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Doug Lundquist RSS Feed (Effingham, IL.)
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Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley
Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley
by Chuck Crisafulli
Edition: Hardcover
62 used & new from $5.25

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Friendly Biography Of Elvis, December 29, 2007
I have enjoyed most books written by Elvis insiders and this one is no exception. You get the feeling that if you were in the right place at the right time you too could have befriended Elvis Presley, especially in the early days prior to him becoming a worldwide celebrity. The big fun of reading a book like this is to put yourself into the author's shoes as though you were meeting and getting to know Elvis as a person and not as legend, or icon. There's a part in the book where the author is helping Elvis by providing security for him at a huge arena show in Dallas. Being an everyday friend of Elvis he forgets the heights of his popularity but is quickly reminded of who his friend really is as thousands of fans go absolutely beserk around them. At that moment Elvis the icon and Elvis the real person collide together, and the book is written well enough that you can feel it happen.

There are parts of Elvis's life that are missing due to the author leaving to do other things with his life. As in some insider books we don't see the decline of Elvis other than two hospital visits a few years before his death. I personally don't think it important that a book about Elvis should include details about those last depressing years of his life, although I suspect some readers will.

The author seems extremely proud of his association with Elvis and the book is written in a respectful, heartfelt way. For the most part his writing is in a friendly, well, Memphian style. At times though he succumbs to incessant celebrity name-dropping, especially near the end of the book. This leads one to believe he puts a lot of his personal sense of self worth in letting people know what celebrities he has met. He sure got upset when Mick Jagger ignored him on an elevator ride they took alone together...no celebrity buddy to be claimed there.

This is a must read for any Elvis fan, and I also think it is a great way for young people to be introduced to Elvis. My teenaged daughter plans on reading it before our trip to Graceland this summer.


Mothership
Mothership
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $26.49
86 used & new from $1.93

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Key Is The Remastering, November 26, 2007
This review is from: Mothership (Audio CD)
Here come our old friends Led Zep again...hmmm, what could they possibly have now that I would want? Could it be new songs? Well, no. Maybe some newly discovered, thought lost forever tapes hidden away all these years in Jimmy Pages closet? No, again. WELL THEN WHAT COULD IT BE??? It's a greatest hits CD, of course!

Isn't it curious that new interest can be created from resurrecting an already well known catalog of tunes, repackaged with the promise of being something new and interesting, and resold yet again to an already adoring public. It can be done but only if the existing product can be improved upon, again. It's been my contention for years that Led Zeppelin has not been heard in the digital age the way they should be. The vindication of that fact can now found in this newly remastered release. The key here is the remastering. Slip on a pair of quality headphones, insert one of these CD's and settle back for what John Davis of Alchemy Mastering in London was able to do. My hat is off to Mr. Davis, he has taken what was digitized from some aged tapes circa the nineteen seventies, extracted all that is possible with current audio technology, and then for the grand finale mixed it all correctly. Hey, when you can clearly hear noises like drum hardware squeaking you get the feeling Davis pulled everything out of those geriatric tapes that is possible. Listen to the beginning of "Since I've Been Loving You" I believe it's Bonham's "Speed King" bass drum pedal that's the source of the now very audible squeaking. Although most of the selections are now clear as a bell be warned, as is true with many older analog recordings the source limitations sometimes are glaringly obvious. For example "The Immigrant Song" was apparently not a very good quality recording to begin with. You can tell Davis polished it up as much as he could but in my opinion it still suffers from a limited dynamic range and an abundance of tape hiss, listen at the very beginning as someone counts the song in and you'll hear the large amount of hiss until the band starts up. One must not be too picky though, after all that song was recorded, and I hate to say it, about 35 years ago. Anyway, the remastering was expertly handled and the end result is a clear winner. I think this is the best the public is going to get from those source recordings for a long time. Compare the sound quality on this CD compilation to the other Led Zeppelin CD's in your collection and I think you'll agree.


