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Docendo Discimus (Vita scholae)
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Rio Grande Mud
Rio Grande Mud
Price: £3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, fuzzy blues-'n'-boogie, 4 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Rio Grande Mud (Audio CD)
"Rio Grande Mud", ZZ Top's second album, has a disturbingly clean-shaven Billy Gibbons on the back of the inlay card, but otherwise everything is like you would expect it.
"Rio Grande Mud" opens with one of its best songs, the groovy "Francine", sung by bassist Dusty Hill.
The rough "Just Got Paid" is sort of an uptempo blues, and Billy Gibbons plays some fine harmonica on the excellent "Mushmouth Shoutin'".
Other highlights include the pile-driving boogie "Bar-B-Q" and the slide guitar-instrumental "Apologies To Pearly", but there aren't any real "lowlights" on "Rio Grande Mud", actually....everything is worth a listen, even if some songs are slightly less memorable than others.
A great blues-rock that shows just what an excellent guitarist Billy Gibbons is, and one of ZZ Top's best efforts.

The Original Bad Co. Anthology [Box Set]
The Original Bad Co. Anthology [Box Set]

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly excellent anthology, 3 Sept. 2003
Unless you're a very devoted fan, this is pretty much all you'll ever need from Bad Company.
"The Original Bad Co. Anthology" collects twenty-three of their best singles and album tracks. It draws from all their records, yet the compilers have wisely chosen to lean heavily towards the group's first two albums, which were also their best.
Their eponymous debut album is represented by no fewer than seven tracks (out of eight!), and five are culled from "Straight Shooter". And Elektra Records have even managed to find two good songs from the awful "Rough Diamonds" album, and it's actually very hard to find anything to say against the track selection, which is one of the best and most thorough I've ever seen.
Six B-sides and unissued songs are also included, as well as four brand new songs which make their debut here...and believe it or not, they're great!
Most of this is lean, mid-tempo rock music, bordering on hard rock. Bad Company had the ability to combine cruchy hard-rock riffs with great melodies, and they had a magnificent front man in Paul Rodgers, and a fine lead guitarist in Mick Ralphs.
This music is somewhat less bluesy and more mainstream than Paul Rodgers' previous band, Free, but it has a timeless sound that makes you wonder just why Bad Company ended up being lumped in with all the stale 70s rock dinosaurs, and all but forgotten in later years.
They certainly deserve much better, as this excellent collection demonstrates.
Highlights include the slow, groovy rockers "Ready For Love" and the classic "Feel Like Makin' Love", the tough, guitar-driven (but exquisitely melodious) "Movin' On" and "Rock And Roll Fantasy", the ballad "Shooting Star", the bluesy hard rock of "Deal With The Preacher" and "Good Lovin' Gone Bad", and Bad Company's remake of Paul Rodgers' "Easy On My Soul", in a funky rendition that blows the Free version out of the water.
And the new tracks! Well, I said they're good, and they are. It's such a rare thing for a thirty-year old band to come up with truly credibly new material, but just listen to the swaggering blues-rock number "Tracking Down A Runaway" and the blustery rocker "Hey, Hey".
Virtually everything here is worth a listen, actually, even though the material on the first CD is slightly stronger than on the second.
All in all, this is a very fine collection by one of the best bands of the mid- and late 70s.
4½ stars - highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2010 10:01 AM GMT

Best Of20th Century
Best Of20th Century
Price: £5.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre collection, 3 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Best Of20th Century (Audio CD)
This, like almost all the Millennium collections, is a mediocre collection which manages to include several of the artist's best songs, but leaves out about twice as many.
Come on...a CD has room for about eighty minutes of music, and these twelve songs don't even take up half of that space.
Sure, "Smokestack Lightnin'" is here, as is "Evil", "I Ain't Superstitious", "The Red Rooster" and the magnificent "Killing Floor". But why include Willie Dixon's "Wang Dang Doodle", which Howlin' Wolf himself hated, and the silly "Built For Comfort", and leave out classics like "How Many More Years", "Forty-Four" and "Hidden Charms" are missing?
Get MCA/Chess' "His Best" instead. That one manages to pack twenty excellently selected songs onto one disc (and there's even a "His Best vol. II" once your appetite is whetted!).

