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Duit on Mon Dei
Duit on Mon Dei
7 used & new from $15.09

3.0 out of 5 stars duit do it tropical style baby!, May 24, 2015
This review is from: Duit on Mon Dei (Audio CD)
Duit on Mon Dei is an album that feels like it's stuck on an island somewhere in the Caribbean, and well, because it's stuck on the same theme for the entirety of the album with a touch of Harry's usual weird experimentation, I imagine this is the kind of music you'd hear from a man who's been on an island alone for too long!

"Salmon Falls" is what was missing from Harry's previous album. This takes the tropical theme and actually makes it *interesting* with the orchestral arrangements sometimes being beautiful, other times really eerie and ominous. All the while being adventurous, creative and carefree with the steel drums... This song has a way of gradually transitioning into imagery of an outer space mission after such a peaceful moment of bliss at the beach. Then the vocals comes in and this melody is smooth sailing all the way to the end. I can truly say I've never heard anything like this and that I love it!

"It's a Jungle Out There" has steel drums and flutes played sparsely while Harry sings a really good upbeat vocal melody. Yeah this song will make you think you're in a jungle escaping hungry lions and angry giraffes! Did I just say angry giraffes? *facepalm for being uncreative* "Kojak Columbo" is more of the same. Looks like instead of balladry or relaxing tropical tunes making up Duit on Mon Dei like they do on the previous album, Harry's going for a more exciting and upbeat tropical adventure here which is preferable if I do say so. Songwriting-wise it's pretty hard to say which album is better though. Anyway, a piano serves as the main beat for "Kojak Columbo". Harry's hoarse vocals give the music personality too (whether intentional or not).

"Good for God" is sort of like a combination of ragtime and blues turned into a ballad. The background chorus is pretty catchy. "Good for God, I bet he's got a very hard job!" Yeah I bet he does. Funny lyrics about a loophole too- "Before they put me in the hole, I pray to God I'll find a big loophole". "Home" has a groovier beat to match the beach and the steel drums this time. Some of the bouncy piano and sax work near the middle is really catchy, but admittedly the vocal melody itself is a bit lacking. "Jesus Christ You're Tall" is based around a couple swift moving piano lines while Harry blurts out lyrics about Jesus and how nobody wants to dance with him. "What's Your Sign" certainly starts out on a LOUD note with gospel vocals... unintentional gospel vocals based on Harry's deteriorating hoarse voice at the time. But then there's other vocalists (like how many seriously?) contributing to the gospel too. Structurally this is pretty similar to "Good for God" and other songs (well minus the backup vocals I mean). Haven't a clue what the lyrics are about. I think there's enough of a struggle just trying to make out what's being said, lol.

"Easier for Me" sounds like it came directly from A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night with its dramatic show tune nature. But wait! When taken out of context it's a whole lot easier to appreciate it! When you're not exposed to over 50 minutes of this musical theater stuff and instead it's just 2 and a half minute song, it's much easier to absorb it! It's still really hokey though. "Down By the Sea" is much nicer than the version from the previous album. It's more upbeat for one thing, and shorter. A LOT shorter! "Turn Out the Light" has a slight Asian sound to its tropical-ness. Not as good as the version from the previous album. I don't feel like sleeping to this! No way! Too unusual to fall asleep to. Plus I can't help but picture Harry Nilsson singing this song to me while I lay in a hammock in a hut. Yeah... that's weird! "Puget Sound" has a beautiful vocal melody. "A cracker jack was jacking up the bottom of the town, and a little wooden man and his papermate danced a crazy jigsaw puzzle and they laughed at all the hate," is a funny line. This song is really playful and awesome.

3 stars is about right for Duit on Mon Dei. I can only handle so much of the desert island theme even though it's quite the unusual experiment which is something that deserves recognition, but on the other hand half of this stuff is forgettable toss off material without much foresight. Still not bad.

From the Inside
From the Inside
Price: $16.48
22 used & new from $7.54

3.0 out of 5 stars pokin' fun, May 23, 2015
This review is from: From the Inside (Audio CD)
I seriously wasn't *ever* expected to be disappointed with a Poco album, even a *little* disappointed, especially since I convinced myself the early part of their career couldn't have done no wrong. But, this album is sort of, from a songwriting perspective at least, not up to par. I guess I figured the band would be able to instantly recover once Jim Messina left the band, but it appears the new guy (Paul Cotton I guess) wasn't ready yet.

"Do You Feel It Too" is a strange rocker with blues influences. The lead singer attempts to sing it in a country way but there's something either wrong with his voice or the vocal melody itself just isn't strong enough. It sounds incredibly awkward the way he wails out "DO YOU FEEL IT TOO!" The guitar playing is merely passable, but the vocals aren't nearly as pretty or sincere as the Jim Messina stuff. This guys singing approach feels like he doesn't really care and is deliberating messing up what could've been a pretty good melody. Either that or he's trying hard to imitate Messina's voice but can't do it. This song is bad though.

"Bad Weather" is an improvement because it's almost entirely country. At least there's no awkward blues/rock mixture which doesn't seem to work very well with this version of the band. This vocal melody marks a return to the sincere/distinct style of Poco's stuff that I admire so much. The guitar playing is pretty tasty too. This song wouldn't be out of place on an early Eagles album but I probably like this better. "Everyday that passes us by, I can't help the feeling that you and I, we won't get to see another day together, looks like bad weather" is a VERY tearful melody, and I love how the tempo sudden picks up when it arrives.

