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OMG! It's got a plug! "OMG! It's got a plug!" (Winchester)
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Line Of Duty: Series 1-3 [DVD]
Line Of Duty: Series 1-3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Adrian Dunbar
Price: £24.99

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best TV drama I've seen in years, 28 April 2016
Three skillfully interwoven series about three different anti-corruption investigations by a police internal affairs division, this is quite simply the best television drama I've seen in years. Complex with plenty of twists and turns, the storylines and dialogue are first class and when coupled with the outstanding ensemble cast, the result is thrilling edge of your seat drama that keeps you guessing throughout. Scandinavian television dramas may have attracted most of the headlines in recent years but this beats the lot of them hands down. Unmissable television that will be returning for a fourth series.


You and Me
You and Me
Price: £0.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and raw emotion straight from the heart, 28 April 2016
This review is from: You and Me (MP3 Download)
Currently featured in an Ikea advert, this song made the news in 2011 after it featured in the film Blue Valentine. A demo recording credited to Penny & The Quarters, it was unearthed after the sale of acetates belonging to a deceased recording studio owner in Columbus. Subsequently released on a various artists compilation by archival record label Numero Group, it was later picked up for the Blue Valentine soundtrack.

Recorded some time between 1970 and 1975, it's such a simple but beautiful slice of soul. The high-pitched vocals of the lead singer are straight from her heart; no histrionics, just pure and raw emotion. Backed by just a guitar and superb doo-wop male vocals, it sounds all the sweeter because it's so unpolished. At times it shares a near identical melody with The Isley Brothers 'This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)'. Looking at news stories online, it appears that the true identity of Penny and The Quarters has never been fully established.


Philip's Navigator Camping and Caravanning Atlas of Britain: Spiral
Philip's Navigator Camping and Caravanning Atlas of Britain: Spiral
Price: £18.74

4.0 out of 5 stars A quality atlas with (limited) camping & caravan info, 25 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Big with a spiral bound cover and with over 400 pages, this road atlas is equally at home on a bookcase or in the car. Using OS maps with a scale of 1Ĺ miles to 1 inch the layout is clear and the attention to detail is extraordinary and it is, given the spiral bound cover, easy to use for the person following the route and giving directions to the driver. I've been using HERE maps on my Android phone for the past 18 months but sometimes a physical map is what you need when you want on overview of where you’re going and it cuts out the hassle of zooming in and out on a device. There are urban approach maps for all the major cities, town plans and indexes for major cities and towns and an A-Z index of just about every location mapped in the book. Its use as a caravan and camping guide is somewhat limited as it only lists Camping And Caravan Club sites and Camping in the Forest sites. Personally, when I go camping I prefer to use small independent sites. Nonetheless, this is a decent atlas even if you don’t need the caravan and camping info.

It’s probably an alien experience for most Millennials but there is just something about looking at a physical map that cannot be replicated on a device and this is the sort of thing I can spend ages poring over whether I'm planning a journey or not.


Film Music
Film Music
Price: £16.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing and evocative film music, 14 April 2016
This review is from: Film Music (Audio CD)
I took a punt on this a few months ago and I've played it endlessly since. Born in Tiblisi in 1931, Mikael Tariverdiev scored dozens of Russian films, television programmes, operas and ballets between the mid-fifties and early nineties and was the recipient of many Russian and international music awards.

Spread across three discs, this collection gathers together 51 tracks taken from film soundtracks between the years 1956 and 1989, with most coming from the sixties and seventies. Despite being separated from the images that it was created for, the music is remarkably evocative and much of it is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Jazz, classical, chanson, Schlager, chamber and folk, Tariverdieav comfortably covers and skillfully blends a range of styles. Always compelling, his music is often reflective in tone, occasionally whimsical and grandiose and upbeat at other times. The piano is prominent, with sweeping stringed instruments and there's plenty of accordion, percussion that shuffles along beautifully and occasional spectacular pipe organ. Most of the music is instrumental but Tariverdieav does sing occasionally (he sounds very similar to Serge Gainsbourg) and a few utterly gorgeous songs are voiced by female singers.

Produced in association with Tariverdieav's wife, all recordings have been sourced from the master tapes and the sound quality is very good. It has a playing time of 2 hours and 16 minutes (It could have fitted onto two CDs) and it’s presented in a stylish twin-gatefold cardboard case with the discs housed in individual cardboard sleeves. The accompanying booklet features a few archive photos and comprehensive notes including essays by Tariverdieav's wife and film director Mikhail Kalik (who regularly collaborated with Tariverdieav) and the interesting tale of how this release came about.

