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Wicker-king (North London, England)

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Before These Crowded Streets
Before These Crowded Streets
Price: £10.86

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where did this come from?, 26 Nov. 2006
In their first two albums, DMB not only marked out their niche in the market as a group of supremely gifted musicians and Dave Matthews himself as a very good song writer but Before These Crowded Streets takes them beyond that. This album shows that the real secret to this band is in the incredible arrangements and the layering of the talents involved and as a result this album is unlike any other.

Rapunzel is the first real track on here and its so incredibly funky but its not funk and that really sets the tone for the whole album as nothing is what you might think. Don't Drink The Water is full of brooding menace with Alanis Morisette contributing some of her best work since her debut album.

The most easily accesible and populist song would probably be Stay (Wasting Time) which harkens back to the glory days of R&B and Stax but without really sounding dated, more like how we might wish soul music had evolved.

The stand out track for me is Stone with its heavy strings and rolling rhythms and harmonious chorus. I once heard someone describe the opening tracks of Under the Table and Dreaming as sounding like a carousel and at the funfair, if thats the case then Stone is like skiing away from an avalanche before plunging into the ocean. Wonderful.

This is an album for real music lovers to enjoy great musicians having their talents used to their fullest. It might take some a while to really get deep into the multiple layers but once you allow yourself to be swept away by it your feet might never touch the ground again.

The Roads Don't Love You
The Roads Don't Love You
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.49

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat, 27 Dec. 2005
Gemma Hayes’ first album ‘Night on my Side’ was a very good album. Although it was a tad too laden with softer more melancholy songs, there were enough good songs to make the follow up worth getting.
So I know own ‘The Roads Don’t Love You’ and by eck is it a corker. It opens with a solid number in ‘Two Step’ and then comes the great ‘Another For The Darkness’ and then it cranks up for ‘Happy Sad’ and then you stop noticing the individual tracks and the glorious whole just begins to seep into your ears leaving you feeling really good about yourself.
This is a classic example of a pop / rock singer / songwriter at the top of their game. Sometimes you could swear she is just singing these songs directly to you rather than laying them onto CD for commercial use. The blend of up tempo numbers backed by a top notch rhythm section and smooth melodious ballads is exemplary.
I would recommend ‘Night on my Side’ with little reservation but ‘The Roads…’ is a superbly crafted piece that proves that the age of the MP3 is not leading to the demise of the album. This is a truly great collection and easily slots itself into my list of essential albums.

Complete Live At Sine [2CD + DVD]
Complete Live At Sine [2CD + DVD]

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Joy, 24 Dec. 2005
Its almost like 'Grace' only scratched the surface of what Jeff Buckley had to offer. Tragically his early death meant that he was unable to complete a follow up album in a studio (although 'My Sweetheart the Drunk' does piece together what that might have been like) but what we do have are a handful of live albums that really serve to exhibit the length and breadth of his talents and 'Live at Sin-e (Legacy Edition)' really is the pick of the crop.
Sin-e was a small club where Jeff Buckley would often play sets while still trying to make it and this basic setting really allowed him to learn just what he could achieve with a guitar and that wonderful voice of his.
There are early versions of his songs that would eventually end up on 'Grace' and a whole bevy of ecclectic songs from Bob Dylan numbers to his version of a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tune. Even with all these different styles Buckley delivers an accomplished and infinately enjoyable performance and his enjoyment in sharing all this stuff he has inside him comes out beautifully in his music and his witty monologues (musical chairs is great).
It would take too long to mention highlights as the whole double CD is littered with real gems and one time you'll say 'Lover, You Should Have Come Over' is the best, then you'll disagree with yourself and go on about 'Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin' or 'If You See Her, Say Hello'. For me the real highlight lies on the bonus DVD and the poem 'New Years Eve Prayer' as it really shows all the sides of what made Jeff Buckley such a capitivating artist as it is at times moving, funny and thouroughly heart wrenchingly honest.
If you own 'Grace', and everyone should, then you will no doubt be desperate to find something more and you can't go wrong with Live at Sin-e (Legacy Edition). It is a reminder of just what can be done through music and how powerful it can be when placed within the hands of a true genius. Wonderous.

