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OMG! It's got a plug! "OMG! It's got a plug!" (Winchester)

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Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Blaxploitation: Six Classic Funk Soundtracks
Price: £18.67

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Six Cool Blaxploitation Soundtracks, 14 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Comprising of six Blaxploitation soundtracks, this box set features 75 tracks with an overall playing time of just over 4 hours. The soundtracks featured are:

Up Tight (1969) - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (36:02)
Shaft (1971) - Isaac Hayes (69:33)
Trouble Man (1972) - Marvin Gaye (38:26)
Black Caesar (1973) - James Brown (36:42)
Coffy (1973) - Roy Ayers (36:49)
Shaft in Africa (1973) - Johnny Pate featuring The Four Tops (26:42)

Whilst some of the films associated with these soundtracks are long forgotten, the music continues to endure. Marvin Gaye's 'Trouble Man' is without doubt one of the best soundtracks of the genre and it features some killer moody jazz cuts and some of the best music Gaye ever recorded. 'Black Caesar' remains one of James Brown's finest studio albums with plenty of funky grooves and he delivers some his most impassioned vocals on the album opener 'Down and Out in New York City' and 'Mama's Dead'.

The Four Tops lend support on Johnny Pate's 'Shaft in Africa' with the twice reprised 'Are You Man Enough?' and Roy Ayers' 'Coffy' soundtrack features a selection of vocal and instrumental cuts. It's all funky and soulful sounding. 'Shaft' is the best known album here and the title track is probably the most famous Blaxploitation song. It's the longest playing album here and it does occasionally meander. Booker T. & The M.G.'s 'Up Tight' is the least Blaxploitation sounding album here but it's a solid collection of slow-tempo burners and up-beat jams.

The CDs are in individual (near) replica gatefold mini LP sleeves and they're housed in a sturdy cardboard box. Spectrum have used the best masters currently available and the sound quality is perfect. Apart from CD track lists, there are no sleeves notes. Overall this is a cool box set and it makes a change from the myriad of cherry picking Blaxploitation compilations out there.

Naked Plus
Naked Plus
Price: £26.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Dutch Maestro: Original Soundtracks 1967-1973, 14 May 2015
This review is from: Naked Plus (Audio CD)
After checking out the samples on the label's website I took a punt on this and I'm so glad I did. Featuring soundtrack music recorded for film, TV and theatre by Dutch jazz musician and composer Ruud Bos between 1967 and 1973, the quality of the music on this two disc set is at times staggering.

According to the sleeve notes the tapes containing much of this music "turned up after a long search in a concrete storage bunker" with most of the outtakes coming from Bos' personal archive. Restored (where necessary) and digitally mastered from the original master or working tapes, the sound quality is excellent. Most of it is previously unreleased except for the 'Naakt Over de Schutting' soundtrack. Originally released on vinyl by Phonogram, this collection features the original mono mix as it sounds in the film, not the stereo mix produced especially for the LP release.

Featuring 81 tracks and outtakes, the music is primarily jazz with plenty of funk. A whole range of styles are covered including up-tempo grooves, tense and trippy vibes, lounge, freakbeat, avant-garde, easy listening and orchestral. Heavy bass (there's some really cool bass breaks for bass heads!), flute loops, alto sax, Fender Rhodes piano, rhythm guitar, brass, chorale vocals... it all sounds amazing with hints of Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and European library music & Italian soundtracks from the same period.

Housed in a neat double gatefold digipak with comprehensive liner notes, the combined playing times of both discs is 2 hours & 37 minutes. There's 3 minutes of silence on the closing track on Disc 1 before a 10 second brass outro. I don't know if it's intentional because it's credited in the sleeve notes as being 1:06 minutes long but lasts for 4:37 minutes. Produced with the cooperation of Bos, this is, from the music to the packaging and sleeve notes, a first class release from 678 Records. If you have an interest in Sixties and Seventies soundtracks, this is a must buy.

Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The budget iron to get if you don't that much ironing, 11 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you iron less than a handful or two of clothes each week, this is the iron to get. Non-stick with a pointed tip, the best thing about it is that it delivers constant steam and, should you need it, there's an effective steam boost too. The opening for the water tank is big enough to fill it direct from the tap and with the constant steam on, one tank lasts enough to iron 4-5 shirts. It's got a built in de-calc - great if you live in a hard water area - and it's also got an economy mode (where it delivers less steam) which is OK but a bit of a waste of time unless you intend to do loads of ironing. You can spray water from the tank onto your clothes but with the constant steam and boost I've never had the need to use it. When you have the constant steam activated it stops when the iron is stood upright. It's a decent weight - not too light or heavy - and the soleplate is not massive but more than adequate. Overall this budget iron represents amazing value for money and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Price: £13.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mwng Deluxe Edition, 7 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mwng (Audio CD)
15 years after it's initial release, Mwng still sounds as good as it ever did. It's more lo-fi sounding but no less eclectic, inventive or adventurous than anything SFA had done before or since. There's an uncredited 38 minute continuous playing demo of the album (less 'Nythod Cacwn') at the end of the first CD. It's more or less the same as what the finished album sounds like but with enough noticeable differences here and there to make it worthwhile if not essential.

