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S. Muzyka (Rugby,Warwickshire,England)

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Bouquets From a Cloudy Sky
Bouquets From a Cloudy Sky
Offered by Vinylhead
Price: £125.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Way A Box Set Should Be Done, 22 April 2015
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One of the most under-rated bands in the history of music finally get the treatment they richly deserve. Never afforded the recognition given to other bands, The Pretty Things consistently delivered quality output yet somehow missed out on the huge success they should have had in their heyday.

This box set is an example of how to put together a proper career retrospective. All the studio albums are included and include many bonus tracks that are equally essential. On top of this there are two CD's of rarities, two DVD's, a 10" vinyl EP, a wonderful hardback book and other assorted treasures.

One thing to point out, the booklet information for the classic 'S.F. Sorrow' makes reference to being completely Mono but this is not the case. The CD contained here actually features the Stereo mix of the album instead.(The bonus tracks are Mono). Nor is the version of 'Defecting Grey' the full-length 5 minute mix as alluded to in the sleeve notes. That particular version is on the vinyl EP. The CD included here uses the released single edit. The Mono mix of the album is available on CD (SMMCD 565) and is definitely worth a listen, being the preferred mix of many of the band members. That particular release features the uncut 'Defecting Grey' but not the single version.

To further confuse matters the Repertoire re-issue (REP 4930) has BOTH mixes of 'Defecting Grey' included and is probably the best one to get as the longer version has been cleaned up far better than the Snapper release.(The only source being a 10" Acetate from Jon Poveys' attic). It also houses the Stereo mix of the actual album. As for the album itself, it's now rightfully acknowledged as a classic of the 60's and the first 'rock opera' -appearing a year before The Who's all-conquering 'Tommy'- and if Blur weren't listening to 'Baron Saturday' from this album when they recorded 'Death Of A Party' I'd be very surprised. Listen to the two back to back and you'll see what I mean as both songs have a remarkably similar rhythm.

Elsewhere, the mastering is decent throughout although the first two albums are lacking a little in bottom-end which slightly dilutes the rawness of these early thrashes. The Repertoire releases of these albums in the cardboard digi-packs (released in 2002), have much more bass and are cut extremely loud (perhaps too loud for some),but have a little less definition overall. They do feature the bonus tracks aswell so check them out by all means.

The big plus for this box set is the DVD documentary contained within. It's a fascinating watch and includes the priceless footage of the band at Blokker in Holland kicking up a storm on stage and causing a riot off it! The sight of lunatic original drummer Viv Prince prowling around with his drumsticks while John Stax stands on top of the piano blowing a mean harp perfectly captures the early incarnation of the Pretty Things more than words ever could. The band have made mention of the fact that Keith Moon used to stand at the front of the stage during their gigs checking out Prince and certainly when you see this footage there are several mannerisms Moon adopted when he joined The Who. Elsewhere, there are some fantastic live performances of tracks from the 'Parachute' album and lots of interviews with various band members. It only goes up to 1971 so doesn't cover the later albums but as the band broke up for a few years after that it's a logical place to stop.

From the raw stomp of the early numbers to the more sophisticated later work the Pretty Things have always made records the way they wanted to and this collection will hopefully increase awareness and bring them some more recognition.

A new album is due out soon by the way.


Moby Dick (1956) (Blu-Ray)
Moby Dick (1956) (Blu-Ray)
Dvd ~ Gregory Peck
Offered by DaaVeeDee-uk
Price: £19.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Love The Film, Hate The Blu Ray!, 9 Mar. 2015
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I'm basing my review on the quality of this Blu Ray release and not the movie itself.

Unfortunately, the picture and sound has had absolutely NO upgrade from previous DVD releases, indeed this actually looks worse than the DVD I used to own. Clearly, the original film negative was not used or was not available and I'm pretty sure it's still not in the correct aspect ratio. Whatever print they used it sure wasn't a good one and the price being charged just adds to the insult.
Save your money and wait for a proper Blu Ray to hit the shelves - if it ever does. If you have the film already on DVD keep it for now.

It's a real shame as the movie itself, for all it's faults, remains highly entertaining and makes a very good fist of condensing Herman Melville's over-long and over-cooked novel into two hours (I don't have an aversion to long books by the way, but Melville's weighty tome has so much excess that at times you find yourself wondering when he's going to get back to the bloody story!).

Yes, the whale looks dodgy but the period detail and the acting are very strong and the scenes of whaling and the ferocious storm are strikingly well done.
It's high time this film had a decent digital release. Unfortunately this is not it.


