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Angel Delta (Southsea Hants)
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Pass The Chicken & Listen / Stories We Could Tell
Pass The Chicken & Listen / Stories We Could Tell
Price: 9.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Direction, 4 Jun 2014
After twelve years with Warner Brothers, starting with "Cathy's Clown in 1960, The Everly Brothers joined RCA. Where they had failed with "Roots" in 1968, "Stories We Could Tell" was a successful attempt by Don and Phil to move on from their iconic brand of close harmony pop to something that was more contemporary. This aspiration was expressed in Don's song "I'm Tired Of Singin' My Song In Las Vegas", a reference to the tedium of the oldies circuit that so many fading stars succumb to.

From the deeply poignant lyrics of the epic "Christmas Eve Can Kill You", the bittersweet grandeur of "Green River" and the jazz shuffle of "Mabel's Room" they succeeded in creating shades of musical sounds and styles that hadn't been heard from them before. Of course, those glorious harmony sounds were still there but this was 1972 and the sound of country rock was in the ascendency.

So, it was natural that with their familial country influences the Everlys embraced this musical sub genre. They recruited major league players such as Ry Cooder, Spooner Oldham, John Sebastian, and Warren Zevon to add their distinctive sounds to the mix. The result was an accomplished album that evokes the memory of early seventies west coast rock and marks a transition in musical style for Don and Phil.

"Pass The Chicken And Listen" was their second (and last) album for RCA. Produced by Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy it is perhaps strange that the country rock of "Stories We Could Tell" was subsumed by a more traditional country style. The album includes some decent songs by Mickey Newbury ("Sweet Memories"), Roger Miller ("Husbands And Wives"), and John Prine ("Paradise") with those exquisite harmonies still intact. Perhaps the best track on the album is a powerful version of the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away".

But there are some weak songs too and generally the album is uninspiring (by the impeccable standards of the Everlys) despite some fine musicianship. It seems that Don and Phil were unable to focus on which musical direction to take so, with hindsight, it was no surprise that just a few months later they split and the Everly Brothers were no more.


Common Ground
Common Ground
Price: 10.52

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Good To Fail, 3 Jun 2014
This review is from: Common Ground (Audio CD)
As lead singer with The Blasters, blessed with a big voice well suited to the blues and a virtuoso on harmonica, it is surprising that Phil Alvin, unlike brother Dave, has released just two solo albums over the past thirty years. But now, on this first collaboration with Dave since 1985 he brings that fabulous bluesy voice right back onto centre stage as the brothers play tribute to Big Bill Broonzy.

Together with Dave's sublime acoustic, electric and National Steel guitars, this is a reminder of not just how good the Alvin brothers are together but just how good Broonzy's songs are too. Highlights include his best known number, "Key To The Highway" with Phil and Dave taking turns at the mike, "Just A Dream", a wonderful swamp blues and "Stuff They Call Money" a piano, bass and drums infused country blues.

But, in truth, there isn't a bad cut on the album and how could there be? With Big Bill's peerless songs, the Alvins at their imposing best and a band that is always compelling but never intrusive, this is an album that it is too good to fail. This is not just another iteration of The Blasters but another celebration of Americana performed with passion and pride.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2014 9:40 AM BST


Gone Girl
Gone Girl
Price: 5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves Greater Acclaim, 10 May 2014
This review is from: Gone Girl (MP3 Download)
Quite simply "Gone Girl" is one of the great lost albums of the seventies and Johnny Cash's finest album of the decade. It received little critical acclaim when it was released in 1978, it failed to hit the country charts and the three singles released from the album failed to reach the country top 20. Not surprisingly it soon went out of print and to this day it has never been released on CD.

This is a tragedy because it finds Cash in a reflective mood wistfully recalling past times with some deeply poignant and nostalgic songs. One of the finest is "The Diplomat" a tale of two lost loves. As the mind and body of a railroad man slip away he imagines that the wife who left him "with his heart undone" is being brought home by The Diplomat, the train he drove until "they retired him twenty years ago".

The album contains some of Cash's finest moments on record and his version of "No Expectations" the Jagger/Richard song from "Beggars Banquet" is probably the best I've heard brimming as it does with sorrow and despair. "I Will Rock And Roll With You" recalls his Sun Record days with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison while "Gone Girl" - the title track - is a slice of nostalgia written by Jack Clement who produced many of his Sun sessions.

There are excellent covers of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" and Jo-El Sonnier's "Cajun Girl" but the best is kept until the last. "A Song For The Life" is an exquisite Rodney Crowell song that gives Cash the opportunity to declare that he doesn't drink like he used to and that "somehow I've learned how to listen to a sound like the sun going down". This is the sound of Cash offering thanks for his redemption with a grace and humility that came to characterise much of his later work.

If ever an album called for release on CD then "Gone Girl" is that album. It's an exceptional piece of work that resonates with all the passion that defines The Man In Black. It needs to be discovered and festooned with stars and critical acclaim.


