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24 Hours
24 Hours
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tom Jones Remains True to his Roots, September 19, 2009
This review is from: 24 Hours (Audio CD)
Times change - and what goes in and out of style is often very subjective to the period of time we are in. While Tom Jones has always maintained a core legion of fans - if you go back to the late 1970s and early 1980s and mention the name of Tom Jones, you probably would be laughed at. However if you went back to the 1960s, Tom Jones had an extremely devoted following. At the same time, it also seems that Tom Jones has somehow gone through a renaissance in the 2000s. People are now getting into Tom Jones again. It's not like there has been this great 1960s cultural renewal - it's just that Tom Jones music is suddenly come in today. Although this is a shot in the dark, one reason why I think that there is renewed interest in Tom Jones is because of the success that the "Austin Powers" movies had. Whatever it is, when I hear the sounds and music of Austin Powers - it immediately reminds me of Tom's music. I can honestly say that picture got me into Tom's music and thus I was inclined to explore his 2008 release "24 Hours". Now I'm not comparing this collection to Austin Powers music. This sound is much more mature. It also proves that Tom is still a force in the music scene.

I think there are several reasons for why Tom Jones can still have appeal in the 21st century. The main reason is Tom's unique baritone voice. Tom's vocals are some of the strongest in the music business. Whether its pop, dance - or even country and techno, Tom has always found the ability to adapt his style to many different music variants. Tom's music also has some very interesting sounds. Finally, I think Tom's strength as a live performer has really helped to solidify his appeal. Tom's somewhat gregarious style on stage has made him one of the most frequent recipients of women's undergarments on stage - even today. I feel many of these traits are present on the "24 Hours" collection.

Here is a track by track synopsis:

"I'm Alive": This is a great opening track. Good mix of horns in this song. This song showcases the gregarious style of Tom through some powerful vocals.

"If He Should Ever Leave You": This is another great track. This track will have appeal, as it will showcase the retro-style music and vocals that built Tom's reputation. The song sounds like something out of the mid 1970s.

"We Got Love": Like the previous track, this song also has a retro feel. This song has a slower tempo to it. There are good use of keyboards really help contribute to this being a good track.

"Give a Little Love": This song continues the retro-feel theme heard across this collection. This time it is the horns section once again playing a role. The hook into the chorus seems a little forced, but still this is a track that grew on me.

"The Road": This song has more of a retro R&B feel to it. This song really showcases Tom's vocals and they are going to be the dominant story of this particular track.

"In Style and Rhythm": Some interesting synth sounds play a key role on this track. Despite some of the programming into the synth sound, this track still keeps true to Tom's retro roots. This is another track that grew on me.

"Sugar Daddy": This song sounds like a Tom Jones track both lyrically (from the title) and from the music. However the big surprise is that U2's Bono and the Edge wrote this track.

"Seasons": This song is a slower R&B styled track. Although this had some good vocals by Tom, this was one of the weaker tracks of this particular collection.

"Never": The melody of this song almost has a haunting mantra-like feel on top of the retro-styled sounds. Tom's vocals layer on top of this melody perfectly - and get some good help from some background vocals.

"The Hitter": This is a Bruce Springsteen song from his "Devil's and Dust" album. The song is the story of a boxer who fights in and out of the ring. While Springsteen's has more of a Folk feel to it, Tom uses his retro style music to tell this story. I like Tom's version better.

"Seen that Face": Another slower R&B styled track. Like "Seasons", good vocals but one of the weaker tracks.

"24 Hours": This is highlighted with a military-styled drum. It is another slower track highlighted by Tom's vocals. The drumming adds to the haunting element of this track.

"More than Memories": The opening melody reminded me of a bit of a Chicago (band) song. This song is highlighted by some piano work and accompanying horns. Not quite the retro sound, but still a good track.

The liner notes include a list of the songwriting and musician credits. Overall, I was disappointed that the lyrics were not included here. While the retro-styled material remains true to Tom Jones' roots, for the most part it isn't going to be the same old stuff either. This is one album I would recommend.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Hard-Rocking Effort by a True Supergroup that deserves Album of the Year Consideration for 2009, July 28, 2009
This review is from: Chickenfoot (Audio CD)
The term Supergroup refers to a group that is formed by multiple members that have achieved success in other groups. The 1980s were filled with Supergroups. Probably the most popular of the Supergroups was The Power Station (Robert Palmer, Tony Thompson of Chic, John and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran). Other examples included Mike + The Mechanics, Asia and the Traveling Wilburys. However for all practical purposes, it was The Power Station that put the term Supergroup on the map. Supergroups are formed for many reasons: Supergroups such as The Power Station and The Traveling Wilburys were basically formed to be (originally) one time efforts. Other groups such as Asia were formed following the demise of other bands. And yet others are formed as "side projects". Since the 1980s, Supergroups have taken a back seat. However when Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony found themselves out of Van Halen, they decided to form a new band. Realizing the bar was high to replace Eddie and Alex Van Halen on guitars and drums, Hagar and Anthony went out and recruited two of the top musicians in the industry. The recruits were two artists who are the best of their craft - guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers). The result would be a Supergroup called "Chickenfoot". Not only was this a Supergroup that would live up to expectations, but they would release an self-titled album that could easily qualify for 2009 Album of the Year.

One thing to understand about the album "Chickenfoot" - this is one hard rocking album. This brings back a Hard Rock sound that has been lost for so many years. You definitely hear the Van Halen sound - and in fact at times you will think this is Van Halen. But on top of that "Chickenfoot" does bring their own stamp on things.