Had his music been more widely available outside of the Soviet Union, I have no doubt that Tariverdieav would be as popular as the likes of Morricone, Gainsbourg and all those other great European soundtrack composers from the same period. If you're an aficionado of sixties and seventies film music, don't let this pass you by.
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Parker Duofold Classic Big Red Vintage Palladium Finish Trim Roller Ball Fine Nib - Gift Boxed
Parker Duofold Classic Big Red Vintage Palladium Finish Trim Roller Ball Fine Nib - Gift Boxed
Price: £325.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't really justify the hefty price tag, 14 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To look at this is, as far as pens go, a distinctive and attractive rollerball pen and it's presented in high quality box. It's heavy and the balance is just right when you sit the (screw) cap on top of it. Beyond that I really can't see the justification for the hefty price tag. Why? The most important part of this pen – the rollerball cartridge - is a basic £5.99 refill. Scratchy at first, it writes just fine after it's been broken in.

Ultimately you're paying for the shell that holds the cartridge. I suppose it could be classed as an aspirational lifestyle accessory but whether you're buying it for yourself or as a gift I'd seriously consider how often it will be used in the digital 21st century. A £15 Parker pen might not feel or look as good but the writing experience will be more or less exactly the same (and you won't be nearly as stressed if you ever lose it).


Classic Stax
Classic Stax
Price: £5.00

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stax of Classics, 10 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Classic Stax (Audio CD)
This budget compilation features some of the finest and most popular soul songs ever recorded alongside plenty of lesser known gems and its difficult to find fault with it. The line-up is incredible - Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the M.G.'s to name but a few - and a lot of these songs need little or no introduction. Southern Soul, Northern Soul and everything in-between, there's something for everyone.

Of the lesser known songs, it’s hard to believe that vocal trio Hot Sauce’s gorgeous mid-tempo 'Bring it Home (And Give it to Me)' was only a B-side and Wendy Rene's 'After Laughter (Comes Tears)' is astonishingly sorrowful (and was sampled to devastating effect by Wu-Tang Clan on 'Tearz'). The Astors provide three minutes of sweet Northern Soul on 'Candy' and William Bell’s heartfelt salute to Otis Redding on 'A Tribute to A King' is a fitting closing track.

59 tracks (see below!) spread over three discs housed in a double gatefold digipak, there are no liner notes but I suppose the music more than speaks for itself. With a playing time of 3 hours, this is a superb compilation. However, having said all that there is one glaring error on the third disc. Credited as Carla Thomas' 'Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)', track seven is actually a repeat of 'Tramp' by Otis Redding, track number seven on the first disc. It’s the same with the digital download too. It's a sloppy mistake but given the price, I’ll happily settle for just the 59 tracks!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2016 11:47 PM BST


Christians Catch Hell: Gospel Roots, 1976-79
Christians Catch Hell: Gospel Roots, 1976-79
Price: £16.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Long forgotten but jaw-dropping spiritual soul, 1 April 2016
As soon as I saw the spectacular cover, I had to have this! Featuring 18 songs recorded between 1976 and 1979 for TK Records' Gospel Roots subsidiary, it's one of the best compilations I've bought over the past couple of years. At the time the label was formed, TK Records were riding high buoyed by the success of disco and founder Henry Stone decided to diversify and Gospel Roots was one the off-shoot labels that he formed. During it's short three year lifespan, the label released over 50 long players and a handful of 45's. Featuring established gospel acts alongside unknowns, a lot of the albums released were pre-existing masters that TK Records bought, pressed and distributed.

The music is a mix of soul, Southern Soul, gospel, funk and blues, with the lead singer normally stuck up front accompanied by backing singers and choirs. Pastor T.L. Barrett opens up proceedings with the storming 'After the Rain'. It's an out and out joyous song and the interplay between Barrett and his backing choir has just got to be heard! The Jordan Singers soulful 'Will You Save Me' is one of many songs that blurs the lines – it could easily be about romantic love, not just spirituality. 'The Color of God' by The Fantastic Family Aires is a brooding funky affair and 'Blessed Be the Name of God' by the Brooklyn All-Stars is another scorching upbeat number. The title track by the Reverend Edna Isaac & The Greene Sisters is a seven minute slow blues jam where Isaac sings about the diversity between believers and non-believers; good versus evil. Her powerful and emotive vocal delivery is extraordinary and in the sleeve notes she explains how she broke down in tears after writing the lyrics.

The packaging is very cool. It's basically a 40 page book that's the same size as a CD jewel case with the CD stored in a sleeve at the back. The liner notes are well written, extensive and feature interviews with many of the artists and lots of archive photos. The playing time is a generous 74 minutes and the overall sound quality is very good. Given the amount of music released on the label during its short lifespan, I'm hoping that Honest Jon's follow this up with further volumes. If US black music from seventies is your thing, just buy it!


Aloha Got Soul: Soul, AOR & Disco in Hawai'i 1979-1985
Aloha Got Soul: Soul, AOR & Disco in Hawai'i 1979-1985
Price: £11.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aloha Got Soul and talent, 28 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I buy a lot of these types of compilations normally based on the promotional blurb, never always knowing what to expect and this release was no exception. Compiled by DJ and crate digger Roger Bong (who wasn't even born when any of this music was recorded), he certainly knows his chosen subject well. His well researched sleeve notes tell the history of Hawaiian music and how, during Hawaii's burgeoning live nightclub scene of the seventies and early eighties, the artists highlighted on this collection flourished. Amongst the performers are a collective of eight siblings, a part time bus driver and Johnny Cash’s bass guitarist from 1992-2003.

