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eurocrank (Ketchikan, Alaska)

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Live in London 1978
Live in London 1978
Offered by Ginger Music - Progressive Rock
Price: £13.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canonical, 31 Dec. 2015
This review is from: Live in London 1978 (Audio CD)
'Live in London 1978' is fabulous: superb sound quality, fine performances, good packaging (all in color, tray liner, fold-out booklet), silver disc. It is in clear stereo with a deliberate stereo mix: Laurie's guitar on the left, Andy's guitar on the right, Martin voice/bass guitar in the middle, Steve more toward the left with some toms on the right.

It says "High Quality Soundboard Recording"--signalling bootleg, of course--but there's a picture of a BBC Transcription Services record on the back of the four-page booklet that suggests the actual source. Printed on that record label are "IN CONCERT featuring WISHBONE ASH" and "copyright BBC 1978" along with typical legalese. Surprising to me is that I don't hear any pops, tics, or even surface noise. I would not hesitate recommending this CD to any Wishbone Ash fan, novice as well as diehard.

It's a fine complement to 'Live in Tokyo 1978,' the sound quality such that it's no distraction, even given the spectacular sound of the Tokyo recording. I prefer the Tokyo recording mostly because it has the best version of "F.U.B.B." I've yet heard.

There are two odd things about the item, to be sure. I can't figure out the picture on the back of the tray. It could be Andy, but when did he ever play a Telecaster? The other person could well be Martin Turner, or not. Second is the computer data when the disc is played on a computer. Much like what Mr Blackwell experienced with Enigmatic's edition of 'Live in Tokyo 1978,' a different album shows up. This time, it's an Andy Ash 'Live in Concert' disc, which a reviewer (CU82) says is "an abbreviated version of Live Dates III." Thankfully, the actual contents are classic Ash.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 27, 2016 10:53 AM BST


Written In The Stars
Written In The Stars
Price: £12.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fallen, 28 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Written In The Stars (Audio CD)
Disclaimer: I never liked 'Walking the Reeperbahn,' as interesting as that album is.

But I love 'Life Begins' and 'Garden Party,' almost polar opposite as those albums may be. The former has lots of excellent guitar solos in longer songs, while the latter is punchy and equally full of excellent short guitar solos. My hopes for 'Written in the Stars' were quite high . . .

To be dashed by a tedious, unmemorable, and soft effort. The album cover is as garish as the music is thin. I can't remember a song. The guitars mean nothing. All I can say positive is that the album sounds wonderful.

It's a crying shame that Andy's aggression has made any reunion of Wishbone Ash Mk I or II impossible. The music suffers in both bands' hands. If 'Written in the Stars' is a pallid effort, so is 'Blue Horizon' with its foolish lyrics, trademarked-to-death "Wishbone Ash" sound, and one-dimensional vocals. A house divided . . .


The Garden Party - A Celebration Of Wishbone Ash Music
The Garden Party - A Celebration Of Wishbone Ash Music
Price: £14.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real Thing, 9 Dec. 2014
"Martin Turner's Garden Party" was a complete surprise to me. I didn't expect much: I don't like one-original-member bands; how do you replace exceptional guitarists like Ted and Laurie and Andy? Well, it turns out you replace them with very fine, nuanced guitarists, maintain a supple, subtle rhythm section, and sing like you always did. Result? Wishbone Ash.

Ted plays on seven songs, and Laurie plays on two, but in my opinion they don't stand out. Ted's solo on "The King Will Come" is the best solo on the album, but not by much. In fact, there's a lot more fine soloing on this live album than there is on any of the Andy Ash albums, which I didn't expect at all. The rhythm section is another-planet better than what Andy's been offering. While I've always found Martin's voice memorable and moving, his band's vocal harmonies surpass anything in Wishbone history. Result: best Wishbone Ash live album since "Live Dates Volume 2."

Of course, there is the lack of new material. While this album does offer several songs that have never before been on a Wishbone Ash live album, "Garden Party" feels more like a living tribute than a looking forward.

