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Mr. R. Powell (Wales)

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Once More Round The Sun
Once More Round The Sun
Price: 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mastodon Pushing On, 26 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Once More Round The Sun (Audio CD)
Mastodon continue to leave most of the competition trailing in their wake. This album continues where The Hunter left off but at the same has plenty of nods to their past. New producer Nick Raskulinecz has carried off the same trick here as he did with Rush, he has encouraged the band to embrace and reference their past whilst at the same time pushing their music forward. The essential heaviness is still there, you can hear bits that would fit on Leviathan, Blood Mountain and Crack The Skye, but at no point do you feel that this a step back to those albums. The riffs are still there, the raging arpeggios up and down the fret board, Brann's drumming is still ferocious and out of this world. The vocals maybe a bit cleaner than those first few albums but who can blame them for wanting to make their albums a bit more accessible, and let's face it this is hardly some kind of commercial sell out, try playing this to your average Coldplay fan and watch their brain melt as they try to cope with savage complexity of this music. There is no point in trying to pick any outstanding tracks, as you listen to the album more and more you slowly realise that every track has much to admire. This is progressive metal of the highest order.

The Ceaseless Sight
The Ceaseless Sight
Price: 8.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Stuff, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Ceaseless Sight (Audio CD)
What have the ex-Black Crowes boys been on recently? Firstly we got brother Chris' Grateful Deadish laid back Phosphorescent Harvest in April, then in May along comes Marc Fords beautiful Holy Ghost album, an album straight out of Laurel Canyon in 1971, and now here's Rich Robinson and his take on early 70's laid back rock. This has a slightly more rock edge to it than Ford's singer songwriter effort but still has a wonderful mixture of electric guitars, acoustic guitars, swirling organs, dobro's etc. It has that wonderful mixture of the Dead circa American Beauty, Allman Brothers, The Band and CSN&Y, that roots rock West Coast feel. The song writing is excellent and the performances heartfelt. It takes you back to a time when rock music was about honesty instead of record companies chasing the latest dollar, you just know that no major would touch this now and that Rich couldn't give a toss because he knows and believes in the beauty of this music. It's music like this and the albums by brother Chris, Marc Ford, Rival Sons etc that make you realise that great music is not dead it's just pushed to one side by a money hungry, faceless corporate mainstream music industry that aims for the lowest common denominator. Thankfully Rich etc are showing that great music can still win through, check out this wonderful album to hear why.

Great Western Valkyrie
Great Western Valkyrie
Price: 8.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back To The Future, 10 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Great Western Valkyrie (Audio CD)
Well they've gone and done it again. The Sons have taken so much of was great about rock music in the late sixties and early seventies, thrown it into a melting pot and for the fourth time produced an outstanding album that acknowledges its heritage yet sounds fresh. So many bands and artists these days just try and recreate what has gone before but without making it sound interesting and then failing to make an album that is worth re-visiting, but what these guys have done is take little bits of those older classic artists and thrown them together in each song so that no one song sounds just like another artist that has gone before. So yes you get some Zeppelin, the drum intro to Open My Eyes sounds straight from When The Levee Breaks, then you get some Doors, Ray Manzarek style keyboards sneaking in here and there, oh and then some Who style chords in the opening to Belle Starr, but they never stay in the style of just one band. Good Thing has elements of Just Dropped In by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, the song used in The Big Lebowski's dream sequence where Jeff Bridges 'Dude' floats around a bunch of buxom Valkyries, perhaps a nod from the albums title. The playing as always is excellent, Jays vocals reaching new heights particularly on the slower songs and yes it rocks out but just as with Head Down a couple of beautiful slower songs are there to for light and shade. So there we have it, Rival Sons fourth album, it's a corker that yes visits rock musics past but feels fresh and constantly interesting, The Dude would approve!!!

Georgia Satellites
Georgia Satellites
Price: 10.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell Yeah!!!!!!!!, 23 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Georgia Satellites (Audio CD)
For me the nineteen eighties was a musical desert with the odd oasis to be found here and there if you looked hard enough. It was a decade where the soul was so often sucked out of music, but every now and then a band would come along to restore your faith, amongst those were bands such as REM, The Long Ryders, Jason and the Scorchers and, of course, this lot, Georgia Satellites, Atlanta's answer to Status Quo.

