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Mike RSS Feed (Pahrump, NV)

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30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story (1965-1995) (4CD)
30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story (1965-1995) (4CD)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2-to-1 ratio of Brent to Pigpen/Keith/Donna, October 6, 2015
I gave this four stars because it is the REAL Grateful Mayer, no Anastasio, no Furthur or The Other Ones or "The Dead"'s Jerry, Pigpen, Bob, Phil, Bill, Mickey, Keith, Donna and Brent...The Grateful Dead. The problem I have with this 4-CD set, and the reason why I am not encouraging you to buy it at the very beginning of my review, is that it is a 4-CD distillation of the 80-CD box set, 30 complete concerts. I have no idea who the "intended audience" for this one is. If you remember the "Road Trips" series, there was non-stop grousing over the fact that complete shows weren't presented. I find it very, very hard to believe that anyone other than a very casual fan of the band is going to be happy with a set that pulls ONE song from each of the 30 concerts in the 80-CD box set. Of course, that set was extremely limited (already out of print) and extremely expensive, so...unless you chase it down through alternate sources...this is the best you're going to get.

I have a short list of Dead songs that are my favorites, and in a package like this, I always look for them first. Yes, there is "Bird Song." But a TEN MINUTE version of "Dark Star?" Plus no "The Other One," no "Wharf Rat," no "Stella Blue?"

There are 17 songs, 2 hours and 34 minutes, from the Brent Mydland era (his first show with the band was April 22, 1979). By comparison, there are 7 songs, 58 minutes from the Pigpen era, and 7 songs, 67 minutes from the Keith & Donna years. There are NO songs from the period when Keith, Donna and Pigpen shared the stage (December 1971 to June 1972). It's a known fact that the Pigpen & Keith / Donna years are in much higher demand among fans...look at the Road Trips and Dave's Picks series of reissues if you need proof of that. So does the fact that Brent material SIGNIFICANTLY outweighs those years, does this mean this is the Brent Mydland Collection? To a degree, obviously. And that's where your "glass half empty / glass half full" sensibilities will kick in. Two hours of Pigpen, Keith & Donna alongside 2-1/2 hours of Brent. A pleasant surprise OR a disappointment for you, depending which side of the fence you're on.

I can think of a L-O-N-G list of Dead CDs I'd buy BEFORE this one...superior performances, superior song selection. Get "From The Vault III"...the Pigpen band on FIRE. Get "Road Trips Volume 1 No 2"...Summer '71, more adrenaline. Get "Road Trips Volume 3 No 2"...Austin '71. These were archive releases to get excited about. When you listen to Jerry sing "Comes A Time" on this new set, (Cal Expo Amphitheatre, Sacramento, CA 5/3/86), he sounds strained and weary. The band takes the song at "nodding off" pace. There are so many other superior versions of the song available. Other than being a collector and a completest, why would you want this one?

Like I said, it's The Grateful Dead. Reading my review will with make you want it or not want it, but it's an honest review from someone who owns EVERY commercially released album by the band. I'm not a Dead Head, I have no "tapes"...but all of the "official releases" have passed through these ears and this one isn't the crème de la crème. Doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it. Just means you shouldn't expect to be knocked off your feet.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2015 1:09 PM PDT

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Doobies & friends shoot, the Doobies & friends SCORE., October 5, 2015
This review is from: Southbound (Audio CD)
One of the ten best albums released in 2014, period. The jury may be out on the Doobie Brothers...did Michael McDonald save 'em, sink 'em, or none of the above...but this album proves what true music lovers already know...the hits this band generated are timeless, like it or not. And yeah, there are a lot of people out there who hold the band in contempt, but that's life.

For my personal tastes, the single most successful track on the album is "Black Water," because it's one of their best songs, and also because Zac Brown shines here. Zac catches enough heat of his own...just like Buck Owens before him, he refuses to be pigeon-holed as a "country artist" and records what feels right, not what the public thinks he should record. There's really not a mis-step on the entire album, and yes...they brought Michael McDonald back to reprise his contributions. I love this one, so the critics can go have a cookie while the rest of us "listen to the music."

