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Mister D (The Royal County)

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Occasional Rain
Occasional Rain
Price: £6.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Not an average guy, 23 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Occasional Rain (Audio CD)
Occasional Rain has to be up there with the great soul albums and its criminal that its hardly known.

A fusion of classic soul and folk, the best know track on the album is the sublime "Ordinary Joe", however "lean on me", "Do you finally need a friend" and the title track are stunning.

What I particularly like is the way the vocals are delivered. The singing is not always pitch perfect (this album was recorded well before auto-tune and other studio nasties) but this enhances rather than detracts from the songs as they have an almost live, intimate feel. The sympathetic arrangements and nice sound on the re-issue add to this.

The segues (the same song broken up into small parts) give the album a flow, although its a pity they didn't include the whole song as a complete entity on the album.

The packaging on the verve re-issue is a bit naff (horribly cheap digipak with no booklet) but when the music is this good, who cares.

One day this album will get the recognition it deserves. It is not an album of background music but demands the listeners complete attention.

Anyone with any kind of interest in this sort of music should purchase and enjoy this wonderful album.


Addictions Volume 1
Addictions Volume 1
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Palmer, 23 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Addictions Volume 1 (Audio CD)
This excellent album gives a good overview of a sorely missed artist.

Unfortunately when most people think of Palmer it is for "addicted to love" and although the song and video are iconic, it should not be used to judge Palmer's music. It is contained on this collection.

Palmer incorporated many different styles (including pop, rock, calypso and blues). He also had one of the great voices and worked with excellent musicians.

Because of the different styles and the quality of the songs, the album stands up to repeat listening.

The comments about each song (written in the liner notes by Palmer) are also interesting

This particular collection contains some re-mixes/re-records so to get the original versions you will need to get the albums (no bad thing as they contain many gems). Also, a nice companion album to this is addictions volume 2.

The only reservation I have is that my copy is an early 90's PDO UK pressing. CDs produced at this factory from this time period are prone to disk rot (bronzing / failure due to a manufacturing fault). My copy is showing signs of this although it plays fine at the moment.
If purchasing a second hand copy ensure it is not showing signs of failure or is a different pressing.

If you can find a clean copy or later pressing, this album is strongly recommended.


Solo - The Very Best of Freddie Mercury
Solo - The Very Best of Freddie Mercury

4.0 out of 5 stars I can hear music, 28 May 2014
This is a nice collection of Mercury's solo output including the 2 albums released during his life-time ("Barcelona" and "Mr Bad Guy") as well as a "bonus disc" which rounds up some of the singles.

The main benefit to this package is the re-issue of Mr Bad Guy which had been long out of print on CD. Original CD copies of the album went for serious money and there were a number of poor quality bootlegs floating around.
Mr Bad Guy is somewhat patchy but has some great tracks such as "there must be more to life than this" and "I was born to love you". Its biggest problem is the production which is very much of its time (early-mid 80's) and this lets down some good songs. For all its faults, Mr Bad Guy is still a good album.

Barcelona has been widely available as a separate CD for ages but is here in remastered form. A great fusion of rock and opera it is Mercury's finest solo effort and deserves a place in your CD collection.

The so called "bonus CD" is interesting and includes "The Great Pretender", "Time" and other single releases. My only complaint is they should have included "Goin' Back". This is the B-Side to the Larry Lurex single "I can Hear Music" which is the first track on the disc and is included on the much larger 10 disc Solo collection released at the same time.

Packaging includes a slip case, double Jewel box (with Barcelona and Mr Bad Guy) as well as a cardboard sleeve containing the additional disk. There is also a comprehensive booklet. I would have preferred the bonus disc to be included in a proper case.

Mercury's solo work was sometimes patchy but interesting and worth investigating. If you like Queens music and want to dig a bit deeper, this collection is a good starting point as it has the major albums/singles.

It is essential for Mercury fans who don't have "Mr Bad Guy" and want to add it to their collection (unless you want to spend big money on either the 10 CD set or an original 80's disc).


Mystery Girl Deluxe
Mystery Girl Deluxe
Price: £10.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only one, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Mystery Girl Deluxe (Audio CD)
The original Mystery Girl is a stone cold classic and if you don't have a copy already, the re-issued deluxe edition should be high on your shopping list.

