Profile for Mark Barry > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mark Barry
Top Reviewer Ranking: 18
Helpful Votes: 13765

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London)
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Of Rivers And Religion / After The Ball
Of Rivers And Religion / After The Ball
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “...Texas And Pacific Blues...” - Of Rivers And Religion/After The Ball by JOHN FAHEY (2015 Beat Goes On CD Remasters), 25 May 2015
Americana Guitarist JOHN FAHEY divides listeners – some worship him as an extraordinary innovator for the instrument – others call him a curio curmudgeon who couldn’t produce a commercial album to save his life. I love the idea of both – and man could he play. This was a man part Robert Johnson – part Django Reinhardt – and impressive on both genre fronts. But before we get into this gorgeous 2015 CD reissue from England’s Beat Goes On Records – some history on the great man...

Born in Takoma Park, Maryland, Washington in 1939 (he named his record label after his birth place - Takoma Records) – Fahey first put down tracks for the tiny Fonotone label in the USA in 1958 masquerading as a black musician called Blind Thomas (check out the fabulous Fonotone Box Set on Dust To Digital from 2009). A staggering 11 albums later (most on his own Takoma label and in the late Sixties with Vanguard) – he signed to the home of Ry Cooder and Leon Redbone – Reprise Records. And that’s where these overlooked LP nuggets from 1972 and 1973 come in (paired together on this CD).

UK released 25 May 2015 – “Of Rivers And Religion/After The Ball” by JOHN FAHEY on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1184 (Barcode 5017261211842) offers 2LPs on 1CD and breaks down as follows (68:12 minutes):

1. Steamboat Gwine ‘Round De Bend
2. Medley: Deep River/Ol’ Man River
3. Dixie Pig Bar-B-Q Blues
4. Texas And Pacific Blues
5. Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt [Side 2]
6. Medley: By The Side Of The Road/I Come, I Come
7. Lord Have Mercy
8. Song
Tracks 1 to 8 are his 12th album “Of Rivers And Religion” – released 1972 in the USA on Reprise RS 2089 and in the UK on Reprise K 44213

9. Horses
10. New Orleans Shuffle
11. Beverly
12. Om Shanti Norris
13. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
14. When You Wore A Tulip (And I Wore A Big Red Rose)/I Come, I Come
15. Hawaiian Two-Step
16. Bucktown Stomp
17. Candy Man
18. After The Ball
Tracks 9 to 18 are his 13th album “After The Ball” – released September 1973 in the USA on Reprise RS 2145 and in the UK on Reprise K 44246

The card wrap that’s now standard with all BGO releases lends the whole shebang a classy-feel - as does the 16-page booklet. You get album artwork, musician credits, Nat Hentoff’s original liner notes on 1972’s “Of Rivers And Religion” as well as superb new paragraphs on the man’s eccentric life and output by noted music writer JOHN O’REGAN. Both albums were produced by Fahey and Denny Bruce – and to say they’re audiophile is an understatement. These records sound awesome – so clear and warm – every instrument brought to the fore by ANDREW THOMPSON and his 2015 remasters – gorgeous stuff.

Every one of the 18 tracks on offer here is a highly produced acoustic steel-string guitar instrumental (6 and 12-string) featuring open tuning picking (a style he championed and is famous for). The music is very Ry Cooder Americana territory - Traditionals, Dixieland Jazz, Music Hall, Blues, Spirituals, Bluegrass and plenty of original picker tunes from Fahey’s own considerable talent (Tracks 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16 are his own). Even when tackling something like “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (a tune made famous by Nina Simone), the Ragtime cover of Bill Whitmore’s “New Orleans Shuffle” or the Blues of Gary Davis on “Candy Man” – Fahey would arrange the songs in his own highly stylized guitar-picker way.

Both albums featured a stellar cast of players including Chris Darrow of Kaleidoscope fame on Fiddle and Guitar (also did stints with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and James Taylor) as well as people like Trumpeter and Arranged Jack Feierman who’d been with Count Basie’s Orchestra for years. “Texas And Pacific Blues” features the Dixieland Jazz of happy funerals while his own “Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt” is a lot more chipper that its title suggests (he makes one guitar sound like three). As you listen to the Medley of “By The Side Of The Road” and “I Come, I Come” - you can just see yourself sat back on a log barge as you float down the Mississippi in the summertime – ragged hat on your head and a straw in your mouth – not a care in the word as the world washes by. And again this track shows off that astonishing Production – the mournful strokes of Joel Druckman on his Double Bass giving it an epic and sad vibe. Dixieland kicks in for the Traditional “Lord Have Mercy” and it ends on the impossibly pretty and simple “Song”.

“After The Ball” continues in the vein of its predecessor with more emphasis on Ragtime than Blues. It’s never had a good rep as an album amongst fans or collectors and it’s easy to hear why some view it as dull and flat despite the excellence of the musicianship. Highlights however include the aloha hip-shuffle of “Hawaiian Two-Step” and the lovely yet lonesome “Beverly” where he bends and echoes those strings in the air that exits your speakers. He keeps “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” short at 2:36 minutes but I can’t help thinking that the Ragtime Band that kicks in halfway through does for the song – and not in a good way. Faring better is the pretty picking of the “When You Wore A Tulip (And I Wore A Big Red Rose)” The tired dance band on the Titanic feel of “After The Ball” ends the album with Trombone from Britt Woodman and Clarinet from Joe Darensbourg – but again feels oddly wrong somehow. Personally I like “Of Rivers And Religion” as an album better.

With Fahey’s music sometimes there’s a feeling that not a lot going on but guitar picking – and some of that feels ever so slightly laboured too. But there are other times when this is the most gorgeous music in the world – and even if it never dented a chart anywhere – statistics aren’t everything. I think a genius is allowed ups and downs – and this beautiful sounding CD offers both...


Hurricane Force! Rare, Live & Unissued
Hurricane Force! Rare, Live & Unissued
Price: £25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “...Blame The Fascinators...” - Hurricane Force! Rare And Unissued by JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES (2015 Ace 2CD Ltd Edition), 25 May 2015
What a haul. Fans of instrumental Fifties and Sixties Rock’n’Roll and Pop are going to flip for this hugely impressive release by reissue kings Ace Records of the UK (celebrating 40 years of getting it right - 1975 to 2015). It features uber rarities from The Fascinators, Dave & The Orbits, Freddie & The Parliaments and The Dream Girls – all groups around Johnny Parish of JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES. But buy soon because it a limited edition of only 1500 copies and I suspect will sell out fast. Here are the groovy moves...

UK released April 2015 as a Limited Edition of 1500 copies – “Hurricane Force! Rare & Unissued” by JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES is a 2CD set on Ace Records CDLUX2 015 (Barcode 029667070720) and breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 – RARE & UNISSUED (66:11 minutes)
1. The Psychedelic Worm (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 216, A)
2. Home Baby [aka “Comin’ Home Baby] (1987 LP on Teldec 8.26592)
3. Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen (German 1963 7” single on Heliodor 4531, B-side of “High Voltage”)
4. Night Train (2015, Previously Unreleased cover of the James Brown hit)
5. You’re To Blame – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M688, A)
6. Cheetahs Uncle – DAVE & THE ORBITS (1965 USA 7” single on American Arts AA-14, B-side Of “Chilli Beans” – Track 19)
7. That Girl – FREDDIE & THE PARLIAMENTS (1959 USA 7” single on Twirl 1003, A)
8. Cannon Blast (2015, Previously Unreleased)
9. C’est Si Bon – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M 697, A – for B-side see Track 22)
10. Because I Love Her (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 216, B-side to “Wisdom’s 5th Take”)
11. Ten Little Indians (1999 Repertoire CD compilation on Repertoire CD REP 4741)
12. Um Um Um (2015, Previously Unreleased)
13. Hurricanes Boogie (2015, Previously Unreleased)
14. Darlene – FREDDIE & THE PARLIAMENTS (1959 USA 7” single on Twirl 1003, A)
15. Rockin’ T (Alternate Version) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
16. Jamaican Moon (2015, Previously Unreleased)
17. Sax Man (2015, Previously Unreleased)
18. Revived – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single
19. Chilli Beans - DAVE & THE ORBITS (1965 USA 7” single on American Arts AA-14, A, B-side is “Cheetahs Uncle” – Track 6)
20. Crying In The Night – THE DREAM GIRLS (1960 USA 7” single on Metro K20029, B-side of “I’m In Love With You”)
21. Strange (1987 Teldec LP 8.26592 ZP)
22. The Charmer – THE FASCINATORS ((1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M 697, B-side of “C’est Si Bon” – see Track 9)
23. Judy’s Moody – JOHNNY (PARIS) and the HURRICANES (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 214, B-side of “I Love You”)
24. Sand Storm (Alternate Version) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
25. Rocking Goose (Studio Rehearsal Of Live Arrangement) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
26. What You Know About Love (1968 USA 7” single on Atila 221, A)
[Notes:
Tracks 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 24 and 26 are STEREO – all others are MONO
Tracks 4, 8, 12, 15, 16, 24 and 25 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED]

