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'58 Sessions: Featuring Stella
'58 Sessions: Featuring Stella

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miles '58 sessions - cool jazz classics live and in studio, 18 Mar 2003
As this is a compilation, and one from the original early '90s Columbia reissues rather than the more recent Legacy series, this title was quite low down on my Miles wish-list, and thus have only recently purchased it having already bought many of his classic albums. But its piecemeal format - four studio sessions and three live cuts, taken from mid-1970s Columbia collections - does not make it any less a great addition to any Miles Davis fan's collection.
This disc features one of his great bands, featuring legendary musicians Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane on sax duties. It is worth picking up for the unique versions of "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Stella by Starlight", and a recording of "Love For Sale" that was originally tackled on Adderley's "Something Else" album, which Miles guested on. The version of "Straight, No Chaser" is as smoking as the "Milestones" version but with plenty of unique touches to make it stand out in its own right. The three live performances come from an album called "Jazz At The Plaza" which is now available with additional tracks as a seperate CD. The sound quality is very lo-fi compared to modern standards, but this and the very responsive audience reactions give it a great atmosphere. The performances are hugely energetic. If you don't already own "Jazz at the Plaza", definitely consider buying it - it's worth it just for "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Stella by Starlight" alone!

For Collectors Only: Zappa Tribute
For Collectors Only: Zappa Tribute

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A curio collection from Frank's early days..., 31 Jan 2003
Zappa novices, take note. Despite the "Apostrophe"-era cover photo, this is the latest (and cheapest) CD repackage of early singles written and produced by Zappa recorded at his old Baltimore studio 'Studio Z'. The songs are mostly novelty records cashing in on then-current pop trends. "Dear Jeepers" and "Letter From Jeepers" are bizarre "Monster Mash"-style spoken pieces, "How's Your Bird" is clearly based on "Surfin' Bird", and there are a couple of surf instrumentals. "the World's Greatest Sinners" (sic) is the theme song to a B Movie that Zappa composed the soundtrack to. Frank doesn't sing on any of the tracks, and there are no examples of his virtuoso guitar work.
The only track that might be of some interest is "Heavies" by the Rotations. The first few seconds of this track can be heard on the beginning of side two of "We're Only In It For The Money", just before "Let's Make The Water Turn Black" kicks in. A few sound effects on other tracks (such as the famous 'snork' noise) also cropped up here and there on various Mothers of Invention tracks. Uncle Frank was never one to waste an idea! It's a shame the single he wrote for Batman's Adam West, "Boy Wonder I Love You", doesn't appear here!
All in all, a bit of Zappa prehistory, with some novelty value. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be "For Completists Only"!

Best Of Bowie
Best Of Bowie

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST OF BOWIE? SO CLOSE, AND SO FAR!, 4 Nov 2002
This review is from: Best Of Bowie (Audio CD)
Does the world need another David Bowie greatest hits album? EMI certainly seem to think so. 1993's 'The Singles Collection' remains a near-definitive collection of tracks from the golden years, and we've had the 1969-1974 and 1975-1979 Very Best ofs (Presumably the planned 1980-1990 set is off the cards, shame), not to mention a recent collection of instrumentals.
Let's face it, only seasoned fanatics are going to be irked but such questions, and - like most Christmas compilations - 'Best of Bowie' (a title that's already been used once before!) is aimed fairly and squarely at the casual fan and absolute beginner. And why not - every Bowie album introduces some new fans to his work, and 'Heathen' has been a big critical and commercial success.
'The Singles Collections' famously included a few songs that weren't even singles, let alone hits, but you can't aim similar complains at the inclusion here of 'Oh! You Pretty Things' or 'The Man Who Sold The World', both popularised by other artists (it's surprising 'All The Young Dudes' isn't included for the same reason) - on the other hand, 'Diamond Dogs' and 'Scary Monsters' were hardly the best choices of singles from said albums and didn't exactly set the world alight either.
OK. Obvious complaints time. The idea of a Bowie 'best of' based on hit singles doesn't really give the whole picture. DB himself has admitted that he's not a singles artist, and some of his most famous songs (eg Changes, Heroes) didn't even get into the top twenty). Including five songs from the last ten years doesn't begin to illustrate Bowie's spectacular creative rebirth of the last decade. And where is 'Cat People', or the original single mixes of 'Jean Genie' and 'Rebel Rebel', far more punky than the widely available album versions? At this stage in DB's career, either a 3CD set of all his A-sides or a box set of key tracks, rarities and outtakes (it'd be about time) would make a better retrospective.
The collection's heavy bias toward the 1970s and early '80s (yeah, I know this is kind of missing the point) also continues the myth, perpetrated by lazy, cloth-eared critics, that Bowie's '90s material hasn't really produced much of note. For my money, a bonus disc of key tracks from the last 15 years would re-dress the balance. Don't believe me? Get a Bowie fan to put together the following tracks on a tape for you and see what you think:
1) Absolute Beginners 2) Underground (theme from Labyrinth) 3) When The Wind Blows 4) Time Will Crawl 5) Never Let Me Down 6) Amazing 7) I Can't Read 8) Pretty Pink Rose 9) Baby Universal 10) Shopping For Girls 11) Real Cool World 12) Jump They Say 13) Nite Flights 14) Buddha of Suburbia 15) Strangers When We Meet 16) Hearts Filthy Lesson 17) No Control 18) Thru These Architects Eyes 19) Telling Lies (Paradox Mix) 20) Little Wonder 21) Looking For Satellites 22) Seven Years In Tibet 23) Seven 24) Survive 25) Slow Burn
So, hardcore fanatics - get it for the single remix of Loving The Alien, but don't chuck away your 'Singles Collection' just yet. New fans? Get 'Best of Bowie' by all means, and enjoy the many delights of his back catalogue, but take note that his '90s work (yes, even the Tin Machine albums) has enough hidden gems to fill a 'Best of Bowie II'. Just don't expect anything like 'Let's Dance'!
As a footnote...The Us edition comes as a single CD or a double CD. The double CD includes "Panic In Detroit", "Cat People", "Thursday's Child" and even the Tin Machine debut single "Under The God" - these minor changes may well give it the edge over the British edition here. But is is more expensive!

