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Soulicious
Soulicious
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $10.92
55 used & new from $0.01

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Snoozy nursing home., October 18, 2011
This review is from: Soulicious (Audio CD)
Loving soul music doesn't make you a soul singer, but Sir Cliff Richard gets to live vicariously on this album of duets with an impressive array of old soul stagers including Percy Sledge, Candi Staton, Freda Payne, Roberta Flack and members of The Temptations and The Stylistics.
Rather than sanitise the classics, the American album producer Lamont Dozier and his son Beau have written a batch of new material for the album which is almost universally snoozy and soft-focused, doing no favours to the voices on show. Throwing away the pipe and slippers, Billy Paul succeeds in letting rip on "Always And Forever", one of a couple of covers, and Cliff puts on his boogie shoes for the slightly arthritic dance pop number, "Don't Say You Love Me (It'll Ruin My Day)", and the decent house track "Birds of a Feather", which was written by the late Nick Ashford (to whom the album is dedicated) with Valerie Simpson and Michael McDonald. F. Shepherd.


Jazz For Peanuts
Jazz For Peanuts
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $12.52
60 used & new from $2.72

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Christmas gift for smooth and straight-ahead jazz lovers from the incomparable piano master., December 13, 2008
This review is from: Jazz For Peanuts (Audio CD)
Jazz pianist David Benoit has made no secret of his love for Charles Schultz's famous comic strip, Peanuts, and the piano music that accompanies its animated adaptations.
It began in the mid-1980s with Benoit's popular cover of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy," the ever-present theme in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Benoit added to the tours and appearances he's made as a tribute to Schultz, and to 2000's Here's to You, Charlie Brown!: 50 Great Years!, by releasing "CHARLIE BROWN TV THEMES", a nod to Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the original Peanuts piano music.
Most of the tracks from various Peanuts specials were re-recorded by Benoit while a few, most notably 'Linus and Lucy', were remastered from the original tapes.
Benoit adds some flair, mixing in jazz and classical influences in his own inimitable fashion.
He has selected 10 of the most compelling pieces used in the series. Four songs are classic Guaraldi, including two that previously had not been made public. He also does fresh renditions of three of his own compositions. The other songs are by Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck and Dave Grusin, the latter performed by Kenny G.
You don't have to be a fan of Charlie Brown to appreciate these songs. The basis for their uses serves as an intertwining influence and provides a sense of nostalgia to the classic cartoon.
The jazz is hopping with its stunning riffs and accentuated assortments laced with a staunch injection of charisma.
"The Wynton Marsalis Septet's performance of "The Buggy Ride" easily ranks among the highlights: a trumpet-riffing delight. (It was composed by Marsalis for "The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk," part of the "This Is America, Charlie Brown" miniseries.) The song provides a bop-ish prelude to the Dave Brubeck Quartet's cheery rendering of "Benjamin".- Mike Joyce
Fittingly, the album concludes with the Guaraldi trio's rumbling rendition of "Linus and Lucy."
There's a certain symphonic quality to the album as it works together forming a nice build.
This is an unusual, diverse Christmas gift for your friends who love smooth and straight-ahead jazz.
Enjoy!
Track List:
1. You're in Love, Charlie Brown [from the TV Special "You're in Love, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Christian Scott
2. The Buggy Ride [from the TV Mini -Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring the Wynton Marsalis Septet
3. Benjamin [from the TV Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown:] featuring Dave Brubeck
4. The Great Pumpkin Waltz [from the TV Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit
5. Wild Kids [from the Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Joe Sample and Taylor Eigsti
6. Breadline Blues [from the TV Mini-Series "This Is America, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Dave Grusin and Kenny G
7. Be My Valentine [from the TV Specia l"Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Vince Guaraldi
8. Rollerblading [from the TV Special "It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit, Joe Sample and Christian Scott
9. Re-Run's Theme [from "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown"] featuring David Benoit and Joe Sample
10. Linus and Lucy [from the TV Special "A Charlie Brown Christmas"]featuring David Benoit and Vince Guaraldi
The Complete Peanuts 1967-1970 Box Set


Drastic Fantastic
Drastic Fantastic
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $8.04
212 used & new from $0.01

84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winning number!, September 17, 2007
This review is from: Drastic Fantastic (Audio CD)
Making "Drastic Fantastic" in the same studio Arctic Monkeys recorded "Favourite Worst Nightmare" had a knock-on effect on her guitar, she said.
Certainly the stylish Scot's strings sound as they've undergone more of a thrashing this time round.
KT has taken all the dinner party-pleasing mellow elements that made "Eye To The Telescope" such a success and chucked them into the mix with a fat dollop of funk and a layer of grit.
"Drastic Fantastic" finds the 32-year-old from St Andrews again contradicting the stereotype of the navel-gazing singer-songwriter strumming her acoustic guitar.
Spirited KT once described her music as "stompy, sensitive girl-blues", and the portrayal is now even more fitting.
For all its pop tunes, "Drastic Fantastic" is surprisingly raw-boned.
You can hear it on first single "Hold On", with its near R&B beat, and the toe-tapping "Funnyman" with its indie stylings and moody mandolin.
"Little Favours" meanwhile, is a spunky ode to teen lust, while "Saving My Face" tackles the thorny topic of going under the knife.
Vocally, KT sounds even more confident as she travels through the vocal spectrum from sparky to smoky and sultry.
The album's highlight is "Someday Soon", a dreamily layered ballad she wrote about her painful brief split from bandmate Luke Bullen.
Another winner.
This Is the Life
Made of Bricks


Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday
Price: $11.99
53 used & new from $2.20

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., August 1, 2007
This review is from: Ash Wednesday (Audio CD)
We had to wait some time for his debut album that took seven years to perfect, but perfect it he did.
The tragic family history - father was Psycho Psycho (Collector's Edition) actor Anthony Perkins, who died of an Aids-related illness in 1992, while his mother died almost a decade later in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks - drapes itself over the songs without sounding too melancholy.
"While You Were Sleeping" is lullaby loveliness and during "Emile's Vietnam In The Sky" he insists "take better care of your heart".
This is the album to do just that and if you don't adore it, you didn't have a heart to start with.
Perkins is unwillling to admit his debut album is informed by some tragic pivate pivotal events. 'I don't want anyone to think that the songs are autobiographical,' he told an American journalist in March. This, unquestionably, is disingenuous: quite apart from the title itself - 9/11 was a Tuesday - "Ash Wednesday" is awash with references to loss, whether it's the anguished howl of the title track ('No one will survive Ash Wednesday alive/ No soldier, no lover, no sister, no brother') or the self-explanatory "It's a Sad World After All". "Stay if you want/ There is enough sadness for the both of us", sings Perkins, the soul of a blues crooner circa 1930 encased within the torso of a 31-year-old.
It would be perverse to avoid mention of Elvis Perkins's biography, however much the singer/songwriter might protest that it hasn't directly informed thisalbum.
"Ash Wednesday" is forged from a bleak, brittle desolation that can sometimes make these drowsily atmospheric folky songs feel top-heavy.
Still, this unashamed melancholia reaps great rewards on tracks such as "Moon Woman II" and "Emile's Vietnam In The Sky", while unexpected flavours such as the bongos, percussion and fiddles on "All The Night Without Love" and the lovely liquid chords of "The Night And The Liquor" leaven an atmosphere that can verge a bit on the oppressive.


Saltbreakers
Saltbreakers
25 used & new from $2.49

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly introspective, tender, yet gracefully playful., April 10, 2007
This review is from: Saltbreakers (Audio CD)
Picture Seattle and you'll be bombarded with images of plaid shirts, greasy hair and heads blown open in existential angst, which is a long way from the upbeat bittersweet alt-rock of local singer/songwriter Laura Veirs.

Following the success of 2005's mesmerizing "Year of Meteors", "Saltbreakers" is an artist at her peak. Hauntingly introspective, tender, yet gracefully playful, Veirs delights the ears as much as she pulls on the heartstrings.

Rock's laureate of the great outdoors, Laura Veirs has turned her attention on her sixth album to the watery deep - a metaphor apparently for a stormy year for her on the home front.

Whether or not "Saltbreakers" is intended to complete a trilogy initiated by "Carbon Glacier" in 2003 and 2005's "Year of Meteors", it provides a more than satisfactory sequel. The alternately grave and jaunty piano melodies here are classic Veirs, suffused with her characteristic wide-eyed poise and emotional reticence, and elaborated in chamber-pop style by her band with occasional splashes of strings and horns.

On the title track, she ventures into a rollicking, shanty-like chorus with the guys; for the rest, she remains the ambiguous nature lover, wrestling with wild thoughts in an even wilder landscape.


Rocket Man: Number Ones [CD/DVD Package]
Rocket Man: Number Ones [CD/DVD Package]
Price: $10.54
50 used & new from $0.82

31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy birthday, Reg !, April 4, 2007
Only in 2002 Elton John released a double CD best of which included the worst also, tracks like "Nikita" and "Made In England".

Since then, the man's career has not exactly been as buoyant as the hype suggests. So, following several underperforming albums - here is yet another greatest hits collection.

Cannily, or should I say blatantly, released to coincide with his 60th Birthday Party Concert - this definitive hits album excludes the tracks you wish to forget. It also includes the average new single "Tinderbox".

There is no doubting that our Reginald has made some great music. Tracks like "Your Song" and "Tiny Dancer" are classics and all here. But you if you are a fan, you have got them numerous times.

The TV appearances and concerts showed that the voice has weakened over the years as has the stage presence.

The only thing that this album proves is that there is more to Elton John than being a friend of Liz Hurley's or Victoria Beckham.

