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Mr. R. Powell (Wales)

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Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival
Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival
Price: £12.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hendrix still leaving the competition trailing, 29 Aug. 2015
So here we are yet another Hendrix release from Experience Hendrix. With each one these releases we wonder is this a case of Janie Hendrix trying to get another penny out of the cash cow or is this going to be some hitherto unreleased gem. When I saw the announcement of this release I suspected that it was going to be a case of the former. Recorded only a couple of months before Hendrix's untimely death we are told that he was getting restless with the Experience format and wanted to move away from performing the 'hits' night after night, the Isle of Wight recording made only a few weeks after this one was at times lacklustre and seemed to back up this theory. Saying that though the recording from Berkley Community Centre made only 5 weeks prior to this performance showed that when the muse took him he was still capable of incredibly passionate performances. It's good to report that this recording is more Berkley, less Isle of Wight.

This is a very good package, there is a good booklet with an informative essay from someone who worked on the site at the festival. It concerns itself less with Hendrix's music and more with the problems of trying to pull together a festival such as this in one of America's more Conservative areas and a part of America that wasn't always very welcoming to afro-american performers. Add to that the fact the the Hells Angels wanted in again only 6 months after the tragic events at Altamont and they had a recipe for a potential disaster Thankfully for all those involved it was anything but. The sound quality of the recording is excellent, apart from the opening bars to Watchtower, but the reason for this is explained in the booklet, and of course the performance. I've already mentioned above that this is no Isle of Wight, there is fire (Excuse the pun) in his belly here, he clearly wanted to impress what was up to this point the biggest audience he had played before, and the audience is rewarded with excellent versions of a good selection of his favourites with, in my opinion, Room Full of Mirrors, Voodoo Child and Stone Free really standing out.

If you're a Hendrix fan then you probably don't need much persuading to purchase this, but there will be those out there who will rightly be wondering whether or not this is worth buying, well wonder no longer, this is a very good release that helps cement his reputation and does not harm it. I know there have been iffy releases from Experience Hendrix in the past but this is not one of them. Now what else have they got stored away for us, we know the Royal Albert Hall gig from 1969 is there and the first set from Berkley or how about LA Forum from 1969. There should be more to come, but for the time being this will keep us happy.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2015 10:41 AM BST

Live at The Cow Palace, New Years Eve 1973
Live at The Cow Palace, New Years Eve 1973
Price: £9.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Recording, 26 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well here we are with yet another concert release that has found its way through the copyright black hole that has opened up over the past few years and is allowing releases like this seemingly every week, and now here we are with such a release from one of the great bands of the early seventies, the band that is probably responsible for the plethora of live double albums that were released in that wonderful musical decade. But how good is this release, well in my view very good. The performance is not quite up there with the one from Winterland recorded a couple of months earlier and released as part of the Brothers And Sisters box set, but still well worth a listen and lets face it, it was recorded on New Years Eve and I may be wrong on this point, but I suspect some intoxicating substances may have been imbibed on this night. The Blues Jam on disc 4 may not fall into the category 'Essential listening' but the rest of the recording is very enjoyable and you get a real sense of what it must have been like to be at the Cow Palace on this night.

Of course Allman Brothers Band fans will already be interested in this recording and toying with buying it, knowing that even on a poor night they still out perform many lesser bands on a good night, but the one question that holds us back from buying it is, what does it sound like, does it sound like it was recorded using two tins and piece of string? Well, no it doesn't, this is top end bootleg quality, the sound is very good indeed, probably just short of what you'd expect of an official live album. Of course the other thing that has confused things is that there is another three disc set out there of the same gig. Which one sounds better? Oh which one to buy? Well, I'll let you into a little secret, if you look at the top of the product page here you will see that this qualifies for 'Autorip', but this is not the version that is ripped to your account, it is in fact the three disc version so you get two versions for the price of one and then you can do your own compare and contrast on the sound. Me, I prefer this one, I think it does sound better but there is hardly anything in it. So what are you waiting for? If you are a fan of this great band hold back no longer this is the version to get.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2015 10:03 PM BST

CODA [Deluxe CD Edition]
CODA [Deluxe CD Edition]
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £13.83

