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Tubular Bells 2003 (+ Bonus DVD)
Tubular Bells 2003 (+ Bonus DVD)
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $19.52
39 used & new from $3.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instrumental masterpiece gets a face lift, May 30, 2003
Is there room in this world for yet another Tubular Bells spin-off? Apparently Yes. The original is beyond reproach, warts and all, but Oldfield still decided that now was the time to re-record it, rather than release another variation on a theme as with the orchestral version, live version and TB2 ¡V all of which are terrific ¡V and TB3 which was only sporadically worthy of the name. However, since the Millennium Bell¡¦s shameless use of the iconic Tubular Bells logo for marketing purposes, and the wholly pointless ¡¥Best of Tubular Bells¡¦ it¡¦s understandable that interest may begin to wane.
Despite being a note-for-note remake ¡V even using exactly the same instruments as far as I can tell ¡V this is NOT a replacement for the beloved original, but a fresh sounding and beautifully recorded alternative. If the original was the sound of a shy young musician feverishly bringing his opus to life by grabbing whatever studio time he could, then TB2003 is the sound of a rich, mature musician with plenty of time on his hands to tweak, tinker and perfect as much as his heart desires. The difference is tangible.
It is not complete replica: one or two short sections have subtle changes and some sections do not work quite as well as on the original. For example the guitar heavy mid-section of Part One of the original is better than the equivalent section on TB2003 (now called Blues, Thrash and Jazz for CD convenience). Also, John Cleese¡¦s MC instrument introductions come across as a little too affected compared to Viv Stanshell¡¦s original, though this may be just a matter of getting used to it.
So, is it worth buying? Definitely yes if you loved the original as huge enjoyment can be had from spotting little differences and hearing the same instruments in glorious sound quality, and for those unfamiliar with the original this will still be a real treat for entirely different reasons. Having said that, if I¡¦m still around in another thirty years I imagine it will be the ¡¦73 version that will played the most on my old tin box. Now then, any chance of a new version of Hergest Ridge?
Favourite bits: Introduction; Finale; Harmonics; Peace.


Very Best of the Stone Roses
Very Best of the Stone Roses
Price: $9.91
62 used & new from $2.50

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one stone roses CD....., March 26, 2003
....then it may as well be this one.
A best of for a band that only made two albums does not really make much sense and this would appear to a be a milking exercise to get every last dollar out of this short lived but great band.
The debut album itself is an indispensable classic and much of that album is rightly included here. The second album suffered from a huge weight of expectation and a long delay in release due to never ending litigation with the record label. The resulting album ' The Second Coming' is not as bad as detractors would have you believe but still pales next to its predecessor, with much of it sounding like a poor man¡¦s Led Zep. ¡¥The Second Coming¡¦ had its moments (Ten-Storey Love Song, Breaking Into Heaven, Begging You and Love Spreads), which, happily, are included here, though a couple in edited form (no bad thing to be honest).
A few excellent non-album tracks completes the package and despite the cynical whiff of marketing surrounding this release, the compilation is a hugely enjoyable listen with a well thought out song order giving a natural flow to the music. The one downside is the rather gushing liner notes, which demonstrate the dangers of putting such things in the hands of an obsessive fan.
Best Tracks: I Wanna Be Adored; I Am The Resurrection; Fools Gold


