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Brian Jones (Cheyne Walk)

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Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Offered by SmokeCDs
Price: 14.90

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lou Reed Chronicles Part Three: In Which Lou Stakes His Claim in the Pantheon, 2 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
The third, and to date (June 12) final mini box of Lou's work. This set covers Lou's return to RCA and the years 1982 to 1986 and unfortunately is probably the least interesting of the sets on offer. It's not all fallow and I guess even Lou deserves a little quiet time.
* Blue Mask: Lou becomes an Artist with the emphasis on the capital A. Ruminations on Delmore, Kennedy and wife Sylvia are particularly lovely but like Townshend before him our Lou starts to trip himself up with cumbersome lyrics. "Silvia and I got our Ouija board" would sound faintly ridiculous no matter who was singing it. Likewise the Blue Mask track itself which gets way too wordy to work. It's also worth mentioning that on this LP, and the subsequent Legendary Hearts, that Lou starts to try and "sing" the songs. Now Lou has a unique voice, he could read from the NYC telephone directory and make it sound interesting, but he just can't sing. What makes it worse is that he sounds so damn earnest as well.
* Legendary Hearts: Less arty than Blue Mask, the title track is terrific and Don't Talk To Me About Work is punchy but you get the distinct impression he's trying too hard. There's no edge here, no challenge. It's music as reportage but as with Rock n Roll Heart, even when he's not on target he's never less than interesting.
* Live In Italy: I could never work this one out, what was the purpose of this? Originally a double LP and now on one CD this was only ever released in Europe and was sourced from a couple of nights in Rome and Verona during the Legendary Hearts tour. In a review in Sounds at the time of release, Sandy Robertson and erstwhile VU and Lou fan berated this release and unfortunately the intervening years have done little to change its stature. Kill Your Sons still crackles, but that's it, and as that track has been compiled onto NYC Man this release is pretty redundant. Not half as much fun as Take No Prisoners (Lou as Lenny Bruce).
* New Sensations: The voice is back! Lou ditches earnest and gets playful. He even gets a sniff of chart action with I Love You Suzanne, unfortunately you get the impression that Lou is playing the game here. He can push the buttons as required but again, there's no challenge. The title track is smart, but again that's done to that wonderful vocal delivery.
* Mistrial: Another one lost in the cracks. This is a little more edgy that New Sensations but essentially cut from the same cloth. I prefer the harder edge that this Lou gives us but I'm struggling right now to list one memorable thing about it.
Nice box, fantastic value but in all honesty none of the albums in this box are one's I return to on anything other than an infrequent basis. After this Lou got all worthy with New York, Magic and Loss and Drella but since then he's been as confounding, confusing and challenging as ever. God bless him, he's a true maverick.

Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: 14.90

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou Chronicles Part Two: Lou Goes Wild, 2 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Part two in which Lou leave RCA and signs up with Arista. As with the first box, the chronology is slightly adrift in that the double set Live: Take No Prisoners came out after Street Hassle. Due to length it's still a double CD so I can see why it's left out, but it's unfortunate because it's a crucial part of this period in which Lou released some of his most challenging and uncompromising work.
Here's the low down:
* Rock n Roll Animal: Left over from the first box and one of the albums non Lou fans tout. Louie pulverises his Transformer and Berlin songs into proto metal. The Sweet Jane intro is sublime and the point where THAT riff comes in is priceless, but the rest of it I can live without. As is common, you get the remaster with a couple more tracks added.
* Rock n Roll Heart: The first LP of the Arista tenure and one that's since fallen between the cracks. Plenty of parping saxophones, some VU left overs - Follow The Leader, Sheltered Life - and a curiously under rated set. It has a jazz groove running through it and is none the worse for it. Not saying you'll play it much, but even when Lou wasn't firing on all cylinders he was still a nose in front of the competition.
* Street Hassle: This is the killer, where Lou really turned up the heat. There's more punk attitude here than in the whole of the young pretenders school of 78 dissertation. You have to hear it to believe it, Lou turns on everyone including himself on the opening Gimmie Some Good Times ("hey, if it ain't the old Rock and Roll Animal himself. What you doin' bro?). Too many stand outs to list, but the title track is mesmerising and features a cameo from Bruce Boss. I Wanna Be Black takes racial awareness to a new level of coarse humour - like an aware Bernard Manning. Recorded, as was the Bells, using the Stereo Binaural System (whatever that was). Listen to the retooled live I Wanna Be Black on the NYC Man compilation for an idea of how it should have sounded.
* The Bells: In which our Lou teams up with Nils Lofgren to produce a confusing and puzzling set - Stupid Man, Disco Mystic anyone? Time reveals it's charms and there's still an edge there. The title track has a nod to the Murder Mystery as far as lyrical obliqueness goes but its swell nonetheless. One for the fans.
* Growing Up In Public: In which Lou comes of (middle) age. Recently hooked up with Sylvia, Lou grows up and gets kind of boring. This isn't bad, but you get the impression that Lou's playing the game, that he's in bed for 10:00 and that he's behaving himself. The cover got rated by Rolling Stone as one of the worst ever. It figures. And even the SBS system had been dumped.
Is it worth it? Yes, but unlike the first set it's not one for curious bystanders. This is Lou for those who want to get the real wild side.
Usual replica sleeves and outer slip case; cheap but functional.

Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: 11.44

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lou Chronicles Part One: Lou Leaves Home, 2 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Lou is great and this is a great box no matter which way you look at it.
Roughly this box represents the first four years of Lou's post VU life. I say roughly because it omits both of the period live albums - Rock and Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live - and the double LP studio set Metal Machine Music. MMM has a life of its own and if you want to get a feel for it, check out some of the Amazon reviews. Lou probably hates this box for leaving out MMM but I can see why the compilers made that choice. I'm not saying that it's right, just understandable.

So what do we have left?
* Lou Reed is the solo debut. On paper this should have been Loaded pt 2, the songs on balance were as good as Loaded despite nothing hitting the highs of Sweet Jane, New Age or Rock n Roll. What went wrong is hard to say but it just doesn't sound alive. Lou says that the original mix had a problem with Dolby; this CD corrects that but Louie seems hesitant and the hired guns in the studio band don't really help. Great songs though, including many VU leftovers.

* Transformer you maybe know about. Ziggy Bowie hauls our Lou up by the lapels and gives him the production to match his songs. Yes it's good - Satellite of Love, Perfect Day - but in my mind it's a tad over rated, more a reflection of the times than of Lou. Still, you get the remaster with the additional demos and radio ad. Bowie fans will love it.

* Berlin is the dark fire meisterwork. It works because while it's a "concept" per se, the songs don't have a specific narrative. Instead Lou gives you the dots and let you fill the gaps in. Using the divided city of Berlin as a metaphor for a failing relationship, Lou takes us through the whole emotional kaleidoscope. The Kids still chills 40 years on. Ignore those who say it's depressing, it has its own inner beauty but you'll need to persevere with it.

* Sally Can't Dance is the sleeping classic. Derided by Lou himself, this hits the spots that Transformer skirted around. Try New York Stars for a piece of nastiness that's funny in it's put down of the wannabees. And Lou never sounded as laconic as here, his voice hits that NYC cool throughout. Again, this is the remastered shot with the bonus tracks.

* Finally Coney Island Baby and another lost classic. In the wake of the MMM fall out, Butch promised RCA that he'd behave himself on the next album and in turn serves up a thing of beauty. Said to be a throwback to the doo wop days where Lou cut his teeth, it's got more going for it than that superficial style suggests. And check out Kicks for a disorientating piece of sleaze. The title track is the killer, 6+ minutes of beauty with Lou's voice and cool cracking on the final "Man I swear I'd give the whole thing up for you". The bonus tracks show that the initial draft had a harder edge. Difficult to say whether it would have been better had it come through in that form but they're a worthy addition.

In common with other boxes in the series, the discs come in replica sleeves. Not exactly Japanese standard but fine nonetheless. Everything is held in an outer sleeve. At the price, this is a gift - no two albums are the same, and it's Lou Lou Lou!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2014 9:27 PM GMT

George Harrison - Living in the Material World (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]
George Harrison - Living in the Material World (Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Martin Scorsese
Price: 92.49

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holey, 20 Dec 2011
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Here's the Scorcese film of George H, the quiet one and at 3+ hours you'd hope that it would be the final word, the full story, the bees knees. It is, however, a curates egg.

The first half covers the years up to around 1968. If you're a Beatles fan then you'll know the tale inside out. What adds a bit more seasoning to this is the addition of previously unseen footage, not much admittedly, but enough to draw you in. I noticed some very early colour footage of the Fabs in what appearred to be their Hamburg days. Also some shots of John and George on a cliff top circa 1967 and more colour footage at Kinfauns - bet the neighbours loved that self made graffitti on the walls...

