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Portrait
Portrait
Price: £8.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Voice, 18 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Portrait (Audio CD)
I discovered Josephine by chance via one of those you-bought-that-so-you-might-like-this recommendations and I'm so glad I did. The BBC review above is pretty accurate, so rather than vainly try to improve on it I'd just like to reiterate that this is an amazing voice singing accomplished songs. Why is this woman not a major star?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 5, 2014 2:44 AM BST


LOVE, LIES AND HIGH HEELS (SPOILED AND SASSY Book 1)
LOVE, LIES AND HIGH HEELS (SPOILED AND SASSY Book 1)
Price: £0.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive and Superficial, 3 Dec 2012
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Based on the title I was expecting some lightweight holiday reading, but this book was more irritating than amusing. The dialogue between the two characters was simply a series of petulant squabbles, more like two children on a long car journey than a pair of mature adults, and worse than that, each exchange seemed to follow pretty much the same pattern. Once I got bored of it I kept skipping several chapters to see if there had been any charcter development, but no. The treatment of the underlying(sic)sexual tension and inevitable sexual encounters was ham-fisted but not entertaining enough to be laughable. Now deleted from my kindle.


Abba - The Visitors [2007] [DVD]
Abba - The Visitors [2007] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Abba

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 16 Aug 2011
I found this and bought it on impulse. However, like most of the other reviewers I wish I had read the other reviews and saved my money. With largely stock footage and a bunch of talking head nonentities who mistakenly believe that their vapid warbling is insightful, this cannot be regarded in any way a successful critical assessment. Notable tracks such as 'Like An Angel Passing Through My Room' and 'I Let The Music Speak' are simply ignored in order to play incomplete clips of songs that do not appear on 'The Visitors'. The production values are cheap and the end result mediocre. Avoid.


Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £21.41

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth The Effort, 6 Mar 2011
This review is from: Karen Carpenter (Audio CD)
Like many Carpenters fans I've had this album for years. My first reaction on hearing it was that it wasn't terribly good and I quickly forgot about it, confining my listening to Karen's outings with Richard. However, last year I heard a wonderful, sparse version of 'Make Believe It's Your First Time' on YouTube, saw that it was from this album and decided that to give it another listen. Since then it's been a regular choice on my iPod.

Comparisons with the Carpenters' recordings are inevitable, and while I have to say that this doesn't rank with the Carpenters' career bests, it's an engaging listen and shows a much more diverse range than most of the Carpenters albums. Richard has apparently criticised parts of this album for 'lifting' the Carpenters sound, but since Karen's overdubbed voice was so much of that sound it's naive to assume that the two would be dissimilar. Some commentators have noted that Karen went against his wishes and recorded a disco album, but this isn't really true. There are certainly some disco/soft jazz-influenced tracks (notably 'Lovelines', Guess I Just Lost My Head' and 'Remember When Loving Took All Night'), but the only track that could really be called disco is 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind', which is a wonderful guilty pleasure, ripe for remixing and extending. However, it's Karen's experimentation with other styles that caught my attention this time round. 'Making Love In The Afternoon' is an AOR-pop gem and with the right marketing could definitely have been a hit for KC. 'Still In Love With You' enters the realm of country rock while 'All Because Of You', also guitar-driven, finds Karen in a more sombre mood. 'Make Believe It's Your First Time' sounds bare compared to the full orchestral Carpenters version, yet this compellingly emphasises the vulnerability of Karen's vocal. As other reviewers have noted however, the crowning glory is the wonderful version of Paul Simon's 'Still Crazy After All These Years'. Also strong is 'If I Had You', a vocal marathon of epic proportions, though I have to admit I prefer Richard's later remix of this track.

