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Profile for Andrew C. Alter > Reviews


Andrew C. Alter's Profile

Customer Reviews: 6
Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,158,628
Helpful Votes: 23

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Reviews Written by
Andrew C. Alter RSS Feed (Germantown, NY United States)

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Shangri La
Shangri La
Price: $9.03
100 used & new from $2.96

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeper, richer and more satisfying, December 8, 2013
This review is from: Shangri La (Audio CD)
To all those who were unimpressed at first listen, please try again, and pay special attention to the deep cuts. I find these songs to be compelling and at times astonishing. I agree it's not as stylistically cohesive as the first album, and yes, the production has removed too many rough edges. But Rubin has let Bugg's talent shine though with minimal interference. "Pine Trees" is as stripped-down and achingly lovely as anything on "After the Goldrush" And "Simple Pleasures", buried near the end of the album, is a potent and emotional composition that will bring down the house in a large arena; there was no equivalent on the debut. Shangri-la earns joint honors with Kurt Vile as my favorite album of 2013

Men Without Women
Men Without Women

5.0 out of 5 stars Like listening to music for the first time, July 15, 2013
This review is from: Men Without Women (Audio CD)
The original studio LP Men Without Women was a criminally underrated set of compositions by Steve Van Zandt, bathing gorgeous echoes of the epochal sixties soul of Stax/Volt/Four Tops/Smokey Robinson in the garage rock swagger of the Heartbreakers. Here it is, performed live by a band stacked with seasoned pros who understand the material deep in their bones, and graced by the passionate vocals of Southside Johnny. There are enough horns to blow your doors off, and female background vocals that have the urgency of Gimme Shelter. In short, the noblest elements of popular music, and to have them all brought together so seamlessly brought tears to me eyes. A flat out work of collaborative genius that is greater than the sum of its parts and will bring joy to the hearts of everyone from the high school reunion to the most discriminating rock aficionados.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2013 6:10 AM PDT

Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (Rpkg)
Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (Rpkg)
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $12.51
66 used & new from $2.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sui generis, June 27, 2003
I owned this album in vinyl, wore the grooves out, couldn't decipher any of the lyrics but didn't care, lost it in a cross country move, and have been craving it ever since.
The CD repackage includes several wonderful photos; quite a switch from the LP, which, consistent with the universal soul rebel theme, did not depict the musicians. It includes lyrics, which are also rather wonderful, and make all the great songs sound new again. Finally, we get liner notes from Kevin Archer, which are informative of the band's processes, if a bit weak as to the source of inspiration. For after all, even if the band did set out to pay homage to a certain neglected corner of soul music, what resulted was a unique and delightful pop artifact, full of witty and modern songwriting, and vocalizing that no one has dared before or since. The horns blast away in all their retro glory, while Rowlands weaves more literary figures into his lyrics than Lloyd Cole and Morrissey combined!
There's an ambience here that isn't present in any other "rock" recording I know, with the possible exception of the Flamin' Groovies' "Shake Some Action" In both records, the band members subordinate themselves so completely to the channeling of the sacred text, that authorship almost ceases to matter. But unlike the Groovies, who had several recordings under their belts, this was a debut album, and the band, for all we knew, could have been visitors from another (very cool) planet.
Four stars only because there isn't more of it.

Stand Up
Stand Up
Price: $6.99
77 used & new from $1.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tull's "Revolver", May 23, 2003
This review is from: Stand Up (Audio CD)
"Stand Up" is Jethro Tull's most eclectic, creative and unpretentious offering. Great songs played with brio and abandon, urgency and a little humor. Here is the band at the peak of its powers, before the consciousness of that fact got in the way. Listen, for example, to Ian Anderson's flute, insistently pounding out the rhythm, then trading off on the leads, in songs like "Back to the Family" and "For a Thousand Mothers."
For a few shining moments, while the Let It Bleed-era Stones were retooling as the Exile-era Stones, Jethro Tull was the best band in England. This album, and the singles from that period, like Sweet Dream, Witches Promise, and Living in the Past, simply sound like nothing else, and fill me with delight after countless listenings. Judging by the other reviews, I'm preaching to the choir here, but I believe that this distinct era of Tull's output deserves not only a wide listenership, but critical reappraisal.

The Second
The Second
Price: $5.88
61 used & new from $2.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars underrated, May 13, 2003
This review is from: The Second (Audio CD)
I'm glad to see that people are still listening to and enjoying this album. Now sadly stereotyped as a biker band by the endless recycling of "Born to be Wild", Steppenwolf was really a sixties pop-rock outfit of the first order, every bit as delightful as Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Airplane and other California-based bands who are now lionized.
This album displays a mastery of tuneful songcraft. "28" is a forgotten gem that treads the fine line between bubblegum and garage. "None of your Doing" playfully echoes "In Another Land" off the Stones' Satanic Majesty's. "Magic Carpet Ride" never grows old, even after thousands of listenings. And the song suite on the second side (showing my age here) remains highly listenable and compares favorably with other side-length experiments of the time, like "Reflection" from Love's Da Capo album.
Steppenwolf is long overdue for the reissue/remaster treatment, perhaps pairing this one with "At your Birtday Party". No other sixties band has declined in reputation so undeservedly.

Sweet Child
Sweet Child
17 used & new from $3.79

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars eclectic and influential, April 29, 2003
This review is from: Sweet Child (Audio CD)
While I like the idea of a band that goes from traditional english folk to the Staples Singers to Mingus, I think the blues and jazz interpretations here aren't quite as magical as the original band compositions and traditional folk ballads--hence only four stars. The label is to be commended for a truly "value added" reissue that includes seven substantial extra live cuts (making for a 75 minute long concert disc), and four alternate versions.
Considering it took place in the overheated summer of 1968, the tone of live concert is tame, even a bit formal-no political overtones, no drugginess, no interplay with the audience. It's nice though; the band's (and the audience's) reverence for the music really comes through. Renbourn and Jansch's acoustic guitar work is inspired of course, but the real surprise to me, as a longtime adherent of Steeleye, Fairport, June Tabor, etc., is Jacqui McShee. Her vocals are pitch perfect and never seek to outstrip the material, yet there are phrasings scattered throughout that make you melt with delight.
I'm inclined to compare this with another immortal live album from the sixties, Velvet Underground Live 69. This one wins hands down for recording quality; you hear the instruments and the vocals and nothing else. Unlike Live 69, though, the song introductions here are timid, a bit stiff, and interrupt the trancelike flow that marked the most memorable concerts of the era.
Here are the roots of the folk/jazz/blues experiments of early Jethro Tull, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, even Led Zeppelin, as well as the Elizabethan stylings of Gentle Giant. So it's not for purists only!

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