Machete Kills
Machete Kills
DVD ~ Danny Trejo
Price: $5.58
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy Perfection, October 2, 2015
This review is from: Machete Kills (DVD)
This movie is everything it intended to be, and more. You can't judge a film like "Machete Kills" or a director like Robert Rodriguez using "current box office standards." first, his "sometimes partner in film" Tarantino...does what he wants to do, follows his own vision. Both directors obviously have influences up the wazoo..."Machete Kills," like Tarantino's "Death Proof," is more about cheesy retro exploitation cinema of the 70s or 80s than it is ANYTHING going on in 2015. But these influences are utilized at will, when they serve the greater purpose of the director. It would be the same as a musician in 2015 writing a song and saying "let's put a solo in right here like Jeff Beck would have done with the Yardbirds." It doesn't mean the song has now become a "tribute" to either Beck or the Yardbirds. It simply means the artist found that specific influence to be "useful" in the moment.

What can you say about a film that features Charlie Sheen (under his real name, Carlos Estevez), as the PRESIDENT, with him playing the role in a way that gleefully exploits every square inch of the tabloid fodder he himself generated? Or crazed madman Mel Gibson in a role that followed his own media inferno that presented him as...well, a crazed madman?

The scorecard: Danny Trejo is everything you would want or need him to be in this role, he just nails it. Amber Heard as "Miss San Antonio" is pure evil honey, a joy to behold. Michelle Rodriguez as "Luz" is a lot of fun, and she delivers some of the best lines in the script. Sofia Vergara as "Desdemona: is playing her role in a deliberately over-the-top manner, which...for my tastes...veers close to "annoying" at points. The "La Camaleón" role is a master stroke, jointly played by Walton Goggins, Antonio Banderas (amazingly playing the opposite of his "image"), Cuba Gooding Jr, and Lady Gaga. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s take on the role is especially tasty as he is often cast as the "voice of conscience" or the "stable" member of an ensemble cast, and here he is just cold and unrepentant evil. Tom Savini is always good for a laugh when he appears in these films. Put that together with Danny, Mel and Charlie, and you have a five-star stab at reliving the past while inventing the future.

Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2 CD
Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2 CD
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3.0 out of 5 stars Skeletons From The Closet, September 11, 2015
I've got to be brutally honest with you here, folks...I'm kind of shocked by the number of 5 star reviews for this one. Having followed the Dead's career from beginning to end, appreciating live performances from "The Brent Years" has always required me to develop some form of amnesia for what came before them. What you really don't want to do is listen to "The Other One" from "Dick's Picks Volume 4" (2/13 & 14 / 70, Fillmore East) and then listen to the version here, unless you're of the belief that it was ALL good, just "different." I wasn't really a Brent fan...didn't care for his songwriting contributions or vocals, and thought his keyboard style often relied too heavily on brittle synths rather than the roaring organ of Pigpen, or even the more organic "wires and wood" approach of Keith Godchaux. That said, many people found Keith to be "simplistic," and if you believe some of the behind the scenes gossip about the band, Phil (for one) became increasingly annoyed by his tendency to fall in line behind Jerry and just accent what he was playing. I'm the first to admit that Brent was easily more "adventurous"...and maybe on the tracks that never featured Pigpen or Keith, that was OK...I just found his style to be cold, machine-driven, lacking in any real fire or electricity. Also, like it or not, this was not a peak period for Jerry, either. His health was going uop and down and his vocals on what should be standout tracks like "Wharf Rat" can be a tough listen. Some have said Weir is phoning it in here...I don;t think this set is a peak for the band OR any of its individual members. Would I rather hear this than Bob, Mickey and Bill jamming with John Mayer? Yes, I would. But there's a LOT of other Dead product you can purchase BEFORE laying out the money for this set. If you're in Brent's cheering section, and if "late period" Jerry isn't an issue, go for it. Maybe not at "collectors" prices, though.

