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Proudmomofagayson (Berkshire, UK)

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Offered by New Hellfire Club Glasgow
Price: £12.95

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rush at the top of their game!!!!!!, 17 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Counterparts (Audio CD)
This received a tepid response from critics upon release but I can't think why, this is a brilliant return to form for this Canadian power trio. The guitars are right back upfront and the drumming throughout is of the highest quality. Geddy's bass pulses and throbs and his high-pitched vocals seem to set everything off perfectly. This is classic Rush.
The musicianship is quite simply stunning, Alex Lifeson's guitar seems to weave around and through Neil's percussion without ever saturating the proceedings. These guys are at the top of their game and they know it. There is not one duff track, "Animate" is as strident an opening track as anything they have done until now. "Stick It Out" is more of the same, a dark yet energised song that takes us to I feel the album's strongest track "Cut To The Chase" which has a gem of a solo from Alex, he has rarely sounded this assured.
"Nobody's Hero" features the orchestral sweeps of the late great Michael Kamen and touches on topics as diverse as homosexuality and rape. An extraordinary song that leaves an emotional impact and will surely be on your mind for the rest of the day. The next 4 tracks "Between The Sun & The Moon", "Alien Shore", "The Speed of Love" and "Double Agent" are dark statements of intent, infused with infectious driving rhythms and ingenious wordy lyrics.
Then we have the one instrumental piece of the album "Leave That Thing Alone" that sounds almost like the theme from Doctor Who in places. It gives the band the chance to open up and show us what they are all about. Geddy's bass is right up in the mix and shows us all what a stupendous player he is. Neil's drumming is breath-taking, never once does he play for the sake of playing, instead he lays down a nice groove and occasionally he introduces some trademark flourishes just so that we know it's The Professor behind the kit. Alex's playing is eloquent, emotive and tasteful as always. Why oh why doesn't Alex get the kudos reserved for players such as Satriani and Vai, this man is as good as they get.
Then we have the album's closers, "Cold Fire" and "Everyday Glory" which end the album on not so much a high but a more positive note than what has gone before. All in all, this is a remarkable album from some of the world's finest musicians and is indicative of what the Rush phenomenon is all about. It's just a shame that they followed it up with a rather tepid release in the form of "Test For Echo". Never mind, we always have this (from 1993) to whet our appetites and what a feast for the senses it is. Highly recommended.

The Truth about Addiction and Recovery
The Truth about Addiction and Recovery
by Stanton Peele
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.34

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AA isn't about self-empowerment but group dependence, 14 Mar. 2004
The fact that the reviewer from Oz talks about codependence shows how ingrained a lot of this 12-step rot is. AA and other Programs that work in this way do so through fear, shame, guilt and control. The Higher Power that is often talked about isn't anything outside of ourselves, rather it is us. We choose whether we engage in practises that are unhealthy or not and there's nothing supernatural about it. This is an excellent book which goes some way to dispelling a lot of the myths surrounding alcoholism and addiction. Just because millions(?) of people are engaged in something doesn't mean that it isn't a heap of old nonsense. Highly recommended.

Price: £27.88

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovered and in fine form .... welcome home!, 10 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Rediscovered (Audio CD)
I was in my friend's record store earlier and was so blown away by an album that I heard that I bought it without even hearing the rest of the tracks and what a remarkable disc it is too. Howard Tate was a soul marvel in the 60's but never got the attention he fully deserved and after cutting a few more albums, culminating in his swan song album from 1974, he disappeared off the face of the Earth.
Many thought he was dead, in fact on many levels he was. He suffered the death of his daughter, watched his marriage crumble, ended up as a vagrant and began using. He then turned his life over to God and got himself back on his feet. He was rediscovered only recently (2001) and this is his comeback album and what a fine return to form it is.
Born in 1938, his voice could have faltered but it's all there, the silky smooth soul voice and the swooping, heartfelt falsetto. Do yourself a favour and listen to the real R&B/Soul sound, not the rubbish that passes for it today. Welcome back Mr Tate and this time, may you be rewarded for your efforts.