Classics such as "Careless Heart", "You got it", "She's a Mystery to Me" and "The Comedians" make this album stand up to repeat listenings and even the weakest track (Dream You) is very good.

I already have the 2007 re-issue of this album as well as the deluxe edition and it is 50/50 whether this upgrade is necessary.

The Deluxe edition with DVD comes in a slip-case with a high quality booklet.

The DVD contains an interesting documentary about the album and new tracks as well as videos for a number of songs (either new or from the era)

The much publicised new track "The Way Is Love" is a demo with new music placed over the top. Its obviously a personal track for Orbison's sons, however the quality of the tape used to record the vocals is nowhere near as good as the modern equipment used on the backing instruments. You may find the difference jarring. That said, it is a good track, the arrangement fits the song and I am glad they included it.

The studio demo's of the songs featured on the original album are fascinating and the other unreleased track "You are My Love" is really nice.

I have a couple of minor issues with this set (which doesn't impact my rating).
It would have been nice to include the original version of "the way love is" (before the new instruments were added).
The 2007 CD included a track called "You may Feel Me Crying" which was as good as anything as released on the album proper. This track has been omitted from the 2014 re-issue. Its available elsewhere (e.g. the soul of rock and roll) but its a real shame they excluded it.
The CD is mastered significantly louder than the previous version and while the sound is not bad, I am not sure it was necessary.
I think they should have kept the original album cover and I would have have preferred the studio demo's on a separate CD

If you don't have this album, then the 2014 deluxe edition is recommended.
If you have a previous issue of this album and can live without "You may feel me crying" the 2014 version is well worth checking out.


The Essential Andrew Gold
The Essential Andrew Gold
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Bridge to your CD player, 27 May 2014
This is a great double CD of Andrew Golds better know solo material as well as a significant number of tracks from his work with Wax (with ex 10cc member Graeme Gouldman).

Included are excellent tracks such as "Lonely Boy", "Never let her slip away" (with Queen Frontman Freddie Mercury on backing vocals), "Endless Flight" (written by Gold and title track from Leo Sayers Album) and "Bridge to your heart".

What I like about this collection is that it is stylistically varied and you get a lot of music for the price. Most of it is well written and everything is well produced.

Not all the tracks work and some of the 80's songs may not be to everyones taste due to the synths (I like them).

The tracks have been sequenced so that the style jumps from singer-songwriter to pop. I think it keeps the compilation interesting but others may be reaching for the program button on their CD player.

Gold was probably best known as a producer rather than a performer, in particular for Linda Rondstadt. This is an excellent double CD compilation of a very underrated artist and is worth tracking down.


The Lot
The Lot

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final destination (for the Queen drummers solo work), 26 May 2014
This review is from: The Lot (Audio CD)
This box set is a great way to get hold of the Queen drummers various solo releases and albums from his side project, "the Cross".

It contains all his solo albums (up to the time of this review) as well as all the albums by "The Cross" and 4 CDs worth of remixes and B-Sides. These are comprehensive but do have various mixes of the same tracks more than once.

Also included is a DVD which includes most of his videos. Unfortunately the image quality of these is not the best.

Some of the material had been out of print for a while (notably "Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know" and "Blue Rock") and its great to see them here. Blue Rock is the strongest of "The Cross" albums and its a pity that it was not pushed by the record company on its initial release.

There were some well documented problems with the initial release of this box set and most of these have been fixed.
The remaster of "Fun in Space" appears to have some tape speed issues which are not apparent on the 1994 remaster. These are supposed to be deliberate, but do sound strange.

The quick way to check if you have a faulty set is to play "life changes" on the blue rock album. It cuts out suddenly then re-starts just before the end.

Also note some of the albums have been re-edited slightly so some of the tracks are slightly longer but have gaps between them (the Happiness? album has a couple of examples).

Overall this is a great set with good sound quality an interesting book. The packaging is high-quality material, although some of the text contains typing errors.

Taylor's non-Queen output is not always successful (some of his lyrics can be a bit cheesy), however it is always interesting generally excelent and occasionally sublime. This box set is recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 3:11 AM BST


King of Hearts
King of Hearts
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming Home, 17 Sept. 2013
This review is from: King of Hearts (Audio CD)
An interesting album and although not quite as good, it makes a nice companion piece to "mystery girl"

Looking at the liner notes, many of the songs have backing tracks recorded after Orbison passed away. This could have gone horribly wrong; however the backing tracks are recorded and arranged sensitively to both Orbison's vocal performance and the song.