There are three points about this album:
1-Van Halen proves they will miss Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony's musicianship. The Van Halen brothers have a lot of talent and own the name, but Hagar and Anthony are simply awesome musicians. Anthony's contributions might not be as easily heard on this collection, but his bass plays a key role throughout each of the tracks.

2-Joe Satriani can Rock - and Rock hard. He might have a reputation for a lot of his jazz-fusion and blues work, but he can also deliver a Hard Rock sound.

3-Chad Smith - clearly the glue that holds this band together. There was a reason why he was selected at "Live Earth" to be in an all-star drum trio with Roger Taylor and Taylor Hawkins - because he is awesome. Chad's thundering drums are heard throughout this album.

Here is a song by song synopsis of the collection:

"Avenida Revolution" - What a great track to kick things off - 6 minutes of blistering Rock. Satriani and Smith immediately show their contributions in the first 30 seconds. Hagar's vocals are perfect.

"Soap on a Rope": I love Satriani's guitar riffs on this one, but it is the blistering jam that Satriani leads at the end that really steals the show.

"Sexy Little Thing": A little bit of an Asian sound kicks this one off. The song then blends a bluesy feel with some hard rock. A perfect example how Chickenfoot puts their own stamp on things.

"Oh Yeah": A little surprise that this was one of the first singles promoted, but this is not a bad one. The chorus gives this song a classic Anthem Rock feel to it. Smith is on fire on the drums on this one.

"Runnin Out": This song while not a "soft" song has a slower tempo than the first four songs. Smith really kicks it into a higher gear midway through the track.

"Get It Up": The tempo kicks right back up. Satriani's guitar riffs with Hagar's vocals give almost a Heavy Metal sound to things. Anthony's bass lays a great foundation on the verses to the song.

"Down the Train": I mean I listen to this track - and it almost sounds like a throwback to the early days of Van Halen. The spoken words at the beginning bring back memories of Van Halen with David Lee Roth, but Hagar soon puts his vocals on making this song his own.

"My Kinda Girl": This is an underrated track. Satriani and Anthony work beautifully together on this one. The chorus also has that "Anthem Rock" feel to it.

"Learning to Fall": This song is the closest thing to a power ballad on the collection. Hagar's vocals are in perfect form on this one and really are the story of this track.

"Turnin Left": Once again after a slower previous track, Chickenfoot cranks it up - and cranks it up high. Satriani's guitar is the highlight of this track. I thought this was the weakest track of the collection - and that's not a knock on this track.

"Future in the Past": What a great track - the perfect wrap-up track. This was my favorite track of the collection. This song almost seemed like a montage of different songs strung together. This is another example of how Chickenfoot puts their own stamp on things. Each of the members of the band work contribute to this track. "Saving the best for last" is a lyric in this song that has meaning. Satriani also has a blistering guitar riff at the end of this one.

Usually I don't prefer a Hard Rock sound, but Chickenfoot does a great job at bringing back good old-fashioned Rock and Roll. This album really should be considered for Best Album when awards are given out at the end of the year. My hope is we see more from this quarter. Overall, I highly recommend this collection.

In Concert Live - Volume 2
In Concert Live - Volume 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Early Amy - but a slight notch below "Volume 1", June 18, 2009
Despite the fact that Amy Grant would eventually crossover from a Christian Contemporary artist to a Pop artist, I've always found Amy's music to be reflective of the stages of her life she is going through. This was especially true of Amy's "Pop" era music from her 1990s releases: "Heart in Motion" (1991), "House of Love" (1994), and "Behind the Eyes" (1997). It was also true of her early years work. You will hear a stronger Christian influence on her early works than her later ones, but you will also hear the music of a young woman who is about to enter the world of adulthood. By 1981, Amy would have three solid albums released - "Amy Grant" (1977), "My Father's Eyes" (1979), and "Never Alone" (1980). These albums clearly reflected the Christian themes as well as that of being a young woman. Amy's fourth release - 1981's "Amy Grant - In Concert" (1981) would be a live album that would encompass selections from her first three albums. These recordings were done over a two night span in Oklahoma. Later that year, a second live album would follow with additional material from that same two night span in Oklahoma. This one would be entitled "In Concert - Volume 2". Like "Amy Grant - In Concert", "In Concert - Volume 2" continues to provide a nice portfolio of Amy's early works - it also provides it in a nice live setting.

While "Amy Grant - In Concert" did a good job at equally distributing the material from Amy's first three albums, this collection has much more of an emphasis on the newer material at the time of this concert. There are four songs from "Never Alone" and there are four new songs that are released for the first time. The new songs are: "I'm Gonna Fly", "You Gave Me Love", "Fill Me with Your Love", and "Nobody Loves Me Like You". The two strongest songs are "I'm Gonna Fly" and "Nobody Loves Me Like You". Overall I found the new material on "Volume 2" better than on "Amy Grant - In Concert".

An important thing is that while this may be "Christian" music, the "Contemporary" aspects of the music are alive and well. The melody sound of many of the songs will be right in line with the "contemporary sounds" of the soft music artists of the late 1970s and 1980s. You will also hear many touches of Country Music in her music. This is reflective of Amy's Tennessee roots. It's not geeky music - it's fun music that you will enjoy listening to.

Normally when there is a live release, I prefer the album to be a live recording from a single concert performance. I prefer it to be delivered in the order in which the songs were actually delivered. By having things from a single night and in order - I feel there is continuity and the magic of the concert is captured perfectly. As mentioned above, like "Amy Grant - In Concert", these recordings were actually done over two nights in Oklahoma - one night at Mabee Hall in Tulsa Oklahoma and one night at the Lloyd Noble Center at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Despite the two nights, the collection does an outstanding job at giving a feeling of continuity over a single night. Like "Amy Grant - In Concert" - one thing that really helps preserve this feeling of continuity is that Amy will talk and keep "in touch" with her audience. The remastering seems to do a very good job in terms of sound quality.

