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Mr Blackwell (scotland)

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Earthquake - The A&M Years
Earthquake - The A&M Years
Price: £20.62

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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If your looking for value for money then you cant go wrong here,the first comprehensive look at Y&T's prime era,you get 7 albums spread over 4 discs.

Disc 1 EARTHSHAKER (1981) and BLACK TIGER (1982)generally accepted as the bands jewels in the crown,this will be the disc most often on repeat play,yes they wore their influences on their sleeves,its not hard to spot the recycled riffs but this band were on fire ,stunning lead guitar and excellent harmonies,just class.

Disc 2 MEANSTREAK (1983) and IN ROCK WE TRUST (1984) , while not at the same level as the first 2,how could they be but their still excellent in their own right.

Disc 3 OPEN FIRE (1985) and DOWN FOR THE COUNT -SIDE 1 original album (1985) plus a couple from IN ROCK WE TRUST, excellent live disc plus a slightly more AORish disc in DOWN FOR THE COUNT. Well worth hearing.

Disc 4 DOWN FOR THE COUNT -original side 2 plus the Indie release Friday Rock Show Live, as usual BBC recording holding up well after all this time.

What can you say,sound quality excellent,Andy Pearce involved in the (re)mastering,packaging is the old style 'fat' box,nice touch having the A&M logo on the disca, while the booklet is light on history,at this price you cant quibble too much,the splitting of albums between discs is a little annoying but i can live with it.

A thoroughly worthwhile release.

Perfect Strangers Live  [2CDs + DVD Set]
Perfect Strangers Live [2CDs + DVD Set]
Price: £18.65

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in the day......., 19 Oct. 2013
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...when reunions actually meant something,this was a major deal,Deep Purple Mark 2 back together,its amazing to think its taken nearly 30 years to get a decent reunion tour album.I've been chewing my fingers off waiting for this to arrive.

2 cd's of live Purple,Glover and Paice as ever, the imperious rythmn section holding it all together,Lord deftly adding layers here and there,no surprises there,however,it is always the 'other two' who can shape a Purple gig,are they on form,are they up for it,well thankfully its a resounding yes to both,sure Gillan's voice is sometimes strained,that said he's pretty damn good for the most part and Blackmore,well what can you say,he's on a mission,not content to play by the book,another reviewer, referred to his playing as 'loose',he certainly is,he's on that path that borders spontaniety and chaos,he straddles it well,just as you think its all going to collapse round about him,he pulls it back from the brink,as a Blackmore nut,i absolutely love that,casual listeners may be less impressed.It is great to hear 5 new tracks along side the classics .they all work well with only 'Gypsy's Kiss' sounding slightly rough.Nobody's Home is an absolute belter,should have remained a live favourite ,the rest well worn favourites 'Highway Star' superb as always and 'Smoke...' just mesmeric as ever,special mention for 'Strange Kind of Woman' also.

The DVD is of its time,if your looking for a 22 camera shoot,camera's positioned here there and everywhere,with an editing sequence of new picture every other second(a la Steve Harris of Maiden fame),then your in the wrong place. Its dated approach/quality adds to the charm of this release,i'm not going to watch it over and over,prefer listening to the audio but its a genuine thrill to see the look of joy(yep thats right) between Blackmore and Gillan during the couple of occasions thay have their little interplays,its a pity they couldnt have seen it thru.Gillan of all of them,seems the most up for it,strutting around like the people's champion, fists pumping the air,clenched fist salutes to the crowds,just like the 'Gillan' days.

Sound quality,have to say i'm very happy with it,a few have mentioned Lord low in the mix,cant say i felt that,listening on my set up(and it aint expensive by any means),Lord is there up front from the moment Highway Star requires keyboards,for me he's in the mix exactly where he should be,supporting the rthymn section and coming to the fore when the track demands a keyboard flourish or a solo,so i'm perfectly happy with the production.

Its an easy 5 stars for another Purple Archive release.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2013 8:51 PM GMT

Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)
Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)
by Ken Sharp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Wanted The Best.........., 14 Oct. 2013
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... You got the best- book about the early days,yes its been covered before in other books , but not in this detail,this is just a fantastic read and in the words of Joe Perry,you cant put it down.

Essentially a series of anecdotes and recollections from the early days thru to the momentus success of 'KISS - ALIVE', from people that were there,not just the band,(who's opinions are often skewed to their individual/biased way of thinking).So its great to have a different perspective.

It a beautiful book,right from the embossed dust jacket,with a typical classic Kiss live pose,thankfully all 4 members featured and not just Gene & Paul,to the last page,it will keep you interested.

Ken Sharp has done a great job,written in the same style as his previous book,'Behind The Mask',the only thing that might have been included would have been dates when the quotes were taken from,giving the reader an idea wether it was an off the cuff remark from the time period 72-75,or a soundbite from later years where views may have hardened,particularly with reference to the band members.

