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Electrif Lycanthrope
Electrif Lycanthrope
Price: £7.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Little Feat - One of the Greatest Bootlegs Ever (but don't buy it - get it free), 20 Oct 2014
This review is from: Electrif Lycanthrope (Audio CD)
Amazon UK has been awash recently with recordings of old FM radio concerts from dubious record labels whose release quality does not rank alongside the original recording and often claim some spurious remastering. Bruce Springsteen heavily bootlegged 1978 US tour is a case in point. Here again is another example of this phenomena released earlier this year on MP3 and now on CD. Any fan of Little Feat will probably have an excellent copy of this this recording already. If not a short trip around the internet will deliver it immediately to your door without forking out any cash to some record front for Crime Incorporated.

This is soundboard recording of Little Feat live at Ultrasonic Studios, Hempstead, NY. September 19th, 1974 playing in front of a small invited audience and broadcast on WLIR-FM. It was originally bootlegged as Electrif Lycanthrope in the 1970s and two versions have circulated ever since. You need to get the one from the legal Internet Archive that includes the medley from a another session "Cold, Cold, Cold/Dixie Chicken/Tripe Face Boogie". This "hybrid" is by far the most superior version and is excellent quality.

Little Feat had the tightest rhythm section of any Seventies band bar none. With the god like genius of the late Lowell George's snaky dual leads with Paul Barrere and the bands sheer greasy funkiness they were critically lauded by the great and the good including fanatical support from John Peel and Jimmy Page. As a live band it was almost impossible to capture the sheer energy they generated famously blowing the Doobie Brothers off stage in London during the mid seventies. (although the brilliant extended double "Waiting for Columbus" is an unimpeachable live album). "Electrif Lyncanthrope" is stunning. This is Little Feat in their absolute prime and it was clear at the time that Lowell George was expressing worries to the sound engineers about the bootleg potential of these shows. Particularly outstanding is that classic Little Feat vehicle the "Spanish Moon/Skin It Back/ Fat Man in the Bathtub" medley which is as good as anything on Waiting For Columbus. Incredibly on the MP3 version some abject fool who should be sectioned has separated out the three songs into individual tracks! This set also includes possibly the best version of "The Fan" you will hear; a hot blast of funky jazz rock with a superb George vocal. Other classics such as "Willin', "Rock n Roll Doctor" and the bands splendid cover of Allen Toussaint's "On your way down" are well served here.

So there you have it. Do not fork out any cash for this just head to the legal site "Internet Archive" dedicated to the free and open use of the net. The full details of the tracks and their recordings are set out below.

Rock n' Roll Doctor
Two Trains
The Fan
On Your Way Down
Spanish Moon >
Skin It Back >
Fat Man In The Bath Tub
Oh Atlanta
Cold Cold Cold >
Dixie Chicken >
Tripe Face Boogie

Tracks 1-9 Source: PRE-FM (Master 1/2 Track Broadcast RR) >
Mastering (Custom Analog & Digital 10/04) >WAV

Tracks 10-12 Source :FM rebroadcast on WLIR

I Forget Where We Were
I Forget Where We Were
Price: £9.00

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ben Howard - Worlds Away from "Every Kingdom", 20 Oct 2014
This review is from: I Forget Where We Were (Audio CD)
Ben Howard's debut "Every Kingdom" turned into a radio friendly monster that stormed the charts and jumped out of he racks of today's greatest music shifters - the supermarkets. As a result it very unfairly put Howard into the category of "just another" Brit Award Winning artist, whose name seemed to forever be linked to Ed Sheeran and the notorious label the "new boring". Whilst there would undoubtedly be a huge market for an "Every Kingdom Mark 2" the clues to this new album came in November 2012. At that point Howard released "The Burgh Island EP" a dark and menacing affair that felt like it was penned as an antidote to the summery acoustic vibes of his debut; indeed it is that short record that sets out the stall for this new album "I Forget Where We Were".