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasant Surprise, 14 Aug. 2015
So here we are, at the end of the Led Zeppelin expanded and remastered re-issues campaign. I have to say that for me it has been a somewhat qualified success. Let me start by saying that as far as I am concerned Zeppelins first six albums are all 5 star classics, superb examples of rock music at its very best, showing the heights that can be reached when you throw four outstanding musicians together and give them creative freedom. Presence, for me, fell just short of those heights, although Achilles Last Stand would of course have graced any of those albums, and Out Door, well shall we just say it never truly floated my boat. I had toyed with reviewing each of the previous re-issues but I didn't quite know what to make of them. The remastering for me seemed to make minimal, if any, difference on IV, Houses and Graffiti and on II, III and Presence, yes there was a noticeable, but hardly night and day, difference to the previous remasters. The extras were again a mixed bag. Many have already criticized the 'Karaoke' versions of songs that appeared, and the alternate re-mixes that seemed to show minimal difference to the released versions of songs, but there were gems on there, Jennings Farm Blues and Key To The Highway on III and 10 Ribs on Presence being three excellent examples. And lastly the artwork. Jimmy, why oh why did you have to have those negatives on the backs of these re-issues. The biggest sin must have been losing the peeling wallpaper and high rise flats from the back of IV. For those of us of a certain vintage the artwork is all part of the music buying experience and we don't like seeing our classic covers mucked about with.

So that all brings me to Coda, the only Zep album I never owned in any format (Ignoring all the compilations out there), the contractual odds and sods album released after Bonzo's passing. I'd always stayed away from it because it had a slightly chequered reputation, but when it was included in this re-issue campaign I thought it might be time to take a listen to this especially as the extras seemed more interesting than on the other albums.

Firstly, having never owned the album I can't comment on the remastering here. Secondly I have to agree with other criticisms raised on here about the number of discs used for this one. I've no problem with the original album being left as it was but the music on the other two discs would easily have fitted on one disc, still leaving room for about another seventeen minutes of cast offs, and it just seems to be an excuse to charge that bit more for this album than the others. Bad form from one of the richest bands in the World!!! But let's get onto the music. I've got to say I am impressed with this one although I have to say there is nothing on the first disc that makes me think I made a huge error in not buying the original album, there's nothing bad on there but nothing mind blowing either. It's when we get to the extras discs that things get more interesting.

The first track that really raises the eye brows is 'If It Keeps On Raining' an alternate version of 'When The Levee Breaks'. Don't get me wrong there is nothing in it to suggest this version should have been used instead of the one on IV but it is an interesting work in progress. Following that we have the gospel 'Baby Come On Home' and the rockabilly 'Sugar Mama', two interesting outtakes from the late sixties that certainly could have fitted nicely on the first album. At the end of disc two there is the acoustic folky 'Hey Hey, What Can I Do' from 1970. Why it never made it onto III I'll never know, it's great track and wonderful example of the folky side of the band.

Disc three has two of the fabled Bombay Orchestra recordings of Zep songs from Page and Plants little holiday in Bombay in 1972. Interesting takes on two of Zeps lesser known songs. After those it's the even more fabled 'St Tristans Sword' another outtake from III that even some Zep obsessives had come to believe was merely a legend. It is just a run through some instrumental ideas, not essential perhaps but certainly interesting. And at the end yet another version of In The Light. If, like me, when you saw this you thought rather cynically that this would be hardly any different to either of the versions on Graffiti, then think again there is a distinct difference from either of those two recordings.

So there we have it, the last of the Zeppelin re-issues and for me perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise. It's not essential listening, if you want that then stick with the first six albums, but it is far more interesting than perhaps any of us had reason to believe. What now from the archives? Will Jimmy finally give in and give us the live recordings so many would love to hear? Only time will tell.

Fantastic Four [DVD] [2015]
Fantastic Four [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Kate Mara
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £6.84

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull!!!!, 14 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Fantastic Four [DVD] [2015] (DVD)
This is a major disappointment, after the success of the other Marvel Comic movies this one really does fail to get off the ground. It's main problem is that it is just plain dull. Nearly everything about it is dull. The main characters are dull, which leads to dull acting from the leads, the story line is dull and worst of all the action sequences are dull.

We all know that as usual with these re-boots this is an origins story, no problem with that, but you still have to make it interesting. You start that by giving your characters personality, here they decided to give them a personality by-pass. Anybody who has seen 'Whiplash' will know that Miles Teller is a very capable actor, but you feel that here when he asked for direction he was told "Whatever". You really do just get that feeling that no-one really cared about this movie and especially its characters. There is no 'sassy' dialogue or any sense of wit in the movie as we had with Avengers, Iron Man et al and it certainly does not have the sense of fun that Thor had. All they try and use to get us through the first part of the movie is faux scientific language as they try to set up the experiment to send our heroes into another dimension. But eventually we get to the part of the film where it starts to get interesting and four of the characters go into another dimension and then they find they have their new found powers. But at this point the film makers panicked and decided to get back to good old safe dull with one of the least exciting goodie v baddie action sequences you are likely to see. The only good thing you can say about it is the sense of relief you feel when it's over and they didn't stretch it out any longer.

