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Kevin Ball

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CURSI
CURSI
Offered by MERLINMOOSIKDE
Price: £6.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Scrabble tiles on the cover, this is full of real gems, 7 Feb 2014
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This review is from: CURSI (Audio CD)
Take a look at the other reviews posted here and something comes across quite clearly. A wide range of tracks are identified as favourites. It's because BANG! has something to satisfy all tastes, from solid rocking (Give it all away) to achingly beautiful sentimentality (Sunshine), taking in a kaleidoscope of musical styles on the way. What links the diverse components is the ambitious creative writing and musicianship. By pushing the boundaries, Karl Wallinger admittedly produced something that wouldn't necessarily satisfy the fans of the first two albums, and I can appreciate that some reviewers think that he didn't quite get the disparate pieces to hang together as well as on Goodbye Jumbo. However, anyone who can combine elements at such opposite ends of the spectrum as a sample of Sir John Gielgud reciting Shakespeare and the use of the "F" work delivered in an operatic context (and get away with it!) deserves respect. Personally, I remain to be convinced that the overall achievement of this album doesn't slightly exceed that of its highly accomplished predecessor. Approach this album with an open mind and you'll reap the benefits for years to come.


Fish Out Of Water
Fish Out Of Water

5.0 out of 5 stars A most impressive first solo album from YES's bass guitarist "Thunder God"., 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Fish Out Of Water (Audio CD)
When my original (and absolutely played-out) vinyl version finally gave up the ghost, I couldn't conceive of being without such a classic in my collection and bought the CD. To be honest, the music is so compelling that I've not yet even looked at the content of the accompanying DVD. There isn't a single lead guitar solo to be found, but Chris's bass and a unique combination of keyboards, woodwind and brass make that pretty much unimportant. The (in my opinion) best rhythm section of Yes's many incarnations, Squire and Bill Bruford manage to make an incredibly tight unit seem effortlessly loose and jazzy when the mood calls for it, most notably on "Lucky Seven" (appropriately in a 7/8 time signature). The orchestral nature of much of the album melds especially well with the keyboards and synths of Patrick Moraz and Andrew Pryce Jackman, while Mel Collins provides saxophone-flavoured icing on the cake. By using such an unusual band structure, Squire might have left himself open to the usual "pomposity" accusation aimed at progressive rockers. Far from it - this is one solo album which was absolutely nailed!


Live Herald
Live Herald
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Musicianship of the highest order, definitely not just for the actual or would-be hippies., 9 July 2013
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This review is from: Live Herald (Audio CD)
I came to Steve Hillage's work fairly late, more's the pity. As a sixth-former, a friend brought Gong's 'Flying Teapot' into the common room and for some reason I couldn't get into it. Ten years later I heard this live album and the veil lifted! Technically breath-taking and pretty radically different in style from almost anything else around at the time, this band (here in three different line-ups) is so tight it squeaks. Whether or not the tree-huggery that abounds here is to your taste, what can't be ignored is the sheer brilliance of the ensemble playing. Naturally enough, Steve's riffs, runs and occasionally blisteringly-fast fingerwork predominate, but the rhythm section is a force to be reckoned with and the swirling, ethereal synths add depth and colour. The sleeve notes explain why the 4 studio tracks on the original album have been replaced, making this version totally live. Anyone wishing to find the omitted material should check out Hillage's "Open" album. A great record of some very special performances.


Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House
Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £5.83

5.0 out of 5 stars No gimmicks, just fine musicianship and great songs., 9 July 2013
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Crowded House studio albums have always possessed a crystalline quality, both of voices and instruments. The first disc of this double CD is no exception, being a collection of beautifully crafted, performed and engineered songs. The 19 studio tracks fully live up to the "very best" epithet. However, the great pleasure that I have derived from this album over a number of years is due largely to the second CD. This disc features a selection of live performances covering a range of styles and moods, with all songs being delivered with the same outstanding polish and clarity. Particular favourites are the punchy opener, There Goes God and the absolutely haunting Fingers Of Love. Perhaps most impressive, only 4 of the studio tracks are replicated on the live disc. A little audience participation is the prelude to the only quirky inclusion, Sister Madly, which seems a little out of place. It does, however, show the playful side of a band enjoying what they do best - entertaining the hell out of their audience. Either CD would justify the purchase price on its own. I come back to this collection time and again; it never disappoints.


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