As an album it is an unquestionably serious affair from its plaintive black and white cover, its heavy reverb electric guitar and the length of many of the tracks that exceed the 5-minute mark. It commences with "Small Things" a dark blues opening shot that sets the tone for what follows with a haunting guitar that leads to a fierce closing segment. The glorious "Rivers in your mouth" is more accessible and has is not unlike some of Thom Yorke's songwriting. It all slows down for the title track although the powerful bridge injects energy in the song and has Howard exclaiming "Oh, hey, I wasn't listening/I was stung by all of us, the blind leading out the bored/And as per usual/You were skipping and laughing eyes at the bedroom door". The track which best resembles the vibe of the first album is the rolling acoustics of the ghostly "In Dreams" its great but untypical. The big highlight here is the near eight minute "End of the Affair". Howard himself admits that he was "racked with indecision for the whole the winter" about the tone and length of such songs. It builds slowly and deliberately to the around the 5 minute mark and then unfolds like a long guitar coda underpinned by that chiming rhythmic delay effect so beloved of the Edge. Others are less successful and on first listens there is a bit of a mid album lull with the standard "She treats me well" being ok and "Time is dancing" slow to reveal its pleasures (although on repeated listens it actually turns out to be one of the strongest tracks) The album is rounded of with the powerful closer "All is now harmed" where again you detect Radiohead inflections.

Ben Howard has studiously avoided the instant satisfaction approach of his debut and put out a record that is challenging and which may divide his core base. In the same way that Damien Rice deconstructed his mega successful approach on "O" to the much harder and edgier "9", Howard has taken a path on "I Forget Where We Were" which should see the "new boring" tag laid to rest. Indeed Howard himself admits that it was the National and Talk Talk which provided much inspiration for this approach. Thus he has recorded a sophomore album without a slump and signalled that he is a real force to be reckoned with.

Pinzon - 100% Cotton  Towel Set (2 bath towels) -White
Pinzon - 100% Cotton Towel Set (2 bath towels) -White
Price: £16.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pinzon - 100% Cotton Turkish Towels, 20 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Product received for Free

When these towels first arrived they felt like they had been run over by a Turkish tank on the Syrian border! They were flat and rather uninspiring. They are however like their owners needing a good wash in the morning to wake them sufficiently to face the horrors of the day. As such they emerged from the tumble dryer transformed, like those towels that we all love to purloin from hotels and have worked hard around the bathroom ever since. They could be a bit bigger in length otherwise they are nice towels and they shall be taken to back to the homeland in Oul Deniz next year to give them a holiday!

Amazon Protective Leather Cover for Kindle (7th Generation) - will not fit previous-generation Kindle devices
Amazon Protective Leather Cover for Kindle (7th Generation) - will not fit previous-generation Kindle devices
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazon Protective Leather Case for Kindle (7th Generation) - Nice but Pricey, 20 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Product received for free

Having recently purchased a new kindle 7 for myself and a family member the arrival of this case for review was timely. The big selling point appears to be that it wakes and closes upon opening. Frankly with the battery life of Kindle being what its is that such a major innovation? As it stands its a very nice leather case and the Kindle fits as tightly as you would in a pair of jeans a size to small. The question to the prospective purchaser however is are you prepared to pay £35 for a case for your Kindle when you can get equally nice leather cases for a tenner less or be a total cheapskate (like your reviewer) and buy one of the products at the link below for under £12. Yes it did not involve killing a cow and is synthetic, also some people have had problems with the magnetic catch, equally once your Kindle is in the case you will need the services of a burglar to get it out. But is does cost £23 less, over 550 people have given it a 5 star review, it has a Magnetic Auto Sleep Wake Function and looks very nice although it does not smell like you have just walked into Clarks shoe shop. As stated this "Rolls Royce" Amazon case was received for free so no complaints at all, but there are cheaper and equally functional alternatives.

Tough Love
Tough Love
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jessie Ware - A Full Measure of Devotion, 14 Oct 2014
This review is from: Tough Love (Audio CD)
Call it R&B, call it soul or call it pop music. When it comes to the music of Jessie Ware it does not really matter. What is important is the ability of this uber talented British artist to cross these often constricting musical boundaries with an album of pitch perfect songs every bit the match of her Mercury nominated 2012 album "Devotion". Her recent performance on Jools Holland showed a confident performer growing in stature and this album pushes the Ware "vehicle" forward in just about every musical direction.