It was 1985 and I was making my monthly pilgrimage to Penny Lane Records in Chester, a wonderful place, dark, small and dingy, just as a good record shop should be, and unfortunately mainly a thing of the past. As I searched through the vinyl trying to find something to spend my money on a wonderful sound came blasting through the speakers. Rocking guitars, no synthesizers, sounding straight out of 1973 this was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I asked the assistant what was playing and he handed me a copy of Keep The Faith an EP (Mini album?) by Georgia Satellites. Two tracks were enough for me to make the decision to buy. Only six tracks long but this said so much more than most of the music that was being produced at that time, it was raw, it was honest and it was totally unfashionable. It hardly got off my turntable for the next few months and then got a 5K review from Mick Wall in Kerrang and even Melody Maker gave it a good review (They must have had an off day).

After that I heard nothing of the band for twelve months, despite the best efforts of Kerrang and Melody Maker it seemed that they were going to be another band just too darned good to make it. But then out of nowhere this album arrived. Electra Records in the USA had discovered them and gave them a well deserved major label boost.

This is the best of their three albums, a real statement of intent. It wears its heart on sleeve, its influences are clear, The Faces, The Stones, Chuck Berry and yes Status Quo (That is classic Quo not 1980's Quo). The album includes two tracks from the EP, Red Light and the huge hit single Keep Your Hands To Yourself. Some of the rough edges had been taken off these two tracks but not so much as to make them anodyne copies of their earlier selves. The album also included Battleship Chains,a track I believe should have been a bigger hit than Hands, but what do I know, Railroad Steel, a track that rolls along like a train at high speed and the whole thing finishes off with a stonking cover of The Faces Every Picture Tells A Story.

I was lucky enough to catch them live on a couple of occasions over the following years, an even better live act than on vinyl. Unfortunately despite the encouraging start things dropped off for them, two decent but not spectacular albums followed but sales just dropped and they split up in the early nineties.

Despite that this album remained a favourite of mine, but as you grow old and get married and have kids the pressure on space in the house means you have to replace your old vinyl with Compact discs. Unfortunately this was one album that was not getting a sonic upgrade, that is until now. The classic rock loving guys at Rock Candy have managed to get their hands on the rights to this album and have now given it the kind of attention it deserves. The remastering means everything has the kind of kick that it needs, it no longer sounds as if it's being played in the room next door. Added to that there are 7 bonus tracks including B sides, live tracks and alternative mixes. And to finish it all off an interview with Rick Richards where he relates the story of the band and confesses his love for Status Quo.

If I were to have one minor gripe with this release it would be that they haven't found room to include that original EP, it would have been interesting to compare the original versions of Red Light and Hands with those on the album. But this is far too good a release tho finish off on a gripe. If you were originally a fan of these guys this is worth purchasing again for the sonic upgrade, if you know nothing of them but you're a fan of Blackberry Smoke, The Cadillac Three, Black Stone Cherry and southern rock in general then this will not disappoint. And finally if you don't fit into either category but you like good time music, then this will fit the bill.

Miles at The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
Miles at The Fillmore: Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3
Price: 18.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love It!!!!!!, 18 April 2014
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This is the best of three bootlegs so far. I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed by last years Volume 2. It went too far for my tastes, too avant garde, too much aimless noodling. I liked parts of it but I couldn't cope with large parts of it and it has sat in my cd collection largely unlistened too for about 10 months. When this one was announced I checked out the original release from the 1970's to see if it was more of the same or whether Miles had tightened things up a bit. Well he certainly had. This is a much better release, yes there are parts that still go a bit too far, mainly The Mask, but other than that this is Miles and his band at the top of their game. Things are far more focused and that whole Bitches Brew vibe just shines throughout the whole album. If you're a fan of this era of Miles' music then this is a must, a real snip at 17. Over 4 hours of Miles at his incredible best, wonderfully packaged, the booklet in this package much better than the fold out poster notes in Volume 2 and the recordings sound excellent, although the three tracks from The Fillmore West are slightly closer to true bootleg quality, albeit top notch bootleg quality. This has hardly been out of the cd player for the past month and has even encouraged me to dip my toe back into volume 2 (Still a bit too out there). A classic, I wonder what else they've got in store for us.

