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Strung Up (New Extended Version)
Strung Up (New Extended Version)
Price: £7.89

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strung Up... a Sweet package full of surprises!!!!!, 1 Jun. 2016
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When originally released in 1975 I think that it was Andy Scott who described the double LP of "Strung Up" as 'one for the accountants'. No matter, it's great to see this excellent package re-released on CD (and vinyl) with bonus tracks.

Just one bugbear to get out of the way first is that the version of "Solid Gold Brass" on the original vinyl album was slightly different to the one on this re-release which is the version taken from "Desolation Boulevard". Don't let this distract, however, as "Solid Gold Brass" is an awesome rock song whichever version you listen to. It would have made a great single, but at five and a half minutes long RCA, or Sweet's management, were a bit short sighted in 1974 ("Bohemian Rhapsody" a year later proves this point) and the chance to show Sweet's serious rock potential was wasted.

In 1975 "Strung Up" was a curious release with a live concert that was nearly two years old and hordes of screaming teenyboppers in the audience, and a glam rock image that the Sweet of 1975 were trying to eradicate. However it is a fine example of a band showing their hard rock credentials to the world. The sound is raw, minimum overdubs (if any) and with Steve Priest making a mess of the lyrics on "Ballroom Blitz" this didn't detract from the recording's charm, Sweet were loud, proud and heavy!!!

Lock up your daughters with the expletive in "Burning/ Someone Else Will" (the album did/ does come with a warning on it) enjoy the hard rocking b-sides "Rock'n'Roll Disgrace" and "Need A Lot Of Lovin'"; the self indulgence of "Done Me Wrong Alright" and "Man With The Golden Arm" and be prepared for a frenetic rendition of "Blockbuster" to finish where the harmony vocals go a bit awry...oh, and there's a ballad thrown in for good measure!!! Bizarre, but great.

The second LP on the original 1975 album was a curious mix of 2 of Sweet's bestselling songs from the height of their glam period ("Blockbuster" and "The Ballroom Blitz"); three innovative singles that didn't quite dispel the glam rock image, but were leaning more towards the rock gods the band yearned to be ("The Six Teens"; "Fox On The Run" and "Action"); one album track (the mighty "Set Me Free") and two further excellent self penned b-sides ("Burn On The Flame" and "Miss Demeanour" the former of which should have been a single).

Maybe hardened Sweet fans may have felt a little mystified at this compilation but there was always the unreleased "I Wanna Be Committed" and different versions of "Action" and "Solid Gold Brass", but for the uninitiated what a great introduction to the band's lesser known material both on the vinyl and CD re-release.

It was always a shame that the Sweet didn't release another live album whilst this line-up was still together...if I have to be harsh Brian Connolly's voice did suffer after he was kicked in the throat in early 1974, following an altercation with some chaps in a pub, and his subsequent misuse of alcohol and drugs through the years meant that his vocals were on a gradual downward spiral. A real shame, but let's remember this awesome band at the height of their popularity celebrated as evidenced on "Strung Up".


Happy Now? (UK Import)
Happy Now? (UK Import)
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £23.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Loudflower blooms into a hidden rock gem, 29 Feb. 2016
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This review is from: Happy Now? (UK Import) (Audio CD)
In the late 1990s I heard a track on a cassette sampler from Loudflower's debut (and only) album "Happy Now"; I was impressed with the song, which is the first track on the CD "Everyone But Me" and the subsequent review in the accompanying music magazine with the sampler gave it a fantastic write-up.

I did think that 'this was an album I must get' but was fairly skint at the time (babies and mortgage!!!) that when I could afford CDs again it seemed that "Happy Now" was nowhere to be found (I vaguely recall some legal problems with the band, but not 100% sure). Then, over the decades, I forgot the band's name, but did a bit of detective work earlier this year and discovered that the CD was for sale at a very reasonable price through Amazon Marketplace.....and what a CD!!!!

Where do I start? If you've heard the band Man Raze (featuring Phil Collen from Def Leppard; Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols and Simon Laffy from Girl) a number of Loudflower's tracks sound very similar to their style (yet preceded Man Raze by 21 years!)

