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James Baker (Bristol, United Kingdom)

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The Settlers of Catan Board Game - discontinued by manufacturer
The Settlers of Catan Board Game - discontinued by manufacturer
Offered by toptoyhunteruk
Price: £39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Arrived on time was wrapped and un-opened., 9 Aug. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Arrived on time was wrapped and un-opened. Apparently it's gone out of production so did well to get one of the last copies

Casting Crowns
Casting Crowns
Offered by Re-vived
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good first album - it's a bit heavier than you ..., 15 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Casting Crowns (Audio CD)
Good first album - it's a bit heavier than you might expect from a CCM artist, has traces of late 90's poat-grunge/alt-rock in the production. Worth buying for "Voice of Truth" which is one of the best songs they've done

Go West Young Man
Go West Young Man

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 15 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Go West Young Man (Audio CD)
It's OK - the big singles are there the rest of the material is a bit hit-and-miss.

Full Tone OCD
Full Tone OCD

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great piece of kit, 2 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Full Tone OCD
This is a great piece of kit. It's really well built (as it should be because it's far from cheap) and very versatile, is equally at home either as a clean boost or as a valve-style distortion. I'm using it for distortion, paired with an Ibanez Tube Screamer (for clean boost) and the two together (Tube Screamer at the very front of the signal chain with the OCD right behind it) produce a wonderful warm distortion tone but still with great clarity and note definition.

This is version 4 which is slightly different to versions 1 to 3, the treble frequencies are a bit less pronounced and the distortion is less spiky compared to version 3. Some players prefer the earlier versions I personally find the latest one a bit easier to control when playing at a higher volume.

Couple of pointers: this pedal sounds much better with higher-output pickups/humbuckers than it does with your typical single-coils, secondly to really get the best out of it you may wish to consider using it in combination with a clean boost


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giant have re-gained their stature with some style, 27 Mar. 2010
This review is from: PROMISE LAND (Audio CD)
I have to admit that when I first heard the "Promise Land" single on Giant's MySpace page I was not impressed, my apprehension deepened when I read that Dann Huff was no longer a regular band member (although admittedly he has co-written a number of the songs on the album and chips in with a solo or two along the way.) Then a few days to a week later I found some more album samples on YouTube and after hearing the new single a couple more times, not only had this tune become lodged in my brain but so had about six or seven of the others. Make no mistake, this is not another collection of out-takes from the cutting-room floor like "III" but is an all-new collection of originals.

Admittedly the phrase "it's a grower" has been done to death and usually tends to mean that an artist's latest offering is not on a par with their previous releases, but no such worries here! I'm still playing the CD nearly a week after buying it simply because most of the material is very, very strong, in fact almost on a par with material from Giant's earlier albums "Last of the Runaways" and "Time to Burn."

The album's great strength is that although stylistically it's best described as "evolutionary" rather than "revolutionary" (think Time to Burn part II) and the lyrical themes are similar (passion, unrequited/lost love, "keep-the-faith-keep-believing" and "I'm-a-knight-in-shining-armor-I'll-do-whatever-it-takes-for-you") it doesn't sound dated but more like an old-school stadium rock album with modern production.

First single Promise Land is an epic slow-burner which builds to a crescendo towards the end, possibly this may work better as a concert opener than a single as there are more "immediate" songs on the album, having said that after 2 or 3 plays it has grown on me.

There are a number of other "growers" on the album in the same vein (Believer, Never Surrender, Prisoner of Love (which sounds like Chained or Lay it on the Line from the Time to Burn album) Two Worlds Collide (I sense some Last of the Runaways vibes when I hear this one) Plenty of Love and I'll Wait for You) a couple that aren't quite so memorable and could have been left off the album altogether (Double Trouble and the bonus track Complicated Man, which both sound a bit like out-takes or B-sides from earlier releases) and several songs that hit the mark immediately (Through My Eyes (recalling earlier power-ballad Now Until Forever, from Time to Burn) Our Love and Dying to See You (both being similar to Lost in Paradise from the same album.)

Only on the album's closer "Save Me" does the current line-up change tack and dabble in Alternative Rock, repeated listens bring to mind Chickenfoot but that's no bad thing (Chickenfoot, consisting of ex-Van Halen stalwarts Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar plus guitar shred-wizard Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Chad Smith are themselves a band well worth checking out.) I didn't like this song at first but after a couple of plays this is yet another one which has got stuck in my head and now I have to keep going back to it again and again!

Is the album up there with Giant's classic album Last of the Runaways? Not quite, but it's a pretty close call. Admittedly new singer Terry Brock and new guitarist John Roth are not quite as technically gifted as Dann Huff on either vocals or guitar, but they do bring their own distinctive personalities, talents and contributions and it shows. This is one which should definitely be on any rock fan's wish-list.

It's Christmas Time
It's Christmas Time

5.0 out of 5 stars Should have been huge, 5 Feb. 2009
This review is from: It's Christmas Time (Audio CD)
"It's Christmas Time" definitely stands up to many of Quo's better-known hits, in fact it's probably their strongest single release for about 20 years; it has a big, uplifting, immediate chorus and comes complete with all the bells and whistles (well, sleigh bells at any rate.)

It also bears more than a passing resemblance to Wizzard's "I Wish It Could be Christmas" and on paper it would seem that the single had all the right ingredients to at the very least hit the top 10.

Alas, yet again the boat was missed in spectacular style; poor marketing, a woeful over-reliance on physical sales (it proved impossible to find this in the shops thanks mainly to the collapse of Woolworths whose supplier had previously delivered physical items to major retailers such as HMV) coupled with an almost total lack of airplay (of all the major stations only Radio 2 played this and only then after the all-important first week when the single had already bombed!) meant that despite being the eighth-highest selling single in terms of physical sales, "Its Christmas Time" went almost totally un-noticed in the all-important download sector.

