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Martin A Hogan "Marty From SF" (San Francisco Bay Area)
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Heathen (Ms)
Heathen (Ms)

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Surround, 20 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heathen (Ms) (Audio CD)
"Heathen" was a hard listen for me, initially; with it's over-sampled guitar work. However, when I acquired a system that decodes SACD's, this album completely changed in sound and dynamics. With surround sound and the exquisite remastering, you can truly hear the layers of music that Bowie intended you to hear. "Sunday" and "5:15" are especially breathtaking on this disc and "Everyone Says Hi" turns from silly and simple to fun and phenomenal.

Also, this SACD contains four more songs that were only available on special discs or singles. The Fall of 2006 should allow Sony to release inexpensive SACD Surround Sound systems and this SACD should be your first purchase. The experience is simply spine tingling and ethereal. Bowie always was ahead of the game in music and styles.


Mr. Natural [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)]
Mr. Natural [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)]

5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse Of The Genius To Come, 18 Feb. 2015
Mr. Natural only reached #198 on the USA Billboard charts and comprises a significant transition period for the Bee Gees. With the help of veteran producer Arif Mardin, the Gibbs put together a smattering of different styled songs, ranging from rock to R&B to ballads. Their album before (A Kick In The Head...) was not released and the album afterwards (Main Course) skyrocketed up the charts with a #1 single and started the Bee Gees on the present course they enjoy now. Although none of the singles (Throw A Penny, Mr. Natural and Charade) made much of an impact, it still is a "which style do we go with guys?" album. However, it is one of the most diverse albums of the Bee Gees career. Oddly, the stations seemed to play "Dogs" now and then, even though it was not released as a single. "Give A Hand, Take A Hand" was an older song from 1969 that the Gibbs rerecorded after The Staple Singers did well with it. The song styles waver through soft, sensual ballads like "Charade" and then jump into a strange, heavily transitioned song "Throw A Penny" into a fast rock number called "Down The Road", which was a staple in their concerts. "Mr. Natural " comes closest to a true R&B song, but seems forced. "Lost In Your Love" is a trademark Bee Gees tear-jerker and "Voices" really takes advantage of Robin's great vocals. "Heavy Breathing" is a simple, but rocking song, but is then followed by an obligatory tear-jerking ballad "Had A Lot Of Love Last Night". What a variety! It's clear that the Gibbs maintained a grip on their older style while diving into a new style that would make the public give it a good, hard listen. Should you buy it? (as if you don't have 5 copies already). Yes, there are many memorable tracks. On this album you can really feel the 'hunger' the Gibbs had!


Life in a Tin Can
Life in a Tin Can
Price: £33.82

4.0 out of 5 stars Short, Sweet & Amazing, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Life in a Tin Can (Audio CD)
Even though this CD barely garnered a hit, "Saw A New Morning" and was poorly received by the public, the concerts were still going strong during this period (1973). Hedging more towards country, The Bee Gees crafted some fine acoustic work here with, "South Dakota Morning, "Living In Chicago" and the upbeat rocker, "Come Home Johnny Bridie".

"I Don't Wanna Be The One" and "My Life Has Been A Song" are a tad bit of the old cornball ballads. However, "While I Play" is a Barry Gibb standout cut. Recorded with such celebrated studio musicians as, Jim Keltner on drums, pianist Jane Getz, 'Sneaky Pete' on steel guitar and the Bee Gees own, Alan Kendall, this album is first rate. It is a shame it only clocks in at less than 33 minutes.

Recording during one of the slowest periods of their career in Los Angeles, this album pumps out more country than pop or rock, but still displays the amazing song-writing talents and guitar work the Bee Gees were known for, especially in this early American period. They appeared on the Johnny Carson show frequently and the Midnight Special, such was their popular draw.


To Whom It May Concern
To Whom It May Concern
Price: £67.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Hits From The Hungry Years, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: To Whom It May Concern (Audio CD)
Released in one of the Gibb's slow periods (1972), this CD contains mostly a collection of individual works, most of it hodgepodge, but there is still a humble brilliance to most of the songs. However, for the real Bee Gees fan, it is a must have.

Other than the big hit, "Run To Me", other standout cuts are, "Road To Alaska", a unique toe-tapping rocker frequently used in concerts and "Bad Bad Dreams" (kudos to lead guitarist Alan Kendall), "Paper Mache, Cabbages & Kings", a fun novelty song that bounces around with oddball lyrics, "You Know It's For You", A Maurice Gibb song that is one of his best lively mood songs and "Alive", a poorly received Top forty single that is one of the best written ballads the Bee Gees have done. The mood varies and the variety of instruments played solely by Maurice is remarkable. It is worth a listen if not a purchase.