Here's hoping that Mart, Ted, and Laurie might someday commit to writing together. Mssrs. Willson and Hatfield have shown themselves more than capable of taking their songs on the road.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2014 10:16 PM GMT


Blue Horizon
Blue Horizon
Price: £11.56

9 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boycott, 19 April 2014
This review is from: Blue Horizon (Audio CD)
Iggy Pop, that fount of not-always-natural wisdom, once said that any guitarist worth his salt is basically a thug. Andy Powell surely qualifies. Besides being a fine guitarist, recommended by Ritchie Blackmore no less, he's managed to impose on the world a band called "Wishbone Ash" with only one original member and lots of hired help during the past couple of decades. He even managed to take offense when Martin Turner named his own band the more accurate and less misleading "Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash." In October 2013, Powell had the churlishness to take Turner to court in England for trademark infringement. The law had a truly blind eye, and Powell won a legal victory. So much for fairness, not to mention grace.

The ironies are significant. Powell was HIRED by Martin Turner and Steve Upton to join their band when Turner's brother, Glen, left. Turner and Upton also hired Ted (no relation) Turner. Martin Turner suggested "Wishbone Ash" as a name for the band, which the others liked and agreed to. The original band was very successful, and when Ted left and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield, the band continued to tour and sell records in serious quantities. Several more personnel changes followed, including a reunion of the original band for a couple of fine studio albums. But by the late 1990s, Powell was the only original member. When Martin Turner and Laurie Wisefield expressed an interest in reuniting with Powell as a true Wishbone Ash, he would only play with them if they accepted the role of hirelings. They refused, but being other than thugs, they didn't challenge Andy's desire to continue using the name "Wishbone Ash" for his own band. In 1998, Andy applied for a trademark without telling the other original band members, which was granted without their opposition in 2000. Wishbone Ash has ever since been the property of Andy Powell, esq.

Martin Turner, Steve Upton, and Ted Turner witnessed against Andy Powell in the court case.

Shame on you, Andy Powell.

Shame on you for denying the world some great music. You may be a fine writer, but your writing always benefited from the contributions of Martin, Ted, and Laurie. As Wishbone Ash's worst singer, your vocals have marred the albums you've fronted, despite the quality of many of the compositions. I wonder how you managed to sing the lion's share of 'Strange Affair' (1991), the last studio album you participated in with Martin and Ted.

Perhaps Martin has since regretted his act of generosity? His several acts of generosity? He can certainly take comfort in the support of Steve, Ted, and Laurie, with whom he had a gig this year in England.

How does it feel to be so alone, Andy?
Comment Comments (82) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2015 7:33 AM GMT


Scream
Scream

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ozzy is a hobgoblin, 16 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Scream (Audio CD)
I like J. Hill's perspective on Ozzy's lyrics in his "Scream" review thread (amazon.com): "This man has penned some of the cheesiest, simplest metal lyrics of all time . . . Ozzy has never been heralded as a Pulitzer-worthy lyricist." But it's not accurate. Ozzy has generally not written the lyrics he sings. Bob Daisley has commented to the effect that Ozzy can't write a complete sentence, much less a whole song's lyrics.

As a matter of fact, Geezer Butler was the main lyric writer for Black Sabbath. When Ozzy started his solo career as part of the "Blizzard of Ozz" band, Bob Daisley wrote most of the lyrics. And so on.

Also, I'd say that Geezer wrote some great, memorable lyrics, from 'Paranoid' to 'Johnny Blade.' Sure, there's 'Rock 'N' Roll Doctor' (the lyrics fitting the riff perfectly), but there's also 'Dirty Women,' which is as great a track as Sabbath ever did . . . on their so-called weakest album, "Technical Ecstasy."

So I'd like to add my two cents: Nothing Ozzy or Black Sabbath has ever done separately comes close to what they did together. As much as I enjoy "Diary of a Madman," it can't touch even "Technical Ecstasy," which has at least three tracks that top anything Ozzy thinks he's done by himself: 'Back Street Kids,' 'All Moving Parts (Stand Still),' and the aforementioned 'Dirty Women.'