Hooray For Love
Hooray For Love
Price: 10.87

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless!, 10 May 2014
This review is from: Hooray For Love (Audio CD)
On his 12th studio album since 1991 Curtis Stigers has delivered a warm and intimate collection woven around some much loved standards and a handful of contemporary numbers including a spine tingling reading of Steve Earle's gorgeous "Valentine's Day" which is worth the price of admission on its own.

Old and seasoned thought the standards may be they remain a benchmark for the craft of the songwriter and Stigers sounds as though he is singing them just for you and enjoying himself while he does so.

There is a delightful duet with the talented Cyrille Aimee on "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "The Way You Look Tonight" is a timeless interpretation of one of the most beautiful songs from the last century.

The quintet of piano, trumpet, bass, guitar and drums - plus the Stigers tenor sax - is perfectly balanced to make the standards as fresh and original as a new dawn and give new material such as "Hooray for Love" the sound of a swing classic. This is an album that is, by degrees, sweet, sentimental, sophisticated and utterly charming.


Colfax
Colfax
Price: 9.92

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Intimacy Of Heartbreak, 28 April 2014
This review is from: Colfax (Audio CD)
When Willie Vlautin, of Richmond Fontaine, heard the heartbreak voice of Amy Boone he was inspired to write the songs that became Colfax, the album.

The Delines is an alt country supergroup featuring not only Boone (The Damnations) and Vlautin but Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists) on keyboards, Tucker Jackson (Minus 5) on pedal steel and Fontaine percussionist and drummer, Sean Oldham.

As ever, Vlautin's songs explore the frailties of the human condition. The narrative power of his lyrics and his haunting melodies are caught alive by Boone's divine contralto and Vlautin's sublime acoustic band led by Jackson's ethereal steel.

The title track is a powerful piece about a woman's search for her disturbed war veteran brother and delivered with a beguiling sensitivity reminiscent of Lucinda Williams while Sandman's Coming" is a gorgeous piano led evocation of despair sung as a jazz tinged lullaby.

From the imploring "Wichita Ain't So Far Away", to the sense of loneliness conveyed by "The Oil Rigs At Night" and the vulnerable angst of "I Won't Slip Up" this is an album that invests the intimacy of heartbreak, isolation, sorrow and despair with a poignant beauty.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2014 2:53 PM BST


Tarpaper Sky
Tarpaper Sky
Price: 10.91

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting His Roots, 20 April 2014
This review is from: Tarpaper Sky (Audio CD)
Rodney Crowell is not the most prolific of artists having released just sixteen albums in 37 years. But reviews of his albums have always been liberally festooned with stars and his influence upon contemporary country music has been considerable.

Now, on his latest release, Crowell has revisited his own roots and influences with eleven original songs written with his characteristic melodic and literate flourishes.

"Frankie Please" is unashamed rock 'n' roll a la Jerry Lee with some hot guitar and stompin' piano and "Somebody's Shadow" is a honky tonk blues number with atmospheric bar room piano and raunchy tenor sax. Meanwhile "Fever On The Bayou" - co-written with Will Jennings - adds a touch of Cajun to the Nashville sound and "The Flyboy And The Kid" is Texan Americana defined, with accordion, mandolin and dobro adorning some of Crowells finest lyrics.

Among the slower numbers there are a couple of gorgeous love songs including the yearning country waltz "I Wouldn't Be Me Without You" and a poignant duet with Sharon McNally, "Famous Last Words Of A Fool In Love". Then, with just a simple acoustic guitar and a sweet piano, Crowell delivers a heart wrenching reading of "God, I'm Missing You" that he wrote with Mary Karr.

From the opening track "The Long Journey Home", which sounds like it could have been a collaboration with Springsteen, to the closing county folk of "Oh What A Beautiful World" and dedicated to John Denver, "Tarpaper Sky" references Rodney Crowell's continuing journey through life told in his own words and music. He has rarely sounded in better voice and it stands among his very best work, full of hooks, memories, influences, emotions and bittersweet reflections.


Carter Girl
Carter Girl
Price: 9.37

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Carter Legacy, 7 April 2014
This review is from: Carter Girl (Audio CD)
Every song on this evocative album bears the imprimatur of the first family of country music, The Carter Family. Eight of the twelve songs were written by Carlene's grandfather, Alvin Pleasant Carter, and after at least 75 years his words and music have not been diminished by the march of time.

You can sense a special resonance as Carlene spans the generations with her peerless interpretations of AP classics such as "Give Me The Roses", "I'll Be All Smiles Tonight" and "Gold Watch And Chain".

"Troublesome Water" leads off with the unmistakeable voice of Willie Nelson in a dramatic duet and she is joined by another elder statesman of country music, Kris Kristofferson, on a fine reading of the traditional "Black Jack David". There is a poignant performance of "Lonesome Valley" with Vince Gill harmonising, that has been adapted by Carlene to include lyrics relating to the deaths of her mother, June, and her stepfather, Johnny Cash.

These may be songs mostly dating from the earlier years of the last century but with producer Don Was at the helm, and featuring session superstars Greg Leisz and Jim Keltner, they have been invested with a sound that is both fresh and vital. Indeed, Carlene's take on her mother's "Tall Lover Man" is a triumph.