Also like "Amy Grant - In Concert", there is a medley included. This medley is a three song medley starting off with two of the new songs - "You Gave Me Love" and "Fill Me With Your Love". The medley wraps up with a song "What a Difference You've Made" (from Amy Grant's self-titled debut album). This medley is for the most part a medley of softer songs. Overall, I still enjoyed the four song medley on "Amy Grant - In Concert" better.

If you listen to Amy's first three albums, you will hear how she has grown musically as an artist. On "Amy Grant - In Concert", this was very clear when she delivered material from the "Never Alone" album. That material proved to be her most passionate material on "Amy Grant - In Concert". This is also evidenced on "In Concert - Volume 2". Two of Amy's best songs are "Too Late" and "Look What Has Happened to Me" - both from "Never Alone". This is evidenced by the live songs contributed from her third album "Never Alone". However the strongest song is saved for last - "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do". This is one of the new songs. Amy performs this song as a duet and it proves she is very good in this format.

My review is based on the CD version which includes liner notes. The liner notes are pretty much of what you would expect from a 1981 release (thin). Of the four original songs, the only lyrics that are included are "I'm Gonna Fly". I would have liked to have seen a musician credit for the person who did the duet with Amy on "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do". This is a nice collection and a great way to get introduced to Amy's early music. Some tracks may still be weak, but I'd still recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2012 6:28 PM PDT

At the Roxy (Atlanta 93)
At the Roxy (Atlanta 93)
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phish in a more intimate setting, May 27, 2009
If there has been a band that has had the most success of being an "underground" band, it would have to be Phish. Phish has long had the reputation of being a band with an "open audio taping" policy and as a result they built up a great following - especially as a live act. . In fairness to the quartet, this is a band that produces some of the most innovative music anywhere on the music scene. When Phish comes in for a multi-night engagement, they usually will play separate setlists on each night - thus it is like getting a completely different concert each night. In 1999, Phish released a recording of "Hampton Comes Alive" that covers the two nights they played in Hampton, Virginia back in 1998. "Hampton Comes Alive" is considered to be as good a concert recording as has been released not just Phish - but by any band. In 2008, Phish would release another multi-night live engagement recorded in 1992 from Atlanta's Roxy Theatre entitled "At the Roxy". This recording proves to be another outstanding live recording released by Phish.

There are a couple of differentiators of "At the Roxy" compared to many of the other Phish recordings. First up this is an early recording from Phish's career, so therefore it is going to have much more of an emphasis on material from "A Picture of Nectar" and earlier (with some exceptions - see below). Even from this early 1990s performance, there is no shortage of improvisations and cover songs. The other differentiator is that this concert series was performed in a smaller venue (Roxy Theatre). Many of Phish's other live recordings were done in larger arenas. The fact that Phish performs in smaller venue is very evident to the listener. The intimate setting is very evident on this recording and really helps to enhance the listening experience on

Here are ten thoughts on this concert to support the points above. These are listed in no particular order:

1-There are eight discs to the collection. The first three discs covers the performance from February 19th, 1992, the next three discs cover February 20, 1992, and discs 7 and 8 cover the final night, February 21st, 1992. Pretty much the three nights balance each other out for three solid performances, but I would probably give the second disc a slight nod for overall strength.

2-The nice thing about this collection as opposed to many other live collections from other artists, is that you are getting a complete Phish concert from each night of the show - delivered in the order in which it was performed. I prefer this approach as opposed to a live album that puts together "best of" live performances from several nights on a tour. By showcasing the concert - in its entirety on a single night, you are able to capture the "magic" of the performance for that night. This combined with the intimate setting of these shows really help to enhance to listening experience.

3-In live performances from their earlier years, Phish would become famous for covering songs of other artists - songs that you would never expect them to cover. While the three night engagement doesn't have that "great" cover, it does feature "Rock and Roll All Nite" and a brief cover of Neal Diamond's "Cracklin Rosie". These songs are done with the humor that can only be done by Phish.

4-While this was recorded before the release of 1993's "Rift" album, Phish still provides a glimpse into the future as they perform several selections off this upcoming album. These songs include "Rift", "Maze", "Sparkle", "It's Ice", "Weigh", "The Horse", "All Things Reconsidered", "Horn", and "Silent in the Morning". The last night has the least material from the "Rift" album (only "Horn" is played).

5-The highlight from the first night comes early in that night performance with "Split Open and Melt". In particular I enjoyed how there was great fusion between Page McConnell's keyboards and Mike Gordon's bass work.

6-I never get tired of "Mike's Groove" consisting of the songs "Mike's Groove", "I am Hydrogen", and "Weekapaug Groove". The performance of "Mike's Groove" on night two is as good as any done by Phish and is my overall favorite part of the three-night performance. I particularly like how Phish goes "in and out" of the parts of this song on the second disc. Honorable mentions on this night are "Wilson" and "Cavern".

7-From the third night, there are several standout tracks that are done. I particularly enjoyed "Chalkdust Torture", "Stash", and "Bouncing Around the Room". These are all Phish classics and definitely benefited from the intimate setting.

8-The only song I would have liked to have heard on these three nights would have been a live version of "The Mango Song" (from "A Picture of Nectar").

9-Phish wraps up the three night engagement with an unconventional wrap-up - well maybe unconventional for most artists, but not for Phish. The two songs that close out the third night "At the Roxy" are the traditional folk-ish songs "Paul and Silas" and "Pig in a Pen".

