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Mr. Philip Baird (Isle of Man)
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Live At Celtic Connections [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
Live At Celtic Connections [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ The Richard Thompson Band
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 9.45

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thompson raises the bar even higher, 14 Feb 2012
How does he do it ? Richard somehow just keeps getting better and better and this live DVD is for me the best that's out there. I really liked the new songs despite not having heard Dream Attic yet (What sort of a fan am I !), and the old stuff is given a fresh coat of paint and sounds fantastic. The Fender rumbles, spits and crackles with that unmistakeable Thompson electricity, and it's incredible how he can turn the wick up on barn burners like the magnificent Can't Win and Tear Stained Letter, solos dripping with intensity as they swoop and dive up and down the neck. He gives a lovely reading of his classic Al Bowlly, and we're reminded that Wall of Death for all its simplicity might be just one of his very best songs. In sum then, a cracking new Thompson DVD, great quality all round, top drawer musicians, and some of the best guitar playing I've ever heard or seen.


No Title Available

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Wilko, 16 Sep 2011
I have to disagree with one of the other reviewers here who thinks this is not one of Wilko's best. It is a little different in parts to the Wilko we're used to but I think it's a fantastic album and shows Wilko and the boys stretching into new territory with some brilliant 'Wilko-ised' covers of Van Morrison, Leadbelly and Bob Dylan. Their versions of He Ain't Give You None, and (incredibly) Listen To The Lion, both Van Morrison originals, are simply stunning. Who'd have thought Wilko could cover the latter and make it as good as Van's original ? But he certainly does ! Wilko's vocals are no Lee Brilleaux but because it's him and it's totally honest you can't help loving his voice, so reminiscent of that naughty schoolboy of the seventies, but with the lifeworn experience of time and maturity, and on Listen To The Lion you'll be blown away by the heartfelt passion and delivery. Through it all he plays that Telecaster the way a Tele should be played and it rings out loud and as true as ever. One of the greatest Englishmen we have - give him a medal !


Hand Of Kindness
Hand Of Kindness
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 12.47

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard's finest album ?, 12 Aug 2011
This review is from: Hand Of Kindness (Audio CD)
After the masterpiece that was Shoot Out the Lights, Richard came straight out of the shadows with this even darker set that dug even deeper into the well and drew up some wonderful songs all delivered with that barbed wire electricity and with the twists and turns and ice cold irony of a Scots-English Raymond Chandler ! There is definitely something of that cold Scottish ice running through his veins but he can also write the most touching and surprising ballad or love song that comes at you from behind. Tear Stained Letter's energy kickstarts the whole thing off and became his live showstopper for years thereafter. It feels like he could play for ever on the closing solos. How I Wanted To is my favourite love song of his, and its simplicity and intensity captures an emotional desolation that is extremely moving. The way the band close A Poisoned Heart and a Twisted Memory really takes you by surprise and the wonderful shuffle of Two Left Feet is that great Thompson humour playfully revisiting the Scottish dancehalls of Jimmy Shand. The title track broods magnificently and Devonside is another of those ballads that hits you side-on and knocks you for six. It was all great from perhaps his artistic peak of Shoot Out The Lights onwards, and it's a matter of personal choice as to which you prefer but I've always thought this to be the equal of its predecessor and his finest solo work.


Living In The Past
Living In The Past
Price: 5.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely old scrapbook of wonderful memories, 12 Aug 2011
This review is from: Living In The Past (Audio CD)
It's very hard to pick a favourite Jethro Tull album but this lovely old scrapbook is hard to beat and covers the magic of their early years, filling in the cracks between the albums and collecting the singles too (Jethro Tull - singles ? It sounds odd now doesn't it). This was never off my turntable back then and the original gatefold sleeve with marvellous photos of the band made it one of my most prized possessions. It was never the rock or blues sound of Jethro Tull that captured my imagination, although they did that very well, but what marked them out was their English charm and whimsy. They weren't quite the pastoral sound of some of the Canterbury bands but more a wonderful hybrid that suggested all sorts of images, from picture postcards to the Beatles, Edwardian literature, northern humour, music hall and whatever else you could hear. There was also a great love and tenderness about some of the songs and playing that really endeared them to the listener. The title track was Tull at their best; fascinating idea and composition, lightness of tone and touch in the way it skips along, great musicianship, original instrumentation, and great lyrics. Two of my absolute favourites are on here too; the very simple and affecting Inside and the affectionate tribute to the once lovely old Blackpool (Up the Pool) to which I can still remember all the words !