Michael Buble
Michael Buble
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.53

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great talent but there are better, 19 April 2004
This review is from: Michael Buble (Audio CD)
The first thing that strikes you when you play this album is that Michael Buble has a great voice, the next thing you realise is the arrangements and the band are top notch, the final thing you think to yourself is, "I could be listening to a Sinatra album instead." Thats the problem, all these songs are done well by Buble but done better by other people and eventually he comes across like a very good karaoke singer. Anyone who likes this would absolute go ape for 'Songs For Swinging Lovers.'

Baseball For Dummies
Baseball For Dummies
by Joe Morgan
Edition: Paperback

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all fans of the game, 22 Jun. 2003
This review is from: Baseball For Dummies (Paperback)
The problem with calling a book Baseball for Dummies is that you assume it's meant for people who don't know about the game. Although this is primarily for such people, there is much joy to be had from this book by people who already have a good understanding.
Of course it starts with the basics ('What is Baseball?') but then moves onto the ins and outs of playing from how to throw a curve through to where does the second baseman go when a runners on second and its a base hit to left. All the way through it starts off simple and builds up to be all encompassing with foot notes from Joe Morgan, Keith Hernandez, Bob Gibson, etc... to add a pros perspective. You'll even begin to understand the ins and outs of the infield fly.
It then moves onto the infrastructure of american baseball. From T-ball to the majors. Explains what all the stats mean and how they are worked out and then onto how to score a game. It also helps you learn how to follow the game, from where to find information, how to set up a fantasy league, good parks to go to and where best to sit.
It is all rounded off with 'The Part of Tens' which gives examples of the ten best players ever, ten best fielders ever, etc... Which is dated to when the book was published but we can forgive that.
This really is everything you could ever hope to learn about baseball and all the things you didn't really care to know thrown in aswell! It presents the game from the perspective of the novice, the player, the fan and the baseball junky. No stone is left unturned and you will never find anything else out there that covers as much ground as this one tome. It'll even point you in the direction of how to find out even more. This a great book that no matter how long you follow baseball you will always be able to pull it off the shelf and remind yourself of something. You really should get this book and if you're new to this game you need this. Brilliant.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 24, 2009 9:15 PM BST

Night Out With Blue Plate Special
Night Out With Blue Plate Special
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £9.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special, 24 May 2003
This album opens up and finishes with three of the best swing tracks you will ever hear. 'Night Out', 'Work That Skirt' and 'Night in Havana' are just all great songs and classics of the genre. The rest of the album is good but not great 'Evening' perks things up there.
This was a great first album and I am amazed that they never followed it up. If you love swing then you must get this album, there are few who can string tracks like that together.

Swing This Baby
Swing This Baby

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great intro to the retro renaissance, 24 May 2003
This review is from: Swing This Baby (Audio CD)
Most compilation CD's comprise of a few good songs and a lot of padding but Swing This Baby really does offer a collection of great songs and if you've found yourself drawn into the world of big band swing then just listen to this album and learn.
Everyone who's anyone is on this including the Revue and the Voodoo Daddy, although 'Jumpin Jack' isn't there best. 'We Still Talk' is one of my favourites that is just fun to listen to. 'Datin With No Dough' sums up the attitude of this genre and 'Night Out' was an unexpected treat (hunt down Blue Plates album). I could go through the whole track listing.
This is the CD that really enabled me to find the best of swing, especially seeing as it never gets played on any radio station. Every song is good and typifies the bands. In terms of swing collections only the 'Swingers' soundtrack comes close. This is real value for money, and just money, period.