"What Am I Gonna Do" is a slower song with typical guitar work you'd associate with country balladry. I wouldn't say it's really *that* much different from a normal country song. Usually Poco goes the extra mile to be different and separate themselves from the rest, but not so here disappointingly. This reminds me of a popular song that I can't think of at the moment. *google search 5 minutes later*. Ah, Buffalo Springfield's "Kind Woman". That's what "What Am I Gonna Do" reminds me of. Whoa! Took me a few minutes to get that one. I was getting all kinds of disco searches and I was like "No, no!" haha

"You Are the One" is a more faster-paced country rocker with foot-stomping tendencies on the listeners part. I wouldn't say it has the strongest melody in the world- neither the verse or chorus really appeals to me. So it still feels lacking in the sense that it fails to grab me, but it's decent in all other areas such as vocals, rhythm and guitar playing which are all really good aspects too of course. "Ol' Forgiver" has a different kind of vocals. Not ones I normally associate with Poco. Enjoyable vocal melody at least. Ah who am I kidding. It sounds different because it's more of a country song than the more unique rock/country mixture that Poco is known for. I like the "You're quiet and unspoken, and I take it as a token, that I'll be broken". "What If I Should Say I Love You" is mellow soft rock. One of the weakest songs here perhaps. The vocal melody doesn't really jump out to me as anything unique. Then again the way it suddenly gets heavy with the lyrics "I bet you know that you're breaking my heart!" is kind of a surprise. The verse melody is sort of bland however.

The title song is a nice Alice Cooper song... sorry I had to say it *sometime!* I'm only kidding of course! If you don't get it, well Alice had an album called From the Inside in 1978. This is more mellow early Eagles-resembling soft rock/light country. The vocals also sound like Dan Fogelberg quite a bit too. This vocal melody seems to jump around a bit, but it's not jumpy in a drastic or unappealing kind of way. It's oddly constructed but AHH! I'm overanalyzing it aren't I? *slaps self* A decent song either way! "Just For Me and You" includes a nice straight forward vocal melody. It's uplifting just enough to kick start a wonderful day, huh? "Need we stop though to wonder why, you know I love you baby, the tears in my eyes are just for me and you" is a sad beautiful melody. Nice banjo solo att the end too.

"Railroad Days" feels like another attempt to write a memorable vocal melody but just missing the mark. It honestly feels like From the Inside just has songwriting not up to the bands usual high standards. At least none of this is bad. I can think of plenty of albums that are bad, and I'd *never* think about placing From the Inside with those albums. I wonder if there's a reason this stuff isn't gelling for me. Maybe it was rushed, or maybe the songs just weren't given the careful attention that Poco deserves. Or maybe internal problems with the band members. Anyway "Railroad Days" is just passable but nothing amazing. It has a rocking pace at least, even if it might be a disguise to hide a better vocal melody. "Hoe Down" is memorable for blending hoe down with country rock and a beautiful guitar solo.

Either way, regardless of my personal feelings, this is a decent album but not one of the bands stronger albums. A 3-star rating feels just about right. Like I've said a thousand times before however, the possibility is always there that the music will improve one day. Maybe it will.

Wild the Willing & The Innocent
Wild the Willing & The Innocent
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $13.30
51 used & new from $5.55

3.0 out of 5 stars wild stuff, May 22, 2015
Wild the Willing & The Innocent is where UFO really starts to go downhill.

"Chains Chains" has a really heavy guitar riff to open the song and slide guitar giving it an unintentional southern rock feel. Phil Mogg's vocals sound really awful here. I thought his vocals sounded forced on No Place to Run, but he takes it to a whole new level here. The rhythm is weak too, and the vocal melody itself isn't very good either. "Chains chains, pulling me down, chains of love that turn your world around" is a weak chorus. Average guitar solo playing the *exact* same notes as the chorus. Bad song overall. "Long Gone" starts off with a bland quiet intro before turning into... ugh... power metal chorus. The "We've got a dream don't let it slip away" melody is awful and goes to show the band was running really low on musical ideas. If this was a 70's song it would've been a LOT better with a stronger vocal melody. Is the band using snippets of an orchestra at the end?

"Wild, The Willing & the E. Street... er, Innocent" opens with a devastating piano line which feels clichéd and too 80's-ish, but I suppose the orchestra in the background spices it up a bit However none of that matters because the song changes into hard rock a moment later anyway. Catchy opening line, and I HATE the way Phi sings "Looking for a wild rose, in the heat of the night waiting for the show" but it's an improvement when he sings "I'm down down in the jungle tonight" with the background vocals. This song sounds familiar, like maybe the Bangles wrote background vocals the same way in one of their songs. This song has its moments at least. "It's Killing Me" fades in with some melodic guitar lines. Then Phil starts singing and the enjoyment factor goes down in a hurry. Horrendous "Ooooh it's killing me, love's a mystery" hair metal chorus too. Phil sings an okay melody with the "Every single day that goes by, are we fooling ourselves living a lie" part and I like the guitar solo that follows. Otherwise, not good appealing of a song.