Tales Of The City: Tales of the City 1
Tales Of The City: Tales of the City 1
by Armistead Maupin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! Charming! Eccentric! A camp adventure!, 29 Feb. 2004
My son has ADD and so has not been able to read a book all the way through since a teenager. I let him borrow this fantastic novel and he quite literally sat down and read it from cover to cover in a matter of hours. Not only is Tales of the City a witty, charming and altogether satisfying read but it has also kick-started my son's interest in books again. No one but Armistead Maupin can do this.
He weaves a quite delightful story, that is both touching and hilarious. The coincidences come thick and fast but never do you get a sense of them stretching credibility. He really makes you believe in the characters, you want to believe they exist and are not just fictional people. You want to find 28 Barbary Lane on a San Francisco road map and drop by for a cup of Ginseng Tea or perhaps hope to be invited to one of Mrs Madrigal's late night soirees.
Tales of the City is a modern masterpiece. It's magical, spellbinding and will take you on an adventure you will never forget. I can't rate it highly enough. Armistead, you are a genius!

I Smell Smoke
I Smell Smoke
Price: £8.89

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great voice, fiery guitar playing!!!!!, 21 Jan. 2004
This review is from: I Smell Smoke (Audio CD)
I am going to keep this review short but to the point. This is an amazing electric blues album from a fine singer/musician. The guitarwork is fiery and passionate, the vocals are assured and authentic, the songwriting is strong. In essence, this is a great all-round album from one of the rising stars of Blues. I have tried my best not to, but every single time I have played this album, I have had to jump about playing wild air guitar. Turn it up loud and enjoy, that's an order.

Out Of The Cradle
Out Of The Cradle

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This man is seriously underappreciated ... great album!, 19 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Out Of The Cradle (Audio CD)
What can I say about this album, other than it is remarkably good? With a lot of musicians who form part of a parent group, what is usually released as solo output can at best be patchy and at worst, quite dreadful but not this. This is the work of a consummate professional. It is beautifully produced and wonderfully performed. There is not a weak track on the album and there are even a few instrumental introductory passages which allow the listener to pause and reflect before the next track begins. My favourite tracks are Don't Look Down, Countdown, Soul Drifter, You Do Or You Don't, Doing What I Can and Turn It On. Lyndsey is in great spirits throughout and this is evidenced by the bounciness of the proceedings. A great album from one of the rock world's most innovative and underrated performers.

Lookout For Hope
Lookout For Hope
Price: £8.88

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!!!!!, 19 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Lookout For Hope (Audio CD)
This is an extraordinarily good album and is from the same label as slide axe virtuoso Sonny Landreth. Jerry Douglas is the foremost dobro player in the world today and it shows. The musicianship throughout is stunning and the styles represented paint broad and eclectic musical brush-strokes. There is country, bluegrass, straight-ahead folk and tinges of blues. I love this album. It's hard to believe that one person can bring so many textures and shapes to one album. The standout track is instrumental heaven, Lookout For Hope which really gives an insight into the almost visionary status of this supreme performer. It doesn't matter what music you are into, if you want to hear beautiful acoustic music then this album is definitely for you.