The Complete Albums Collection
The Complete Albums Collection
Price: £44.88

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, But Flawed., 3 Feb. 2015
This new box set has several things going for it if you already own any previous S & G releases. The most obvious being the new Remastering,which is amazing. If you can't hear any difference then you must have socks over your ears. It is pristine and spectacular. 'Homeward Bound' has never sounded so good but that's just one example of many I could use. You also get the soundtrack to 'The Graduate' and all the Live albums as well as the hugely successful 1972 compilation 'Greatest Hits'. Some may wonder why that particular album is here but it's worthy of inclusion simply for the fact that it contains exclusive mixes of 'America' and 'Bookends Theme' not found anywhere else. In the latters' case it has some additional guitar overdubs towards the end that are not present on the Stereo album.

Now the downside. There are none of the bonus tracks that accompanied the previous box set and individual CD releases which is a great shame. Nor is the one-off 1975 single 'My Little Town' included.
The other major gripe on forums is the absence of the Mono mixes of the first four albums. Considering how short these records are they could have easily been added to each CD with room to spare. There are some rumours that Paul Simon doesn't want the Mono mixes to be released but I'm not entirely sure how accurate that is. Either way, it's a missed opportunity and hopefully one day they will see the light of day. (For the record, a bootleg CD of 'Bookends' in Mono is available. It's a 'needle-drop' from an original vinyl but it's supposed to be quite good.)

Also, if you already own the 2001 Remaster of 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme' it's worth noting that the new 2014 Remaster of this album reverts some tracks back to their 1966 running times. 'Cloudy' 'The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine' '59th St. Bridge Song' and 'A Simple Desultory Phillipic' are now back to their original (and much shorter) mixes, so hang on to the 2001 version as these tracks had longer fade-outs.

In fact, the best way to look at this new box set is as a companion to earlier releases. It's definitely worth an investment if you're a fan but it could have been even better. That said, it's still fantastic.

Update: I have purchased the bootleg Mono CD of 'Bookends' and can confirm that it sounds very good. There is some discernible turntable rumble but it's not that intrusive. Some interesting mix variations on 'Save The Life Of My Child' and 'At The Zoo' and 'Mrs. Robinson' is slightly longer in Mono. Altogether, worth an investment.


Revolver (SHM-CD)
Revolver (SHM-CD)
Price: £37.21

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Album Ever Made., 22 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Revolver (SHM-CD) (Audio CD)
The greatest album ever made has just got better! At last the Fab Four have got the Japanese SHM-CD treatment and the sound is a revelation. Granted, some people may not be able to discern much difference from the UK 2009 releases but it's there if you listen.

Although they have used the same 2009 Remasters, the sound on this Japanese release has better seperation, with everything sounding much clearer in the mix. Listening to the vocals on 'Here, There And Everywhere' it sounds like Paul McCartney is in the room with you, an indication of just how well the songs were originally recorded.

The price may be off-putting but if you buy direct from Japanese sellers on a well known website (beginning with E), you can pick up the albums for under 20 quid.

So far, this is the only Beatles SHM-CD that I've heard but it certainly bodes well and I can't wait to receive the others. Enjoy.


Tuckbox [Limited Edition CD Box]
Tuckbox [Limited Edition CD Box]
Price: £25.62

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic - But Not Quite Everything, 15 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just to clear up any confusion, this wonderful box set is NOT the complete works as some other reviewers have said.

To give a quick breakdown, the edition of 'Family Tree' contained in this box has 27 tracks. The original 2007 release contained 28 tracks ('My Baby So Sweet' is missing in this edition). Also, the vinyl edition has 29 songs on it ('Betty & Dupree' being the extra track). Frustrating for sure, particularly as there was enough space for both on one CD.

Elsewhere, the compilation 'Time Of No Reply', not included here, contains exclusive mixes and home recordings not featured in this set. The most notable being an alternate mix of 'Rider On The Wheel' without the vocal fluffs on the 'Made To Love Magic' remix, a completely different (and better) take of 'Hanging On A Star' and a lovely home recording of 'Fly' where you can hear the dawn chorus coming through an open window.

Hope this clears things up a bit. I'm not knocking this release at all, being as it is a fantastic way to get the three magnificent albums recorded during Nicks lifetime as well as many unreleased treasures. I just want people to know that there is more out there if you want to continue discovering and enjoying the music.