Live [CD + DVD NTSC]
Live [CD + DVD NTSC]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £17.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great performer, 2 May 2003
This review is from: Live [CD + DVD NTSC] (Audio CD)
I'm always apprehensive about live performance releases, especially one man shows, but this really offers something different and the addition of the DVD is a masterstroke and I'm surprised noone thought of this before.
The tracks are a good cross section of Ben's career from the Five to his solo material and the lack of a supporting band really doesn't hurt the material as he performs with such charisma and an element of fun that a lot of modern artists (ahemJ-Loahem)don't seem to have. 'Army' stands out and after hearing the live version, your enjoyment of the song will increase ten-fold. The cover of Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' is a treat, as are most of the other tracks, but anyway...
The DVD is a great thing. More bands should offer this kind of extra on rip-off live albums. The recording isn't of great quality but the performance more than shines through the low definition film. If you liked 'Song For The Dumped' before, the version on the DVD will bowl you over.
This is a great live performance from a great live performer. Ben Folds reinvents a lot of old favourites and injects it with a great deal of fun and charisma that just makes you appreciate how great his career has been up to this point and also bodes well for his career in the future. A must for any Ben Folds fan. 'Whatever and Ever Amen' is still his best.

The Sims (PS2)
The Sims (PS2)
Offered by CDandVinyl
Price: £9.96

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This game is just evil. It is the frueet of the deveel., 2 May 2003
This review is from: The Sims (PS2) (Video Game)
This game continues in the vain of other sim titles like the legendary Sim City, but this is a life sim and it is so easy for it to take over your life. This is the most addictive game since pong!
As you start out in the Get A Life mode (a level based version of the game designed with consoles in mind) you find yourself making your sim read books, cook dinner and clean the toilet in order to get money out of your mum. This sounds really boring but as soon as you start you find yourself getting so drawn into it that hours have passed and you're still playing the game and still unclogging toilets. Its hard to explain but it happens.
The more you think about it, the more you think how truly dreadful this game should be but the more you continue to play. Soon you will be throwing parties for your sim and all their sim friends and employing a monkey butler to do the housework.
There really is no way to say why this game is so good you really have to play it to understand, but so far I have gotten married, had my child taken away by social services (and thank God for that because it was an annoying scumbag) and caused several guests to wet themselves by removing the doors to the bathroom. Its crazy, its often silly, it defies all logic, its addictive, its great.

Due South - Victoria's Secret: Parts 1 & 2 [VHS]
Due South - Victoria's Secret: Parts 1 & 2 [VHS]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An urban fairy tale, 9 Mar. 2003
This double episode is one of those programmes that make you believe the whole series up to this point served to set up this story.
Its all about the apparently flawless Constable Fraser trying to make up for his one apparent mistake, the arresting of the one woman he ever loved and how his mixture of devotion and desperation leads to him compromising the career of himself and his friend Ray.
Of course, at the heart of any great film or TV show are great performances with the ever impressive Paul Gross and David Marciano and the whole cast taking their opportunity to shine, especially Gordon Pinsent as the ghost of Fraser's father.
But it all comes down to a great story that is told superbly. Every time I watch this I see another theme or another speech that gives a greater explanation of what happens later on.
The best thing about this, and the show as a whole, is the great balance of drama and humour. The scene where they play pool in a room barely big enough to fit the table is great, but the humour doesn't detract from the drama and the great tragedy at the heart of the story.
This is powerful stuff and the final scene is just gut wrenching and magical. The score is superb (listen out for the wonderful piano version of Sarah McLaughlin's Possession) and is another quality piece to an exemplary puzzle. The more I watch it the more I get out of it, its almost like the Usual Suspects in the way it evolves every time you see it. A superb episode of a superb series. If you like Due South then get this now. If you've never seen it before then try and find re-runs or rent out or borrow some videos of previous episodes just so you can fully appreciate how good this is. It is rare that TV is this great.

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