Rumour has it that this is the first of a two parter. We can only hope that before the next one Marvel take 20th Century Fox and the makers of this film and give them a good shake and tell them to go and watch Avengers etc to see how it should be done. Surely they cannot be allowed to make another F4 film this dull.

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 1.8 m / 6 Feet - White (Compatible with iPhone 5 to 6, iPad Air / iPad mini / mini 2 / iPad 4th gen., iPod nano 7th gen.)
AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable - 1.8 m / 6 Feet - White (Compatible with iPhone 5 to 6, iPad Air / iPad mini / mini 2 / iPad 4th gen., iPod nano 7th gen.)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Word of Warning, 13 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Be wary of this product, yes it's cheaper than the Apple product but there seems to be a good reason for this. Bought mine in January, it was deader than a Dodo by the beginning of August and now needs replacing. Just keep this in mind when looking for the cheaper option!!!

Live At The Fillmore East October 4Th & 5Th 1968
Live At The Fillmore East October 4Th & 5Th 1968
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get The Funk Out!!!!!!!, 27 July 2015
Now let me start by saying my usual music of choice more often than not fits into the category 'lots of hair, lots of guitars and everything louder than everything else'. That's not to say I don't appreciate or enjoy music that doesn't fit into that category, I love classical, I love Jazz, I love acoustic folk music, and sometimes there is music that just makes me want to get up and boogie, and this album is the very definition of music that just makes me want to get up and boogie.

I first came across Sly And The Family Stone when I heard the Woodstock soundtrack album over 30 years ago, their music didn't seem to fit in with the other rock and folk offerings on the album but it got my feet tapping. A short time later I saw the movie and seeing them perform made it all the more entertaining, but I was a young man more interested in guitars and power chords and didn't investigate the band any further until 10 years ago I decided it was time investigate the funkier side the music universe and bought three of their albums. They never quite hit the top spot for me, yes plenty on there to enjoy but they all had tracks that, well, if I had reviewed them on here they'd have got 4 stars and not 5. I liked them but I didn't love them. When I saw this album was being released it piqued my interest, and made me think of that first introduction, perhaps it was time to take another listen to Mr Stone and his family.

I was right, this is the perfect album(For me) to introduce people to what this band were all about, a full on funk out that's just going to get those feet tapping and after a while you will just have to get up and start boogieing. The band were just on the cusp of great things when they were invited to play Bill Grahams infamous Fillmore East (How many great live albums were recorded at this venue?) and they were out to prove to the New York audiences what a top live act they were. They clearly delivered, and that comes across here on this wonderful album. Everything is funked up to the max. Yes, most of the tracks are repeated because this is from 4 shows over 2 nights, but these are no by the numbers run throughs, there are enough variations from show to show to keep it interesting. The whole recording has that late sixties feel, when bands just wanted cut loose and play what they wanted to play, and record companies were brave enough to let them. This isn't just pure funk, there is also great run through of the old blues classic St James Infirmary on here and at times there is an almost Grateful Dead feel to some of the instrumental breaks, both bands of course coming out of the San Fransisco scene.

This was released the same day as Miles Davis' equally inspiring Live At Newport. I'm sure it was a coincidence, but of course soon after this recording Miles started to get influenced by the likes of Sly, and Hendrix which sent his jazz off into a whole new cosmic space and he was recording Live Evil and On The Corner. Listening to this album you can hear why, this is just so infectious. Another good thing about this album is I'm off on my hols soon and I think Mr Stone and His Family's albums will need to come along with me, I need to get re-acquainted with them and get the family dancing around the fire. I'm listening to the album whilst typing this, but it's time to stop now, I need to get up and boogie. I suggest you get out there and get this album and do the same.

Miles Davis At Newport: 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Miles Davis At Newport: 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4
Price: £20.03

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 20 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I finished reviewing last years excellent Volume 3 of The Bootleg Series I said 'I wonder what else they've got in store for us'. Well here's the answer, to my mind the most interesting of the series so far. This charts Miles' musical evolution from 1955 to 1975 through seven and a little bit concerts under the famous Newport banner. I say under the Newport banner because only 5 of the concerts are actually recorded at Newport the others are from a travelling circus that founder Ed Wein sent out under the Newport brand. It maybe cheating a little bit to call this Miles Davis At Newport but who cares when the results are this good.