Talk Is Cheap
Talk Is Cheap

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock 'n' Roll!, 30 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Talk Is Cheap (Audio CD)
Some people may be turned off by the hoarse, sandpapery whisper that is Keith Richards' singing voice. To me, it is pure rock n' roll.
"Talk Is Cheap", Richards' first solo album, rocks harder than virtually every Rolling Stones album of the 80s. It is filled with Keith Richards' customary gritty guitar playing, and several guest stars lend their talents as well, including saxist Bobby Keys and ageing R&B pianist Johnnie Johnson who plays on the superb "I Could Have Stood You Up" (which has Mick Taylor sitting in on lead guitar as well).
The excellent duet with Sarah Dash, "Make No Mistake", benefits from a subtle horn arrangement (by the Memphis Horns), and other highlights include the tough, swinging rockers "How I Wish" and "Take It So Hard", and the melodious, yet gritty ballad "Locked Away".
All in all, "Talk Is Cheap" is a solid slice of muscular rock n' roll music, and even if every song isn't equally magnificent, there is still more than enough here to make it worth your while.
3 3/4 stars.

J Geils Band
J Geils Band

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to a great career, 30 Aug. 2003
This review is from: J Geils Band (Audio CD)
This is not only the J. Geils Band's first album, it is also one of their best.
Not THE best, mind you, that would be either "Bloodshot" or "The Morning After", but if you're not completely satisfied by the double-disc anthology "Houseparty" and want to hand-pick the best of the band's original albums as well, you don't want to miss this one.
"The J. Geils Band" features some well-chosen covers, like "Pack Fair And Square" by Walter Price, Otis Rush's "Homework", and Smokey Robinson's "First I Look At The Purse". Only their take on John Lee Hooker's "Serves You Right To Suffer" misses the mark...singer Peter Wolf can't quite pull that one off, and the band never gets a real groove going.
The two instrumentals (Albert Collins' "Sno-Cone" and J. Geils' "Ice Breaker") are pretty good without being exceptional, although Magic Dick Salwitz plays some fine harmonica on both.
But the real gems are the originals "Crusin' For A Love" and the two tough, swinging blues-rockers "Hard Drivin' Man" and "Wait".
"Cruisin'" is credited to Juke Joint Jimmy, a name made up by Peter Wolf for when the entire band had worked together on a song, and it is probably the finest song on the album....a delightful, piano-driven slice of classic R&B with some great guitar playing by Jay Geils and one of the best grooves the band ever managed to capture on tape.
A fine debut album, and the fact that the band's self-penned material was at least as strong as the cover songs promised well for the follow-up, "The Morning After", which is in fact even better.

Here They Go Again
Here They Go Again
Price: £19.39

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable live album, 26 Aug. 2003
This review is from: Here They Go Again (Audio CD)
"The Company Of Snakes" comprise bassist Neil Murray and guitarists Bernie Marsden and Mickey Moody from the original Whitesnake album, as well as drummer John Lingwood, keyboardist Don Airey, and the excellent Swedish vocalist Stefan Berggren.
On this crisp-sounding double live album they play almost exclusively old Whitesnake tunes from the late 70s and early 80s (and they're well within their rights to do so, since almost every one of these songs was co-written by either Moody or Marsden).
And it sounds great. Bernie Marsden and slide guitarist Mickey Moodey have lost none of their chops in the twenty years since they left Whitesnake, and Stefan Berggren is (almost) as great a singer as David Coverdale.
The only thing that could have made "The Company Of Snakes" a better band would be the inclusion of now-retired pianist/organist Jon Lord, whose sublime organ playing and fiery blues-'n'-boogie piano would have made this fine live album even better. You just don't hear enough of Don Airey.
But what's here is more than good enough as it is...Mickey Moodey and Bernie Marsden trade off rock-solid riffs and excllent solos, and Murray and Lingwood provide a tough, muscular backbeat.
"Here They Go Again" provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy once more the "old" Whitesnake songs that Coverdale doesn't do anymore, but it isn't just for Whitesnake nostalgics - this fine album should appeal to all fans of hard, bluesy, guitar-heavy rock n' roll.