Snakes & Arrows
Snakes & Arrows
Price: $6.99
96 used & new from $2.27

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good CD, But Too Many Guitar and Vocal Layers, May 16, 2007
This review is from: Snakes & Arrows (Audio CD)
I think this album almost sounds like a cross between Vapor Trails, Rush's last album and Counterparts, an album of their's released in about 1993 - but it has a few twists of it's own. Many of the songs on the Counterparts album had a plodding heavy metal dirge feel that many of the songs on this album also have. The high points of this album to me are the instrumentals, they are well written and executed, it's obvious the guys spent considerable time and energy crafting them into something special. What I found especially refreshing was the use of an acoustic guitar and a mandolin which gave the album a more organic, down to earth feel.

My biggest problem connecting with Rush's music lately has been their dependence on adding multiple layers of electric guitar and vocals. I don't often hear anything I can really recognize as a guitar in their songs, just a big distorted wall of guitar like sound. Some people may like that, but it's not for me. Most of the time I am unable to discern in those multiple layers what the guitarist Alex is playing or trying to express, so I simply can't connect. I would rather have them use some basic keyboards to enhance their sound than all the layers. On past albums Rush used keyboards to make their songs more interesting and yes, I think musical. The vocals, especially background vocals, are so heavily layered that Rush sounds like they are accompanied by a choir. It made me wonder who kept making the decision in the studio to add yet again another vocal layer, or another guitar layer, and why. The vocal harmonizing sounds contrived when it's the same voice layered over and over. It's as though they are overcompensating for a deficiency that I believe doesn't exist. To be certain Geddy does not possess the high, powerful range of his youth but what he may be lacking in that dept. is more than made up for now with his increased control and ability to express a song's lyrics at a much more mature and deeper level. There is one song in particular on this CD where you can really hear Geddy's voice shine through without the multi tracking - needless to say I throughly enjoyed it, but it only left me wishing for more. I don't want to keep bashing the point, nor do I wish for Rush to sound like they did in their previous albums - I only want them to sound good now.

The overall sound of their songs are lacking in clarity. After finishing Rush's CD I popped in an old Stevie Wonder CD from the early 70's. The comparison in sound quality was like night and day. Suddenly I could clearly hear the notes of the individual instruments; and the vocals, not having a multitude of layers, sounded clear and genuine. I would like to see Rush minimalize their approach to recording...less is more.

In addition, four or five of the songs on the CD sound so similiar they actually could have been whip stitched together to create one very long song. The tempos for these songs are too slow for my taste and do not project much energy. They are in my opinion uninteresting....throw aways.

If you're a Rush fan sorry for the criticisms, but I take what this band does to heart and have to be real in stating my opinions here. The upside is I believe this to be a step in the right direction from Vapor Trails.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2007 9:22 AM PDT


VTech ip5825 5.8 GHz DSS Cordless Speakerphone with Dual Handsets and Caller ID (Pewter)
VTech ip5825 5.8 GHz DSS Cordless Speakerphone with Dual Handsets and Caller ID (Pewter)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Batteries Won't Charge, February 13, 2007
After about two months both units started displaying the now infamous Vtech battery error message. We discovered, like a lot of other reviewers, that if you move the batteries, or take the batteries out of the phone it will cause the phone to work properly for a day or two. Who really wants to do that?

"Honey, did you remember to take the batteries out of the phone and put them back in so we can use it again?"

Also, the phones, bases, and AC adapters, get very hot charging.

I ordered two new GE phones that I found here on Amazon to replace these worthless Vtech junk phones...in the trash they go!

The Vtech battery problem is very well known so I don't understand why companies are still allowed to sell them. There is no excuse.


