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Legendary [Australian Import]
Legendary [Australian Import]
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £29.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fifty Classics, 26 Aug. 2011
This three disc release from BMG Australia is pretty close to being the definitive collection assembled on her RCA Victor recordings. The sound is great and you get a lot of great music for your money, but that being said, it is missing a couple of essential tracks from this period. "Not One Minute More" (Billboard Hot 100 #16) was her third million-seller and "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?" (Billboard Hot 100 #98) became one of her signature performances, and both are sorely missed on this otherwise amazing collection. Another track missing is my personal favorite, "The Most Beautiful Words", which peaked at number #67 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1961. All this aside, this collection does manage to paint a great portrait of one of the best American songbirds in last fifty years.

Disc 1: The Swinging Della

Disc one consists mostly of tracks from her 1960 Grammy-nominated album "Della" (Billboard Hot 100 #35) and her 1961 swing album "Special Delivery" (Billboard Hot 200 #113). Della was never a hardcore Jazz singer, but that doesn't mean she couldn't work it just as well as Sarah, Ella and Carmen. Proof of her amazing interpretive skills are evident on such tracks as: "Until the Real Thing Comes Along", "Thou Swell" and "If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight". Her diction is spot on and her meaning is always clear. Her vibrato is unlike anyone's, and entirely of her own character. Della was capable of almost any musical direction. From a hard-swinging opening "Blue Skies" to the tenderness of "If You Are But a Dream". Her biggest hit "Don't You Know" (Billboard Hot 100 #2) is also included on disc one.

Disc 2: Cha-Cha-Cha

The second disc is mostly devoted to her 1961 album "Della, Della, Cha-Cha-Cha", which is a fun album of standards set to an exotic beat. But the disc opens with more tracks from "Della" and "Special Delivery" and two very beautiful tracks ("Softly My Love" and "Serenade") from the 1962 album "The Classic Della" (Billboard Hot 100 #94). Highlights among her exotic outtakes are: "Always True to You in My Fashion", "There's a Small Hotel" and a truly peculiar, but great, version of "Tea for Two". These tracks may not appeal to everybody, but they have to be taken for what they are, which is great fun and fun to sing along to. Of course, then there is her cover of Rosemary Clooney's "Come on-a My House", which Madonna brought back into the spotlight for a moment or two.

Disc 3: The Balladeer

The third disc is mostly dedicated to Della's tender side. Like I've mentioned, Della was capable of singing anything and she did it equally, but personally speaking, my favorite side of Della can be heard on the third disc. "I Had the Craziest Dream" and "Always" allows her to carefully wrap her amazing voice around every word. It is truly a delight to hear her sing her heart on the ballads, and her androgynous tone makes it all the more interesting. "All By Myself" is another fine example of her talent as a first class crooner, and listen to that last note! "Little Girl Blue" and "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" are equally as tender, but forceful, and they never loose effect. All three tracks are from the promo release from 1963 called "Moody", which wasn't released until 1965, after she had left RCA Victor. A couple of other highlights is her classic rendtion of "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You) (Billboard Hot 100 #56) and the swinging "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone". Other highlights are the beautiful "Moon Love" and "These Foolish Things", which is from her 1960 album "Della by Starlight", which happens to be my personal favorite album of hers, but have yet to be issued on Compact Disc.


Cocktail Hour
Cocktail Hour
Offered by tunesonline
Price: £11.78

3.0 out of 5 stars Questionable Sources, 12 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Cocktail Hour (Audio CD)
Della Reese's entry in Columbia River's Cocktail Hour series is just as bewildering as the rest of them. All of entries in the series are notorious for their lack of any kind of information about the songs included on the albums, and this is no different. When were these recordings made? Well, most of them were first issued in 1996 by Jasmine Records on the compilation "The Best Thing for You", but no information was given on that album either. These songs are obviously not finished studio recordings, nor are they live performances in the sense. They sound like transcripts, demos, or radio performances, all dating back to the early '60s. Many of these performances do manage to capture the magic of Della Reese, but they are also misleading. Della oftens sounds as if she's fooling around, and it is obvious that she never imagined that these recordings would be issued to the public. That being said, the sheer power of Della cannot be surpressed, even by these uneven recordings. "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?" is a tour de force, and a couple of tracks are from her legendary "A Date with Della" live album from 1958, with such entires as her sassy take on "Pennies from Heaven" and "All of Me". There are also a couple of tracks included from her early Jubilee Years, such as an exciting rendition of Cole Porter's "In the Still of the Night". A track or two from her 1983 album "Sure Like Lovin' You" is also represented here with the lovely "Wrapped Up in the Comfort of You" and a beautiful cover of Deniece Williams' "Touch Me Again". So, all of this makes for an uneven and quite frankly obscure mixture of songs. People curious about Della Reese should avoid this release.


