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kaysixone (Manchester, UK)

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The Lost Episodes
The Lost Episodes
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £14.97

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE FRANK ZAPPA MEMORIAL BARBECUE, 21 Jan. 2003
This review is from: The Lost Episodes (Audio CD)
This album will probably only be of interest to hardcore Zappaphiles, but if you happen to be one, it certainly delivers the goods. It's a largely chronological compilation of outtakes and curios from the 1950's, 60's & 70's and is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Zappa artefacts. Several conspicuous appearances by Captain Beefheart are an added bonus.
As you might expect it's an eclectic selection, which includes previously unreleased material (such as "Lil' Clanton shuffle" from the HOT RATS sessions), great alternate takes of well-known tracks (eg a sublime version of "Sharleena"), some typically off-the-wall soundbites (the "booger" stories are great!) and a few genuinely silly moments (like "Lost in a whirlpool", featuring comedy falsetto vocals from a teenage Don Van Vliet and lyrics which make rather too literal comparisons between being dumped by your girlfriend and getting flushed down the toilet)....
Frank seems to have compiled it as a personal nostalgia trip and the extensive sleevenotes, brimming with background information, make it almost autobiographical. No Zappa collection can be complete without it.

Who Say Jah No Dread: The Classic Augustus Pablo Sessions 1974-75
Who Say Jah No Dread: The Classic Augustus Pablo Sessions 1974-75

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST, 20 Jan. 2003
This showcase collection features all six of Jacob Miller's Augustus Pablo produced single A-sides back to back with their respective dub versions. It's a great collaboration: Miller's impassioned vocals, Pablo's uniquely strong rhythms, melodies and arrangements played by some of Jamaica's finest musicians; plus the legendary King Tubby at the mixing desk. All the tracks were recorded over an 18 month period (1974-75) at Randy's and Dynamic studios and provided much of the source material for the landmark "King Tubby meets rockers uptown" album, after being mixed at King Tubby's studio by the master himself.
Miller was still a teenager when he started working with Pablo, but handles each vocal performance with an assurance that belies his youthful inexperience, whether it's the dread lyrics of tracks like "False rasta" or love songs like "Baby I love you so", and Tubby's dub mixes beautifully complement the A-sides. Dub was still a relatively new phenomenon when these recordings were made and hardly known outside of Jamaica. The idea of stripping a track down to its bare bones, adding effects such as echo and reverb, and dropping its constituent musical elements in and out of the mix was pioneered by Tubby, opening the door to a whole new world of sonic exploration.
It's difficult to pick favourite tracks on a compilation as good as this one. The most famous of these singles is undoubtedly "Baby I love you so" or rather its dub version "King Tubby meets rockers uptown", which was one of the first examples of dub to make any sort of impact internationally. But from the opening "Keep on knocking", which begins with a statement of intent by Miller ("This is rockers! Original rockers!") it's non-stop quintessential mid-70's reggae from start to finish.
Miller wanted to make more records with Pablo (who can blame him?) but given Pablo's dire financial status (he was often dependent on many of the musicians playing on his records for free on the basis that he would do the same for them), the promises of fame and fortune from other producers soon became too tempting. Before long Miller would become hugely successful with his band Inner Circle, but artistically at least, he never surpassed the recordings on this album. Sadly he was killed in a car crash in 1980, while Tubby was tragically gunned down outside his studio in 1989 and Pablo died a decade later in 1999.
Although the rhythms collected together on "Who say Jah no dread" are all available elsewhere, these are the definitive versions and if you only ever buy one Augustus Pablo record make sure this is it. In view of the album's title it's also pertinent to mention that Pablo was a deeply religious man who often credited Jah as co-producer of his works and this one is no exception. On the sleeve, after the words "produced by Augustus Pablo" you can read the following in parenthesis: "produced by King Selassie I through his divine powers working through I and I to manifest these inspirations". What more can I say?

The Rough Guide to Reggae (Rough Guide Music Guides)
The Rough Guide to Reggae (Rough Guide Music Guides)
by Steve Barrow
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE, 11 Dec. 2002
Jamaica's incredibly prolific musical output (more than one hundred thousand different records over the last fifty years) is a phenomenon totally out of proportion to the island's small size, its 2 million strong population and modest wealth. Equally significant is the huge influence of reggae music on everything from punk to hip hop to today's rave and dj culture. So if you're looking for a reggae primer that really explains what it's all about, this is the book to get.

Authors Steve Barrow and Peter Dalton possess an unrivalled knowledge of Jamaica's rich musical heritage and if you've ever bought any of the superbly remastered and repackaged reissue cds from Barrow's Blood & Fire label, you'll find the same care, attention to detail and love of the music in the pages of the Rough Guide.

The book chronicles the entire history of Jamaican music chapter by chapter, from the earliest beginnings to the sounds being made today; explaining when, how and why each new style developed, who made it happen and the background of continuing social change in Jamaica itself, which has always played a part in shaping the music. There are also excellent accounts of the evolution of reggae in the UK, the USA and Africa.