Creative Nomad Zen Xtra 60 GB MP3 Jukebox
Creative Nomad Zen Xtra 60 GB MP3 Jukebox

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So Far Not A Good Experience, June 26, 2005
I did an enormous amount of research before buying the Nomad Zen Xtra 60 GB Jukebox. From the reviews I read this seemed to be the ultimate "Bang For The Buck" mp3 player out there. One day I checked on the Amazon website and finally saw the deal I had been waiting for. In addition to a rebate, Amazon had offered a $25.00 credit toward any other purchase on the Amazon website. That finally pushed me in to buying. When the player came in I was a happy camper thinking of all the good times listening to my favorite songs that were now in store for me.

A buddy and I had planned on going on a fairly long car trip and so I loaded some great tunes in my new gadget and thought this will make the trip much more enjoyable. About two hours down the highway the player stops playing. It looks as though everything's ok, like the song is playing, but alas no sound. Later after shutting the player down I tried it again but still no sound. I leave it on and after about 15 minutes it's as though someone turns the volume up and sound starts coming out. After 3 or 4 songs the volume again goes out. My friend asks me "How much did you pay for that" and I embarassingly answer "Oh, close to $300.00 dollars." Imagine how I felt.

After the trip, I update the firmware thinking that will fix it. No, the volume still drops out. Then I erase everything on it and update the firmware again, but it still has the same problem.

Then later as if to further define the quality of the product the display screen starts fading out. So now in addition to not being able to hear music half the time I can't see the display. Thank goodness I still have time in it's short warranty period to send it back.

If Creative goes out of business I will not ponder two seconds as to why.

Keep all this in mind when you decide to make your purchase.


Pictures of an Exhibitionist: From the Nice to Emerson Lake and Palmer - The True Story of the Man Who Changed the Sound of Rock
Pictures of an Exhibitionist: From the Nice to Emerson Lake and Palmer - The True Story of the Man Who Changed the Sound of Rock
by Keith Emerson
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from $67.21

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Thumb's Up!, August 1, 2004
Ok, so Keith Emerson is not the most highly polished writer in the cosmic universe. And sure, there are parts of his story which are sewn together rather disjointedly. Looking at it overall it seemed to me there were days where he wrote brilliantly and days where the results were average. I'm certainly no authority but I'm of the opinion if he could have gone back and revised the writing from those average days to the polished brilliance found elsewhere the results may have been a best seller. What you get is an honest and open account of one of the music world's great artist and performer's life. I've read other reviews that did not approve of all the road story details this book contains. Not me. When I read a biography about any person from any walk of life I want it all, real, and the way it truly was. Mr. Emerson guides you through it all with a revealing look behind the scenes of his professional and personal life, and yes, there are some interesting, startling, and amusing insights. If you're looking for behind the scenes Emerson, Lake, and Palmer info and dirt there's enough here to satisfy. He raises well found criticisms about Greg Lake's sometimes caustic behavior but then on the other hand he intimates how much of a truly good person Carl Palmer is. He also relates stories that could only originate from one of rock's elite members such as being on tour with Jimi Hendrix, and the Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, his not so friendly rivalry with the band Yes, or motorcycling with Ringo Starr as a passenger. I am pleased to have read this and recommend you do the same.


Three Dog Nightmare: The Chuck Negron Story
Three Dog Nightmare: The Chuck Negron Story
by Chris Blatchford
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from $90.58

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Second Chance, June 19, 2004
A strong story of rock and roll and personal excess. From what I heard and read prior to reading this I expected to find that Chuck had spent years living on the streets when he bottomed out during the '80's. But apparently due to his celebrity status and a very tolerant enabler this was prevented from happening or he may not be here to tell us about his life today. The stories from that time period focus on the absolute power heroin had on him and the company he found himself with. Everything took a back seat to his addiction. I found this part of his story to be particularly fascinating, the fact that one of the most successful and talented individual's you could imagine would trade everything positive in his life for thing's so negative. His rescue from drug addiction is equally fascinating. I recommend you read this and then pass it along to anyone prone to drug or alcohol abuse.


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