The second half is where this could deliver, but unfortunately falls down. We get some mention of George as a producer but the axis shifts to his work with the Radha Krishna Temple. That's a shame because GH produced some great albums for Billy Preston, Doris Troy and Jackie Lomax as well as adding his trade mark guitar to Day After Day by Bad Finger. Put it this way, I've got the Apple box and have never played the RKT CD but have played the others.

We get a fair bit of detail on All Things Must Pass and tracks from that glorious album are used as musical beds throughout the film. We also get the Concert for Bangladesh and some welcome shots of the ill fated 1974 Dark Horse tour. But after that, we get nothing at all on George's musical career until the Wilbury's. I spoke with someone I work with who had seen the film on TV and who likes the Beatles but has a skimpy knowledge of George. His words were, "didn't he release any records after 1974? But I remember a number one he had in 1987?". And this is the problem, anyone with a similar knowledge would have thought George was musically mute after 1974.

Not only is there no mention of post 1974 albums, there's also no mention of the Dark Horse label. OK, this wasn't on a par with Apple but it did score a top 45 for Splinter with Costafinetown. It also played home to some pretty esoteric acts, including Ravi Shankar. Back to my work colleague - "every so often some sitar music cropped up, and really once is enough". I take his point.

George's reaction to the murder of JHL is reduced to a quote from Olivia: "He was upset that John hadn't decided how he wanted to leave his body". That was it? I understood that relations between JL and GH were strained at the time of Lennon's death as a result of John's comments on I Me Mine, George's autobiography. Lennon commented that by virtue of the lack of mention of Lennon in the book, George was saying that John's impact on his life was nil. George responded by writing "All Those Years Ago" but changed the lyrics to a more concilliatory tone after JL was shot. Again, no mention.

We're told about Handmade films and maybe too much time is spent on Monty Python because we get no mention of how or why the company folded or of the infamous Madonna Film, Shanghai Surprise. Wasn't it the case that the collapse of Handmade brought George so close to the financial brink that he had to agree to rake over the Beatle coals for Anthology, something he'd previously refused to do? Again, a glaring hole like an elephant in the room.

There's mention of a cocaine issue and maybe dalliances with other women. You only have to look at the moon face George in the 1974 tour shots to see that there was maybe a drug thing going off. Also, the 1979 song Soft Hearted Hana showed that even as late as the end of that decade, George was still dabbling.

Of the presentation, I watched the Blu Ray and the sound and picture quality is top notch. You only have to see the brief clip of the Strawberry Fields Forever clip and hear the Savoy Truffle track to appreciate that perhaps now is the time for Anthology to be transferred to Blu Ray.

And the package? You get a Blu Ray of the film as well as 2DVD of it. The extras include additional interviews, including a nice McCartney tale as well as more footage from the dark Horse. Unfortunately it's more of them there sitars... You also get a ten track CD of George demos. I initially thought that these were All Things Must pass tracks but listening to them, it's clear that they span George's career - there are some parping 1980 saxophones on at least one track. No track details are given, but no doubt someone like Doug Sulphy is working out the parentage as we type.

You also get a reduced version of the hard back book, which is OK because I'd not bought it. There are also a couple of high quality prints: a B&W early shot and a smashing colour one from the 1968 Mad Day Out sessions. Finally, you can use the box as a frame to show the prints if you like. But you won't will you?

In summary, is it worth it? Well, the film was shown on TV a week or so after this was released so if you've taped that then you're missing just the bonus footage, the music CD and the book/ prints. The Blu ray format is, however, grand. On balance, it's a lovely set. The film is flawed and the omissions regrettable but this is probably the most important Beatle related release since Anthology in terms of footage.

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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Drugbore, 11 Dec 2011
Creation Records had several lives, initially starting out as a home for jangly guitar acts such as Biff Bang Bow, the Pastels and the Weather Prophets to finally ending up as the base from which Oasis achieved world domination. Here we have the tale from inception to end built primarily around interviews with Alan McGee and Bobby Gillespie.