Disc 2 – RECORDED LIVE 1962-1990 (78:44 minutes):
1. The Sheik Of Araby (1995, Atila CD ACD 1034)
2. You Can’t Sit Down (1995, Atila CD ACD 1034)
3. Beatnik Fly (1966, Atila LP ALP 1030)
4. Down Yonder (1966, Atila LP ALP 1030)
5. Buckeye (2015, Previously Unreleased)
6. Old Smokey (2015, Previously Unreleased)
7. Ja-Da (2015, Previously Unreleased)
8. Oh De Lieber Augustin (2015, Previously Unreleased)
9. Rocking Goose (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
10. Red River Rock (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
11. You Are My Sunshine (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
12. Farewell Twist (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
13. Harlem Nocturne (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
14. Honky Tonk (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
15. The Hurricane (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
16. Night Fall (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
17. Reveille Rock (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
18. Paris Blues (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
19. Without You (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
20. Home Baby (2015, Previously Unreleased)
21. Bye Bye Blackbird (2015, Previously Unreleased)
22. Sand Storm (2015, Previously Unreleased)
23. Time Bomb (2015, Previously Unreleased)
24. Come On Train (2015, Previously Unreleased)
25. Crossfire (2015, Previously Unreleased)
26. Red River Rock (Reprise) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
[Notes: All Tracks in STEREO – Tracks 4 to 8 and 20 to 26 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED. Tracks 4 to 8 recorded at the Fabrik Center, Hamburg in 1980 – Tracks 20 to 26 recorded in Belgium, 1981]

The 40-page colour booklet is as lovely as I’ve ever seen in a reissue – quality black and whites of Johnny Paris (Saxophone), Lionel Mattice (Bass), Dave Yorko (Guitar) and Paul Tesluk (Keyboards) and Tony Kaye (Drums) - as well as live/publicity shots of The Dreams Girls, The Orbits (circa 1957) and those rare American 45 labels – Atila, Trans Atlas, American Arts and Metro Records. Compiled by and featuring liner notes from experts DAVE BURKE and ALAN TAYLOR of the Pipelne Magazine – a UK fanzine given over to Instrumentals – the details come fast and furious and the whole thing is dedicated to the memory of the main – Johnny Paris. There are even colour photos of Dave Yorko, Lynn Bruce and Don Staczek at a Detroit Reunion in 2011. As you can imagine with 40 pages and 12,000 words – both writers get to stretch out into indepth histories of The Fascinators and the long history of the band right into Germany and Belgium in the 80s and 90s (with many unpublished photos peppering the text). It’s a proper fan-fest. NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering did the Transfers and Remasters with the Stereo Tracks rocking like a monster – in fact the whole thing reeks of class.

It opens on a winner – “The Psychedelic Worm” – a bopping instrumental that sets the pace and tone for much of the 52-track compilation. “You’re To Blame” is a wicked Organ driven dancer – a cover version of “You’re So Fine” done by The Falcons in 1959 in Vocal Group fashion but Soul Funked up by Wilson Pickett in 1966 on his “Exciting Wilson Picket...” album on Atlantic Records. The Hurricane’s version stays in keeping with the Wilson boogie - instrumentally funky and hip - it’s infectious stuff and will thrill fans. The first proper vocal doesn’t turn up until the fab Rock ‘n’ Roll of “That Girl” (Track 7) – a gal who “looked like something from the movie screen...” – Johnny Paris blowing up a storm.

Awful is “Canon Blast” which is an Eighties Synth, Sax and Guitar atrocity that tries to Rock Out in a Eurovision kind of way but feels like bad hair 80’s Rock that should have stayed in the can. Far better is “C’est Si Bon” which thankfully returns us to “Telstar” territory. The first genuine blast from the unreleased stuff comes in the shape of a Jerry Lee Lewis Piano and Drums Rock ‘n’ Roller called “Hurricanes Boogie” – a truly brilliant slice of instrumental piano boogie (the Killer would smile). “Rockin’ T” is great fun too – it arrives with a different guitar line from Dave Yorko and it sounds fabulously clear thanks to a ‘new high definition remix’ from Engineer maestro Tom Moulton (he also remixed “Sand Storm (Alternate Take)” which arrives minus its Tubular Bells overdubs). The liner notes are right to point out how good “What You Know About Love” is where Johnny does his best Blood, Sweat & Tears circa “Child Is Father To The Man”. It’s a dancefloor chugger with groovy guitar and complimentary brass and a fab drum break. Dave Yorko is also given freedom to Rock it out and does a blindingly contemporary Guitar Solo at the hip and happening groove fades out. Great stuff and not what you’d expect. It ends Disc 1 on a definite high. The live disc features the whole of the rare Strand Records “Live In Hamburg” LP – which to my knowledge is receiving a first-time-ever-on-CD release here. There’s amazing atmosphere on stuff like “Sand Bomb” where the crowd is lapping it up.

Eagle-eyed collectors will note that despite the quality on offer here to die-hard fans – the 2CD set isn’t complete by any means. His rare 1958 USA 45 “Crossfire” on Twirl 1001 and its flip “Lazy” is missing as is anything on Big Top between 1960 and 1963 (another compilation maybe).

The CDLUX Series by Ace is aimed purely at deep-level collectors and features artists that would probably never see reissue-light-of-day anywhere else. Having been starved of material for decades – fans of JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES finally have something worth jitterbugging about. Well done to all involved and another jewel in Ace’s well-endowed crown...

PS: Titles in this Ace Records Series so far are (each is a Limited Edition of 1500):
1. Detroit Rock 'n' Roll Began Here! – THE ROYALTONES (Ace Records CDLUX 001)
2. The Satintones Sing! The Complete Tamla And Motown Singles Plus – THE SATINTONES (Ace CDLUX 002)
3. Just A Little Bit: Federal's Queens Of New Breed R&B – TINY TOPSY & LULA REED (Ace CDLUX 003)
4. Exotic Guitars From The Clovis Vaults (Norman Petty Masters) – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 004)
5. Bandera Vocal Groups – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 005)
6. Outer Space, Hot Rods & Superheroes – THE MARKETTS (Ace Records CDLUX 006)
7. Big Sixties Frat Party!!! – SANDY NELSON (Ace Records CDLUX 007)
8. A-Ooga!!! Stamp & Shake With The Routers – THE ROUTERS (Ace Records CDLUX 008)
9. We're The Soul Girls! The Complete Volt Recordings – JEANNE AND THE DARLINGS and THE CHARMELS (Ace Records CDLUX 009)
10. Mannish Boys: The Stax, Volt & Truth Recordings 1969-1974 – THE NEWCOMERS (Ace Records CDLUX 010) [See REVIEW]
11. Classic Innocents: The Reprise, Decca, Warner Bros and A&M Recordings...Plus More – THE INNOCENTS (Ace Records CDLUX 011)
12. Sweet Sweetheart: The American Studios Sessions And More – CARLA THOMAS (Ace Records CDLUX 012)
13. Long-Lost Honkers & Twangers: Unreleased 60s Gems From The Ventures, Fireballs, Rondels, Titans and Reveliers And Many Other Instrumental Rarities – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 013)
14. A Scene In-Between 1965-1967 – THE STAINED GLASS (Ace CDLUX 014)
15. Hurricane Force! Rare & Unissued – JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES (Ace Records CDLUX 015 [2-disc set with 20 Unreleased]) [See REVIEW]
16. Baby Ain't That Love: Texas & Tennessee Sessions 1964-1974 – CLARENCE “FROGMAN” HENRY (Ace CDLUX 016) [See REVIEW]