It's his self-promotion that I find most reprehensible in a career that keeps licking at the boots of stupidity if not shamefulness. Ozzy is a king of rock and roll, no doubt about it--he's got the charisma, the vocal melody lines, the work ethic, and the sales. Ronnie James Dio had good reason for titling that song about Ozzy. But Ozzy has never done anything by himself except use other people. He's had Tony, Geezer, Randy, Bob, Jake, Zakk, Churko, and others give him more than a helping hand. It's not as if Led Zeppelin hastened Bonzo's retirement in order to offer the drum throne to Ozzy.

Yet the booklet to "Scream" shows only Ozzy. You're hard-pressed to see even mention of anyone else, and then it's in the microscopic credits. If you read them, you'll find out that Kevin Churko co-wrote every track, along with Adam Wakeman (son of Rick) on a few tracks. Churko co-produced the album with Ozzy. Ozzy did not play guitar, bass, drums, or keyboards. At least on "Black Rain" you don't need to squint to see the names of the musicians, even if the only person pictured is the bat gourmand himself.

At this point in his career, does he really need to de-fame his partners? Didn't he learn from fan reaction to his cavalier treatment of Daisley and Lee Kerslake when he had their bass and drum parts replaced on the first two Blizzard of Ozz albums?

To me, "Scream" lacks the innovations of those albums, which means that it's consistently competent and enjoyable metal, but nothing else. The Tour Edition adds seven tracks, but not to history.


Scream: Tour Edition
Scream: Tour Edition
Price: £20.03

3.0 out of 5 stars Ozzy is a hobgoblin, 15 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Scream: Tour Edition (Audio CD)
I like J. Hill's perspective on Ozzy's lyrics in his "Scream" review thread (amazon.com): "This man has penned some of the cheesiest, simplest metal lyrics of all time . . . Ozzy has never been heralded as a Pulitzer-worthy lyricist." But it's not accurate. Ozzy has generally not written the lyrics he sings. Bob Daisley has commented to the effect that Ozzy can't write a complete sentence, much less a whole song's lyrics.

As a matter of fact, Geezer Butler was the main lyric writer for Black Sabbath. When Ozzy started his solo career as part of the "Blizzard of Ozz" band, Bob Daisley wrote most of the lyrics. And so on.

Also, I'd say that Geezer wrote some great, memorable lyrics, from 'Paranoid' to 'Johnny Blade.' Sure, there's 'Rock 'N' Roll Doctor' (the lyrics fitting the riff perfectly), but there's also 'Dirty Women,' which is as great a track as Sabbath ever did . . . on their so-called weakest album, "Technical Ecstasy."

So I'd like to add my two cents: Nothing Ozzy or Black Sabbath has ever done separately comes close to what they did together. As much as I enjoy "Diary of a Madman," it can't touch even "Technical Ecstasy," which has at least three tracks that top anything Ozzy thinks he's done by himself: 'Back Street Kids,' 'All Moving Parts (Stand Still),' and the aforementioned 'Dirty Women.'

It's his self-promotion that I find most reprehensible in a career that keeps licking at the boots of stupidity if not shamefulness. Ozzy is a king of rock and roll, no doubt about it--he's got the charisma, the vocal melody lines, the work ethic, and the sales. Ronnie James Dio had good reason for titling that song about Ozzy. But Ozzy has never done anything by himself except use other people. He's had Tony, Geezer, Randy, Bob, Jake, Zakk, Churko, and others give him more than a helping hand. It's not as if Led Zeppelin hastened Bonzo's retirement in order to offer the drum throne to Ozzy.

Yet the booklet to "Scream" shows only Ozzy. You're hard-pressed to see even mention of anyone else, and then it's in the microscopic credits. If you read them, you'll find out that Kevin Churko co-wrote every track, along with Adam Wakeman (son of Rick) on a few tracks. Churko co-produced the album with Ozzy. Ozzy did not play guitar, bass, drums, or keyboards. At least on "Black Rain" you don't need to squint to see the names of the musicians, even if the only person pictured is the bat gourmand himself.

