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Stevie Dal "Cool Album Of The" (Denny, Scotland)

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Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As it Gets..................., 10 Nov 2013
This review is from: Townes Van Zandt (Audio CD)
Just an absolutely superb album . Townes was a masterful songwriter with a distinctive voice , he rarely put a foot wrong from his 2nd album onwards (his debut is flawed but only slightly). This is the definitive album for me though, not a bad song on here and as others have mentioned, the stripped down delivery suits the material to a tee. A high watermark in Americana/folk/country (!) music, just take some time with this one and you'll learn to love it. Next level.

That's Why God Made The Radio
That's Why God Made The Radio
Offered by Entertainment Direct
Price: £4.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than We Could Have Hoped For ..............., 26 Oct 2013
A superb album by the Boys here, much better than i'd expected.
What we have here is a REALLY strong set of songs , with maybe only Beaches In Mind letting the side down. I promise you , if any of the others had been on a Beach Boys album from the late 60's until the early 80's it would fit quite comfortably and would in some cases probably be the best song on there.
It's all good but special mention must go to the closing trio of songs , a sublime suite of music. If this turns out to be the last album released by the band (of original material) it would be a fitting end to a marvelous career.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2014 6:31 PM BST

Led Zeppelin - 1975 [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
Led Zeppelin - 1975 [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Led Zeppelin
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Documentary, 29 Sep 2013
What you get here is an excellent documentary about Led Zeppelin and, specifically, their classic album Physical Graffiti. A few talking heads , all of whom seem to know their stuff, and some snippets of the music and live stuff . Unauthorised but well made with a fair bit of attention paid to it , i can recommend it without claiming it's the best thing of it's type ever made. if you love Physical Graffiti you'll enjoy this though.
Potential buyers should also be aware that this is a repackaging of a DVD called "Physical Graffiti - An Album Under Review" which is also on sale on this site but at the much more expensive price of £12.99. This is the EXACT same film and at less than half the price !

Ghosts Of The Great Highway
Ghosts Of The Great Highway
Price: £13.18

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, you need this album..............., 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Ghosts Of The Great Highway is a wondrous creation. A work of great depth, texture and perception, it is, without doubt, a masterpiece. I've been listening to it almost constantly now for about 3 weeks and not only do I never tire of hearing it, I simply cannot find a thing about it that I don't like. From the cover art to the singers voice to the songs (10 of them, some long, some short, mostly acoustic, sometimes electric, engaging, compelling and enthralling), it's all good.

Great album's come about in all sorts of different ways of course and one type of which I'm particularly fond is when it's one person's vision, they allow us to visit with them for the duration of the album, get inside their mind for a while if you like. We've had two great examples of that type in 2013 already, from Jim James and Nick Cave. This one, from 2003, was the brainchild of Mark Kozelek who is, for all intents and purposes, Sun Kil Moon.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Born in Ohio in 1967, Mark Kozelek had moved to San Francisco by the late 80s where he formed the band Red House Painters. A demo tape found its way to England's 4AD Records and in 1992 they released the band's debut album Down Colorful Hill, it was an instant classic which received great acclaim and has become a very influential release. Some fantastic work followed another four albums in fact, before record company problems forced a delay in the release of their final album Old Ramon. There was a five year gap between albums and it didn't emerge until 2001 by which time the band had split and Kozelek had embarked on a solo career with first an EP then the album What's Next To The Moon, a release composed entirely of AC/DC cover versions done acoustically and like you've never heard them before, quite wonderful. After this he decided to get another band together and thus was born Sun Kil Moon, named after a Korean boxer, a sport which Kozelek loves and which has influenced many of his songs over the years. Their debut album, in November 2003, was Ghosts Of The Great Highway.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Overall, it's poignant, heartfelt and laced all the way through with bittersweet sadness and regret, it has that kind feel to it. The first track embodies all this and more and begins with Kozelek telling us about a few people that he likes, among them Glenn Tipton (after whom the track is named) and K.K. Downing who were both guitarists with the rock band Judas Priest. It then slides into reminiscing about sitting up late at night with his father, watching old movies on TV, and a friend that he misses:

"I knew an old woman who ran a donut shop / she worked late serving cops / but then one morning baby her heart stopped /place ain't the same no more..............not without my friend "

It's the kind of little thing he can pull from seemingly nowhere and make it seem like these snapshots are momentous moments in life.