If you haven't heard anything by Man Raze then I can only describe Loudflower's music as melodic hard rock interspersed with some fantastic horn arrangements, not to dissimilar to Aerosmith's or Golden Earring's horn arrangements, but there are so many other influences: Deep Purple style riffing and power chords; "Ghost In The Machine era Police ("I Guess I Need You"); Bon Jovi/ Springsteen ("Comfortable Bed"); Manic Street Preachers........phew, so as you can see a number of styles but each song is excellently written and arranged.

Any criticisms? Well, I guess the album is nearly 20 years old, and I don't think that Loudflower will have had the biggest studio recording budget so the recording quality is very good/ excellent rather than outstanding, but seriously, it doesn't distract!

Most certainly a hidden gem from a band whose potential was never fulfilled.


The Hague
The Hague
Price: £13.94

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Earring - still powerful; still brilliant.............., 30 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: The Hague (Audio CD)
Golden Earring's studio work since the turn of the century has been limited to 2 CDs "Millbrook USA" in 2003 and "Tits 'n Ass" in 2012 so it's great to have some stunning new tracks from this mighty, worldwide underrated, rock band.

"The Hague" has 5 excellent rock tracks showing that these guys still have the ability to catch you between headbanging and dancing; there isn't a weak track on this mini-album and the only disappointment is that it's not a "full album" with a dozen tracks.

Recorded at their "old" stomping ground at The Lagune Studios in Belgium Golden Earring have the ability to make their studio work sound incredibly powerful right from the kick-off with "Je Regrette".

More of the same please guys (and soon)!!!!


17pcs Play House Toys Small Chef Kitchenware Simulation Kitchen Utensils Toys Baby Children Early Educational Tool
17pcs Play House Toys Small Chef Kitchenware Simulation Kitchen Utensils Toys Baby Children Early Educational Tool
Offered by Owfeel ®
Price: £7.10

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 23 Jan. 2016
Please avoid and note the other reviews for this item.

I consider this a choke hazard for younger children, some sites recommend 12 months and up, but pieces are very small and can break easily.

Please note the same set is being sold by a number of Amazon sellers.

Very poor quality.


Solitary Bird
Solitary Bird
Price: £10.02

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Solo Album from Smokie's Original Guitarist, 22 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Solitary Bird (Audio CD)
Alan Silson was Smokie's original guitarist and during Smokie's heyday wrote some excellent songs with the band's bass player, Terry Uttley (checkout "You Took Me By Surprise"; "Your Love Is So Good For Me"; "I'm In Love With You" and "Did She Have To Go Away?" to name but a few).

Moving onward to 2007 this is Alan's first solo album, and if you loved Smokie you will certainly enjoy this superb collection of songs. "Solitary Bird", with extra tracks, gets a well deserved re-release which should see it get to a wider audience (it was initially released through Alan's website).

Several of the songs are co-written with former Smokie drummer, Pete Spencer, and the "Smokie sound" has certainly been re-captured more so than Chris Norman's solo outings, or indeed the current line-up of the band (not that this is a criticism, I just think that their respective sounds are slightly different to the Smokie of the 70s and early 80s).

The production of "Solitary Bird" is of the highest quality, and it is so difficult to pick any favourite tracks, the album is that good!!! From the awesome "Closer To The Candle" and "Wild Horses" to kick things off, there is also an unusual cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway" with the end instrumental featuring Alan's song "What Can I Do?" from Smokie's 1976 album, "Midnight Cafe". Track after track has something different to offer, the powerful "Safe In The Arms Of Love" to the achingly beautiful and poignant "Solitary Bird" show the diversity in an album Smokie fans had been waiting many years for..........it was well worth the wait!

This is an album that will not disappoint. Brilliant!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2016 7:54 PM BST


Action! The Ultimate Story (Deluxe Action-Pack)
Action! The Ultimate Story (Deluxe Action-Pack)
Price: £9.21

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Collective Flame Burns Brightly from the Lost Angels of Rock!, 20 Nov. 2015
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It's always difficult to comment on CDs that have the words "definitive collection" or "ultimate collection" as, inevitably, individuals will have their own personal favourites that may, or may not be, on the CD. I've never liked the magazine articles which state "50 greatest rock guitarists" or "50 greatest rock songs" as it's all subjective.......

..........and so to this CD package, "Sweet - Action! The Ultimate Story (Deluxe Edition).

