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T. Russell (Co. Down, UK)

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What the Ladybird Heard
What the Ladybird Heard
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, almost as good as Gruffalo, 16 May 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My daughters are 3yrs and 18 months and this book has been requested every night since I received it a month ago. Thankfully it is also enjoyable for the adult to read (especially if you enjoy making farmyard animal noises).
What more do I need to say?!!

The Best Of Seven Steps: The Complete Recordings 1963-1964
The Best Of Seven Steps: The Complete Recordings 1963-1964
Price: £16.97

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb sampler of overlooked recording period, 1 May 2008
This is a superb CD.
Essentially a sampler featuring, allegedly, the best tracks from, if I recall correctly, 1 studio album (Seven Steps To Heaven) and 4 live albums(Miles in Antibes, My Funny Valentine, Four More, Miles in Tokyo) recorded during 1963-4 with a variety of personnel.
Obviously, serious Miles fans will probably own some of these albums already but, if you don't, I strongly recommend this.
Every track is stunning, although my favorite is the breathtaking rendition of "Stella By Starlight" which, aside from the disappointingly quiet entry of the sax solo, is jazz perfection. There is a cry of delight from an audience member early on, and subsequent applause when the straightahead rhythm kicks in and I can't help but joining in with both of these expressions of joy every time I listen!
It has become a jazz cliche to say that George Coleman is one of the most under-rated sax players ever (in the same way that Grant Green is one of the most under-rated guitarists ever), but this album does confirm that fact, and the lesser known Sam Rivers and Victor Feldman are wonderful.
I suspect that the complete box-set is tremendous, but one for completists only.
Less dedicated (although still passionate) Miles fans like myself would do well to get this disc instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2014 6:51 PM GMT

Sketches of Spain
Sketches of Spain
Price: £2.74

10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vastly overrated; mostly quite dull, 16 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Sketches of Spain (Audio CD)
'Sketches of Spain' is one of those albums that, for some reason, has been talked up so much over the decades that it has now become something that people buy, and say they love, simply because that's what's expected.
A lot of albums fall into this category - that of being something that many self-conscious music-lovers profess to 'get' when, in reality, they would only be able to tolerate listening to it a few times before putting it away for good (in a smugly conspicuous position, I might add) in the hope that they can impress their friends by owning it.
OK, I'm being a bit extreme here, in many places 'Sketches' is very tender and beautiful, in others there is superb tension and release, but it is most certainly NOT one of the all-time greatest jazz records.
More often than not it is tedious, and Davis' playing too unfocused - as though he wasn't quite sure exactly what to play in parts. The orchestral accompaniment at times is just brilliant, but at others strays too far into muzak territory or abstraction just for the sake of it.
I guess it's a mixed bag really.
If you want to hear the best that the Davis-Evans collaboration produced you'd be far better off with 'Miles Ahead' or 'Porgy & Bess', and if you want to hear Spanish classical/folk music rendered perfectly, then get hold of a few decent recordings of music by Rodrigo (there are a few budget-priced CDs on Naxos which are a good start).
If you're a big Miles fan then you'll no doubt want to own this - it is certainly a distinctive disc in the whole Davis canon - but don't try to fool yourself or convince others that it is worthy of the 5 stars that every man and his dog throw at it.

Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £8.99

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of JM's best - approach with caution, 31 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Devotion (Audio CD)
I felt compelled to write this review in response to 'the evil hippy'.
Whilst I agree with his general opinion of this album (in a nutshell it is not great - certainly one of, if not THE worst of the albums released under the name 'John McLaughlin') I have to defend the remarks he made about JM being a 'minor-league player' compared to Hendrix, Satriani & Malmsteen.
JM himself has gone on record as thoroughly disliking this album - it was mixed and released in his absence - and I can only assume that Mr Hippy has never heard his later Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff (especially the incredible 'Visions of the Emerald Beyond), his Shakti music, the acoustic Guitar Trio stuff or his work with Trilok Gurtu.
These recordings certainly mark out Mr McLaughlin as not only one of the most technically adept guitar players in recorded music history, but also a player of immense emotional range and stylistic versatility - something Messrs Satriani and Malmsteen are most definitely lacking.
As for Hendrix - I am sure he listened to JM's playing on Miles Davis' recordings (notably 'Jack Johnson') with much interest and admiration, and would only have listened with envy to JM's next project after 'Devotion': the superb acoustic jazz recording 'Extrapolation'.

Turn You To Love
Turn You To Love
Offered by themusicmerchant
Price: £19.98

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't start here - please, 1 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Turn You To Love (Audio CD)
I totally disagree with the other review.
This is one of TC's worst albums - cheesy songwriting and production - and should only be owned by TC completists.
Get 'What Color Is Love' or 'Timepeace' (or 'Essential' if you don't mind 'Best Of's) if you want to get into this otherwise superb talent.