Remembered for a While
Remembered for a While
by Nick Drake
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.75

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book We've Been Waiting For., 9 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Remembered for a While (Hardcover)
This is, quite simply, a stunning publication. Beautifully put together, it has everything a Nick Drake fan could possibly want. Covering all aspects of his tragically short life, the sheer amount of detail contained here is staggering. From numerous recollections to type-ups of Nicks letters to his family through to technical discussions on his guitar tunings and all the lyrics printed too, its the most comprehensive insight ever assembled. Think you've seen all the photos of Nick? Think again. I've only browsed through it so far and have already come across so much I've never seen or read before.

Its unlikely this will ever be bettered and serves as a fitting tribute to one of Englands most talented musicians. The cult of Nick Drake grows every year and this book will almost certainly help the cause.(I first visited his grave in the year 2000 when a few token items had been left by fans. When I visited again five years later the amount of tributes around the graveside had risen ten-fold). If you're a serious fan this is an absolutely essential purchase and congratulations to all the people involved in putting this together. Nick would have been proud.


Led Zeppelin IV [Deluxe Remastered CD]
Led Zeppelin IV [Deluxe Remastered CD]
Price: £13.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than Just 'Stairway To Heaven', 29 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For many the classic Zeppelin album, now newly Remastered and sounding better than ever. I have already reviewed the first batch of Re-releases at length (see Led Zep II), and both this and 'Houses of the Holy' (the two new releases) continue the excellent work done by Jimmy Page.

This, the fourth Zeppelin album is so well known that discussing the tracks in great detail is not needed. Suffice to say, yes it has 'Stairway to Heaven' on it which accounts for its worldwide popularity but it has so much more to recommend as well.
Every track is a winner, even the often maligned 'Four Sticks' (a killer Page riff), and the seperation between the instruments on this Remaster is superb. The huge drum sound on 'When the Levee Breaks' is better defined in amongst everything else around it, particularly towards the end (on previous releases Bonhams' fabulous fills sounded a little mushy - not now).

Again, the companion disc is a slight disappointment. The majority of the 'alternate' mixes are not radically different enough to be of that much interest to anyone other than die-hard fans, but that's not to say its all a waste of time. For instance, the Sunset Sound Mix of 'Stairway to Heaven' is excellent - added reverb on the acoustic guitar and drums - and most interesting of all, the final verse (that starts with the line "And as we wind on down the road.."), features Robert Plant only single-tracked. For the finished mix he added a second vocal track of course.

The best alternate mix, however, is that of 'Four Sticks'. Engineer Andy Johns has spoken many times of the difficulties he had trying to get a decent mix of this track and has never been happy with the finished version. The final album version sounds slightly constipated for sure and despite Johns' claim that it was the best of "five or six" attempts, I think this unreleased mix knocks it into a cocked hat. (no blame attached to Andy Johns by the way, who is a brilliant engineer). I can see why it wouldn't have got on the album - its a bit rough around the edges - but the guitar on this mix simply roars out of the speakers and suits the ferocious riff far better in my opinion. Of course, there may have been some modern re-mixing going on here to enhance it but either way its great.

A quick comment on the other new release 'Houses of the Holy'. Excellent sound on the original album. Companion disc again not great but the 'rough mix' of 'Dancing Days' included as an extra sounds way better than the slightly muddy mix and boxy drum sound that ended up on the album. Quite a revelation and well worth the investment.


Criterion Collection: The Innocents [Blu-ray] [US Import]
Criterion Collection: The Innocents [Blu-ray] [US Import]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Choice Is Yours., 20 Oct. 2014
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With the Criterion release of this genuinely spooky movie buyers now have a choice as to which version to purchase. Both have their merits and it really is a question of what your preferences are.
The BFI release has better extras - Including some earlier short films - and an excellent accompanying booklet. Picture and sound are also both very good (although some people have had problems with faulty discs).

The Criterion release is not so good on the extras front (unusual for this company), but thankfully ports over the excellent audio commentary and introduction from Sir Christopher Frayling that was present on the BFI disc. Having listened to several of Fraylings' commentaries on the films of Sergio Leone he is one of the best in the business, always interesting and pointing out many things that a viewer would normally miss or ignore Elsewhere the bonus material is interesting but not as good as the UK Blu Ray and the same goes for the booklet (again unusual).

However, the Criterion release wins out in the picture stakes, boasting a 4K transfer that is astonishing in depth and clarity, bringing the gorgeous widescreen cinematography to life in a way never seen before. Sound is only Mono but its crisp and clear and loud without being overpowering.