10-The most disappointing thing from this collection is the liner notes. For an eight-disc collection, the fact there is basically nothing in the way of the liner notes is extremely disappointing. While I would have loved a short write-up on the performances at the Roxy, at a minimum I would have liked a track listing in the booklet. There are basically minimal credits listed in the two-page booklet that is provided.

Overall, while I wouldn't put this quite up there with "Hampton Comes Alive", I still rate this in the upper echelon of Phish performances. The fact that all three concerts from the Roxy are included just makes this collection even stronger. Highly recommended.

Nine Lives
Nine Lives
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5.0 out of 5 stars Throwback Album to the Classic Steve Winwood Style, March 8, 2009
This review is from: Nine Lives (Audio CD)
From 1986 to 1988, Steve Winwood rode a wave of popularity and critical acclaim. The wave began with the release of 1986's "Back in the High Life" - which proved to be both a commercial and critical success. The wave continued with the release of his popular 1987 greatest hits' album, "Chronicles" - and then spilled over into 1988 with his follow-up album "Roll With It". In 1990, Winwood would release an album that I considered a masterpiece - "Refugees of the Heart". However for some reason, the public did not embrace this album and it found its way to the CD bargain bins due to poor sales. From "Refugees" up until 2008, Winwood would not enjoy the same level of success that he did during the 1986-1988 period. In 2003, Winwood would bounce back with "About Time" - a Latin infused album that gave Winwood a bit of a bounce back. However it would be five years later that Winwood would have his biggest success since that 1986-1988 period. Sure, he got a boost from guest guitarist Eric Clapton, but this album is pure Winwood. It proves that Winwood still hasn't lost his touch . The release of "Nine Lives" would not only generate commercial sales, but in my opinion should have seriously garnered Winwood consideration for 2008 Album of the Year.

The one thing I truly liked about "Nine Lives" is that it is a throwback to Classic Rock and Winwood's early solo career and Traffic days.. Better yet, it proves that Classic Rock has not died. Much of the credit goes to the outstanding guitar (with some help from Clapton) and bass work that just has the feel and elements of Classic Rock. Combined that with some trademark Winwood Hammond Organ and some of the leftover Latin/Jazz infused work from his previous album it blends to make another Winwood masterpiece. While many may not consider the Latin/Jazz infusion to be a Classic Rock, I disagree - namely because of the way Winwood incorporates the Hammond Organ and guitars into many of the songs, it will have a Classic Rock feel.

The title "Nine Lives" takes on two meanings - this is Winwood's ninth solo album and there are also nine songs on the album. Here is a song by song synopsis of this collection.

"I'm Not Drowning": One of the big complaints I have about today's Rock is the overuse of the acoustic guitar. Yes this guitar uses the acoustic guitar, but it combines very well with some bass and unique percussion. In a lot of ways the percussion is acoustic - but overall the music blends perfectly. This song will soon catch on you quickly. One other point this is a true "solo" song by Winwood as he plays all of the instruments

"Fly": This is the longest song on the collection all of collection clocking in at 7:48. This song has a near 1 1/2 minute instrumental to open up the song. Some great use of the saxophone and whistles on this song. This song probably doesn't resemble a classic rock song too much, but it's still very good.

"Raging Sea": I love the way the bass sets the tempo on this song - it almost a funk sound to it. This song sounds a lot like Winwood did early in his career. Nice use of the Hammond Organ on this one.

"Dirty City": This song is not only a great song, but it was one that really merited serious consideration for 2008 Record of the Year. This is just a good bluesy guitar/Classic Rock (this is where Clapton makes his guest appearance) sounding song. Great use of the Hammond Organ and percussion again. Winwood's vocals are perfect for this song as well. This song basically gives a clinic on instrumentation. Shame on the Grammys for ignoring this track.

"We're All Looking": This song doesn't have much of a guitar influence as the Hammond Organ is going to take center-stage. This song also shows some of the "carry over" of the Latin influence from Winwood's previous album - "About Time".

"Hungry Man": This song also shows some Latin (to some extent a Latin Jazz) influences and Hammond organ. I found this song to be another throwback song to Winwood's earlier solo days. I also found this song to be a very catchy one.

"Secrets": This song also follows the Latin-infusion heard on the previous song. This song also had some great guitar work combined with the Hammond Organ. The highlight of this song is going to be the incorporation of some Flute work. The result also sounds like a throwback Winwood song.

"At Times We Do Forget": This song also has more use of the Hammond Organ combined with some more Flute stuff. This song didn't quite have as much of Latin feel, but it still very much had a Jazz infusion.

"Other Shore": I found this to be a very smooth and mellow sound. More use of the Flute and Saxophone on this track. This was a very nice way to end the album.

The liner notes include the lyrics to all of the songs as well as musician credits. Overall, this is one of the highlight albums of 2008. I'm completely astonished than when Album of the Year nominations were handed out - that this album did not make this list. Overall this is one that I would highly recommend.

Queen Rock Montreal (2CD)
Queen Rock Montreal (2CD)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Legendary Queen Performance, February 22, 2009
Looking back at the 1970s and 1980s, sometimes many forget how big the band Queen was. If it weren't for Freddie Mercury's death in 1992, we might still be talking about Queen being as big a band as the Beatles. Even as Queen moved into the 1980s, while their popularity did slightly decline in the United States, it continued to be very high in Europe. Their performance at Live Aid is widely considered one of the greatest of all-time and their subsequent "Magic" tour is considered one of the all-time greatest concert tours. Queen would release a DVD and CD from that tour entitled "Live at Wembley 86" - and that performance might be considered their all-time best. Even before the "Magic" tour, Queen still performed many legendary concerts. One such concert was recorded in Montreal in November of 1981. The CD - "Queen Rock Montreal" is a great representative of those performances (this CD serves as the soundtrack for Queen's concert film, "We Will Rock You") While it might be a tad below the "Live at Wembley" performance, this performance is not far behind.

