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Reviews Written by
Michael Nicholl (Derry. Ireland)
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Night After Night
Night After Night

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT FIND, 9 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Night After Night (Audio CD)
To me this album was literary a great find. Back in the summer of 1978 a cousin had found a tape cassette recording (Genuine and not a copy) partly un-spooled and lying on a grass verge (with the box and inlay card) close to his home. Having re wound the tape back in he had a listen but decided it was not to his taste (Oh the in-experience of youth!) so he passed it over to me. On initial listening I must say that I was far from bowled over, but as time passed this album got under my skin. Nils has a particularly distinctive guitar sound throughout and the energy of the live performance comes across. My stand out track has always been 'Keith Don't Go', dedicated to the great Keith Richards around the time of his famous drugs bust in Canada which resulted in him performing charity concerts to avoid prison. I must admit it has been quite some time since I last listened to this recording (That original tape cassette still plays perfectly after 34yrs), and I did want to replace it with a CD copy. However it would appear that CD copies of this recording are as 'rare as hens teeth' resulting in stupid prices being quoted for a copy (Well in excess of £100), I don't think so!! No recording is worth that sort of money even to the most ardent fan. I consequently settled for a copy on vinyl at a more realistic £14 (Still a little steep for what is an old recording, but I suppose its rarity would push prices up) I was able to convert the vinyl copy via my ION usb turntable to MP3 format and hence enable it to be loaded to my i-pod. Looking through the track listings there are no poor offerings contained within this recording and the highlights are Keith Don't Go / Code Of The Road / Goin' Back / Back It Up. A good live recording which should qualify for inclusion within my all time top 10 live records


Beatlegras
Beatlegras

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth A Listen, 2 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Beatlegras (Audio CD)
Although I am not a fan of The Beatles, I am like most of the world, pretty familiar with their output. This recording was presented to me by a friend and when I saw the name of the band (Beatlegras) I was not expecting very much as Bluegrass would not be my type of music. This however turned out to be simply a stunning record. The Beatles songs I know from my childhood are treated with the utmost respect whilst given a flavour of bluegrass. The recording quality is superb and there is a reliance on acoustic insturmentation. This is further helped by a vocalist who sounds a little like Paul McCartney and most of the numbers recorded here would have been associated with McCartney. The song selection is good with tracks spanning the career of The Beatles, but especially some of their later output including material from what for me is the greatest Beatles release Abbey Road. A lot of artists (from all walks of music) have recorded songs of The Beatles including most of those on offer here, and there is a world of tribute albums out there, but this one does merit attention. Have a listen and I don't think you will be disappointed. It is one of the better ones.


Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My No1 Album of 1987, 29 July 2012
This review is from: Robbie Robertson (Audio CD)
I purchased this album on its release back in 1987, for no other reason than Robbie Robertson being a former member of The Band, whom I respected due to their association with Bob Dylan during the 60s to mid 70s. From the opening track 'Fallen Angel through to the final and ninth track 'Testimony' this album was simply stunning. At that time U2 were riding high at the peak of their achievement after the success of The Joshua Tree and being 'flavour of the month' so to speak, they guested on the closing tracks for both sides A & B (Sweet Fire Of Love & Testimony)placing their distinctive stamp on proceedings. The big hit from this release as far as radio was concerned was `Somewhere Down The Crazy River', a great song full of imagery and on any other album it would have been the stand out track, but not here as there are so many better songs within the package. I have always loved the two U2 collaborations which I have already mentioned plus Sundown At Big Sky and Hells Half Acre. All the songs throughout are very strong, full of stories and imagery (You would expect nothing less from a former member of The Band) with not a duff offering to be found. During a decade full of dreary synthesiser based rubbish this was a pleasant and very welcome relief and a masterpiece from one of the key players present at the foundation of intelligent rock music. This is possibly one of those all time great masterpieces which has been forgotten because it didn't fit the required profile of the times, but rest assured it is one recording which should grace everyone's collection. Like all great master pieces it is an album that will be fresh long after the world has forgotten the popular rubbish of a decade from which it came and a decade generally best forgotten musically.


The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle
The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle
Offered by trec002
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE GENIUS, 15 July 2012
It must be at least 30 years since I first listened to this superb Springsteen release, back to back with his first album Greetings From Asbury Park NJ, both released in 1973. At that time neither of these two albums struck me as being special and for years I simply and stupidly ignored both. However thank God for the i-pod and suffle play, because Wild Billy's Circus Story came up and simply blew my socks off. I just kept hitting repeat for at least an hour. As a result I revisited The Wild The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle and was astounded just how good the very early Springsteen was. Each and every song here, whilst not commercial (Thankfully), is a stunner. Lyrically the songs are superb and I can see where in the early days there were comparisons to Dylan. Of the set of seven tracks on offer here, my two all time favourites have to be the afore mentioned Wild Billy plus 4th Of July Asbury Park (Sandy). That is not to ignore the superb rocker 'Rosalita' but as I have already stated, all tracks in this package are great. The imagary he paints has a movie unfolding in your mind as you listen to each song. I have always regarded the starkness and simplicity of Nebraska to have been Springsteen's finest hour, but this album alone, within the ever expanding Springsteen back catalogue, is at least its equal but not for its starkness, but rather its raw energy and innocence. Like Nebraska each and every song is strong in its own right and their presence on any other album alone would warrent the purchase of that recording. As a single package they are essential listening. This is one album for your desert island. Easily in my top ten all time greatest albums and my joint No1 Springsteen recording.