Strangely "Makin' Moves" begins with a set of note that sounds like Roxy Music. It would've been awesome if the rest of the song sounded like that, however what comes next isn't bad either- a memorable Judas Priest-like guitar riff, and Phil even sings with more inspiration than usual. "I lo-o-ove the way they're makin' moves!" is a solidly sung line. Really good guitar solo in the middle and especially the one at the end too. THIS is what I like about UFO- an energetic song like this where Phil Mogg puts a serious effort into coming up a memorable vocal melody. "Lonely Heart" opens with an admirable and delicate piano line. Phil sings sincerely here too even when the song rocks out which is clearly a step in the right direction. "With hungry and oh so desperate eyes, the souls who get hurt believe in their lies, you only betray only betray" is a memorable lyric. "Now where did it go, where did it go? you go walking on the wild side learn how to run 'cuz you can't hide" See that? I'm singing a lot of great lines from this song! Saxophone is a nice surprise.

"Couldn't Get It Right" is a cover of the Climax Blues Band song... not! I seriously couldn't imagine Phil singing THAT song! This is pretty good from a vocal melody point of view. Not one of the stronger vocal melodies the band has created but on a weak album like the Wild, The Willing & the Innocent, yeah, this is a highlight. "So now you're getting older and this world's getting colder than it used to be (SO true! The last two winters have been brutal!) Every day gets longer and turns into a darker night" is a memorable line. "Profession of Violence" opens with devastatingly folk-ish guitar lines, sparse piano and orchestral parts. This verse melody reminds me of Cinderella's "Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone" but I'm sure it's coincidental, and the "Whisper on the wind" chorus isn't very inspiring either. A really somber ballad type of song that doesn't rock at all until the guitar solo near the end which is actually really good. Funny it might be the best guitar solo on the album. It's a way of resembling Michael Schenker no less.

This is the first time I'm giving a UFO album something below 4 stars. It's a 3 to me. Sorry for sounding picky. I understand most of you reading will disagree with my review and that's perfectly fine. It just feels like, in particular side one, there's a lot of uninspiring vocal melodies and guitar riffs occurring here. The guitar solos are sometimes memorable but usually they're forgettable too. UFO wasn't meant to be an 80's band in my opinion, with their 70's stuff being *far* better all around.

Pussy Cats
Pussy Cats
Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars nilsson, May 22, 2015
This review is from: Pussy Cats (MP3 Music)
Pussy Cats is one of Harry Nilsson's mid 70's efforts. It's a strange one in that it's not as experimental as before, and maybe I'm wrong but it feels like Harry Nilsson was either depressed or wanted to take his songwriting in a different direction because other than a few songs, this stuff doesn't sound nearly as cheerful as before. Or maybe John Lennon was in control more than we thought.

"Many Rivers to Cross" shows Harry's friendship with Lennon was real and that Lennon was the producer of this album because this song totally reminds me of Lennon's "Dream #9" from Walls & Bridges with the chorus from "Mind Games". You can tell Harry was having voice problems because his voice is so hoarse it sounds unbelievably scratchy and similar to a hair metal singer from the 80's such as Bon Jovi or Bret Michaels of Poison (or the lead singer of Steelheart!) A dramatically different voice for sure which surprisingly isn't a distraction. The melody is incredibly beautiful though. The production sounds ENORMOUS on this song. Every instrument stands out in a big way and feels positively huge. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is like a radically more drum-heavy and speedier version of the Dylan classic with it being so LOUD that it sort of sabotages what makes the Dylan song so special. However another part of me thinks it's a really awesome cover version. So far Pussy Cats sounds way ahead of its time. The Lennon influence is all over the place.

"Don't Forget Me" is a tender piano ballad full of an incredible amount of life due to the above mentioned crystal clear loud production. The orchestration is really rich too. The lyrical imagery and tone captures the feeling of being outdoors in the woods with the mention of fireflies. Nilsson sounds like Lennon quite a bit too, unless somebody else completely is singing these songs. There's so many people contributing to this album I'm not sure who's doing what! I can't help but shed a tear over how sincere this stuff is. "All My Life" is playfulness about Harry contemplating his life. I have a feeling Lennon was contributing to the lyrics because they sound meaningful in only a way Lennon was capable of at the time. The orchestration is really rich and dominant once again.

"Old Forgotten Soldier" is a slow ballad tune about Harry speaking from the point of view of a soldier and how he's old and forgotten since nobody wants to hear his war stories, and how he tried to save the world but now he's old and broken. This is all tongue in cheek. The guitar strumming is rather simple but effective and Harry's hoarse vocals are really good even if unintentional. "Save the Last Dance for Me" is another old fashioned-sounding ballad with lovely rich orchestration and piano playing. It's pretty tearful. The production being so clean makes it feel almost heavenly. "Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga" is some kind of tropical-themed slow ballad. So far there seems to be a lot of sparkling and beautiful ballads making up much of the album. This one is really good but well, to be honest, so far *all* the ballads on Pussy Cats are really good! I like the lyrics about sailing, and the saxophone riff in between. The production and arrangements capture the feeling of being on a tropical destination quite well.

"Loop De Loop" is memorable for the children's choir singing "Here we go loop de loop" which reminds me of some kind of drunken recital at the downtown pub perhaps, but it's enjoyable (though repetitive!) all the same. "Black Sails" is one of the oddest songs in Harry Nilsson's catalog. On one hand it sounds like a return of the A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night period show tune music, but on the other if this is supposed to be an updated version of the musical theater stuff, it sounds *really* eerie and devastating. "Rock Around the Clock" finally brings back the rock! Yeah this is a cover song of the famous version by Bill Haley & His Comets. It's memorable perhaps only because it's different from the slow-paced balladry weirdness that makes up most of this album. Nice sax work in the middle too. However the saxophone at the very end deliberately being obnoxious is just plain bad, haha.