Levee Town
Levee Town
Price: £22.98

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flawless, faultless and beautiful album, 17 Jan. 2004
This review is from: Levee Town (Audio CD)
I wondered to myself "How can Sonny Landreth possibly equal the resounding success of South of I-10?" but I needn't have worried. Levee Town consolidates his status as the supreme slide guitarist working today but also builds on and develops his quite considerable songwriting abilities. Many have spoken of the weakness of his vocals but his voice perfectly compliments the instrumental prowess and indeed, sets it off nicely.
The tracks are beautifully worked and none more so than album highlights such as Deep South, Love and Glory, The USS Zydecoldsmobile and Broken Hearted Road though there is not a weak track among them. The guitar break in Broken Hearted Road must be heard to be believed, it comes seemingly out of nowehere and threatens to envelop the proceedings and in lesser hands it could have but what it does instead, is burns through the song, spitting out passion and fire without once overstepping the mark. Brilliant.
Love and Glory shows a more sensitive side and the chorus is a strong as anything I have heard until now, it really is a beautiful feelgood song that will have you tapping your feet and singing along to it in no time at all. The USS Zydecoldsmobile stomps and pounds away and there is a nod or two to Zydeco greats such as Beau Jocque in the closing stages, if this selection doesn't make your head rock from side to side then nothing will.
This is the album that The Road We're On wasn't and never will be. Everything is here, the gentle more lyrical sides, the passionate and the fiery, this is a complete album and leaves you with a feeling of total satisfaction upon hearing it. The songs are allowed to develop right in front of you and there is a sense of catharsis and of working something out within the performers. It is a flawless, faultless and beautiful album. Need I say more?

Little Worlds
Little Worlds
Offered by YouWantIt-WeGotIt
Price: £14.50

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Critics know nothing - this is a good album., 31 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Little Worlds (Audio CD)
I have watched as some critics have savaged this while others have given it no more than a tepid response and I think I may know why. Some people like music that satisfies them from the very first listen, like movie-goers who need lots of explosions and gunfights to keep them happy. This album is a grower and takes repeated listens before the magic begins to shine through.
Also, it is an album of many many parts so if you are looking for something that is light and compact and sticks to a basic theme throughout then again you might be disappointed. This is an album that will take you on a journey through Jazz, into Bluegrass territory, on to Country plains, through World, a touch of New Age, heaps of Celtic music and Folk and the odd dollop of Rap, Hip Hop and even Classical music on the way. This is a beautiful album, lovingly worked and executed.
It is not a borefest as some would have you believe but you do need to sit down somewhere and allow it to wash over you and only then will you sense the themes running through it and not see it as a pretentious and disjointed mess. I see things in colours and so I can see where the band have wanted to go and the steps taken are quite logical but this is music for all the senses, not just one or two.
I love this album. It's a masterpiece.

The 70th Birthday Concert [DVD] [2009]
The 70th Birthday Concert [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ John Mayall & Friends
Price: £14.99

94 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and emotional performance!, 10 Dec. 2003
Words cannot adequately express how much I love this DVD. John Mayall is in excellent form and the Bluesbreakers more than prove themselves as a first-rate band, Buddy Whittington being an exceptionally talented rhythm and lead guitarist. Joe Yuele is a good, solid drummer and the backbone of the band; Hank Van Sickle a sympathetic and feeling bass player and Tom Canning ... what can I say about his playing? The way his fingers just fly across the keyboard is nothing short of stunning.
Then we come to the guest stars themselves:
Mick Taylor is everything we have come to love and expect and more, his tasteful lead guitar interspersed with his exemplary slide work adds a classic touch to the already renowned John Mayall sound and the brig grins coming from the band members show the immense respect everyone has for each other. Then we have the legendary trombone player Chris Barber, who was singlehandedly responsible for bringing over such Blues luminaries as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters and many more.
Then, after 38 years, we have the main course:
John and Eric reunited on the same stage. EC walks on to a standing ovation and it's just the two of them sharing the limelight as they launch into an impromptu boogie woogie number. Emotions are running high as is evidenced by John's watery eyes as he introduces Eric. It's a wonderful occasion. Eric seems to really be in his element and it's not long before he is letting the licks fly and that old EC magic comes flooding out.
This is a brilliant DVD. It is highly recommended for John Mayall fans, EC fans or just fans of Electric Blues in general. The sound is nigh on perfect, it's beautifully and lovingly filmed and there is even a 15 minute interview with John Mayall as well, where he talks about his roots and influences, of Eric, Mick and all of this is infused with his immense love of Blues music.
This disc comes highly recommended.

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