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Morten Vindberg (England)

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Reviewing The Situation
Reviewing The Situation
Price: £8.83

4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine and Ambitious Album, 5 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Reviewing The Situation (Audio CD)
"Reviewing the Situation" was Sandie Shaw's last album released in the sixties. More than a decade would go before she, in 1982, released her next album, "Choose Life". "Reviewing the Situation" was Shaw's most ambitious album release so far, and also an attempt to escape the teenage pop-girl image. The sleeve notes tell that the album was partly recorded in secrecy as her managee would hardly have approved Shaw's attempt at changing her image.

Sandie Shaw produced herself, and the songs are a selection of her personal favorites, ranging really wide. Along with her highly competent band, she offers fine versions of songs that in most cases will be well-known in their original versions.

Not all ten tracks on the album come out quite convincingly, but in most cases Shaw manages to give the songs something new and interesting. Among the very best to find a great version of Led Zeppelin's "Your Time is Gonna Come" - great both vocally and instrumentally. Her version of the old "Walking the Dog" is probably the best version I have heard so far - I actually never thought very much of the song. Sandie’s version is very soulful.
Also good versions of "Coconut Grove" (Lovin Spoonful), Donovan’s "Oh Gosh" and "Mama Roux" (Dr. John). Actually, only "Sympathy for the Devil" falls short for me - it simply fails to convince.

On this edition 10 bonus tracks are added. The first two are very simply arranged versions "Frank Mills" (from Hair) and Paul McCartney's "Junk". Both convincingly performed - especially "Frank Mills" is a gem.

Three singles from the period are also found - all three disappointed in the charts. The best of the three I find "Wight is Wight" which could have deserved greater recognition - but time was running out for that type of musical arrangements - in fact more or less what Shaw pointed out with "Reviewing the Situation".

A few reputable B-sides of Chris Andrews, who used to pen Shaw’s A-sides and several big hits. The last two bonus tracks are outtakes from the recording of the album - "Fool on the Hill", should have been included - eg. instead of "Sympathy for the Devil".

A fine album from one of the most characteristic female voices in England in the 1960s.


The Best Of The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12
The Best Of The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Creative Dylan., 6 Jan. 2016
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The Cutting Edge is an impressive collection of unreleased songs, outtakes, rehearsals and alternate versions of songs from his first three electric albums "Bringing It All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde" - undoubtedly the most productive and creative period of his career.

The sound is mostly super and many tracks are so complete that they could have earned release on one the official albums - here it must be added that none, however, surpasses the known versions; though a couple come close.

It is interesting to note how different many of these until now unknown versions are compared to the known versions. In several cases the beat is very different; e.g. "Just Like a Woman" which is almost like a completely different song. Also "Visions of Johanna" changed quite a bit along the way before it became the stunning ballad known from "Blonde on Blonde" - here it is in an up-beat rocking version.

Among the songs that never found way to an official release is especially "She's Your Lover Now" a gem. The version here is a little more subdued than the version released on "The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991" in 1991. Both versions are great and both crashing towards the end - unfortunately. Especially sad that Dylan never completed thw song.

"Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence" might have been a fine addition to "Highway 61 Revisited", but perhaps it was found a little too similar to some of the other songs; also the album had already quite a long playing time.

A few songs were initially only known in other people's versions; including "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" by Manfred Mann and "Farewell, Angelina" with Joan Baez.

Also interesting to get an insight in how Dylan continually adjusted his lyrics and how he constantly played with words and language


Something Has Happened! 1967-1969
Something Has Happened! 1967-1969
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Band, 12 Jun. 2015
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This was a great band. Some albums were somewhat uneven. On this collection "Something Happening" is by far the strongest, while "Goin' to Memphis" is rather disappointing.