My Funny Valentine
My Funny Valentine
Price: £8.55

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The talented Mr Baker sings and plays for lovers, 29 Oct 2002
This review is from: My Funny Valentine (Audio CD)
I'm amazed that no one has reviewed this fabulous CD - it's such a gem that I had to rectify this situation, in the hope a review might draw some people's attention to this album.
Subtitled "Chet Baker sings and plays for lovers", 'My Funny Valentine' gives Frank Sinatra's similarly themed albums of the same era a run for its money. There is no way any man or woman could fall for the winning combination of Chet Baker's breezy trumpet playing and gorgeous voice. Combined with his James Dean-style looks, one can easily see how he became jazz's first heart-throb. This album includes beautiful readings of such standards as "Someone To Watch Over Me", "Like Someone In Love" (as covered by Bjork on 'Debut') and of course, his definitive version of "My Funny Valentine" - a song that has been recorded by everyone from Elvis Costello, Nico, and Barbra Streisand to Miles Davis and (of course) Frank Sinatra. Chet Baker's version was the inspiration behind Matt Damon's rendition of this song in the film "the Talented Mr. Ripley."
Another standout is Chet's signature song, "Let's get lost", an exuberant love song that really swings.
If you are having a special evening with a certain someone and want to set the mood, this album is perfect - with a smoky, lights down low feel.
Incidentally, if the melody to "Isn't It Romantic?" sounds familiar - it appears midway through the infamous Frank Zappa song "Punky's Whips"!
if you enjoy this, check out the similarly themed "Embraceable You" (also on pacific jazz) and "the Italian sessions".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2011 8:29 PM BST

Offered by rbmbooks
Price: £13.34

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars heathen chemistry!, 28 Aug 2002
This review is from: Slowburn (Audio CD)
BOWIE SLOWBURN SINGLE - the first single off Bowie's latest album "Heathen" did not get a release in the UK so I ordered this import copy. If you enjoyed the album's bonus disc with its remake of his obscure 1970 B Side "Conversation Piece" this single offers more of the same. Highlights for Bowie fans are a re-recording of "Shadow Man", an officially unreleased but much-bootlegged song from 1970 (considered a lost classic) and a very modern re-make of "You've Got A habit of Leaving", one of his first singles - originally cut in 1965 with the Lower Third as a Who-style mod rock anthem and given a Y2K update. Also includes two more recent songs, similar in style to the B sides from 1999's "hours" album. Incidentally the main cut, "Slow Burn", is a beautiful Bowie rock ballad in classic mould.