The album is a fine tribute to the legacy of the Carter Family and, for Carlene, an album that ranks with "Little Love Letters" her 1993 classic.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 8:27 PM BST


You Should Be So Lucky
You Should Be So Lucky
Price: 9.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Centre Stage At Last, 18 Mar 2014
This review is from: You Should Be So Lucky (Audio CD)
I have been an admirer of Benmont Tench's keyboard skills for so many years. As well as being one of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers he is a remarkably prolific session man whose work has graced some of my very favourite albums including "Mystery Girl" by Roy Orbison, "Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings" by John Prine and "Stones In The Road" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Indeed, he has been performing for so many years and with so many artists that it is easy to forget that he is an important thread in the fabric of Americana. It would be simpler to list those performers upon whose albums he hasn't played so perhaps he's never had the time to release a solo album of his own and to take centre stage as a vocalist, but now that time has come.

Tench wrote ten of the selections, co-wrote "Duquesne Whistle" with Bob Dylan and includes the traditional "Corrina Corrina" on this delightful debut album. His material is lyrical and melodic and Tench has a kind of homespun voice - warm and relaxed - that just lets the songs flow. From the arresting lyrics of "Today I Took Your Picture Down.......

.....Your cruelly faded lips spoke without a word,
The eyes that followed me around
Daring me to try and stare them down......"

to the evocative jazz tinged instrumental "Ecor Rouge" from which he manages to coax words unspoken, this is a diverse and eclectic piece of work embracing jazz, country, roots rock, blues and pop.

"Blonde Girl, Blue Dress" is West Coast with swirling organ, "Duquesne Whistle" is a Dylanesque blues shuffle, "Why Don't You Quit Leavin' Me Alone" is a heartfelt country blues and the 12 string guitar of "Like The Sun" is a majestic piece that recalls Roger McGuinn. But all the time the sound of those commanding Tench keyboards is what sets this album on fire and proof that he is a master of modern American music.

With the legendary Glyn Johns at the helm and a band featuring Don Was, Ethan Johns, Jeremey Stacey and Blake Mills, Benmont Tench is in his element as he lets the words and the music weave their spell.


The Lights From The Chemical Plant
The Lights From The Chemical Plant
Price: 9.20

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Talent, 3 Mar 2014
By any standard Robert Ellis is a rare talent both as a performer and as a songwriter. His beautifully crafted songs are literate and melodic and play host to all of the emotions and frailties that the human mind is heir to while his deceptively simple blend of folk and country recall the work of fellow Texan, Townes Van Zandt.

Loosely woven around the themes of yearning, regrets, heartaches and memories, Ellis' songs are mature, poignant and beautifully arranged. Electric bass, keyboards and guitar, with occasional strings and solo sax, are all that are needed to complement his plaintive, pleading voice.

The scene is set by the title track, a bitter-sweet tale of two lovers, who live their lives from first meeting, to their inevitable end, entranced by the lights from the chemical plant while all about them the world is changing - only the lights stay the same. Swirling steel guitar, drums and strings give this song a dreamy, almost hypnotic effect.

But then, Ellis is a man who is lost to reality in "TV Song":

"I'm a gunfighter, I'm a bull rider
I'm the captain of some pirate ship at sea"

while wishing that his wife was less like the cold and heartless Betty Draper (from "Mad Men").

He is also a man who is aware enough in "Bottle Of Wine" to know that too much wine and a bag of cocaine are to blame for living in a cloud of regret:

"We get so sentimental, but it's only lust in disguise". A bar room piano and a haunting tenor sax complete this picture of despair.

But there is some hope and optimism in Ellis' view of the world as he sings in the tender love song "Steady As The Rising Sun":

"Oh, I may die in the fight
But with you at my side
That won't get me down".

Ten of the eleven songs on the album are written by Robert Ellis but there is a elegant cover of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" with Ellis' voice conveying both darkness and longing and underpinned by some inspired guitar. There is sorrow and regret in the gentle "Pride" and and an offer of comfort in "Lies" while Houston" is an emotional farewell to the city in which he was born and which changed the way in which he saw his life:

"Oh, Houston this is not goodbye
You will be living inside my heart"

At the age of just 25, Robert Ellis writes songs of emotional complexity that are memorable both for their lilting melodies and their subtle lyrics. With his third album Ellis has grown in stature to become an indelible part of the Nashville scene where this album was recorded.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 22, 2014 5:22 PM BST


2-in-1 Tight and Casual Running Sport Shorts Angry Elephant sport SmartShorts Doublelayer Black/White/Red-Orange
2-in-1 Tight and Casual Running Sport Shorts Angry Elephant sport SmartShorts Doublelayer Black/White/Red-Orange
Offered by Angry Elephant sport
Price: 18.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Value Running Shorts, 2 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are good value shorts in every respect and the compression inner with elasticated bottoms is particularly snug and secure. So, like P Thompson, I was intrigued by the necessity for what are described as "linking strings" connecting the outer and inner parts particularly as there is a shared waistband. The effect of the string is to pull the outer short out of shape and is entirely unnecessary. A pair of scissors and a couple of snips solved the problem!


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