The highlights of the album are the duet of "Crying" (With K.D.Lang), "Wild hearts run out of time", "Coming home" and "I drove all night" (which absolutely hammers Cyndi Lauper's version). The demo version of "careless heart" is interesting.

"Mystery Girl" was an absolute classic and "King of Hearts" (effectively a collection of out-takes and demos) was never going to match it.
It got very close and this is a fine album.

"King of Hearts" stands up on its own right and should be checked out, but if you have a copy of "Mystery Girl" then it compliments it well.

Highly Recommended


Whatever Happened to Benny Santini
Whatever Happened to Benny Santini
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Whatever happened indeed..., 16 Sept. 2013
This is a solid debut album from Chris Rea with some great tracks (and a couple not so good).

Highlights include the title track, "Bows and Bangles" and of course "Fool(If you think its over". The later track is presented in its original version rather than the (not quite so good) re-recording from "New Light through Old Windows" found on most compilation albums.

There are a couple of fillers ("dancing with charlie" being the worst track on the album) but overall the quality is high.

Rea allegedly didn't like the production job performed by Gus Dudgeon on this album and it does have a slightly late 70s feel to it. In some ways this adds to its charm. Also some of the tracks are an interesting document of the working class north east from that time.

This is not Chris Rea's best album, however it is still very good and there are enough high quality tracks to make it worth checking out.


The Ultimate Collection
The Ultimate Collection
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £6.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Streetlife Serenader, 11 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
Billy Joel has written and recorded so many great songs over the years. When an artist with such a fine body of work releases a compilation there will always be tracks that should have been included but are not ("scenes from an italian restaurant" being the obvious candidate).

Taken on its own merit this is an excelent overview of Joels work with standout tracks such as "Goodnight Saigon", "Streetlife Serenader" and "New York State of Mind". Also included is the duet "Baby Grand" with Ray chales although he is uncredited in the liner notes.

I originally purchased this album on the off-chance just to see if Joels back catalogue was any good. I had only really heard "we didn't start the fire" (one of the weaker tracks on here & the stormfront album) and "Uptown Girl". Good move as I have subsequently purchased all his studio albums.

This compilation is fine for anyone who simply wants a double CD of Joels work. Whether it is "ultimate" will depend on your taste and if there are any of your favourite songs missing. It is certainly better than the single "Piano man" CD despite that compilation including "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant".

For those of you who really get into his music on the back of this CD, you could find it becomes redundant rather quickly as you may find yourself purchasing the albums these songs originally came from.


Innuendo
Innuendo
Offered by The Music Warehouse
Price: £15.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever will be, will be, 10 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Innuendo (Audio CD)
Innuendo is a strange album as the circumstances surrounding its creation dominates how many listeners interpret the songs. Released shortly before the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury who was gravely ill during its recording, it has (despite misguided "Queen+" projects and "Made in heaven") a sense of ending.

From the reflective "these are the days of our lives" to the defiance of "the show must go on" and the dark humor of "I'm going slightly mad" (apparently written about some of the mental health issues endured due to his condition) Mercury gave his strongest vocal performance in years despite the obvious frailty in his voice. The rest of the band appears to have upped their game as well and in my opinion this is Queen's best album since 1977s News of the World.

Ignoring all the baggage associated with it, this is a classic album. It could be argued that Queen II and Night at the opera are better, but this album has all the components of a great Queen album (the harmonies, different musical styles, multi-layered instruments).

There are a couple of duff tracks. "Delilah" (a tribute to Mercury's cats) is cheesy, and "ride the wild wind" could have done with a better arrangement, however tracks like "Innuendo", "Bijou", the "show must go on" and "these are the days of our lives" are epic.

The bonus CD is OK but should really have included the "explosive mix" of Innuendo.

Overall this is poignant album and it contains some of Queen's finest tracks.

Long-term fans will probably already have a copy of it but for those who have a hits package and wish to explore Queen's back-catalog further, this album should be high on your list.


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