In each chapter the main text is supplemented by profiles of the major singers, groups, djs, musicians, producers, engineers, studios and promoters who came to the fore in that particular era, which often include interviews with the artists themselves. The accompanying discographies are well researched and can reliably be used to add to your record collection. There are over a thousand featured albums in the book, each of which is concisely reviewed, and although there's no rating system as such, the most important releases are highlighted as being essential for a particular artist or style. Such ratings are inevitably subjective, but if you follow these recommendations you won't go far wrong.

The Rough Guide is also well illustrated throughout with photographs and album artwork, and overall it's as comprehensive and accurate as it can be while remaining reasonably concise. I don't generally spend much time wading through books about music because theory (ie reading about it) is invariably much less enjoyable and informative than practice (ie listening to it), but I've found this one to be consistently useful.

If you have a few more pounds to spare I'd recommend that you also buy the wonderful 4 CD set "TOUGHER THAN TOUGH: THE STORY OF JAMAICAN MUSIC", so you can read and listen in parallel; and if you'd like to dig deeper into the subject try the excellent "BASS CULTURE: WHEN REGGAE WAS KING" by Lloyd Bradley. But the Rough Guide should definitely be your first book about reggae music and will probably be the only one you'll ever need.

The Story of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than Tough

Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King

Logitech QuickCam Pro 3000 USB Webcam
Logitech QuickCam Pro 3000 USB Webcam

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD LOOKING GADGET, 11 Dec. 2002
As a lifelong technophobe it's taken me a while to get used to computers and the internet but I'm getting there. This is the first webcam I've bought and after using it for a few weeks with no problems, I'm very impressed with what it can do.
Much to my relief I was able to install the Quickcam software without a hitch, and after connecting the USB cable to my pc the webcam was fully operational within minutes (I have an Intel 650MHz processor and am running MS Windows 98 SE). The picture quality is excellent compared to other webcams I've seen and taking photos and recording video clips couldn't be simpler. Once you've created them, you can edit and enhance your images using PhotoSuite III SE or VideoWave III SE, and sending the results by email is also remarkably easy.
The QuickCam Pro 3000 has a built-in mic, which is especially useful for video conferencing over the web. Here the performance quality can vary greatly, but this is to some extent inevitable regardless of which webcam you use. Yahoo Messenger is bundled in with the software and installs automatically whether you like it or not, which wasn't a problem for me, but if you're already using another package you might find this a bit irritating. I tried using the webcam with MSN Messenger/Netmeeting and it worked just as well.
One possible drawback is the fact that the Quickcam software will only allow you to broadcast video and audio over the web via a third party host site (Spotlife.com). So if you're buying a webcam with a view to doing this via your own website, you'd be better off getting one which includes this functionality by default.
But I'm personally very happy with the Quickcam Pro 3000 (call me shallow, but it also looks pretty cool) and it was definitely money well spent.

People Funny Boy
People Funny Boy
Offered by shakedownrecords
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EARLY RECORDINGS, 11 Dec. 2002
This review is from: People Funny Boy (Audio CD)
This is an interesting selection of Lee Perry's earliest productions for his own Upsetter label, and the music on these formative sides ably demonstrates that the craziness and trickery we associate with "Scratch" was there from the very beginning.
The first two tracks on the cd (both sides of Burt Walters' single "Honey love") illustrate this to perfection. The A side is a charmingly crooned version of a song made popular by the Drifters; its B side (titled "Evol Yenoh") features the same rhythm track as the A side but with the vocal track played backwards! How many other producers would have tried something like that back in 1968?
Some of the other material is also fairly eccentric in nature, including a lovely rocksteady version of Acker Bilk's "Stranger on the shore" (retitled as "Popeye on the shore") by Val Bennett and a rather amusing take on Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the wind", also by Burt Walters, featuring some appropriately windy sound effects from Perry.
The album features a mixture of instrumentals and vocal cuts by various artists and a nice blend of cover versions and originals. Some of the best tracks feature Perry's own vocals, including the well-known title song and the excellent "You crummy". These rocksteady and early reggae classics are a far cry from the mind-expanding experiments that were to emerge from the Black Ark studio a few years later, but everybody's got to start somewhere. Highly recommended!

Chicken Scratch
Chicken Scratch

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ORIGINAL SKA FROM STUDIO ONE, 11 Dec. 2002
This review is from: Chicken Scratch (Audio CD)
This cd showcases Lee Perry's earliest work on the Studio One label from 1961 to 1966, when he was employed by Jamaica's premier sound system operator and producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd as a talent scout, dj, sound engineer and vocalist. As such it's a fascinating glimpse into Perry's formative years before his emergence as a producer and a must for any serious Upsetter collector.
The sound throughout is that of authentic 60's ska and early rocksteady with joyful musical accompaniment provided by the Skatellites and Soul Brothers. As well as his theme song "Chicken Scratch", the album includes Perry's first encounter with The Wailers ("Man to man") while other tracks feature the backing vocals of Rita Marley's Soulettes.
After leaving Dodd, Perry worked with various producers before launching his own Upsetter label in 1968. But that's another story....