Evolution To Revolution: 5 Classic Albums
Evolution To Revolution: 5 Classic Albums
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £24.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Great Albums, 31 May 2015
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This beautiful Raven Records release contains five of the best albums from Paul Revere & the Raiders. The sound is really great and the fine productions especially the last three albums really come to their right.

The group had in its heyday an image that was often often a bit problematic, as they (especially Mark Lindsay) had the ambition to be taken seriously as creative artists. Producer Terry Melchior was the man who helped stimulating and realizing these ambitions.

There is a clear development to discover from "Here We Come" from 1965 to the highly ambitious "Revolution" of 1967. All five albums are in their own ways worthwhile, with the first two perhaps belong most to the category og garage rock and the three following could rasther be called psych rock. The melodic catchy element is consistent on all five albums.

There are fine notes with background information on the group written by Ian McFarlane on the 12 page booklet. No bonus tracks are included for any of the five albums, so if you want interesting non-album releases, too, I can recommend the 3 CDs set "The Complete Columbia Singles"


Collected
Collected
Price: £14.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Collection of Songs from a Great Songwriter, 18 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Collected (Audio CD)
This comprehensive 3 CD collection of Gerry Rafferty recordings should not leave any doubt in the listener that Rafferty was very fine songwriter; who at times wrote some great outstanding songs. The reason he never reached sustained star status, may be due to his vocals which often appear a little too "nice" and rarely come out daring or just slightly provocative. He voice is by no means weak or bad and it can recall both Emitt Rhodes and Rick Nelson to your mind. Rafferty's personal image was in many ways reminiscent of his vocal; the nice and comfy. Paradoxically, when you consider that Rafferty private life often was marked by major personal problems.

Rafferty's first golden period was with the group Stealers Wheel with whom he released three albums. Logically, this CD collection leaves room for this period with six songs from the excellent debut album, especially remembered for "Stuck in the Middle" and "Late Again". The also excellent second album "Ferguslie Park" contributes five songs while the last, and slightly paler album, "Right or Wrong" makes do with three songs.

From Rafferty's long solo career much emphasis is put on the classic and well-rounded album "City to City", which even contains the classic "Baker Street". There are fine songs on all Rafferty's other albums, but the only threat for the title of the best must be "North and South" from 1988, which also contributes with six tracks.

Among the later and lesser-known albums "Over My Head" is also worth noting; not least because of the Marshall Crenshaw like "The Girl's Got No Confidence".

The earliest songs recorded with the group "Humblebums" are quite good, but may appear a little fresh and unfinished; Rafferty also chose to re-record several of these songs for later albums.


Collected
Collected
Price: £14.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Hours of Fine Entertainment,, 18 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Collected (Audio CD)
I originally became interested in Iain Matthews because of his history with Fairport Convention, where he was a member on the first three albums.

It was especially his two early Vertige albums I listened to quite a lot with great tracks like "Reno Nevada", "Morgan The Pirate", "Thro 'My Eyes," "Close The Door Lightly When You Go" and "Tigers Will Survive ". On "If You Saw Thro 'My Eyes" was Matthews was supported by several Fairport friends and his duet with Sandy Denny on "Thro' My Eyes" is fantastic.

Later, I lost a little interest in Matthews and his nice but not particularly remarkable vocal.

When I came across this comprehensive 3 CD retrospective collection, I thought it could be interesting to dig a little in what Matthews had achieved since the 1970s.

The first two CDs concentrate on Matthews' solo releases, while the third CD contains examples of what Matthews recorded in other contexts; e.g. groups Fairport Convention, Plainsong and Matthews Southern Comport. It's all presented in chronological order.

On disc 1 you will find numbers from the aforementioned Vertigo albums (Matthews' second and third solo album) - I would have exchanged "Da Do Ron Ron" with "Morgan the Pirate", but otherwise these songs are well-chosen. The CD follows Matthews throughout the 1970's with 21 tracks: only the last "Like Dominoes" from 1990 falls outside that decade. "Like Dominoes" is actually one of the best tracks on this CD - a nice pop rocker. Otherwise, there are several quite forgettable tracks and only "Seven Bridges Road" and "Old Man at the Mill" caused excitement.

