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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Gabriel & Friends Have A Big Blue Ball
This outstanding album, 2008's "Big Blue Ball," is a Peter Gabriel album that's not really a "Peter Gabriel" album. A big 17 years in the making(!), it's a collaboration between Gabriel and a mass group of various singers and musicians from all over the world, including Karl Wallinger (of World Party and The Waterboys), Sinead O'Connor, Deep Forest, Natacha Atlas, Vernon...
Published on June 27, 2008 by Alan Caylow

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10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There is a reason...
Things sometimes get put off for a reason. Lack of interest, better things to do, or just plain not worth the time or effort. This seems to be the result here. I will always support anything Peter Gabriel touches and my wife is an even bigger fan (she didn't like it either), but this pushes the bounds even for me. It is such a hodgepodge of varying styles that no flow is...
Published on August 21, 2008 by Musesman


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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peter Gabriel & Friends Have A Big Blue Ball, June 27, 2008
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
This outstanding album, 2008's "Big Blue Ball," is a Peter Gabriel album that's not really a "Peter Gabriel" album. A big 17 years in the making(!), it's a collaboration between Gabriel and a mass group of various singers and musicians from all over the world, including Karl Wallinger (of World Party and The Waterboys), Sinead O'Connor, Deep Forest, Natacha Atlas, Vernon Reid, Marta Sebestyen, Joseph Arthur, and many, many more. You've heard of The Alan Parsons Project? Well, consider "Big Blue Ball" an album by The Peter Gabriel Project, aka Peter Gabriel & a whole bunch of friends. So what took so long? Well, Gabriel & company recorded this album oh-so-casually, getting together for the odd occasional group recording sessions that started way back in 1991, slowwwwly putting the album together piece by meticulous-piece over the next decade-and-a-half, inbetween Gabriel's other various projects going on at the same time ("OVO," "Up," "The Long Walk Home" movie soundtrack, etc.). But now, as Gabriel himself says, "Big Blue Ball" is a fine wine ready to be drunk at last, and thank God for that---this music is *wonderful*! "Big Blue Ball" is passionate, atmospheric & powerful, with all the singers & musicians working together like a magnificent musical family. The songs are cohesive and flow together beautifully. My favorite tracks include Gabriel's trio of featured songs, the emotion-packed "Whole Thing," the funky "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" (which you may already know from Gabriel's best-of compilation, "Hit"), and his rockin' collaboration with Joseph Arthur, "Exit Through You." Arthur also shines brightly on the absolutely dreamy "altus silva." Sinead O'Connor makes her contribution count on the haunting "Everything Comes From You," Natacha Atlas and Marta Sebestyen also give great vocal performances on "Habibe" and "Rivers," respectively, and Wallinger concludes things on a high note with the very lovely title track. But really, the whole "Big Blue Ball" album from beginning to end is just marvelous. If you love Peter Gabriel's music and/or world music in general, then you're gonna love "Big Blue Ball." Trust me!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rumors were true, July 6, 2008
By 
Charles Horton (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
Too bad the grousing vinyl folks are included here to weigh down the rating of this wondrous album. I had read years ago about these magical sessions and had wondered for years about the possibility of hearing them. I am not only not dissapointed by undue expectation (as I was by Gabriel's last solo effort), but thrilled to glimpse a part of this legendary time of community at Real World. The joy and spontaneity of these performances shine through, the quality of the recording (I would assume all analog, thus accounting for the fullness evident), and the originality inherent in the world-fusion aspect, make this a one of a kind must-have.
Peter Gabriel's contributions are obvious in the overall style of production and it's great to hear his voice on a couple of songs, but the real magic here is the merging of this diverse group of stellar musicians, creating what they so brilliantly do - together.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! What A Terrific Album!, June 24, 2008
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
I was totally not expecting this to be such a great album. As a Peter Gabriel fan I was not very excited for this because I knew it was not a real "Gabriel album" as well as having bought and listened to music by musicians from other countries and not being very impressed. I sampled the songs and was still not very interested and didn't think it would be all that good but I still went and bought it the day it came out and man was that a great idea.
If you're a Gabriel fan or fan of "world music" as well liking a bit of spirituality in your music then this is an album for you. Just one listen and I knew this one was special. Now I haven't listened to it many times so I can't figure how to explain it, you just have to listen. The music just flows, the beats are heavy, the sound quality is crisp, and the sincerity of the vocalists adds to the depth of this collection of timeless music.It's terrific just go buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Blue Ball, July 11, 2008
By 
Ramamurthy Rajan (Greenwood Village, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
I just have one word to describe this album; Brilliant! This album has been one of the best piece in recent years. It's so good to hear awesome musicians from all over the world come together for a fantastic project.

I have been a big fan of PG and Afro Celts for a long time now..So, to hear my favourite artists along with other great musicians from around the world gives me goose bumps. I have been playing this album the most, amongst other music collection I have been listening to, since I bought it a week back.

We need more of these collaborations..

Cheers,
Sunder from Denver, CO
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Listening Experience!, July 19, 2008
By 
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
"Whole Thing" was being played in some store. I recognized Peter Gabriel and thought that the song was great, so I bought the album. Never imagined the whole album would be so good! I guess the "Big Blue Ball" is planet Earth, and great music is what comes out of it. Papa Wemba vocals and flamenco guitar, Sinead O'Connor and Chinese percussion, a Madagascan rapper, the ethereal "altus silva" (perhaps my favorite) with guitar synths and Papa Wemba's band. Absolutely original world music, out of this world!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a balanced effort, June 21, 2009
By 
Wyote (a planet rich in iron and water) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
I listen to a little world music, so that element of this album didn't surprise me the way it did some of its harsher reviewers here. If you really haven't heard any world music, you might give it a shot (a good first choice is Putumayo Presents Asian Lounge).