The Genuine Article
The Genuine Article

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good introduction to the Wolf, 24 Aug. 2003
This review is from: The Genuine Article (Audio CD)
This is a very good attempt at making a definitive single-disc overview of the Wolf's 25-year recording career.
It doesn't quite match the combined volumes I and II of Chess' own "The Best", but the compilers have managed to include almost all of Howlin' Wolf's best songs (although the excellent "Hidden Charms" is missing, and a couple of other selections are debatable as well).
But "Smokestack Lightnin'" is here, as is "How Many More Years", "Forty-Four", "I Ain't Superstitious" and Wolf's best song, "Killing Floor".
A very good introduction, though not quite defintive.
4½ stars.

Fathers And Sons
Fathers And Sons
Price: £15.80

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great re-issue of a magnificent blues album, 24 Aug. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fathers And Sons (Audio CD)
This is probably the best of the "senior musician meets and plays with eager young fan"-projects of the sixties and seventies blues revival.
Blues legend Muddy Waters and his piano player Otis Spann, with veteran Sam Lay behind the drum kit, teamed up with three young white musicians to record this 1969 album: Guitarist Michael Bloomfield, bassist Donald 'Duck' Dunn (of Booker T & the Memphis Group), and harpist Paul Butterfield.
And the results are magnificent. 26-year old Paul Butterfield shows off some truly excellent harmonic playing, Dunn is rock-solid and funky, and the combined forces of Bloomfield and Muddy Waters himself produces some terrific guitar playing.
The sound is great, too, and Otis Spann (who is supposedly one of the "Fathers" of the album's title, even though he was only in his late 30s at the time) plays some of the best blues piano you'll ever hear.
Highlights include the tough, swinging "Blow Wind Blow" and "I'm Ready", the supremely groovy slow blues "Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had", the catchy "Forty Days And Forty Nights", Eddie Boyd's "Twenty-Four Hours", and the up-tempo rendition of "Sugar Sweet", which really shows off Otis Spann's masterful boogie piano playing.
Then comes four previously unreleased cuts, which aren't rejects by any means, although they didn't make the original double-LP, and six live tracks recorded on April 24th 1969 with the same band which had cut the studio tracks during the previous three days.
Muddy Waters' vocals on the slow slide-guitar workout "Long Distance Call" are sublime, and Butterfield's playing on the classic "Baby Please Don't Go" is pure Little Walter.
Out comes the bottleneck again for a grand rendition of "Honey Bee", followed by Willie Dixon's "The Same Thing" and an eight-minute take on "Got My Mojo Working", much to the delight of the crowd.
Not all attempts to "update" a blues artists sound where succesful, but this one is not only a succes, it is an excellent album which genuine adds to the legacy of Muddy Waters.

The Best of Albert King
The Best of Albert King
Price: £15.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a real "best of"-collection, 24 Aug. 2003
This review is from: The Best of Albert King (Audio CD)
"The best of Albert King"?
More like the best material that he happened to record for Stax Records between 1968 and 1973. And even that's debatable, as these 13 tracks include less succesful covers such as "Honky Tonk Woman," "Sky Is Crying," and "Hound Dog". (Strangely enough, even though this is titled "vol. I", there never came a "vol. II".)

If material from King's soul-influenced Stax days is what you are looking for, this is not a bad selection, since it draws from several albums and single releases, but it is nowhere near to being a true "best of"-collection. There is not a single song here from Albert King's best albums, "The Big Blues" and the superb "Born Under A Bad Sign".

If you're looking for a true career retrospective, Rhino's "The Ultimate Collection" can't be beat, but "Born Under A Bad Sign" would also be a great place to start.

Price: £11.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, if not definitive, overview, 24 Aug. 2003
"The Very Best Of Albert King" does a good job drawing from both his early stuff and his soul-influenced latter-day releases, and this is quite a good single-disc overview.
A couple of the selections are debatable, as always when you try to make a compilation, but the must-have classics are almost all here, including "Let's Have A Natural Ball", "Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong", "Crosscut Saw", "Born Under A Bad Sign", "Laundromat Blues" and "I'll Play The Blues For You".
("The Hunter", "Down Don't Bother Me" and a few others are missing, though.)
Rhino's double-disc "The Ultimate Collection" is a lot more comprehensive, however, and contains almost every track from King's superb "Born Under A Bad Sign" LP. If you really only want one Albert King-CD in your collection, that's the one I'd go for, but as an appetizer this one is fine.

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