No Title Available

8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unremarkable retrospective from a once remarkable songwriter, May 14, 2002
If you had forgotten how much of a misery guts Roger Waters is then this best of collection will serve as a suitable reminder. If nothing else this collection proves beyond doubt that Waters' best years were with Floyd as nothing here comes even lose to anything found on anything from 'Meddle' to 'The Wall'. 'The Final Cut ' has served as a template to Waters' solo career which is hardly surprising as that was virtually a Waters solo album in all but name.
As much as he complains about his former band mates it is clear that he is aware of at least Gilmore's contribution to the band as all guitarists on this compilation have been given the order to sound as much like Gilmore as possible.
It is difficult to see exactly who this compilation is aimed at as die-hard fans will have all his albums already (a paltry 3 studio albums) and the 'bonus' material is hardly mouth watering. We get two demos - 'Flickering Flame' on which he does his best Dylan impression and 'Lost Boys Calling' where his attempts to reach the high notes will make you wince - and a pointless version of 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door'.
All three studio albums are represented (though only 'Every Stranger's Eyes' is taken from his disappointing debut), a couple of live numbers including a rousing 'Perfect Sense', and 'Towers of Faith' from the 'When the Wind Blows' soundtrack.
Of the album tracks those from his second album 'Radio KAOS' come across the best with the unusually optimistic 'The Tide is Turning', 'Who Needs Information' - the compilation's heaviest number - and the spritely pop of 'Radio Waves'. The rest features too much hand wringing and a lack of real strong songs though repeated listening will reveal a few growers. He may well bemoan the watered down (oops! no pun intended) Gilmore- led Pink Floyd but his own albums are not too great either.
Best Tracks: 'Who Needs Information'; 'Radio Waves,; 'Perfect sense 1 and 2'.


Stars Die
Stars Die
15 used & new from $9.48

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well thought out and nicely packaged compilation., May 14, 2002
This review is from: Stars Die (Audio CD)
The most frustrating thing with Porcupine Tree is that they always threaten to make a great record but never quite pull it off. Possibly their greatest moments are still to come but this overview of their Delirium years serves as a neat collection of good album tracks and, most importantly for those can't be bothered chasing after the rarer stuff, a whole bunch of EP, unreleased and altenate versions.
The nuclear winter of 'Radioactive Toy' opens proceedings and is the most focused track from an overly experimental debut. It is also the track that turned a lot of people onto the band in their early days. The extended version of the punchy 'Synesthesia' is an interesting alternative to the more concise 'Up the Downstair' album version. There are also new mixes of two other standouts from the same album though the differences are minor.
The addition of 'Stars Die' is welcome as it was omitted from the UK version of the 'The Sky Moves Sideways'. The title track from the same album is one of PT's best moments and still sounds like a contemporary take on Floyd's 'Shine on you Crazy Diamond'.
'The Sound of No-one Listening' and 'Signify II' are two great instrumentals that are strong enough to have featured on Signify, the album they were eventually dropped from.
Not everything is successful, however, and the the much touted 'Voyage 34' turns out to be little more than Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 1' with a few samples tacked on and 'Colourflow in Mind' is likely to get the same response as the band gave it when writer Steve Wilson played them the demos - '...mmm, s'alright...'!
'Phantoms' and 'Rainy Taxi' seem to pass by without hardly registering but on the whole this is an enjoyable collection with a well thought out track listing and smart packaging.
The post Delirium albums also come highly recommended including the 'Recordings' collection of unreleased and EP tracks, but we still await the definitive Porcupine Tree album.
Best Tracks: The Sky Moves Sideways-phase one; Synesthesia'; Signify II


Enigma - Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits
Enigma - Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits
Price: $9.00
133 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chanting monks galore!, October 23, 2001
Possibly a misnomer - it is hard to recall many of these tracks ever being hits -this greatest hits set never the less contains everything you expect from Enigma: catchy repetetive rhythms, breathy whispered vocals and a clutch of well chosen samples, even if these are often the best bits.
Like Enya, Enigma main man Michael Cretu has never seen fit to tinker with a winning formula and and as such this compilation comes across as an original album, a feeling enhanced by the fact the songs segue seamlessly into one another.
Standouts include 'Gravity of Love' with its pounding John Bonham rhythm and clever use of 'O Fortuna'; 'Return To Innocence' with its joyous tribal chant and the late night moodiness of 'I Love You... I'll Kill You'. The ubiquitous monks pop up throughout and 'O Fortuna' reappears on the shouty 'Modern Crusaders'.
There are occassional lapses into background mood music ('Shadows in Silence', 'Smell the Desire') and the lyrics rarely rise above empty new-age guff, but for those that enjoyed the singles but find trawling through the original releases too much to bear, this is an ideal package.