Sad or High Kicking!
Sad or High Kicking!
Price: 12.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second of Martin's early masterworks, 11 Aug 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sad or High Kicking! (Audio CD)
Martin's second album Grinning In Your Face was an absolute masterpiece and for him to follow it up with another set of songs and performances that at times seems to even deepen the feel and emotion of that record was some achievement. I can lose myself in these recordings such is Martin's ability to communicate and express a song through his playing and heartfelt vocal. His technique and facility on the guitar is stunning but it is entirely at the service of truth and expression, and he can attain an intensity of emotion and introspection, as for instance on the title track, that is incredibly moving. The only disappointment for me on the album is the cover of Lakes of Ponchartrain, and I'd have preferred a more searching exploration of this wonderful song. That said, I don't think he ever bettered these two albums and he richly deserves the success that he now enjoys with a long stream of great recordings to his name. I couldn't even get a ticket last time he was round my way !


Chronicles: The Very Best of Free
Chronicles: The Very Best of Free

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best blues band ever to come out of Britain, 10 Aug 2011
Free took American blues and did something entirely their own with it, giving it a deep soul, space, and English wistfulness that no other band ever quite matched. In Paul Rodgers they had a vocalist who could sing a ballad that was, in his own way and in the rock idiom, just as good as Frank Sinatra, and with all the passion, soul, and restraint of Otis Redding. If you doubt it then just listen to his performance on Don't Say You Love Me before you make your mind up. On the same track Paul Kossoff shows how nobody could do more with less better than this much missed English guitarist and he played with a soul and feeling that is still so moving. Andy Fraser's bass lines seem to almost tell the story of the song like no other bass player I've ever heard and are so deep and melodic that it allows Kossoff to step back and only play where he feels. The relation and musical understanding between Kirke, Fraser, and Kossoff is perhaps the best in rock and the space, depth and feel they find in the music has arguably perhaps only been matched by Little Feat at their peak. The music is really allowed to breathe and there is never power or volume just for the sake of it. They wrote some truly wonderful songs too and it's a shame that All Right Now obscures the quality of their whole output. What a shame that Free lasted only such a short time but what they did in that time was absolutely magic, and you have most of that magic on this superb compilation. There'll never ever be another Free, and that's both a regret and a blessing.


Tumbleweed Connection
Tumbleweed Connection
Price: 8.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old friend that just mellows with age, 13 May 2011
This is a complete one-off in the Elton John catalogue but easily the best thing he's ever done. Despite all the image and showmanship of the Elton we know, he has always had the talent to back it up and this album shows him and Bernie early in their career creating a near artwork before the arrival of superstardom and excess.

His earlier self-titled debut had shown great promise but suffered from overblown and bombastic arrangements. Everything was toned down for Tumbleweed and the more laid back approach allowed the melodies and lyrics to really shine through. On this record the orchestration underscores and lifts the music rather than drowning it. Whether it was originally wholly conceived as a suite of songs dedicated to the old West is doubtful but it is against that imaginative backdrop that the album works and allows each song to resonate with such haunting nostalgia and yearning. I think of it as a fond old scrapbook pulled down from a dusty attic, or a flickering reel of very early black and white film.

As suggested elsewhere, Elton is less the 'star' on this outing, and delivers a modest and nuanced reading of his own beautiful songs, aided by subtle and intelligent musicianship, and before he became bigger than the music. I don't think he's ever recorded anything more fragile and sensitive than Come Down in Time, or more evocative and stirring than My Father's Gun. Has he ever again captured the beautiful simplicity of Love Song with Lesley Duncan, or the yearning ache and loss of Amoreena ? The inclusion of Madman Across the Water on the CD releases of Tumbleweed suggest that it is the one that got away as it fits so well into the poetic landscape of the other material. Its drama and imagery, especially with the addition of Mick Ronson on this version conjures a mood, power and vision that Elton has only rarely matched and never again surpassed.

Why Tumbleweed Connection is never rated up there with Astral Weeks as one of the great picture-postcards of a time and place has always puzzled me and I wonder if it's because Elton chose a more commercial route (or it chose him) subsequent to this most personal and deeply affecting album of the boy from Pinner. He did rather well didn't he.