Loving and Free/I've Got The Music In Me
Loving and Free/I've Got The Music In Me
Price: £9.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...I Will Untangle Myself..." - Loving & Free/I've Got The Music In Me by KIKI DEE (2015 Edsel Expanded 2CD Remasters), 25 May 2015
Back in June 2008 – EMI released six Kiki Dee albums (real name Pauline Matthews) onto Remastered Expanded CDs covering her catalogue between 1973 and 1987. Edsel have licensed four of those beautifully transferred titles (vinyl originally on Elton John’s Rocket Records) and doubled them up onto a series of two new 2014 releases - adding on a few more bonuses). The two missing titles are “Angel Eyes” from 1987 on Columbia and an unreleased album called “Cage The Songbird” (see 2008 CDs).

With those six EMI CDs long-since deleted and acquiring nasty price tags in the meantime – and with this particular issue featuring a hefty amount of exclusive Elton John/Bernie Taupin involvement – this new 2CD reissue in its card-wrap is both timely and welcome (not to mention beautifully presented). Here are the Loving and Free details...

UK released February 2015 – “Loving & Free + I’ve Got The Music In Me” is a 2CD Reissue on Edsel/Rhino EDSK 7078 (Barcode 740155707835) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 “Loving & Free” by KIKI DEE (55:12 minutes)
1. Loving & Free
2. If It Rains
3. Lonnie & Joseph
4. Travellin In Style
5. You Put Something Better
6. Supercool [Side 2]
7. Rest My Head
8. Amoureuse
9. Song For Adam
10. Sugar On The Floor
Tracks 1 to 10 are Kiki Dee’s debut album for Elton John's newly formed Rocket Records "Loving & Free” - originally issued on vinyl in November 1973 on Rocket PIGL 5 in the UK.

BONUS TRACKS:
11. The Last Good Man In My Life
12. Hard Luck Story
13. Everyone Should Have Their Way
14. Six Days On The Road

Two 45s came off the “Loving & Free” album at the time - with one other single issued 3 years later as a belated hit. First up was "Lonnie & Josie" b/w "Last Good Man In My Life" - with both tracks written by ELTON JOHN and BERNIE TAUPIN. Released in June 1973 on Rocket PIG 2 - it unfortunately went the same as her earlier singles and didn't chart. The B-side “Last Good Man In My Life” has long been sought after by collectors as a non-album JOHN/TAUPIN track unavailable anywhere else. Apparently it was an outtake from the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" sessions. “Hard Luck Story” b/w “Everyone Should Have Their Way” was a stand-alone UK 7” single released March 1974 on Rocket PIG 10 (it didn’t chart either). The last bonus track turned up on the 2008 EMI CD and was Previously Unreleased at the time – a raucous cover of Dave Dudley's 1963 hit "Six Days On The Road" (and very good it is too).

The second 7" single finally hit pay dirt. "Amoureuse" b/w "Rest My Head" (both from the album) hit the UK shops in October 1973 on Rocket PIG 4 just before the album's release in late November. A beautiful song - it was an immediate hit with the public. Written by French singer VERONIQUE SANSON - its plaintive melody had lyrics added to it by the British composer GARY OSBOURNE. "Rest My Head" is a Kiki Dee original. "Amoureuse" peaked at Number 13 in the UK and introduced Kiki's great voice to the public. It really was a career-maker. Elton would put out his own version of his album contribution “Sugar On The Floor” as a B-side to “Island Girl” in September 1975 (DJM Records DJS 610).

The title track "Loving and Free" was finally released as a 4-track EP in a Picture Sleeve in September 1976 on Rocket ROKN 515 (sometimes referred to as the "Kiki Dee" EP). It followed on the back of the huge number 1 success of the "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" duet with ELTON earlier in June and July of that year. Its 4 tracks are: "Loving And Free", "Amoureuse", "I've Got The Music In Me" and "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am". Why it wasn't released immediately after "Amoureuse" is anyone's guess?

Disc 2 “I’ve Got The Music In Me” by THE KIKI DEE BAND (57:43 minutes):
1. I’ve Got The Music In Me
2. Someone To Me
3. Step By Step
4. Water
5. Out Of My Head
6. Do It Right
7. Little Frozen One
8. Heart And Soul
9. You Need Help
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “I’ve Got The Music In Me” by The Kiki Dee Band – released October 1974 in the UK on Rocket Records PIGL 10

BONUS TRACKS:
10. Simple Melody
11. How Glad I Am
12. Peter
13. Once A Fool

Two 45s were released around the “I’ve Got The Music In Me” album – August 1974 saw “I’ve Got The Music In Me” b/w “Simple Melody” put out in the UK on Rocket PIG 12. It was a big hit and rose to 19 in the charts in September of that year (broke her on American Radio too). The flipside was non-album (hence a Bonus Track here) while the second single (the stand alone) “How Glad I Am” b/w “Peter” fared less well and didn’t chart (released April 1975 in the UK on Rocket PIG 16).

You have to say that the presentation here is top-class. There’s a card wrap for starters that gives the reissue a classy feel – but the 32-page colour booklet is gorgeous. It amalgamates the CHRIS WHITE liner notes that came with the 2008 EMI issues (he sadly passed away in 2014 and Kiki pays him personal tribute in her own notes on Page 3) – adds in a collage of rare 7” picture sleeves from around the world (Japan, Europe etc), produces track-by-track annotation for the first album and lyrics for the second record (only) and of course had credits for the reissue. Although it doesn’t say it in the booklet – these are the Geoff Pesche remasters of 2008 (done at Abbey Road) mastered in 2014 by Phil Kinrade at Alchemy Mastering. The Audio Quality is beautiful – so clear and warm. Tracks like “Amoureuse” and “Loving & Free” (with its beautiful guitar work by PAUL KEOGH) now sound astonishing - a treat to hear.

“Loving & Free” had its 10 tracks famously produced by ELTON JOHN with his house band of DAVEY JOHNSTONE on Guitars, DEE MURRAY on Bass and NIGEL OLSSEN on Drums featuring on many of the songs. Elton himself provided Keyboards and Backing Vocals on seven out of the album's ten tunes and on the non-album B-side – Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 on Disc 1). GERRY CONWAY and DAVE MATTACKS of FAIRPORT CONVENTION fame filled in the drums on other tracks with LESLIE DUNCAN of "Love Song" fame providing backing vocals on the superb Kiki original "If It Rains". "Travellin' In Style" is a FREE cover, "Song For Adam" is a JACKSON BROWNE cover introduced to Kiki by Elton, while she gives a very soulful rendition of "You Put Something Better Inside Me", a Gerry Rafferty/Joe Egan written STEALER'S WHEEL song. "Supercool" is the third exclusive JOHN/TAUPIN track - a rocker - though not as good as the better B-side "Last Good Man In My Life". B.J. COLE provides Pedal Steel Guitar on “Rest My Head”

The Kiki Dee Band that played on “I’ve Got The Music In Me” consisted of JO PARTRIDGE (Guitar), BIAS BOSHELL (Keyboards), PHIL CURTIS (Bass) and ROGER POPE (Drums). Partridge provided the song “Out Of My Head” while Boshell stumped up a whopping five – “I’ve Got The Music In Me”, “Step By Step”, “Do It Right”, “Heart And Soul” and “You Need Help”. Kiki brought three originals to the table – “Someone To Me”, “Water” and “Little Frozen One”. Of the Non-LP stuff – Kiki also wrote “Simple Melody” and “Peter” while Larry Harrison and Jimmy Williams wrote “How Glad I Am” and “Once A Fool” is a Brian Potter/Dennis Lambert song.