Best Of Miss Peggy Lee
Best Of Miss Peggy Lee
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.29

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential listening for music lovers, 11 Aug 2002
This review is from: Best Of Miss Peggy Lee (Audio CD)
...This CD is a fantastic collection of seminal recordings by Miss Peggy Lee. Peg was one of the first female vocalists who had a 'hands on' control of her career at all times, quite ground-breaking in that respect. As a result this collection of work from her Capitol Records era is a very eclectic selection, from the atmospheric "Ghost Riders In The Sky", to tongue in cheek songs like "I'm A Woman" (A feminist rocker in the style of Elvis's "Trouble" from King Creole), the smouldering ballad "Fever" and, finally, "Is That all There is?" a stunning song written by Leiber and Stoller in the style of Berlin cabaret torch songs, by turns melodramatic and witty, and used to great effect by Martin Scorcese in his cult film "After Hours". There is also an excellent version of "Big Spender" that shreds Shirley Bassey's more well-known rendition to pieces! I would also recommend "Black Coffee" for a sampling of her work on Decca Records.

The Deram Anthology: 1966-1968
The Deram Anthology: 1966-1968
Price: £7.46

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential early Dave!, 27 July 2002
...This ain't rock'n'roll! This is...well, what exactly? This is a definitive collection of Bowie's releases for Deram in 1966 and 1967. DB was listening to the Velvet Underground, Scott Walker, and The Mothers of Invention at this time but these songs seem more influenced by music hall and big bands of the '20s and '30s, with waltz tempos aplenty and lots of oompah-ing brass arrangements! There's some twee psychedelia on "Sell Me A Coat" and "Ching A Ling", ultra-fey teen pop on "Love You Till Tuesday" and some semi-autobiographical cynical vignettes of Swinging London "Join The Gang", "Maid Of Bond Street" and "London Boys".
For the most part, however, it's like Listen With Mother hosted by Edgar Allen Poe. Beneath the rinky-dink arrangements are songs about a lonely bombardier who befriends two children and is run out of town as a suspected paedophile; a woman who drags up as a man to join the army; and a future in which the government has enforced mass abortion, suicide and sterilisation to stop the population explosion!
There's also some poignant songs that yearn for an idyllic childhood that never was - "Come And Buy My Toys" and the brilliant "There Is A Happy Land" (a forerunner of "After All" on MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD).
Bowie's continual interest in Buddhism ("Quicksand", "Seven Years In Tibet") makes its first appearance here with "Silly Boy Blue".
The stand out song is "Please Mr Gravedigger",a spoken word monologue about a gravedigger who is digging a grave for the child-murderer he is contemplating killing! The only backing is a FX tape of a storm, DB stomping on a tray full of gravel, and a very convincing 'fake sneeze' ("Scuse me"). Outstanding, wierd and his first 'acting' role.
You can have fun spotting ideas and themes that Bowie has recycled on later occasions. Never one to waste an idea, the bass riff in the middle of "Join The Gang" (itself ripped off from "Gimme Some Lovin'") reappeared on "Strangers When We Meet", thirty years later; and "Ching A Ling"s melody was reworked as the synthesiser part on "Saviour Machine" from THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD.
Oh, and "The Laughing Gnome" is on there too. The Bowie song no one will admit to liking, but we all secretly know all the words!
This album will make you wonder where David would be know if he had never discovered The Velvet Underground, Neitzsche and the influences that shaped his 1970s work. One thing's for sure, I'd rather listen to this CD than "Tonight" any day!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 5, 2012 4:01 PM BST

The Teaches of Peaches
The Teaches of Peaches
Offered by neil_anderson1967
Price: £8.00

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars REAL girl power!, 27 July 2002
This review is from: The Teaches of Peaches (Audio CD)
I bought this album after hearing "F**k the pain away" on the '2 many DJs' mix album and "Lovertits" on the 'Futurism' compilation. Peaches is the antidote to the bland, doe-eyed, brainless 'sex symbols' of mainstream pop...- Peaches sings about her desires and sexual appetite in a direct, expletive-littered fashion that puts a real twist on the norms of pop ballads and male rap. In Peaches' songs men are just there to fufill her needs!
Unfortunately the two aforementioned cuts are by far the most outstanding on the album, and the lo-fi techno-hip hop backing lacks the variety of the German trio Chicks on Speed, whose music shares certain similarities with Peaches. you should definitely get this album if you want to hear something really refreshing and unrestrained!
It's a shame that the extreme language and graphic details in her songs (whether you'd call it pornographic is a matter of taste, and will say more about your hang-ups than hers!) means she's unlikely to be heard on Radio 1 or appear on Top Of The Pops, still, in an ideal world eh?