Good Suits And Fightin' Boots
Good Suits And Fightin' Boots

4.0 out of 5 stars LURGAN BLUES, 13 May 2012
I saw The Bonnevilles live around a year ago in The Cellar Bar Draperstown when they played support to Swanee River (A superb Derry based Band playing Deep Purple stlyed rock). The Bonnevilles are a two piece act from Lurgan Co. Armagh, comprising of drums and guitar (Similar to The White Stripes but that is where any similarity ends) On seeing them live I initially was not expecting much until the guitarist and vocalist Andrew McGibbon plugged in and hit those first few notes. Live they are simply 'explosive'. They describe their style of blues rock as 'punk blues' and I suppose that is an apt description. The album rocks from start to finish with raw energy and is pretty faithful to their live sound and all songs are originals. For me the three outstanding tracks on a good album are the title song 'Good Suits And Fightin Boots'; 'Hardtale Lurgan Blues'plus 'God Might Love Me (But he doesn't know me like the devil does)'The Bonneviles serve up a unique style of rock that appears not to betray many obvious influences. Watch out for them live and get your hands on this recording


Boys & Girls
Boys & Girls
Price: £5.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A TRULY EXCELLENT DEBUT, 13 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Boys & Girls (Audio CD)
I spotted this band on Jools Holland's 'Later' a few weeks ago when they aired three tracks from this their debut album 'Boys & Girls' By the third song I was doing a search for any of their material on Amazon and found this. Musically there are a number of influences that become apparant, not least The Rolling Stones, Otis Reading style soul and The White Stripes. There are traces of Jazz, blues, country, rock and soul to be found throughout, and the overall feel musically is of the 1960s. Matters are kept simple with no flash lead but simple hooks with a 'clean' guitar sound and there is a strong core rhythm provided by Zac Cockrell on Bass and Steve Johnson on drums. Vocals are provided by Brittany Howard whose voice comes across as mature and lived in belying her age. At times she would remind me of Amy Winehouse mixed with Joan Aramatrading and Etta James. A strong soulfull blusey bar-room type voice. For me the outstanding tracks are 'Hold On'; 'Hang Loose'; You Ain't Alone'; 'Be Mine'; I Ain't The Same'. The last three listed here are those within which a distinct Rolling Stones style can be heard. The first of these three, 'You Ain't Alone' begins very much in an Otis Reading style climaxing to classic early 70s Stones.

A superb debut album from a new young band for whom I shall be looking out for in the future. If you enjoy sixties soul with a touch of jazz and a heavy mix of sixties rock this might be the ticket for you.


Test of Time
Test of Time
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REAL MUSIC, 29 April 2012
This review is from: Test of Time (MP3 Download)
I have just returned from seeing Grainne and her band perform at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh this evening, and I was simply blown away by the quality of her performance. This album ' Test Of Time' released in 2011 is her second and follow up to her 2007 release 'Out Of The Dark' which I immediately purchased after the concert and I have been listening to and enjoying it on my 2 hour journey back home. Both her releases are superb albums, but 'Test Of Time' sees Grainne getting into her stride as an accomplished blues artist. During her performance she made reference to The Rolling Stones and their influence can be heard on the title track, which for me is quite simply the outstanding song of the album. She performed two Stones covers during her concert, both of which were quite simply superb in their delivery and execution. A soulful version of Wild Horses (Susan Boyle eat your heart out) and a great version of Happy. The third track on the album, 'Rockin' Rollin Stone' pays homage to The Stones. There is even a nod to Bob Marley in track 4 (Sweet Sweet Baby). All tracks with the exception of the final are self penned. I can only urge you to get your hands on this album and should you enjoy it seek out 'Out Of The Dark' which contains a superb rendition of the classic 'Rather Go Blind' made famous by Etta James. If you like a modern take on blues and artists such as Joanne Shaw Taylor, you will love Gainne Duffy. An accomplished artist who deserves to make it, but because her style is not mainstream pap may always be on the margins.


Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £5.94

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LAST OF THE BLUE BLOOD GREASER BOYS, 22 April 2012
For me this has always been the ultimate Jethro Tull album, maybe because it was also my introduction to the band back in 1976. Usually the first album you discover by an artist whom you decide has something worthwhile to offer will always hold a special place.

