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R. Burin "royal_film" (Harrogate, UK)

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James Brown Live At The Apollo, 1962
James Brown Live At The Apollo, 1962
Offered by discover.store
Price: £13.20

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, vital, short., 10 Nov. 2002
Oddly unsung in Britain despite it's status as James Brown's bestselling record, 'Live at Apollo' disappoints only in it's sub-40 minute running time. Recorded when he was a raw talent, rather than an established name, the record showcases his phenomenal voice perfectly. Like Sam Cooke's 'Live at Harlem Sq. Club' (which is even better), the singer is shown in context- not softened by studio production, but in his element- giving it his all in front of a notoriously difficult audience, which he soon wins over. Fats Gonder's oft-parodied and/or homaged introduction is wisely included, and the first three numbers sound great. It is with 'Lost Someone', though, that James Brown finds his voice. "I feel so I good I wanna scream!", he shouts, "I feel just like I wanna scream!". "Go ahead and scream!", comes the reply.
And in that moment James Brown moved from flavour-of-the-month to soul legend. The record met with extraordinary success in America, in both critical and commercial terms, and was lauded by Britain's New Musical Express, some thirty years on, as the '30th Greatest Record of All Time'. Strange then, that few supposed soul afficionados I've spoken to are aware of this record's existence, let alone it's genius. When 'Live at Apollo' was recorded, James Brown was a man at the peak of his powers, if not of his public recognition- and it shows. If 'Night Train' is a slightly low-key closer, the medley which precedes it more than compensates- a lust-filled, yearning, aching nine-minute medley of rare quality. One of THE great soul records, a priceless artefact, and for many, an undiscovered gem.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2014 12:29 PM BST

Out of Season
Out of Season
Price: £5.62

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An instant masterpiece, 2 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Out of Season (Audio CD)
"God knows how I adore life..."
It's difficult to remember a record so perfect in every way. It begins with a 50-second soundscape melting away beneath THAT VOICE. 'Mysteries' sends shivers down the spine, like 'Mojo Pin' (from Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'), it's an opener that fills you with excitement till you're fit-to-burst, flawless, beautiful, majestic, sweeping... and before you can catch your breath it's over. 'Tom The Model' slips into 'Portishead' territory before exploding into a preposterously catchy chorus, and so it continues... There isn't a weak moment or false note on this extraordinary record: Gibbons' shoves and pulls her voice around lilting melodies and trip-hop rhythms, seamlessly shifting from Billie Holiday-stylings to Sandy Denny in successive songs.
'Mojo Magazine' described it as "one of the best albums ever made"- that it lives up to and surpasses such expectations, whilst making today's six-hour train delay not just bearable but a joy, says more about this wonderful album than you could possibly imagine. Please buy this.

Eazy-Duz- It/5150 Home 4 Tha Sick (World) (Explicit)
Eazy-Duz- It/5150 Home 4 Tha Sick (World) (Explicit)
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.99

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, largely ignored album from the REAL voice of NWA., 23 Sept. 2002
For the most part, Eazy-E eschews the gangsta sensibilities of his 'NWA' work, instead embuing this work with a thick, often oddly unfunny vein of sexual humour. This would be the basis for a substantial gripe were in not for his extraodrinary voice (though an acquired taste), a barely civil sneer one second, exploding into a furious rant the next. This is powerful, almost life-affirming stuff at times- which seems bizarre coming from a lower middle-class white Englishman, but... this is simply wonderful.
Eazy-E drifted into mediocrity in later years, usurped by both Dre and Ice Cube as the most important voice in the NWA 'Family', but this record is evidence of his extraodinary vocal talent. This is the sound of a man gloriously discontented with life, but with a change in sight. This is probably the best solo rap record of the 90s, and when he relents from cussing his "b*tches", the material is breathtaking.
[This special edition has a bonus EP, which is slightly inferior to the album material, but- hey- I'm not complaining about more E].

Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £8.94

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important record of the 90s- bar none., 23 Sept. 2002
This review is from: Straight Outta Compton (Audio CD)
"You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge"- and so begins rap's finest work...
At a time when rap consisted primarily of dispensible, comedic pap, two bands turned the genre on it's head. Whilst 'Public Enemy' produced three albums of sustained quality (before their shows degenerated into pantomime-esque theatrics), 'NWA' released only one truly great record. 'Straight Outta Compton' is indisputably the most important and most fully realised rap record ever made. The three chief protagonists (namely Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr Dre) all reached a creative peak during the recording of 'Compton'- and with production which rivals that of Public Enemy's "Bomb Squad", this is one of those rare albums which not only lives up to its hype, but far exceeds it. It is the 'Citizen Kane' of rap releases- original, immensely influential and still utterly fresh today.
The first three tracks in particular possess a potency rarely seen in rap. The violent, often crude lyrics are genuine, yet accessible. This is a record years ahead of its time, and one as important now as then- forget 'Nevermind', THIS is the record of the 90s- a cultural record, an album that defined for a generation an entire culture, a classic.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2012 12:30 AM GMT

Arizona Bay
Arizona Bay
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £6.97

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innovative Third Album From One Of The Greats, 20 Sept. 2002
This review is from: Arizona Bay (Audio CD)
This is not just an excellent comedy album, but an important one. Representing Hicks' ongoing battle for creative control of his material, the initially distracting use of background music works well, and was used to even greater effect on 'Rant In E-Minor': the almost 'new age' music of Marblehead Johnson contrasting with Bill's explosive delivery. 'Arizona Bay' is not Bill's best album, and contains a couple of misfires- very rare for this brilliant comic. However, there is enough scintillating material to make it a must buy: the segment on the LA Riots is amongst his very best work, a well-judged, consistently hilarious deconstruction of events: "They're on foot, you're in a truck... I think I see a way out of this!", he incredulously shouts. As with 'Relentless' and 'Rant', the noises coming from the crowd are baffling- one lady screams for close to five minutes, managing to drown out much of the dialogue, but all in all this is a marvellous record. It's also a grower, and even if the 'Elvis' skit (redundant without the visuals) falls flat, and the 'Hooligans' sketch (complete with somewhat patchy English accent) is overlong and mostly dull, the marvellous novelty of Bill's solitary "pun" (believed to be the only one he ever attempted on stage)- pigeons were behind the Kennedy assasination (he heard them saying "Coup"/"Coo") more than makes up for that.
As an introduction to the work of this great man, 'Arizona Bay' is probably not your best bet- however, if you've got hold of 'Rant' and 'Relentless', this should compliment your collection admirably- it's just over an hour in duration and, providing you're not offended by jokes, and have a passable knowledge of US History 90-93, you won't be disappointed.

Bill Hicks - One Night Stand [VHS]
Bill Hicks - One Night Stand [VHS]
Offered by Discountdiscs-UK : Dispatched daily from the UK.
Price: £4.98

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Diluted Hicks Is Still Worth A Look, 19 Sept. 2002
'HBO' commissioned this 30-minute special after Hicks' appearances on the Letterman show, and it shows. His scathing wit, biting satire and frequent diversions into profanity are toned down, and though some jokes hit the mark, this is NOT vintage Hicks. That said, there's moments of inspiration (existing largely in the uncensored material which comes direct from his club shows). For more worthy material, seek out the CD albums 'Relentless' and 'Rant In E-Minor'; 'One Night Stand' is not a suitable tribute to this visionary genius.

Police Story (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Police Story (Special Collector's Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jackie Chan
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £7.39