"Down By the Sea" is another tropical island ballad. Not sure why Harry Nilsson was so fascinated with these in 1974. It's an okay song with decent piano jamming away in the background and of course the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, but lyrically there's no creativity like the Harry of old. This might be the only song on the album I truly dislike. Over 5 minutes of this is too much. "The Flying Saucer Song" is almost completely forgettable with its speed-talking chorus (the only musical part) surrounding a spoken conversation Harry's having with a guy about a flying saucer and investigating the mysterious light as the guy walks across a field. The speed-talking parts are actually quickly sung bits with hard to make out lyrics, but they're surrounded by too much talking that's nothing more than drunken rambling (literally- the story is told in a bar!) that doesn't go anywhere. Turns out there's no conclusion to this story which is just unbelievable, haha. Alright, maybe the ending is somewhat amusing because you can hear Harry getting upset with this fellow over his terrible inconclusive story proving he's just a drunken liar. Then at the very end Moe from the Simpsons says "Are you ever going to get back together?" Haha, sounds like him at least.

"Turn Out the Light" is xylophone prettiness with a bouncy rhythm and lyrics about falling asleep. You can tell this song is supposed to be gentle to match the feeling of sleeping. Maybe it *is* time to turn out the lights on this album. Pussy Cats gradually gets worse as it moves along. However the good stuff in the first half is so unusually stellar that I'm willing to give the album 4 stars. Lennon being involved totally saves this one. "Save the Last Dance for Me" is a different version from the above mentioned one. It's much softer and shows that stripping the background arrangements makes it not NEARLY as appealing. However the melody itself is good so regardless I enjoy it. I'm guessing this is a bonus track. Actually I think everything from "Down By the Sea" until this bare version of "Save the Last Dance for Me" is bonus material. Overall, good album but certainly not a great one.

The Point! (Deluxe Packaging)
The Point! (Deluxe Packaging)
Price: $6.99
46 used & new from $3.76

5.0 out of 5 stars harry's most unusual experiment, May 22, 2015
Wow, get ready for this. This... this my friends, the Point!, is truly something else. It's mostly for kids though, not adults. Then again maybe I'm wrong about that. I'm an adult and don't feel guilty for listening to it whatsoever. The music's good and that's all I care about! But I can't shake the pictures of the many librarians across the world who probably took this album out and played it for the students.

"Everything's Got 'Em" is a nice Paul McCartney-like pop song with lyrics about towns and people. It's a wonderful song fitting in with the pointy-headed theme with lovely flowing orchestral arrangements in the background. "The Town" is narration about a land where everything's pointy except for a particular person named Oblio while the piano plays in happy child-like fashion in the background. Everyone makes fun of Oblio so his mother makes him a hat to hide his un-pointedness. "Me and My Arrow" is about Oblio's dog named Arrow. It's a catchy and bouncy vocal melody. I wonder if Brian Eno likes this album? I bet he does! "The Game" is more narration to continue the story. It's about a game where you toss triangles at someone's pointy head at the school playground. Unfortunately since Oblio doesn't have a pointy head, his decision to compete in the game is met with mixed feelings. Oblio is then involved in a different kind of game to see if he's able to continue playing the triangle game. So silly!

"Poli High" is strange. It has sailing-like vocals with piano in the background. This song is beautiful in a way, and also revealing how noticeably diverse this album is. "The Trial and Banishment" continues the narration. Oblio wins the game! He can continue playing with triangles! But unfortunately the king ruled that pointy headed Oblio isn't allowed to be around anymore, so he has to be banished to the forest because, well, that's the law! "Think About Your Troubles" opens with a set of notes similar to Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life". This song is very pretty even if it might lack a memorable melody concerning the story of Oblio's new life in the forest by an ocean. "The Pointed Man" continues the narration. Oblio and Arrow the dog take notice of the forest where the trees have points, including the branches, which is strange for a supposed pointless forest. Now bees follow after Oblio and Arrow who hide in a nearby log that soon crashes into a rock pile where they discover a rock man afterwards. After chatting with him, Arrow the dog runs into a hole and disappears (while nice flutes play in the background!)

"Life Line" is a pleasant wavy dreamy song about being at the bottom of the hole and wondering if anyone else is around. This song manages to capture VERY well the feeling of uncertainty one feels being somewhere different, and lost and wondering what kind of mysterious creatures are lurking around. "The Birds" continues the narration. Oblio and Arrow meet others such as the leaf man who encourages them to plant roots. Pleasant orchestration occurs in the background. But then... ominous darkness hovers above... and a prehistoric pterodactyl swoops down and picks up both Oblio and Arrow. They take a ride above the forest. Oh no where will they go! "P.O.V. Waltz" lives up to its name- it's a waltz, about soaring way up high in the clouds. This might be the prettiest song on the album (well besides "Life Line"). "The Clearing In the Woods" is more narration. The bird sets both Oblio and Arrow over a dome-shaped object that turns out to be an egg. The egg cracks, and a bird with a pointed head comes out! But soon Oblio and Arrow are alone again in search of a resting place.