This is such a great concert, there isn't room to discuss everything on here. Here are ten "things to listen for" on this concert. These are in no particular order:

1.While Freddie Mercury is a brilliant vocalist, Roger Taylor really holds his own. Not only does he deliver thundering drums throughout the concert - he is simply outstanding providing the main background vocals. Taylor's performance on "Under Pressure" is going to make you forget that David Bowie would perform this song with Queen.

2. The fast version of "We Will Rock You" is a real treat to open the concert. In a lot of ways, I kind of like this up-tempo performance much better than the original. (Yes, the original is the penultimate song of the concert)

3.John Deacon is one of the all-time great bass players and this performance really showcases why. Songs like "Under Pressure" and "Another One Bites the Dust" are well-known for Deacon's bass work, but his presence is felt many other places. "Dragon Attack" and "Get Down Make Love" might be some of the best examples.

4.Following "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", I like how Queen follows it up with a cover of "Jailhouse Rock". This is a terrific Rockabilly tribute by Queen.

5.I was thrilled that "Keep Yourself Alive" was included on the setlist. The real highlight of this was the 1+ minute jam to intro the song. While Brian May's guitar is a highlight of the song, ultimately it is Deacon's bass work that really sets the stage for this intro jam.

6.Queen fans are probably used to the pre-recorded version of the "Opera" section of "Bohemian Rhapsody" - sandwiched in between the live beginning and live end of this song.. The way they use it actually works - and makes for one heck of a performance. "Queen Rock Montreal" is no exception. However on this particular recording, it is more obvious hearing the transitions in and out of the pre-recorded section.

7.This concert has two selections from Queen's "Flash Gordon" soundtrack - the well-known "Flash" song and a segue into another song called "The Hero". I liked how these songs held up under the live setting. Taylor's drums really shine on these performances. It is worth noting that these songs were originally omitted from the video release.

8.From the setlist, I was disappointed that there was not "Fat Bottomed Girls" or "Bicycle Race" from the "Jazz" album. However I was pleased with the inclusion of "Killer Queen", "Get Down Make Love", the Flash Gordon songs, "Dragon Attack", and "I'm Love with My Car". These songs seemed to disappear from Queen's setlist in the latter years of the band.

9.The concert includes two "solos" by Roger Taylor (Drums and Tympani) and Brian May (Guitar). Overall, I liked Taylor's solo. Although May's is not bad, I've heard more solid ones.

10.It is also worth noting this CD was actually recorded over a two day period. Normally I prefer a live recording to be from a single night - as this captures the magic of a great performance. However, "Queen Rock Montreal" does a great job at providing a seamless thread between the performances. The continuity is so good that it sounds like it was taken from a single night. It is also worth noting that the entire set list from the Montreal performances are included on the CD.

The liner notes include a short write-up on the concert as well as a lot of photos from the shows. Overall, this is simply an outstanding concert - and an outstanding video of the concert. You will find yourself watching the concert and bonus material over and over again. This is another gold standard for live performances on CD. This is a must for Queen and music fans.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2009 3:04 PM PDT

Intersections 1985-2005
Intersections 1985-2005
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Musicianship, February 15, 2009
This review is from: Intersections 1985-2005 (Audio CD)
Bruce Hornsby's career would begin in 1986 with a fast start. His song socially-conscious song "The Way It Is" would become a number one pop single. It seemed that Bruce Hornsby (with his band - The Range) was poised for a career as pop star. However things would change in 1988 when Bruce Hornsby did what I term an "internship" with the Grateful Dead. Hornsby had always been a long admirer of the Grateful Dead and soon began performing with them at live shows - and was a fixture on the Dead's tours from 1990 to 1992. It is clear that time with the Grateful Dead really changed Hornsby. Hornsby soon realized he didn't have to no longer be a pop star. Hornsby soon would focus much more on the musicianship as opposed to pop-friendly radio. His 1993, "Harbor Lights" album really showed much more of a Jazz influence. This soon would make Hornsby one of the most respected musicians in the music industry. In fact, many musicians would seek an opportunity to work and collaborate with Hornsby. Hornsby would also garner a reputation for one of the great live performers as he would incorporate much of the elements from working with the Grateful Dead (like jamming) into his own live shows. The two elements of collaboration and live work are brought together on a 4 CD, 1 DVD anthology boxed set entitled - "Intersections". If you are a fan of good musicianship, than this collection is a must have.

The collection consists of four discs and a DVD. Each disc has a theme. Discs 3 and 4 are "By Request" - meaning they are what are considered both most requested songs by fans or personal favorites by Hornsby. Disc 1 is called "Top 90" time - meaning these are versions of songs that charted on the Top 90 on the pop chart. Disc 2 is a potpourri of a lot of stuff - it consists of solo piano work, bluegrass, and pop songs. The DVD consists of a mix of music videos and live performances. In fact on the CDs, there also is a mix of live and studio material. Much of the studio material focuses on unreleased work. There is an emphasis on showcasing the artists who Hornsby worked with. This collection features work with the Grateful Dead, Elton John, the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band, Roger Waters, Robbie Robertson, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Pat Metheny, and many others. It's important to know that there are many true solo moments by Hornsby on this collection as well.

Here are ten things to look for in "Intersections".

1-The first song on Disc 1 opens with "The Way It Is". This is a straight 8+ minute version consisting of basically Hornsby playing solo piano. While I would have preferred an unreleased version of this song that he did with the Range, this song does provide a great appreciation for how great Hornsby's piano talent is. Disc 2 also features seven more classical versions of piano work by Hornsby.

