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coca-ebola (United Kingdom)

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This Time Around - Live In Tokyo
This Time Around - Live In Tokyo

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Response to previous reviews, 9 April 2005
Personally, I found this a more satisfying listen than `Foxbat'. The vocals aren't quite on the ball, but that seems to be an unavoidable hazard with DP Mark 3 & 4. This has the advantage of more, and at times better, material - `Wild Dogs', `I Need Love' `You Keep On Moving' and the too-short `Soldier of Fortune' - superior sound mixing, exceptional playing from Lord and Paice...and as for Bolin, well, the arm injury may have debilitated him on the opening night, but on this show he was (more or less) back to burning the varnish off the fretboard.
Compare these versions of `Getting Tighter', `Lazy' and even `This Time Around' to their Foxbat counterparts and I'm sure you'll prefer the Japanese takes.
In fact, apart from the `Highway Star' encore being a bit of a mess, as usual, the worst thing about the disc is the between-song announcements, most of which are fortunately hidden in the minus-numbers. They're all exactly the same: an quick round of "everybody say AAOW!" followed by "'ere's a song for yer...it's a rock 'n roll song". Er, yeah, we've noticed that!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 7:47 PM GMT


Scandinavian Nights
Scandinavian Nights
Price: 9.80

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Purple album?, 9 April 2005
This review is from: Scandinavian Nights (Audio CD)
The best for those who value the band as a "jamming" outfit more than anything else. There are those of us for whom, the difference between Purple and Led Zep is, Led Zep quickly evolved into a great songwriting unit but never got the hang of extended improvisation [and yes, I have heard `How The West Was Won'] whereas Purple were never that good at songwriting but could improvise like nobody's business.
Which is why I recommend this album as the definitive Purple document. It may be short on `hits', but it's long on awesome ensemble jamming - Blackmore and Lord have never played better. From the (out-of-sequence) show-opener `Speed King' to the final guitar/vocal trade-offs of the `Black Night' encore, the entire band's performance is in a different class to (even) other live recordings from this era, never mind `Made In Japan'. To paraphrase another review, they're rather more involved in creating music here, as opposed to merely noodling around.
The half-hour-plus `Wring That Neck' is a marvel. The trade-offs between Blackmore and Lord in the first half are magnificent enough, especially when the chord-sequence is suspended, but the second half is crucial. It hardly matters that Blackmore starts to flag toward the end of his solo, a `White Christmas' tease giving way to an unnecessary high-speed `wibble'; or that Jon Lord at one point resorts to train noises (and amusingly he then plays a boogie-woogie, and then, amazingly, a quick chorus of `Un-square Dance'). The track is - take my word for it - LESS self-indulgent than the much-shorter BBC In Concert version.
And it's just a warm-up for the similarly lengthy `Mandrake Root' (i.e: the Mandrake Root/Space Trucking hybrid, you know what I mean). Again, though not totally free from dumb noise and dumb quotations (e.g `You Really Got Me'), it puts the BBC version in the shade, and then some. Actually, words fail me here...they have enough great ideas in this jam to formulate an album's worth of songs.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 11, 2013 2:07 PM GMT


In Concert 1970-1972
In Concert 1970-1972
Offered by westworld-
Price: 6.98

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good collectors item - not for newcomers, 9 April 2005
This review is from: In Concert 1970-1972 (Audio CD)
The 1970 disc is, to these ears, the inferior. Gillan doesn't have a lot of singing to do in this one, but when he does sing, he sounds under-the-weather and (well I never!) lacking in confidence, `Child In Time' being particularly problematic. More importantly, the stars of the show, Blackmore and Lord, aren't on great form either, short bursts of inspiration alternating with stretches of `wibbling' and rambling through the effects boxes.
The 1972 disc is much better - a rare opportunity to hear `Maybe I'm A Leo', terrific versions of `Strange Kind...' and `Lazy' that are on a par with MADE IN JAPAN (`Space Trucking' is less powerful), the then-brand-new `Smoke On The Water' ("break a leg, Frank!"), and, last but not least, a wild "Lucille" complete with thinly-disguised-tuning-up prelude and multiple false endings.
Comperes Mike Harding and John Peel (both not normally hard rock fans) provide some amusement with their banal attempts at hyping - and interviewing - the band. The rowdy, possibly "speeded-up" biker audience on the '72 date are also amusing, particularly when someone in the band disrobes after "Lazy".