Hard Boiled [DVD]
Hard Boiled [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chow Yun-Fat
Price: £5.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER SHOOT-EM UP CLASSIC, 22 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Hard Boiled [DVD] (DVD)
Although "The killer" has to be my favourite John Woo film, this one comes a very close second. It also stars Chow Yun Fat playing an almost identical character, except that this time he's on the right side of the law - a cop named Tequila. Ruthless but with a sensitive side (renegade cop by day, musician by night) he's soon on the trail of a gang of gun smugglers. It's a fairly simple story, with just enough of a plot to sustain the viewer in between the epic gun fights and action sequences which are stunning enough to eclipse even those in "The killer".
When Tequila's partner is killed during the first of many spectacular shoot-outs, he vows revenge. And after that there's so much action you soon lose count of the exploding cars, never mind the bodies and bullets. Again the film features an alliance between the main character and somebody who first appears as an enemy (a gangster who turns out to be an undercover cop) and you won't be disappointed by the apocalyptic showdown at the end.
Another shoot-em up classic!

The Killer [DVD]
The Killer [DVD]
Dvd ~ Yun-Fat Chow
Offered by westworld-
Price: £20.00

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT ACTION THRILLER, 14 Oct. 2002
This review is from: The Killer [DVD] (DVD)
It's great to get my hands on a dvd of this movie. Although John Woo's Hollywood films are good, this shining example of the Chinese action thriller genre (out of over 20 from his Hong Kong days) is something else.
However, if you don't like guns then I have to say that this movie is not for you. Because John Woo definitely does like guns - lots of guns - firing incalculable numbers of bullets in all directions at every opportunity. Not surprisingly it's a violent film, but not an especially gory one. Although the body count is high, "The killer" definitely oozes more style than blood and its many action sequences are all filmed with tastefully impeccable attention to detail.
It's essentially a film about redemption. Chow Yun Fat stars as a hit man with a heart. Hired to kill a gangster in a nightclub, during the shoot-out which follows he fires his gun too close to the face of the club singer who is blinded by the blast. Haunted by what he has done he keeps returning to the club, gets to know the singer (without revealing his guilty secret) and sets about raising enough money to pay for an operation which will restore her sight.
After his next job he finds himself double-crossed and pursued by deadly killers from both sides of the law and eventually forms an uneasy alliance with the cop who is initially out to nail him. The final showdown takes place, somewhat symbolically, in a church whose pristine white interior is systematically defiled and destroyed during the ensuing carnage.
"The killer" is a shoot-em up classic which I've watched hundreds of times and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING, 12 Mar. 2002
This review is from: Y (Audio CD)
The Pop Group started in late 1970's Bristol, inspired by the Sex Pistols but already looking way beyond punk to see how far their imaginations could take them. Produced by dub master Dennis Bovell (also responsible for producing the Slits' first album around the same time) and featuring a young Mark Springer on piano, "Y" fuses together elements from rock, reggae, dub, funk, jazz and who knows what else with bleakly poetic lyrics (and plenty of primal screaming) from vocalist Mark Stewart.

The first track on my cd copy is actually their first single "She is beyond good and evil" which caused quite a stir at the time but sounds comparatively lightweight next to the album proper, which begins with "Thief of fire". Bovell's production is crucial. As well as harnessing the band's raw energy and ensuring that their predilection for extremes of volume and pitch never spirals out of control, he makes the whole thing sound like it was recorded in some sort of primordial echo chamber. "Snowgirl" is probably the most successful track, with its haunting theme and chaotic semi-improvised sequences seamlessly disintegrating into moments of quiet beauty; but it's all compelling, if uneasy listening.
The original lp includes a large poster featuring a collage of images indicating the band's moral and ideological concerns, but it's the music which did the talking on this album. Unfortunately they never managed to recapture that initial spark on their few subsequent releases where the music became a vehicle for their often tedious political sloganeering (mind you, their manic single "We are all prostitutes" is also a personal favourite).

Of course the various members of the Pop Group went on to form a multitude of other, generally more lightweight groups like Pigbag, Maximum Joy, Rip Rig & Panic (featuring a young Neneh Cherry) etc. Stewart bucked this trend by continuing his journey into paranoia, despair and torment with albums like "Learning to cope with cowardice" (an excellent sequel to "Y"). Their experiments also influenced a new generation of Bristol musicians (Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead etc) but you'll never hear anything that sounds quite like this.

A New Breed Of Dub: From the Makers of Dubhead
A New Breed Of Dub: From the Makers of Dubhead

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT SAMPLER, 3 Mar. 2002
The last few years have seen a renewed proliferation in the area of electronic dub music and this UK sampler features some of the many artists involved in this renaissance, with fresh approaches to producing heavy, heavy dub from the roots tradition. Worth checking out.

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