It must have been extremely difficult to leave some tracks off this CD as Sweet themselves were consistently excellent (and underrated) songwriters during and after the Chinn and Chapman years. Yep, nearly all the Chinnichap and band composed hit single releases are here which will delight their fans from the 1970s, but the quality of the singles (some of which were massive hits throughout the world) that didn't make the UK charts ("Lost Angels"; "Fever Of Love"; "Stairway To The Stars"; "Call Me"; "Sixties Man") was first class and may lead people to question why these songs were bypassed at the time.

In Sweet, however, there was always a hard rock band trying to get out and boy oh boy could these guys rock with the best of them! Strap yourselves in for the likes of "Set Me Free";"4th July"; "Windy City" and "Burn On The Flame" (a b-side that really should have been a single) to name but a few. Sadly rarely accepted by the rock press and a lot of the hard rock fraternity, as Sweet weren't taken seriously because of their association with glam rock, (Slade were more accepted, yet could be just as outrageous) the aforementioned songs still blow away the opposition...and were these really produced in the 1970s? Okay, they've been re-mastered but the original vinyl releases of these songs still sound as powerful as the day they were recorded. Class!

Brian Connolly left Sweet in 1979 and the remaining 3 members (Steve Priest, Andy Scott and Mick Tucker) made 3 superb albums before disbanding in the early 80s. There are a smattering of songs from Andy Scott driven Sweet projects from the mid-1980s through to the present line-up with this year's offering of the excellent "Defender" and the unusual, but great, "Still Got The Rock". Neither of the new songs sound like Sweet in their heyday, but don't let this distract,this is Sweet in the 21st century. There's also a bizarre dance remix of "Fox On The Run" at the end of the first disc; whilst it is a "very good" dance remix, if you like that sort of thing, it doesn't really fit in and probably isn't something I, personally, would listen to that often.

Yes, of course there are songs I would have included but, as previously stated, Sweet fans will have their own personal favourites too; although I was surprised to see that "Solid Gold Brass" wasn't present or any songs from 1982's brilliant "Identity Crisis" LP, however this compilation is a fair reflection of Sweet from 1970 to the present day and I'm sure you will find this an exciting and enjoyable addition to your music collection.


Goliath
Goliath
Price: £15.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strap Yourself in.........Steve Taylor is Back!!!!! (AT LAST!!!!!), 23 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Goliath (Audio CD)
In the 1980's Steve Taylor was the great hope for Christian rock music to break into the mainstream with songs that could have easily stormed the charts (take a listen to "Jim Morrison's Grave" for example).

Unconventional, Steve Taylor not only challenged the traditional church, but also TV evangelists. In fact Steve Taylor was the all round "good guy",even if you weren't a Christian. Some of his songs like "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good" were controversial,but drove a very profound and sensible message home.

As the 80's went on Taylor's output became less and less - a brief flirtation with the band Chagall Guevara (another great album) in the 90's and one final solo studio album "Squint" and then he disappeared into, sadly it seems, a rather low key career as a movie director/music video producer.

Over 20 years have passed since "Squint" and the raw live CD "Liver" but Steve Taylor is back with a superb band in "The Perfect Foil". A much rawer sound (reminiscent of the mix on "Liver") but Taylor's passion for a great song and clever lyrics are still there as is his superb voice.

There aren't any fillers on this CD and if you were a fan all those years ago don't expect too much subtlety as the guitars are cranked up to 11 and keyboards are used sparingly, but at the end of the day it's Steve Taylor!!!!!!!

I just hope that we don't have to wait another 20 years for the next CD..........but in the meantime strap yourself in and enjoy a superb rock album that you will never tire of playing...........


Rippin' Up Time
Rippin' Up Time
Price: £11.78

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Kink Goes Astray........Quality Control Absent, 27 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Rippin' Up Time (Audio CD)
One of my all time guitar heroes ,Dave Davies of The Kinks has released some fantastic solo albums throughout the years complimenting the heavier side of one of the best rock bands this Earth has produced!

I never tire of playing Dave's self titled solo album from 1980, or other great releases like "Chosen People" or "Bug", well worth checking out if you're a lover of raw melodic rock or The Kinks' later material.

After Dave's well documented stroke he made a brave and courageous return with the quirky "Fractured Mindz" and last year's album "I Will Be Me", the latter containing some excellently crafted songs. Although the voice had suffered from Dave's illness "I Will Be Me" was an album of passion and energy.A year on, well, "Rippin' Up Time" is beyond doubt, in my humble opinion, the worst set of recordings I've heard from this Kinks' maestro.