Downplayed by the Bee Gees, this album still represents their 'hungry period' and some of the vocal and guitar/keyboard work is remarkable. It may not be a concept album, but it provides an ample supply of finely crafted pop tunes. Even the very short, "Please Don't Turn out the Lights" manages to exude a mood by the end of its brief harmonic burst.


Trafalgar
Trafalgar
Price: £27.14

5.0 out of 5 stars The True Concept Album!, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Trafalgar (Audio CD)
Although "Odessa" has been stated to be a concept album, "Trafalgar" seems to be more consistent in it's theme and musical harmony. Taking the motif from the battle of Trafalgar, this album excels in diversity and vocal variety. "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" was #1 in the United States for four weeks but "Israel" was only released in Europe as a single. No matter. "Israel" shows demonstrates Barry's flair for screaming rhythm and blues with a marvelously typical passion.

"Remembering" and "Dearest" are two ballads that Robin and Barry suck sorrow from their gut that surpasses anything they have sung before this album. Maurice also excels with a strong, consistent heavy bass and a piano pounding energy in songs such as "Somebody Stop The Music", "Israel" and "Walking Back To Waterloo". He was quoted as saying that Barry loved all his multi-layered work on the song "Trafalgar" and told him not to change a thing. He stated he felt surprised and happy to gain brother Barry's unconditional approval. "When Do I" shocks the listener with Robin's vocal range, stretching his pronounced vocals to the limit. Robin also screams out the blues on "Lion In Winter", fading into a rising orchestral arrangement. Maurice gets his way with "It's Just The Way" with some nice overlayed guitar work. Want to rock? "Somebody Stop The Music" pulls out all the stops and proves the Gibbs can still belt them out.

On a more somber note, I wonder why "Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself" was released as a US single. It is far too long for AM radio and somewhat sullen. However, it did get to #52 on the AM charts, so it couldn't have been that unpopular. What better a song to finish this masterpiece than "Walking Back To Waterloo", a grand finale. What make this album so consistent? All songs have a orchestral lushness that carries from song to song, giving it a rich and appealing feel. Once Maurice was joking that there were too many strings on this album, but in person he said he felt it was a "wonderful" disc. Now this is a concept album and it is no small wonder that Polydor chose to release it on Ultradisc Gold.


2 Years on
2 Years on
Price: £47.22

4.0 out of 5 stars The Long Awaited Reunion Album, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: 2 Years on (Audio CD)
Barry Gibb once mentioned that "2 Years On" was the weakest album the trio had recorded. True. Granted that it garnered the huge American hit "Lonely Days" (#3), the rest of the album seems like leftovers from their attempts at solo careers. Wince while listening to "I'm Weeping". Shake your head in bewilderment at "Tell Me Why". "Lay It On Me" passes the test, but it seems Maurice shot his entire solo wad on that one.

Do note however, that the song "2 Years On" is a rare early Robin and Maurice collaboration. "Man For All Seasons" clearly hints at the Gibbs' easily obtained falsettos to come. "The 1st Mistake I Made" is a surprising success and wistful with great guitar work. Strong emotional strings and guitar/piano riffs can't help but 'get you'.

"Portrait Of Louise" and "Alone Again" are great pop album cuts. Otherwise the remainder of the songs are 'fluff'. This 'fluff' led to a magnificent album less than a year later; the fantastic "Trafalgar". This was the album that brought the Brothers Gibb into maturity. This album still contains more great cuts than not. It can only be hoped that it gets rereleased in re-mastered form in the near future.


Bee Gees 1st
Bee Gees 1st
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.58

5.0 out of 5 stars The Debut Album!, 18 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Bee Gees 1st (Audio CD)
Wrapped in a snug fold-out digipak, this Rhino re-issue of Bee Gees First is a wonder to behold. Being the first international album by the three brothers, Rhino has beautifully remastered the original into one CD that has all the original fourteen songs in Stereo and Mono. These are different sounding recordings and not simply Stereo condensed into Mono. Classics like, "To Love Somebody", "Holiday" and their first big hit "New York Mining Disaster 1941" are given new life. In fact, the latter song has four different versions included here.