Wingspan (Hits & History)
Wingspan (Hits & History)
Offered by ValueServiceSource
Price: $56.22
58 used & new from $8.18

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macca without the cheese, May 8, 2001
This is a long overdue retrospective of Macca's post-beatles exploits. Each Beatle took a different approach to their new found solo status: Harrison unleashed a hoard of rejected Beatle songs, Lennon went into primal scream mode and Starr dabbled a bit and grabbed himself a few hits on the way. McCartney, on the other hand, went right back to basics and the pared down homemade demo quality of his debut was a far cry from the high production values of Abbey Road.
Ram was a little more adventurous and well rounded offering but still only hinted at the sleeker, commercial sound of Wings once they had got off the ground, so to speak, after the initial crash landing that was 'Wildlife'. And here, on two nicely priced CD's are most of the best of McCartney's prolific seventies output.
CD 1 is basically an update of 'Wings Greatest' and includes singles ommited from that disc (Listen to what the man said, Goodnight Tonight) and some better post-Wings solo moments (Coming up, No more Lonely Nights) and it is, it has to be said, quite excellent.
CD 2 is a little less predictable and includes many fine album tracks (Bluebird, Junk, Every Night, Too Many People) and less well known singles (Maybe I'm Amazed, Waterfalls, Take It Away) that are equally good.
Things do tend to peter out toward the end, however with the inclusion of some less worthy songs. 'Girlfriend' from 'London Town' is included when virtually anything else from that album would have been a better choice. The awful 'Tomorrow' from the equally awful ' Wildlife' and an unnecessary reprise of 'No More Lonely Nights' are tagged as if the compilers were struggling to find material to include. By including such filler at the expense of great forgotten singles such as 'Old Siam Sir', 'Girls School' and 'London Town' beggars belief.
On the other hand maybe we should just be thankful for what isn't here rather than what is. The absence of such dross as 'We All Stand Together', 'Ebony and Ivory', 'Mary Had a Little Lamb', 'Say Say Say' and other less fondly remembered moments comes as quite a relief.
Without the other Beatles input McCartney always did have problems with his own quality control, but this compilation proves, if any were needed, that he could still write cracking songs when he put his mind to it. Five stars for CD 1 and four for CD 2


The Best of Black Sabbath
The Best of Black Sabbath
11 used & new from $17.27

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Need a good riff? We've got loads!, April 25, 2001
Sabbath deliberately portrayed themselves as dark and sinister. Dig a little deeper, however, and their satanic posturings are as flimsy and camp as a Hammer Horror: great fun but not to be taken too seriously. In fact, though they often sang of dark and and depressing subjects - war, drugs, mental illness etc -they very rarely spoke of the devil himself except on their eponymous debut with its suitably chilling cover. Like all those heavy metal bands that formed in their wake they were merely a bunch of hairy men who had read a few too many Dennis Wheatly novels and had a dislike of hippies and all things flowery.
The name Black Sabbath instantly conjures up heavy booming riffs and they are here in abundance (NIB, Iron Man, Snowblind, The Wizard, Supernaut et al) but this compilation reveals that they also had a lightness of touch and an ear for a strong melody as displayed on 'Don't Start' and 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath's acoustic refrain. The brooding 'Planet Caravan' has a strong middle-eastern flavour while the coda to 'Sympton of the Universe' is almost Jazz.
The compilers lean heavily on their earliest material with CD1 given over to the first three albums alone. A more restrained compiler would have trimmed one track from each of these albums and included more from others, with the excellent Vol 4 particularly under-represented with not even 'Changes' making the cut.
There is never a dull moment though as we lurch from riff to killer riff and only 'Am I Going Insane (radio)' (radio rental = mental. Geddit?) sounding somewhat lightweight and dated.
The best of Black Sabbath will always be the Ozzy years so the inclusion of a handful of post Ozzy tracks seems superfluous, and it is unlikely that anyone buying this CD will be interested to hear how Sabbath eventually sounded like any other run-of-the-mill metal band.