I really don't know where to start, except that I was so disappointed on initial play. The songs are devoid of catchy melody, the lyrics are predictable (sometimes cringe-worthy), the production is weak and flat and lacks the raw power of previous releases. It does sound like the recording has been done on a low budget (excuse the pun) or has been rushed out following the success of "I Will Be Me".

I tried to play this album through a second time, but couldn't get through it...........

I am a massive Kinks' fan, but, so sadly, this is the worst release linked to this phenomenal group and guitarist.......please listen to the MP3 snippets before buying......... :-(
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2015 10:02 PM GMT


Strangers In Paradise
Strangers In Paradise
Price: £10.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stranger To The Pop Charts; Smokie's Greatest Album?, 22 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Strangers In Paradise (Audio CD)
In 1982 Smokie had long since departed from their mentors and hit songwriters Chinn and Chapman, yet with "Strangers In Paradise" the band probably produced their most consistent album of their career (in my opinion).

Devoid of any Chinnichap songs and without any chart material in the UK since the minor hit "Take Good Care Of My Baby" in 1980 it's a shame that "Strangers......." didn't reach, or was accepted by, a wider audience. All the songs on this album, and the production, are of such a high quality that it is a massive surprise that no hits were forthcoming.

The 2 (little known) cover versions on the album "Love Remains A Stranger" and "Two Strangers Falling" are both excellent, but it's Smokie's own songs that shine.Split between the two songwriting partnerships of Chris Norman/ Pete Spencer and Alan Silson/ Terry Uttley if several of these songs had been released in Smokie's heyday they would have been top 10 hits

My personal favourites are the achingly emotional "Can You Feel My Heartbeat?" , "Come On Home" and the rocking "Long Way From Home", but the South African single "Yesterday's Dreams", "Mirror, Mirror" and the quirky "Strangers In Paradise" would all have been great choices for UK and European single releases.

If you were a big fan of Smokie and have only got greatest hits collections take a punt on this underrated album. I don't think that you'll be disappointed,


I Got New Shoes - Revisted
I Got New Shoes - Revisted
Price: £7.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Roll over Travolta, Tell Prince the news, Watch me dance I got new shoes", 12 Jan. 2014
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A welcome re-release for this fantastic 1988 album, with a couple of added live bonus tracks from around the same era.

I always thought it was strange that what was essentially an 80's Albion Band album (including the ever present members Ashley Hutchings, Phil Beer and Trevor Foster for the majority of the decade)had the word "Dance" stuck in the middle of the group's name. This may give the impression that this is an album filled with Morris dances and square dances,it isn't! "I Got New Shoes" is a hybrid of dance tunes, folk'n'roll, instrumentals and folk rock of the highest calibre,therefore not solely a "dance" (in the folk sense) album.

It is a very tough CD to review as every track has something different to offer. On the original vinyl LP "I Got New Shoes" and "Loose Hornpipe/ Dancing Till Monday Comes Around" were the first tracks on Side One and Two respectively. Ashley Hutchings' vocal style suits these two songs perfectly with witty lyrics,excellent tunes and feel good factor.The former song even has a jazzy feel to it courtesy of Pete Zorn's saxophone.

The instrumental tunes on this album are also so varied, whether it be the hypnotic "The Leaving Of Wessex" or the heavy folk rock jig of "The Three-Toed Tumbler" (to name but two) or whether it is the instrumentals morphed/ weaved into songs, for example "Hopping Down In Gwent/ Welsh Girls" which leads into an unusual spoken word over music (this really works!!!)

Picking out some of the songs "You Ain't Natalie Wood And I Ain't James Dean" is pure folk'n'roll, "Trip To Bath" sounds like it's paying a little homage to "Day Trip To Bangor" (but also stands on its own as a great song) but the "piece de resistance" is the final track on the album "Young Love On The Dance Floor". A brilliant folk rock song "Young Love....." has a bitter-sweet tune and lyrics, soaring vocals from Polly Bolton, amazing electric guitar fretwork from Mr Beer (sadly rarely heard recorded these days) and is just a phenomenal way to end a faultless album!

That's the review nearly finished, but the 2 live bonus tracks you get on "I Got New Shoes - Revisited" are from what sounds like the best barn dance in the world - ever!!!! (You'll see what I mean!!!)


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