Epitaph
Epitaph
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 19.95

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album ever made?, 26 Feb 2005
This review is from: Epitaph (Audio CD)
Of course it's not, merely a personal favorite - but one which I cannot recommend highly enough.
Two things you should bear in mind, though - firstly, this is not the Mingus of `Blues And Roots' and `Ah Um', not the Mingus of raw blues/gospel-inflected small-group jazz. Rather this is the Mingus of `Pre-Bird' and `The Black Saint' - the progressive large-ensemble composer who speaks a language as much influenced by classical music and the jazz avant-garde of the '60s as by Duke Ellington and Gil Evans.
Secondly, Charles Mingus himself does not perform on this disc - it is a posthumous project that essentially reconstructs, completes, and improves upon, his infamous Town Hall Concert of 1962 (Epitaph being the overall name of the suite he intended to record there).
Mingus scholars will recognise some of the material from the aforementioned Town Hall Concert, the Debut recordings and the aforementioned studio albums (e.g `Noon Night' is a version of `Nouroog' and `Ballad[In Other Words]' contains a key theme from 'The Black Saint''s second side) - but there's plenty they won't have heard, and the familiar material may confound their expectations.
There's simply too much to discuss about the orchestration, the unorthodox blend of improvisation and arrangement (especially in the mind-boggling expanded version of `The Chill Of Death'), the actual solos, Gunther Schuller's awesome work reconstructing the music from often-illegible scores...
Let me suggest you play the samples of `Wolverine Blues' (adapted from the Jelly Roll Morton tune of the same name) and then `The Children's Hour Of Dream' (which may remind some listeners of Frank Zappa's orchestral writing): you'll get an idea of the sheer scope of Mingus's ambition here.
Soloists include Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Watson, George Adams, Britt Woodman, Urbie Green, Jack Walrath, John Hicks, John Handy and Michael Rambinowitz.


Live In Poland
Live In Poland
Offered by Empor UK
Price: 10.84

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy but rewarding, 26 Feb 2005
This review is from: Live In Poland (Audio CD)
This is the superior of the two live documents of ELP's late '90s reunion. (The inferior one, unfortunately, has now been spread all over the budget-price CDs).
To be sure, this performance shares many of the weaknesses of the other one (originally released as THEN AND NOW) - i.e Lake's frayed vocals (worst on the opening Karn Evil 9 excerpt) and Emerson's deteriorating keyboard skills, and tendency to over-indulge in musical quotations (which yet again ruins the Fanfare... medley).
But the performances are generally slicker and more assured - and there's an easily-overlooked classic here. The Tarkus medley. The high-speed ensemble sections are attacked with tremendous force (and received by the crowd with tremendous enthusiasm) and, in the middle, during Stones Of Years, Emerson wisely breaks from tradition to start his solo with an exquisite exercise for piano/simulated strings. By the time he switches back to the organ, the song has been redefined. And, though they cut Tarkus short after the Mass section, the segue to the final part of Pictures At An Exhbition is really rather effective.
Elsewhere the lesser-known numbers (e.g Touch And Go) shine brightest, but there's a very fine medium-size version of Take A Pebble, and Lake's weary singing on Lucky Man is almost made up for by Emerson's famous solo...and the audience response.


Then And Now
Then And Now
Offered by momox co uk
Price: 8.63

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For experienced completists only, 26 Feb 2005
This review is from: Then And Now (Audio CD)
This is the complete collection of the 1974/1997 live recordings plundered for innumerable budget-price compilations. This, at least, isn't a tacky and exploitative package to fleece the uninitiate - so if you need this material, THEN & NOW is the format in which to buy it. But - uninitiates beware! This is not a very satisfactory listening experience, and certainly not the best way to discover ELP. (For that, consult either the 2-CD compilations or, better still, the debut, "the album with the bird on the cover").
Sound quality for the California Jam performance is soundboard-bootleg standard, but a bigger problem is the erratic editing. `Toccata' is lacking its theme statement - all you get is the drum-dominated second half. The mid-Take-A-Pebble piano solo is famous for being the solo that, when it was televised, alerted Oscar Peterson and Count Basie to Emerson's talents (!) It's one of the better examples of this routine, i.e not as overloaded with musical quotations as some I've heard - but the omission of the first part of the medley is cruel! As is the editing of Karn Evil 9 - even if they couldn't make room for the entire suite, why not a complete First Impression (Castle and Rhino do it on their compilations!)
Though the 1997 material is better recorded and better edited, new problems present themselves. Though rare opportunities to hear A Time And A Place and Bitches Crystal are much appreciated, Greg Lake's ageing vocal cords become a problem on well-documented material such as Lucky Man and the Karn Evil 9 excerpt. Emerson was recovering from RSI at the time of the tour and it's possible to hear him trip over his fingers at times (e.g on Hoedown and Honky Tonk Train Blues) - and his synrhesizer timbres are often ill-chosen (e.g the feeble excuse for an "upright-piano" on Honky Tonk...). But the greatest weakness by far is the improvisation - or lack thereof. Given a major solo opportunity Emerson, not for the first time, relies too heavily on musical quotations to cover for his lack of imagination (or simple boredom with overplayed songs) - as a result the Fanfare.../Blue Rondo... medley, such a highlight of late '70s shows, becomes a waste of twenty minutes in this instance.