Stars & Topsoil: Collection 1982-1990
Stars & Topsoil: Collection 1982-1990
Offered by POETS CORNER
Price: $13.75
75 used & new from $2.12

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't even try to sing along, November 11, 2000
A long overdue retrospective of the Cocteau Twins' distinctive and quite lovely back catalogue. Many of their most gorgeous moments have been cherry picked from most of their 4AD albums and EPs. This does mean that their last two albums on the Fontana label are overlooked, which would no doubt please their considerable cult following who spurned both of these albums -probably because Liz Fraser was actually singing words rather than her usual mad-as-a-hatter gibberish. This is very much their loss as they are both worthy additions to any Cocteaus collection.
Regardless of this, there is more than enough highlights in their career to choose from that any gripes to be had concern omissions rather than what is included ('Blue Bell Knoll' and 'Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires' are two glorious moments that are absent). However, those captivated enough by this compilation will almost certainly seek out the parent albums which makes this an excellent taster for a quietly remarkable band.


Genesis Archive #2 1976-1992
Genesis Archive #2 1976-1992
18 used & new from $35.71

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as comprehensive as it should have been, November 10, 2000
An archive collection of the post-Gabriel years should have been a relatively easy exercise: compile all the B-sides and EP's, a bunch of popular live cuts previously only available on bootlegs and a smattering of demos and unreleased tracks and you're home and dry.
On first glance Archive II seemed to have done its job but on closer inspection there are curious omissions ('Match of the Day', 'Me and Virgil', 'Mama-Long Version'), and unnecessary inclusions (12 inch versions of 'Invisible Touch', 'I Can't Dance' etc).
Still, most of the live stuff is a welcome addition to existing live albums and the B-sides are enjoyable if unremarkable - though the jaunty 'Naminanu' bears repeated listening.
With a running order without rhyme or reason, and an irritating lack of thought, this will leave most fans with the feeling of a missed opportunity. Patrick Bateman would not approve.


Incantations
Incantations
16 used & new from $9.64

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is this a pirate copy? No, it's the new remasters., July 30, 2000
This review is from: Incantations (Audio CD)
This was the only Oldfield album I never listened to much on vinyl as I always preferred the wonderful live version on 'Exposed', so seeing it available newly remastered it seemed like a good time to become re-acquianted. I still it find less inspiring than the live version - particularly parts three and four - with too many weedy sounding keyboards and sparser instrumentation, especially during moments when the huge band on the live version would generate an awesome crescendo of sound. Having said that, it is still a very good, and often mesmerising, piece of music and happily the sound quality of the HDCD remasters is excellent and a huge improvement on previous CD's.
This is more than can be said for the shoddy packaging, though, which applies for all the remasters I have purchased. The covers are very poor quality - almost like colour photo-copies giving the appearance of a pirate bootleg - and the booklets are cheap and flimsy. The booklets come with specially written liner notes which are excrutiatingly banal and full of errors. For example, the notes repeatedly make reference to the inclusion of the track 'Guilty' which does not even appear on the album, and never has. On the album 'QE2' the writer claims that the title track takes up the whole of side one (it appears on side two and at only seven minutes long could never have taken up the whole side of any album).
If an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters could write the works of Shakespear then I reckon it would take half a dozen monkeys with a packet of crayons to write better sleeve notes than this. Surprisingly, the guy responsible was brave enough to put his name to this drivel.
Elsewhere, the tracklisting for the album 'Crises' completely omits one of the tracks and the small print for 'The Killing Fields' indicates that I am actually listening to 'Five Miles Out'. These examples (I'm sure there are many more) are not just small, petty errors, but whopping great errors than even a cursory proof reading could have avoided. The one redeeming feature is that if you collect all the new remasters a tubular bells image will appear on the spines, providing, of course, that you put them in the right order.
Kudos for the those responsible for the remastering then, but shame on Virgin for the awful packaging.


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