even change your mind about the relevance of Dr Hook within the development of country rock, but it will surprise you.

Price: £5.42

4.0 out of 5 stars A WELCOME RETURN TO FORM, 22 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
It is amazing the number of reviews for this new Bob Dylan album on Amazon in comparison to what is possibly his most revered release Blood On The Tracks. Most reviewers do appear to award this a 5 star rating and whilst I feel that this is a very welcome return to form, this reviewer feels that a 4 star rating provides a truer reflection of the quality and content (In reality I feel that somewhere between a 4 and 5 star rating would be right). Every album release by his Bobness certainly since Bringing It All Back Home in the mid 1960s through to and including Slow Train Coming in 1978 were by and large superb with only a few momentary lapses in reason (Dylan / Self portrait / The Basement Tapes). Since 1978 I for one have found most Dylan album releases wanting with a few exceptions (Time out Of Mind & Modern Times & Together Through Life were good but not outstanding). This new release (Tempest) would appear to be a very welcome return to the form of old. We see a return to the long 'story book' songs typical of Dylan, and what is more important the melodies resemble those typical of his earlier work with the single exception of the opening song (Duquesne Whistle). It was this opening track which I first heard played on radio several weeks ago and based on this one song I had initially written this album off as another version of Love & Theft / Modern Times & Together Through Life and was prepared to ignore it. A few weeks after this Ralph McClean reviewed the album in depth on his Friday night show on BBC Radio Ulster and what I then heard changed my opinion.

The opening song I can take or leave and I feel that it sits uneasily with the rest of the album's content. In reality it sounds like an out-take for Love & Theft / Modern Times or Together Through Life. Track 2 'Soon After Midnight' makes a subtle change and the album settles into an altogether different mood. From this point on I feel that Bob seldom puts a foot wrong. His vocals which on recent releases have sounded very rough and gravelly, appear to improve in quality as the album progresses. There are times you can hear traces of his late 1980s voice from his Traveling Wilburys era. For me the pick of the tracks presented here are Tin Angel / Scarlet Town / Early Roman Kings. No doubt others will come onto my radar as time passes. Whilst I am slow to proclaim this to be a Dylan classic, I will admit that it has that potential. Only time will tell. If This is a CD I place in my player in years to come then it shall have made classic status at least in my books.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2012 11:10 AM BST

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