Beginner's Guide To Gospel
Beginner's Guide To Gospel
Offered by music_by_mail_uk
Price: £25.33

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great songs, shame about the sound quality, 20 Jun. 2007
This should be a great compilation, and does indeed feature some cracking tunes (especially Andrae Crouch's stonking 'You Gave To Me' and Al Green's 'Higher Plane'), but is renderend virtually unlistenable (at least to my ears) my the fact that every track sounds like an MP3 recorded at 96kbps.

A terrible shame; Nascente really should know better.

Rag 'N' Bone Buffet
Rag 'N' Bone Buffet

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for any fan, 6 July 2006
This review is from: Rag 'N' Bone Buffet (Audio CD)
I can't believe this has not yet been reviewed - does this mean that very few people have actually ever bothered to buy it? If so it's a crying shame as it is a fantastic collection.

A few of the songs are mere alternate versions of album tracks, some are a bit too silly, but most of them would have well deserved a place on the albums that their respective sessions produced.

My particular favourites are 'The World Is Full Of Angry Young Men' recorded, if I remember rightly, for the old daytime TV program 'Pebble Mill at 1' (remember that??) and 'Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen' (completely silly, but utterly addictive, hummable tune).

If you're an XTC fan get this before the likes of 'Go2' and 'Big Express' - it's much more enjoyable. If you're not yet a fan, go straight to 'Black Sea', 'English Settlement' and 'Skylarking'.

Yes Indeed!! (International Release)
Yes Indeed!! (International Release)
Offered by WhichDisc
Price: £7.70

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning blues 'n' soul from The Genius, 17 Aug. 2005
This collection (I think Charles' 4th Atlantic LP) features some of his greatest work. Songs like 'What Would I Do', 'It's Alright', 'Lonely Avenue' and 'Blackjack' show Charles' voice and piano playing at its bluesiest, whilst some of the others showcase his more frivolous, upbeat nature.
His band is steaming throughout and the Raelettes never sounded better, so if you're really wanting to get into what many (myself included) consider to be the 'real' Ray Charles, get this album, along with 'Hallelujah I Love Her So' and 'Genius Sings The Blues', and you'll certainly be in soul heaven.

Stoned - Part 1
Stoned - Part 1
Offered by rainey 7117
Price: £44.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reaches the parts other 'soul' music doesn't, 18 July 2005
This review is from: Stoned - Part 1 (Audio CD)
This album was originally released in early 2003 so it's surprising that it's taken over 2 years to get its first Amazon review.
For those of you unfamiliar with Lewis Taylor he is one of the UK's greatest exponents of soul-based music, and has been for a decade. Why massive commercial success has never been his is somewhat bemusing, but probably in part due to the fact that his music is so much more complex and original than that which record companies usually market as 'soul', and indeed, deserves not to be pigeon-holed as such anyway.
His eponymous debut is one the best 'soul' albums, from any country, of the last decade and still sounds as groundbreaking as it did in 1995 and I strongly urge those wishing to discover Lewis Taylor to check that one out first, then head to his second, equally as superb 'Lewis II'.
'Stoned | Part 1' is his third official album release and continues Lewis's unique demonstration of what he terms 'Psychedelic Soul'. Mayfield/Gaye influenced lead vocals in a sea of Beach Boys-esque harmonies, on a bedrock of funky guitars, rhodes-style keyboards, electronic trickery and groovy, authentic sounding drums, in an atmosphere which is usually quite dark and dramatic. Lewis's voice is beautiful, and his guitar playing is clearly that of someone who has spent many an hour jamming along to Hendrix and Page, as well as listening to more sensitive, acoustic and jazzy offerings.
In short - another great slice of unique, contemporary 'soul', but leagues ahead of the boring, derivative, commercialised c#@p we get sold as soul music these days.
Only 4 stars because it's not as good as his first two albums, but by anyone else's standards would deserve 5.

Midnight Theme [VINYL]
Midnight Theme [VINYL]

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, heavy synth-driven funk, 8 Jun. 2005
This review is from: Midnight Theme [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Get this record while you can. Ten tracks of utterly awesome, instrumental funk featuring arps, moogs, hammonds, clavis, flutes, strings, saxes, choppy guitars and heavy drum beats. If you know the much-sampled 'Space Funk' or 'Midnight Theme' then understand that every track is just as good as those - undoubtedly one of the funkiest albums I've ever heard and absolutely essential for any funk connoisseur.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 8, 2014 4:19 PM BST

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