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4.6 out of 5 stars22
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 August 2001
I was on the lookout for any of David Gray's albums (other than the brilliant 'White Ladder') when I discovered this one recently. On first listening I wasn't sure about it, being so much of a change from W.L., but it soon grew on me, and I think it's certainly as good as White Ladder, with some more lively, protest songs like 'Hold on to Nothing', but also some slower, melancholy tunes similar to W.L.-'Smile'. Altogether a wonderful mix of content, with a lot of brilliant lyrics, and fantastic guitar-playing, harmonica, and a lot of really clever instrumental pieces, totally different from those in W.L. RECOMMENDED! Dougal
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on 10 April 2002
The third in David Gray's early albums is sometimes ignored by many, and seen as a weaker album then A Century Ends and Flesh.
However, there are many stand-out tracks reinforcing Gray's reputation as a modern-day wordsmith and master of music. 'Late Night Radio' was a monster hit in Ireland and is one of Gray's most upbeat songs, together with 'Faster, Sooner, Now'. Of course, there is a softer side to his performance; the epic status of the title track, the beautiful simplicity of 'Smile' and 'Hold On To Nothing' and the stirring climax of 'Folk Song.' The gem of the album 'What Am I Doing Wrong' is a song worthy of single status.
Timewise, it is a transitional album moving from the folk influenced early albums through to the huge follow-up White Ladder. Another excellent work from Britain's best current songwriter.
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on 29 March 2006
Like most people I bought this album after White Ladder. Unlike White Ladder this album has penetrated my soul. After the 3 great uptempo opening numbers he really lays it bare. Sometimes there's a single song that I just 'need' to hear cos it has got into my head and won't go away, such as the down to the bone raw honesty of "Smile" or "Gutter Full of Rain".
What I like most about David Gray's presentation is that he sings his songs in a very direct way, straight to the heart, without dressing things up with too much melody. If you want 'entertainment' look to White Ladder ("Babylon" is brilliant, as is his version of "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"), but this album is a whole different ballgame, like a darker version of Dylans "Blood On The Tracks". When he "shouts" certain words or lines (eg the last verse of "Folk Song" you really feel he's telling it like it is and it's not just for effect.
Unfortunately I've been a bit disappointed with his output since - just liked the occasional song, but "Sell Sell Sell" is definitely the real deal. This for me is his defining moment.
As an aside, I saw the man in concert 3 years ago (Earls Court) and was blown away. He performed his songs almost the same as on the albums without attempting to change the presentation too much. What got me was that he perfomed around 20 songs then came back for what we thought would be a 2 song encore, but instead turned out to be the second half of the show ie another 15-20 songs many solo with just acoustic guitar. All this from a lone vocalist without letting up, and he did 3 nights in a row. Value or what!
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2003
This is a delightful album of sharply-drawn, beautifully crafted, thought-provoking acoustic pop songs in the tradition of the likes of Tracy Chapman, early Van Morrison, and ultimately Bob Dylan.
If I had a criticism, it would be that too many of the songs sound too similar, and Gray's voice veers towards the monotonous on occasions. A touch of musical variety, such as that developed by Gray's contemporary Badly Drawn Boy would not go amiss, but the quality of the album is unmistakable and shines through each song. Late Night Radio and Folk Song are particular worthy additions to any collection.
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on 10 March 2001
An album like NO OTHER, 'SELL,SELL,SELL' confirms the magic talent of an inspiring lyricist. This album acts as a journey and excels over the 'critically acclaimed' WHITE LADDER. From the poignant 'Late Night Radio' to the enigmatic 'Magdalene', this album deserves all the praise it receives and more. It really is one of those albums which takes you into another emotional zone. It washes your thoughts away, succumbing you to the sometimes bitter, melancholy lyrics and then freeing you with vibrancy and ecstacy. The whole point to this is that you do not come out feeling melancholy yourself, but reflective and relaxed. LOST SONGS, a recent collection can only be surpassed by this album. WHITE LADDER has been swollen up by SELL,SELL,SELL and then spat out straight into the collections of many 13 year old girls. It is moderate up to this slice of genius as unfortunately it has become a victim of the trashy pop industry. The only survivers are 'Babylon, White Ladder, and Silver Lining'.
