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N. T. Procter (London)

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More Power
More Power
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 13.44

4.0 out of 5 stars The Lost 4th Album ?, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: More Power (Audio CD)
As MA Reed correctly states in his review of this title, the discography of the Stooges circa Raw Power is a total mess and much of what has been subsequently issued has been of poor to very poor sonic quality, with only the legacy edition of RP and Easy Action's Heavy Liquid being truly worthwhile purchases.

The Detroit rehearsals have, of course, been reissued ad nauseam by various small, obscure labels, usually with muffled or thin, tinny sound. So, Cleopatra should be congratulated for succeeding where others have failed in producing a version of these recordings that you might actually want to listen to more than once.

This has, inevitably, meant the use of noise reduction and some digital manipulation of the tapes, which purists may hate, but at the end of the day, if a recording is painful to listen to, what is the point of it ?

Forty years after these sessions were first recorded, no one can be sure of whether there ever was agreement on the running order for a 4th album, but here, you will find most of the original songs that would have been considered, together with a number of spirited cover versions, so it's as near as we are ever likely to get.

The Heavyweight Champion - The Complete Atlantic Recordings
The Heavyweight Champion - The Complete Atlantic Recordings
Price: 18.68

5.0 out of 5 stars A Box Supreme, 13 Mar 2014
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This box was originally produced by Rhino in 1995, including the 8 albums Coltrane recorded, whilst he was signed to Atlantic, as well as all of the alternate takes of the numbers contained therein.

On it's release, it was showered with well-deserved and unanimous critical praise, selling out rapidly, leading to a rapid escalation in the price of used copies, so this reissue is not only timely, but represents exceptional value for money at around 20.

Coltrane's period at Atlantic was undoubtedly one of the most fruitful periods in his career and his restless quest to create inspiring new music and reinterpret old jazz standards, allied with the inventiveness and emotion he expresses in his playing here are testimony to his stature as one of the all-time greats.

It's quite simple really, if you don't have this in your collection, you should not consider yourself a jazz fan.

Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin
Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin
by Chris Welch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.27

4.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Made Zeppelin Fly, 13 Mar 2014
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Whilst there can be little doubt that a group of Zeppelin's combined musical talent would have been a success anyway, it is also doubtful whether they would have become the worldwide phenomenon that they did without Peter Grant.

Having endured a miserable educational scholarship at Charterhouse, Grant started his career in Fleet Street, where he came into contact with various colourful people in the entertainment industry, convincing him that this was where his future lay.

Subsequently, he worked as a stagehand and assistant entertainment manager, before ending up as doorman at the legendary 2i's coffee bar, where he forged important friendships with one of the co-owners, Paul Lincoln, as well as one of the regulars, Mickie Most.

Lincoln, a professional wrestler, persuaded Grant (who was a generously upholstered 6'5") to take up a career in TV wrestling, under the moniker of His Highness Count Bruno Alesio of Milan, which raised Grant's profile considerably, opening further doors to him as a bit part actor, stuntman and minder.

It was in the latter role that he was recruited by the infamous Don Arden (father of Sharon Osbourne) as a tour manager, learning his craft and subsequently setting up a management partnership with his old friend Mickie Most.

Although Most had a reputation for being a ruthless businessman, he had also tried and failed as an entertainer himself, knew real talent when he saw it and the value of nurturing it as a long-term investment, which in time, made him and the majority of his acts wealthy individuals.

This was a lesson that was not lost on Grant.

In 1966, Simon Napier-Bell approached Grant about taking over the management of the fading Yardbirds, with Mickie Most taking responsibility for the production of their last album, Little Games, which showed their inability to make the transition from being a successful singles band to one capable of producing albums of consistent quality.

However, Grant knew he had a star in Jimmy Page and a "new" Yardbirds were hastily assembled, changing their name in the process, to Led Zeppelin.

Grant's talent for marketing Zeppelin and uncompromising management style may have initially won him few friends, but also produced a growing, if slightly grudging respect, as a man of integrity who could always guarantee handsome returns for anyone he struck deals with in his pursuit of world domination.

