Profile for Music-lover > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Music-lover
Top Reviewer Ranking: 23,987
Helpful Votes: 228

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Music-lover (UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Braun Series 3 340s-4 Rechargeable Wet and Dry Foil Electric Shaver
Braun Series 3 340s-4 Rechargeable Wet and Dry Foil Electric Shaver
Price: £49.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best electric I've tried., 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First electric I've ever tried that really does give a reasonably close shave. Still not quite as good as a wet shave with a good blade but probably as good as electrics are going to get.


HDMI to HDMI Gold Plated Connectors Cable 1.5M
HDMI to HDMI Gold Plated Connectors Cable 1.5M
Offered by UKStocked
Price: £1.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Suitable for purpose. Still working. All good.


Kensington Wireless 2.4 GHz USB Presenter and Red Laser Pointer - Compatible with PowerPoint and KeyNote
Kensington Wireless 2.4 GHz USB Presenter and Red Laser Pointer - Compatible with PowerPoint and KeyNote
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reliable and intuitive. Easy to use. Solid. Best I've tried.


Skyfall [DVD]
Skyfall [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Craig
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £11.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Best ever?, 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Skyfall [DVD] (DVD)
Great film. Possibly the best ever Bond? Certainly my favourite.


Thermos Ultimate Stainless Steel Flask - 500 ml, Graphite
Thermos Ultimate Stainless Steel Flask - 500 ml, Graphite
Price: £24.78

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works!, 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first flask I've ever had that keeps drinks hot for an entire day. And I mean HOT. Piping hot. I'm not sure whether it would meet it's claim of 24 hours as I haven't had cause to put that to the test but it certainly suits my needs and was worth every penny. Having a nice hot drink out on location in Iceland was a real god-send.


Golden Oldies
Golden Oldies
Price: £9.84

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Oldies by Focus - 'A fitting legacy?', 14 April 2014
This review is from: Golden Oldies (Audio CD)
The latest release by Focus is a reworking of seven of their classic tracks from the early 70s plus three from more recent releases and I've been waiting it to drop on my doormat with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation as Jan Akkerman is my musical hero and those early Focus recordings are my all time favourites! So will these re-workings be worthwhile? Will they compete with versions I have been listening to for 40 years?

Firstly, I like the simplicity of the cover which harks back to 'Focus at the Rainbow'. Sadly there aren't any liner notes, just the usual credits which is a shame as I'd quite like to have read a little about the reasons behind the project. Production is credited to Bobby Jacobs & Focus and they have done a very good job. I really like dynamics of the recording. Perhaps there is not quite the warmth of the originals but it is not far off. It has been sympathetically done and feels appropriate to the 'Golden Oldies' idea by not being too 'digital'. Actually, it just sounds like 'Focus'. That's the best accolade I can give.

The musicianship is excellent as you would expect. Bobby Jacobs is a melodic and talented bass player, probably technically better than those that have gone before and drummer Pierre van der Linden, quite simply, is astonishing. He has lost none of his musicality and feeling and this is amply illustrated, for example, in the version of Focus II found here. It is a rhythm section as good as any that the band has ever had. Band leader, Thijs van Leer may have lost his high register and some of his lung capacity but his yodelling suffices, his Hammond playing is absolutely gorgeous and he still plays the flute like an Angel. Also his vocal gymnastics, though not as effective as 40 years ago, still demonstrate that he is absolutely mad.

Guitar is often a bone of contention among Focus fans. Again, I confess I'm a die-hard Akkerman fan but I have no time for those bottom feeding sycophants who feel he cannot ever be replaced in this band. Put simply, Akkerman doesn't want to be in Focus any more. Get over it. He's still out there touring and making his own fantastic music for us to enjoy. It is not a competition. There is room for both parties. I know there are stories of riches in yen waiting for Focus if Akkerman returned but even if he was lured, his heart would almost certainly not be in it. And therefore it probably wouldn't work. What this band needs is a guitarist who WANTS to be there.