The lead single "Tough Love" is a slinky smooth ballad where Ware emotes a wonderful vocal of restrained power. Even better is the pulsating pop of "Cruel" the sort song that Prince used to write before he rose at breakfast until he more latterly decided to flood the market with soulless funk. This reviewer cannot claim to be the number one fan of Ed Sheeran but the co written torch song "Say you love me" which is a sterling effort (although you suspect its fate might be eventual mutilation by some teenage warbler on the X Factor). Never-mind, onwards and upwards, with what might be the best song on the album "Kind of...sometimes...maybe" the sort of track that could see her creating a vinyl shortage especially in the US. The big power ballad "Pieces" also impresses greatly with the best Ware vocal on the album where she moves from the understated to emotive with real vocal dexterity. "I want your feeling" the dance floor track produced with Dev Haynes is the most uplifting song on "Tough Love" and real hit single material, yet it is the erotic R&B of the pounding and angular shapes of songs like the excellent "Desire" which impress most.

In "Tough Love" Jessie Ware has staked a claim to be right up there alongside artists like Banks and FKA Twigs. Granted she is neither as sultry as the former or as edgy as the latter but that does not diminish her stature since she outshines both when it comes to an acute pop sensibility. She has recently been working with the critically lauded brother producer combo "Disclosure' and the cutting edge wunderkid SBTRKT so expect more experimentation in the future. For now however just languish in the grooves of a special album by a sparkling addition to the ranks of British female soul singers.

Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Marr - "Stop me if you think you have heard this one before", 13 Oct 2014
This review is from: Playland (Audio CD)
Marr's output since the Smiths has been erratic to say the least. True there was some interesting work with Modest Mouse and the Cribs although far from earth shattering. Yet you continue to hope that the god like genius of one of our greatest rock guitarists will eventually be rekindled and shine through. Sadly on this new album some of the old chops are back but stuck in songs which essentially sound like Brit Pop and in the case of "The Trap" a sort of second division New Order. The other problem is that Marr's slender voice really does not stand out from the crowd to the extent that if you heard for example "Easy Money" on the radio you might think it was the Kaiser Chiefs.

There are some redeeming tracks for example "25 Hours" has all those trademark guitar sounds combined with an Underworld style song that works really well. When Marr does cut loose on "Boys get straight" you ears perk up and a broad grin covers your face. Sadly with other tracks like the sort of sub Interpol "Candidate" and the dreary "Speak out, reach out" there really is nothing in such songs to encourage repeat listens. ""Playland" certainly is not as good as "The Messenger" and leads you to conclude that Marr really does need a top notch producer to bounce off or a musical foil for new ideas that can take his undoubted guitar brilliance into new territory.

Way Out Weather
Way Out Weather
Price: £10.19

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steve Gunn - Fine Weather, 13 Oct 2014
This review is from: Way Out Weather (Audio CD)
Last years album "Time Off" by Steve Gunn firmly located him in that loose category as a supreme guitarist who occasionally sings. This reviewer commented at the time that "many who listen to this album will detect clear hints of Bert Jansch, John Fahey and a host of other great fingerstyle pickers". Gunn of course has a wider rock pedigree playing in the Violators the supporting band of Philadelphia rock titan Kurt Vile. On this new album "Way out Weather" he finally stakes a claim to be a singer songwriter of real maturity and depth.

The album has Gunn's guitar waltzing harmoniously throughout through a range of styles including folk rock, psychedelia and some nice African rhythms on the brilliant "Tommy's Congo" the final swirling track. The presence of a much larger band on this album fills the spaces and "Way out Weather" has a much fuller sound than its predecessor. A range great tracks can be located throughout not least the gentle rolling title track where Gunn's much-improved baritone is much higher in the mix. Even better is the basic folk of the sumptuous "Wildwood" where you can almost feel the feathery seeds blowing across the meadow. "Shadow Bros" is cut from the same cloth and sees Gunn utilising the banjo to great effect. Its not all acoustic bliss however songs like "Drifter" have a much harder edge and rock as hard as anything Kurt Vile has done. Finally on "Milly's Garden" all the pieces come together. Granted it does echo the Grateful Dead circa "American Beauty", but that's a cause for celebration. It is full of that earthy funkiness that Garcia and Co mastered and using slide guitar as the underpinning foundation to a great song.

