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50 The Golden Jubilee Album
50 The Golden Jubilee Album

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth buying for the first 12 tracks alone!, 4 July 2014
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What a great joy it was to see the Seekers live in concert on their recent 50th anniversary tour. They sounded as good as ever and it was particularly wonderful to see Judith Durham performing again after her illness last year. She is a truly great singer.
I bought this just for the first 12 tracks because I already had all the others (and more) on the excellent collection All Bound For Morningtown (Their EMI Recordings 1964-1968), which I would also recommend.
The group sang many of these 12 tracks at their recent concerts and the great thing is that they are all just as good as anything they recorded back in the 1960s. They include great covers of songs like the Beatles' In My Life and the Bee Gees' Massachusetts and a lot of other excellent songs that were previously unknown to me like Gotta Love Someone, The Bush Girl, Far Shore and I Am Australian.
I appreciate the Seekers far more now than I did in their heyday when I was more into the likes of the Beatles, the Who, the Stones and the Kinks. Judith's uniquely beautiful voice supported by Athol, Bruce and Keith's harmonies add up to a sensational sound, and the songs themselves are just fabulous.
This album, together with All Abound For Morningtown and Judith's solo album Colours Of My Life, are constantly on my playlist these days. However, if you just want one Seekers album, this Golden Jubilee album is probably the best choice.

Price: £11.91

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful set from two of the best guitarists on the planet!, 4 Mar. 2013
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I was lucky enough to hear Tommy and Martin play all of the material from this album on the first night of their 'The Colonel and the Governor' tour last Saturday. What a great gig! Two master musicians at the top of their game smiling, laughing and joking their way through a marvellous two hour set. I already knew how brilliant Tommy was, but I was very impressed with Martin's performance too. This album serves as a nice memento of the event.

Being a studio album, it doesn't quite capture the atmosphere of the live performance, although you do get to hear a few laughs and verbal exchanges. However, it does present 14 great tracks played in perfect harmony with all the feeling and technical brilliance to be expected from this duo. Overall, the style leans slightly more towards Martin's jazzy material but both players exert their influence and they complement each other beautifully.

I have practically all of Tommy's recordings. This one is more like Just Between Frets, a jazz-oriented album recorded with Frank Vignola, or Happy Hour, in which Tommy duets with Jim Nichols, than other more typical Tommy albums such as The Mystery, Endless Road or Little By Little. The latter are my favourites and I would recommend anyone new to Tommy to start with them.

However, The Colonel and The Governor is a good album in its own right, full of classic songs given a fresh twist. I won't review every song but I particularly enjoyed A Smooth One, True (a lovely Martin Taylor composition), Secret Love (the old Kathy Kirby hit, on which Tommy plays a lot of great harmonics), Wonderful Baby (Don McLean's beautiful melody) and I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (the theme tune of the BBC's Film Programme). Every track is a little gem.

Any of Tommy or Martin's fans will love this set, as will anybody who just loves great fingerstyle guitar. All in all, this is a delightful album. Go and hear them play live if you can, but do yourself a favour and get this album anyway!

Minstrel Song
Minstrel Song
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.71

5.0 out of 5 stars GORGEOUSLY REMINISCENT OF EVA CASSIDY, 3 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Minstrel Song (Audio CD)
Eva Cassidy fans are likely to enjoy this lovely album. Eva was an avid fan of Grace Griffith and often attended her concerts. Grace encouraged Eva's career, visited her when she was ill and sang at her memorial service.

Not only does Grace sing with a beautiful voice which is sometimes reminiscent of Eva's, but her choice of material is excellent. Every song on this album is a winner, but I particularly enjoyed her versions of Bruce Cockburn's Wondering Where The Lions Are, Iris Dement's My Life and the traditional Kind Friends and Companions. Just occasionally, Grace reminds me of Sandy Denny, for example in some of her phrasings and inflections on Half Moon Bay.

I am delighted to have found a singer who has her own beautiful and distinctive style, yet who reminds me of my two all-time favourite female singers, Eva Cassidy and Sandy Denny. Grace, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, surely deserves much greater recognition than she has received to date. I hope it doesn't come too late as in Eva's case. I can heartily recommend this album and I intend to catch up with all of Grace's other recordings.