Since Akkerman departed Focus has employed some great guitarists such as Philip Catherine and Eef Albers but none emulated the heyday. In the modern era Jan Dumee had tons of passion and feeling and Niels van der Steenhoven was technically gifted and melodic. But Gootjes is an altogether different beast. He is a swaggering, ultra cool rock guitarist in the classic mould, perhaps even capable of igniting a new generation of followers for the band. Although arguably not quite as gifted as a 1970s Akkerman, he is an extraordinary talent. His approach and delivery create a dynamic musical tension not heard since Van Leer and Akkerman locked horns back in the day. Gootjes appears to be a man very much capable of holding his own. He doesn't need or try to be anyone else yet he's secure enough in his own ability to give the occasional musical nod to the past.

Anyone who has seen this line-up play live will be familiar with the arrangements on this CD. They are tried and tested and work well. They have been honed by being regulars in the live set. The versions of songs from Focus 8 and 9 are better than their predecessors simply because Gootjes is present (on both) and Van der Linden is present on 'Neurotika'.
As for the seventies songs, all are extremely well done, very listenable and display appropriate respect and empathy for their grandparents, both in production and in performance. A lovely version of 'Focus III', complete with its 'don't sleep in the subway' middle eight, segues into an equally impressive 'Focus II', a masterpiece of composition. Both always sound good and here is no exception. Gootjes keeps you waiting for the little guitar swell at the end of Focus II though!

'Tommy' is an unexpected test for a guitarist. It is a simple tune, yet to play it requires oodles technique and emotion. Bookended by 'Pupilla', the main melody is handled very well here. Gootjes has plenty of raw emotion and includes some pretty impressive runs to cap it off. (I just wish it continued into 'The Bridge'). There is also a doffed cap to the absent Akkerman with the inclusion of a rather perky version of his composition 'House of the King'. In the guitar solo Gootjes manages to simultaneously nod to Akkerman and show that he has his own licks to rival anyone.

'Sylvia' obviously needed to be included as it is one of the bands biggest hits. It is very nicely done with the 'live' intro and melodic guitar. The absence of the high vocal sections are replaced by a lovely guitar/piano duel. Indeed, the piano is an interesting addition throughout. It works really well.

'Hocus Pocus' is the song that made the band famous and continues to do so with outings in the 2010 World Cup and the latest Robocop film. It had to be included here yet it is the hardest of all to emulate. The musicianship is superb, particularly the guitar shredding and drumming. However, as much as it pains me to say it, vocally it doesn't work quite so well. Tempus fugit and all that. However, it would have been a bold decision to leave it out, but no more bold than the decision to omit 'Eruption'.

For me it is a rather lovely version of 'Focus I' that is the most worthwhile track. It maybe even surpasses the original. Aside from the haunting guitar melody there is some lovely flute, an up tempo middle eight and a nicely fitting 'Anonymous' ending. Coupled with an emotional low register Van Leer vocal ('Focus yourself on the love you own mankind') it becomes special. The original version from 'In and Out of Focus' didn't have Van der Linden, and here he excels. At Focus gigs this tune makes me cry and I feel that same emotion here.

Song choice is one area that is perhaps an issue. Although they are extremely well done, the inclusion of cuts from 'Focus 8' ('Neurotika') and 'Focus 9' ('Aya-Yuppie-Hippie-Yee') is odd as they are hardly 'golden oldies' and the inclusion of yet another version of 'Brother' (a song already seen on both 'Focus Con Proby' and 'Focus 8') is unusual, especially when one considers that they are there at the expense of songs such as 'Janis', 'Focus IV', 'Focus V', 'Birth', 'La Cathedrale de Strasbourg', 'No Hang Ups', 'Mother Focus' and (the holy grail of many Focus fans) 'Hamburger Concerto', a piece not performed by any Focus band since 1975. Indeed, the opportunity to hear Pierre van der Linden interpret songs from 'Hamburger Concerto' is a sad loss. 'La Cathedrale' and 'Harem Scarem' often feature in their current live set. So why not here? They could be very 'well done'.