Judging from CD 2, it seems as if Matthews in the 1990s, had got new inspiration, for besides the fact that his voice over time has matured and has become markedly more personal, his songwriting also seems very inspired. Especially songs from the 1990 album "Pure and Crooked" stand out; besides "Like Dominoes", these are "A Hardly Innocent Mind" and "Rains of '62".

From 1993 album "Skeleton Keys" comes the delicate "God's Empty Chair" and Matthews 1994 cover of Tim Buckley's "Morning Glory" works fine too.

There are also great songs from the 1996 album "Good Looked Down" - especially the title track. Generally I find CD 2 much more consistent than the first CD.

Consistent you can hardly call CD 3, with its time-span of 40 years; in turn, this CD is very entertaining and even if you might have liked a little more profiled production on some of the songs the tracks from the groups Plainsong, Matthews Southern Comfort and the other musical contexts Matthews has been involved in, in most cases are very good.

With no less than 57 tracks, it's not a collection, where you easily get an overview, and it is a release that allows for fine entertainment for many hours.


There Are But Four Small Faces
There Are But Four Small Faces
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £13.62

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Albums, 17 Dec. 2014
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This was the American version of The Small Faces' first Immediate album. As was often the practice at thetime, the precaution was taken in America to ensure that the artists’ singles were includes on the albums and moreover there were often fewer numbers on these albums. This meant that in several cases more albums could be released than in Europe. This phenomenon is known from many of the greatest acts of the time like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. Whether there was similar ulterior motives behind this Small Faces release is uncertain; in any case, there were no extra Small Faces albums released, although actually only 12 tracks were put on "There Are But Four Small Faces" and seven tracks from the European version were omitted.

At any rate, "There Are But Four Small Faces" is a great album; one of the greats of this era. The three singles "Tin Soldier", "Here Come the Nice" and "Itchycoo Park" are great classics, and the two B-sides "I'm Only Dreaming" and "I Feel Much Better", which were not included on the European version, are both charming psych-pop mixed with a good portion soul. This applies by the way to the whole album, where no tracks fall through.

But is there really a need for this release when now all tracks are also found on the deluxe edition of the European album. Maybe not – but personally as a big fan of the group, I think it is fine and lovely addition to the music collection and to a very reasonable price. Some bonus tracks are previously unreleased versions or at least hard to find.

There are both a stereo and mono CD, and in some case there are quite marked differences between the two versions. Also a fine booklet with relevant and interesting information. And yes, the music some great – as crystal clear as it gets.


The Anthology 1964 - 1971
The Anthology 1964 - 1971
Price: £33.06

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for All Music Lovers, 3 Dec. 2014
This new 5 CD box with the Kinks covers only their Pye period from 1964 to 1971. Many may wonder how there may be need for yet another compilation/box with the Kinks. The answer to this question I will leave up to the individual music listener, and simply note that I personally am very pleased with the release. As other reviewers have noted, the packaging is not particularly convenient for keeping the CDs ngood shape, but it is quite handy and containing a nice colorful book with important information about the individual tracks.

To protect CDs from the very narrow cardboard pockets, I recommend that you get for them five seperate jewel-cases.

The music is, of course, excellent, and many tracks are found in new clearer mixes giving them a more open sound.

There are several previously unreleased tracks and various other rarities distributed over all five CDs which are chronologically set up.

For me, the biggest scoops are "Pictures in the Sand" for the first time here on CD in the vocal version. Also 'Till Death Us Do Part' has not previously been released on CD. Most tracks from the legendary collection "The Great Lost Kinks" is incidentally included. Also "Did You See His Name" from "The Kinks Kronikles" is here with a alternative ending.