Boshell had worked with Folk-Rock cult group Trees on CBS Records, Guitarist Partridge had worked with Colin Scott, Philip Goodhand-Tate and Joan Armatrading while Bassist Curtis had played with Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, Spirit Of John Morgan and The Steve Gibbon’s band. Roger Pope was with Hookfoot and a regular member of Elton John’s Band. “I’ve Got The Music In Me” features CISSY HOUSTON and MARETHA STEWART on Backing Vocals with MIKE DEACON on Organ and String Arrangements by RICHARD HEWSON. Elton’s long-time Producing associate GUS DUDGEON did the honours at the desk. Musically the album is as strong as “Loving & Free” and hugely polished – songs like the ballads “Little Frozen One”, “Heart And Soul” and of course the title track being stands-outs.

A minor downside to this otherwise excellent reissue is that both "Lonnie & Josie" and "Amoureuse" were released in the States on MCA 40095 and 40157 respectively - and as advance radio promos, both singles sported a mono and stereo mix on either side. It's a damn shame that the exclusive "US Mono Mix" of each single wasn't included on here as bonuses when there was plenty of room. Niggles worth mentioning.

Other than that this is yet another exemplary Edsel reissue of music that deserves your renewed interest. You could of course argue that you simply buy the 2015 “Original Album Series” 5CD Mini Box Set for KIKI DEE and get five albums for a roughly a ten-spot. But I’d argue in favour of the extras and that amazing presentation (the second title on Edsel EDSK 7079 couples “Kiki Dee” from 1977 and “Stay With me” from 1979 – also with bonuses).

“...I will untangle myself...so I can be...loving and free...” Kiki Dee sang in 1973 in earnest. Way to go Pauline...


The Best of the Grateful Dead
The Best of the Grateful Dead
Price: £10.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...A Long Strange Trip..." – The Best Of The Grateful Dead by THE GRATEFUL DEAD (2015 Rhino 2 x HDCD Remasters), 14 May 2015
It seems strange that there hasn’t been a proper "Best Of" to cover the Dead’s astonishing career (1993 and that was a single disc I believe). Unremarkable title aside – and forgiving the complete absence of live material (a domain every fan acknowledges they excel in) – what you do get here is 31 tracks from their thirteen studio albums between 1968 and 1989 on Warner Brothers, Grateful Dead and Arista Records as well as a rare 7" single version of 1968's "Dark Star" – all of it remastered into HDCD in 2015. Here are the not-so-skeletal details...

UK released March 2015 – "The Best Of The Grateful Dead" on Rhino 081227955984 (Barcode 081227955984) is a 32-track 2 x HDCD set and breaks down as follows (the letters [A] to [N] after each LP represent personnel codes for the Band - see list):

Disc 1 (79:54 minutes):
1. The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
2. Cream Puff War
Tracks 1 and 2 from the debut LP "The Grateful Dead" – released March 1967 in the USA on Warner Brothers W 1689 (Mono) and WS 1689 (Stereo). Stereo mix used. [A]
3. Born Cross-Eyed
Track 3 is from their 2nd studio LP "Anthem Of The Sun" – released July 1968 in the USA on Warner Brothers WS 1749 (Stereo only). [B]
4. Dark Star (Single Version)
Track 4 was released October 1968 in the USA as a 7" single on Warner Brothers 7186 ("Born Cross-Eyed" was the B-side). Note: the UK variant on Warner Brothers WB 7186 reversed the sides and had "Born Cross-Eyed" as the A [C]
5. St. Stephen
6. China Cat Sunflower
Tracks 5 and 6 are from their 3rd studio album "Aoxomoxoa" – released June 1969 in the USA on Warner Brothers WS 1790 [D]
7. Uncle John’s Band
8. Easy Wind
9. Casey Jones
Tracks 7 to 9 are from their 4th studio album "Workingman's Dead" – released June 1970 in the USA on Warner Brothers WS 1869 [E]
10. Truckin'
11 Box Of Rain
12. Sugar Magnolia
13. Friend Of The Devil
14. Ripple
Tracks 10 to 14 are from their 5th studio album "American Beauty" – released November 1970 in the USA on Warner Brothers WS 1893 [F]
15. Eyes Of The World
Tracks 15 is from their 6th studio album "Wake Of The Flood" – released October 1973 in the USA on Grateful Dead Records GD-01 [G]
16. Unbroken Chain
17. Scarlet Begonias
Tracks 16 and 17 are from their 7th studio album "From The Mars Hotel" – released June 1974 in the USA on Grateful Dead Records GD-102 [H]
18. The Music Never Stopped
Track 18 is from their 8th studio album "Blues For Allah" – released September 1975 in the USA on Grateful Dead/United Artists GD-LA494-G [I]
19. Estimated Prophet
Track 19 is from their 9th studio album "Terrapin Station" – released August 1977 in the USA on Arista AL 7001 [J]

Disc 2 (79:08 minutes):
1.Terrapin Station
Tracks 1 is from their 9th studio album "Terrapin Station" (at 16:10 minutes this is the whole of Side 2) – released August 1977 in the USA on Arista AL 7001 [J]
2. Shakedown Street
3. I Need A Miracle
4. Fire On The Mountain
Tracks 2 to 4 are from their 10th studio album "Shakedown Street" (album Produced by Lowell George of Little Feat) – released November 1978 in the USA on Arista AB 4198 [K]
5. Feel Like A Stranger
6. Far From Me
Tracks 5 and 6 are from their 11th studio album "Go To Heaven" – released May 1980 in the USA on Arista Al 9508 [L]
7. Touch Of Grey
8. Hell In A Bucket
9. Throwing Stones
10. Black Muddy River
Tracks 7 to 10 are from their 12th studio album "In The Dark" – released July 1987 in the USA on Arista AL 8452 [M]
11. Blow Away
12. Foolish Heart
13. Standing On The Moon
Tracks 11 to 13 are from their 13th studio album "Built To Last" – released November 1989 in the USA on Arista AL-8575

THE GRATEFUL DEAD Band Members:
GERRY GARCIA [A to N] – Lead Guitar, Vocals, Pedal Steel and Piano
BOB WEIR [A to N] – Guitar and Vocals
RON "PIGPEN" McKERNAN [A to F] – Organ, harmonica, Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Congas and Percussion
PHIL LESH [A to N] – Bass, Vocals, Guitar and Piano
BILL KREUETZMANN [A to N] – Drums and Percussion
TOM CONSTANTEN [B and D] – Keyboards and Piano
MICKEY HART [B to F and I to N] – Drums and Percussion
KEITH GODCHAUX [G to K] – Keyboards, Piano and Vocals
DONNA GODCHAUX [G to K] – Vocals
BRENT MYLAND [L to N] – Keyboards and Vocals

GUESTS:
DAVE GRISMAN - Mandolin on "Friend Of The Devil" and "Ripple"
HOWARD WALES – Organ on "Truckin'"
STEVE SCHUSTER – Saxophone on "The Music Never Stopped"
TOM SCOTT – Lyricon and Saxophone on "Estimated Prophet"

DAVID LEMIEUX produced the compilation with the Tapes and Remasters handled by both DAVID GLASSER and JAMIE HOWARTH. It’s housed in a fetching three-way foldout card digipak with two see-through trays holding Grateful Dead skeleton logo CDs (discography info beneath each). The 16-page booklet features new song-by-song liner notes by BLAIR JACKSON (it’s almost entirely text) with pictures of the band on the last and rear pages only. Blair’s insights into each song are suitably detailed and fun – pointing out who played on what and how the track happened. Provided by Jim Marshall - the booklet is also fronted by a gorgeous black and white photo of the boys hanging out by the Haight/Ashbury Road Sign in the late Sixties. And the embossed Skull Logo on the front is gorgeous - the whole thing feels classy and shows that Rhino are back on reissuing form...

But the best news is the new 2015 remasters. Comparing a few tracks to the 2003 Rhino HDCD remasters for the individual albums – I must confess that the earlier cuts from say "Grateful Dead" to "American Beauty" on Warner Brothers sound roughly the same if not a small bit improved. But the Grateful Dead Records and Arista Records stuff is 'so' much better than CDs I had in the Nineties. For that alone – and the extra breath of material Disc 2 brings (over 2 and half hours of music) – this is a bit of a stunner Audio-wise and its available beneath a ten-spot in many places too.