Disc 2 contains fantastic Alternate Versions and preciously unreleased material. Compare Barry's lead vocal of "One Minute woman" to Robin's take. Or compare the orchestral and instrumental differences between originals and Alternate Takes of "I Close My Eyes" and Turn Of The Century". It must have been a tough decision to make regarding songs choices. The Bee Gees show a remarkable sense of humor with "Mr. Wallor's Wailing Wall" and Beatle-esque perfection with "Gilbert Green" and "House Of Lords". With 42 songs and a running time of well over 100 minutes, this is a long awaited release. This album made it to #7 on the Billboard charts in 1967! Also includes a colorful booklet packed with trivia, history, album and single photos as well as comments from Barry and Robin Gibb.


EC Technology® 18000mAh Ultra Slim (12mm thin) Dual-Port Power Bank Aluminum Alloy External Battery Charger for iPhone 6 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S 4, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 4 3, Nexus, HTC One, most other Phones and Tablets-Black
EC Technology® 18000mAh Ultra Slim (12mm thin) Dual-Port Power Bank Aluminum Alloy External Battery Charger for iPhone 6 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S 4, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 4 3, Nexus, HTC One, most other Phones and Tablets-Black
Offered by EC Technology UK Store
Price: £69.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Big, Black & Bold, 11 Dec. 2014
There are so many external batteries on the market and many are simply too expensive, don't have enough power to supply even one recharge of a phone or tablet, are too heavy or poorly made. This ECTechnology external battery has some surprises.

At 18,000mAh of battery power, it is at the top of the power game. I have only seen one other battery at 20,000mAh and it was more expensive. This is a very fair price. Considering that it can charge your phone (I have an iPhone 4S) about ten times and a tablet (I have an iPad2) three times, before you need to recharge the device.

It also has two ports (which is now standard) with one at 5V, 1.0A and the other at 5V, 2.1A for a slightly faster charge to your device being charged. If you do charge two devices at once, a full charge will take a bit longer than if charging just one. As a nice novelty, it has 3 LED modes: SOS mode, power status mode and highlight mode. The ‘pindicator’ shows power levels in 25% increments.

The size is BIG. It is exactly 6.6” x 4.7” x 0.5” inches and weighs 1 pound-2.4 ounces. It would complement a large Android but it is not the kind of battery you can slide into a pocket. It is meant for office or briefcase use.

I always recharge when it gets below 20%. It takes about 3-4 hours to fully charge. Overnight charging is the best way. All external batteries claim more than 500 cycles of charging but that would take a few years to use up. You've have to recharge it every other day for almost three years to get to that point. This also the first external battery that advises against charging and using your device at the same time. This can evidently lessen the number of battery uses over its lifetime.

With all Dual USB Output Ports being universal, they are compatible with almost any smart device with an input of DC 5V, Smartphones, 5V tablets, PSP, Bluetooth speakers & headphones, Google Glass, and MP3 / MP4 players and more. The kit comes with four adapters along with the standard USB plug and cord.

It may be a large and heavy metallic battery, but you cannot argue with that kind of power and price. Product supplied for review.


EC Technology® 18000mAh Portable High Capacity 2 USB Output Ports(5V/2.1A&1A)power bank Charger For iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Nexus 4, HTC One, One 2 (M8), Most Smartphones, Tablets-Black
EC Technology® 18000mAh Portable High Capacity 2 USB Output Ports(5V/2.1A&1A)power bank Charger For iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Note 3, Nexus 4, HTC One, One 2 (M8), Most Smartphones, Tablets-Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Big, Black & Bold!, 11 Dec. 2014
There are so many external batteries on the market and many are simply too expensive, don't have enough power to supply even one recharge of a phone or tablet, are too heavy or poorly made. This ECTechnology external battery has some surprises.

At 18,000mAh of battery power, it is at the top of the power game. I have only seen one other battery at 20,000mAh and it was more expensive. This is a very fair price. Considering that it can charge your phone (I have an iPhone 4S) about ten times and a tablet (I have an iPad2) three times, before you need to recharge the device.

It also has two ports (which is now standard) with one at 5V, 1.0A and the other at 5V, 2.1A for a slightly faster charge to your device being charged. If you do charge two devices at once, a full charge will take a bit longer than if charging just one. As a nice novelty, it has 3 LED modes: SOS mode, power status mode and highlight mode. The ‘pindicator’ shows power levels in 25% increments.

The size is BIG. It is exactly 6.6” x 4.7” x 0.5” inches and weighs 1 pound-2.4 ounces. It would complement a large Android but it is not the kind of battery you can slide into a pocket. It is meant for office or briefcase use.