Finally we have a verse which appears to be about his first love and how it went wrong due to jealousy, betrayal and lack of trust. Maybe. The line "I buried my first victim when I was 19" can, of course, be taken literally or metaphorically, the choice is ours.

It ends abruptly and after a brief drum roll we're off into the majestic "Carry Me, Ohio" possibly the best song, amid some very stiff competition, on the album. It's a complex song but if I had to sum it up in one word it would be: yearning.

The question is though, what exactly is he yearning for? As per usual, Mark leaves things open to interpretation, he never makes things too easy for the listener, a canny trick: it keeps you interested and coming back for more. So, on this one we're never sure if he's pining for that lost love again or his home, the home that could never sustain him and which he had to leave to fulfill his ambitions and destiny. To put it bluntly: Ohio, a girl or the state?

There's more, so much more.

"Salvador Sanchez" sees the first real impact of electric guitar, it kicks in just when it's needed (the full album is sequenced with care, you can tell), a grungy/Crazy Horse lope which grinds and groans to great effect. The song itself is a eulogy for boxing heroes who died before their time, young warriors in the prime of life. Kozelek obviously has great admiration and writes a beautiful tribute here. Ultimately though it's about more, the entire human experience and the trials, triumphs, heartaches etc we all must go through to get where we want to be.

"Last Tide" and "Floating" are two separate tracks but blend seamlessly together. Here we're in Nick Drake territory, back to acoustic guitar and lovelorn strings in the background. They also appear to be linked in subject matter with "Last Tide" lamenting " I never showed you if I loved you enough" and "Floating" continuing on with "Come to me my love, one more night..........cos I just wanna hold you close, again". Two gentle tunes, carrying real emotional power, quietly devastating.

The mood carries on with the light and airy feel which ushers in "Gentle Moon" which appears to be about finding hope and salvation in nature and, well, just the beautiful things all around us including life itself and the fact that we're here to enjoy it. Even if times seem bad, if you hold on things will get better. "Gentle moon......find us soon." Kozelek has stated that he wrote this song in the days following 9/11.

"Lily And Parrots" finds him back in electric mode, it chugs along grittily as he delivers a quite perfect little love song . There's an acoustic version which has been released elsewhere, you'd think it would fit on this album perfectly, but I actually think this take works better in this context, it gives a bit of variety to proceedings. A sweet song in any guise though.

The 14 and a half minute long "Duk Koo Kim" can seem a little daunting at first, even I admit, but there's a real pay-off at the end as the songs final section evolves it a wondrous, psychedelic/acoustic reverie, a delightful surprise and some of the most beautiful music on the album.

Near the end now, "Si Paloma" a soothing instrumental with flamenco overtones followed by "Pancho Villa" , a final acoustic gem which seemed very familiar to me for a while , until eventually I realized that it's actually a different version of the earlier "Salvador Sanchez" with the same lyrics but a different title . It's very nice to compare the two, and very hard to say which one I prefer, maybe this one but as noted earlier, the "electric" version kicks in at just the right moment, if you're listening to the full album in sequence, which is obviously the intention.

It makes for a stunning finale though, the section where the strings come sweeping in then give way to Kozelek's emotive guitar playing is just transcendent.

And there we have it, a real peach of an album which has taken me by surprise and held me enthralled for much of the past while.

I'm struggling to come up with words which can accurately describe just how good this album is but here's one for you : sublime. According to my dictionary it means: of such excellence, grandeur or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe.

