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Reviews Written by
J. Willis (London, England.)
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Music / Fantasy
Music / Fantasy
Price: 9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Great And The Not So Good...., 1 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Music / Fantasy (Audio CD)
How do you follow an album like 'Tapestry'? To give Carole King her due, with relative ease it seems. Okay, so 'Music'(1971) isn't as good as 'Tapestry' but it's still a fine album in its own right. With Lou Adler producing again, the same musicians backing her up and once more the occasional helping hand with songwriting from Toni Stern and Gerry Goffin, 'Music' doesn't differ stylistically from 'Tapestry'. It's a quietly assured album packed full of great songs. 'Sweet Seasons','Carry Your Load','Surely' and the rousing closer 'Back To California' are just some of the highlights of an amazing album sadly destined to stand in the shadows of its predecessor. Her fifth album is another story. Written solely by Carole King, 'Fantasy'(1973) moved away from the personal to a more sociopolitical view. All round a far slicker effort, which employed both horn & string sections, and at times echoes the sound of Curtis Mayfield's 'Superfly' soundtrack. Maybe an attempt to move on from the 'Tapestry/Music'-era, but 'Fantasy' sadly lets itself down with a lack of standout material. Only 'That's How Things Go Down' reaches anywhere near the standard Carole King had set for herself. Yet again, like the two for one package of 'Writer'/'Rhymes And Reasons', you get one great album and one not so good. Still, it's worth checking out for 'Music' alone.


The Runaway
The Runaway
Price: 9.44

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Than 'Those The Brokes'!..., 29 Sep 2010
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This review is from: The Runaway (Audio CD)
I haven't been as disappointed about an album as i was by The Magic Numbers second effort 'Those The Brokes'. So much so, that it's taken quite a leap of faith to buy their latest 'The Runaway'! As pleasing as opener 'The Pulse' is, with string arrangements by Robert Kirby, it probably wasn't wise to begin the album with three rather sedate songs. It takes until track four for the album to spark into life, though 'Once I Had','A Start With No Ending' and 'Sound Of Something' show that there is life in The Magic Numbers yet. There are just a few too many mid-paced numbers throughout. They do a good job of updating that 70's Fleetwood Mac sound and the harmonies are as glorious as ever, but 'The Runaway' is not perfect by any means and sounds a bit tired and lacks inspiration in places. Thankfully, it's better than 'Those The Brokes'!


God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise
God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time For Something Different... Maybe Not..., 9 Sep 2010
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After three albums of varying degrees of quality, 'Trouble'-amazing, 'Till The Sun Turns Black'-not so good and 'Gossip In The Grain'-a bit more like it, fourth time around Ray LaMontagne brings in his touring band to ably back him up, and instead of the tried & trusted hands of Ethan Johns, opts to produce 'God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise' himself. So time for something different then.... or not, as it turns out. It quickly settles into familiar territory. The lack of an obvious lead-off single like 'You Are The Best Thing' or 'Three More Days' does give 'God Willin'...' a more balanced feel. There is nothing at all wrong with this album, he's in great voice and the standard of songwriting is as you'd expect, very high. Overall it's very low-key and an easy listen, but certainly no classic.


Intriguer
Intriguer
Price: 6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, Grown-up, Pop Music with Guitars...., 3 Sep 2010
This review is from: Intriguer (Audio CD)
Crowded House are a band easy to admire, but maybe less so, i find, to get overly excited about. The magnificent 'Time On Earth' went someway to changing my opinion of them, and i would admit my expectations were high for a new album. It has taken more than a few listens for 'Intriguer' to finally live up to those hopes, even if it's still not quite as good as 'Time On Earth'. As usual, a few of their songs seep into the subconscious, and 'Saturday Sun', 'Amsterdam' and 'Twice If You're Lucky' will rightfully take their place on the list too long to mention of classic Crowded House tunes. Intelligent, grown-up, pop music with guitars, Crowded House do seem to be treading a similar path to Wilco, and as it turns out, both 'Intriguer' and 'Wilco(the album)' were produced by Jim Scott. All in all, there is nothing here that will surprise you and everything in Crowded House world is at it should be, which i for one, am actually thankful for.


Many Colored Kite
Many Colored Kite
Offered by Books-and-Sounds
Price: 7.89

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Mark Olson...., 12 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Many Colored Kite (Audio CD)
So by now you should know just what you're going to get from a Mark Olson album, and 'Many Colored Kite' is no different. Following on from 'Ready For The Flood' his collaboration with Gary Louris, this is yet another masterclass in the art of making songwriting sound easy. It has some rougher edges than on his 'Salvation Blues' album. Catchy opener 'Little Bird of Freedom', 'Bluebell Song', 'Wind and Rain' and title track 'Many Colored Kite' find Mark Olson somewhat cutting loose a little, reminding me of early Jayhawks. 'No Time To Live Without Her' could have been a Creekdipper's song, with Vashti Bunyan replacing Victoria Williams on harmonies. Danny Frankel(drums) and Neal Casal(guitars) bring able support as part of the backing band. Yet another Mark Olson album that has an endearing homespun quality about it, very natural and effortless. Whether you are a long time fan of Mark Olson or a newcomer, i'm sure that you will find something in 'Many Colored Kite' that will not disappoint in any way.