Holy Ghost
Holy Ghost
Price: 9.84

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 15 April 2014
This review is from: Holy Ghost (Audio CD)
I only knew Fords stuff from The Black Crowes, an excellent guitarist who clearly knew how to cut it in one of the best bands of the nineties, but after he left that band I lost track of him. Then, the other week, I read an article about him in Classic Rock magazine where they described how he had discovered this acoustic side to his music and waxed lyrical about this new album. Well, they were right to wax lyrical, this is a beautiful album, a real throw back to the classic early 70's sounds of the Laurel Canyon singer song writers. You can hear Neil Young in there (That's Harvest Neil, not Ragged Glory Neil), CSN&Y, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and even The Eagles sneak in there on Just A Girl. At times his voice sounds like a mix of Neil Young and Lou Reed, that melancholy sound they can both express. I'm sure Lou Reed would be horrified to be thrown in with the Laurel Canyon gang, but, to me that how it sounds. The whole album has that overall melancholy feel to it with barely an electric guitar in sight. Plenty of acoustic guitars, a banjo here and there, a pedal steel and the odd fender Rhodes. This is the perfect album to listen to as the longer finer April evenings set in. If the laid back acoustic troubadour is your kind of thing then check this out you won't regret it.

Fly By Night
Fly By Night
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Where it really all started, 22 Mar 2014
This review is from: Fly By Night (Audio CD)
This is where it really all started for Rush, one of the best bands to come out of the '70's. Yes, they already had one album under their belts, but that was a straight forward hard rock album, albeit a very good one. Here with a change of personnel was also a slight change indirection. John Rutsey, the original drummer left and was replaced by the professor, the great Neil Peart, one of the greatest drummers to ever beat the skins of a drum kit. Not only was Peart a far more accomplished drummer, bringing in more complex time signatures, he also brought with him his lyrical ideas. Whether or not you agree with all those ideas, especially those influenced by the right wing author Ayn Rand, they certainly added more depth to the song writing.

The album starts out with one of their classic rockers, Anthem, the first song to reference Rand (It was the title of one of her novella's and the story that influenced Peart when writing 2112). Whatever its influences this is a wonderful statement of intent to start the album, yes the introduction and chorus rock out but the verses take a slightly gentler course. The next two songs Best I Can and Beneath Between And Behind carry on in the harder edged end of the Rush universe. Side 1 (Yes I am that old) signs off with By Tor And The Snow Dog, the first of their forays into extended songs telling fantastical stories, something which they continued to so over the following four albums. Although not my favourite of their extended story telling (That award goes to Xanadu) this is still a wonderful example of prog rock. A tale of good versus evil as Snow Dog battles to save us all from the evil of Prince By Tor. Okay so it may not be songwriting that looks deeply into the human condition but these were twenty year old blokes, how many of us in our early twenties were capable of looking into the human condition (Bono, Bob Dylan put your hands down).

Side 2 has more of the gentler side of Rush, the title track and Making Memories gentle rockers looking at life on the road and then Rivendell, a soothing acoustic number whose lyrics certainly earn the description 'Tolkienesque'. And finally a return to their rock roots with In The End, although you would be forgiven for thinking it's more of their acoustic leanings as the introduction starts out with a lonely acoustic guitar and Geddys voice until everything else plugs in and we're back in rock territory.

So there we have it, Rush's first great album, there were bigger triumphs to come but this was one hell of a statement of intent from a band that would go from strength to strength over the next seven years. It's funny over that period many so called 'serious' music journalists loved to poke fun at Rush and their fans. The band though have seen them all off and these days they are falling over themselves to heap praise on them. You see we were right all along, the geeks have won. Take a listen to this album and see why.