The main draw back of this is that it gets tiresome quite quickly and the main fault lies with McGee himself. Damn near every interview piece has a cross section of the following words: "drugs", "insane", "lunatic", "mental", "weirdo". It's like spending 90 minutes with the worlds biggest pub bore, those people you meet who try to convince you that they're interesting but just come across as sad little individuals. All of the interviews with McGee were made especially for the film so whilst you see some contemporary archive film McGee only speaks once and that's in an exchange with Tony Wilson:

TW:"Why did you move to Manchester?"
AM: "The drugs are better"

At least he didn't throw in "insane", "lunatic" etc. etc. It's quite funny to see McGee in the archive shots with a fixed sneer that could only have been modelled on Neil Innes playing Ron Nasty in the Rutles.

We see some archive footage of select Creation acts and with the notable exception of Oasis they all look and dress crap. It's also notable that the if you shut your eyes you'd be hard pressed to say whether the music being played was Ride, Slowdive, MBV or Sugar. We also get the showboating of Booby G of Primal Scream. Never did one individual have such a high opinion of his net worth but not posses the raw talent to be able to live up to his own ego. Talk about Emperors New Clothes, BG must have a whole wardrobe. And am I the only one to think that Screamadelica was actually an Andy Weatherall LP that just happenned to use Primal Scream tracks as it's musical bed?

The high water mark is made by Oasis and we get a fair amount of Noel G and Bonehead from that band. Noel G is never less than entertaining but someone should tell him that, really, you don't need to swear so much to make a point. I agree that contrary to popular myth, swearing can be both big and clever but NG peppers his narrative with a veritable buckhshot of the F word to the extent that any point he's trying to make gets lost. He swears like a 13 year old lad.

Finally it's a shame that no mention is made of the likes of Felt, Heidi Berry etc. who did offer something other than the noise of the herd. Also why no mention of Rev-Ola and Heavenly, especially as St. Etienne do appear in the film. Maybe they didn't take enough drugs, or weren't "mental" enough to match the blue print?

The government could save a Kings Ransom in anti drug advertising just by showing this film: drugs aren't big or clever, they just turn you into a bore. Like the kids who kicks traffic cones around in a drunken stupour on Friday night - to them it's the funniest thing in the world, to the rest of us it's just a wee bit tedious.

Mr. Mojo Risin' (Ain't Dead)
Mr. Mojo Risin' (Ain't Dead)
by Ron Clooney
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.60

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Here But These Lies, 16 Sep 2011
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I bought this on pre-order thinking that I would be in for a detailed treatise of Jim Morrison's last days in Paris, I was wrong.

Due to the passage of time, there are several areas of Morrison's life that have become vague and patchy, perhaps the most important being the hours leading up to his death in Paris in July 1971. This paucity resulted at one time in some Jimbo risen from the dead antics perpetrated by various parties for differing reasons. Fundamentally, the "not dead" camp emanated from the following "facts":-
1. Nobody apart from Pam Courson saw the body.
2. Morrison was seen boarding a plane on the eve of his death.
3. In the 70's a bank worker reported that someone was operating an account in the name of Jim.
4. In the same decade someone called a US radio station claiming to be Jim.
5. The appearance of an album by the "Phantom" that sounded mysteriously like Morrison.
6. Ray Manzarek made various insinuations that Jim may not be dead.

With the exception of 5 and 6, all are the work of fantasists. Anybody who has heard the Phantom LP - and the subsequent out-takes set - knows that it's as much Jim as Klaatu were the Beatles. As for Ray's comments - well, it was good for trade to keep the story alive. Even he gave up on the tack eventually although by then he was a multi millionaire off the back of the Doors catalogue with no need to keep the myth burning.

What put the tin lid on any possible doubt was Alan Ronay's comments in Stephen Davies Jim Morrison book. Anyone who thinks that Morrison escaped the reaper should read the pages relating to the day Ronay spent with Morrison in the hours leading to his death. Clearly Morrison was ill.

Where does this leave the Clooney book? Well, it's the old adage of "why let the facts get in the way of a good story". Doors fans will be aware of the Paris tape consisting of some of Jim's spoken poetry along with a fairly ramshackle performance of Orange County Suite from a different session. This last performance was made with a pick up of street musicians named as Jomo and the Smoothies. It's this last fragment of tape that Clooney hinges his tale on.

According to this - and the story is presented as fact - the Smoothies tape is just a fragment of a wider cache culminating in an unfinished and unreleased album featuring Jim and the band. That's not all, Clooney has heard the tapes and guess what, they were clearly recorded after July 1971 because they reference the end of the Vietnam war.