A tremendous missed opportunity.

Chicago XXX
Chicago XXX

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 21 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Chicago XXX (Audio CD)
I can't understand so many of the negative reviews this has had, particularly on Amazon. OK there are a few faults if you look hard enough; granted, some of the production is a bit plasticky and over-slick and some may also argue that the sound is quite dated. However hearing some of the clips convinced me to look beyond the doubters and order my copy and I don't regret it for one minute.

The opening track "Feel" (although sounding a bit artificial & over-produced) immediately grabs your attention and while it isn't exactly a mini-earthquake it is catchy, tailor-made for radio and makes you want to go back for more. Likewise with "King of Might Have Been" (which generates more than the odd echo of Hard Habit to Break) "Caroline" (a very catchy and radio-friendly old-school power-ballad) "Love Will Come Back" (another retro-style power ballad which is reminiscent of Peter Cetera's "Glory of Love" in places) and "Where Were You" (80s soft-rock with a slightly funky twist)

On the second-half of the album "90 Degrees and Freezing" and "Already Gone" are also stand-out tunes (the latter track works well despite sounding like an odd mix of Level 42 meets acid-jazz and rock) managing to combine a modern production, some 80s sounds and the style of late 60s and early 70s Chicago in the same vein, while again making engaging listening.

Overall, although XXX has a whiff of cosy familiarity and is stylistically very similar to 18, 19 and 21, it actually beats all 3 albums at their own game and ends up giving 17 a good run for its money purely because the songs themselves are very, very strong.

Well worth buying, particularly if you like 1980s-era Chicago.

Rock Til You Drop
Rock Til You Drop

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but could have been so much better, 16 Feb. 2008
This review is from: Rock Til You Drop (Audio CD)
Having shot themselves in the foot with a succession of below-par albums in the 1980s, Quo began to reassert themselves firstly with a series of high-profile concerts (including the Rock Till You Drop event which earnt them a place in the Guinness Book of Records) secondly with this album featuring the same title as their marathon stint playing 4 cities in a day. It's a partial return to form; the guitars are higher in the mix, the drums/bass are loud and much of the first half of the album roars out of the traps like a hare on speed at a greyhound meet: Like a Zombie, One Man Band and even the re-recording of "Can't Give You More" (although deemed un-neccessary by some fans) display an aggression and energy which rolls back the years (most of the band were in their early 40s by this point.)

On the flip side, the quality of the album is seriously diluted & diminished by far too many un-necessary covers and even more so by the baffling re-recording of the dreadful, saccharine and utterly annoying love-ballad "Tommy" from 1989's Perfect Remedy album (come on guys, once was bad enough!) What grates most is that the four B-sides/unreleased tracks (Heavy Daze, Mysteries from the Ball, Dead in the Water and Better Times) were far, far stronger than songs like Fame or Money, Good Sign and Nothing Comes Easy which DID end up on the album.

Take a hypothetical track-listing: Like a Zombie, All We Really Wanna Do, Fakin' the Blues, One Man Band, Rock Till You Drop, Can't Give You More, Warning Shot, No Problems, Heavy Daze, Mysteries from the Ball, Dead in the Water, Better Times.

With a track-listing along those lines (covers & re-recordings omitted and the B-sides included instead of the three album tracks mentioned earlier) I suspect this would have been hailed as a classic album and up there with Quo's very best. As things stand, a good effort and still worth buying but very much a case of much less would have been a great deal more.


3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Tamplin's better efforts, 3 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Tamplin (Audio CD)
I was happy with the service when buying this album second-hand (it arrived promptly and was in as specified condition so 4 stars for the service) but less happy with the content (2 stars) giving an average rating of 3.

"Tamplin" might stack up OK against most Rock/Metal albums of its era; the main gripe I have is that musically it isn't a patch on some of Ken Tamplin's other work; overall the album is less well-written, has a few too many blues-rock cliches and is too repetitive in places; having said that there is still some good instrumentation and a few good solos to enjoy if you're patient.

If you're new to Tamplin, this collection is really only suitable for die-hard fans and I would reccommend checking out his other projects such as Shout (80s glam-rock) Magdallan (stadium-rock turned experimental) or 2003's "Wake The Nations" (a RIDICULOUSLY good album featuring superb songwriting, big-time wig-outs/rock jams and stunning guitar solos played by guest musicians including Reb Beach, Kee Marcello, Richie Kotzen and Marty Friedman.)

Last Train
Last Train
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £48.06

5.0 out of 5 stars A stirring effort from one of the best bands you've never heard of, 3 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Last Train (Audio CD)
Unless you're familiar with the whole Christian Metal scene, chances are you'll never have heard of Holy Soldier although you may have heard of some of their more illustrious counterparts such as Stryper, Kings X or newer bands such as POD or Incubus.

"Last Train" is a darker and heavier effort than Holy Soldier's eponymous debut, although it has to be said that all 3 of their albums are well worth getting if you can still track them down. Stylistically it bridges the gap between the tail end of the 80s hair-metal/glam-rock era and the Alternative styles of the mid-90s; some songs (Crazy, Dead End Drive) are more hair-metal while others (including the stirring, apocalyptic finale "Last Train") sit more comfortably in the latter camp.

What's remarkable is the sheer guts and passion with which so much of the material is delivered (and I have rarely heard any secular or Christian band play with so much conviction) - pounding opener Virtue & Vice comes straight from the heart, while I would challenge anyone to listen to "Tuesday Mourning" and still have dry eyes at the end.

This is marginally the strongest of Holy Soldier's 3 albums but either their debut release or 1995's Promise Man are also great efforts.

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