For me that sums it up perfectly. Mark Kozelek really pulled out all his tricks for this one, an album of infinite charm which will be his greatest achievement , the man simply won't better this.

Very few could.

Open Road
Open Road
Price: £10.04

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Surprise !, 10 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Open Road (Audio CD)
Great stuff on this one folks.
Took me a while to discover it mind you. I've been a fan of Donovan's for years , thought he was a great singles artist, but never thought of him as an albums guy. I have a couple of his 60's album's and enjoy them but more as depositories for wonderful , individual songs . My purchase of Open Road changed all that. It's an album that hangs together well , thoughtful and mature , cohesive. Pity he didn't explore this direction further really as he could have come out with an all time classic in time. This isn't quite at that level but it's a very satisfying listen and a pleasant surprise, take a chance , you won't regret it !

The Tarnished Gold
The Tarnished Gold
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.27

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A contender for Album Of The Year 2012., 3 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Tarnished Gold (Audio CD)
I have to confess, Beachwood Sparks were a new name to me but it turns out they've actually been around before and that this is a bit of a comeback album for them. About ten years ago they released 2 albums and an EP then went their separate ways, now they have returned in fine fine style, with one of the albums of the year so far.

Musically we're firmly in the territory frequented by the likes of The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, the late 60′s/ early 70′s vibe but there's also a distinct hint of later British bands like Slowdive and Ride on some tracks. Sunshine shoegazing anyone?

Some reviewers have mentioned that maybe the time just wasn't right for their earlier stuff and now that the likes of Fleet Foxes have come along they have more chance of success. Having had a listen to the first two albums I'm not sure I entirely agree. The reason this one will gain acceptance is because the material is just so much better than before, if you have good enough songs, you make your own times. And believe me, they have good enough songs now................
The whole album has a similar feel running throughout, it's very laid back, in no hurry to get where's it's going, a good thing in my book because this is a treat you can kick back to and savour in leisurely style.

Mostly it washes over you in a kind of glorious technicolour haze, a musical fog which wraps gently round everything in its path. Broad sweeps of acoustic guitars, pedal steel, piano,'s a wonderfully constructed soundscape.

Vocals, for the most part, are slightly buried in the mix, rather than a stand-out feature. A wise decision, they become part of the whole picture, completing it. There are some, many, wonderful harmonies on the go as well.

Early highlights include "Sparks Fly Again", a charming country shuffle about the bands reunion and love of the music they create together, and title track "The Tarnished Gold", surely a metaphor for life itself and those times when something (love?) goes wrong and you get hurt but you realize deep down that it was all worthwhile and you're still happy to be here enjoying life.

It's been sequenced well this one, the overall feel of the album laid out early, a smoothed out blissful sound with no rough edges, never bland though.

There are however a few interestingdiversions which work well, essential to break the mood a little, lend some variety and prevent proceedings from becoming just TOO samey.

As such "Talk About Lonesome" comes in at the perfect time, it's a relatively straight ahead track (in this context), that could have slotted easily into one of Gram Parsons solo albums. A lovely song.

It's followed by two tracks ("Leave That Light On" and "Nature's Light") which (for me) don't lend much to proceedings, decent but not essential.

We're back on track almost immediately, fortunately, with "No Queremos Oro", which I totally love, the sound of a stoned, mellowed out Mariachi band which even comes with its own built in translation, or am I just hearing the voices in my head again?

From here they never put a foot wrong and the journey to the end is sublime.

"Earl Jean" may well be the best track on here, channeling the pure spirit of The Byrds when the guitar playing genius/legend Clarence Whyte was in the band. It's an amazing tune, glistening guitar snaking throughout, kicking off into a sprightly stomp after 2 minutes, a glorious galaxy of sound which is curtailed too soon for my liking.

"The Orange Grass Special," again a traditional(ish) turn from the norm albeit with the Sparks twist of originality thrown in. And finally, appropriately, "Goodbye" quite the most sublime kiss off you'll hear on any album, this or any other year.