Clooney meets the guitarist from the Smoothis, Doug Prayer although that may not be his real name. Doug lived in one of the swank apartments overlooking Place des Vosges in Paris. Clooney met Prayer after the latter responded to some ads the former left around Paris. As you do. Doug is loaded thanks to his deceased dad and a US war pension hence the Paris garret. Not only did Doug know Jim but he has an imminent appointment with the reaper himself so feels that it's time to spill the beans. And those beans are that Jim is alive and well and living out in Greece.

The escape was made as a result of one of the Smoothies being a dead ringer for Jim. With Jim's agreement, the doppelganger passes himself off around Paris as the Lizard King in order to pull chicks. Why, even Babe Hill is fooled. When our erstwhile Rory Bremner of the rock world od's in the cludgy of the Rock n Roll circus the resulting misfortune gives the perfect cover for our man to fly the coop. Pam is fully on board, though she doesn't make the final rendezvous as she plays the grieving widow role too well and overdoses.

Ron visits Greece and hey presto finds Jim, there's even a photo of the meeting in the book! Only it's from such a long distance that it looks like Jimi Hendrix talking to Maria Callas from what I can make out.

Ron comes back to Paris to find that Doug has checked out of Place des Vosges and left no forwarding address; and despite having been in residence for 35+ years none of the neighbours really know him or what's happened to him. Although it looks like Jim turned up to help him lift a few boxes.

Ron claims to have been a journalist, having lost his job for shouting his mouth off at his editor just one too many times man! Well, if this is the extent of his investigative journalism I bet they were glad to be shot of him. I won't bore you with the detail but suffice to say that Ron does not:
1. Interview Alan Ronay despite taking apart his interview given in the Davis book.
2. Visit Rue Beautrellis - well he does, but he loses his bottle and can't knock on the door.
3. Interview Agnes Varda.
4. Interview Bill Siddons the Doors manager who flew out to Paris.
5. Interview any of the people mentioned in Bob Seymores book the End who claimed to have seen the dead Morrison.
6. Interview any of the Courson family

This book is just poop. I gave it two stars because it's easy to read and has some interesting points to say about the Doors but, really, it can't be anything other than career suicide for Clooney because I can't imagine anyone taking anything he writes in the future, or indeed has already written, seriously.

As a postscript, Frank Thoroughgood made a confession to Geoffrey Giuliano just before he shook off the mortal coil. "I did it guv, I killed Brian" said our sometime brickie after which it became common currency to say that Jones had been murdered by Frank, they even made a film of it! Maybe that's what Ron wants, some sucker to put up the filthy lucre for the film rights to this rubbish?
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2012 1:47 PM GMT

Magix Music Maker 17 (PC)
Magix Music Maker 17 (PC)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Falls At The first Fence, 4 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Magix Music Maker 17 (PC) (CD-ROM)
I previously had Magix 12 and used that perfectly well to record guitar tracks. When my computer gave up the ghost and I replaced it, the new one came with Windows 7 meaning that Magix 12 was no longer compatable. I've therefore gone for the latest Magix 17.

Yes, it's loaded with sound samples and you can generate songs at the flick of a switch, or the press of a mouse. But contrary to the claims made on the box it's damn near impossible to record from an external source. I've laboured with this over two weekends trying to get anything other than low level input from my guitar even with the settings at max.

The instructions make this all sound easy - jack your guitar/ microphone etc. into your computer and you're away. Only you're not. There is an online service where you can pose a technical question, which is what I did just to be told that it seemed to be a soundcard issue. Err, I think not. A computer less than two months old should be more than capable of handling this; my computer meets the minimum requirements and therefore should work without endless frustrating and fruitless attempts of trying to figure out how to get more than a static drenched whimper from my guitar.

There is an online forum where you can join other frustrated users in trying to figure out solutions to issues with the system but you're at the mercy of someone responding. I actually tried to post a message to someone directly but having pressed "send" found myself bounced straight back to the log in screen with the message deleted.

You may fare better, I hope you do because it looks to be a good system but the paucity of any meaningful instructions for what must be a rudimentary issue means I'll be sending this back to Amazon and looking for other alternatives.

Music for Vagabonds - The Tuxedomoon Chronicles
Music for Vagabonds - The Tuxedomoon Chronicles
by Isabelle Corbisier
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Divine, 2 Mar 2011
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This book is an absolute joy!