"Are You Sleeping" is a Randy Newman-style piano pop song. It's very catchy and enjoyable. Harry's vocals are really spot-on with his imitation of Newman's style. "Oblio's Return" is more narration. When Oblio and Arrow wake up, they set off through the forest and valleys until they pause and in the distance to see the steeples and the familiar sight of the townspeople. Oblio mentions to the townspeople that the forest isn't pointless at all because, get this- everything's pointed! He mentions the talkative objects they met alongway the way such as rock man and leaf man are pointed too, just like all the townspeople! Turns out everything's pointy and everyone makes a point (har har!) That's it... I think. Turns out there's a point to everything. Nothing's pointless! Clever story Harry.

Overall this is one of Harry Nilsson's most interesting albums. Anyone that likes concept albums, or albums like Brian Eno's Another Green World or Jethro Tull's A Passion Play must have this! The story's told innocently and enjoyable enough, and the vocal melodies/songwriting is quite strong as well. Maybe some of Harry's best written songs.

Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $26.75
43 used & new from $5.78

5.0 out of 5 stars a flood of brilliant ideas, May 22, 2015
This review is from: Flood (Audio CD)
"Maiden Voyage" begins this live Herbie Hancock album. I'm guessing the reason Flood is so popular now is because it was recorded during the classic years of Herbie's career. After the "Would you please welcome Mr. Herbie Hancock!" introduction the song begins. It's somber piano for the most part, jamming away with a distinct feeling of loneliness. It's mostly melodic but the mood is the most notable aspect. This is more like a classical composition and it's really well-written. The piano playing gets intense sometimes, while other times resorting back to the dreary moodiness. The notes are always melodic and interesting though, but perhaps to a lesser extent than on the studio albums.

"Actual Proof" is groovier, funkier and more bass and flute driven which is a splendid way of picking up the pace. The flute riff in the beginning is just as memorable as ever. Then all that goes away so a fast-paced piano jam can come in. I honestly haven't absorbed the studio material enough to determine how this live version stands up in comparison, but it's highly enjoyable all the same. I have a feeling I might like this version more because it's so melodic, who knows. However keep listening and you'll discover just how *amazing* this jam is! It's REALLY energetic! I can't even find the words to describe some of the more energetic moments. Talk about a piano master, and the flute jam at the end is appealing too.

"Spank-A-Lee" is all about fast-paced funky bass and drum work in the beginning before shifting into a memorable saxophone jam. This is one of the more melodic jams here. The saxophone steals the show for most of the track even though the funky rhythm and groovy bass work can't be denied for its excellence either. "Watermelon Man" has some authentic flute/sax playing, and when the drumming comes along the piece sounds totally unique. When the sax jams away later on, it jams so in a really hypnotic/otherworldly kind of way. When factoring in the steady rhythm work, the sax takes on a whole new meaning. I'd be hard-pressed to find a saxophone jam played with more authority than this one is.

Now the longer pieces come in. "Butterfly" is similar to the studio version because I remember the pretty and atmospheric intro concerning the sax, bass and drums. Then a melodic, repetitive and flat-sounding keyboard part comes in before jamming more appealingly 30 seconds later. A strange instrument makes an appearance a moment later. What is that, a synthesizer? Then the mood shifts really gentle-like with the moody keyboards. The atmosphere gets downright creepy halfway through! "Butterfly" soon makes the permanent transition into a melodic keyboard jam for the remainder of it. This is just lovely for the way it blends atmosphere with hypnotic keyboard soloing.

"Chameleon" has some new age-sounding funky grooves going on! After a melodic saxophone riff, the song jams on the sax somewhat obnoxiously. Luckily it's short because it was going nowhere fast. The innovative funky grooves return with outer space-like effects coming down to earth for a visit! Someone's definitely getting taken to another planet, haha. This is really cool though- I'm not making fun of it. The grooves carry the song all the way to its 10 minute conclusion. This is a pretty good experimental piece.

"Hang Up Your Hang Ups" finishes the album in all its 20 minutes of glory. It begins with some Jimi Hendrix-style funkiness with handclaps and audience clapping participation. The saxophone work is short until the funky rhythm picks up a lot more, than it makes a bigger presence. After being melodic for a few minutes, a keyboard jam and enchanted background arrangements arrive to bring new life to the song. The keyboard jam is pretty good too. A few minutes later the song gets bass-heavy and the saxophone jamming is arguably better than ever before! Every note seems to feel right-on. This jam is so good it might wear you out! Eventually the song returns to the intro with the sax/keyboard interplay before another melodic and VERY intense keyboard jam comes in and eventually ends the piece... but not before I get worn out a bit! Wow is THAT some exhausting stuff, but this might very well be some of the craziest and most adventurous saxophone and keyboard soloing ever laid down on tape. It's almost impossible to understand how fantastic it is!

Though I could be wrong about this since my experience with Herbie live is limited to just this Flood album, I couldn't possibly imagine a better live representation of Herbie's classic period than this. It's over 70 minutes and worth every second. Well maybe some of the stuff from "Chameleon" drags a but, but otherwise a fantastic album!

Price: $4.99
35 used & new from $2.65

5.0 out of 5 stars another slab of poco, May 22, 2015
This review is from: Poco (Audio CD)
Poco's follow-up to Pickin' Up the Pieces is actually a lot different from their debut. Keep this in mind. I'll explain why below.