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insanely popular Chan vehicle is badly dated but still fun., 1 Sept. 2002
Having first achieved fame with 'Drunken Master', Jackie Chan was thrust into the spotlight once more with 1983's 'Project A', a hugely enjoyable pirate flick which re-established Chan as a major star. By the time 'Police Story' was released two years later, the extraordinary hype surrounding Jackie was reaching it's zenith, and crowds flocked to see this frenetic blend of awesome stunts, brutal fight scenes and dreadful comedy. It broke numerous box-office records and inspired a 50% rise in police recruits, but, viewed 17 years on- is it any good?
With Chan sporting a variety of garish outfits, the feel of the movie is resoundingly "80s", and in this sense it has dated very badly indeed. The comedy, too, seems laboured and dull. However, as an action movie (Chan's films can rarely be seen solely as "kungfu" pictures because of the numerous stunts and chase-scenes) it stands up. There are several terrific fight scenes, and even if the crudely shot climax is unnecessarily violent, Chan's rarely-praised charisma carries the movie. In presenting our "hero" as a borderline psychopath whose recklessness puts others in danger, Jackie was taking a momentous gamble, but in the event- no-one appears to have noticed! Critics praised it as a simple 'Good vs Evil' battle, and this seems to belittle the film's ambiguity of tone. It's hardly 'The Brothers Karamazov', but in depicting such uncertainty, this is a notable and praiseworthy shift from conventional ideas.
In short, this remains a quality "popcorn" movie (though you may empty your stomach as numerous villains are thrust against or deposited into glass showcases in the film's final scene) and though it's rarely funny, it's tremendously fun for the most part, and has some wonderful moments. Dated yes, nullified no!

The Blues Brothers [VHS] [1980]
The Blues Brothers [VHS] [1980]
Offered by minipack
Price: £4.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, original, ultra hip., 7 Aug. 2002
This extraordinary movie was panned on release- sophisticated critics trashing its gleeful sense of mayhem, highly unnecessary levels of carnage and wonderful Rhythm and Blues soundtrack. 22 years on though, its status as a cult favourite is confirmed- EMPIRE readers rated in their Top 100 movies ever (Oct 99), and even the painful sequel cannot dent the reputation of this hugely entertaining, very, VERY cool movie. Snappily dressed, superbly deadpan throughout: Aykroyd and Belushi are terrific- they don't bicker or quarrel as many comedy pairings do, bringing instead a sense of warmth to the film which many critics failed to grasp or appreciate. That isn't to say that it isn't a sporadically foul-mouthed, often violent film, but rather that it's heart is indisputably in the right, highly soulful place. Action movie, comedy, musical... this film is all these things and more, a must see!

Blues Brothers 2000 [VHS] [1998]
Blues Brothers 2000 [VHS] [1998]
Offered by funkybunnie
Price: £6.99

15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Akyroyd and Landis defecate on the memory of the original..., 7 Aug. 2002
This is a woeful, belated follow-up to the much loved, inspired, hysterically funny, extremely hip 1980 flick 'The Blues Brothers'. Whereas the original hit the spot consistently throughout a chaotic, laugh-filled, riotous two hours, this sequel is an embarassment throughout. Whilst I consider myself to be absurdly fond of the original, my good will was all used up within ten minutes of this drivel. Aykroyd is a talented comedian, but having failed to pen anything of the standard of 'The Blues Brothers', '2000' highlights the inconsistencies and flaws of his creation: Ellroy Blues. That this is even important illustrates perfectly why this sequel is vastly inferior: it's dull and cliched, it drags and stutters to an unsatisfactory, sentimental climax.
-Frequent, intrusive, unnecessary cameos? Check.
-Top cast members (John Belushi, Cab Calloway...) missing? Check.
-The only enjoyable bits simply reminding you of the infinitely superior original? Check.
-All in all just a hideous, bastardised remake? Yup, this film passes all necessary tests required for it to be tossed into the "unwatchable" category- painful stuff.

Once Upon A Time In China 3 [VHS]
Once Upon A Time In China 3 [VHS]
Offered by pkeylock
Price: £19.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional action movie completes trilogy in style., 3 Aug. 2002
Following on from Parts I and II (1991 and 1992 respectively), Jet Li eschewed plot and went for the simply spectacular- a two-hour kung-fu extravaganza culminating in an extraordinary dance contest. That he consequently fell out with director Tsui Hark and parodied the movie in 'Last Hero in China' is forgiveable- that he returned to the series in the execrable Part VI: 'Once Upon A Time In China and America', barely so. In short, the original trilogy remains the greatest in martial arts movie history. Epic, brilliantly shot masterpieces, blending atypically good dialogue and plot with some of the greatest fight scenes ever committed to film. Though the woeful "comedy" grates, it is kept to a bare minimum in these films. This film justifies a far longer, more hyperbolic, excited response than the one committed here, but I'm very sleepy and there really is no need- go buy this trilogy at once... GENIUS.

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