Tuxedomoon are Artists with a capital "A", starting out in late seventies San Francisco with, by default, the Ralph roster of the Residents, Chrome and Snakefinger. By 1980 they had gravitated to Brussels writing ballet scores and issuing esoteric music in formats as diverse as limited 7" singles, double 12" sets and regular albums. So divorced were they from the record industry machinations that it didn't register with them to collect royalties until 1982.

This book takes you through their entire journey and it's a pleasure to read. This is no hagiography, reviews of albums and performances are based on contemporary reports and as such, spare no blushes. TM had moments of greatness, they also had several misfires and you'll read about all of them here.

Even if you have little or no knowledge of TM, I'd recommend this book because the story is so engrossing. Four individual personalities, each with their own foibles, quirks and strands of genius on a bizarre, seemingly random journey. At times the story is tragic - and there is real tragedy here - at times it's uplifting in it's story of sheer persistance and human endeavour succeeding in the face of adversity.

The book format is exemplorary. In addition to numerous photographs, the book has frequent side bars giving details of tours, expanded interviews, album track listings etc. This means that the book serves as both a grand story book and a discography/ archive book in one. Personally, I read the book with little or no reference to the side bars and thoroughly enjoyed it. A real TM head may want to delve more.

The only shame is the absence of anything other than second or third hand comments from the enigmatic Winston Tong. A true maverick who clearly wasn't going to raise is head above his self imposed parapet.

Criticisms? The book could have benefitted from a summary discography as an appendix. These details are in the side bars but it would have been good to have it all pulled together. Secondly, some things get lost in the translation and take a couple of reads to make sense of. At the end of the day, neither spoils the enjoyment.

If only all music books were written with such style, class, attention to detail and presentation...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2011 6:50 PM GMT

The Rolling Stones Vinyl Box Set: 1964-1969 [VINYL]
The Rolling Stones Vinyl Box Set: 1964-1969 [VINYL]

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through The Past Sharply, 1 Jan 2011
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In answer to questions posed by others, the lineage of this box is as follows. The albums Rolling Stones, No2, Out of Our Heads, Big Hits and Through the Past as well as the two EP's are 2010 remasters. The rest of the albums are 2002/3 remasters and are, as far as I can see, identical to the vinyl issued around the time of the SACD upgrade.

Rolling Stones, No2, Out of Our Heads and the two EP's are listed as being in Mono which they are. However, Big Hits is also in mono as well.

As for sound, the mono pressings do sound remarkable. The sonic clarity is incredible, as are the pressings with no background static at all between tracks. I agree with an earlier reviewer, this is indeed the way to hear these albums. In fact, Out of Our Heads is a pleasure to behold in this form. These versions are available on bootleg CD, and on the original pressings, but for me this trumps the lot.

If anything lets this box down, it's the sleeves. If you're going to spend all of this time and effort in pressing high quality vinyl then why not invest the same time and effort on the sleeves?

- All of the sleeves are printed on dull matt card, no laminate.
- Satanic Majesties retains the gatefold but instead of a blue or red background defaults to silver as per the 2002 SACD sleeve. I suppose it is a bit too much to ask for the 3D sleeve then...
- Big Hits has the original booklet but as a three panel foldout.
- Beggars Banquet uses the toilet sleeve instead of the original "invite" sleeve.
- No poster with Let It Bleed
- Each sleeve has reissue information printed on it along with the usual barcode cluttering up the image. Why not issue reproduction sleeves and have all the reissue information on a stand alone sheet?

On the plus side, Through The Past does have a the die cut sleeve and also comes with a fascimile inner with the blue margin showing through the punch hole at the rear. Also, the sleeve images are generally speaking crystal clear - Rolling Stones looks blurred and No2 way too dark, but they always did.
Finally, the labels revert to red for mono and blue for stereo.

You also get a download code to access all tracks in MP3 format. At least now the bootleggers willbe able to update the mono CD's out there.

So, on balance the music is 5*, the sleeves only 3*. Whether this represents value for money is a moot point. If the mono pressings and Through the Past get issued as stand alone vinyl then it won't. If not, then it may. Each box is individually numbered on the base so it does infer on it a certain amount of individuality.

Signature Box
Signature Box
Price: 93.50

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All of this and a Mont Blanc Pen, 13 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Signature Box (Audio CD)
Unfortunately I share the same feelings about this box as the majority of other purchasers.