"Nobody's Fool, El Tonto de Nadie, Regresa" is a staggering rub-eyes-in-disbelief *18-minute* Poco tune! But something tells me you'll have the patience for this entire piece, believe me! The "Nobody's Fool" part doesn't really remind me of the version from the debut. It's a slow-moving, foot-stompin' version that reminds me of Stephen Stills from Crosby, Stills & Nash fame a LOT! The pace suddenly changes when a keyboard jam comes in. It's an okay jam based on several simplistic and repetitive portions (not that I could personally play this stuff myself I hope you understand- I'm just sayin' it all sounds simple to me).

After the keyboard part, the rhythm gets groovy with a great guitar part playing along which is awesome! The guitar solo that follows is really melodic and enjoyable too. All this eventually goes away as African tribal drums come in for a while. While I've heard tons of 70's artists use African drums, it's nice that a band like Poco shows they're quite capable of using them as well. The band uses them to great effect the way they appear right after a moody guitar jam. Sometimes the placement *alone* of musical instruments can be memorable. However this is short-lived as a more aggressive/melodic guitar solo comes back as the pace picks up once again. When I say melodic I mean *really* melodic. Every single note of this guitar solo makes an impact!

We're now 10 minutes in. The pace slows down in a groovy/lounge-y kind of way. This is probably the weakest part of the song, but it's still good! The definition of good that I've become accustomed to, yeah, this describes good! When the keyboards come back the song gets sort of nonchalant and all over the place, but there's something about it that pulls me in. I don't know what exactly. Must be the mood. The electric guitar comes back a moment later. It plays mellow-like for a little bit while the keyboards and rhythm work continue to provide background excitement. A quick return of the aggressive guitar part from earlier, then some much needed vocals arrive. Allman Brothers Band-like guitar soloing to finish this baby off.

Well the great thing about this jam is that it does just as good a job at providing a mood as it does exciting the listener with instrumental skills. The guitar parts are all REALLY amazing. Much of it is based on mood it would seem. Overall it's awesome.

We have another lengthy tune in "Anyway Bye Bye" but it's only 7 minutes instead of 18. Aren't you happy about that! Well I'm not. I honestly love guitar/keyboard/drum jams because they're part of the magic period in time that was the 70's, but whatever! This is a blues song, and honestly it's not a very inspiring one because in my opinion at least, Jim Messina doesn't have the right vocal range to make it truly tear-jerking (unless it's NOT actually Messina singing this- hey there's like 5 musicians in total just providing the singing! I might be picking on the wrong guy!) Don't get me wrong his voice is fantastic, but when singing the blues? Eh... The guitar/drum burst a couple minutes in gives the song a quick exciting adrenaline rush, but then the vocals return and well, the melody is actually pretty good. But the *feel* of the song Messina's going for doesn't quite register for me the way he intended because sometimes he sings a bit messy. Hey it's all opinion my good people! The guitar solo 4 minutes in along with the keyboard solo turns the song terrific until the end.

Now for the shorter ones! "Don't Let It Pass You By" is pretty soulful compared to the more country stuff I associate with the band. You might be quick to write this song off because it's so different and quiet but stick with it! The emotional aspects will win you over surely enough especially when the quietness goes away at one point as Messina pours his true feelings in louder fashion. It's a really good song. Okay he clearly excels at being soulful. "You Better Think Twice" is faster-moving country song with more memorable Crosby, Stills & Nash-like vocals. It's an angry tune about thinking twice if you wanna leaving your spouse. You better not do it or you'll be sorry! 50% of your belongings will either be gone or thrown in the street come tomorrow morning. Sorry just had to go there, lol.

"Hurry Up (Now Tell Me)" is pretty funky with a groovy rhythm and a rather unique vocal melody. Can't say I've ever heard a melody like this one. It's like Messina's singing along to the funkiness. It works really well though. The bass guitar is noticeable too, and the guitar/keyboard solo in the middle is really amazing, as is the strict country guitar solo afterwards. Sometimes I get the impression these guys had so many ideas firing at once, it was hard to find a way to lay them all down. "Keep on Believin" is as heavy as these guys can get probably. How unusual is this? The vocals remind me of the power pop band Big Star! If you know Big Star, WOW, they're a lot different from Poco! I guess as the song rolls along the Big Star similarities dissipate and it just gets uplifting. "Honky Tonk Downstairs" has a strong vocal melody but this tune is based almost entirely in a country rhythm/melody. Hey Poco can write normal straight forward songs sometimes too! It's their right, hehe.

Honestly Poco's self-titled second album is just as good as the bands debut. It's just different. Perhaps if I were to get picky I could say the vocal melodies and lyrics are a step down, but on the other hand the guitar solos, keyboard and drum work are all a major step up along with more of a diverse side of the band revealing itself, so it evens out in the end.

Pickin Up the Pieces
Pickin Up the Pieces
Price: $4.99
37 used & new from $2.89

5.0 out of 5 stars pickin' up the awesome, May 22, 2015
This review is from: Pickin Up the Pieces (Audio CD)
Well well well! Guess what this review is ladies and gentlemen! "Guess what day it is!" said a famous camel. It's my 4,000! As Homer Simpson would say, "Woo hoo!!" I never would've guessed I'd have reached 2,000 and yet I did. Then 3,000 came along and I recall writing a review for horseshoes thinking how it was a long struggle getting to that point. That felt like an amazing accomplishment. But this... this was longer and much harder perhaps because I decided to lengthen my review a bit. I once said I was going to stop writing at 4,000 but I'm probably not going to do that. I KNOW I'm not stopping! Anywhere we'll keep the congratulations short and sweet. Time for Poco's debut!