Disc 1 sticks to favourites – the "hey hey" jaunt of "The Golden Road (To The Unlimited Devotion)" from the debut segues into Jerry Garcia's lone credit on "Cream Puff War" – a sort of Garage Pop chugger. The 7" single 2:42 minute edit of "Dark Star" and "Born Cross-Eyed" (a Bob Weir song) was issued in the USA and UK as a seven-inch single on Warner Brothers in the spring of 1968 (funny now to see "Dark Star" as a 'single' when it is always been associated with 25 to 30-minute jams). "Dark Star" is the most un-commercial of singles and has a bit of spoken poetry/banjo in the fade out! Both of the cuts from "Aoxomoxoa" introduced Funk into the Dead’s Psychedelic swagger with Organ and Guitar fighting it out. Both the LPs "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty" are surely everyone’s faves – both introducing a musicality and warmth to their sound that can't be denied. I would have loved to have had "New Speedway Boogie" from "Workingman's Dead" included – but you can’t have everything (check out Marc Cohn's great cover of it on his "Listening Booth: 1970" CD album from 2010).

David Grisman adds wonderful Mandolin strums to the witty "Friend Of The Devil" and the lovely "American Beauty" Side 2 opener "Ripple" – as pretty a song as they've ever written (gorgeous audio on it). I always thought "Eyes Of The World" terribly weedy fare – far better is the acoustic "Unbroken Chain" with Donna Godchaux providing really sweet duet Vocals. Things go a bit Funky for the "...mosquitos on the river..." song "The Music Never Stopped" where Donna gives it some vox yet again (nice Sax too from Steve Schuster). Speaking of that great instrument - Tom Scott adds Saxophone to the LA reggae-ish sway of "Estimated Prophet" (from their first album for Arista "Terrapin Station"). Its (dare we say it) 'commercial' for the Dead – but I actually love that rhythm (remaster is superb too). The full 16:02 minute/seven-part "Terrapin Station" that took up the whole of Side 2 of the LP may test your patience – but I love the Eastern mysticism vibes and the Prog parts with those mad string flurries in the final section of the suite.

Lowell George of Little Feat fame stepped up to the Producer Chair for "Shakedown Street" and the band returned from Prog to straight-up Rock 'n' Roll with "I Need A Miracle". The disco-funk of the title track probably brings out a rash in hardcore fans and the soft-shoe commercial cod-reggae shuffle of "Fire On The Mountain" probably elicits the same reaction – but they both sound incredible in these new remasters. Far more accomplished is "Feel Like A Stranger" where new Keyboard player Brent Myland really makes his presence known in those tasty fills (fabulous remaster too). His vocal lead on “Far From Me” sounds almost “Rumours” in its sophisticated Rock way and you can hear that Bob Weir hip influence – Funky one moment – pretty the next – and those Queen layered vocals (a bit cool actually). "I will survive!" they sing on their unlikely hit single "Touch Of Grey" – Garcia having fun. We get a bit more downhome boogie on the excellent "Hell In A Bucket" where that motorbike growl travelling across your speakers still takes me by surprise (enjoying the ride). And that's what's so cool about Disc 2 – it surprises you – and in many ways is actually better than the later Seventies stuff in some ways.

So there you have it – a "Best Of" that finally does the band justice (in the studio anyway). What’s needed now is a "Best Of LIVE DEAD" but we’re probably looking at a 3-disc minimum or more. In the meantime – dig in here and remember what those Robert Crumb cartoon teeshirts used to say...Keep On Truckin'...


Live At Massey Hall 1971
Live At Massey Hall 1971
Price: £6.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "…I'm Just Like You…I Need Someone To Love Me The Whole Day Through…" - Live At Massey Hall 1971 by NEIL YOUNG (2007 HDCD/DVD), 13 May 2015
As a veteran of some 1850 reviews most of which are about quality CD reissues - I bow my head in shame on this one. I'll admit that "Live At Massey Hall 1971" slipped past my radar somehow. How did I not get to hear this absolute gem?

Firstly - as pointed out by many others - the audio quality on this release is just incredible. Released March 2007 it's also worth noting that there’s two versions of "Live At Massey Hall 1971" by NEIL YOUNG - a stand-alone disc (67:38 minutes) on Reprise 9362-43328-2 (use Barcode 093624332824 in the search bar above) and this – the CD + DVD version on Reprise 9362-43327-2 (use Barcode 093624332725). Both come in gatefold card sleeves.

Clear, warm, present – "Live At Massey Hall 1971" is like an ultra high-quality 90's or 00's 'unplugged' performance. Both JOHN NOWLAND and TIM MULLIGAN worked on the Restoration, Transfers and Mastering of the original Analogue tapes and they have produced what has to be a Grammy-winning result. Here are the details...

1. On The Way Home
2. Tell Me Why
3. Old Man
4. Journey Through The Past
5. Helpless
6. Love In Mind
7. A Man Needs A Maid/Heart Of Gold Suite
8. Cowgirl In The Sand
9. Don’t Let It Bring You Down
10. There’s A World
11. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
12. The Needle And The Damage Done
13. Ohio
14. See The Sky About To Rain
15. Down By The River
16. Dance Dance Dance
17. I Am A Child

The DVD has all 17 of the above as well as Bonus Footage:
18 and 19 are "The Needle And The Damage Done" and "Journey Through The Past" from the "Johnny Cash On Campus TV Show" (Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee)
20 is "Old Man" from "Swingin Mit Neil Young – Dutch TV Documentary"
21 is "Archive Meetings" from "Broken Arrow Ranch"

But best of all is the music and Neil Young's performance. With just guitar and piano - the intimacy of the gig is as beautiful as a singer-songwriter concert gets. And of course - there's the date. Recorded in front of a home crowd on 19 January 1971 at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada - Young had the brilliance of both the "After The Gold Rush" and "Harvest" albums to draw on. And with a smattering of CSYN and Buffalo Springfield material thrown in for good measure, the effect is pretty much devastating. After each song - the crowd erupts in genuine pleasure.

Then there's the feeling of eavesdropping on a gig that has gone to that magical place of an Artist and Audience engaged in a shared intimacy. When he sings songs that are now part of culture like "Old Man" (lyrics above) and "Heart Of Gold" (beautifully blended into "A Man Needs A Maid") - he is doing so here with a freshness that is thrilling. His vocals are slightly nervous yet beautiful - his ache is real. And he even tries to sell some of the songs to the audience with story-banter in between tunes. Neil Young gets personal - yikes! And as if this isn't enough someone only went and filmed it! The DVD is gorgeous - concert footage, lyrics and interviews...wow!

A genuinely sensational reissue in the on-going 'Neil Young Archives' series (NYA) - get this treat into your life as soon as possible...


Trilogy
Trilogy
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...From The Beginning..." – Trilogy: Deluxe Edition by EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (2015 Sony Music/Legacy 2CD/1DVD-A Remasters), 13 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Trilogy (Audio CD)
As an impressionable 14-year old in 1972 Dublin - I can remember holding the 4th ELP album under my arm in all its gorgeous Island Records Hipgnosis Gatefold Sleeve spendiffery as I trucked along the unsuspecting footpath to my mate's house in Clontarf (he later turned out to be a blindingly great bass player - Raymond "Gally" Kelleher). I was gamely determined to get him away from that grungy hard-rocking Black Sabbath and Budgie stuff and introduce the clearly unenlightened eejet Ray to the wondrous and complicated Moog glories of Prog Rock (some chance). He listened to Part One of "The Endless Enigma" and uttered adjectives beginning with 'f' that his mother wouldn't have approved of. Not even Carl Palmer saying the "s" word at the beginning of "The Sheriff" as he misses a beat (which seemed terribly exciting at the time) bought out the inner Rock 'n' Roller in him. No – none of it worked. In fact massively unimpressed - Gally looked at me sideways - like I might need to up the drugs-intake or get more therapy (and real fast). Ah well...