His downfall came about through his inability to delegate the full-time responsibilities of managing Zeppelin, by taking on too many side projects, including the management of the roster of acts signed to the Swan Song label and a growing cocaine addiction that diminished his reputation, through increasingly aggressive and erratic behaviour: John Bonham's death was the final straw and led to a long period of depression, which he eventually emerged from towards the end of his life, basking in his overdue recognition, as one of the great impresarios.

Chris Welch knew Grant and the members of Led Zeppelin well and draws on a lifetime of interviews with them to produce a highly readable account of his working life, peppered with amusing anecdotes.

My only criticism of the book is that it is rather light on Grant's life before and after Zeppelin, but as it was his stint as their manager that defined him, this is forgivable.

This is essential reading for Zeppelin fans.

Hammersmith Odeon 1978
Hammersmith Odeon 1978
Price: 286.31

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Concert, But Save Yourself Some Money !!!, 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Hammersmith Odeon 1978 (Audio CD)
Although this is one of the very best post-Frank archive releases, in terms of track selection, musicianship and sound quality, as the other reviewers of this title have already stated, you should be aware that you can still buy this and other titles issued by his estate, direct from the official Frank Zappa website, at a fraction of the price being asked here.

I should like to add that I am not in any way associated with the Zappa estate, so I have no personal interest in passing on this information.

Coda - Japan
Coda - Japan
Price: 32.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is THE Version of Coda to Own, 21 Jan 2014
This review is from: Coda - Japan (Audio CD)

When it was first released, the general consensus was that Coda was a cash-in and a disappointment, which indeed it seemed like, at the time.

Although listening to it again after many years, I found there was much to like here, including a storming studio version of We're Gonna Groove, the old live favourite from their early days, which they returned to on the 1980 European Tour, an excellent alternative take of I Can't Quit You Baby from the first album, as well as Poor Tom, Walter's Walk, Darlene and Wearing and Tearing, which are all better tracks than most of those found on In Through The Out Door.

Where the album falls down is with the throwaway Ozone Baby and the self-indulgent Bonzo's Montreux, which is proof-positive that Bonham may have been an extremely powerful drummer, but not the most inventive and also it's jumbled, confused running order.

However, browsing for a copy on CD, a while back, I came across this import from Japan, which includes the following 4 tracks from the expensive studio sessions box, which are not available elsewhere : Baby Come Home, Travelling Riverside Blues, White Summer/Black Mountain Side and Hey Hey What Can I Do, from the early days, all of which are excellent and make a mediocre album well worth owning.

Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2014 7:24 AM GMT

New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen: The Photographs of Bob Gruen
New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen: The Photographs of Bob Gruen
by Bob Gruen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty in Pink (and Red Patent Leather), 19 Nov 2013
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The New York Dolls importance as the missing link between glam and punk rock and their lasting influence on subsequent bands cannot be overstated, so it is good news that Bob Gruen has gathered together his very best photos of them, for this excellent book, that captures their in-yer-face streetwise attitude and the charm of their shambolic, but utterly compelling live performances so perfectly.

This is a handsome production, that is appropriately bound in shocking pink satin-effect cloth, with their famous lipstick logo stamped in gold to the front, with the rear cover blurb attached in the form of stickers.

There is no biographical detail to speak of (Nina Antonia and Kris Needs cover that in their respective books on the Dolls), but the photos are accompanied by extended and informative captions throughout.

Mark my words, this is set to be a collectors piece (I bought my copy, new, for less than 10 including postage, which was a steal), so get this before it goes out of print.

Highly recommended (as is Bob's similarly wonderful book on The Clash).

Bill Wyman: Stone Alone
Bill Wyman: Stone Alone
by Bill Wyman
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The True Inside Story of The Stones, 16 Oct 2013
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If you want the inside story of the Stones, then you really should read this book, which covers the Jones years, together with Bill's later illustrated history: Rolling with the Stones, which continues the story up to his departure from the group in the nineties.

Bill has a well-deserved reputation for being a precise and meticulous man, so the book is often heavy on detail, some of which is superfluous to the story, which can make it hard going at times, but it is worth persisting with for his insights on the character of the other Stones, the rise and fall of Brian Jones, the ruthless ambition of Andrew Loog Oldham and the relentless greed of the odious Allen Klein.

Personally I found it to be far more revealing than Keith Richard's rambling, self-consciously "cool" memoir and a much more honest account of the rise of the Stones, telling it as it happened.