Gordon Lightfoot - Talking In Your Sleep
Gordon Lightfoot - Talking In Your Sleep
Dvd ~ Gordon Lightfoot
Offered by Oakfield35
Price: £9.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 1972 live perfomance by Gordon Lightfoot!, 6 July 2012
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This seems to be the only DVD available that captures Gordon Lightfoot in his prime and it's a real treat for his fans. It comprises 16 songs performed live at the BBC in 1972, including favourites such as If You Could Read My Mind, Steel Rail Blues, Early Morning Rain and Canadian Railroad Trilogy. Gordon is in great voice throughout and is ably supported by the excellent Red Shea on guitar and Rick Haynes on bass. Apart from the joy of watching Gordon perform at the height of his powers, it is also good to hear him chatting and joking with the audience at the intimate BBC venue.

Gordon Lightfoot is one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the 20th century, a writer of engaging lyrics combined with a wonderful gift for melody and a velvet voice. I love all kinds of music, everything from the Beatles and the Red Hot Chili Peppers through Fairport Convention and Adele to Mozart and Beethoven but Gordon Lightfoot's albums are among the most treasured in my collection. I particularly adore the albums he made in the 1970s including If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, Old Dan's Records, Don Quixote, Cold on the Shoulder, Summer Side of Life and Summertime Dream. I would recommend those albums to anybody! Many of the others he made are pretty darn good too.

I would describe Gordon's style broadly as contemporary folk, mixed with folk-rock and a little bit of country. If you are into Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Johnny Cash, you'll probably love Gordon too because he's like a blessed blend of all three of them - yet he has his own distinctive, rich and unmistakable style. I think I first discovered him in about 1972 when someone lent me a copy of Old Dan's Records. His words and music and his beautiful voice have been moving me ever since. If you are a fan you will love this DVD. If not, do yourself a favour and start buying his albums!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 12, 2014 5:49 PM BST

Don't Stop Singing
Don't Stop Singing
Offered by onepeecd
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful album that Sandy Denny fans should cherish, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: Don't Stop Singing (Audio CD)
This beautiful album has given me the double joy of bringing to life the lyrics of the late great Sandy Denny and introducing me to the wonderful talent of Thea Gilmore.
Sandy Denny has been my favourite female singer ever since I first heard her performing with Fairport Convention in 1969. She was one of a kind who has left a treasure of material, most notably on Unhalfbricking and Liege And Lief by Fairport. Her song "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" from Unhalfbricking has been voted the best folk song ever written and it's certainly one of my all time favourite songs.
Thea Gilmore is a very fine singer herself on the evidence of this album, and she has done a simply wonderful job of setting Sandy's lyrics to music. I doubt if Sandy could have done any better herself but sadly we will never know. I particularly love the happy sounds of "London" but every track on this album is delightful.
I've already ordered another of Thea's albums and I suspect it won't be the last.
As for those who have awarded this album one star, they must be from a different planet, or living in the past, or deaf or on something strange. I loved Sandy as much as anybody and I'm delighted with this brilliant album. Buy it!

John Williams - The Guitarist
John Williams - The Guitarist
Price: £9.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collection, highly recommended!, 1 Feb. 2012
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This is a superb bargain - the best collection of classical guitar music I've seen, played masterfully by the best classical guitarist I've heard - a blissful mix of popular classics and contemporary favourites.
I love the music of contemporary acoustic guitarists like Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Simpson, but when it comes to classical guitar, no-one does it better than John Williams.
Highly recommended!