In equal measure ELP’s catalogue has long since been the stuff of devotion and utter derision as the decades roll by – and I’m down with both opinions. They were bloated and preposterous at times for sure – but they were also innovative and magnificent and with "Trilogy" – they moved me. "Trilogy" has always had a place in my clogged-up soft machine and this stunning 3-disc reissue finally does that nugget in their patchy catalogue a long-deserved solid. Here are laced-up boots and moody side profiles...

UK released 27 April 2015 (May 2015 in the USA) – "Trilogy: Deluxe Edition" on Sony Music/Legacy /Leadclass Limited 88875004902 (Barcode 888750049025) is a 2CD/1DVD Reissue which breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 – Original Trilogy (42:12 minutes)
1. The Endless Enigma (Part One)
2. Fugue
3. The Endless Enigma (Part Two)
4. From The Beginning
5. The Sheriff
6. Hoedown
7. Trilogy [Side 2]
8. Living Sin
9. Abaddon's Bolero
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 4th album "Trilogy" – originally released July 1972 in the UK on Island Records ILPS 9186 and in the USA on Cotillion SD-9903 (Produced by Greg Lake and Eddie Offord). Original master tapes transferred by PASCHAL BYRNE at Audio Archiving in London – remaster for the original mix by ANDY PEARCE.

Disc 2 – New Stereo Trilogy (46:53 minutes):
1. From The Beginning (Alternate Version)
2 to 10 as per Disc 1 with each track as (New Stereo Mix)

Disc 3 – DVD-A 5.1 Trilogy
Tracks 1 to 9 (as per Disc 1) offers the album in "Original Mixes Presented In Both MLP Lossless & LPCM – both at 24-bit 96kHz"
Tracks 10 to 18 (as per Disc 1) offers the album in "New Stereo Mixes Presented In Both MLP Lossless 5.1 & Stereo at 24-bit 96kHz, DTS 96/24 5.1 & Dolby Digital 5.1 (48kHz) and LPCM Stereo 24-bit 96kHz"

Track 19 is "From The Beginning (Alternate Version)"

The New Stereo and 5.1 Surround Mixes are both by JAKKO JAKSZYK - a reknowned musician who has been involved in some of the King Crimson Reissues with 5.1 Surround Mixes (all have been praised greatly). DVD-A Authoring is by NIGEL WILKES at Opus Productions and both Disc 2 and 3 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED.

The DVD-A loads up the screen with the front cover artwork across the full widescreen spectrum as it displays EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Trilogy – DELUXE EDITION. It offers 3 options (a) Play (b) Audio Setup and (c) Original Mix. If you press play it will immediately launch into the New Stereo Mix by Jakko Jakszyk while the LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround and Dolby Digital Surround options are all off the Audio Set Up link.

The four-flap foldout card digipak is a chunky affair with a picture of Keith Emerson (Keyboards), Greg Lake (Lead Vocals and Bass) and Carl Palmer (Drums) under each of the three see-through plastic trays. The 16-page booklet features new liner notes from noted writer and Musicologist CHRIS WELCH with a superbly indepth interview from Jakko Jakszyk on the tapes and Surround mixes he had to make. A fan of the band since 1971 when he saw the group at the Oval Cricket Grounds in Kennington, London for £1.25 new pence – his enthusiasm and dedication to getting it right is palatable. The reproduce the inner gatefold trick photo by HIPGNOSIS where they are behind trees (Epping Forest), an advert for the American album on Cotillion and there’s even a fee paragraphs from all three musicians (signed beneath) about how they remember the album. It’s well done - but small change to the musical improvements...

"Trilogy" always had way too much hiss and little or no oomph. I’ve heard (I think) no less than three remasters of it – none of which elevated it beyond 'good'. And while you play Andy Pearce’s gallant attempt on Disc 1 – the truth for me is that the flat transfer doesn’t really sound improved. But all of that goes out the window when you get to Disc 2 and 3 where new Remaster Hero JAKSZYK has finally produced the Audio fans have craved for decades – and in two different ways (no less) that both excel. The New Stereo Trilogy is truly fabulous stuff – the hiss gone – the instruments to the fore – and yet it isn’t trebled up to the nines for effect – the whole sound stage is just better and more ballsy for the want of better words. When Greg Lake sings, "I've begun to see the reasons why I'm here..." as he finishes Part 2 of "The Endless Enigma" – the whole group punch is formidable. And there’s a heartbeat at the beginning of track one (Lake on Bass apparently) that predates "Dark Side Of The Moon" by a year as an intro effect that’s been hidden in the mix for decades.

But then you’re hit with a true sensation – the beautiful ballad by Greg Lake "From The Beginning". Having loved and heard this track for 40+ years in average sound – what an utter blast it is to hear it this clear, this gorgeous and dare we say - this powerful. The acoustic guitars strum with power and warmth, the bass is so sweet and man - when that Keith Emerson solo kicks it – you’re floored. Of the tracks on Side Two the best sounding has to be "Trilogy" with its piano intro and then that massive Synth break in the middle. Those huge keyboard blasts and drum rolls at the end of "Living Sin" also sound incredible.

I popped round to a mate's house to sample the 5.1 Surround and WOW is the only appropriate response. There’s instrumental stuff going in the album finisher "Abaddon's Bolero" that I’ve never heard – rhythm flourishes and guitars that swirl around the room – unbelievably good. The DVD-A is a triumph and I’m really going to have to invest in a decent Surround set up at home.

So there you have it – a good Emerson, Lake And Palmer reissue at last - glory be. Why I’m so animated I might even listen to the side and a half version of "Karn Evil 9" on the dreadful live triple "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends..." set? But then again...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2015 8:24 PM BST


Top Priority by Rory Gallagher (2012) Audio CD
Top Priority by Rory Gallagher (2012) Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "…Won’t You Follow Me…Where I’m Bound…" - Top Priority by RORY GALLAGHER (2012 Sony/Capo/Legacy CD Remasters), 12 May 2015
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2012 CD REISSUE ***

"Top Priority" is one of five new 2012 CD, Download and Vinyl reissues covering Rory Gallagher's 'studio' album period at Chrysalis Records between 1975 and 1979. His Polydor Label years (1971 to 1974) were released in full in January 2012 (see list below). The next set of studio and live album reissues are due in early 2013 - all supervised by Donal Gallagher - his brother, tour manager and keeper of the flame.

So what's different? In a nutshell - cheaper price, restored artwork with upgraded packaging and 2012 remastering from the original tapes. Here are the finite details...

Released 24 September 2012 in the UK (9 October 2012 in the USA) - "Top Priority" is on Sony/Capo/Legacy 88725461452 (Barcode 88725461452) and the CD comes in a card digipak rather than a jewel case (46:40 minutes total playing time) with two Bonus Tracks. The original vinyl album was released September 1979 in the UK and USA on Chrysalis CHR 1235 (it charted at number 56 in the UK and Number 140 in the States). "Top Priority" was his 4th studio LP for the British label – continuing on from the blisteringly good run of "Against The Grain" in 1975, "Calling Card" in 1976 and "Photo-Finish" in 1978.

SOUND:
When "Top Priority" was first re-issued on CD by Da Capo in February 1999 – the tapes were remixed and remastered by Tony Arnold – giving it a sound some found a little shrill. That first reissue also altered the original artwork. This time the original tapes have been returned to by ANDY PEARCE and MATT WORTHAM and remastered as 'untampered' versions in August 2012 at Wired Masters Studios in London. They’ve done a great job – the sound is very clear and muscular – still full of piss and vinegar for sure but less showy than before. And the original white sleeve album artwork has been restored in the digipak and inner layout.

PACKAGING:
The foldout 3-way inlay of 1999 has been replaced with a 2012 12-page booklet with Donal Gallagher's song-by-song liner notes reproduced again. But as well as other colour photos – there’s a new inclusion – Michael Davis' article on the album in Creem Magazine from January 1980. The card digipak repros the lovely original album artwork (back and front), the CD itself is a picture disc and there’s even a repro live photo beneath the see-through plastic tray that appeared on the lone single issued off the album – "Philby". It looks the business and sounds great too – and for fiver sterling - is a classy little reissue for not a lot of wonga.