At this point in his career, does he really need to de-fame his partners? Didn't he learn from fan reaction to his cavalier treatment of Daisley and Lee Kerslake when he had their bass and drum parts replaced on the first two Blizzard of Ozz albums?

To me, "Scream" lacks the innovations of those albums, which means that it's consistently competent and enjoyable metal, but nothing else. The Tour Edition adds seven tracks, but not to history.


Celebration Day [2CD+2 PAL DVDs--CD Case]
Celebration Day [2CD+2 PAL DVDs--CD Case]
Price: £23.34

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Sparks of Ancient Light, 20 Nov. 2012
I think "Celebration Day" has both Plant and Page being sharper, tighter, and more detailed than ever before. Page's playing is more dramatic and Plant's singing more inflected than on any of the bootlegs I've heard (from "Minnesota Blues" to Knebworth).

John Paul Jones's keyboards are myriad and beautiful, his bass playing necessary. In the chemistry of Led Zeppelin, Page and Plant may be the main ingredients, but with this concert Jones proves himself the chemist. There's just no comparison between this album and any of the Page/Plant live bootlegs I've come across.

In fact, I've never listened as repeatedly to a Zep live album (bootleg or official) as to this one. Not a second is wasted.

Yes, there's a certain youthful exuberance, a Zeitgeist, missing. But what's here has a spark of its own.

While I miss John Bonham's drumming and thought for awhile that Jason was more of a timekeeper, "How the West Was Won" and various bootlegs told me different. It seems to me that, whereas John was the rhythmic force of the band, Jason shares the driving with Jimmy Page's riffs. Page seems completely in tune and time with Bonham; together, they seem tighter than the Zep of old. More tight than loose suits Page, whose forte was never the ten-minute guitar solo (the one misjudgment in the '77 gigs).

The statements made by the individual band members in the booklet suggest a band that was nervous ("no place to hide"), excited ("energy and the chemistry . . . absolutely still there"), well-prepared ("rehearsals . . . shaping the set . . . We were ready!"), anything but complacent. I'd recommend therapy to someone not moved by Jason's words.

Sadly, the unbalanced negative reviews already generated by the concert justify Plant's concern about Jason's having fun "because no one can take that away from you."

Sadder yet is that this is the only new music Zeppelin has released in over thirty years. As with Hendrix, what could have been accomplished is just not imaginable.

Saddest of all is that this is the best work the three remaining original members have created since Bonzo's death. For whatever reason, their decision not to work with each other now seems a tragic mistake.

Coda1: I wonder what the garden tapes guy will have to say about this release :)
Coda2: Why does "How The West Was Won" sound much better (broader, fuller, more detailed) even though it was recorded 35 years before "Celebration Day"?


On Stage
On Stage
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.68

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stageless, 5 Nov. 2012
This review is from: On Stage (Audio CD)
is "A Light in the Black," the one track that was played in 1976 not yet made available. Why not? I'm listening to 'Black Tapestry,' a 16 December 1976 Budokan (Tokyo, Japan) afternoon show that features this song as the third track of disc 2. Not including it on a "deluxe" version of "On Stage" makes no sense to me, especially since what is included are other versions of already released songs.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2012 6:30 PM GMT


A Time And A Place
A Time And A Place
Price: £39.57

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Unbeginners, 7 Aug. 2010
This review is from: A Time And A Place (Audio CD)
My first comment concerns the glue problem and how to deal with it.

I just received this box set through amazon.com (US amazon). The first two discs had the glue problem; the second two discs did not.

I've found that the best cleaner for both CDs and vinyl is lighter fluid. It cleans virtually everything without damaging either plastic, vinyl, or most CD labeling. When cleaning a CD, I squirt lighter fluid wherever there is a problem on the disc, either side of the disc, and wipe with a clean 100% cotton handkerchief (sometimes I'll squirt the fluid on the handkerchief first). When cleaning vinyl, I squirt lighter fluid on a cotton-tipped Q-tip and work the grooves. I've known it to get rid of pops and other noises that Discwasher and other fluids couldn't remove. I've cleaned hundreds of records over a period of years with no sign of deterioration.