You may have noticed that following the Beatles Anthology series, a similar trawl through the Lennon solo archive was made and that too was called Anthology. Now a year after the Beatles reissues we have the Lennon set - similar concept, perfect replica albums in digipacks gathered together in a box. You're probably picking something up here: Yoko believes that Lennon solo merits the same treatment as the Beatles music.

Firstly the music. Whatever way you look at it, Lennons post Beatle career was patchy. It's telling that the one album that really makes a good fist of staking Lennons claim as a solo genius is missing - that's Shaved Fish, the 1975 singles collection perfectly sequenced by JL himself. Here, for every Imagine and Working Class Hero there's an Oh Yoko and Luck Of The Irish, and some of what's here does stink - the cloying Yoko songs, the lyrical short comings of Sometime In New York City, the disappointment that was(and still is) Double Fantasy.

Basically the box includes all of Lennons original post Beatle studio output. This means no Two Virgins, Life With Lions, Wedding Album and Live Peace. To be honest the first three have little of merit - despite what Lennon apologists say - but Live Peace had a half side of raw Rock n Roll and is worthy of a listen. You also don't get Menlove Avenue, Live in NYC, Double Fantasy Stripped or any of the bonus tracks from the last round of reissues. Presumably the reasoning here is because the albums presented are as they were intended by JL. If that's the case, it begs the question as to why Milk and Honey is here as this wasn't a JL sanctioned release, him being dead.

The remaster of the albums is excellent, particularly on the bass and especially notable on Walls and Bridges. You can't deny it - they sound great. You also get the complete live jam from Sometime in New York City. Shame that for the most part it's unlistenable. Sourced from two shows, the first featuring a cast of thousands at the Lyceum in 1969. You would hope that a stellar cast including Lennon, Harrison, Clapton and the whole Dalaney and Bonnie shebang could have cooked upsomething more listenable than the godawful racket presented here. The second show is a guest appearrance with Frank Zappa in 1971. This includes one truly remarkable track, a cover of the Olympics "Well (Baby Please Don't Go)". Unfortunatey after that it's down hill fast as Yoko squawks and bleats for the duration. Imagine a baby that's teething and you get the picture. The fact that Zappa titled the concert "A Short Eternity With Yoko Ono" when he released it, says it all.

The slip cases are fine, if a little small for the discs and Sometime in NYC has pictures of a 1969 Beatle John on the inner.The booklets are OK although Sometime in NYC (yes again) omits some of the original inner sleeve art, notably Lennons "Fit To Die" printed on a British Army recruiting advert. A bit of bizarre censorship considering the campaign goes under the banner of Gimme Some Truth. Maybe it should be Gimme Some Truth (unless that truth is controversial and likely to damage CD sales in which case it's censored).

As for the box, it's simply not worth the money. You get a 60 page book written by a Rolling Stone staffer. Think there's anything at all left to be wriiten about JL? The book shows not. There are a handful of previously unseen pictures but the majority have been out before.

You also get a three panel fold out insert with messages from Sean, Julian and Yoko. Yoko goes on about her mission to spread Johns music - memo to Yoko: why not make it available to download for free then? You've always got the Lennon Mont Blanc pen to bring in the shekels (and what would HE have thought about that little bit of branding Ms L?).

Finally you get a pullout tray with a card with a JL print attached. How to put this? It's crap. He may have been a Musician of merit but please do not foist random pencil sketches on the public with the frontage to call it "art".

The draw here is the two disc singles/Home Tapes set.The singles are great and include his best work although any sequence that puts Happy Xmas second means you'll have to programme the disc for the eleven months of the year when the song isn't appropriate. Home demos mixes songs from 1970/1 with late 70's demos - you know the stuff, drum machine, home recording stuff. There's reams of this out in bootleg land and it includes the sickly Beautiful Boy (interesting that JL had various pot shots at Paul M about his song content and then starts to turn out stuff like this. Interesting also that Paul trumped Double fantasy with the much more interesting McCartney II in 1980).

So, I concur - massive ripoff. Avoid and buy the albums individually. In case you're wondering, I had a get out. My set included two discs of the Sometime in NYC Live Jam (double the nightmare) and omitted the studio set (smallmercies and all that),so I returned my box and got a refund. Save yourself the trouble of repackaging the box and arranging for the DHL man to come, and don't bother.
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