Let It Bleed
Let It Bleed
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As essential as it gets, August 31, 2015
This review is from: Let It Bleed (Audio CD)
It alsmost seems foolish to write a review for an album that is SO essential, one you really need to own (and most of the people reading this probably own it anyway). It's a transitional album, the sound of the Brian Jones Stones making way for the Mick Taylor Stones. Jones and Taylor each play relatively minor roles here. Even Taylor's "baptism by fire," throwing him into the deep end of the pool for the live set "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out," has been dwarfed by later live archive stuff like the "Official Bootleg" of "The Brussels Affair" as well as the Leeds, Marquee and Roundhouse concerts accompanying the "deluxe" reissue of "Stick Fingers." That's where the new band was fully formed, where it became a great, howling, ferocious behemoth unequalled in the history of rock & roll. Consider the famous boast that opens "Ya Ya's"..."The GREATEST rock & roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones..." It's true, you know? The Beatles were a cultural phenomenon that could hardly be contained by the label of "rock band." The Who were a force of nature, but they were never an "everyman" band unless you felt comfortable inside of Pete Townshend's head, dancing with his demons. No, it was and will always be The Stones...Keef, churning out precise, deliberate machine gun blasts of Chuck Berry riffs, Charlie holding it all together with his trademark bemused / bored stiff expression, Jagger and that rooster strut. I don't think the band fully knew where they were going during the "Let It Bleed" sessions. It was an exploration, a search for something bigger and bolder than what they had in the moment, even though they were kings of their particular hill. Compare "With The Beatles" and "Revolver"...same thing. "Let It Bleed" and what follwed was NOT "better than" anything from the Brian Jones prime years. It was different. It was a band evolving.

Obviously, "Gimme Shelter," "Love In Vain," "Midnight Rambler," and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" went on to become "concert staples," with the "Ya Ya's" version of "Rambler" becoming "definitive," but as I said above, maybe left in the dust by some of the tougher performances from the Taylor era that finally saw the light of day.

For my tastes, Johnny Winter took ownershiop of the title track on his "Still Alive And Well" album. He just tapped a vein of sarcasm, ennui, humor, just SOMETHING that Mick & Keith glossed over by comparison.

"You Got The Silver" finally saw a well-deserved rebirth in the "Shine a Light" film, and "Monkey Man" has been trotted out on stage a few times, too.

There are NO "disposable" tracks on this one. All nine, all 43 minutes worth, this is as good as it gets. It's history that still rocks, still moves, still inspires.

It's as essential as it gets, so...what are ya waiting for? If you own it, go listen to it, and if you don't, get it now.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 6, 2015 5:07 AM PDT

Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior
Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reality check, August 28, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is another "common sense" book, one we shouldn't have to read because we should have everything between the covers dialed in, but for a number of reasons, we don't. The biggest reason, I guess, is that as we go through life, we let ourselves become emotionally affected by life events, and reacting emotionally to emotional situations never turns out well.

It's a laundry list of things you should or should not do. You can preview the book and see the contents for yourself. Some are pretty obvious ("Quitting Too Soon," "Letting Others Control Your Life"), while others are more subtle and are probably doing more damage than you realize because they have burrowed so deep ("Acting Too Needy," "Talking When Nobody's Listening").

See, the secret is to catch yourself in the act of doing these things and then put in the fix WITHOUT beating yourself up for it.

That's how this book can help you. Highly recommended.

BRIAN MAY & FRIENDS - Star Fleet Project - Audio CD (mini-LP) - 10 tracks
BRIAN MAY & FRIENDS - Star Fleet Project - Audio CD (mini-LP) - 10 tracks
Offered by squeezable_sounds
Price: $14.95
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All technique, no fire, August 23, 2015
I picked three stars for this review because when you roll over the three stars the prompt you get from Amazon is "It's OK" and that is exactly hiow I remember the vinyl copy of this I bought when it was brand new...OK. Not bad. Not great. OK.

There was some chatter in interviews about Eric Clapton, who obviously was the inspiration for "Blues Breaker." They dedicated it to him. Problem is that Clapton HEARD this album, and his response...I kid you not...was "These guys can't play." The track is kind of like some of Roy Buchanan's stuff...NO ONE questioned his status as a master, but SOMETIMES, his tracks would go on for what seemed like forever without actually arriving anywhere. Same thing here. "Bluesbreaker" sounds like the clips you see on YouTube of guys demoing new guitars. It lacks any kind of inspirational qualities. And if you don't need that, you might give this one four or even five stars.

At the time of its release, most music fans went nuts just to have Eddie jamming on these tracks. In terms of flash,'s Eddie and Brian. In terms of ANYTHING memorable making it to 2015, let's just say that it's an artifact from 1983.

