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OMG! It's got a plug! (Winchester)
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Come Spy With Us ~ The Secret Agent Songbook
Come Spy With Us ~ The Secret Agent Songbook
Price: £9.62

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secret Agent Soundtrack, 4 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Featuring 25 spy-themed tracks from the cinema and TV of the Sixties when the world was obsessed with the very real threat presented by the Cold War, this is first class compilation from Ace Records. Given that it's not genre themed in a music sense, there are are many different styles of music on offer. From the seductive pop of Dusty Springfield's 'The Look of Love' to the icy cool of John Barry's 'A Man Alone' via a couple of Motown cuts from The Supremes and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and some big orchestral and easy listening tracks (and a healthy helping of kitsch!), there really is something for everyone. Perfectly sequenced and featuring extensive liner notes with reproduction images of film posters and record covers, it's an enjoyable and memorable 62 minute mission.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 10, 2014 10:10 AM BST


Let The Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach & David
Let The Music Play: Black America Sings Bacharach & David
Price: £11.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enjoyable compilation, 1 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This compilation from Ace is, as stated on the back cover, a celebration of the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David as sung by some of soul's greatest artists. In all honesty few of the versions here are superior to the better known and definitive versions but considering some of these songs are amongst the most popular ever written, there's still much to enjoy and it's interesting to hear the different arrangements, instrumentation and vocals.

Nina Simone's 'The Look of Love' features (unsurprisingly) faultless vocals and has a mid-tempo jazz arrangement and Gloria Gaynor's uptempo take of 'Walk on By' has a brief spoken word intro and is clearly aimed at the dancefloor. Isaac Hayes' slowed down 'I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself' is almost unrecognisable from Dusty Springfield's definitive version and Aretha Franklin's sublime 'I Say a Little Prayer' needs no introduction. Brenda & The Tabulations 'Don't Make Me Over' remains faithful to Dionne Warwick's original and Irma Thomas' 'Long After Tonight Is all Over' although not dissimilar, is no match for Jimmy Radcliffe's definitive version. Mavis Staples closes the album with the beautifully sung 'A House Is Not a Home'.

Clocking in at 74:12 minutes and housed in a jewel case with excellent liner notes on all of the songs featured and archive photographs, this is a worthwhile and very enjoyable compilation. All of the tracks are in Stereo except 1, 8, 12, 17, 18 & 23 that are Mono.


SanDisk Sansa Clip Sport 4GB MP3 Player - Black
SanDisk Sansa Clip Sport 4GB MP3 Player - Black
Price: £39.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive but flawed MP3 player, 22 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Out of the box and switched on, the first thing you are presented with is the 'Regional Settings' menu. If you like your music loud, select the first option 'North America' or 'Rest of the World'. Select the European option and the volume will be restricted due to EU regulations.

This is a tiny MP3 player (not too much bigger than the iPod Shuffle), it weighs next to nothing and it has a built-in clip. Transferring music onto it is simple - just connect it to your PC and drag and drop files onto it. One of the best features is that you can expand its capacity with a MicroSD card. I slotted a 64GB MicroSDXC card (formatted to FAT32) into it not sure if it would accept such a high capacity card but it did and within a couple of minutes I had approximately 400 CDs worth of music available to play.

I'm quite obsessive about tagging my MP3 music correctly and was surprised that when attempting to playback albums from both the internal storage (3.88GB) and MicroSD card, it played the tracks in alphabetical order! I'm not sure why but if you have this problem too, there is a simple workaround - instead of selecting the 'Music' folder when accessing your music, select the 'Folder' folder and play your music files from there and albums will then playback in the correct sequence. However, when accessing music from this folder, albums stored on the MicroSD card are not listed in alphabetical order and it can be difficult to find the exact album you want to listen to. It's an unexpected flaw from such an established brand but not an all out disaster given the workaround. One thing that I really like is that when switched on it carries on playing exactly where it was when you switched it off and it's ready to go within a couple of seconds of being switched on - it doesn't have to re-scan the MicroSD card.

Sound quality is SUPERB - it goes way louder and sounds better and clearer than my Samsung MP3 player and the supplied earphones are OK too but not particularly comfortable (I'm using it with Sennheiser earphones). It has a number of pre-set EQ settings (Rock, Pop, Jazz etc.) and you can also custom set the EQ too. It's very easy to navigate using an LCD menu and a few simple buttons, displays (tiny) album artwork and you can shuffle and repeat tracks and set-up playlists. The FM radio works well with a surprisingly clear reception and you can pre-set stations. It has a sleep mode and there's also a timer and stopwatch in the 'Sports' folder with the option to save your logs. The battery lasts a reasonable 17-18 hours when playing 320kbps encoded MP3 files with the volume at approx 70%.