Necronomicon
Necronomicon

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Know What You're Getting Into, 8 Feb. 2011
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Necronomicon (Video Game)
This game is indeed for hardcore gamers only. It can be well nigh impossible to progress through without the aid of a walkthrough, so you are bound to wrinkle your nose at the difficult level of this game. That being said, it's a nice-looking game with a lot to offer, as long as you know what you're getting into.

The story is the most compelling part of this game. It ties together well, and it was never boring or dragging. It is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's work, and it does manage to build that special atmosphere of his work. The story and the game is exceptionally linear, so don't expect any kind of exploring, which can be quite frustrating at times. Graphically speaking, the game looks great. Everything is polished, although not the best-looking game of its time. Everything looks great, if slightly lifeless at times. The animation of the characters is great, but not quite as detailed as that of the Dracula Trilogy. The voice-overs are top notch, and cannot be critized if you ask me. Even though you don't really have any options when it comes to the dialogue, you're still left with a feeling of statisfaction when listening to the voices.

This game is far from perfect, and it's grotesque difficult level can be extremely discouraging. That being said, this game oozes atmosphere, and even though it relies on tension rather than on actual thrills, it's still worth the ride if you have the patience to stick with it.

Pros:

- Beautifully rendered
- Great voice-overs
- Compelling story
- Great atmosphere

Cons:

- Exceptional difficult level
- Staggering puzzles that will leave you quite literally clueless
- Music? No excuse for the painfully avarage soundtrack
- Way too linear


McCinsey's Island (Hulk Hogan, Robert Vaughan, Grace Jones) [DVD] [2007]
McCinsey's Island (Hulk Hogan, Robert Vaughan, Grace Jones) [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Hulk Hogan

3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Little Gem!, 19 Jan. 2011
"McCinsey's Island" is not a movie that should be taken seriously. Like at all. That being said, I have quite a lot of fond memories watching this movie as a youngster. The days were too hot to do anything but doze off and watch some movies, so I went down to me local video store, and found this particular movie. The year was 1998, and I had been fascinated by Grace Jones since I was 5 (well, maybe 6) and I knew that she had made a movie recently (1998), and that she had made it with another childhood idol of mine, Hulk Hogan. So, I picked up the VHS, and watched it over ten times that summer! Boy, what memories.

Okay, "McCinsey's Island" is obviously not a cinematic masterpiece. It is very low budget, but the location it was filmed in is in itself incredibly beautiful, and that makes up for a lot of visual shortcomings. Hulk Hogan is not really an actor, and it shows. He's disturbingly stiff, but makes up for it with his... physicality? The guy's immense. Grace Jones still looked stunning, although clearly a bit older (which makes her even more appealing, if that is possible). Grace was clearly having fun with her villainous as Alonso Richter, and she gets it to work. She is really, really funny, and doesn't get credited with that too often. If you only have the typical scary image of miss Jones, you should really pick up this movie.

So, for pathetically nostalgic reasons, I couldn't possible rate this movie with less than three stars. It is fun, and is bound to make you long for those excrutiatingly long and hot summer days.


Just One of Those Things
Just One of Those Things
Offered by Get it in a Jiffy
Price: £4.24

4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Release, 13 Nov. 2010
This budget release by Planet Media is yet another compilation assembled on her early years at Jubilee Records in the early to late `50s.

This compilation collects all of the tracks from her 1958 live album "A Date with Della at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago", which finds the singer at her early peak. She shows great mastery of timeless ballads like "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe", and equally skillful singing on Jazz standards like "All of Me", "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Sometimes I'm Happy". This session will undoubtedly recall Miss Sassy's run at this famed club, and there are some comparisons to be drawn, although, Della remains very much her own throughout the entire album. This is Della at her finest, and it is no wonder why so many of her peers considered her to be one of finest new singers at the time. Everyone from Ella to Sammy, and legends like Frank and Judy, were all equally impressed by her truly unique singing style and often quirky (but great) arrangements. However, the tracks on this release are not assembled in the correct order, and some of them are oddly edited.