December Moon
December Moon
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £12.41

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful contemporary folk mixed with Americana & Elvis Costello!, 26 Jan. 2012
This review is from: December Moon (Audio CD)
The Henry Girls are three very talented sisters from Donegal who sing great harmonies and play multiple instruments including fiddle, harp, piano, guitar, mandolin and bodhran among others.
They've been around for a few years, but I only discovered them recently supporting Cara Dillon on tour and enjoyed every minute of their performance.
Initially, they give the impression that they are going to play traditional Irish music, but this is quite misleading. While they do play some traditional material, including the odd jig and reel, they sing many of their own compositions, which I would describe as contemporary folk in a similar vein to Cara Dillon, but they also embrace a range of other styles including Americana e.g. songs by the Andrews Sisters and on this album they even give their own unique take on Watching the Detectives by Elvis Costello.
I'm a big fan of artists who mix traditional and contemporary folk, such as Cara Dillon, The Corrs and Fairport Convention. If you have similar leanings, you will probably enjoy this album.

The Crimson Petal and the White [DVD]
The Crimson Petal and the White [DVD]
Dvd ~ Romola Garai
Price: £6.31

15 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great, if you need something truly depressing, 20 Jan. 2012
I am definitely not among those who think this seedy and depressing little tragedy is the bee's knees. I was sucked in by its great cast, but I wish I'd walked the dog instead.
Gillian Anderson was the prime attraction for me. Brilliant as Lady Dedlock in the BBC's marvellous Bleak House and equally fascinating as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, she is typically entertaining as Mrs Castaway, but she only has a bit part. The same is true of Richard E. Grant as Dr Curlew.
Romola Garai is a talented actress who I have enjoyed in several dramas such as Emma and The Hour. She gives a convincing performance as Sugar, the prostitute who grasps at the opportunity to better her lot when the selfish, pathetic William Rackham pays her attention.
Chris O'Dowd is hilarious in the IT Crowd and I wanted to see him do well in a straight role, but I couldn't take him seriously as Rackham. He lacked the depth and just wasn't nasty enough to play the part convincingly. On this evidence he should stick to comedy. He would be perfect for Carry On Up The Crimson Petal if they ever make it.
I hung in to the end, hoping it would get better, hoping for some redemption, hoping it would have something meaningful to say. I waited in vain. It was just one depressing scene after another without relief.
This is decidedly post-watershed fare. Some nudity was to be expected given the subject matter, but I really didn't want to see explicit scenes of anyone squatting over a pot and wiping their backside. Anyone who argues this to be essential to the plot is deluded. It's just gross. It was more worthy of a pornographer than a public service broadcaster. The actress in question needn't have stooped to this. (No pun intended).
This drama was tragic on several levels, not least in terms of the four hours of my life I will never get back.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2012 12:23 AM GMT

Urban Echoes Vol. 1
Urban Echoes Vol. 1
Price: £10.76

5.0 out of 5 stars A great fingerstyle guitar album by the Welsh Tornado, 5 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Urban Echoes Vol. 1 (Audio CD)
I'm happy to be first to review this fine guitar instrumental album, which I picked up after seeing Gareth perform live with Tommy Emmanuel last month.
I love fingerstyle guitar and, being a mediocre guitarist myself, I know enough about the instrument to appreciate the technical wizardry of the top players. Tommy Emmanuel is my all time favourite guitarist, a truly amazing live performer whose albums such as Endless Road and The Mystery are among my most played.
I tend to divide my favourite players into two groups.
First, there are those who are not only technically brilliant but also make music that I love to listen to, such as Tommy Emmanuel, Phil Keaggy, Chet Atkins and Martin Simpson.
Then there are the equally brilliant guitarists whose playing I admire but whose music doesn't thrill me quite so much, such as Don Ross, Andy McKee, Michael Hedges and Lenny Breau. For instance, I am one of the 40 million or so who have watched Andy McKee playing Drifting on YouTube. He's great to watch, but I'm not so enamoured with his music.
On the evidence of his live performance and this album, Gareth now belongs in my first group.
I think one of the secrets of success for any of these players is to mix original compositions with a good selection of cover versions. Gareth gets this just right in his live show and on this album. A highlight of his live set is his lively performance of Jacko's Billie Jean, complete with moonwalk! It is fascinating to observe fingerstyle guitarists take well known songs and rearrange them for solo guitar. Gareth does a great job of this on Buddy Holly, Paranoid Android, Time to Pretend and Thriller in addition to Billie Jean, not to mention an excellent cover of the old Merle Travis tune Blue Smoke. I would love to hear Gareth re-interpreting a few Beatles' songs, maybe Strawberry Fields Forever or A Hard Day's Night.
I got to enjoy Don Ross playing live a number of years ago and purchased Huron Street at the event. There are some good compositions on that album but several of the others are pretty dull. If Don had mixed his better compositions with a few good covers, it could have been a great album instead of being just OK. Gareth hasn't made that mistake.
In fact, Gareth's own compositions are just as pleasing as the covers. Numbers like Chinese Whispers, Little Rogue, My Fragile Dancer and Beauty of Discipline demonstrate an abundance of imaginative musical ideas and a strong gift for melody.
Guitar and fiddle are combined to good effect on Every Time We Fall, which reminds me of some material on Beyond Nature by Phil Keaggy, a long standing favourite guitar album.
Adrenaline Rush, played at breakneck speed, is one of those numbers where the artist apparently tries to cram as many notes as possible into the time available while still somehow remaining tuneful. It works nicely. By the way, isn't that Tommy Emmanuel shouting "Wow" at the end of the recording?
I'm beginning to understand why Tommy wrote "The Welsh Tornado" for Gareth and included it on his recent album Little By Little. I'm delighted to have discovered his talent for myself and I look forward to hearing more of him in the future.
All in all, I'm loving this album and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in great acoustic guitar playing.