If you're in the market for a basic, small and affordable MP3 player this is OK and the fact that it supports 64GB MicroSD cards is a big selling point. The only real faults I can find are the playing of album tracks in alphabetical order kerfuffle (albeit there's a workaround), displaying albums in random order when using the workaround and there is NO Lock button. Not having a Lock button is not too much of a problem if you clip it onto your clothing but put it in your pocket and it skips backwards and forwards between tracks very easily.

Overall rating: 3½ stars.


Bolse® Bluetooth 4.0 (Latest Version) USB adapter - Compatible with Windows 7 / windows 8 / Vista / XP
Bolse® Bluetooth 4.0 (Latest Version) USB adapter - Compatible with Windows 7 / windows 8 / Vista / XP
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Tiny with impressive range, 20 Mar 2014
Tiny and solidly built, when I first plugged this into my laptop running Windows 7, the drivers were automatically downloaded. It does come with a 3" CD pre-loaded with the drivers if you need them. When plugged into a laptop running the latest version of Ubuntu, it was ready to use immediately.

It paired seamlessly with my Nokia Bluetooth headphones and two Bluetooth speakers and the range around the house is very impressive - it reaches upstairs with no drop-outs whatsoever. One of the advantages of this is its tiny size - I don't need to remove it when carrying my laptop around in its case unlike my now redundant Belkin adapter.

There are cheap Bluetooth adapters available from Marketplace sellers on Amazon and I got stung a couple of years ago when I purchased one for a couple of quid (it didn't work). No problems with this one. I received this gratis in return for an honest review.


Bolse® High Output 3-Port USB Car Charger (27W / 5.4A), Provides Maximum Power For 3 Devices At Once With SmartIC Technology for iPhone 5, 5S, 4S; Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Galaxy Note 3, 2; iPad Air, 5, 4, mini; LG G2; Motorola and HTC
Bolse® High Output 3-Port USB Car Charger (27W / 5.4A), Provides Maximum Power For 3 Devices At Once With SmartIC Technology for iPhone 5, 5S, 4S; Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Galaxy Note 3, 2; iPad Air, 5, 4, mini; LG G2; Motorola and HTC
Offered by T.M. Enterprise
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast 3 into 1 Charger, 20 Mar 2014
As USB car chargers go, this is very compact and solidly built with very little overhang after it's plugged into your car lighter socket and it can charge THREE devices at once. Scores on the doors after charging two devices simultaneously on a 3 hour 15 minute motorway journey:

iPad 2 - Start of journey charge 12%. Finish charge 94%
Galaxy Tab 3 7" - Start of journey charge 6%. Finish charge 100%

I'm no expert on car electrics, but when getting a new car battery fitted at ATS a few months ago the bloke who fitted it said it's best to start your engine BEFORE plugging a charger into the lighter socket - saves draining your car battery. Just for the record, I received mine gratis in return for an honest review. I've not had a need to charge three devices simultaneously but if I do, I'll update this review.


Samsung M3 500GB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Samsung M3 500GB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black
Price: £36.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Plug and Play portable hard drive, 12 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I purchased the 500GB version of this portable hard drive and it's proved to be a faultless bargain. Plug it into your laptop / PC via USB and it's good to go. It's silent in use, requires no separate mains power supply, doesn't over-heat and fits inside a coat pocket. It took me 6 hours to copy across 240GB of data using USB 2.0 so the speed appears to be good but I suppose it depends on your PC specifications too. The user manual, Mac drivers and Samsung back-up software are pre-loaded on the drive should you have a need for them.


Inner city beat! Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers
Inner city beat! Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers
Price: £9.57

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars From the vaults of KPM, De Wolfe, Amphonic and Conroy, 3 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Featuring 24 tracks recorded for British Library music labels KPM, De Wolfe, Amphonic and Conroy between 1967 and 1975, all of this music was intended for use by TV & film studios and radio stations and was never commercially available. None of the music here was made to order. Instead, Library labels would commission music and send out vinyl demonstration copies of it to production companies, who would then use any of the music that was suitable under license from the labels.

Music wise, this is a good compilation from Soul Jazz Records and it's almost a companion piece to their TV Sound and Image album from a couple of years ago. A combination of easy listening, jazz, and funk usually underpinned with solid bass and percussion and featuring orchestration, brass, keyboards and even the occasional flute break, there are some very good tracks. However, some of the music is very average and could not really be considered suitable for the 'Detective Themes, Spy Music and Imaginary Thrillers' that the subtitle implies.