I'm not sympathetic to anyone who's shocked by chant or some unusual instrumentation on a rock album: haven't they ever heard Sgt. Pepper? (Well, if you haven't, then put this on a wish list for later and get Sgt. Pepper now. Best advice you're gonna get on Amazon.) The world music element of this album is easily overstated - or hyped, I suppose. Everything is in 4/4 time, standard modern Western scale and keys and chord progressions.

The music is pretty good. It shouldn't be a life-changing experience for anyone. I wonder what the reviewers compelled to employ multiple exclamation marks would make of, say, Dark Side of the Moon? Realistically, this album will become a trivia question pretty soon, known only to serious fans of the artists involved.

Conclusion: You won't be wasting your money or your time on this album. The songs "Exit Through You," "Everything Comes From You" (featuring Sinead O'Connor) and "Rivers" are particularly interesting, and depending on what kinds of world music you're familiar with, various other tracks (such as "Habibi") could be eye-opening.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable "Real World Sampler" as good as Plus From Us, October 16, 2008
By 
Modemac (Cambridge, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
First of all, the listener should know that Peter Gabriel's Big Blue Ball isn't the Next Peter Gabriel Album his fans have been waiting for. The album is the result of a series of annual musicians' festivals that Gabriel's Real World Studios threw in the early 1990s. During these "Recording Weeks" (as they were named), he and a whole bunch his talented friends got together at his studio to have fun, party, play music, and record whatever came out. The result of this was a musical motherlode that Gabriel spent over ten years editing and producing, a bit at a time, until finally the results see the light of day in "Big Blue Ball." Because of this, the album is more of a sampler of the different kinds of music produced at Real World Studios, rather than a carefully-planned concept album. In addition to a trio of his own pieces ("Whole Thing", "Burn You Up Burn You Down," "Exit Through You"), we get to hear the Real World musicians putting their own musical works together, with Gabriel's production providing the glue that binds them all together. And fortunately for us all, what could have been a mish-mash of musical mush becomes instead a sampler of the best moments from Real World Studios. If you're looking for the Next Peter Gabriel Album, you're likely to be disappointed. But if you've enjoyed the Real World compilation albums such as "Plus From Us" or the Real World Sampler promo CD released back in 1999, then "Big Blue Ball" is a delightful hodge-podge of ambient world music fusion.

When listening to music in a foreign language, I find the best way to enjoy it is to sit back and wait for a likeable beat...which is why I was hooked immediately on "Habibe," the second track; the traditional Middle Eastern instruments used here made me want to go and listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan again. On the other hand, there's "Forest," an ambient-techno track that would fit perfectly at home on any Afro Celt Sound System album (which I love, especially their first three discs), and in between are the Celt-influenced "altus silva" and "Everything Comes Through You." Something about Papa Wemba's vocals doesn't seem to appeal to me, and I tend to skip over "Shadow" and "Jijy" as a result; but your ear for music is probably different from mine, and you may disagree on this. That's your prerogative, and I'm pleased that there are many great moments on Big Blue Ball that I can listen to over and over.

Even though Gabriel's' "Us" was fresh and new when these "Recording Weeks" took place, his own trio of songs here sound closer to "Up" than "Us"; but there's a freshness to them that is very enjoyable, a feeling that was often buried in the over-production of several tracks on "Up." I'm immediately hooked on "Exit Through You," and his (slight) remix of "Burn You Up Burn You Down" is an improvement over the first version of the song that popped up around the time of "Up." Even though he took nearly fifteen years to finish editing and producing "Big Blue Ball," Gabriel makes the album worth the wait. It's a burst of energy from Gabriel and his friends that makes me hope - once again - that the Next Peter Gabriel Album appears soon, and that it recalls the emotional and mysterious musical soundscapes of Peter Gabriel in his prime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight From The Heart, November 27, 2008
This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
From tapes compiled during the early-1990s festivals for musicians at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, producers Stephen Hague, Karl Wallinger and Gabriel put together an outstanding retrospective from the events.

The list of musicians put the "world" in "World Music," and include Papa Wemba, Billy Cobham, Wobble, Wallinger, Sinead O'Connor and Hukwe Zawose. Gabriel takes the lead vocal role on several tracks, but he is more like a super-glue that brought the artists together to share their styles in a considerably looser atmosphere than typically found in recording sessions.

The U.S. release was facilitated through a venture-capital trust initiative, hence Gabriel (finally) had control over the production and content. This is straight from Gabriel's heart and is a celebration of the wonderful colors that music provides to the universal canvas of joy and peace.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PG comes through again, September 29, 2008
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This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
I really enjoyed this CD. It's amazing how cohesive the disc is, given all the different time periods it was recorded in. A good idea during one session may not sound as good when you're adding to it 3 years later, but this collection contradicts that theory easily. All the tracks sound superb. I particularly like Whole Thing and the original version of Burn You Up, Burn You down. I have been a Peter Gabriel fan for decades, and I have yet to be let down by one of his releases. This is not totally a Gabriel disc, but there's enough of him on it to warrant adding it to my collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World Music at it's Best, October 3, 2008
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This review is from: Big Blue Ball (Audio CD)
this collection, albeit various artists and times, is quite riveting. I couldn't get it off my CD player for weeks...Every listen warranted a new attention to each song...The one constant I've learned from Peter Gabriel, you need to listen to him with a new ear. If your expecting more of the same, your not going to get it. I've always appreciated his boldness in being a pioneer in sounds, and his honesty in sharing himself. I share in his Dream of Us being One World...Idealism at it's best.
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Big Blue Ball
Big Blue Ball by Peter Gabriel (Audio CD - 2008)
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