Steve Gunn hinted at all these possibilities on "Time Off" but "Way Out Weather" confirms that he has blossomed into the full package. These songs literally wash over you and the confidence on display is infectious. It has been a fascinating journey for Gunn who has produced an enormous amount of music in a very short time. From his earlier avant garde guitar outpourings, to this new ninth album he has been transformed from artist who is primarily is a musician’s musician to one that all connoisseurs of real music should beat a path towards.

Price: £9.83

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barr Brothers - Canadian Americana, 12 Oct 2014
This review is from: SLEEPING OPERATOR (Audio CD)
It is an interesting fact that Canadians often do "Americana" better than Americans. Think The Sadies, Cowboy Junkies, The Tragically Hip circa "Wheat Kings" and of course giants like the Band and Neil Young. Montreal's Barr Brothers are firmly in this tradition comprising Brad Barr (guitar, vocals), Andrew Barr (drums, percussion, vocals, keys), Sarah Page (harp, vocals, percussion) and Andres Vial (keys, bass, vibes, percussion, vocals). "SLEEPING OPERATOR" is the bands sophomore album. It has been two years in the making and sees the Brothers breath out in terms of their sound employing a eclectic array of horns, marimba, ngoni, hammered dulcimer and pedal steel to the mix. The upshot is a wonderful album where the strength of songs are never lost amongst the sheer variety of the musical expanse which anchor them.

The lovely flowing harp instrumental opener segues into the big pop anthem "Love is Enough" full of ascending peaks and as wide open as the Canadian prairies. Go over to the NPR music sit and watch them perform it free. Those who loved the acoustic feel of their debut will find plenty here to enjoy. The rolling country of "Even the darkness has arms" is utterly infectious, while the standout track "How the Heroine Dies" reminds you of the ghostly mood that the Low Anthem conjured on 2009's "Oh My God Charlie Darwin". It is a soaring lament that floats on a wonderfully sensitive vocal and is anchored with brilliant lyrics. Other tracks worthy of inspection include the highly melodic "Wolves" and the fascinating rumbling blues shuffle of "Half Crazy". The album is rounded off by the pounding "England" which builds to a mighty crescendo and the gentle hymnal acoustics of "Please let me let it go" infused with the bands warm harmonies drawing the curtain down on a real surprise package.

The Barr Brothers "Sleeping Operator" is one album that you may wish to place on a wish list or seek out on Spotify before investment. It is a record that grabs you by the the lapels and doesn't really let go of its grip through the course of 13 fine songs. Allegedly the band had 40 or more up their sleeve which suggest more great music to come once you have digested this feast.

So, Anyway...: The Autobiography
So, Anyway...: The Autobiography
Price: £6.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Cleese - A comic wildebeest sweeps majestically across the plain, 12 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the past weeks two comedians whose careers started in the Cambridge Footlights Revue have published their respective autobiographies. In September, Stephen Fry produced a hugely disappointing third instalment of his story entitled "More Fool Me" jam packed with tedious accounts of his interaction with various "luvvies" and "celebs" all sniffed down in a blizzard of cocaine. Now its the turn of a comedian from the same tradition who entered the bloodstream of British comedy through Monty Python and the awful small minded genius of Basil Fawlty to have his say. It is hugely pleasing therefore to report that "So Anyway" the autobiography of John Marwood Cleese is a much superior and funny book, worth devoting time reading in the autumn glow.