Things start off with Miles drafting in his mates Gerry Mulligan, Thelonius Monk, Zoot Sims, Percy Heath and Connie Kay for a quick jam of hard bop in 1995, after that it's the classic Kind Of Blue line up. Although modal jazz was what this line up became famous for with that landmark album here they are still headed down the hard bop route with lively runs through Straight, No Chase and Two Base Hit, whilst slowing things down a little for Fran-Dance and Bye Bye Blackbird. Next up are two recordings with the 'Second Great Quintet', Shorter, Hancock, et al. Things get get even livelier here, and those who have the first volume of this series will be familiar with how this group approached Miles standards such as Stella By Starlight, All Blues and Seven Days To Heaven. Now things get electric with the last of the recordings from the festival itself in 1969 as the Bitches Brew era starts. Those that have the album Bitches Brew Live will already have these recordings, for those that don't, suffice to say these are from the more accessible end of the Bitches Brew live spectrum not like the at times impenetrable wall of sound that made up much of Volume 2 of this series. And then we move onto the Newport on tour recordings. Firstly the 1973 show from Berlin introduced by our own Ronnie Scott. The best way to describe this gig is Dark Magus, if you have that album you will know what I mean. It's not to everyone tastes, but for those that like a fair bit of funk thrown into their jazz funk then this will appeal. Then we move back in time to a 1971 recording of the festival on tour in Switzerland. For this recording your reference point will be Live Evil and or The Cellar Door recordings. And lastly to 1975. I said earlier there are 7 and a little bit concerts on here and this is the little bit. One track, Mtume, taken from Miles' last concert that year. And you can hear why Miles decided to take a long break from the business after this as he hardly appears on the track.

The performances on this volume are excellent and as I said earlier shows Miles' musical evolution from Hard Bop through to electric Jazz Funk. The recording quality is also excellent, especially when think that the early recordings are from an outdoor festival, in the 1950's when such festivals were in their infancy and recording techniques for such events had yet to be properly developed. Ironically, the track that has the worst sound is last one recorded in 1975. The packaging is the same quality as volume 3 with an interesting essay by Ashley Khan, who wrote a book about the recording of Kind of Blue. One word of warning, 10 of the 40 tracks are previously released.

Last year I said volume 3 was the best in the series so far. In my humble opinion this has now usurped it, a wonderful and fascinating set of recordings from one of the most important and influential musicians of the twentieth century. Hopefully Columbia have more surprises up their sleeve for next year.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2015 8:14 PM BST

Alive II
Alive II
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Live Double Album, 27 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Alive II (Audio CD)
This is where it all started, this is to blame for it all. It's 1977, I'm a thirteen year old horror film loving spotty teenager looking for direction in my life and my only interest in music was listening to those old Geoff Love movie theme records, remember those?. Then one day one of the 6th formers involved in the school Christmas concert brings this album in. I immediately spot the blood spitting demon on the front cover and it of course piques my interest so while he's not looking (I wasn't cool enough to mix with 6th formers) I sneak a quick look at the album and open out the gatefold. If the blood spitting demon had impressed me the shot inside had me in raptures, the shot of the band on stage with more flames shooting up than if they'd been in a James Bond movie. I HAD to have this album, I didn't care what it sounded like but it looked soooo cool. So I saved my pennies from my paper round and quickly got my hands on a copy.

Once I got the album home, I wasn't that bothered about the music, but I thought I may as well listen it, after all it wasn't going to be as good as listening the theme from Jaws, was it? Ruddy heck what was this I was hearing, it had me in its spell before the end of the opening track. Once I got to the end of side four there was only one thing to do. Listen to the whole thing again......., and again......, and again. I was hooked, it was goodbye Geoff, hello Kiss.

This is one of the great live albums. It captures perfectly what Kiss were (are) all about. There is nothing deep here, there are no amazing levels of musicianship, but what we do have is the perfect example of mid 70's pop rock, or perhaps rock pop would be a better description because of course Kiss were first and foremost a rock band, and the album opens with one of their greatest rock songs Detroit Rock City and one of the great concert openers. Side one (The first 5 tracks for those who aren't old enough) carries on at this pace, 5 examples of how good a rock band Kiss were, side two then went down a poppier road with Christine Sixteen, Hard Luck Woman and Tomorrow And Tonight. Side three returns to rock with I Stole Your Love and God of Thunder, but with Peter Criss' classic ballad Beth in the middle. By the end of side three and Shout It Out Loud they had run out of tracks that hadn't appeared on the previous live album so side four consists of four newly recorded studio tracks that seemed to show they still had plenty more up their sleeves.