Of course, the Criterion Blu Ray is locked to Region A (as are all the releases from this company), so you'll need a multi-region player to view it. I would recommend investing in one if you can as their releases are almost always better than anyone elses' ('On The Waterfront' 'Seven Samurai' and 'Quadrophenia' being just three examples), and although the BFI release of this film has exclusive and essential extras, if you're just interested in watching the movie then the US version is the way to go. Its all down to preference really. Some - like myself - want both and so will purchase both releases. Others may not.

The film itself is notable for its genuine atmosphere of unease and spookiness, even more so because we are never sure if the visions are real or imagined. The more unhinged and distressed the Governess becomes the more it could all be in her mind. The film is clever enough to leave it to the audience to decide. There are many memorable scenes and like all good stories of 'hauntings', what we actually see is kept to a minimum (although its more than in 'The Haunting' which is often discussed in relation to this film, sharing many of its characteristics).
Personally I prefer this film, as I found the voiceover in 'The Haunting' far too frequent and irritating. Thats not to say its not brilliant though - it is - but 'The Innocents' just edges it for me.


Corridors Of Blood [DVD]
Corridors Of Blood [DVD]
Dvd ~ Boris Karloff
Offered by dvdGOLD
Price: £6.73

5.0 out of 5 stars UK DVD Is Uncut!, 6 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Corridors Of Blood [DVD] (DVD)
Given some of the reviews already posted I wasn't sure whether to purchase this UK release. The picture on the Amazon page shows a 'PG' Rating, the same as the Australian rating in the Boris Karloff box-set I previously bought.

I know the VHS release had a higher rating but I took the chance and am happy to say that this 'Horror Classics' DVD is actually a '15' certificate and as such IS the uncut version. All the more contentious scenes are here in their full glory, unlike the Australian and US release which watered them down and so greatly reduced the impact.

I'm not saying violence is the be-all and end-all, merely that we as buyers have the right to watch films the way the director wanted us to see them. So rest assured if you're coming to the movie for the first time this release showcases 'Corridors of Blood' in its full UK theatrical version.

Unreleased for four years due to problems at MGM,and with a title change in the interim (it was originally 'The Doctor From Seven Dials'), the film benefits from an excellent cast and realistic period detail, particularly in the poor part of town (the Seven Dials area), which looks and feels extremely grim and filthy. In this respect it shares a similarity with the equally excellent 'The Flesh & The Fiends' (1959), which also boasted a genuine grimness that makes both movies feel far more gruesome than they actually are.

Of course, Boris Karloff is the star but Christopher Lee makes an unforgettable impression as Resurrection Joe, with his soft voice and scarred cheeks and top hat, Lee simply oozes screen prescence without actually doing much - always the mark of a quality actor - and his final scene will remain long in the memory, being a brilliant example of how to utilise small editorial touches (a little bit of slow-motion, clever use of sound etc.), to enhance the horror and leave you feeling that you've seen more than you actually have.

If you're a fan of Karloff and/or Lee or indeed British horror in general, I have no hesitation in recommending this movie. The picture quality perhaps isn't the best it could be, with a lot of marks and the old change-the-reel splodges in the top right hand corner still evident rather than digitally removed but the aspect ratio appears to be the correct one compared to other releases. The 50's was a golden era for British horror and this is one of the many high points. Enjoy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2015 11:54 PM GMT


NIGHT OF THE DEMON(1957)(blu ray) NEW HD 2013 MASTER-REGION 2/B(uk)
NIGHT OF THE DEMON(1957)(blu ray) NEW HD 2013 MASTER-REGION 2/B(uk)
Dvd ~ Maurice Denham, Niall MacGinnis, Peggy Cummins Dana Andrews
Offered by wmdservices
Price: £47.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Film Has Never Looked Better., 4 Sept. 2014
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This release of the classic horror film is the best of the lot. Its expensive, yes, but what you get is BOTH versions of the film on Blu Ray AND on DVD as well as a very thick accompanying book (written in French but with lots of fascinating stills from the film and behind the scenes).

The restoration is simply stunning, the films have never looked better and the DTS sound is nice and clear. Of course, the default setting is the French audio so remember to switch the audio before you start the movie. The subtitles are easily removed at the touch of a button although you can only do this once the film starts.

With no UK Blu Ray release on the horizon this is (so far), the definitive release of 'Night Of The Demon'. (A Spanish Blu Ray is also available but I'm not sure whether it has both cuts of the film. I have it on order so I will update when I receive it).
Hope this helps.

Update:Have received Spanish Blu Ray. Good picture and sound but only has the longer British version on it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2015 8:20 PM GMT


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