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Love Letter
Love Letter
4 used & new from $8.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Jazz Bassoon, May 1, 2014
This review is from: Love Letter (Vinyl)
Once doesn't encounter many jazz bassoon players; most masters of that instrument follow a symphonic music path. Ray Pizzi is an exception.

I encountered this album at a jazz festival at Southern California's Orange Coast College in 1981. Ray was there and gave all the attendees a great clinic and performance. I picked up the album on the spot and have had it ever since.

This is an independent label release from the 1970s and consequently won't be too easy to find - I'd pick up a copy if you have interest in listenable, melodic combo music, on vinyl, with an unusual sound (thanks to the bassoon)!

Schubert- Music to Rosamunde (Complete) Peter Maag
Schubert- Music to Rosamunde (Complete) Peter Maag
5 used & new from $6.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Little-Known Music, November 14, 2013
This vinyl - copies of which exist in excellent pressings - is one of the few complete recordings of "Rosamunde" music that I know about. Schubert, who died young, is somewhat under-appreciated today, but for every "Trout Quintet" there is also a "Rosamunde" worth seeking out. Don't expect any instantly-recognizable melodies here (in fact, the play for which this music was written has been lost) but there is some beautiful music here, and this is a well-played and well-recorded example.

Earl Nightingale Gives You...The Strangest Secret (Vinyl LP)
Earl Nightingale Gives You...The Strangest Secret (Vinyl LP)
3 used & new from $19.45

5.0 out of 5 stars An Even Stranger Secret…, November 14, 2013
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…is that this recording captures one of the great pearls of wisdom of the ages, and yet, it's something that escapes most peoples' notice: That we become what we think about. This recording from the mid-1950s still holds up amazingly well, and the message is timeless.

I became a fan of Earl Nightingale from his 1980s "Insight" recordings (where his voice sounded much more gravelly) but this is where it all started. The story is that he recorded this for a sales group on a contract basis, then watched as it became the most successful motivational recording ever by word of mouth. Don't confuse this with "The Secret," which seems to me to be a recent rehash of this, the original message. Give this a try!

PS Little-known fact: Earl Nightingale was one of only a few survivors of a ship that was bombed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Sunken Cathedral
Sunken Cathedral
6 used & new from $2.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Album, November 14, 2013
This review is from: Sunken Cathedral (Audio CD)
I discovered this on an audiophile vinyl pressing from the 70s, which I still own and enjoy. Recorded using innovative audio techniques (which are described in the liner notes) this album is a good example of solo piano pieces from the then-master of "Fresh Aire" even invludes a small piano piece composed by American Gramophpne's impressario Chip Davis. Sound quality is great, especially considering that this is likely a one-of-a-kind recording. I especially enjoyed the "title track," Debussy's "Sunken Cathedral." Worth a listen!

Furr [Vinyl]
Furr [Vinyl]
Price: $14.54
23 used & new from $12.81

5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Fun Album and a Surprise Find, November 6, 2013
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This review is from: Furr [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
I saw this band as a warmup for The Head and the Heart in a concert in SLC last year (in 2012). I was impressed by some of their early-Elton-like numbers with piano and vocals, and they veered off in other directions some of the time as well. In any event I was intrigued and decided to check out this, their most successful album - a relative statement considering they are not too well-known...yet. Anyway, I love it! They are a mixed bag of every 60s and 70s influence imaginable, from the Beatles to Lynrd Skynrd (sp?) and the Allman Brothers - one song even hints at disco! There is even a shout-out to Elton's Country Comfort. Through it all, they forge a sound that is uniquely their own. And, the title song is a bonafide "hit"...I've heard it on airport muzak in Seattle! Check 'em out.

PS I've since bought most of their catalog!

And I'll Scratch Yours
And I'll Scratch Yours
Price: $12.31
72 used & new from $5.97

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Surprise, October 9, 2013
This review is from: And I'll Scratch Yours (Audio CD)
This was a "must-buy" for me, as I've been a Peter Gabriel fan since he was with Genesis. Each classic-period album he made was an event for me, and in retrospect I hear them as part of a cinematic "soundtrack of my life." Now, having been informed by everything that's happened musically since, from Talking Heads to Bon Iver, Arcade Fire and everyone else, the songs here simultaneously evoke memories of past eras and serve signposts to other corners of my musical mind. Quite a wonderful experience!

Everyone will have their favorites here, whether resulting from memories of the originals or admiration for the new interpreting artist. The best part for me, though, is when the synergies of past and present create new pieces that are "greater than the sum of the parts." This happens several times here, but one notable example is Regina Spektor's cover of "Blood of Eden." I liked the song to begin with (it was on Gabriel's "US" album) and I've enjoyed Spektor's work on several albums, but this interpretation takes both the song and Regina to a new level.

There are MANY other examples. You'll find the same "synergy" magic happening over and over again in other songs here.

If you like: A. Peter Gabriel, B. Any of the artists here; C. Great music; and/or any combination of the above, give this a try. You won't be disappointed!

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work
Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work
by Timothy Keller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.65
76 used & new from $10.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Keller's Best So Far..., November 26, 2012
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That's really saying something considering that this is the author of "The Reason for God" and "The Prodigal God," two of the most important and satisfying Christian-themed books of recent years. Keller is a C.S. Lewis for our time; his work is apologetic without being condescending or simple-minded. He uses modern references and vernacular to express his points, which illuminate the wonder of Grace and the inestimable value of a Christian worldview in today's society. Rooted in the theological wisdom of Augustine, Calvin, Edwards and many others, Keller nevertheless takes the state of the art in new and incredibly relevant directions.