But if you cringed your way through the TV special as the plastic celebs danced in the aisles - this Emperor's New Clothes Collection will not sway you.

Your best bet is to dig out your dusty version of the brilliant classic "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and weep.


Dear Mr. Sinatra
Dear Mr. Sinatra
Price: $9.99
87 used & new from $0.01

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality over quantity., March 14, 2007
This review is from: Dear Mr. Sinatra (Audio CD)
Every singer ends up attempting Sinatra eventually, but few manage so well....

John Pizzarelli has been playing jazz guitar with his legendary father, Bucky, since he was 6 years old.

John's latest album is Dear Mr. Sinatra, on which he plays songs written for Ol' Blue Eyes....

The crooner is noted for his sensitive phrasing and powerful interpretative voice, which recall the relaxed stylings of Nat "King" Cole and Chet Baker, as well as for his fluid, inventive guitar playing.

On this album of covers of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, John Pizzarelli wisely avoids the pitfalls of Ol' Blue Eyes imitations in favor of his own intimate approach, best heard on the set's more relaxed arrangements.

My highlights are the tracks "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Nice and Easy" and "You Make Me Feel So Young".

Both attention-grabbing and supportive, his expertly arranged big band accompaniment likewise evokes the ring-a-ding-ding of the Rat Pack era while steering clear of mere pastiche.

With a total time just under 40 minutes, the program is a little short by CD standards, but the performances by John Pizzarelli and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in this warm tribute to Frank Sinatra are consistently of high caliber and hit the mark every time.


Rendezvous in Rio
Rendezvous in Rio
Price: $13.99
44 used & new from $0.85

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical poetry in motion., March 14, 2007
This review is from: Rendezvous in Rio (Audio CD)
My love of Michael Franks and Brazilian rhythms has never been in jeopardy. The thought of Michael merging his sublime style with this beautiful bossa sound was something that I was seriously looking forward to hearing. This is indeed a marriage made in heaven, and a pairing that I hope will be showcased more often than not in the future. His admiration for the late, great Antonio Carlos Jobim, and his touching 1995 album, "Abandoned Garden" flirted with all things Latin, and it is here where he has definitively rendezvoused in Rio.

Michael may be a little greyer in the hair department but his sheer presence diminishes not one jot. Vocally and lyrically Michael has not skipped a beat; he is as sound today as a performer as he was back in the mid-1970s and is equally as important as far as being fully ensconced in the current music scene. To me, Michael is a poet of our time if not also a genius. As has been stated elsewhere, Michael cannot simply say, "I Love You". His philosophy is more ethereal than this as his vocal journey in getting there. It is a lyrical fountain using the most beautiful, whimsical, inspirational and novel of words, phrases and visions. I love this CD : it is a seriously fine album of gentle melodies, lyrical warmth and delivered with the passion and expertise of a master who knows his craft. Any doubters out there will do no better than listen to the opening song, "Under The Sun". Simply glorious and so spot-on if you ever have been sick of cold winters, rain and all the snow. One for those who suffer with SAD syndrome! LOL! The gentle sashaying bossa, the plucking acoustic guitar, and percussive undercurrent serve well as a backdrop to Michael's wistful, thoughtful and gentle vocal. A livelier approach is taken on the excellent titled song, complete with Latin percussion and whistles; this is so typical of a Franks' groove and as such is essential.Echoes of his "Abandoned Garden" album can be heard on the beautiful "The Cool School" which is extremely laid back and jazzy and almost fits into a more lively dinner mode. Chuck Loeb is unmistakable in his performance and excels, as we would only expect. "Samba Do Soho" is a seriously irresistible mover and is helped to sparkle with the support of vocalist Pamela Driggs and flautist Chris Hunter. Perfect accompaniment for the lovely climes this ragged old Isle is experiencing at the moment! If you really want an intelligent tune to get your teeth into, then look no further than the pointed "The Critics Are Never Kind". Do they know, he muses, what it's like to get high on sweet inspiration? I bet the answer to that is a resounding `no' for the majority. I hope Michael finds this particular reviewer kind and understanding at least.

Today music is a throwaway commodity aimed at the young. True art, longevity and beauty is missed on a lot of people, but like the old Tabu label creed has it, "the world has music for those who listen". Take a listen to this artist, this album and see where it takes you. It should transport you to warmer climes, poetic places and warmer feelings. From a thinly veiled swipe at those who deem themselves in a position to judge we move onto more traditional territory with the pure whimsy of "Scatsville". Jeff Lorber is evident here on production, and Gary Meek and Michael White eagerly deliver their musical talents to good effect.

I could continue my praise for this set ad infinitum but suffice to say that along with all the talented musicians and executive producer John Rozenberg, Michael has delivered one of the best albums for some time. I really and truly hope to hear more like this, and whatever Michael deigns to give us I will be happy to embrace it with open ears and open arms.

A must-have CD


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