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jdian (Solihull, West Midlands United Kingdom)

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His Greatest Misses
His Greatest Misses
Price: £35.09

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended, 18 Jan. 2005
This review is from: His Greatest Misses (Audio CD)
I have to admit that Robert Wyatt was one of those artists that had always passed me by. Like many people I loved his version of Shipbuilding but he'd never really registered until I recently caught the excellent recent BBC documentary on his life and work. So this new complilation seemed the ideal opportunity to catch up.
Wyatt's obviously adored by a huge number of fellow musicians, and collabrators on these tracks range from household names, like Paul Weller, Mike Oldfield and various members of Pink Floyd and Roxy Music, to more 'leftfield' artists such as Fred Frith and Ivor Cutler. Although each of them plays a full part in creating the overall sound on the pieces here, the arrangements are generally very simple and direct, there's no room for over-long solos.
For most people the songs will stand or fall depending on what they think of Wyatt's voice which is one of those you'll probably either love or hate. Describing it as generally high pitched with a sort of estuary gutteral delivery may make it seem like Joe Pasquale, but you get the general idea. For me Wyatt comes across as one of the greatest interpreters I've ever heard. If you're aware of Elvis Costello's version of Shipbuilding featuring Chet Baker you'll know it's incredibly beautiful in its own right but somehow Wyatt finds the extra emotional vulnerability in the lyrics that takes the song to another level. That's also strongly evidenced by some of the other covers here, particularly his incredible version of 'At last I am free' which is worth the price of the CD in itself. Having only heard this track before as a fairly anodyne disco ballad (on 'C'est Chic' of all things) I just couldn't believe the sensitivity and (again) apparent vulnerability that Wyatt finds in the lyrics - it's one of those tracks you have to play over and over again to lose yourself in its beauty.
It's not all covers though and some of Wyatt's own songs stand comparison to anything else out there. Particular favourites of mine are 'Free will and testament' and 'Sea song' which combine some of the most memorable melodies you'll ever hear with an amazing emotional honesty in the lyrics.
I enjoyed this compilation immensely and would urge you to buy it. As a newcomer I'm not really in a position to say if it contains the 'best' or most representative tracks although I was surprised that there's no place for 'Little Red Riding Hood hit the road' which is one of the few tracks I did know before and is simply astonishing (the excellent 'Little Red ROBIN Hood is included). But, hey, that's just another reason to go out and get Rock Bottom I suppose!


Unlimited Edition
Unlimited Edition
Offered by barneys_cds
Price: £21.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't know where to start...start here!!, 21 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Unlimited Edition (Audio CD)
The review below spurred me to write about this album as I think it's just plain wrong! 'Unlimited edition' was the first Can record I bought when it first came out in the mid-70's and the start of a beautiful love affair with one of the greatest and most influential groups ever. It covers what's generally acknowledged to be their most productive period, from 68-74, and although it's made up of previously unreleased studio tracks, as the original liner notes pointed out Can were different to other groups in that, having their own studio, they were able to record more or less as they wanted rather for specific album sessions.
Fans of the Damo Suzuki era Can will obviously gravitate towards stunning tracks such as 'Doko e' and 'TV spot' which seem to burst spontaneously into their own funky existence but the collection is probably even stronger on the Malcolm Mooney period - 'Fall of another year' 'The empress and the ukraine king' the hilarious 'Mother Upduff' and especially the short and incredibly rocking 'Connection' show off his talents better than anything on the first three albums. Plus there's the beautiful 'Ibis', a more languid instrumental take on the 'Dizzy dizzy' theme from Soon over Babaluma led by Michael's violin, and for me the best post-Suzuki track they ever recorded. I admit some of the EFS stuff is a bit throwaway but overall it's an extremely strong collection and a great overview of Can's early years. Definitely not just for completists and, if it's your first experience like it was mine, you'll still have 'Tago Mago' 'Ege Bamyasi' 'Future Days' and the rest to come. I envy you the experience of finding out for yourself!