BUY 'SELL,SELL,SELL' just for track no.7, 'SMILE', it is sssssuuuuuuuppppppeeeeeerrrrrbbbbbbbb!
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on 19 March 2002
Those many millions of people who have now bought "White Ladder" may be slightly disappointed by this, David Gray's previous album. With its standard folk rock instrumentation and slightly more upbeat songs, it's an altogether different proposition. It is, however, no less rewarding and deserved of more fame.
Songs like "Late Night Radio", "Sell, Sell, Sell" and "Everytime" just serve to illustrate what a great songwriter Gray is. His lyrics are just as sharp as on his follow-up, and the songs no less sing-along-to-able. (Is that a word? It is now!)
The bouncy "Magdelena" and the opening track "Faster, Sooner, Now" are actually a departure from the slightly more polished and reserved songs on "White Ladder". Having said that, however, a number of distinctly melancholy songs can be found on this album. Notable are "Smile", which mostly features Gray's voice and a solitary bass guitar and "Only the Lonely", which, you'll be relieved to hear, is not the old crooner's standard but a song in which Gray pours his heart out to the listeners. He's never sounded quite so vulnerable. It's actually quite a change from the slightly more opaque lyrics on "White Ladder".
Interestingly two songs, "Everytime" and "Smile", sound like they were recorded live in front of an audience. I can offer no explanation for this, except to say that, particularly in the case of "Smile", it gives the songs a vibrancy and energy that might otherwise be lacking.
The only thing about this album that some people might find difficult is Gray's habit of r-r-r-rolling his "R"s. "A gutter full of r-r-r-rain / An empty picture fr-r-r-rame" he sings at one point. If you can get past this (and I strongly advise you to) then this album will provide as much satisfaction as "White Ladder".
So it's not "White Ladder", nor does it pretend to be, but if you are interested in the earlier works of this singularly British songwriter, then this is a great place to start.
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on 21 February 2001
Like many people, I guess, I only 'discovered' David Gray when White Ladder was released. I liked it so much, I thought I'd take a listen to some earler material. This is in my opinion his best work. Better than White Ladder and Lost Songs, just brilliant all the way through. My favourite track is 'Gutterful of Rain'.....fantastic.
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on 7 July 2001
I bought this ablum but a few weeks ago and i am still utterly hooked. I love it. This is by far his best work i have heard so far, surpassing the mighty White Ladder. It is more uptempo than White Ladder and Lost Songs and offers much more.
The tracks that stand out to me are "Late night radio", "What am i doing wrong" and "Forever is Tomorrow is Today". All great uptempo songs that surely will put you in a great mood.
However, i do feelsome of the songs on this album sound a but "samey" to some of his other work. But, do not be put off by this as the reward of listening to this album is far greater than White Ladder.
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on 6 January 2003
This is Davids third album, and is a contrast to the mellow, traditional Gray we saw in the first two albums;"A Century Ends" and "Flesh". in this album he has more diversity in the songs, and also more guitars!
however, you wont be dissapointed!
the content is as deep and thought provoking as "White Ladder" and "New Day at Midnight", but the pace is somewhat faster. however, dont be afraid-there are one or two 'weepies' on there. i would highly recommend it if you are a true Gray fan, but if you are a true Gray fan you probably don't need my recommendation to know you should buy it...........SO BUY IT NOW!!!!!!!!
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on 1 August 2001
The album is quite simply brilliant. David Gray writes a song that not only sounds great, but also provokes your mind to 'picture the scene'. This album captures him at his best, and when people say he is the best lyricist since Bob Dylan, they are not wrong. This is an album that deserves a place in any record collection, buy it!
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