Like most Soul Jazz Records releases, the CD is housed inside a jewel case alongside a 60 page booklet and together they're housed inside a slip case. SJR booklets are usually filled with archive photos and information about the music but with this release the concept behind the booklet is lost on me. It consists solely of "A graphic novel of death, murder and revenge in an urban and industrial landscape" featuring rudimentary black and white art work and a pulp fiction text that I gave up reading after a couple of minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to read it all, has nothing whatsoever to do with the music on the CD and is completely pointless.

Clocking in at 57 minutes, I do feel a bit short changed by this compilation - there's an abundance of similar themed British library music from the same period and I think SJR should have spent less time on the booklet and instead focussed their resources on filling this CD with an extra 20 minutes of music and sourcing better and more appropriate music.

In summary, the music here is at times underwhelming but if you dig library music it's still worth buying for the good stuff. However, I do think that SJR have taken their eye off the ball with this release.


Tefal A1990022 12 cm Ideal One Egg Wonder
Tefal A1990022 12 cm Ideal One Egg Wonder
Price: £9.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny Side Up, 3 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I never thought I'd refer to a frying pan as being cute, but that's exactly what this is - cute and it's ideal for frying a single egg sunny side up. With a bit of care it is possible to turn an egg over but if you like to baste your fried eggs so that you get a pinkish film over the yolk, forget it with this pan. Non-stick, it produces a perfect circular fried egg every time.


Un soir chez Norris (Evasion 1971) - Single
Un soir chez Norris (Evasion 1971) - Single
Price: £1.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Guitar and wordless vocals freakout, 28 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had a vinyl rip of this for a few years and was surprised to find it available to download on Amazon. Taken from a French TV drama and originally released as a 7" in 1971, this is an extraordinary single from Pierre Cavalli and the B-side just edges it. Both songs feature full on guitars with wordless Edda Dell'orso-esque vocals floating over the top and it's 4 minutes and 41 seconds of absolute genius - it's like Morricone on acid. 'Un soir chez Norris' was re-worked by David Holmes for the Ocean's 11 soundtrack and 'Chasse à l'homme' - which features some amazing blistering fuzz guitar - found its way onto Amorphous Androgynous's A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind Volume 3: The 3rd Ear mix album.


New Wave: Expanded Edition
New Wave: Expanded Edition
Price: £9.72

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best British album of the Nineties, 17 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With this, their 1993 debut album, Luke Haines and his band released the best British album of the Nineties and, with 'Showgirl', the coolest opening song on any album. The lack of a hit single with a sing-along chorus on this or any of their subsequent albums meant that at the height of Britpop the best band with the best songs were outsiders looking in on the party they helped to get started. With razor-sharp lyrics and a pared-down Marc Bolan Glam influence, this is a confident and intelligent album.

This two disc Expanded Edition features 22 extra recordings and clocks in at 107 minutes. Disc 1 comprises the original album plus six B-Sides and, just to clarify, the track list for Disc 2 is as follows:

1. Housebreaker (Acoustic) (A-Side - Rough Trade Singles Club 7" Feb 1993)
2. Valet Parking (Acoustic) (B-Side - Rough Trade Singles Club 7" Feb 1993)
3. Starstruck (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
4. Junk Shop Clothes (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
5. Housebreaker (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
6. Home Again (Acoustic) (Recorded Live, Paris 22 Feb 1993)
7. New French Girlfriend (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
8. Government Bookstore (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
9. How Could I Be Wrong (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
10. Junk Shop Clothes (BBC Radio Session 2 Feb 1993)
11. Bailed Out (4 Track Demo)
12. American Guitars (4 Track Demo)
13. Showgirl (4 Track Demo)
14. Glad To Be Gone (4 Track Demo)
15. Starstruck (4 Track Demo)
16. Early Years (4 Track Demo)

The best songs on the second disc are the 4 track demos that got the band signed to Hut Records and booked as the support act for Suede. Unexpectedly rough, they are more or less unchanged from the songs that appeared on the album, just more primitive sounding. The radio sessions and the four tracks recorded live in Paris highlight that they were more than competent live and none of the B-sides would have sounded out of place on the original album. It's not been remastered and I don't think it needed to be.

Housed in a basic double gatefold cardboard sleeve, Luke Haines has penned some (surprisingly) pleasant sleeve notes about the period the album was recorded and on a couple of occasions he speaks very highly of Suede without the slightest hint of sarcasm or cynicism, unlike in his book 'Bad Vibes'. He does clarify that the book was written in the present tense for the period it covered and for these notes "hindsight has been applied".

If you missed this album first time around, I wholeheartedly recommend it and if you already own it, this is a worthwhile investment for the extra tracks. Haines' Baader Meinhof concept album from 1996 has also been reissued by 3 Loop Music.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2014 2:07 PM BST


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