Another Perfect Day
Another Perfect Day
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great one-off from 3 guys who really didn't get along, August 23, 2015
This review is from: Another Perfect Day (Audio CD)
Once again, the Google is your friend if you want the background on this one. I won't repeat the history guess is that there are more Motörhead fans here reading what other Motörhead fans thought of the album than there are people looking for information. So what do we know? Well, Lemmy is not a fan of this era, and especially not a fan of Brian Robertson's tenure. BUT...the studio album is pretty solid, and the live disc rocks like a house on fire. It's not like Motörhead went disco or reggae for an SOUNDS like Motörhead. Robertson's playing might be a little more "busy" than some of the other musicians who have filled the guitar spot, but this is NOT a situation where you are going to hear either the studio or live disc and go "WHAT WERE THESE GUYS THINKING?" The personalities were doomed from the start. Robertson wasn't a member of Motörhead any more than Mick Taylor was a member of the Stones. Taylor was responsible for some GREAT music...some of the band's BEST...but he never "was a Stone." Ron Wood was, and is, a Stone. He freely admits that Taylor is probably a better musician, but HE is a better STONE. Same for Robertson. No one's gonna slam his chops on this album. By 1986 and "Orgasmatron," Robertson was gone and Phil "Wizzö" Campbell was on guitar. In interviews, Lemmy has always classified Motörhead as "just a rock band, you turn up the amps and play your song and then you play the next one." They do that here. They rip. This is a hard rocking, brutal, vicious album. It may not be the work of a "band" in full harmony when it comes to personalities, but a bunch of guys who really didn't care for each other managed to pull one off. Nothing wrong with that!

Freedom At Point Zero
Freedom At Point Zero
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5.0 out of 5 stars As good as peak Grace & Marty material, just different, July 12, 2015
This review is from: Freedom At Point Zero (Audio CD)
If you follow Jefferson Starship's career...or the Airplane's, for that'll find peaks and valleys. The first post-Airplane album, "Dragonfly" the wake of Jorma and Jack's departure, had the freshest songs and musicmanship in a long time, especially following the somewhat disappointing "Bark" and "Long John Silver." It also had the return of Marty Balin, and no matter what you may think of "Caroline" in 2015, it blew up the FM airwaves back in the day. "Red Octopus," of course, was a behemoth...but with "Spitfire" and "Earth," the hit-chasing manifesto of the band became clearer and clearer, and the Airplane-style toughness and weirdness gave way to soft-centered pop songs. Marty and Grace bailed again, and that meant another "transition" album. By placing Mickey Thomas front and center, it was clear that Kantner and Company were giving the Steve Perry-fronted Journey a run for their money. And like Journey's neal Schon, the Starship's Craig Chaquico was also a Bay Area guitar prodigy. The songs on this album rocked hard...yes, they wanted airplay, but they were also thundering their way onto the charts. The songs mixed pop sensibility with Kantner's stoner sci-fi sensibilities and the result is an album that, no matter how much trashing Thomas got by the time Grace returned and bailed yet again, is as good as any of the best Jefferson Starship albums and, good as the best of Journey. The winning formula didn't last...they got soft and predictable again...although a few songs worth remembering did pop up from time to time. If your only exposure to Thomas is "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" or "We Built This City," the time has come to acquaint...or reacquaint...yourself with this fine slice of "Classic FM Rock."

Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
Price: $3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, direct, motivating, June 28, 2015
Bryant McGill writes in a straightforward, pragmatic, "big brother" style. He is coming from a standpoint of wanting you to be accountable for your actions, and in return, your life. Other authors tend to adopt a "drill instructor" tone, or go too far in the other direction and tell you that everything you do is OK, and that you shouldn't worry about it. Bryant is right in the middle. He will hold your feet to the fire but he will NOT beat you up while doing so. Everyone responds to different feedback and stimuli. I don't an abusive "tough love" stance is always effective, nor do I think coddling someone with issues is going to move someone past the self-examination stage. Bryant leads you to the mirror and while you take a look at the person looking back at you, he keeps a supportive hand place firmly on your shoulder. He is also extremely generous in regularly and faithfully posting his writings on Facebook. If you have a perfect life, everything you want, this book obviously is not going to be for you. But for the 99% of the rest of us, sometimes we need to get out of our own way before we see any progress. I don't know Bryant personally so I don't want to second-guess his intentions too heavily, but if I could explain this book in 25 words or less, I think he just wants you to be honest about where you are today, where you want to be, and the steps you need to take in order to get there. 5 stars.

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