There are some fabulous quotes from various bands such as THE STOOGES/NEW YORK DOLLS/BOB SEGER/SLADE/STATUS QUO/BLUE OYSTER CULT/JOURNEY/TED NUGENT/AEROSMITH/RUSH & URIAH HEEP to name but a few.Also oncluded are some great photo's,mainly black and white but there are a couple of colour inserts,particularly loved the photo's from Bell Sound Studios,recording the 1'st album,i'd never ever seen those,excellent stuff.

If your not sure wether to buy,all i can say,as someone who has 20 odd kiss books already,i dont regret for one minute buying this,its a great addition to the collection.

Here's to the next one,can i suggest 'Kiss 1976-1979 - Everything to lose,nothing to gain' as the title.

Vapor Trails (Remixed)
Vapor Trails (Remixed)
Price: £7.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars vapor trials ... and tribulations, 9 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Vapor Trails (Remixed) (Audio CD)
An eagerly awaited release,for sure,more than a decade after it originally hit the racks,we get a chance to re-evaluate.

First thing you notice,is the cover,bright,clearer and sharper,the black treacle-like color removed to allow more of the layer below to be seen,much like the remix itself,the thick dense sound has been replaced with a much more listenable(to my ears) sound.

So now i can listen all the way thru,without getting ear fatigue,its rewarding,a pleasure rather than a chore.

I previously held that as well as the production,the dark nature of much of the material,(understandable given where the band,Neil in particular, were coming from),also held the disc back ,i for one felt it difficult to relate to and enjoy. I still feel there is unquestionably a dark feel to this disc,however time,a fresh perspective and the new remix,have made this an easier listen,it still wont be a regular on the playlist but it wont be routinely ignored either.

I dont have any particular favourite track ,more an understanding and indeed a liking for it all,so the remix has been a success in my book

The Frantic Four Reunion 2013
The Frantic Four Reunion 2013
Offered by PressPlay
Price: £12.94

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Glasgow to Hammersmith..., 1 Oct. 2013
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.. as much as it pains me to say it,the crown has moved,for many a year STATUS QUO LIVE from the Glasgow Apollo has been the jewel in the crown,my CD from the recent Frantic Four gig at the O2 academy, Glasgow,2013 ran it close,this however,well it eclipses it and i dont say that lightly.

From start to finish the band are on top form and the crowd just carries them forward,levelling everything in their way.The raw emotion from the fans just flowing from the speakers,the hair tingling reaction to Rossi introducing Lancaster and Coghlan,gets me everytime.

Yes there are a few bum notes here and there,its live ,what do you expect,this is a stunning album,compiled from the 2 Hammersmith gigs, captured forever for the fans.The set list is superb,the majority of the tracks were found on the original 'Live' album but its the little nuggets,rarely ,if ever played, from the past that stand out,listen to the groove on 'April,Spring,Summer & Wednesday,the blues of 'Railroad',the classic album tracks 'Oh Baby' and 'Blue Eyed Lady' and you cant possibly not warm to the crowd sing along on 'Most Of The Time'.

Live album of the year,absolutely, i cant recommend this high enough.5 stars all the way.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2016 5:28 PM GMT

Dream Theater
Dream Theater
Price: £4.79

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Dream Theater... Same as the old Dream Theater, 24 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Dream Theater (Audio CD)
I'll cut to the chase,i've got all the albums but i wouldnt class myself as an 'uber 'fan,i dont spend hours analysing one album against another ,to see where they've repeated themselves etc,if i like it then great if not tough.

Its not a classic but its a decent release,in my humble opinion,the most immmediately likeable release since 'Awake' (1994) and 'Scenes from a Memory' (1999),to these ears its a vibrant upbeat release and it's a pleasurable aural experience from the first listen.

Both Portnoy and Mangini are excellent drummers so its business as usual on the drumming front,with Portnoy's lyrical input missing,i felt this and ,indeed ,the previous album were less 'dark',i like both experiences,so again no worries.

Star of the show definitely Petrucci,superb soloing,here there and everywhere,it would be fair to say ,occasionally La Brie's vocals ,waver and he does sound ever so slightly less than convincing,it happens.

Star moments,for me,plenty, the opening trio perfect,'False Awakening Suite' is big bold and cinematic,"The Enemy Inside" is an excellent rocker with stun guitar, whilst 'The Looking Glass' has a perfect commercial sheen,harking back to the early days.

Follow that if you will,well they do,with a superb instrumental 'Enigma Machine', its round about now that a couple of tracks dont quite hit the spot,namely
'The Bigger Picture' and 'Behind The Veil',thankfully they have another modern day classic in 'Surrender to Reason",next up another decent if not outstanding track 'Along for the Ride'.
So that just leaves the 'epic', well for the first 18 mins or so 'Illumination Theory' is excellent,possibly one of the best epic's they've done,then its just stops,the last couple of minutes at odds with the rest,it may grow on me,i'm not sure.