As I said earlier this album changed everything for me, Geoff Love was hidden away in my dad's record collection and I was out there looking to see what else there was. Soon Zeppelin, Purple, Rush et al were clogging up my bedroom and I've never really looked back. And Kiss Alive II you're to blame!!!!! Thank you so much.

From The Vault: The Marquee - Live In 1971 [Dvd] [2015] [NTSC]
From The Vault: The Marquee - Live In 1971 [Dvd] [2015] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ The Rolling Stones
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £10.94

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Release, 22 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Look I'll lay my cards on the table first, as far as I am concerned The Stones are the greatest Rock 'n' Roll band to have walked this earth, and when it came to the live arena there were few who could touch them when they were in their prime and even today in their 70's they still give the young guns a run for their money. But equally I am aware that not everything they touched turned to gold, some iffy albums and very sloppy live performances are out there. The last time I saw them, Cardiff 2006, it was all going wrong, the sound was bad, the performance all over the place then half way through Streets of Love the sound improved and the band suddenly clicked, next up Midnight Rambler and within the space of a few minutes they'd gone from a bunch of struggling has beens to the greatest rock 'n' roll band in the World, and they stayed at that level for the rest of the night. This excellent release from their vaults serves as reminder of the heights they reach when they click.

Recorded specially for tv at the end of the British tour to promote the yet to be released Sticky fingers, it boasts 8 tracks, plus 4 alternative takes. For those who have already purchased the deluxe or super deluxe editions of Sticky Fingers there will be a certain familiarity with the versions on here as the live tracks on those editions are from the same tour as this release. But what you have here of course are the visuals. Instead of being recorded in large arenas or stadiums, as other DVD offerings have been, this is London's legendary Marquee club. The cameras are up close, you can see the sweat dripping down Jagger's face while he struts his arrogant stuff around the small stage, they get up close and personal on Mick and Keef's fingering on the fret board, we see Bobby Keys dancing with Jagger and even the big goofy grin on Bill's face (OK only kidding there). You can see the band are enjoying themselves and clearly see the friendship between Jagger and Richards, who are clearly the kings of the castle. But it's not just the visuals, the performance level is right up there. This was not the middle of some long tour this was just a couple of weeks after getting out on the road again and yet the performance level is already high, most bands would still be finding their feet after only a couple of weeks. Added to that 4 of the songs, Dead Flowers, I Got The Blues, Bitch and Brown Sugar, are off the yet to be released Sticky Fingers, unlike the other tracks they've not the chance to be truly road tested and yet sound like old favourites already. Of the other tracks Midnight Rambler, as always stands out, and there is a more soul stew version of Satisfaction which I have really taken to.

Of course there a number of versions out there. I've gone for the DVD/CD combo. This gives you the opportunity to hear just how good the performances are as well giving the opportunity to play it in your car or you can simply go and listen to it if the kids have comandeered the DVD player to watch Transformers, or some other such rubbish. This is an excellent release, especially at this price, that gives us the opportunity to see how the legend formed. If you have any interest in this great band do yourself a favour and buy this release you won't regret it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 25, 2015 9:06 PM BST

Cry Tough
Cry Tough

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, 20 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Cry Tough (Audio CD)
It's funny how time plays tricks on your memory. I had both this album and Nils' debut on tape back in the '80's, but of course had lost them. Having recently found renewed interest in Nils' early work I have purchased them both on CD. My memory, rather unreliably told me that this was the better of the two albums, but now that I have had time to sit and listen to them both I have found that in fact I prefer the debut to this his second offering. That's not to say that this is a bad album, far from it, it's just that this album has a few more weaknesses next to the 'Fat Man' album.

Of course things start off really well with one of Nils' best songs, the title track 'Cry Tough featuring some of Nils' best fret work. After that two other live favourites, 'It's Not A Crime' and 'Incidentally.....It's Over'. Two excellent tracks from Nils' more acoustic side 'Share A Little' and 'Mud In Your Eye' help the album have a slightly more laid back feel to it than his debut. The two tracks that for me let the album down slightly are the cover of The Yardbirds 'For Your Love' that just fails to inspire and the slower 'You Lit A Fire' which feels over produced with its needless strings. Things get back to the rockier side at the end with 'Jailbait' a song that make you feel more than a little uncomfortable these days.

A quick word on the sound, I've managed to get hold of the Hip-O-Select re-issue of the album. As has been pointed out by Mark Barry this remaster sounds very good indeed, as if the band are in the room with you at times. A pity more labels don't pay this kind of attention to re-releases of classic seventies albums.

So there we have it, a very good remaster of a very good follow up to his excellent debut. Not quite up to his debut's standards but after all he is in good company just ask Guns 'N' Roses, David Crosby and Orson Welles.

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