The second disc features 'Mwng Bach' (a collection of earlier Welsh language B-Sides) that was initially available as a bonus CD on the US release of the album. The stand out is the gorgeous '(Nid) Hon Yw'r G‚n Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith' which doesn't sound a million miles away from 'Juxtaposed With U'. Four intimate tracks from a John Peel session and a well received 38 minute live set from an All Tomorrow's Parties gig make up the rest of the disc. During the ATP gig Gruff Rhys translates some of the song titles during his shambolic song introductions in what is a solid set. The live version of 'Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifio' is epic.

Housed in a gatefold cardboard sleeve alongside a booklet containing the lyrics, the combined playing time of both discs is 2 hours and 36 minutes. Well worth getting if you missed the album first time around and enough here to make it a worthwhile investment for those who loved it the first time around.

CD 1:

1. Drygioni
2. Ymaelodi ‚'r Ymylon
3. Y Gwyneb Iau
4. Dacw Hi
5. Nythod Cacwn
6. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
7. Ysbeidiau Heulog
8. Y Teimlad
9. Sarn Helen
10. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer ar y Blaned Neifion
11. 38 minute continuous play demo of 'Mwng'

CD 2:

Mwng Bach

1. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais
2. Trons Mr. Urdd
3. Calimero
4. Sali Mali
5. (Nid) Hon Yw'r G‚n Sy'n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaiath

Peel Session

6. Nythod Cacwn
7. Cryndod Yn Dy Lais
8. Y Gwyneb Iau
9. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

Live at ATP

10. Drygioni
11. Ysbeidiau Heulog
12. Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
13. Y Gwyneb Iau
14. Ymaelodi ¬'r Ymylon
15. Nythod Cacwn
16. Gwreiddiau Dwfn / Mawrth Oer Ar Y Blaned Neifion

ByteStor Pro 16GB 40Mbps Class 10 High Speed Micro SDHC UHS-1 Card with SDHC Card Adapter
ByteStor Pro 16GB 40Mbps Class 10 High Speed Micro SDHC UHS-1 Card with SDHC Card Adapter
Price: £8.89

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comparable to SanDisk and Kingston, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With an actual capacity of 14.9GB and with an adapter included, this is the first MicroSD card that I've owned that's not been manufactured by SanDisk or Kingston. Much like the other cards I've used, I got nowhere near the advertised transfer rates (a little over 6MB/second) but I suppose that might have more to do with my laptop than anything else. Comparable to more established brands, it's worth checking the price of the 32GB card before buying - at the time of writing it's only a couple of quid more

Binatone M250 Big Button GSM
Binatone M250 Big Button GSM
Price: £19.99

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very easy to use but inferior build quality, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The features on this mobile are more or less standard mobile phone features circa the late nineties. I bought a TTfone Mercury 2 a few months ago and it had the option to add a MicroSD card and display photos on the screen etc. but it just complicates things. This phone keeps things basic and simple. SIM free (although it doesn't accept '3'), I popped an existing Vodafone SIM in it and the numbers appeared in the address book when I switched it on. It's a perfect size, not too big or too small. The backlit keypad has very big buttons that are easy to press. The screen is perfect with easy to read text.

It's quite straight-forward to set-up - setting the time, adding numbers to the address book, setting the alarm clock, etc - with easy to follow menus. Finding numbers in the address book is literally a couple of clicks. The battery life is very good and it automatically locks and goes into standby mode when not being used and when it does, a single battery charge lasts for days on end.

It's has some useful features - text messaging, alarm clock, calculator, SOS emergency key and an FM radio that has a good reception when using earphones (the lead acts as an ariel). The hands-free works fine for both the caller and the receiver.

On the downside, it's made of cheap plastic that's liable to chip easily (the plastic chrome trim is just waiting to be chipped to expose the white plastic underneath!) or even break if dropped onto a hard floor. It comes with a jack lead charging cable and if a spare one or new one is ever required it would be so much easier to buy a mini USB lead.

Overall, this is a straightforward and easy to use seniors' mobile. Functionality wise it's an easier phone to use than the TTfone but the cheap build prevents it from receiving a perfect score.

Oral-B Vitality Plus FlossAction Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral-B Vitality Plus FlossAction Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £19.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent no-frills Oral-B, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a no-frills Oral-B electric toothbrush that has none of the advanced settings that more expensive handles have. Basically, switch it on and it will alert you when two minutes is up. You get no change quadrant alerts and it doesn't have a multi-speed motor for gum massaging and all that over-rated nonsense that more expensive models have.

I've been using Oral-B toothbrushes for years and the oscillating action is really smooth and comfortable. The Floss Action heads that comes with this brush leaves my mouth and teeth feeling more refreshed and clean than any other Oral-B brush heads. However, you can use any other Oral-B brush heads with it. I've been getting four days from the battery when using it twice daily for approximately 2 minutes each time.