This is an album which tells a story of the die hard old rocker who is out of sync with the world around him. Each song is a part of his story. The main character Ray cannot adjust to the changing fashions around him. He still wears his hair too long, his jeans too tight, a death head belt buckle and liked his ale too light. He lives yesterday's dreams. Reminisces about fairground battles where the local lads were given a hiding, about coffee bars and The Shadows playing FBI, about Charlie Parker and Jack Kerouac and his other heroes.

The album opens with Ray entering a TV quiz and winning the star prize. As a result he is recognized from his 15 minuets of fame by a girl who takes a shine to him but regards him as outdated and crude and a bit of rough. She finally stands him up. He realises that he has gone from a dead beat to an old greaser. Ray thinks about his life and how he was once someone. To cheer himself up he decides to go for one final run on his bike. Transport was once a Harley then a Bonneville and he still likes his bikes. Just one more burn up the A1 by Scotch Corner at over the ton, but Ray looses it. However Ray survives his crash and after recovering in hospital discovers that his style has come back into fashion and he is a fashion icon.

If you have the original vinyl pressing of the album you will find that the story relating to the tracks on the album are presented in comic book form within the album 'gate fold'. A superb concept album celebrating a past age and for my money the best Jethro Tull album ever.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2015 3:59 AM BST


Hello Cruel World
Hello Cruel World
Price: £6.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SONGWRITING FROM THE HEART, 11 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hello Cruel World (Audio CD)
Just prior to Christmas 2011, Bob Harris played a track from this new album by Gretchen Peters. I was struck by that track enough to look for the album, but had to wait until the end of Jan for it to be released. However that wait was well worthwhile. On the first few listens, I was a little unsure about the last four tracks, which are very much downbeat, but repeated listening to the lyrics has lifted them in my estimations. The overall package is simply superb. Gretchen Peters as it turns out is an accomplished songwriter. Her lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking and on a par with any of today's great songwriters such as Tom Russell or Mary Gauthier. The first seven tracks are just simply stunning, and as I have already indicated the last four are good but take a few listens to get under your skin. For me however the second song, Saint Francis (Co-written with Tom Russell) is the albums centre piece both lyrically and musically. Two of the songs had me thinking about where I had heard a similar melody and after a few listens they came to me. Song No5 puts me in mind of Ode To Billy-Jo and song No 6 is similar to one written by a local N Ireland singer songwriter by the name of Junior Johnston (The title escapes me at the moment).

I can only urge you to get your hands on this superb album. One reviewer has stated that this album is essential and I do have to agree with them. If your tastes are along the line of Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter or even Rosanne Cash I suspect you will like Gretchen Peters. Musically this is a folk / rock mix with a slight touch of country thrown in. She is touring Ireland in March of this year and I would suspect GB would be included. I have already got a ticket to go see her in Belfast. Another reviewer has indicated that she is great live, so I am looking forward to that.


Folk Tale
Folk Tale
Price: £6.65

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STILL ON TOP, 1 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Folk Tale (Audio CD)
You can always rest assured that Christy Moore will not fail to deliver on his usual high standards both in his song choice and delivery and Folk Tale is no exception. The opening song, Tyrone Boys, whilst I did not recognise it by its title, turns out to be a great reworking both in lyrics and tempo of the song entitled The Other Side which initially was released on the Unfinished Revolution album of 1987. (The political references have been altered slightly). The only verse which remains virtually untouched is the final one which deals with emigration from Ireland, a topic as relevant in today's economic climate as it was in the mid 1980s. Other songs that I would be familiar with are the closing numbers God Woman, Tiles and Slabs and the title track Folk Tale which were initially released on his 1996 album Grafitti Tongue. Farmer Michael Hayes is from the Planxty back catalogue although it is new to me. Easter Snow has previously appeared on his 1991 Collection 81 to 91. The remaining 5 tracks appear to be new. Of these the one which affects the most is On Morecambe Bay, the story of the awful fate of the Chinese cockle pickers who perished in the advancing tides at Morecambe Bay a few years ago. There are two 'novelty songs' included which are My Little Honda 50 & Weekend In Amsterdam. Whilst these grab the attention much more immediately, they are also the two that will wane quicker. This is not to diminish their worth or appeal, it is simply that after the first few listening, the jokes become a little tired. In true folk tradition, the latter (Weekend in Amsterdam) is to the tune of another folk standard. (The Craic Was 90 in The Isle of Man), but what does it matter. (Bob Dylan, whom I would regard as possibly the finest song writer of our times, had in the early 1960s particularly, used traditional and Irish folk airs for many of his songs, for example With God On Our Side which was a reworking of The Patriot Game / Ramblin Gamblin Willie to the tune of Brennan on The Moor etc etc).
If you enjoy good music, superbly delivered and with something relevant to say both socially and politically, you can always rely on Christy Moore to deliver the goods. This new release is no let down and can mix it with the best of his past releases. Yes there are a few reworked songs from past albums, (Tyrone Boys is such an extensive re-working and re writing that it could almost be regarded as a new song) but as with his last recording 'Listen' these are very much worthwhile.


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