2-The first disc has some great collaborations such as Jerry Garcia's legendary guitar solo on the studio version of "Across the River" and live versions of songs Hornsby wrote for Huey Lewis ("Jacobs Ladder" - and "The End of the Innocence"). However the unknown gem is a duet that Hornsby does with Elton John called "Dreamland". This is an underrated song blending two legendary pianists and vocalists together. On Disc 2, Hornsby also does a cover of John's "Madman Across the Water" (found on the Elton John tribute album "Two Rooms")

3-Hornsby pays homage to the "Grateful Dead" by covering "Jack Straw". This cover was found on the tribute album "Deadicated". Hornsby does this version with the Range. This version holds its own with the Dead's version. In particular listen to the great piano and guitar solos found on this track.

4-There are three versions of "The Valley Road" on this collection - a live version from a solo concert in Helsinki (Disc 1); and a live version with the Grateful Dead (Disc 2). However the best version might be the straight bluegrass version that Hornsby does with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band found on Disc 2. There is also a video of this song with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band found on the DVD.

5-Disc 3 contains a live version of a song called "The Show Goes On". This is from "Scenes From the Southside". In general, I would have liked to see more songs from this album as I think this contains some of Hornsby's work.

6-Disc 3 also contains a near ten minute version of "Spider Fingers/Tempus Fugit" This version is different than the one found on his live album - "Here Come the Noise Makers".

7-If you like Hornsby's Jazz-inspired work, than "Sneaking Up On Boo Radley" is as good as it gets. There is a terrific live version from 2005 found on Disc 4.

8-Perhaps one of the more interesting pieces of work is found on Disc 4 when Hornsby combines "Fortunate Son" with Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". There is also a live version of "Comfortably Numb" on the DVD where he performs with Roger Waters in Barcelona).

9-I think the strength of the DVD is in the live and unreleased work. It does include several music videos - some of Hornsby's more popular songs and some videos that might not had been seen before. Perhaps the most interesting video is the one that Hornsby does with Robbie Robertson. The live work is all outstanding - especially the duet of "Comfortably Numb" with Waters.

10-The 59 page booklet features a discography, musician credits, notes from Hornsby himself on each of the songs on the DVD and four CDs, and a potpourri of photos and memorabilia from Hornsby's career. It does justice to the collection.

Overall this is a must for any Hornsby fan, but I think many music fans will appreciate this - highly recommended.

Flavors Of Entanglement
Flavors Of Entanglement
Price: $19.99
65 used & new from $0.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Albums of 2008, January 31, 2009
This review is from: Flavors Of Entanglement (Audio CD)
When i first heard Alanis Morissette, it was in 1995 when "You Oughta Know" played on the radio. My first reaction to Morissette and "You Oughta Know" was not positive - it was "what is this, why is this woman so angry, and what is this chip on her shoulder?" Most of the "bubble gum" and synth-pop of the 1980s was beginning to fade, yet Morissette's anger just seemed too raw for me to absorb at the time. However as the subsequent singles from Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" album were released, I soon began to see more than an angry young woman. When I listened to "Jagged Little Pill" in its entirety, I realized that this album lived up to all of the hype. Not only did this album garner critical acclaim, but it was one of the best selling albums of all-time. Following that release, Morissette's subsequent albums would not nearly be as commercially successful, yet the high level of quality was still there. On those subsequent works, Morissette would explore new avenues (mostly an integration of Indian Music into her sound) and take a more diplomatic and reconciliatory tone to her music. By the mid 2000s, suddenly mainstream radio would forget about Morissette. Still plowing on, in 2008, Morissette would release "Flavors of Entanglement". While once again, she would not garner high commercial sales or mainstream radio airplay, Morrssette would hit another home run for an album. In fact this collection easily ranks among Morissette's best work and really deserved serious consideration for 2008 Album of the Year.

The big change on this album is that for the first time since "Jagged Little Pill", Morissette turns sole production duties to an outside producer. On "Jagged Little Pill", much credit (deservedly so) went to produce Glen Ballard for getting the most out of Morissette on that album. On this album, Morissette turns production duties over to Guy Sigsworth. Like "Jagged Little Pill", in which Morissette co-wrote songs with Ballard, Morissette teams up with Sigsworth on the songwriting. The sound of this album is most interesting - incorporating more of a 2000s techno-electronic sound to her music. It is on this style with Sigsworth really plays a key role. While I've considered the electronic dance music movement of the 2000s to be mostly weak, it works beautifully on this album - especially when combined with the deep musical talents of Morissette. The resulting music fusion is a unique sound that is just terrific and benefits from Morissette's deep lyrics. The other thing is the raspy and scratching voice from Morissette heard on "Jagged Little Pill" is completely gone - replaced by a much more mature (and even a "diva") voice.

Here is a synopsis of the collection. I'm highly recommending the "Deluxe Edition" - which includes five "bonus" tracks.

"Citizen of the Planet": When you listen to this track, it sounds like vintage Morissette. This album starts off with what is now trademark Morissette Indian music. While we hear the mature voice, the chorus has the trademark scratching vocals.

"Underneath": Again we hear the some great near "diva" like vocals by Morissette. The chorus has a real "hook" to it. Much of this song has a classic Morissette feel to it - including the lyrics that deal with a broken relationship.

"Strait Jacket": Here we hear the first of the techo/electronic sound. The chorus very much is catchy and has a dance feel to it. Great vocals by Morissette as well.

"Versions of Violence": Great segue from "Strait Jacket" goes right into this song. More electronic/techo sounds. The song has a haunting quality. Another great track.

"Not as We": This is a piano power ballad by Morissette. Once again, great vocals.