I always recharge when it gets below 20%. It takes about 3-4 hours to fully charge. Overnight charging is the best way. All external batteries claim more than 500 cycles of charging but that would take a few years to use up. You've have to recharge it every other day for almost three years to get to that point. This also the first external battery that advises against charging and using your device at the same time. This can evidently lessen the number of battery uses over its lifetime.

With all Dual USB Output Ports being universal, they are compatible with almost any smart device with an input of DC 5V, Smartphones, 5V tablets, PSP, Bluetooth speakers & headphones, Google Glass, and MP3 / MP4 players and more. The kit comes with four adapters along with the standard USB plug and cord.

It may be a large and heavy metallic battery, but you cannot argue with that kind of power and price. Product supplied for review.


Robin Gibb 50 St Catherine's Drive Limited Edition, Signed Compilation
Robin Gibb 50 St Catherine's Drive Limited Edition, Signed Compilation
Offered by Isle of Man Stamps & Coins
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Isle Of Man Post Office Limited Edition Compilation, 6 Oct. 2014
This edition comes in a thick double cased plastic Box Set - not a clam board shell, or cardboard sleeve. It’s befitting. Inside is the great final CD with all great seventeen (17) songs. (My personal review is at the bottom). The other addition is a CD-ROM which a series of interviews showing Robin, Dwina and RJ Gibb. It full of surprises; reminiscent of the interviews of old Bee Gees interviews. The atmosphere is the same.
The enclosed booklet is a fourteen (14) booklet written by Dwina dissecting the album beautifully. This is the kind of stuff CD’s no longer seem to offer. All the musicians and people who helped the project along with graceful accolades to all that Robin loved are listed.
Rob Fitzpatrick also includes a booklet lovingly written about Robin with five carefully chosen photos of Robins family and lifetime. Enclosed as well, are eight (8) stamps from the Isle of Man each one showing a Robin Gibb album cover. These are real stamps – not that anyone would actually use them.
There are also three cardboard discs; two sides celebrating “The Titanic Requiem”, another with baby Robin and Maurice and his grandmother and one signed by Dwina Gibb and RJ Gibb in black felt tip pen.
Limited to just 1,000 copies, it is a truly unique item you won't find anywhere else. I am stunned to see that there are any still available. They are each numbered. I was lucky to get #32 out of 1,000.

Over two years after Robin Gibb passed away, his last solo album is released with some songs nearly ten years old. These were written between the years of 2004-2008 with the hope of using some as part of a Bee Gees reunion with Barry. That was not to be.

The listener does get treated to an array of some of Robin Gibb's best music to date. It's much more upbeat in style and verse than previous Gibb compositions and the result is wonderful. Relying mostly on electronic equipment, it's tough to tell that most of the instruments are electronic. Robin's voice is more reedy than usual with a higher pitch, but that only tends to pulls the listener in closer. This is Robin Gibb at his most vulnerable and intimate self.

With a hefty dose of seventeen songs, Robin Gibb concentrates on layered songs backed with a strong beats. In fact, only two songs, 'Solid' and 'All We Have Is Now' are the only slower ballads and they stand up to any previous Gibb tearjerker. One of the standout cuts that are worthy of single treatment are 'Alan Freeman Days' with its excitable exclamatory proclamations. 'I Am The World' is a remix of the 1966 B-Side vocal and it's a layered composition that stands up to modern tastes and styles. 'Broken Wings' contains a danceable beat that begs for an extended version, if not a single release. The instrumental sections and backing vocals are synthesized genius. 'Avalanche', a title taken from a 1970 song is an anthemic upbeat journey of a song with powerful backing vocals.

'Mother Of Love' is presented in its original form and is a nice respite from the bevy of strong songs, but what it lacks in structure, it makes up in pure emotion. 'Don't Cry Alone' is a wonderful reminder of Robin and RJ Gibb's classical hybrid, Titanic Requiem'. The closing cut, 'Sydney' is one of the saddest songs I think I've heard any Gibb brother sing. Reportedly recorded on an iPad with sparse working, the lyrics and the yearning vocal tug at your heart when you realize what Robin is singing about - a loss of innocence and younger times. It's the perfect finish for this album.

With a nice cardboard sleeve and notes from his wife Dwina, this makes for a fan special. Note that the Isle Of Man Post Office is releasing a limited edition of this album (1,000 copies) with an accompanying DVD. Robin Gibb deserves this and more. Thank you Robin.


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