While the focus on 'adult' themes is sometimes rather laboured, this album is clearly the work of a gifted artist stretching her artistic wings, and it's a shame it wasn't rewarded with a more immediate release. Like many others I feel it should have been released when it was finished, and I think we'll never really know why it wasn't. Most of the speculation around the album's shelving centres on Richard. It's been suggested that he was jealous, that he was worried that this album would mean the end of the Carpenters. However, this anti-Richard conspirancy theory remains conjecture and doesn't take into account the situation the Carpenters found themselves in at the start of the 80's. In the light of their re-evaluation it's impossible to express now just how completely uncool the Carpenters were at that time. In addition, their previous album, 'Passage', which was in some respects an attempt at experimentation, had only exacerbated a trend of diminishing returns from the mid-70's. Perhaps A&M were unwilling to take another risk on another album that didn't correspond to the tried and tested Carpenters template of their early-70's successes. It's also worth noting that by the time 'Karen Carpenter' was finished the disco backlash was at full force, and critics would have used tracks like 'Lovelines' or 'My Body Keeps Changing My Mind' as an indicator of how far Karen was behind the times. Anyway, its non-release at that time is a moot point and probably should be laid to rest. However, like other reviewers I've heard out-takes from this album, some of which are very high quality, including another Paul Simon cover. I think a deluxe expanded edition of 'Karen Carpenter' would be a great idea, so how about it, A&M/Universal?


Victoria Wood: The Biography
Victoria Wood: The Biography
by Neil Brandwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.92

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Peevish and judgemental, 24 Oct 2010
This biography effectively documents many of the events in Victoria Wood's life albeit from the the perspective of a diligent clippings-reader. The reluctance of Victoria Wood or any of her inner circle to contribute means that Mr Brandwood was required to fall back on public sources, or interviews with people who know or knew Victoria so barely that their input scarcely seems relevant. Consequently the book suffers from a lack of depth. In addition, Mr Brandwood seems to lack sympathy for his subject, and while looking at a career which has largely been successful he seems to invite the reader to share his disappointment. For example, he appears to believe that the first series of 'Dinnerladies' was a commercial and critical failure, noting that it began with 12.24 million viewers but the average of later episodes was only 9.45 million. While the former figure is undeniably more impressive, I believe very few producers of TV programmes would regard 9.45 million viewers as a failure.

I finished the book less interested in Victoria Wood and more interested in Neil Brandwood's motivation in writing about her. He doesn't seem to have much affection for Victoria Wood so why write this book? Like Mr Brandwood on many occasions, I can only speculate. At times it seems like the book would like to be a 'dish-the-dirt' tome in the style of Kitty Kelly or Albert Goldman. However, in the absence of any real dirt to dish what we are frequently left with is simply peevish and judgemental carping.


Ten
Ten
Price: £7.75

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That difficult second album...., 4 April 2010
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This review is from: Ten (Audio CD)
Like many people, I first encountered Gabriella when she was supporting Nouvelle Vague in 2008, and was blown away by her raw talent. An extrememely solid debut album, 'Lessons To Be Learned' followed, showing that she was no mere flash in the pan. Like many artists, she was faced with the dilemma of producing a copy of her successful debut or going in a different direction. 'Ten' is that different direction, following a more electro/pop template.

It begins strongly with two crackers,'On A Mission' and 'Hearts Don't Lie'. They're undeniably derivative, but pop gold nonetheless. Then everything seems to get a bit lost, only coming up for air with the cheekily sassy 'Superhot'. Many of the tracks seem to rely on Gabriella's upper register rather than the gutsy vocal she's capable of. The album ends with a bonus track, an electro reworking of 'Sweet About Me'. This is excellent, at least as good as the original and possibly better. However, the reappearance of 'Sweet About Me' presents a problem for 'Ten'. On 'Lessons To Be Learned' it was one of a number of standout tracks on a strong album; its presence here only seems to accentuate how few of the preceding tracks can hold a candle to it.

This is not to say that 'Ten' is a bad album. It's clearly aimed the current pop market and on those terms it has some success. It's at least as good as 'Hands' by Little Boots and significantly better than the La Roux debut. However, compared to Gabriella's own debut it sounds somehow... generic. When I heard 'Lessons To Be Learned' I though it was the album of an artist with some longevity. 'Ten' seems to be the album of an artist who will sell this year but be off the radar in two years' time.