"In Search of the Vulnerable Man": Morissette demonstrates great vocal ranges on this song. The techno sound has a slower beat, but it also helps create a mantra-like sound on this track. There is an synth-orchestral sound present as well.

"Moratorium": This track has some Indian influence and haunting elements as well. Once again the electronic sound is slower. Both the slower techno sound earlier in the song and Morissette's voice work beautifully. Toward the end, the song goes into a "trance"-like sound as the tempo picks up.

"Torch": Another piano power ballad. This song has the reconciliatory tone found on earlier Morissette albums. Morissette's voice really is strong on the chorus.

"Giggling For No Reason": This is another techno/electronic sound with some of the highest tempo of all of the tracks on this collection. In fact, I think this track makes the best use of the electronic instrumentation to enhance part of the song.

"Tapes": Another place where Morissette delivers the power vocals. While more of a power ballad, this song does make use of both electronic and string instrumentation.

"Incomplete": This song had a mainstream radio-friendly feel to it. The acoustic guitar gave this song more of vintage Morissette song.

The following five tracks are found on the "Deluxe Edition":

"Orchid": Another vintage Morissette sound. Good combination of acoustic guitar with some lighter electronic sounds.

"The Guy Who Leaves Me": This song is a classic 2000s techno/electronic song. Morissette's vocals sound more like her earlier days. The song almost has an "alley-cat" feel to it. Great track.

"Madness": This is another piano ballad, but I wouldn't call it a "power ballad". More great vocals by Morissette.

"Limbo No More": The song incorporates some orchestral sounds to start the song out. Here Morissette demonstrates some great power vocals and ranges. Nice incorporation of electronic sounds.

"On the Tequila": This might be the best song on the whole 16 song collection. Outstanding song highlighted by use of a ukulele (and more electronic sounds). Alanis uses a near spoken word vocal during the vocals as she takes us on a journey with "keeping up with her old friends". Superb effort.

Overall, this album warranted serious consideration for 2008 Album of the Year. Simply a great album and highly recommended.


5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best studio efforts by Phish, January 25, 2009
This review is from: Farmhouse (MP3 Music)
If there has been a band that has had the most success of being an "underground" band, it would have to be Phish This is a band that produces some of the most innovative music anywhere on the music scene.. Phish has long had the reputation of being a band with an "open audio taping" policy and as a result they built up a great following - especially as a live act. But their reputation as a live act goes well beyond the "open audio taping" policy - this band can completely back things up by putting on some of the most incredible live performances anywhere. As a result, many people consider Phish to be a stronger live act than a studio act. My feeling is that in order to become a powerful live act, the music performed has to come from somewhere. In this case, much of the music comes from Phish's outstanding library of music they released. In 2000, Phish would release "Farmhouse". While much of this music was already played on the road, it did not take away from this release - as this album ranks among the strongest studio releases by Phish.

Phish is commonly called a "jam" band. However I tend to subscribe to the theory that "jam music" is one component of what Phish is all about. My feeling is that Phish is really an improvisational band - and they might just be one of the greatest improvisational bands of all time. They put a mix of Folk, Rock, Jazz, Funk, and Country into their music. In other words, improvisational music allows them to do whatever they want. "Farmhouse" also subscribes to allowing Phish to do whatever they want. Typically Phish lyrics are simple - and "Farmhouse" is no exception. You can easily see how Phish can take many of these songs and build extended instrumental "jams" off of them. While all of the band members shine, ultimately keyboardist Page McConnell probably has some of his best career moments on this collection.

Phish is famous for doing folk songs - whether on studio albums or in a live setting. With the title "Farmhouse", I originally thought much of this album would be chock full of folk songs, however once again, it was full of the Folk, Rock, Jazz, Funk, and Country that is their trademark sound.

Here is a track by track breakdown:

"Farmhouse": This track is certainly worthy of a title track. While the song starts out with a Country feel, this song quickly takes on a Rock feel. Great keyboards by McConnell and outstanding guitar and vocals by Trey Anastasio. This guitar also features some outstanding background vocals by the band that almost provide a mantra effect.

"Twist": This song has a lot of improvisation - especially a the beginning and the end. Jon Fishman's percussion work is outstanding. Ultimately, this song is going to have a Blues feel to it. While Anastasio's guitar drives a lot of the Blues feel, don't discount some of McConnell's keyboard work.

"Bug": Another great example of guitars and keyboards working in harmony. McConnell's piano work kicks off the song, then there is some heavy guitar work by Anastasio at the chorus. This is another song where you can easily imagine how Phish can build some innovative live extended jams off of.

"Back on the Train": The melody backs up the title as you can easily see this song having a feel from riding cross-country on a train. Anastasio's guitar combined with Fishman's drumming provide for this feel. Don't underestimate Mike Gordon's bass on this either as it plays a key role in the tempo. This is another track where the possibilities are endless for an extended jam.

"Heavy Things": This song was the most successful charting song by Phish as it hit the Top 25. Like "Back on the Train", Anastasio's guitar and Fishman's drumming set the tempo - and provide for the radio friendly feel of this song. Anastasio's vocals also are very radio-friendly. And like the other songs, there exists endless possibilities for extended live jams in a live setting.

"Gotta Jibboo": This song is a perfect example of Phish constructing a great song from simple lyrics. There are three lines in the entire song. There really isn't any rhyme or reason in regards to the lyrics. Listen to the great keyboard lyrics by McConnell as well as some outstanding horns work. More great chances for extended jam as well.

"Dirt": There is a Rock feel to this song as well as great instrumentals by Anastasio (guitar) and McConnell (keyboards). However, ultimately this work is supplemented by an orchestral sound. Listen to the 1960s harmonies by the band. The end result is a unique song.