Glorious Fool
Glorious Fool
Price: 7.18

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of John Martyn's finest, 4 May 2011
This review is from: Glorious Fool (Audio CD)
Although John was past his artistic peak by the time of this release he would still go on to put out some very fine music, and this was the best of his post 70's output. It's actually as good as any of his key works but perhaps not so creative and vital as the essential Bless the Weather, Solid Air, One World etc releases of a few years earlier. It's one of the best albums of the 1980's by any artist and has some of John's finest compositions, particularly the definitive recording of Couldn't Love You More, and the sublime Hold On My Heart with a beautiful flugelhorn solo. The Phil Collins sound is all over it but actually adds to the dynamics and texture of the album for the better. It's a companion piece to Phil's own Face Value and came out around the same time. I always preferred the more introspective side of John's muse but the couple of harder edged pieces on here really work and set off the overall melancholy of the album. Even by his standards the emotion and feel achieved on this record is quite beautiful and it could perhaps be considered his most overlooked masterpiece. Go on and see for yourself.


Shane [DVD] [1953]
Shane [DVD] [1953]
Dvd ~ Alan Ladd
Price: 4.10

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Western and one of the great American movies, 29 April 2011
This review is from: Shane [DVD] [1953] (DVD)
What's not been said already about this masterpiece of American cinema and culture ? It is rightly revered as one of America's great popular artworks, addressing a nation's sense of itself, its history and its roots, and its sustaining myth and legend. It is an idealised and romantic vision but has a nobility, dignity and grandeur about it that still endures, and survives intact the revisionist cinema and great cultural self-doubt of the 1960s and 70s. Its iconography belongs on a Mount Rushmore of great American Westerns with the Duke and Gary Cooper, and it will always be so. Alan Ladd, not the greatest screen actor, is perfect perhaps because he is the idealized hero, and contrasts beautifully with the more nuanced acting of Van Heflin and Jean Arthur, and the wonderful naturalism of the supporting cast. Both he and Jack Palance (no mean actor) represent the white and the black knight, as much tropes or types as they are characters, major pieces in a moral chess game between good and evil. In its two hour length there is very little action, and an editor today would have cut the film to ribbons but every scene counts as it slowly builds up the tension and suspense and the need for the final necessary act. Even the climactic shootout is quickly over and done with because everything has already been said in the expository scenes. Joey is a wonderful child narrator and like Pip in the early scenes from David Lean's masterly film of Great Expectations we see through his eyes. Even some of the later scenes when he follows Shane to the final showdown remind this viewer of the images of Pip running across the marshes. The most beautiful and painterly scene in Shane is the burial on Cemetery Hill with a lovely stillness as the light fades and the camera pans across the mourners. The composition, lighting, and photography of this scene make it one of the greatest in American cinema. The only criticism I can think of is that there are a few too many shots of the mountain backdrop that begin to look a bit postcard-like after the first couple of views. In conclusion, there are a few other great westerns that come close to Shane but having seen this probably a dozen times since I was a kid, it still moves me like no other Western can do because its sense of truth and moral purpose takes you with it every time. It renews and reinforces values that are, or certainly should be, part of who we are, and if not, then we're definitely in trouble.


Three Classic Albums Plus [The Jazz Couriers - In Concert / The Couriers Of Jazz / Tubby's Groove]
Three Classic Albums Plus [The Jazz Couriers - In Concert / The Couriers Of Jazz / Tubby's Groove]
Price: 6.10

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tubby and Ronnie at their absolute best, 13 April 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well thankfully this doesn't hang about and from the off Tubbs and Ronnie are out of the gate and blowing up a storm with a fantastic drummer Bill Eyden kicking hell out of the drums. They let up for the odd ballad or two but soon ride the wind again in some of the best British jazz you'll ever hear. There's bags of atmosphere too (and Ronnie's 'jokes' !) and I wish I'd have been there for the live recording. Tubby's solo on Tin Tin Deo is just magic and is even perhaps up there with Coltrane and Rollins such was the talent of the man - ideas just flow out of him. Sunny Monday is another highlight and quite beautiful. This country has produced some wonderful jazz musicians and composers but none better than the British king of the tenor, the late lamented Tubbs. I wish I could have met him. Don't hesitate to put this one in your basket.


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