I strongly feel that this album would have benefitted from the gravitas of an extended suite of some kind as that is so much of what this band is (or should be) about. It would have fascinating to hear a new 'Anonymous II' or 'Answers? Questions! Questions? Answers!' However, by far the biggest shock is the unfathomable exclusion of 'Eruption' which still features at every gig. It is their pièce de résistance and needed to be here. As the CD is only around 50 minutes in length there certainly was room! But who knows why it isn't here? Perhaps they were haunted by the same mixed feelings as me. How does one improve on perfection?
In conclusion, this album is well worth a listen. There is some incredible musicianship and some great songs. Nonetheless, to the die-hard fan certain omissions leave the project feeling both unfinished and unfulfilling. (Dare I suggest 'Golden Oldies II -The Long Ones'?)

In the life of Focus, I don't know if this was a necessary step or just a purse filler. Yes I must confess to really rather liking 'Golden Oldies'. In the time I have taken to write this review, I have listened to it a number of times and each time I like it more. I wish I could stop comparing it to what has gone before!

But I think whether you like it or not depends as much on you as on it. So give it a try and then leave a review. I'd be interested to read your thoughts.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2014 3:46 PM GMT


Dell UltraSharp U2413 24 inch PremierColor LED Monitor - Black (1920x1200, 16:10, 60Hz, DVI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0)
Dell UltraSharp U2413 24 inch PremierColor LED Monitor - Black (1920x1200, 16:10, 60Hz, DVI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0)
Offered by ADMI Limited UK
Price: £359.95

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a difference, 10 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this monitor on recommendation of a number of 'photographer' friends and it lives up to all those recommnedations for photo editing.


The Grand Prix Saboteurs: The Grand Prix Drivers Who Became British Secret Agents During World War II
The Grand Prix Saboteurs: The Grand Prix Drivers Who Became British Secret Agents During World War II
by Joe Saward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars What a fascinating Story!, 10 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An interesting and well researched true story about 'Willy' Grover Williams, the first winner of the Monaco Grand Prix who went on to become a British SOE 'spy' behind enemy lines in WW2.

Author, Joe Saward, one of the top F1 journalists in the world, writes in a journalistic style that is easy to enjoy.

A real page turner!


RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
RHA MA350 Aluminium Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones - 3 year warranty
Price: £29.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Noise isolation is excellent, 10 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The sound is very good, although not as warm and rich as my Bob Marley earphones, but the noise isolation is excellent. Great for flights etc.


Hocus Pocus: the life & journey of rock's dutch masters
Hocus Pocus: the life & journey of rock's dutch masters
by Mr Peet Johnson
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last..... a book on Focus, 25 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having been a Focus fan since that first jaw dropping appearance on the OGWT I have been waiting for a book about this wonderful band ever since. At long last, here it is.

My copy only arrived yesterday but I devoured it in less than 24 hours and, despite my expectations having been lowered by having read a rather uncharitable (and suspiciously vitriolic) Amazon reader review (axe to grind?), I was surprised and pleased to find that it really is an excellent read. Yes, the language can be a bit flowery in places, but so is their music.

The book provides a firsthand account of the life and death and re-births of this Dutch band with a text based largely on interviews with those involved. Indeed, only two major players seem not to have contributed, Bert Ruiter and Martin Dresden. According to the acknowledgements many dozens of others have given of their time, including Van Leer, Akkerman, Van der Linden, Kemper, Catherine, Allen, Albers, Havermanns, producer Mike Vernon and, rather bizarrely, Victor Spinetti. I shall let you read the book to find out how a Welsh actor was involved. No spoilers here.

For me, the book answered the questions that have troubled me for many years about break ups, make ups and inspirations. It gave me a valuable insight into people who have become musical heroes to me over the years and into the thought behind the music they produced. I particularly enjoyed the sections about Hans Cleuver and Martin Dresden about whom I did not know a great deal. I will know listen to `In and out of Focus' in a new light.

It is a must read for died in the wool Focus fans and a great bookshelf addition for those interested in the history and mythology of rock music.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2013 8:17 AM BST


Page: 1 | 2