Hanging Tough
Hanging Tough
Price: 8.58

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes up for not re-releasing Night After Night, 22 Mar 2014
This review is from: Hanging Tough (Audio CD)
Back in the 80's I was really into Nils' stuff and my particular favorite was his first live album Night After Night. I had that album on tape and played it so much it eventually gave up the ghost, seized up and had to be thrown away. I've been looking for a cd copy ever since but, of course, it has never been released on cd, and when you think of the rubbish that has been re-released on cd over that time it's criminal that Night has been overlooked. But now this release almost makes up for it. Taken from a show at The Bottom Line in New York on the same tour Night was recorded this is an excellent performance, the band are tight and as an unofficial unauthorized legal bootleg there has been no tinkering with it, which is where so many live albums often fall down. In fact if you compare these recordings to the ones on Night (Check out Youtube) they have a much harder edge to them, all the rough edges that had been smoothed out on Night have been left there and probably the better for it. All the usual suspects are on there and the band plays them like their lives depend on it. As for the man himself, his voice was clearly in fine fettle (Remember no post production tinkering here) and his guitar playing is right up there. Does that mean if Night After Night ever does get that re-release on cd I'll ignore it? Nah, I'd still have to get it for old times sake but this will certainly make do in the meantime. If, like me, you've been searching in vain for a copy of Night After Night over the years then this will more than fill the gap I can assure you. It's a little gem!!!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 18, 2014 7:34 PM BST

Exit Stage Left
Exit Stage Left
Price: 15.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as it should have been, 21 Mar 2014
This review is from: Exit Stage Left (Audio CD)
This was the point where my love affair with Rush ended, well for 20 years anyway. It should have been the perfect culmination of everything they had achieved up to that point, but it wasn't quite perfect. The problem with this album has always been its muddy sound and mix. The whole thing was given an extra kick in the remaster used for the Sector 2 box set, but even then many of the original problems still remained. I don't know how it happened but Alex's guitars have been almost lost in the mix and Geddy's bass brought up way too high and the crowd (Other than the Glasgow recording) sound as if they are in the arena next door. It was all a pity, they had reached the commercial heights, were out of the theaters and into the arenas, the four previous albums, from which most of this setlist was taken, had seen them stretch out beyond a straight forward rock act and this should have rounded that phase of Rush off perfectly. That it failed to do so was purely down to the failings in the production. I do like the album, the setlist sums up Rush from '76 to '81, the performances are excellent it's just you can't hear them as well as you should and that's why I don't love it. These days if I want to hear live performances of these tracks there are better versions elsewhere, just check out the recently released 'Spirit of the Airwaves', an unofficial, unauthorized legal bootleg (???!!!???) and get an idea of how good this album should have sounded.

Hemispheres (Rmst)
Hemispheres (Rmst)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 5.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!!!!!!, 20 Mar 2014
This review is from: Hemispheres (Rmst) (Audio CD)
In the late '70's Rush offered up everything I wanted in rock music, guitars, guitars, loopy lyrical ideas, light and shade, oh and more guitars. What more could a spotty, confused teenager want in his life? Not much, and all these things came together wonderfully on this magnificent album. Some fans seem to look down on this album for some strange reason, one reviewer here giving it one star and saying this caused them to leave Rush behind after enjoying their previous albums. I really can't understand how they came to this decision, this was the obvious conclusion to everything that had come before. Side one consisted of one 18 minute track, a sequel to the final track on the previous album, A Farewell To Kings. Mad lyrics about Greek Gods fighting to rule over the planets in a black hole. All this played out to a prog rock stew of rocking guitars, gentle acoustic guitars, keyboards and of course it all starts off with THAT chord. Rush fans will know the one I mean, the one that is referenced in Far Cry on Snakes And Arrows, the chord that makes me feel like I 'm back in 1979 every time I hear it.

Side two starts with Circumstances, a good old rocker in which they throw in some French lyrics just to show off their prog credentials ( Or their French Canadian roots) . And then onto The Trees, a song that rightly stayed in their live set for many years. It starts off with some beautiful acoustic guitars, and then rocks out with a gentle acoustic break in the middle that slowly builds back up to a classic rock guitar break. And behind all that bonkers lyrics about oaks and maples wanting equality, make of that what you will. Finally, La Villa Strangiato, their greatest instrumental. Everything gets thrown in there, they clearly had so many ideas flying around they thought " Let's just throw it all together an see what comes out". We'll, I'll tell what came out, an instrumental that just bursts with invention and imagination. It's quite rightly still a concert favourite.

So there you have it, four excellent reasons why this album was not their nadir, but in fact is very close to being one of their greatest triumphs. For anyone who likes Fly By Night through to Kings then this is a must buy.

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