'So Anyway" is well written, hugely self deprecating, thoughtfully analytical and only occasionally punctuated by the odd pot shot against a contemporary which are so over the top they are almost affectionate. One warning if you buy this to get a blow by blow account of the Python years or Fawlty Towers, disappointment will follow as this is Cleese from "cradle to somewhere in the early 70s" with some of the best parts of the book on his childhood in Weston Super Mare. His tale of the bombing of the town is summarized in his fathers observation who said "that the Germans bombed Weston to show they had a sense of humour". Not that it prevented his father from decamping somewhere safer. Indeed even though Cleese senior took much local criticism for retreating far too quickly to the pastoral village of Brent Knoll as Cleese Jr points out such griping missed an essential point. As he states "the point of running away is to do it the moment the idea occurred to you" not cry "Let's run for our lives but do it next Wednesday"

Cleese's relationships with his Father and Mother were complex. He talks poignantly of witnessing "lower middle class fisticuffs' between the two with his mother clearly winning on points. Cleese never felt truly close to his mother and while he does not label her "bad" he talks of her self obsession and anxiety going on to fully illustrate this point. It leads him to ironically conclude, "that there must have been times when Dad yearned for the relative tranquility of the trenches of France". Cleese portrays his father as loving, warm and eccentric. But it was the residue of his troubles with his mother that led him later to extensive therapy centered on wider troubled relationships with women. Its worth understanding Cleese's psychosis since it is an essential underpinning of his comic genius. Think Sybil, think Polly, think about four wives to date and how that awkwardness and solicitude are part of his DNA.

Without giving the game away the book takes us through Cleese's Cambridge years, entering the world as a writer and performer for the BBC and ends up on the coming together of the Pythons in 1969, We then jump in the final chapter to this year's reunion and a wonderfully nasty sideswipe at the Daily Mail. It also allows him to pen a warm tribute to his closet ally Graham Chapman and a lovely story on the genesis of the Cheese shop sketch. Please also seek out those parts of the book that make you weak with laughter not least his attempt at waterskiing and a hilarious production of Dr Faustus. Overall try not to miss this great story of "how a tall shy youth from Weston- super-Mare went on to become a self confessed legend"

Price: £7.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mark Erreli - Revitalises the Music of Bill Morrissey, 7 Oct 2014
This review is from: Milltowns (MP3 Download)
Hands up, how many music lovers have heard of the New Hampshire folk singer Bill Morrissey? The evidence from the number of Amazon UK reviews of his many albums is none. This reviewer can claim no special insight since it was not until hearing Mark Erelli's new release "Milltowns" that Morrissey's name came into view. Erreli is a touring folk musician from Reading, Massachusetts who has built up a fair following on the live circuit of country clubs in the States and has supported, produced and worked with a range of musicians including Lori McKenna, Josh Rittter and the excellent collaboration with Jeffrey Foucault "Seven Curses". Digging out the music of Bill Morrissey on this new album is an inspired choice as the music contained in "Milltowns" is a country revelation.

When Errelli first met Bill Morrissey he states that "the initial meeting was celebratory, two folkies hanging out all night drinking and trading off playing everything from Mississippi John Hurt and the Beatles, to Gershwin and the Stones. The last time the two saw each other they played on a bill together in Portland Maine. Morrissey was in bad health due to years of drinking, and Erelli accompanied him and helped him through the set" Sadly Morrissey died in 2011 but this album is more than a tribute. It revives songs that deserve to be heard, interpreted by an artist with total empathy and reverence for the music he is taking on. Opener "Birches" is a wintry reflective ode to lover as the couple watch the flames on a fire burn and the narrator observes that "She twirled around the room/And the shadows they saw nothing but a young girl on her honeymoon/And she knew the time it would be short; the fire would start to fade/She thought of heat. She thought of time". Even better is the alternative country of "Night train" a song that begs the question why isn't it a great country classic? Others standouts include the beautiful "23rd Street", the plaintive "Ice Fishing" and the heartbreaking "These Cold Fingers". All the elements seem to come together in the languid "Handsome Molly". This song proves that while Morrissey never had the greatest singing voice he made up for it in masterfully songwriting. He also had a lovely sense of humour, just check out the humorous lines of "Letter from Heaven" not least his wishful confession "And me, I couldn't be happier. The service here is fine. They've got dinner ready at half-past nine. And I'm going steady with Patsy Cline. And just last night in a bar room, I bought Robert Johnson a beer. Yeah, I know, everybody's always surprised to find him here.''

There are times in these songs that you can almost see your cold breath in the November air. Erreli has performed a task of real value in "Milltowns". He takes songs of fundamental worth and often improves them. In turn he highlights the name and music of Bill Morrissey someone who has recently departed but throughly deserves to be remembered.

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