All in all its a pretty good release,far more immedate than the previous album 'A Dramatic Turn Of Events',although i suspect in the long run the former will be held in higher esteem,me? i like both. 4 stars

Original Album Series Vol. 2
Original Album Series Vol. 2
Price: £13.48

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars doobie brothers :the mellow years, 4 Sept. 2013
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Given that the generally accepted classic era is 1972-76,then this box set will be more harshly rated(possibly).I love both era's so when it was announced that this set was due i had to buy,specifically to get 1980's 'One Step Closer' and especially,the hard to get and usually expensive 'Farewell Tour' from '83.

Slightly disjointed,this set includes '71's debut 'The Doobie Brothers',alongside the 2 mentioned earlier plus 77's 'Livin On The Fault Line' and the mega smash hit album 'Minute From Minute' from 1978.

So apart from the early 70's rock of the debut disc its AOR all the way,The Doobies morphing into the Steely Dan arena and by 'One Step Closer',essentially a backing band for singer Michael Mcdonald.

Its finally great to get the live album on disc,a decent album covering all the bases.

Sound quality is excellent,doesnt say any where wether remastered or not,still the sound quality is excellent.

Packaging average,slipcase,replica sleeves and no real info,like the previous set no booklets,

With this set its 5 discs for just over a tenner,value for money,no doubt,well worth buying, 4 stars .

W.A.S.P. / The Last Command
W.A.S.P. / The Last Command
Price: £5.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 for the price of one!!!, 1 Sept. 2013
These 2 albums represent WASP in its purest,most feral sense,raw heavy metal,with sing along anthems and thundering riffs,the sort of music peers such as KISS/COOPER/TWISTED SISTER AND MOTLEY CRUE,should have been making but weren't,compare the discs they released circa 1984 & 85,with these 2,no contest these albums win hands down.

Disc 1 Wasp (1984), classic anthems such as 'I Wanna Be Somebody ' ,'School Daze' and 'Love Machine' alongside Priest inspired metal such as 'Hellion/Tormentor',superb stuff.

Disc 2 The Last Command (1985)_ even better than the debut,again superb anthems that lodge in your haed such as 'Wild Child' and 'Blind In Texas' backed up with super album cuts as the title track and 'Widowmaker'

I would be wrong not to mention the band Holmes/Piper/Reilly & Richards who all perform magnificently but its always been about the main man 'Blackie Lawless,in truth the band would eventually disappear and ultimately become a vehicle for Lawless,so it great to enjoy this early pure WASP for what it is,a rip rolling rock band,dumb sing along anthems and heavy metal.

Return to Paradise
Return to Paradise

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars under-rated live album, 1 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Return to Paradise (Audio CD)
Hard to believe this came out in '98 and disappeared almost immediately,going for silly money,I've waited a while but managed to get it for a decent price.

2 cd's of prime Styx,live in concert celebrating the 'Paradise Theatre' album with 4 tracks,those being, 'Best of Times/Rockin' The Paradise,the superb 'Too Much Time...,and a heavy 'Snowblind'.All the other greats are here including 'Come Sail Away/Babe/Grand Illusion/Reneagade/Crystal Ball etc

Strangely the album is topped and tailed with new (at the time) studio cuts:'On My Way','Paradise' and 'Dear John',they all show the AOR side of the band and are excellent.

Sound quality is very good,performance excellent,Vocals superb,although some people may find Denis De Youngs schmalz between songs overbearing,it doesnt bother me,rather adds to the charm.

Black Masquerade
Black Masquerade
Price: £11.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long Live Rock n Roll!!, 30 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Black Masquerade (Audio CD)
Never having heard the bootleg nor seen the TV show,i approach this 'New',you know what its excellent,a worthwhile release,yes the sound isnt perfect,how many live albums are?,still its a worthy 4 stars for this release.

Once the intro's over its top drawer Rainbow all the way,with a couple of Purple classics thrown in,sensibly 'Stargazer' is missing(only Ronnie for that one!),surprised they didnt throw in a 'Starstruck' or 'Run With The Wolf',still cant have everything.What we do get is expertly dealt with by Doogie White,the only singer ,after Dio,that could handle tracks from all era's,he puts in a superb performance here.

I've docked a star,as the sound isnt perfect as previously noted (and the little 'error' on Spotlight Kid' is a little irritating),Bass and Drums dont, really, standout as they should but we're here for the man in black,the legend that is Blackmore!,he never lets me down,his performance is a joy. Listen to the ferocious ripping solo on the likes of 'Spotlight Kid,the ad libs on 'Man on the Silver Mountain,enjoy the delicate, playful 'Temple of the King',I could go on and on,just buy it ,its a fantastic release.

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