Shop around. These models are quite often on sale for half-price either on Amazon or in supermarkets.

Komputerbay 4GB 2X 2GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6300 PC2-6400 DDR2 800 (200 PIN) SODIMM Laptop Memory
Komputerbay 4GB 2X 2GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6300 PC2-6400 DDR2 800 (200 PIN) SODIMM Laptop Memory
Offered by KOMPBAY
Price: £21.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and effective RAM, 14 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought 2 x 2GB to boost my Acer Aspire 5920 laptop from it's existing 2GB of memory. It can only utilise 2.99GB but it's made a big difference when used in conjunction with the SSD I've fitted. Programs and documents open and close in the blink of an eye and everything works noticeably faster. Cheaper than Crucial, although there is a useful system scanner on the Crucial website that you can download and it tells you what memory is compatible with your equipment if you're unsure. See comment below for the link.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2015 4:39 PM BST

Don't Look Back: An Introduction to Lloyd Cole and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
Don't Look Back: An Introduction to Lloyd Cole and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £4.98

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Looking Back, 13 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An album of two halves, the first 10 tracks are taken from the three studio albums released by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions and the second half features 10 tracks from Cole's first four solo albums. All of the songs featuring the Commotions are near faultless and they continue to be one of the most enduring bands of the eighties.

To this day, 'Mainstream' remains one of my most listened to albums (I have a lot of memories tied up in it!) and it's a pity that 'My Bag' - where Cole almost breaks into a rap ("Spin, spin whiskey and gin...") - didn't make the cut. But this compilation is 78 minutes long and it costs about the price of a pint so I have no complaints whatsoever.

I lost touch with Cole and his music after the release of his eponymous debut solo album in 1990. At the time I was listening to other types of music and, like a lot of music from that period, the production on his debut sounded too clinical and sterile. The Commotions' sound was always more sophisticated than they were perhaps given credit for and (again keeping with the times) their production could sometimes be too clean but with his debut, Cole seemed to be embracing an even more mature sound and reaching out to an equally more mature audience. I still contest that 'No Blue Skies' sounded more Dire Straits than Lloyd Cole at the time!

Nonetheless, I'm now 25 years older and, I like to think, more mature and I must admit that I now regret missing out on most of these solo recordings the first time around. Listening to them now it's clear that there are some cleverly crafted songs here - the playful 'Undressed', 'Margo's Waltz' with it's orchestration and female backing vocals, the heavy rocking 'She's a Girl and I'm a Man', the Top 30 single 'Like Lovers Do', etc - that have stood the test of time and more or less carry on from where the Commotions left off.

An ideal budget primer for the forthcoming Commotions' box set, this is also the perfect introduction to the formative years of Cole's still ongoing solo career for anyone, like me, who never gave it the attention it clearly deserved. The Commotions' box set is on order and, better late than never, I'll be investigating Cole's back catalogue on the strength of the second half of this album.

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble, Exploding in Your Mind: The Wizards of Oz
A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble, Exploding in Your Mind: The Wizards of Oz
Price: £14.12

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Antipodean Psychedelic Odyssey, 5 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Amorphous Androgynous duo Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain (a.k.a. The Future Sound of London) return with the fourth instalment of their 'A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Exploding in Your Mind)' series. Much like the previous three volumes, this is more a collection of crate digging treasures than a lesson in mixology. There are some overdubs and mixing but most songs appear to be played out in full and then skilfully woven together to form two discs of uninterrupted music that flow really well.

Focussing exclusively on Australian and New Zealand artists, the music ranges from the mid 60s up to the modern day but the majority of tracks are from the Sixties and Seventies. Lots of different genres are represented from Prog, Jazz, Krautrock (Aussierock?!), Raga, Folk, etc with everything having a distinctly psychedelic vibe. I expect that a lot of the songs will be unknown to all but the most obsessive followers of the Antipodean music scene of the past 50 years.

Many highlights, including the wordless vocals on the sparse and trippy 'This Early Broadminded's Emptiness' by Hiroshi & Claudia. The repetitive percussion and synths on Cybotron's 'Raga In Asia Minor' from 1978 sounds like it should have been recorded in Düsseldorf and Rob Thomsett's 'Flight of Yaraan' features some excellent lead guitar and synthetic horns. Ash Grunwald sounds like modern day Australia's answer to Iggy Pop on the heavy rocking 'Walking' and 'Waves of Aquarius' by Kanguru is, as its title suggests, 10 minutes of meditational Raga vibes. There are a couple of underwhelming songs, particularly Mandu's cover of 'Gimme Shelter', but on the whole the selections are dead on the money.

Superior to the first two volumes in the series and almost as good as Volume 3, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys listening to anything that's a bit out of the ordinary. Housed in a double gatefold digipak inside a cardboard slip cover, the combined playing time of both discs is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2015 6:32 AM BST

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