Now it's time for some Poco! One of the best country/rock bands ever... or so I've been told and in fact, what I heard so far leads me to believe there might VERY well be some truth to it! I had NO idea Jim Messina was the vocalist either. The guy from Loggins & Messina! That's him! Amazing! "Crazy Love" is one song I know and it's brilliant. Not that it's only this album of course- that wouldn't be until later when they found greater commercial success.

But the other Poco song I knew before listening to this debut last night I absolutely LOVE and consider it one of the best songs ever. That is the title song, "Pickin' Up the Pieces". If you don't like this song, well, get out of here right now! Go on, GET OUT! Hehe just kidding. But seriously this song has some of the best vocals ever! "There's just a little bit of magic in the country, music we're singing, so let's begin!" is the catchiest part, but the other melody that really lights up my sense is the way Messina sings the line "Somebody yelled out at me, country music and company!" For some reason this song always reminded me of England Dan & John Ford Coley's "Don't Pull Your Love". Even though they don't sound the same, they share similarities in that the chorus is impossible not to sing along to!

"Oh Yeah" is a nice country song about a country boy who leaves his land in search of the brighter lights and the more glamorous lifestyle. Yes! The vocals are superb! I'm glad because I wasn't sure how they'd compared to my beloved "Pickin' Up the Pieces". I like the way the vocal melody seems to jump around but not in a messy or unorganized kind of way but rather a BRILLIANT way! The guitar playing is awesome too. "Oh yeah, it's gonna getcha in the morning" is a catchy chorus too.

"Nobody's Fool" has vocals that are somewhat Crosby, Stills & Nash-like. I actually never noticed this before, or rather, put two and two together but I *do* sense a slight CSN vibe in Poco's music. I'm sure Poco considers them major influences too. Hey wasn't Poco part of Buffalo Springfield (another brilliant band!) Anyway this song is pretty good but the vocals seem unnaturally loud and well, like the old expression goes, cooler heads prevail! "Just look aROUND, see it ain't SO!" Sounds weird, haha. Maybe it'll click one day however.

"Consequently, So Long" has quality speedy guitar playing in the intro. When the vocals kick in, I seriously LOVE them to pieces... and speaking of pieces, the melody sounds a LOT like "Pickin' Up the Pieces" which is like the greatest thing ever. "Now the die is cast, and nothing happens in the past". Seriously, I'm totally digging the heck out of this vocal style! This feels just right to me. This is NO ordinary country/rock band. No similarities to Crosby, Stills & Nash in this case either. This is something refreshing and new. "Do You Feel It Too" is memorable too. "Certain feelings you just can't hide" is a great line. So much feeling and sincerity here that my insides wanna explode. There's a great vocal switch during the "Let me know right now that I'm pleasing you" line.

"Tomorrow" is a slower-moving country song but the tenderness is sincere. I'll be honest a lot of slower country songs don't appeal to me and I sort of have to force myself to get into them, but forcing isn't even *necessary* with a naturally talented vocal melody delight like Poco. But wait! The melody does a fascinating thing by switching gears and heading into a more pop-like direction halfway through which is awesome. The melody itself *and* the decision to make that change are both awesome things!

"Short Changed" rocks in a way that reminds me of the 60's band Moby Grape a little bit. Poco really goes the extra effort to make their vocals more elaborate than the average band, because even a speedy heavy rocker like this has more sophisticated vocals than the average band. Or am I crazy? I like the way the vocal melody slows down and seems to get more vicious near the end. "Make Me a Smile" is great. "Yellow ribbons stream through your hair, such a feeling now don't leave me there" is an enjoyably imaginative line. There's even a terrific guitar solo halfway through, but it's brief. Darn too bad! "What a Day" reminds me of the 60's Who in the beginning before shifting into more straight forward vocals. For some reason this song isn't growing on me as much as the other ones except for the "It's a good morning and I'm feeling fiiiine!" line which is awesome. Poco seems to make one imagine waking up on a warm summer sunny morning somewhere in the Midwest and enjoy going to work on the farm each day... unless I'm crazy there too!

"Grand Junction" is swift-moving slide guitar (or banjo) fun! Some really groovy tempo changes too. This is an extraordinary instrumental. The heavy guitar part in the second half is really good, but the entire song strikes me as beautiful. "Calico Lady" showcases the lead singers enormous vocal range while maintaining his sincere side. Hey this stuff HAS to be sincere because it hits me on a really deep level. "Often she'll be there as you are falling through your eyes, revisiting some place in the past, and she'll leads you softly to the limits of a world, but she'll only see her face in a glass, staring back with eyes that cannot see you, and yet you wish that yours were just as good" is really memorable, as are the speedy vocals in between.

"First Love" is another slower tune. "When I was young I played with toys, games were small then, not so involved, my toys meant most of all, so know how kids are when they're small" sounds so innocent and yes, I remember the days I treasured my toys! They meant the world to me. The line "It took some time to understand" showcases Messina's emotional ability to really get through to me "Just In Case It Happens, Yes Indeed" is Poco's idea of a straight forward country song... which makes it instantly better than most country songs!

So there you have it folks! Poco's debut. My 4,000th review. What a celebration, haha. A personal accomplishment for me to reach this milestone of a number and goodness it wasn't easy. But what better way to celebrate it than by listening to and reviewing a classic Poco album. There's no better way I tell ya!