This is essential reading for any true Stones fan.

Heart Still Beating (1990)
Heart Still Beating (1990)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The High Road on CD, 24 July 2013
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This is the audio version of the excellent High Road DVD, featuring a Roxy concert from Frejus in 1982, that was subsequently broadcast by the BBC.

Notable for storming versions of Both Ends Burning and Do The Strand, as well as fine covers of Jealous Guy and Like a Hurricane, the quality of Ferry's singing and the bands playing are exemplary throughout.

Contrary to some of the other reviews, this is one of the better (official) live documents of Roxy Music, though the sound is not quite as crisp here as on the DVD , hence my rating of only 4 stars.

This concert is essential for Roxy fans, but if you have to choose between formats, buy the DVD.

Jet Black Leather Machine
Jet Black Leather Machine
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 10.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Ziggy Stadust Made Flesh, 31 May 2013
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As an overview of Taylor's complete career this CD is hard to fault, but, as other reviewers have stated, it runs out of steam towards the end.

Those seeking out the best of Taylor ie the early years should acquire The Barclay Sessions Vol 1, Le Rock C'est Ca (the first album), the EP Collection (and if you're going to buy one Taylor record, buy this) and Live At The Olympia (available from the appropriately-named Raucous Records).

It is easy, of course, to dismiss Taylor as a Gene Vincent copyist, but surviving film footage (see YouTube) shows that he had a great voice, terrific stage presence and all his own moves with the added factors that other British rockers of that time lacked: sex and danger.

Sadly, he also had a legendary appetite for drink and drugs (allegedly swallowing handfuls of pills without worrying too much about their origin or side effects), which led to him becoming increasingly erratic, unreliable and paranoid, culminating in an embarrassing incident at an important concert, where he spent most of the evening preaching to the audience in an attempt to convince them that he was the prophet Matthew...

Consequently, he parted company with his backing band the Playboys, who went on to work with Johnny Hallyday, whilst Taylor's bookings dried up, eventually reducing him to working as an airport janitor.

However, he still had loyal fans, particularly in France, who rallied round, helping him to control his addictions and to perform and record sporadically through the sixties and seventies, although he was a shadow of his former self.

It was during the late sixties that he encountered David Bowie in the street (who was a fan and recognised him) and persuaded Bowie to join him for a drink in a local bar, where he is reputed to have spent several hours ernestly informing Bowie of where the forthcoming alien invasion would take place and trying to convince him that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were trying to kill him, using poisoned chocolate cake !

Bowie was shocked, but fascinated and subsequently admitted to basing his Ziggy Stadust character on Taylor.

In the eighties he retired from performing, marrying his longterm girfriend and living quietly in the Geneva area, where he worked as an aircraft mechanic (a skill in which he had qualified before opting for show business as a career, which, bearing in mind the exacting standards required for aircraft maintenance would seem to suggest that he had not completely fried his brain).

He succumbed in 1991 to bone cancer.

Taylor remained a largely forgotten character in the history of British rock and roll, until the Clash drew attention to his ouevre through their cover version of Brand New Cadillac.

Sadly, there are no books currently in print about Taylor (although there is a long oop and unsurprisingly unreliable autobiography and a discography available in French, if you can find them), but there is enough surviving film footage to make a fascinating documentary on this most charismatic of performers.

Come on Julien Temple, you know you want to !

In the Sixties
In the Sixties
by Barry Miles
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Sixties Memoir - Five Stars Are Not Enough !, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: In the Sixties (Paperback)
They say that if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there.

Well, this fantastic book is positive proof that the above saying is rubbish, as Barry Miles was very much there and always seemed to be at the epicentre of everything that was "happening" (man), like some counter-cultural Zelig.

Miles first came to prominence as the founder of the Indica Gallery and the notorious International Times and thereafter built a successful career as a publisher, writer and critic in the fields of art, literature (majoring on the writers of the beat generation) and contemporary music.

This is a well-written and enormously entertaining book that is filled with Miles' pithy observations and laugh-out-loud anecdotes concerning the eccentric bohemian types he encountered.

His sequel In The Seventies is as good, if not better and the various literary and musical biographies he has written are also well worth checking out.

Truly a "must read" !

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