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Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo
Price: £7.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Major late period work, 2 April 2017
This review is from: Turbulent Indigo (Audio CD)
Turbulent Indigo marked Joni Mitchell's return to Reprise Records and along with it's Geffen predecessor Night Ride Home (which to my mind just edges it) this is Mitchell's strongest late period work. The Rock theme has disappeared, instead there's a return to beautiful guitar-led songs featuring strong lyrics and supporting backing from a tight band that remains in the background. There are echoes of Mitchell's folk and jazz origins throughout. Larry Klein plays delicate Bass throughout, and Wayne Shorter adds Soprano Sax to five of the tracks highlighting it's jazz-tinged nature, but often there are no or minimal drums, reminiscent of Hejira, which this album resembles at times and which is a huge plus.

It's hard to pick a standout track because the whole works so well as a journey, just like Hejira. If I had to pick just one track it would be 'The Magdalene Laundries', with Mitchell commenting here on the tragedy of nuns - supposedly kind hearted souls revealing a shocking disregard for 'fallen women'. Mitchell raises her familiar hackles against the pace of 'progress' and the ills of the modern world ('Sex Kills'); and domestic violence ('Not To Blame') - injustice is often called out in her later work. There's plenty about her other major subject too - Love, but here with a twist as it appears to be lost love that raises it's head in 'How Do You Stop', 'Last Chance Lost' and 'The Sire Of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song)' perhaps reflecting her personal relationship with Klein.

This is a major, late period work from Mitchell, always fascinating, always beautifully set with deep lyrics and her own unique guitar tunings to the fore. Klein and Shorter add a lot here. Buy with confidence.

Soul Allnighter: Metropolitan Soul Presents...60's Stompers & 70's Dancefloor Classics
Soul Allnighter: Metropolitan Soul Presents...60's Stompers & 70's Dancefloor Classics
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper catalogue with a smattering of top tracks, 2 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The nice thing about this compilation of Northern Soul and Modern Soul is that it overwhelmingly does not go for the obvious candidates. Yes, there's The Ivories' Please Stay, Jerry Fuller's Double Life, Inspirations' You're Wish Is My Command and Sid Barnes' take on Jerry Cook's I Hurt On The Other Side present but that's just 10% of this good value 40 track compilation. For collectors this is a boon - most of these tracks are deeper catalogue meaning it's a great place to investigate Northern Soul after the usual suspects - although it does feature two tracks from Kev Roberts' Bubbling Under 100 I've not found anywhere else: Just Brothers' Carlena and First Choice's This Is The House (Where Love Died). Northern Soul refuses to die and this 2002 set is built around popular tracks played at The Metropolitan Soul Club, which prides itself on continuing the legacy of both Wigan Casino and Blackpool Mecca - clubs that took quite different directions. The Metropolitan Soul Club is trying to continue those legacies as well as develop its own sound, hence the digging for less familiar tracks. This largely works - the vast majority here are at least very good, many are excellent. If you want to dig further into the genre and are trying to avoid the same tracks repeatedly popping up on easily available compilations this is a fine place to start.

Strategy - Our Tribute To Philadelphia
Strategy - Our Tribute To Philadelphia
Price: £12.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Affectionate updating of former label mates repertoire, 2 April 2017
I was fortunate enough to see The Three Degrees in concert recently and the energy these three ladies put into a show is phenomenal. Post-show it didn't take much thinking to purchase a signed copy of their latest CD, "Strategy - Our Tribute to Philadelphia" with many of these songs performed at the concert. The title tells you much of what you need to know - here are eight affectionate covers of songs made famous by other groups and soloists from the Philadelphia International stable plus an updating of their own T.S.O.P. (The Sound Of Philadelphia) where they backed up MFSB. Seven of the tracks are written by Gamble and Huff, itself a guarantee of quality. The trio - Valerie Holiday, Helen Scott and Freddie Pool blend together very well and take turns soloing, showing off their different strengths. The selection of covers are well chosen to put The Three Degrees' own spin on their former label's classic sounds:

1. Strategy - Archie Bell and The Drells
2. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now - McFadden and Whitehead
3. Me and Mr Jones - Billy Paul
4. Love Train - The O'Jays
5. Disco Inferno - The Trampps
6. If You Don't Know Me By Now - Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
7. Don't Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
8. You'll Never Find Another Love - Lou Rawls
9. T.S.O.P. (The Sound Of Philadelphia) - MFSB featuring The Three Degrees

These are very pleasant updatings of the originals to make them The Three Degrees' own. The production is always clear, if a little clinical at times; the backing band always tight. This is a lovely souvenir of a top concert and a good tribute to a top label.
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Night Ride Home
Night Ride Home
Price: £7.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongest late period album from Mitchell, 24 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Night Ride Home (Audio CD)
Undoubtedly to my mind this is Joni's best album of her four for Geffen and my personal favourite from her later period. Joni's marriage to Larry Klein had seen her develop a Rock theme, but by the time of Night Ride Home there was strain in the relationship, and whilst Klein features prominently on the album and shared production duties it marks a return to the more traditional singer-songwriter mode. Yes, a band often appears but the backing is much more muted, playing a support role to Mitchell's guitar or piano rather than being front and centre as in her first three Geffen efforts. It's a familiar Mitchell stylistically with beautiful guitar work on title track 'Night Ride Home' which opens the album. There's lovely, joyous, whistful looks back on 'Ray's Dad's Cadillac', 'Come In From The Cold' and 'The Only Joy In Town', and contemplation on closer 'Two Grey Rooms' and here it seems you are being given a window into Joni's personality. However there's a developing sense of rallying against injustice particularly in 'Cherokee Louise' and 'Passion Play' which is one of the album's highlights.

This is a very strong album, in my opinion Joni's best since "Hejira" and with the depth of the lyrics and musicianship I'd have no hesitation pointing anyone looking to investigate Mitchell's work a little deeper to this album

Price: £11.89

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to later deeper catalogue, 23 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Misses (Audio CD)
Released simultaneously with "Hits", rather than that compilations' concentration on early period singles "Misses" instead deals with principally late period album tracks, with just three of the 14 tracks from before 1974, giving an overview into Joni's deeper catalogue. Everything here has been personally selected by Joni with the emphasis on personal - there's no attempt to  represent every album, it's just her favourite tracks which produces an excellent if eclectic running order. What this compilation shows is that Mitchell's later period contains many great song which equal her supposed early 70's heyday.

My personal choice for her best late period album "Night Ride Home" is represented by the first two tracks 'Passion Play' and 'Nothing Can Be Done', both strong works, before a shift back 20 years to famous "Blue" track 'A Case Of You'. A couple more tracks from the Geffen era follow with one of the highlights from "Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm" 'The Beat Of Black Wings', and the title track from "Dog Eat Dog". Stylistically this album rings the changes, with Mitchell's jazz period represented by "Mingus" track 'The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey', the title track from "Herjira" and 'Harry's House/Centrepiece' from "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns". These are all standout tracks from their parent albums. Her Rock period largely equates to her time with Geffen, which is also well represented. A good compilation for either those who only know Mitchell's earlier, perhaps more famous work or those looking for a good introduction to her deeper catalogue. 

Stop Making Sense - Restored Edition [DVD] [Region Free]
Stop Making Sense - Restored Edition [DVD] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ David Byrne
Offered by Home Entertainment Online
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best concert film. Ever., 20 Mar. 2017
The best concert film by any band. Ever. A huge claim to make, but the originality of this documentary film shows Talking Heads at their absolute peak. An augmented 9 piece band arrive on an initially empty stage one by one, the set being built around them as the show progresses. David Byrne kicks proceedings off solo with a radical reinterpretation of 'Psycho Killer' - and it just gets better and better from there. 'Found A Job' and 'Slippery People' are just two early highlights, with Chris Frantz's syncopated rhythms driving things along. The excitement is palpable, it's hard not to get drawn into the sheer infectious nature of what's going on in a superbly realised and ordered setlist. There's lots of great dancing, led by Bryne especially  during a spirited 'Burning Down The House', who shows his ability at showmanship of a level that puts many bigger acts to shame. After the starkness of the non-existant set when the lighting effects finally begin they are all the more dramatic. Shadows and back projection are utilised superbly during 'What A Day That Was'. Household lighting joins the set in 'This Must Be The Place'

This is an extremely exciting concert, both musically and visually, capturing far more of the experience of being there than any number of concert films you can think of. The musicianship is exemplary throughout, the sheer audacity of the presentation breathtaking. The standard by which all concert films should be judged.

Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine introduction to the greatest female singer-songwriter ever, 20 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Hits (Audio CD)
It took until 1996 for a first ever Joni Mitchell compilation to arrive, with "Hits" released simultaneously with "Misses" which concentrates on the deeper catalogue. Personally selected by Joni, 13 of the 15 tracks date from 1967-1974 with just two, 'Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody' and 'Come In From The Cold' from her early 1980's tenure at Geffen Records. The selected tracks don't appear in their radio edit versions where cut down for the singles market, rather they are the full album versions, and given that those versions are rarer it might have been a nice nod to the Mitchell collector. What is rare is opening track 'Urge For Going', making it's CD debut here. This 1967 recording didn't see release until 1972 as the B-side of 'You Turn Me On I'm A Radio', also included here.

The concentration of the set is a whizz through Joni's best known - and perhaps best loved - tracks. Signature songs 'Both Sides, Now', 'Woodstock' and 'Big Yellow Taxi are all present and correct. The wonderful 'Carey', and 'California' the two singles from "Blue" are also here, as is album track 'River'. "Court And Spark", her biggest seller is represented by all three singles 'Raised On Robbery', 'Help Me' and 'Free Man In Paris'. There's a dip into tracks made popular as covers by others too with earlier well known tracks 'Chelsea Morning' and 'The Circle Game' included.

This is a compilation undeniably skewed towards Joni's earlier work but it's lovely to have many of her most popular tracks in one place. Her supreme lyricism is amply demonstrated here. For anyone looking for an introduction to the greatest female singer-songwriter ever this is a fine place to start.

Classic Northern Soul
Classic Northern Soul
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some rare classics, some usual suspects and a pleasantly surprising selection from the deeper catalogue, 19 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Classic Northern Soul (Audio CD)
62 largely terrific tracks for just a fiver, exactly half of them registered in Kev Roberts' definite Northern Soul 500 or Bubbling Under 100. What makes this compilation standout however isn't the familiar favourites such as Frank Wilson's 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)', Gloria Jones' 'Tainted Love' (here in the inferior 1976 re-recording), Tony Clarke's 'Landslide' and The Originals' 'Suspicion'; all found in several commonly available sets. It's eight tracks in the Kev Roberts list that I've encountered for the first time despite this being my 30th Northern Soul multiple disc set after fairly recently beginning to appreciate this genre. Those rarer classics are:

Edwin Starr - Agent Double O Soul
The Valentinos - Sweeter Than The Day Before
Prince Phillip Mitchell - I'm So Happy
Kiki Dee - On A Magic Carpet Ride
Kim Weston - Helpless
Linda Jones - My Heart Needs A Break
Terry Callier - Ordinary Joe
Barbara Lynn - Take Your Love And Run

Those tracks make this well worth purchasing for the Northern Soul collector. Of the remaining 31 whilst a few stretch the definition of Northern Soul a little the majority are well worth a listen. As an inclusive genre with a purported 25,000 tracks available in the style a few may have a more 'poppy' sound, but at £5 you really can't loose - whilst there's the occasional dip there's nothing I'd skip. Well worth it for someone building up a Northern Soul collection and trying to avoid the usual suspects.