Live in USA
Live in USA
Price: £8.05

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the finest live album from the 70's, 19 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Live in USA (Audio CD)
This album was originally released in Britain as 'PFM Cook' with a rather bizarre cover depicting snakes in a saucepan and it kind of sums up the incredible seething stew of music served up here. The recording was made live at a couple of open-air concerts in America and, unlike some other live albums from the era, you can almost feel the crowd's enthusiasm. Clearly the group fed off it and produced some electrifying performances.
What I love about 'Live in the USA' is that PFM weren't just happy to give a straight reading of their studio recordings, it's as if they decided to supercharge all the songs. As a result classics such as 'Four holes in the ground' and 'Celebration' are, in my view, even better than the originals, taken at breakneck speed with dazzling musicianship, led by a frontline of guitar, keyboards, violin and flute and somehow coming up with an alchemy of jazz, rock and classical music that doesn't sound in the least bit forced or contrived.
But the absolute masterpiece here is 'Alta Loma Five Till Nine' a track that hadn't been on any of their studio albums and, I've always assumed, grew out of extended jamming on the road. If that sounds a bit worrying trust me, it's one of the most focussed 20+ minutes of playing ever recorded. Franco Mussida starts off in a bluesy groove and then proceeds to reel off lick after lick of astonishing guitar, playing so fast at times you can sense the rhythm section straining to hold the whole thing together. Just when you think it can't get any better Mauro Pagani comes in with a heart-breakingly soulful violin solo that builds and builds to their trademark 'William Tell Overture' finale.
If you're interested in expanding your collection to include some progressive rock, where progressive stands for innovative and exciting rather than pretentious, I'd recommend this CD as a great place to start.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 16, 2008 8:54 PM GMT


Saxophone Colossus
Saxophone Colossus
Offered by Founders Factory JPN4UK
Price: £14.24

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amust-have jazz album, 15 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Saxophone Colossus (Audio CD)
Sonny Rollins may not have quite gained the lasting veneration of his contemporaries Miles Davis and John Coltrane, but, trust me, this is one of the finest jazz albums of all time. Rollins is so completely in control of the tenor sax that on this recording he seems capable of anything. Saxophone Colossus may seem a bit of a self-regarding title but it's more than justified by the invention, bravado and sheer self-confidence of his playing. Of course it helps that he's backed by one of the greatest (and most sympathetic) rhythm sections ever assembled. Tommy Flanagan doesn't waste a note and Max Roach gives the finest exhibition of jazz drumming ever recorded - this is the only album, period, where the drum solos are to be appreciated and not tolerated. There's not a single weak moment, let alone a weak track, on this recording and it seems churlish to pick out highlights but the innovative jazz-calypso of St Thomas grooves like nothing else and the gradual build-up to Blue Seven is my favourite introduction to any track of all time. But the crowning moment for me has to be the ballad 'You don't know what love is' - if you're aware of the lyrics you'll know just how perfectly suited Rollins' bitter and ironic attack on this standard is. If you're looking to get into jazz this recording is the perfect place to start - challenging, stimulating and totally melodic without being in the least bit frightening.


Saxophone Colossus
Saxophone Colossus
Offered by Founders Factory JPN4UK
Price: £14.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have jazz album, 15 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Saxophone Colossus (Audio CD)
Sonny Rollins may not have quite gained the lasting veneration of his contemporaries Miles Davis and John Coltrane, but, trust me, this is one of the finest jazz albums of all time. Rollins is so completely in control of the tenor sax that on this recording he seems capable of anything.
Saxophone Colossus may seem a bit of a self-regarding title but it's more than justified by the invention, bravado and sheer self-confidence of his playing. Of course it helps that he's backed by one of the greatest (and most sympathetic) rhythm sections ever assembled. Tommy Flanagan doesn't waste a note and Max Roach gives the finest exhibition of jazz drumming ever recorded - this is the only album, period, where the drum solos are to be appreciated and not tolerated.
There's not a single weak moment, let alone a weak track, on this recording and it seems churlish to pick out highlights but the innovative jazz-calypso of St Thomas grooves like nothing else and the gradual build-up to Blue Seven is my favourite introduction to any track of all time. But the crowning moment for me has to be the ballad 'You don't know what love is' - if you're aware of the lyrics you'll know just how perfectly suited Rollins' bitter and ironic attack on this standard is.
If you're looking to get into jazz this recording is the perfect place to start - challenging, stimulating and totally melodic without being in the least bit frightening.


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