I hope this isn't the case. I still think Gabriella is amazingly talented, but following the current pop herd isn't for her. It's important to remember that this is Gabriella's second album and she's not yet twenty. This is only the beginning of her career and I'm confident that she'll produce superior work in the future. However, it would be interesting to hear what she thinks of 'Ten' in ten years' time...


KWorld DVD MAKER USB2.0+VS-USB2800D+DVD Direct Burn
KWorld DVD MAKER USB2.0+VS-USB2800D+DVD Direct Burn
Offered by ShizaltaUK
Price: £21.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dud?, 19 Feb 2009
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I don't know if I got a defective version of this but I couldn't get it to do ANYTHING. I'm no IT wizard, but I know my way around a computer and nothing I tried seemed to work. Other buyers have noted that the instructions/support are pitifully inadequate and this is true. However, I tried everything other reviewers suggested as well as tips in the FAQ section at the product website (where I found stuff that really should have been in the box!). I've returned mine for a refund.


Cage The Songbird
Cage The Songbird
Price: £9.31

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A work in progress, 1 Jan 2009
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This review is from: Cage The Songbird (Audio CD)
First of all I have to say that it's wonderful that so much of Kiki Dee's back catalogue has finally been released on CD, particularly the albums during her time with Elton John's Rocket label. It's certainly true to say that it was during her tenure at Rocket that Kiki was nurtured to become much more of a rounded singer-songwriter as opposed to a singer who simply went into a studio to lay down a vocal track.

'Cage The Songbird' is something of an oddity though. Recorded during a period of great creativity for Kiki it was shelved, with only the Elton John-produced 'Once A Fool' released at the time. On listening it is fairly obvious why maybe Rocket and Kiki were unsure about it. As the previous reviewer has noted, some of the Robert Appere-produced tracks have a sparse, demo-like quality in spite of the fact that a full complement of instrumental and vocal parts seems to be present in the mix. Kiki's voice is spot-on (apart from the screechy 'Uphill Place of Mind') and some of the some of the tracks are lost gems. Greatest success is probably had on the lesser-known tracks like 'Cage The Songbird', 'Prince Of Fools', 'Man After My Own Heart' and 'Cry Like A Baby'. 'A Change Is Gonna Come', because it's been covered so many times, has a karaoke-type quality, and 'Chicago' and 'First Thing In The Morning' don't hold a candle to the epic reworkings that were later produced for the 'Kiki Dee' album. 'Once A Fool' is great, though in my copy there's what sounds like a vinyl click around 1:05 - not sure if it's on all copies.

So what you have is essentially a cherry-picking album. I can understand that releasing this album at all represents a financial investment for limited return, so kudos to EMI for caring enough about Kiki Dee as an artist to do it, though it would have benefited from some remixing. Consequently it's not of the same quality as the rest of her Rocket output, but if you've got that, and are interested in hearing more, it's worth checking out, especially as it's been priced in the mid-range. However, if you're curious about Kiki Dee and are wondering which CD to buy as your first, go for 'Kiki Dee', then work your way through the other Rocket recordings. You might also want to have a listen to the 'Perfect Timing' album. Enjoy!


Best of Crapston Villas 1 [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Best of Crapston Villas 1 [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jane Horrocks

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Opportunity, 30 July 2008
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I agree with the previous reviewer. Crapston Villas was animated comedy at its best, but why not the whole series - or both series even? It's not like the episodes were so long. It would be tragic if this rag-bag of episodes was all of the series that made it to DVD.


System (Standard Version)
System (Standard Version)
Price: £6.51

4.0 out of 5 stars A n engaging listen, 18 Nov 2007
This CD is fairly reminiscent of Seal's first album, being more dance and pop oriented than the last two fairly dull outings. Contrary to what other reviewers say, the production doesn't suffer for the lack of Trevor Horn. What is the same is that incredible voice. The songs are solid, if conforming to the rather familiar Seal formula. Nothing really new is brought to the table this time round, but System remains an engaging listen.


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