Never Let Me Down
Never Let Me Down
Price: £10.81

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly ironic album title!, 27 July 2002
This review is from: Never Let Me Down (Audio CD)
This was the first David Bowie album I ever bought, when it came out in 1987, and the beginning of a great adventure, so I have a bit of a soft spot for this album. It's often described as his worst album, but that's really not fair. The real word for it is disappointing - Bowie had proved he was albe to still come up with great music during this time, just listen to the lost classic "When The Wind Blows" (not on any album, grr) or the more well-known songs from the films "Absolute Beginners" and "Labyrinth". He also co-wrote and produced Iggy Pop's "Blah Blah Blah" back to back with this album, and the Iggy album is a Bowie record in all but name and full of great songs - if he'd kept them to himself things would have been completely different!
I was only 11 when I got this album (wanting to find out more about this strange singer after seeing Labyrinth and being very impressed) and to my untrained ears "Never Let Me Down" had a certain something that made it stand out from the bland yuppie pop of the time, but compared to recent efforts like "Outside", "Heathen" and "The Buddha of Suburbia" it certainly is weak for Bowie. The only other albums (OK tapes!) I bought in 1987 also go to show how weak "Never Let Me Down" was in comparison, and how low Bowie had fallen from his creative peak - "so" by Peter Gabriel, and "Actually" by Pet Shop Boys.
There are some terribly uninspired songs that leave me cold - a pointless remake of Iggy Pop's "Bang Bang", and "Too Dizzy" a song so bad that it has been left off the most recent version of this album! But, wierdly, it also features songs that are much better than almost everything on "Let's Dance" and "Tonight"! "Day in Day out" is an early attempt at the drum- and sequencer-led techno-rock of "Earthling" with some good one-liners, but suffers from very '80s horn arrangements. "Time Will Crawl" is vintage Bowie - reminiscent of "Ashes To Ashes" mixture of synth and guitar with lyrics full of wierd, apocalyptic surreal images and a suprisingly profound look at the chilliung idea that the boy round the corner could grow up to be the next Hitler-style nemesis! "Beat of your drum" oscillates between some icy slow verses with Bowie sounding like a man on the edge of the world (you can imagine his character in labyrinth singing it), and a very lusty chorus a la "Rebel Rebel". Again, too many horns though! The title song is a great ballad that really should be put in his live set. Despite typical ballad fare - harmonica, a whistling coda! - it has a certain strangeness in its jangly, jerky chorus that almost sends it into "Lodger" territory!"zeroes" is a brave attempt to make a 'fake' psychedelic song, maybe this was to blame for Kula Shaker?! And "Glass Spider" is quite like nothing else in his back catalogue and certainly not "Let's Dance"! The rest of the album is disposable, except for "87 & Cry" although the version on the "never let me down" twelve inch is a better mix.
So, not quite as atrocious as the critics make out - and not as boring as the very overrated "Let's Dance" - but not exactly his finest hour! Thankfully he made "Tin Machine" after this, which completely destroyed his '80s middle of the road pop star persona and got him thinking about making interesting records again, and most of his '90s work has been essential listening, with the exception of the rather dull "Hours".
Definitely the worst Bowie record sleeve ever!

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition)
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (30th Anniversary 2CD Edition)
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £75.38

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ZIGGY 30 years young!, 4 July 2002
Although I don't feel that this is Bowie's best album (for me, that award would have to go to Hunky Dory or Low) this is certainly his most important, given that it broke his career after struggling for mainstream success for nearly a decade! This album has been released several times on LP and CD, this edition is probably most worthwhile to relative newcomers. Collectors like myself will be disappointed as almost all of the bonus tracks appeared during the 1990 'Sound + Vision' reissue series, either on "Ziggy" or the US box set. Of these "Round and Round" has been the least repeated (only previously collected in the UK on "Bowie Rare"), and "Sweet Head" is the most obscure. Not that it matters, if you're a completist you'll buy it anyway, and we can now own all the 1972 recordings under one roof. This album is not as glam-styled as others of the period, acoustic guitar and piano predominate (a la HUNKY DORY) with the exception of a few rockers in the second half. "starman" is still a perfect pop single, with snatches of "Over the Rainbow" and "You keep me hanging on" (listen to the 'morse code' riff closely!). Other subtle bits of referencing includes "Soul Love" following the melody line of "Stand by Me" (a la Life On Mars/My Way). But it is still an original sounding album. Mick Ronson's arrangements are truly beautiful, and Ken Scott's masterful production is economical yet effective, with a few nice mixing touches, such as the yelp bouncing between the speakers at the beginning of It Aint Easy, the 1-2 intro to Hang On, and the way the first three songs segue together seamlessly! If you don't already own it, this is probably a nice package to get.

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