The remaining tracks were all recorded for Jubilee Records as well. "Amen" is from the 1958 album of the same name (which was issued on Compact Disc for the first time in 2008), "I Cried for You" was the b-side to her big hit "And That Reminds Me" from 1957 (presented here in an alternate take, and not the version found on the albums "The Jubilee Singles" from 1998, or the two-disc album from Jasmine Record titled "The Jubilee Years", released earlier this summer). It was however issued on the compilation album titled "And That Reminds Me: The Jubilee Years", released by Rhino Records in 1996. "When I Grow too Old to Dream" is a duet with a label mate called Kirk Stuart and it's from 1958. The next five tracks are all from her 1958 blues album, aptly named, "The Story of the Blues", which remains a personal favorite of mine, and the final track "The More I See You" was released as a b-side to the single "In the Meantime" recorded in 1956.

As I wrote, this compilation is just another budget release from a small European label, and its sources are questionable. The sound is okay at best, and the packaging is sparsely done. They did however choose a very beautiful picture of Della for the cover.

Tracks:

"A Date with Della at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago"

01. All of Me
02. Almost Like Being in Love
03. Getting to Know You
04. Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe
05. If I Forget You
06. Just One of Those Things
07. Pennies from Heaven
08. Someone to Watch Over Me
09. Sometimes I'm Happy
10. The Birth of the Blues
11. The Nearness of You
12. The Party's Over

"Various of Tracks All Recorded for Jubilee Records"

13. Amen
14. I Cried for You (Alternate Take)
15. When I Grow too Old to Dream (with Kirk Stuart)
21. The More I See You

"The Story of the Blues"

16. Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)
17. Squeeze Me
18. Stormy Weather
19. Empty Bed Blues
20. Good Morning Blues


Sail Away & O.L.C.
Sail Away & O.L.C.
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: £40.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stritch + Coward = Magic!, 1 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Sail Away & O.L.C. (Audio CD)
"Sail Away" was THE show that both Elaine Stritch and NoŽl Coward needed at the time. After a disasterous run in "Goldielocks", Elaine was tossing back a few a little more frequently, and NoŽl Coward was... what was he doing at the time exactly? Nothing of notice.

So, the story has become a part of Broadway lore, and it is a story that Elaine loves to tell. After a disasterous performance of Goldielocks in Philadelphia, Elaine was getting hammered backstage in her dressing room, and NoŽl consoled by wittingly admitting "that any leading lady who doesn't do a double-take when a nine-foot bear asks her to dance, is my kind of actress". And so she became his muse.

In its initial run, "Sail Away" was a smash on Broadway, but its lack of a real story quickly became its downfall on Broadway. NoŽl moved the show to London, where it became a big hit, and cemented Elaine's status on the London stage. The show itself was reportedly not very good, and was little more than an excuse to show off his new star. That being said - what a star! Elaine Stritch is the only reason why anyone should ever listen to this soundtrack. All of her numbers are the best. From the opening "Come to Me" to the heart-breakingly beautiful "Something Very Strange" with such beautiful sentiments like: "If only I were younger, I'd put ribbons in my hair. Something strange and gay, on this romantic day, seems to be happening to me". Simply magical. But where the show really takes off are with the witty numbers. "Useless Useful Phrases" is NoŽl Coward at his very best, and "Why Do the Wrong People Travel" is quite possible my all-time favorite Broadway tune. Who else but Coward could have come up with lines like: "What compulsion compels them, and who the hell tells them? To drag their clans to Zanzibar, instead of staying quietly in Omaha." Or: "They will take a train or an aeroplane for an hour on the Costa Brava, and they'll see Pompeii on the only day, when it's up to its ass in molten lava".

In short. "Sail Away" wouldn't work today and in 1961, it was already two decades too late. That being said, the show does display its two stars (Coward and Stritch) and their very best, and this particular recording of the London cast, is far superior to the original Broadway cast, so pick this one up instead.


Millicent Martin Sings
Millicent Martin Sings
Price: £8.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Release, 26 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Millicent Martin Sings (Audio CD)
Finally, Millicent Martin has an album credited to her own name. Millicent Martin is a veteran entertainer, having done everything from Broadway to British TV, mention it, and she's done it. She received her first Tony nomination for the musical revue "Sondheim on Sondheim", which was a big success, and her second nomination for "King of Hearts" in 1979. A well-respected actress among her peers, Sondheim himself proclaimed her version of "I'm Still Here" to be the best, and coming from Sondheim himself, that is quite the compliment.