Odessa
Odessa
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 18.95

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed, 25 Oct 2004
This review is from: Odessa (Audio CD)
Despite or because of the creative tension between the brothers, this turned out to be, arguably, the one truly essential Bee Gees album and the only one that could convert a sceptic who previously sneered at them, dismissing them as a trivial pop act (I'm speaking from personal experience, of course). Basically it perfects the baroque-pop formula of the previous albums by taking it further out, varying the song-structures and adding more to the arrangements. And needless to say the vocals are exceptional.
The lyrics are still mixtures of the bland and the incomprehensible. And there's the little matter of the "you're only a woman" chorus of 'Melody Fair' - what DID they mean by that, bearing in mind that they've just told her to smarten herself up a bit? But elsewhere the lyrics are notable for being not irritating but actually thought-provoking. The odes to Thomas Edison and to a pet dog (`First Of May') and the Band-influenced tale of an orphanage manager (`Marley Purt Drive') manage to charm, and even born-sceptics will be intrigued to know what `Laugh In Your Face', `Whisper Whisper' (an odd tempo-shifting rocker) and `Black Diamond' are really about.
And the epic title track - the most powerful single song in the Gibb catalogue. Several songs on this album resemble early Genesis, but this one could be a `Trespass' outtake, dense with detail from its startling stereo-panning introduction through the main song body (letters never sent, from a shipwrecked sailor in danger of freezing to death) to its climactic spanish-guitar solo. It's almost worth the price of the album in its own right.


To Whom It May Concern
To Whom It May Concern

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, not always successful, 16 Oct 2004
This review is from: To Whom It May Concern (Audio CD)
For the final time during what has been called the Bee Gees "interesting" period, they attempted an album with a great deal of rhythmic, timbral and melodic variety. That should be enough to earn this album a higher star-rating than "Trafalgar" but the excitement of hearing them "rocking" again soon gives way to the realisation that, except for "Bad Bad Dreams" and the slower "Road To Alaska", those `rock' songs are nothing special. Fortunately the album features a slightly stronger set of ballads than its predecessor - recapturing the Beatles-ish sound that served them so well in the past, particularly on the singles "Run To Me" and "Alive" and the very McCartney-esque "You Know It's For You".
The most notable thing about the album is its incluson of two attempts at their "Odessa"-era prog/psychedelic style. One of them, "Paper Mache...", sadly proves to be a hideous embarassment, sabotaged by Greek musical stylings and their worst-ever nonsense-lyric (including one of the worst ever end-of-song choruses). The other turns out to be, arguably, their last masterpiece - "Sweet Song of Summer", Moog synthesizers and Eastern-tinged vocals closing the album on a positive note indeed.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2014 6:33 PM BST


Trafalgar
Trafalgar

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed blessing, 16 Oct 2004
This review is from: Trafalgar (Audio CD)
Along with "Life In A Tin Can", this is the most frustrating Bee Gees album. As with that album, there's much to commend about it in terms of the brothers' increasing vocal and instrumental skills. In the first department, Barry and Robin have adopted a freer, more soul-ful interpretive style, both exercising their extreme upper and lower registers. In the second, they're developing an idenitity as a band here, at last you can tell it's THEM playing the keyboards/bass/guitar, not some session musicians.
The frustration is that this skill and enthusiasm is being brought to bear on a rather dull set of songs. After the impressive variety of the preceding album, the emphasis returns here to ballads, mostly of the brokenhearted variety. Not only does this lend a certain monotony to the album, but there is the Gibbs' usual lack of lyric-writing ability to contend with. "Israel" tells you almost nothing about that strife-ridden land, instead making it sound like a favorite holiday destination. Elsewhere, lyrical clangers (mis-statements, unfinished statements, awkward English) almost turn some songs into comedy numbers. A particular problem in the case of the album's pair of "death" ballads - those songs, "Remembering" (country-style) and "Dearest" (neo-operatic/showtune style) just about get by on melodic strength.
The album's highpoints are the singles ("How Can You..." and "Don't Wanna...") and "Lion in Winter".


The Cure [CD + Bonus DVD]
The Cure [CD + Bonus DVD]
Offered by trec002
Price: 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed blessing, 5 July 2004
There's an amazing third-of-an-album here - in which the Cure assault us with a new heavy-rock update on the sounds of their early-'80s experimental period. The opening pair "Lost" and "Labyrinth" stand out in this regard - not so much a one-two-punch as a kick in the stomach, as the Cure play louder than they have since the '92 tour and utilise dissonance as if it were still 1984. The identity-crisis lyrics also recall the days when Robert was "psychedelically inclined" - see recent interviews for the background to these songs.
Unfortunately, despite the excellence of "Before Three", "End of the World", "Truth Goodness and Beauty" and even "I Don't Know What's Going On", the 'pop' portion of the album is worryingly inconsistent. And there is a third portion of the album in which the Cure lapse into self-parody. The highly-touted anti-Bush rant "Us Or Them" must be the result of that parlor game of combining the lyrics of one song ("The Kiss") and the music of another ("Watching Me Fall"). And "The Promise" sounds like a composer's demo from the Bloodflowers era - one which was deconstructed, and the best bits made over into that album's considerably more satisfying last two songs.
In short - despite being talked up as a "return to form" (whilst everyone pretends to have been disappointed by the masterpiece "Bloodflowers") this is most assuredly not the Cure's best album in fifteen years. It has its moments, though.


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