Now, if you'd asked me to venture a guess as to just who'd make the Album Of The Year for 2012 I'd have probably went for Band Of Horses or maybe The Felice Brothers, artists I love who've made near classic albums lately. Beachwood Sparks have sped to the very front of that race however with this surprise contender which has come out of nowhere, it's a real delight, a joy which gets better with every listen.

One Day I'm Going to Soar [Explicit]
One Day I'm Going to Soar [Explicit]
Price: £6.59

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last !, 8 Jun 2012
Despite all the personnel, stylistic and sartorial revamps over the years, Dexys have remained at heart a Soul band. The first album was fuelled by the passion of Northern Soul, the second infused by emotive Celtic Soul, and in 1985, the band's masterful "Don't Stand Me Down" settled into a slightly more sedate groove. That one is a real lost treasure and remains Kevin Rowland's masterpiece. It was a total flop at the time but has gained in reputation over the years and been re-released at least twice, that I know of.

Kevin Rowland is famous for his perfectionism and being a control freak, which maybe explains why the new album has taken so long. In the first incarnation of the band he imposed a complete embargo on drink and drugs, made the members stick to a strict keep fit regime. It paid off, they were an awesome live band and had a big hit early on, and "Geno" reached No 1 in 1980. The band grew tired of it all and quit. He got a new band, a new image, and soared to even greater success. The classic single "Come On Eileen" made the top in the UK, Australia and the USA.

Things went slightly pear shaped after that though. The follow up album was a flop, Rowland insisting that it had to stand alone as a complete album; he refused to sanction the release of a single. With no promotion, it died a death. It was the best thing he's ever been involved with so it must have been a painful experience. Bar a one off single "Because Of You," that was pretty much that for Dexys Midnight Runners.
It's been a long time coming but finally, after a mere 27 years, the new Dexys (note the shortened name) album has arrived. I'm pleased to report: it's perfect.

Kevin Rowland has been talking about thisalbum for a long time of course but as the years rolled slowly passed it began to seem like a pipe-dream, like it was simply never going to happen. Much has happened in the meantime, of course, but very little of it seemed to be concerned with music. Cocaine's been mentioned, also bankruptcy and homelessness, most of it probably exaggerated. There were two solo albums (the last in 1999) and then in 2003, a couple of new tracks were released, on a "Best Of" compilation. It was accompanied by a tour on which a new line-up was revealed, with some old faces returning to the fold. This is it, fans thought. The new tracks ("Manhood" and "My Life In England") were amazing and seemed to set the scene for the new album which would surely follow in short order.

And here it is, only 9 years later!
Mick Talbot (ex- Style Council) is still onboard, as are Pete Williams and Lucy Morgan. Long termer Big Jim Paterson is also still involved. Kevin has a new vocal foil, Madeleine Hyland. He likes to create little mini dramas and conversations within a song, a deft trick which has served him well over the years and has provided a few laughs also. Which is good because in the world of Kevin Rowland, things can get pretty intense.

It starts off with a kind of mini-suite of 3 songs, about national identity and Kevin's hopes, dreams, fears etc. as a youngster growing up. National identity is one of his recurring themes over the years, he was the son of Irish immigrants and he's written a lot about what it was like coming to England as a young kid and finding it hard to fit in. Feeling different from all the other kids at school, wondering if it was his fault. Which makes it seem a bit po-faced and that isn't the case. The music is simply sublime throughout and his lyrics always have some sly humour attached. Pick of the early tracks for me is "Lost" with this great intro:

"I always think about the summers / they're my favourite memories / I was always dreaming about something / like how my life could be / full of music , girls and clothes / I dreamed about beauty"

From there it's on to the middle section which starts off with the infectious, Al Green-ish "She Got A Wiggle." A tune which could have made the cut on a Willie Mitchell produced album easily. Songs here start of being about Kevin falling in love, obsession even, and the euphoria he feels. It continues with "You," another sweet groove.
Naturally, this can't last. By "Thinking Of You" things take an abrupt turn for the worse and the infatuation becomes a bit creepy. More stalker than lover! Halfway through "I'm Always Going To Love You" (such a great intro on this one) things take an abrupt turn and Kev decides that maybe things aren't so simple after all, and it's all his own fault. Just as the object of his affection tells him that he feels the same:

"I wasn't thinking, i was so confused / I don't know HOW to love you"

The old self-loathing again. Next track "Incapable Of Love" is fairly self-explanatory after this revelation.