The Marsh
The Marsh
DVD ~ Gabrielle Anwar
Offered by Shopcents
Price: $5.00
44 used & new from $0.49

4.0 out of 5 stars watch out for the marsh, May 22, 2015
This review is from: The Marsh (DVD)
The Marsh is a pretty good horror even though there's a couple things that feel really wrong, but a clichéd idea to boot. That being the way events unfold in relation to the storyline. I'll get to that below. Gabrielle Anwar plays the role of a single woman who decides to spend her vacation in a farmhouse out in the country because she's been having strong haunting visions that draw her to the place. Hey we've seen this story a thousand times huh? A single woman travelling alone either desires to get away from a hectic lifestyle and finds herself in an adventurous mood for exploration, or in this case she's a writer/author who just wants to get an answer to a mysterious situation.

Gabrielle meets up with a couple people who work at the convenience store downtown, one of which she has flashbacks that something awful happened between the two of them, the other more frequent character Louis Ferreira who desires to have dinner and obviously start a relationship with Gabrielle even though she's obviously not interested. The most notable is the friendship between Gabrielle and Forest Whitaker's character. He's a paranormal investigator and can explain the mysterious events in the house. Louis can explain them too but he's apparently too determined to get to know Gabrielle better, so his mind is elsewhere.

The horror comes when either a mysterious little girl appears inside the farmhouse with psychotic looking demonic-eyed adults, or when things come out of the swamp outside with the freakiest looking scarecrow I've ever seen hanging back there. This movie relies heavily on loud effects whenever the smallest camera movement occurs. This can be annoying, but also clever when you think about it because the things that you wouldn't even give a second thought suddenly become scary and make you jump!

I mention in the opening paragraph there's one thing that seems off. That would be the way ghosts such as the little girl and the adults suddenly appear inside Gabrielle's house and develop elaborate stories, and neither Gabrielle or Forest show any fear whatsoever. Instead they stand by and act like they're watching a mystery plot develop, lol. These are GHOSTS people! BE SCARED! Don't grab popcorn and enjoy the show! The dark energy that develops whenever the little girl is around can sometimes lead to memorable scenes, such as the one involving the farm lady who turns around to notice an angry horse RIGHT behind her which gave me the creeps big time, and soon after the farming equipment hanging from the ceiling comes raining down on top of her. Thanks little girl!

Overall there's some unusualness pertaining to the way certain ghost activity just EXPLODES out of nowhere which can feel like overkill (ha, overkill in a horror movie!) and it's funny that Gabrielle and Forest sometimes stand by and watch ghosts communicate, but there's also a fair share of atmosphere, interesting characters and a solid mystery/horror storyline overall that needs to be taken into consideration.

The Pursuit Of Happyness
The Pursuit Of Happyness

5.0 out of 5 stars happyness... the "y" is better than the "i", May 21, 2015
The Pursuit of Happyness is a *tremendously* moving film. It's about Will Smith and his real-life son who find themselves homeless after many struggles, and Will Smith does everything in his power to get both of them out of the rut they're in. He's willing to work extra hard in his stockbroker training program and fast-moving hectic salesman routine to make a stronger impression on his boss/workmates all in an attempt to get them away from the dreaded world of the homeless shelter they eventually find themselves staying in a result of never having the money to pay their rent.

Some things were never clear to me however. One, why did the wife/mother suddenly leave? She seemed perfectly normal and responsible to me. Unless she had a secret side that Will's character was aware of that indicated otherwise, it seemed like the only problem she had was not making sense by suddenly announcing she was leaving one day. I think it'd be better if the movie touched on her emotional state some more. I obviously get that she wanted something more than to spend time with a husband who struggles finding work and thus struggles with enough money to support his wife and son, but she never indicated she was really upset until the sudden announcement that she was leaving. I expected more on this subject to be mentioned.

Also, what was up with those boxes Will was carrying around? They looked like pet cages and people around the streets of San Francisco were so fascinated with them in their belief that they were actually time machines (usually older folks who were once hippies- yeah you know where this is going) that they'd occasionally steal and try to run away with them, hence all the segments where Will's running after these people trying to retrieve them. Turns out these pet cage-looking things are portable bone-density scanners.

Otherwise Will Smith's character is really fantastic. He doesn't appear to have any side problems such as a drug or alcohol addiction or a crime record, which to me means he shouldn't have struggled as much as he did. But this *is* based on a true story after all, so maybe I'm underestimating how difficult it was to find a steady job in San Francisco in the early 80's (the time period which this movie was based on). I really felt a TON of emotion for Will and wanted him to succeed because it was getting really desperate and uncertain at times. Will would always make a strong impression that he was intelligent, hence the rubix's cube segment with a workmate where he was able to figure it out in seconds. Hilarious when he ran away from the taxi driver because he didn't want to pay, and the taxi driver went ballistic chasing after him. I never saw a taxi driver act THAT angry before! Again, I'm a country guy so maybe this behavior is perfectly normal.

Overall this movie will touch your emotional state. When Will has to constantly hide the fact he's homeless from his workmates and cover it up with lies (sometimes hilariously, such as a shirtless/pants joke he makes when trying to make a strong impression on one occasion) and when Will and his son find themselves at the absolute low point by sleeping in a bathroom after getting kicked out of their hotel, you really feel for him. Someone as polite as Will's character with a 5-year old struggling the way he was makes you really wish you could help them out. That's a sign of strong characters and storyline, so the Pursuit of Happyness is a classic film. I won't spoil the ending, but it'll make you smile.

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