For glue-on-CD problems, the glue is generally on the edge of the disc, not on the label or play side. For this situation, I squirt lighter fluid on a piece of toilet paper and wipe off the glue, repeatedly folding the toilet paper to get more of the glue. I don't use toilet paper on the play or label side of a CD because it will scratch the disc (however lightly).

By "lighter fluid" I mean Ronsonol. It advertises its cleaning qualities. The key ingredient is Naphtha.

My second comment concerns the sound quality of the discs. I enjoyed the poorest quality recordings (Disc 4: in-concert fan recordings) without a cringe or an expletive. Compared to the earlier two ELP bootleg boxes and their anthology ("Best of the Bootlegs"), this disc is significantly better. I wish all "audies" sounded this good. While some audies sound a bit better (fuller sound), these are perfectly listenable. The audience doesn't distract; there are no significant anomalies (wow & flutter, dropouts); and the distortion is negligable.

The other discs are of far better quality. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if many people preferred Discs 1-3 to the officially released live albums, such as "Welcome Back My Friends To the Show That Never Ends" and "Works Live." The soundboards seem more intimate, more personal, more direct. I'm listening to the first disc ('The early '70s') as I write, and the quality is impressive. Not on the level of the Grateful Dead live archival releases, to be sure, but what is? But not far short, either.

The performances are exceptional; with a few exceptions, they're undocumented and significantly different from previous official releases. To me, the last track, 'I Believe in Father Christmas,' needs to be heard by ELP fans due to the tenderness of Lake's singing. There's also the best version of 'Lucky Man' I've heard (without that echo!).

I don't listen with audiophile ears, and I'm not a purist, but I could have done without the earlier bootleg boxes. This box, on the other hand, I'll be returning to whenever I want to hear Emerson, Lake and Palmer.


Now
Now
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £28.17

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Calling all Duhigs!, 10 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Now (Audio CD)
After finishing high school abroad, I came back to Oklahoma, took a chance on "Last Autumn's Dream" in the college record store, and stayed far afield. It was fall, and the first three Vertigo albums perfectly fit my mood--my wandering and wondering, the colors and smells of the season, the coolness of the air, the evenings. The Island records took me even further.

I still remember my disappointment at "Horizen": I wrote a couple of postcards to the band at the time complaining about this "movie soundtrack" music, which seemed such a debasement from what I'd been experiencing, and gave up on them. I didn't even know that "At Peace" existed until the CD age and I'd bought "Breathing the Storm" and "Distant Echoes."

In retrospect, I like "Horizen" exactly for what it is, a soundtrack with some wonderful guitar playing. I've often listened to "At Peace" because it represents and brings about peace. Both of these albums have a focus that the following albums lack.

Including "Now." Tony Duhig is terribly missed, the drama being supplied by Havard. If there's a problem with "Jade Warrior," "Released," and "Last Autumn's Dream," in my opinion, it's Havard's hard rock songs like 'Joanne' or 'Snakebite.' By another band, on other albums, they would have their place, but in this context it's a bit like 'Anarchy in the UK' appearing on "Veedon Fleece." Havard's anger and criticism, his relationship problems, seem out of place among the nature koans of 'Dragonfly Day,' 'Bride of Summer,' and 'Dark River.'

While "Now" is more integrated than those first three albums, it has that flaw. I keep waiting for the album to get itself together--the pieces of each song, the tempo shifts, the hard rock and the atmospherics. Jon Field's contributions seem juxtaposed and random; he and Havard are on different pages, separate books.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid the compression problems of many current recordings, Jade Warrior has released a very quiet album. "Now" needs significant boosting in the volume department to be heard at a normal level. But for what?

In contrast, "Off-Planet" by Dogstar Poets wears its machismo on its collar. Havard and David Duhig, who played on most of Jade Warrior's albums, are one interesting hard rock duo. I hope they find an audience for where they're headed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 3, 2013 5:22 PM GMT


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