In "Every Good Endeavor" (which gets its title from an album liner note by John Coltrane), Keller examines how to integrate faith and work in the modern world. Keller draws from Biblical resources to explain the foundational aspect of work in human culture, and along the way analyzes comments on the subject from thinkers as diverse as Tolstoy, Peter Shaffer and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name just a few. Through it all, he examines diverse motivating factors in structuring a Christ-centered work life, and how to balance them in perfect harmony.

I predict that "Every Good Endeavor" will be remembered as one of the great motivational and Christian works of this era. I give it my highest personal recommendation.

Garmin City Navigator NT SD Card for Garmin GPS Units
Garmin City Navigator NT SD Card for Garmin GPS Units
Offered by WorldShop
Price: $82.00
4 used & new from $22.92

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Addition to Nuvi 350, June 19, 2007
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I just returned from a trip to the Alps, and this Europe street map card proved an invaluable asset. Essentially, it makes the Nuvi as useful in Europe as it is in the U.S. Aside from some laughably bad pronunciation (which was quite entertaining in its own right), this add-on is spot-on accurate - from big crowded cities to remote alpine roads. Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2011 8:31 PM PST

Price: $15.59
41 used & new from $7.00

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Possibly Be Neal's Best Work, Period!, November 21, 2005
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This review is from: ? (Audio CD)
As a longtime Spock's Beard and Transatlantic fan (not to mention Neal's solo work), I know what angst the title of this review might cause in some fans. I have followed Neal since "The Light" burst Spock's Beard on the scene, and helped to usher in a new, "third wave" of prog rock that is still going strong. Like many other fans, I too was upset when Neal left SB (and TA) at the height of their popularity because of his newfound embrace of evangelical Christianity. In hindsight it seems a really brave thing to do for the sake of one's faith (to make a clean break with the past). and thus I have come to respect his solo work on its own terms, since Neal is still such a great prog-rock talent. Since leaving SB, he's replaced the rest of the band with first-rate musicians such as Mike Portnoy (!) and Randy George, and has more or less replaced the lyrics of SB tunes with Christian-themed verses. This has been tough for some of the old SB crowd to swallow, but the fact remains that Neal is still putting out some great music (something that even his least religious fans will grudgingly admit).

Now, with Neal's new album, "?", many of Neal's fanbase will need to reinterpret their position on his entire body of work. I believe this to be perhaps the best thing he has done in his entire career. Here's why:

1. This album comes extremely close to capturing the old Transatlantic vibe (not too surprising since three of the four TA members play here), and even takes it a step further by adding some hard-edged Dream Theater-esque riffs, likely arising from the guest presence of DT and Liquid Tension Experiment member Jordan Rudess.

2. It also goes a long way to recapturing the Spock's Beard magic. This is of course largely due to the presence of SB alumnus and brother Alan Morse, whose signature sound is unmistakably present.

3. Lyrically this could be the best thing Neal has ever done. Yes, the verses are religious-themed, but in a much less in-your-face manner than his first two post-SB prog albums, "Testimony" and "One". Where "Testimony" was a conversion story, and "One" talked about man's relationship to God through Christ's atonement, "?" is much more complex theologically. I'll leave it to the listener to make their own interpretation, but suffice it to say that this time the lyrics deal with the ancient Jewish practice of Temple worship, and how the concept was replaced, in evangelical Christian thought at least, by the coming of Jesus. Pretty heady stuff actually, and while it may not be everyone's cup of spiritual tea, even the most heathenistic among Neal's fans will be forced to admit that these lyrics are a quantum leap ahead of any that Neal wrote for SB, in terms of sophistication if nothing else.

This is simply a great third-wave prog album. Steve Hackett from Genesis even makes a brief showing, providing a geneological link to the classic prog efforts of the 70s. Don't let anxieties about the lyrics deter you - they are just obtuse enough to have no effect if you're not interested, and if the subject does interest you they will be surprisingly poignant.

Enjoy! To Neal et. al., thanks for a great recording.

American Masters
American Masters
23 used & new from $0.50

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Compilation, March 20, 2005
This review is from: American Masters (Audio CD)
This CD represents a reissue of three excellent recordings, under the baton of the legendary Leonard Bernstein, at a super-budget price. Two of them deserve a wider audience; the third is one of the world's most famous compositions.

If you have not heard Harris' third symphony, run - don't walk - to pick up this recording. This one-movement masterpiece was once heralded as the greatest American composition of the 20th century - and while it is not heard quite as often today, it will take only one listen to understand why it is so well loved. This recording features Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic, in the second of two recordings he made of this work.

The William Schuman symphony is another example of a celebrated piece (and composer) that is not as instantly recognized today as in the mid-20th century. This is his most famous and accessible work - if you like Copland, you'll love this. Again, this is Bernstein and the NYP from the late 80s.

Finally, the world-famous Adagio which needs no introduction, recorded by Lenny and the LA Philharmonic in a wrenching interpretation - one of the very best.

All of these compositions represent the flowering of American symphonic music that occurred in the middle of the last century, much of which (with a few exceptions such as the Adagio) has fallen into shameful neglect. Don't hesitate to pick up this CD, it will serve as an excellent introduction to some incredible music. As a next step, check out the "American Classics" serices from Naxos - budget editions of near-forgotten American traditionalist composers that will completely amaze you.

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