MUSIC:
Like "Photo-Finish" before it – the album is again co-produced with Alan O'Duffy and the band a three-piece - Gerry McAvoy on Bass and Ted McKenna on Drums while Rory covered everything else – Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica and Dulcimer. All songs are RG originals and have a harder-hitting feel than previous outings. The guitar solo on the really strong opener "Follow Me" for instance is fantastic – and now remastered to its full string-screeching sonic potential (lyrics from it title this review). "Philby" sings of the infamous British spy Kim Philby and sees Rory play an unusual instrument – a 60's Coral Electric Sitar he borrowed from Pete Townshend. Both the fast "Wayward Child" and the stunning slow rocking of "Keychain" have guitar-playing on them that would many sit up and take notice – fab stuff. The frantic pace continues with the rip-roaring layers of "At The Depot" while the chugging "Bad Penny" is typically Rory – and became a huge live staple. A genuine blast is "Just Hit Town" which rocks like a monster and would give ZZ Top or Ted Nugent a run for their money. It ends in the bluesy "Off The Handle" which has a mean streak running through it and wild harmonica warbling and a tribute to a favourite B-movie of his youth "Public Enemy No.1". The two fast-paced studio outtakes "Hell Cat" and "The Watcher" that came with the 1999 version as 'bonus tracks' reappear here and are worthy rocking additions – even if the experimental vocal treatment on "The Watcher" doesn’t quite work (and you can hear why it was left in the vaults).

For many - Rory's classic period was with Polydor Records in the early Seventies – and like so many fans – I adore those albums with a passion. But having just waded through all 5 of these 24 Sep 2012 reissues of his Chrysalis studio records – I'm absolutely blown-away by how good they are. While so many rock acts floundered (especially after 1975) – Rory just kept putting out one gem after another. If anything – I'm tempted to say that these albums are where his real genius lies.

Like most Irishmen, I can't be rational about Rory Gallagher. I saw him and his band as a teenager live in Dublin in the early Seventies and the experience was mind-blowing (I'm actually in the audience at Dublin on Irish Tour '74). I then bought every album he ever put out after that and always looked forward to hearing where his flying fingers would take me next.

Rory was sadly lost to us in 1995 through liver failure - and it still hurts to think that this most unassuming and brilliant of guitar heroes is gone. "Top Priority" is a great way to remember him - and frankly the other 4 titles in this 2nd phase are pretty much the same.

All five reissues are whole-heartedly recommended…and what a blindingly great player he was.

PS: the titles in this 2011/2012 CD, Download and LP reissue series so far are:
1. "Rory Gallagher" (May 1971) - REVIEWED
2. "Deuce" (November 1971) - REVIEWED
3. "Live! In Europe" (May 1972)
4. "Blueprint" (February 1973)
5. "Tattoo" (November 1973) - REVIEWED
6. "Irish Tour '74" (July 1974) [2LP set on 1CD - Sides 1 to 3 are Live - Side 4 is Studio Jams]

7. "Against The Grain" (October 1975) – REVIEWED
8. "Calling Card" (August 1976) – REVIEWED
9. "Photo-Finish" (October 1978) – REVIEWED
10. "Top Priority" (September 1979) – REVIEWED
11. "Jinx" (April 1982) - REVIEWED

1 to 6 released January 2012 on CD and Download. 180-gram vinyl versions of each were also made available 27 February 2012 on the "Music On Vinyl" Label

7 to 11 released September 2012 on CD and Download. Limited Edition 180-gram vinyl versions of each will be made available 22 October 2012 on the "Music On Vinyl" Label


Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Vision Media X 25 Single Clear CD Jewel Case
Offered by Vision Media Store
Price: £11.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Single Jewel Cases + See-Through Trays - Great Price and Delivery Too..., 12 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As other buyers/reviewers have noted - there's a lot of thin/poor quality crap out there. I bought these 25 single CD jewel cases with see-through trays from Amazon Prime - and they're the thick plastic ones - real good quality. They also arrived in a proper card box with paper buffers inside to stop broken cases at either end.

Considering that some West End stores charge 'over' £1 per jewel case and tray - this box of 25 new replacements at eleven quid is a deal. Recommended...


Boz Scaggs [Original1969 Version + 1977 Remixed Version]
Boz Scaggs [Original1969 Version + 1977 Remixed Version]
Price: £9.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Loan Me A Dime..." – Boz Scaggs [1969 Version + 1977 Remix Version] by BOZ SCAGGS (2015 Edsel/Rhino 2CD Remasters), 12 May 2015
After two albums with The Steve Miller Band in the late Sixties – it was time for the smooth Texan William Royce Scaggs to go solo. He signed to the prestigious Atlantic Records - gathering around him the cream of Muscle Shoals sessionmen (including the Memphis Horns) and set about recording his Bluesy/slightly Country debut album in 1969. Not that the world sat up and noticed. They didn’t.

His debut "Boz Scaggs" was released in the USA in August of 1969 but despite some favourable responses in the press - few in the public eye bought it. After four more albums with a patient Columbia Records between 1971 and 1974 that slowly built interest and chart presence – the Bozter finally found his inner Rock-Funk self and hit global paydirt with his March 1976 LP “Silk Degrees” which spanned massive worldwide radio-friendly hits like “Lido Shuffle”, “What Can I Say”, “Harbour Lights” and “Lowdown”. The album had legs past 1976 too into 1977.

So what with his debut containing rising luminaries like Eddie Hinton, Barry Beckett and especially the established cult guitar-hero Duane Allman in blistering form - Atlantic Records decided to call in Tom Perry to remix and re-launch the debut yet again for a modern day market (it didn’t take 2nd time round either). And that’s where this UK 2CD reissue on Edsel/Rhino comes in – it brings together to the two versions of that debut album for the first time – and in remastered form with superb presentation and new 2015 interviews. Here are the slow starter details...

UK released May 2015 – Edsel/Rhino EDSK 7093 (Barcode 740155709334) is a 2CD set in an outer card wrap and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (Original 1969 Version – see NOTES) (43:35 minutes)
1. I’m Easy [3:04 minutes]
2. I’ll Be Long Gone [4:11 minutes]
3. Another Day (Another Letter) [2:53 minutes]
4. Now You’re Gone [3:46 minutes]
5. Finding her [3:54 minutes]
6. Look What I Got [4:08 minutes]
7. Waiting For A Train [2:38 minutes]
8. Loan Me A Dime [12:29 minutes]
9. Sweet Release [6:13 minutes]

Disc 2 (1977 Remixed Version – see NOTES) (44:48 minutes):
1. I’m Easy [3:01 minutes]
2. I’ll Be Long Gone [4:02 minutes]
3. Another Day (Another Letter) [3:12 minutes]
4. Now You’re Gone [3:50 minutes]
5. Finding her [4:10 minutes]
6. Look What I Got [4:13 minutes]
7. Waiting For A Train [2:40 minutes]
8. Loan Me A Dime [13:02 minutes]
9. Sweet Release [6:20 minutes]

NOTES: Despite what the CDs say – someone has mistakenly placed the versions on the wrong discs – Disc 1 is in fact the 1977 REMIX and Disc 2 the 1969 ORIGINAL. What’s noticeable too from the timings provided above is that Perry slightly edited some of the tracks on the 1977 remix but elongated others by a tiny amount. The most pronounced is the indulgent thirteen-minutes of “Loan Me A Dime” lopped by a half-a-minute (and rightly so in my book). Most of the others have smaller changes – but it’s worth pointing out.