Soul Man
Soul Man
Offered by PressPlay
Price: £7.88

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compilation for the generalist rather than the purist, 16 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Soul Man (Audio CD)
4 CDs and 80 tracks for just £9.99 ensures that the purchaser will be getting good value for money - although the title 'Soul Man' could be a little misleading. There are plenty of compilations out there concentrating on the labels you would expect to be associated with the soul genre - Motown, Philadelphia, Stax, Volt and Atlantic being the major players. And many of 'the usual suspects' are indeed present and correct - Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder open this collection whilst other very familiar tracks such as Ben E.King's 'Stand By Me', Wilson Pickett's 'In The Midnight Hour', Isaac Hayes 'Theme From Shaft', The Isley Brothers 'This Old Heart Of Mine, and Arthur Conley's 'Sweet Soul Music' are all here - exactly the sort of well-known 1960's floor-fillers you would expect. There's Northern Soul hits too courtesy of Jackie Wilson's '(I Get The) Sweetest Feeling' and Robert Knight's 'Love On A Mountain Top'.

However this collection does not stick to the golden 1960's classics, and it's with the inclusion of 70's and 80's tracks that the definition of Soul gets stretched. I wouldn't class Lionel Richie's 'Hello', Bill Withers' 'Lovely Day', Kool and The Gang's 'Celebration', or Cameo's 'Word Up' as soul for instance, although they are all good tracks. Particularly on Disc 3 the definition and the quality dips, Jermaine Stewart's 'Let's Get Serious', 'Outstanding' by The Gap Band, 'I Found Lovin'' by The Fatback Band and 'Let It All Blow' by Dazz Band aren't anywhere near the superior quality of the tracks mentioned in the first paragraph. Sadly James Brown's 'I Got You I Feel Good' is an inferior live version too, and the inclusion of these tracks are my reason for deducting a star. Nevertheless I'd struggle to find many various artist compilations where the definition of the style supposedly represented isn't stretched somewhat and which didn't feature a certain amount of filler.

Whilst this compilation strays into the realms of Funk, R&B and includes occasional mellow tracks such as Billy Paul's 'Me And Mrs Jones', Timmy Thomas' 'Why Can't We Live Together' and The Commodores 'Three Times A Lady', most of the tracks here are instantly recognisable and guaranteed quality. If you are looking for a classic 60's and early 70's pure soul album there are plenty of better examples to choose from. If however you like a wider range, including tracks that might be described as soulful rather than pure Soul then this has plenty to recommend it.

Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £5.60

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joni's final album, 15 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Shine (Audio CD)
Joni Mitchell's (at present) final album Shine was recorded as part one of a two album deal with Hearmusic, so hopes are still there that a return to fitness might see her break her long silence. For now this politically-themed album from 2007 is her last word. She explains in the liner notes that after a 10 year break from writing she suddenly found inspiration to sit down at the piano and write the instrumental that opens the album 'One Week Last Summer'. Encouraged she continued. Outraged at the quarrying of a hill behind her home she wrote 'This Place'. War in the name of religious zeal is the theme of 'If I Had A Heart'. There's a return to environmental exploitation and corporate greed, familiar Mitchell themes in 'Bad Dreams'; and a quite extraordinary condemnation of the pace of progress and the unfairness of life in one of the album standouts, title track 'Shine'. This is an angry Mitchell, responding to injustice in life. The themes have been covered before but here she leaves no doubt of her feelings for the modern world, the pace of life and greed for greed's sake. The album's centrepiece is a new version of her most revered and respected treatise about ignorance of environmental concerns 'Big Yellow Taxi'. It's a lovely reworking complete with an infectious accordian backing and deserves it's place here.

But Mitchell leaves the best until last with a beautiful musical framing of Rudyard Kipling's famous poem 'If', which perfectly states her spirituality, appreciating the beauty in life and striving to be the best you can be - it acts as a lovely counterpoint to the condemnation that has preceeded it.

This project took shape as a collaboration with the Alberta Ballet and together with a selection of her older music became an environmentally-themed ballet named "The Fiddle And The Drum" named after one of Mitchell's early songs - there are a few clips on YouTube which add an extra perspective.

Joni's last word this may well be, but it's a very strong album. It's undoubtedly her most politicised and her contempt for unbridled 'progress' literally shines through, perhaps informing the title. It's lovely to hear Joni accompanied by a small but well-chosen selection of musicians - including former husband Larry Klein. The beauty of the music, some of Mitchell's most evocative, contrasts starkly with the lyrical content. If this is it, it's a fabulous swansong.

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