Prisoner of Woodstock
Prisoner of Woodstock
by Dallas Taylor
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Peace & Love...., 12 Aug 2010
This review is from: Prisoner of Woodstock (Hardcover)
Maybe it's because he's not the frontman that his story has somehow passed by un-noticed, but dig out your copy of 'Deja Vu', and there, just under the names of Crosby Stills Nash & Young is his name, Dallas Taylor. At that time a well respected drummer. Before i bought this book i thought i had an idea of who he was, i couldn't have been more wrong. There was i, thinking it would be a light read, full of tales of life behind the scenes of one of my favourite bands, and instead it's a horrific account of his descent into addiction. Cocaine, heroin and pretty much anything else he could get his hands on. Before long he had lost it all. Talent, wealth, friends and eventually his health. It really does destroy the myth that surrounds the Woodstock generation being all about peace and love! It's not glamorous, and though you do get a few showbiz stories like shooting up with Keith Richards, and life in CSN&Y, this book is all about Dallas Taylor. It's well written and brutally honest, and there is an upside, as at the time it was written Dallas Taylor was sober. Though it may be an older book, first published in 1994, it's still a very relevant piece of work.


Bright Light Ballads
Bright Light Ballads
Price: 10.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Surprised....., 10 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Bright Light Ballads (Audio CD)
I must confess that i was never into The Stands and i bought this album solely on the basis that Ethan Johns produced it, as if there is one thing that will almost guarantee, it's that it should sound great, and 'Bright Light Ballads' does. I was also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the songs. As much as Howard Eliott Payne wears his influences on his sleeve, with Bob Dylan on one side and Ray Lamontagne/Ryan Adams on the other, his own personality does get through, just! The swaggering 'Come Down Easy' and 'Seven Years' are probably the highlights for me. One of the features of this album is the use of the violin, which really propels some of the songs. With ten songs clocking in at 35 minutes, this is an impressive folk/country album that definitely doesn't outstay its welcome.


See You On The Moon
See You On The Moon
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 7.61

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Air Of Familiarity...., 1 Aug 2010
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This review is from: See You On The Moon (Audio CD)
There is an air of familiarity around Tift Merritt's fourth album 'See You On The Moon'. In itself this is not a problem as there are some great songs such as 'Engine to Turn' and the stunning 'Feel of the World'(featuring Jim James on harmony). It's just at times you feel that you're listening to songs that Tift has done better before. The only real departure is album opener 'Mixtape', all 70's sounding strings, somewhat reminiscent of the sound Josh Rouse went for on his '1972' album, and it's just as convincing. Tift Merritt remains one of my favourite vocalists and is still a great songwriter, but 'See You On The Moon' feels like a consolidation of her talents rather than a huge leap forward.


BAND OF HORSES-INFINITE ARMS
BAND OF HORSES-INFINITE ARMS
Offered by nagiry
Price: 3.47

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars They Fail To Deliver...., 10 Jun 2010
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There is nothing to dislike about Band Of Horses, in fact, their style of Americana ticks all the right boxes for me. Yet somehow, frustratingly, they fail to deliver a consistantly great album again. I felt a sense of deja vu upon hearing 'Infinite Arms', as much like their last album 'Cease To Begin' there are a clutch of standout tracks and those that just make up numbers. Despite all the promise i felt on hearing the opening three songs, 'Factory', 'Compliments' and 'Laredo', it didn't last. Not that the rest of the album is unlistenable, just lacking inspiration and with a few too many clean edges. The question for me now is how long can i wait for Band Of Horses to fulfil their potential?


"Ryan Adams and the Cardinals": A View of Other Windows
"Ryan Adams and the Cardinals": A View of Other Windows
by Neal Casal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Photographs Are The Songs I Cannot Write...', 6 Jun 2010
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Being a member of 'The Cardinals' has afforded Neal Casal the kind of access that many photographer's could only dream of, and it's an opportunity he doesn't waste. At home, in the studio, on the road and some of the highs & lows inbetween, he captures The Cardinals not only as a band but also as friends. We also get to look beyond the often difficult & arrogant public persona of Ryan Adams to see a hardworking and intense musician, with a playful/goofy natured side. This is a great collection of photographs that will serve as a document alongside all of the amazing music, from an already missed band.


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