Sun-drenched soul, funk and disco with a splash of AOR, none of these songs travelled any further than Hawaii but the music on the whole is representative of the music emanating from the US mainland from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties. Tender Leaf's 'Countryside Beauty' is a lovely rhythm guitar led opener shot through with a breezy West Coast vibe. Up-tempo and with plenty of brass, 'Yesterday’s Love' by Aura features some gorgeous female lead vocals where the singer reaches for – and hits - the high notes. The heavy funk of 'I Feel Like Getting Down' by Nova features a monster bass line and Roy and Roe's upbeat ‘Just Don’t Come Back’ is a funky disco / country hybrid. Steve & Teresa provide some respite on the acoustic soul of 'Kaho’olawe Song'.

With a playing time of 64 minutes, this album does prove that, despite not perhaps having the budgets or potential large target audiences afforded to mainland acts, Hawaii did indeed have soul during the period covered. Housed in a jewel case, the booklet features extesnive notes and some archive photographs but I do think that the grainy black and white cover photo of the band Aura undersells it (the yellow label is a sticker on the shrink-wrapping). Well worth checking out, the sound quality is very good.


Il Deserto / Pittura Contemporanea / Pittura Moderna N.1 & 2
Il Deserto / Pittura Contemporanea / Pittura Moderna N.1 & 2
Price: £35.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful and eerie 1970's Italian avant-garde, 26 Mar. 2016
This limited edition box set from Cinedelic records gathers together three albums released on the short lived Ayna label by Italian composer and musician Egisto Macchi in 1974 and 1975. A member of famed avant-garde and free improvisation collective Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza alongside, amongst others, his friend and some time collaborator Ennio Morricone, Macchi produced music for hundreds of TV productions (mostly French and Belgian) and somewhere in the region of 50 films. Very little was ever commercially released and some of the original vinyl releases now fetch three figure sums. Distinguished both in and out of the studio for his commitment to and advancement of music in Italy, he passed away in 1992.

Best described as avant-garde and experimental, all three albums are very similar in style. Abstract and quite often minimalist, the piano and stringed instruments (particularly the violin) take centre stage supported by woodwind and sound effects with brass and percussion – sometimes tribal - drifting in and out of the mix. Macchi is a master of suspense and some of this music is very eerie and unsettling at times. With a few of the tracks extending beyond the 10 minute mark, it’s not music for the faint-hearted.

Sourced from the master tapes, the sound quality is first class. Presented in a slender cardboard box with a lift-off canvas covered top, the CDs are housed in cheap paper CD holders with the flaps glued down meaning that you have to literally destroy them to get to the discs the first time. I've replaced mine with PVC holders. There are no liner notes just a list of track names and the original release details. The combined playing times of all three discs is 3 hours and 16 minutes.

Released a month before it was available on this site, it's limited to 300 individually numbered copies (mine’s No. 276) and Cinedelic have also released two different vinyl editions (same tracks, different packaging) totalling 600 copies. Definitely worth getting if you enjoy music that’s challenging but never less than interesting. If you are thinking of buying it, get it before the re-sale prices on Discogs and eBay get silly.
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Feelings
Feelings
Price: £16.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Library classic deserving of its reputation, 23 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Feelings (Audio CD)
Long regarded as one of the finest (and most sought after) Library albums, Feelings more than deserves its lofty reputation. Originally released on Italy’s Carosello label in 1974 and on Conroy in the UK in 1976, the music was composed by Sandro Brugnolini, Giancarlo Gazzani, Puccio Roelens, and Stefano Torossi but for contractual reasons it was credited to Jay Richford & Gary Stevan, pseudonyms for Roelens and Gazzani respectively. It has seen a few reissues over the years, including the Easy Tempo CD release in 1998, that was incorrectly credited to just Stefano Torossi and had a different cover and playing order. It’s all very confusing…

The music is sublime. From tense funk & jazz and Blaxploitation to cool easy listening Bossa Nova and psychedelia, it’s an eclectic collection of music that hangs together beautifully. The quality of the arrangements, musicianship and production is staggering. The bass guitar features heavily and there’s plenty of string arrangements, wah-wah guitar, blasting horns and cool beats. It’s impossible to select highlights from such a strong collection of tracks but fans of early seventies Italian and Blaxploitation soundtracks will find much to enjoy here.

Housed in a slim, single gatefold cardboard sleeve with a playing time of 37:27, the sound quality is fabulous. Featuring brief liner notes in both Italian and English, the original cover and playing order are used. Schema have also released a vinyl edition that includes the CD too. An essential album.


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