Millicent Martin had a beautiful voice, that felt equally at home singing bluesy standards like "I Got It Bad", to Vaudeville nuggest like "You Made Me Love You". She sings with her entire heart, and she's got a truly lovely vibrato that wraps up her tender readings perfectly. This is her, to my knowledge, only solo recording. I never ever thought that it would be issued on CD, so this was quite a surprise. The sound quality is acceptable, but not pristine. There are a couple of issues, but I really don't care. I have waited for years to have it, so all is forgiven. On a side note: Millicent released a version of "In the Summer of His Years", which peaked at #104 on the pop charts.

Highlights: "You Made Me Love You", "When the World Was Young", "At Sundown" and "Our Language of Love".


Confessions
Confessions
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £7.96

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Collection, 23 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Confessions (Audio CD)
After watching Liza's tragic performance on Oprah the other day, I was scared of what Liza was going to sound like on her first non-cast studio album since 1996. And, well, it sounds like it was recorded just after "Gently". She sounds shockingly good; throaty and controlled. Her voice was tailored for these kind of songs, as they let her wrap her smoky register around them, and never once demanding her to reach a note she could only have dreamed of hitting in recent years.

The selection is interesting. The title track is a relatively unknown song called, well, "Confession", which I had only heard performed by Mabel Mercer. It's a witty track, and it sounds like it could have been written for Liza: "I always go to bed at ten, isn't that a bore? I always go to bed at ten, and then I go home at four". Just magic. She gives a suprisingly good deliverance of Sinatra's "All the Way", and an absolutely different perspective on "At Last". "On Such a Night Like This", she pays a small homage to her mother, and "Remind Me" is equally as enchanting. "Confessions" finds Liza sounding better than she has in years, and I was quite frankly pleasantly surprised by how great she sounded.

This should be an obvious clue to Liza, that this is the kind of material she should be performing, instead of embarrassing herself by singing songs her voice can no longer handle (the Oprah performance being perfect proof of that). But she will, with almost certain guarantee, go back to perform "Cabaret" and "New York, New York" once again...and again.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2010 5:57 PM BST


Stritch
Stritch
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Singer!, 21 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Stritch (Audio CD)
Elaine Stritch stopped the show in the 1954 revival of "On Your Toes", with her rousing rendition of "You Took Advantage of Me". Her great work on that show led to her one and only studio album, which was recorded in 1955. If you only know Elaine's singing abilities from her gravelly renditions of "Broadway Baby", "Why Do the Wrong People Travel" and "The Ladies Who Lunch", then you are in for a great surprise. Elaine could have persued a serious singing career, as she had one hell of a voice back then.

This was released in what I call the "carefree decade of innocence" and this album really does reflect that. Elaine picked songs with topics that most people could relate to; the thrill of love on "The Object of My Obssession", to the bitterness of being used on "You Took Advantage of Me". In between, she delivers some fine moments: "That's the Beginning of the End" is a smoky lounge number that borders nóir, and "If", is an exotic tale about a woman singing to the man she just murdered. The latter's arrangement is particularly thrilling, with it's middle-eastern influence.

This was of course the swinging era of swing, and Elaine belts with the best of them on songs like "That's My Boy", "And the Angels Sings" and "You're Getting to be a Habit with Me". As for her voice, well... It actually surprised me, quite a lot. She sounds incredibly unlike anyone you'll ever hear, and with her own unique characteristics thrown into the mystery pot. I must admit that some of numbers sounded a bit weird being sung without the use of a vibrato, but she's got a lovely deep resonance. This album is most definitely recommended to all who enjoy fine singing by an even finer singer.

Highlights: "The Object of My Affection", "That's the Beginning of the End", "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me" and "You Took Advantage of Me".


Live in Concert
Live in Concert
Offered by beaches_music_canada
Price: £7.09

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curious Release, 6 May 2010
This review is from: Live in Concert (Audio CD)
Indeed. So they basically just ripped the sound from the DVD release of the same name, and added three tracks and some fake applause. Her "One Man Show" is legendary, but the visuals were 70% of the package. It was (and still is) a feast to lay your eyes upon. It is no secret that Grace Jones doesn't have the greatest voice in the business, and I think that is largly why she turned up the echo on her microphone, which she doesn't need in my opinion. She performed most of her most well-known songs, which means you'll get "Pull Up to the Bumper", "La Vie en Rose", "My Jamaican Guy" and so on, but they could have edited it a lot better. That being said, the sound is fine, and it is a thrill to finally have this show on both CD and DVD for the first time. One small note: the last three tracks are not "live" tracks, but audio ripped from the music videos, and some fake applause have been added to make it blend in with the other tracks she performed.

Highlights: "La Vie en Rose", "Pull Up to the Bumper", "Feel Up" and "My Jamaican Guy".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2010 10:36 PM GMT


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