Some tracks contain a little studio chatter, and there is an interview with the group from 1964 and one with Ray Davies from 1968, where he talks about "The Village Green Preservation Society".

For new fans of the group, this must be a treasure trove of fine music, from one of the greatest acts of the 1960s; I will not hesitate to equate them with the Beatles, while connoisseurs of the group will be able to enjoy the previously mentioned rarities while getting an opportunity to re-consult the many great songs Ray Davies wrote during this incredibly creative period of his career.


Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround / Percy
Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround / Percy
Price: £12.63

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scoop, 18 Oct. 2014
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Apart from the movie soundtrack "Percy" which I would call a solid 4 star album, I won’t hesitate to rate all the Kinks's Pye albums for sure 5 star albums. "Lola Versus Powerman & the Moneygoround" may not be in the category of "The Village Green Preservation Society" , but it has more than enough to deserve all five stars.

Like its predecessor, "Arthur" the album is a concept album with a critical focus on the music industry. But the important thing is that the album contains a wealth of fine songs. In addition to the two classic hits "Lola" and "Apeman" you will find the very beautiful "Get Back in the Line", which was regular on the group's repertoire in the 1970’s. Also, "This Time Tomorrow" and the ballad "A Long Way From Home" are personal favorites. Among the more thematic songs "The Moneygoround" is both funny and biting. Dave Davies delivers one of his very best songs, "Strangers", which both musically and lyrically is simply great.

Among the bonus tracks the two "new" songs are surprisingly good and sound pretty finished. They may not add anything decisively new, and it easy to understand that they were not selected in the first place; both numbers, though, could easily have lifted on the sequel "Percy". The slightly pompous ballad "Anytime" is not bad, while "The Good Life" is more like a classic Kinks rocker.

"Percy", which in this deluxe version of the "Lola" functions as bonus CD, is in itself an excellent album which, however, is weakened by some uninteresting instrumentals; particularly the version of "Lola" is somewhat annoying.

Otherwise, I prefer to focus on the marvelous songs "God's Children", "Moments" and "The Way Love Used to Be". Also "Dreams" belongs in the fine end. "Animals in the Zoo" with its Bo Diddley beat, also works fine while "Willesden Green", sung by John Dalton, is a good song that might mostly have been recorded for fun.

Among the lesser-known tracks the waltzy "Just Friends" is a typical soundtrack number. "Completely" sounds almost like a "Fleetwood Mac" instrumental, while "Helga" really is both melodic and catchy.

As a whole, this release is really a scoop with alternative single versions of familiar songs and a few outtakes.


Hokey Pokey
Hokey Pokey
Price: £5.90

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Musically Varied Album, 11 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Hokey Pokey (Audio CD)
Richard and Linda Thompson's second album "Hokey Pokey" of 1975 is stylistically more varied than its predecessor "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight", which was mostly folk-rock in the vein of Fairport Convention or Richard Thompson's own first solo album. On "Hokey Pokey" musical inspirations are also pulled in Music-hall and to some extent in pub-singalongs.
There is several cases a remarkable contrast between Thompson's often somber and serious lyrics and the upbeat sing-along tunes. In conclusion, not the album does not appear as seamless as "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight", which for me was the ultimate release from the duo.

On the title track "Hokey Pokey" you find the familiar folk-rock sound - lovely spiced with Thompson's distinctive guitar playing - the song is also a good example of Thompson's deliberate choice of contrasting lyrics and melody. One of the album's strongest tracks, and a song that would fit nicely in on the first album.

Very strong is also "Never Again" sung by Linda. The song is written in the light of the tragic accident that killed Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Richard's then girlfriend Jeannie.

Lead vocals are spread evenly between the two, who in most cases harmonize greatly in the choruses. Besides Richard himself the rock-solid band consists of Simon Nicol, Pat Donaldson, Timi Donald, John Kirkpatrick and Ian Whiteman, who all in varying degrees were part of the early Fairport community.


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