BOZ SCAGGS – Guitar and Lead Vocals
DUANE “Skydog” ALLMAN – Guitars and Dobro
EDDIE HINTON and JIMMY JOHNSON – Guitars
BARRY BECKETT – Keyboards
AL LESTER – Fiddle
DAVID HOOD – Bass
ROGER HAWKINS – Drums

Muscle Shoals Horn Section:
Joe Arnold – Tenor Saxophone
Charles Chalmers – Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Newman – Baritone Saxophone
James Mitchell – Baritone Saxophone on “I’m Easy”
Ben Cauley – Trumpet
Gene “Bowlegs” Miller – Trumpet & Trombone

Backing Singers:
Jeannie Greene, Donna Thatcher and Mary Holiday (on all selections)
Tracy Nelson, Irma Routen and Joyce Dunn on “Now You’re Gone” exclusively and additionally to Green, Thatcher and Holiday on “I’ll Be Long Gone”

There’s a tasty card wrap that lends the whole reissue a classy feel while the 20-page booklet features December 2014 liner notes by noted writer PAUL DYERS and a new interview with original LP producer JANN WENNER which throws light on how rushed the recordings were (Wenner, Scaggs and Marlin Greene produced the LP). There are label repros of the original LP on SD 8239 and lyrics (for the first time I believe) and tremendous photos of the fabulous band – David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, the backing lady singers, the Producer, Eddie Hinton and a naked Duane Allman standing in the woods with a hat on and his hands over his modesties. It’s beautifully done.

The howler mistake of wrong-mix/wrong-CD notwithstanding – all that anyone-can-make-mistake stuff pales against what you actually get here - a superb remaster for both albums (Peter Rynston at Tall Order Mastering). You can so hear how the record feels slightly empty and rushed first time around – and you can understand why Perry paired back the indulgent time length on the bluesy but brilliant “Loan Me A Dime” when he remixed the record in 1977. I actually prefer the 1977 version because it’s tighter and more importantly you can hear the musicianship more clearly – especially Duane Allman. The Dobro on “Look What I Got” (written by Muscle Shoals Sax player Charles Chambers and singer Donna Rhodes) is clearer as are the drums and backing singers. The same applies (times two) with his cover of the Jimmie Rogers yodelling song “Waiting For A Train” – Allman is very clear as is Beckett’s honky-tony piano runs.

I don’t know (even after another listen) if the album is actually any good – there’s a dreadful failure to ignite in too many of his songs – but then you’re hit with the fabulous Blues of “Loan Me A Dime”. Written by guitarist Fenton Robinson – it leads in with stunning organ work from Beckett – so Gospel, Blues and Soul all wrapped up in one. And then we get Duane in his “Skydog” looseness - letting rip on the frets half way in. On the remix his guitar is slightly more to the fore giving it more prominence and I agree completely with shortening the track on the remix (apparently this song is the reason why Wexler told them to close down recording faster and stop goofing around). It ends on “Sweet Release” – a slow six-minute Gospel lurch co-written by Scaggs and Barry Beckett.

With the best will in the world you could hardly call the “Boz Scaggs” album brilliant (it has its moments for sure) and in hindsight it’s easy to hear why it barely registered with the public. Having said that – there’s something about the quality of the remasters on offer here – and the different mixes too – that make you want to look at this record anew.

A superb reissue from Edsel – more of the same please...


New Boots And Panties!!
New Boots And Panties!!
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Razzle Dazzle..." - New Boots And Panties!! By IAN DURY (2015 Edsel Hardback Book "Deluxe Edition" 2CD Reissue), 12 May 2015
This review is from: New Boots And Panties!! (Audio CD)
If you already own the September 2004 2CD Deluxe Edition on Edsel MEDCD 751 (Barcode 740155175122) of "New Boots And Panties!!" – then this March 2015 reissue now housed in a very fetching 'hardback book cover' offers nothing new - expect improved packaging. But if you don’t own it - then Ian Dury’s breakthrough debut album is a bit of 1977 New Wave peach you frankly need in your shelllikes. Here is the Ealing gospel according to Plaistow Patricia and Billericay Dickie (if you know what I mean my son)...

UK released/reissued March 2015 in a Hardback Book form – "New Boots And Panties!! Deluxe 2CD Edition" by IAN DURY on Edsel EDSK 7080 (Barcode 740155708030) breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (50:06 minutes):
1. Wake Up And Make Love With Me
2. Sweet Gene Vincent
3. I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra
4. My Old Man
5. Billericay Dickie
6. Clever Trevor [Side 2]
7. If I Was A Woman
8. Blockheads
9. Plaistow Patricia
10. Blackmail Man
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album "New Boots And Panties!!" by IAN DURY – released 30 September 1977 in the UK on Stiff Records SEEZ 4. The 11-song American LP on Stiff STF 0002 was released in 1978 with "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" tagged on as an extra - Track 1 on Side 2.

BONUS TRACKS:
11. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
12. Razzle In The My Pocket
13. You’re More Than Fair
14. England’s Glory [Live]
Tracks 11 and 12 are the A&B-sides of a non-album UK 7" single released August 1977 on Stiff Records BUY 17. "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" was also an extra track on the American version of the LP (Track 1 – Side 2)
Track 13 is the non-album B-side to "Sweet Gene Vincent" – a UK 7" single released November 1977 on Stiff Records BUY 23
Track 14 was the bonus track on the 1996 CD reissue of "New Boots And Panties!!"

Disc 2 – DEMO VERSIONS (68:13 minutes):
1. Wake Up And Make Love With Me
2. Sink My Boats
3. Apples
4. England’s Glory
5. Tell The Children
6. I Made Mary Cry
7. Sweet Gene Vincent (Backing Track)
8. Blackmail Man
9. My Old Man
10. Something’s Going To Happen In The Winter
11. Wifey
12. Sink My Boats [Alternate Version]
13. I’m Partial to Your Abracadabra
14. If I Was A Woman
15. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
16. Clevor Trevor
17. Blockheads

Like the Todd Rundgren Hardback Book Editions of 2014 for "Runt", "Something/Anything?", "A Wizard, A True Star", "Initiation" etc (see reviews) - this is the first of six Hardback Book Reissues for IAN DURY (see list below). Each has the same August 2004 WILL BIRCH liner notes and photo-spreads - there appears to be nothing new added. "Booties" comes with a 30-page centred booklet that includes lyrics to the album and the 4 bonus cuts, trade adverts from the NME and New Musical Express and of course (expert) Birch’s witty and informative history of the band and Dury’s struggles to get the album made post Kilburn & The Highroads. The remaster is the same as was done in 2004 at Alchemy Mastering (no engineer name) – top-notch audio from original master tapes (even the Demo version on Disc 2 Rocks out). The four bonus tracks on Disc 1 turned up on the rarities CD in the "Studio Albums Collection" Box Set of 2014 – but so far Disc 2 on this edition remains exclusive.

I recall 1977 and long into 1978 when this LP seemed to be in every bedsit in the world (well England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales anyway) – and rightly so. The opening wit and sheer fresh-air-ness of "Wake Up And Make Love With Me" was like nothing that had gone before it – and that magic continued with "Sweet Gene Vincent" – a wickedly tender/wild homage to his British Rock 'n' Roll hero - "...I miss the voice that called my heart..." I first began to realise his poetic genius with "My Old Man" where the No. 18 to Euston is driven by his father and his cheeky-chappy persona beloved him to the young with "Billericay Dickey" where "...she took me to the cleaners...and other misdemeanours..." He rocked out with both "Blockheads" and "Blackmail Man" (probably the angriest song on the album). The Bonus Tracks on Disc 1 only add icing to a very tasty cake – my crave being the saucy and terrible UNPC "You're More Than Fair".

The DEMO VERSIONS disc gives us songs that aren’t familiar like "Sink My Boats" which you can’t help but think would have been a hit if included on the LP. It’s also a blast to hear a studio version of "England's Glory" rather than the familiar live version B-side we’ve known as these years. Although slight and at odds with the album’s wittier side – there’s something lovely about "Something's Going To Happen In The Winter" where he duet vocals with a squeaking Chaz Jankel. And I can never get enough of the Funk in "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" where Norman Watt-Ray slaps his bass and Charley Charles keeps that Rhythm Section cooking (even in Demo form this is so good).

A fantastic album and one that makes me miss him so much. There’s a 'Parental Advisory Explicit Content' sticker comes with this 2CD set of "New Boots And Panties!!" on the outer shrinkwrap. And with that - you just know you have to own it...

PS: releases in this IAN DURY Hardback Reissue Series on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD)

PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20