The Santo Spirito Blues
The Santo Spirito Blues
Price: £21.87

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More brilliance and versatility from Mr Rea!, 12 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: The Santo Spirito Blues (Audio CD)
Chris Rea likes to offer his fans something a bit different and he has certainly done that with this great value and beautifully packaged set.

CD 1 Santo Spirito Blues is full of bluesy rock music very much in the tradition of Blue Guitars and Return of the Fabulous Hofner Bluenotes. If you liked those albums, you'll like this. If you didn't, you won't. Most of the songs are new, but a different version of `Electric Guitar' from the excellent Blue Guitars [11CD + DVD] album is included. There's a nice mix of up tempo songs such as Dancing the Blues Away and Rock and Roll Tonight; and slower numbers like Money and the lovely Think Like A Woman. This is a typical Chris Rea bluesy album and on a par with his other recent excellent recordings.

DVD 1 Bull Fighting illustrates the cruelty of this "sport" in graphic detail. It tells the story of a bull fight from two perspectives: first the matador's and then the bull's. Few will side with the matador's viewpoint once they have seen the appalling and bloody cruelty with which the beast is finally killed. Sensitive souls beware, the blood and gore is shown in some detail. I confess to having attended a bull fight in Barcelona nearly 40 years ago (on a school trip believe it or not) and this film served as an uncomfortable reminder of what a ghastly activity bullfighting is.

CD 2 is the soundtrack to the Bull Fighting DVD. In stark contrast to CD1, this is dominated by Spanish style acoustic guitar. There's nothing up tempo here, but it makes for very pleasant laid back listening. It's low key and not something I am likely to sit and listen to often, but it makes perfect background music for working or reading and I have already enjoyed using it that way.

DVD 2 Santo Spirito follows the progress of a man in search of The Truth on the streets of Florence, from the perspective of several aliens who are monitoring his every move and hoping that he will not succeed! It is best taken as a clever and thought-provoking piece of fiction rather than as possessing any great deeper meaning. I had hoped to enjoy scenes of Florence along the way, but it's mostly filmed in an arty farty shaky camera style with swiftly changing black and white images which becomes a bit tedious. Fascinating enough to watch once, but, just like the Bull Fight DVD, it's not one I am likely to watch twice.

CD 3, the soundtrack to the Santo Spirito DVD, contains a couple of beautiful electric guitar instrumentals, comparable to some of the material on Blue Guitars (e.g. Celtic Blue, Too Far From Home) and at times reminiscent of Pink Floyd's dreamy instrumental style. Excellent stuff. This CD ends fittingly with a great song `Somewhere Between the Stars' which could have been included on CD 1 but sits very nicely here.

In the end, while the DVDs are an interesting bonus, it's the music that will provide lasting pleasure and the three CDs included here are well worth the entrance fee.

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