"Piper": This song has become a favorite by the band in concert. In a lot of ways, this sounds like a studio jam. Gordon's bass work shouldn't overlooked either. The "gibberish" vocals work beautifully here - thus showcasing more great improvisational work by the band.

"Sleep": This is a short, acoustic track with near a cappella vocals. Not the strongest Phish track, but not a bad track. This track has a vintage Phish sound.

"The Inlaw Josie Wales": This is the first of two instrumentals on this collection. This one is highlighted with a lot of great acoustic guitar work.

"Sand": Great improvisational work creates a sand sound. This song has a great mix of Jazz and Funk in it. One of the underrated tracks on this album.

"First Tube": This is second instrumental of the collection. This one has more of a Jazz feel to it. Every band member gets a chance to shine on this track. Ultimately this also sounds like a studio jam by Phish - great stuff.

This is truly one of the strongest studio albums by Phish. This is one collection I'd recommend for all Phish fans -as well as newbie Phish fans.

Underneath The Colours (US Release)
Underneath The Colours (US Release)
Price: $9.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inxs Matures Their Sound - and Polishes the Rough Spots, January 18, 2009
The Australian band, Inxs burst on the American Pop Scene in 1987 with a breakthrough album called "Kick", but Inxs had been a band that had been for several years prior to that album. "Kick" was actually the sixth album by the sixsome. Prior to "Kick", Inxs had established themselves as one of Australia's great bands. The album that actually landed them on the map in Australia was their third effort (from 1982) entitled "Shabooh Shoobah". Inxs would release two albums prior to "Shabooh Shoobah" that would be mostly unnoticed outside of their hardcore fan base and native Australia. The first album, the self-titled "Inxs" while raw and "rough around the edges" showed the promise of what was to be a great band. It would be on their second album, "Underneath the Colours" where Inxs would polish the edges a bit and begin to establish the foundation of their core sound for the next three decades.

One fact that I find amazing about Inxs is that this six member band stuck together from their formation in the late 1970s through Michael Hutchence's untimely death in 1997. During this period, the band would release 10 studio albums, 1 Greatest Hits album, and 1 Live album. This has allowed the band to meld together and grow professionally. Much of this is due to the fact that three band members are brothers: Andrew Farriss (Keyboards), Jon Farriss (Drums), and Tim Farriss (Guitar). The other three members also stuck tightly with the band the whole way. These members include: Michael Hutchence (Lead Vocals), Garry Gary Beers (Bass), and Kirk Pengilly (Guitar and Sax). Hutchence - known for his long hair and theatrical performances in concert often gets the most publicity. But the remaining five members all make major contributions from a musicianship standpoint. It would eventually be that Hutchence and Andrew Farriss would form the core songwriting nucleus for the band that would yield some of their greatest successes. In the earlier days - all six members contribute to the songwriting.

I've always looked at Inxs' musical style to be an offshoot of the Punk and New-Wave movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s. These elements are combined with both traditional Funk, Rock and Dance to give the unique sound that has trademarked Inxs for the last 25 years. Like their debut album "Inxs", if you listen to "Underneath the Colours" album, it is very clear that this is an album that has its roots around Punk and New-Wave. On this collection, they would introduce Funk and Dance elements that would also become a trademark of their sound. We hear Hutchence's voice mature a great deal from the first album - and as lyricists the band explores some socio-political avenues.

Here is a track by track synopsis of the collection:

"Stay Young": This is a catchy song that combines some of the raw New-Wave elements with some of the Dance elements. This being the first track I noticed a real maturation in Hutchence's vocals from the first album.

"Horizons": Another example of the maturing voice of Hutchence. Andrew Farriss does a great job on keyboards and synth on this track. This song deals with "horizons" of relationships - good stuff.

"Big Go Go": This song is highlighted by the classic Pengilly saxophone work. Inxs incorporates their New Wave elements that had worked so well up this point of their career - resulting in a very good track.

"Underneath the Colours": A worthy title track. Very good mix of synth keyboards and guitar, but ultimately it is Beers' bass that I feel controls the tempo of this track. Listen to some of the socio-political undertones in the lyrics.

"Fair Weather Ahead": Beers' bass once again sets the tempo - this time from the opening notes. This song is a very good track - Hutchence has very good vocals on the track. While I like the chorus, the hook on the chorus seemed a little forced on the part "These strange new creatures..." More socio-political commentary with the lyrics, "Living and chewing on the fat; built upojn the hazy plan".

"Night of Rebellion": Here we have Inxs going back to their Punk roots. This is probably the one of the more "raw" songs of the collection - and probably one that reminds you most of the debut album.

"Follow": When I listened to this track, I almost saw this as the foundation of Inxs' sound for the next three decades. This element brought those new-wave and Punk elements together with the dance elements. Hutchence's voice still sounds raw (like the first album), but on this track it works.

"Barbarian": This is another "raw" track. Beers' bass work truly rocks on this track. Hutchence's vocals are also raw on this track, but combined with the bass work it also works beautifully. I found this to be a very catchy song as well.

"What Would You Do": This track features some good synth work by Andrew Farriss. Tim Farriss and Pengilly's guitar work come in at the right time. This is a forgotten song in the Inxs catalog, but it still is not a bad one.

"All Those Years of Learning": This song has a new-wave base with a lot of synth on it. Hutchence's voice works perfect on this. I particularly like how he switches the tempo and the ranges. It helps give an identity to this song. Once again - another forgotten song in the Inxs catalog, but a very good one. Nice saxophone bridge by Pengilly.

Overall, this is a very good album. It's too bad that this album is forgotten by some of Inxs' more mainstream fans. Once you listen to it, you can understand where much of Inxs' musical foundation came from. It is one that I would highly recommend.
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