The final section is articulating how he feels about his place in the world, telling us all about how he's never REALLY fitted in anywhere, with anyone. How much of all this is true is anyone's guess, which should always be the case with such a great songwriter really. Even if it's fabrication, he makes us believe it.

"Free" is the most upbeat number , a stomping tune which gives way to the final, devastating soliloquy of "It's OK John Joe."

A classic Rowland track, in the vein of "Reminisce #2' or "This Is What She's Like." Bleak and beautiful in equal measure, its inclusion makes the whole album for me. Absolutely perfect as our man pours his heart out.

"If I'm depending on another person I'm in trouble.....and so are they."

Just at the end, the final minute when the man's reached rock bottom, the joy and euphoria which life is capable of is reaffirmed with quite the most glorious ending.

It was always going to be good to have Dexys back, they do nothing by halves and the standard has never really dipped on any of the albums. To have a release quite so special as this though is a real treat, it will be an Album Of The Year without doubt.

This Is England '88 [DVD]
This Is England '88 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joe Gilgun
Price: £11.34

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best yet,, 19 Dec 2011
This review is from: This Is England '88 [DVD] (DVD)
Utter genius and the best TV drama i've seen for a long time.
Different to the first two in pace and humour (less of each) but i feel it's the best yet due to some deep exploration of the pain of separation and sense of loss,
Absolutely top class performance from the actors playing Woody and Lol , outstanding.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2011 5:16 AM GMT

Great Paintings
Great Paintings
by Karen Hosack
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful !, 14 Nov 2011
This review is from: Great Paintings (Hardcover)
An absolutely wonderful book , with fantastic illustrations. For each painting you see the entire thing in full colour and get lots of detail on the artist , what inspired them , why they did things a certain way etc.
Then you get some real detail , close up views of certain parts of the work and the techniques used by the artists. Fascinating stuff for an art beginner like me , i absolutely love it. Everyone will have their own favourites of course so i won't even go there , but you will most likely find and appreciate works which you didn't know before.
I'll certainly go back to this one again and again , great stuff.

Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns (Deluxe)
Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns (Deluxe)
Price: £15.38

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD Review, 12 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As requested , i thought i'd give you all a quick rundown on the DVD which is included in the "Deluxe" version of this album. The music is reviewed by others but for what it's worth , i think this is Hiatt's best effort for a while , the songs are all of a very high standard indeed. The 5 stars awarded here by me are for the music.
As for the DVD , well , it's fairly brief, about 24 minutes (including credits). It's mostly footage of John sitting discussing each track on the album , he gives a reason for each track , what it's about , how old it is , Train To Birmingham is an old one that he wrote when he was 19/20 , he's recorded it now cos his wife always liked it. Things like that. There's footage of the band and producer in the studio , mostly with the album playing over the top of it.
For 3 or 4 songs John picks up his acoustic and plays some of it but there's no full songs, it's just the verse and first chorus really.
I must say , i liked the music already , but even this small amount of chat is informative and made me appreciate the music more. Having said this , it's not really essential stuff. It will all depend on how much of a fan you are i suppose.At the current Amazon price ( a mere £1 more than the single cd version) it's worth it . More like a Press Release for the album than anything but i nice bit of trivia. Will you watch it more than once , probably not !
The DVD also includes a "24/96 High Resolution Audio Mix" of the album.
Hope this helps............
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 13, 2011 12:23 PM BST

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