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KRUPS EA9010 Barista One Touch Cappuccino Fully Automatic Machine with Automatic Rinsing and Advanced Two-Step Milk Frothing Technology, Silver
KRUPS EA9010 Barista One Touch Cappuccino Fully Automatic Machine with Automatic Rinsing and Advanced Two-Step Milk Frothing Technology, Silver
Offered by Kitchen Kapers
Price: $2,998.80

4.0 out of 5 stars An In-House Barrista, May 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
KRUPS' EA9010 is a great machine for those who love their coffee in all its various forms. From just a regular cup (ground and brewed to your specifications) to a double-shot red eye Café Americano – there’s a multitude of pre-set and customizable options for the coffee connoisseur. You’ve essentially got your own in-house barista. All you need to supply are the right beans (either regular or espresso) and either milk or soy.

SET-UP: Very easy. You’ll have to make sure you have ample counter space. The machine is 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, 20 inches high, and about 25 pounds. After plugging it in, the walk-though to set it up is easy, taking you step by step to set up the date, the time, run through a rinse cycle, and to test the condition of your water. You’ll receive a water test strip to gauge water hardness. The machine takes this information and factors it in when brewing. The whole set-up process should take anywhere from five to ten minutes.

FEATURES: With the exception of loading the coffee beans (or ground coffee) on the top, everything else can be accessed from the front. The access door on the left allows easy access to a container that gathers the used coffee grounds; the door on the right is for the water reservoir which holds about 7 cups of water. KRUPS provides you with a specially made water filter that fits within. When the water is just about empty, a notification message will appear on the screen. The same holds for a full container of coffee grounds – a message appears letting you know it’s time to empty the container. The ON/OFF button is conveniently located to the left of the screen. Once turned on, it takes about thirty-seconds to heat up. Once complete the screen lights up with the KRUPS logo and asks if you want to run a rinse cycle (YES/NO).
The full-color, touch-activated screen is located on the front of the machine. Here you can choose a variety of drinks, access favorites, run maintenance, or redo the setup. KRUPS has done a good job of making an easy to use, intuitive interface.

Many common drinks are pre-programmed in, all you do is click a button and follow the directions about how much milk to put in your cup and when to put it under the nozzle. The machine lowers a nozzle to steam and froth, then grinds (or uses your grinds) and brews the coffee on demand, adding it to the drink. The machine cleans the milk nozzle immediately afterward so you don't have to worry about milk residue. The coffee really comes out layered perfectly like in the picture. The two clear mugs the machine comes with a very nice in that they have the small/medium/large markings on the side so you know exactly how much milk to fill for a cappuccino or latte without measuring.

Here’s the process for a café latte based on the instructions on the screen:
1. Measure out 4 oz. of milk and press OK
2. Place cup with milk on the tray and press OK
3. Milk froths and sounds just like it does at the coffee shop. Once complete, the frothing nozzle goes back up for a cleaning
4. The coffee beans grind and a few seconds later, the pressed coffee comes out in two streams from the nozzle
5. You’ll receive a message that your beverage is complete
6. The machine will complete by running a rinse cycle.
The process for making a latte from beginning to end takes about three minutes.

In the event the drainage pan or the coffee grounds need emptied, you’ll receive an on-screen message walking you through the steps of what to do. The spent coffee collects in a small container behind the left-hand access door. It’s compressed into little “hockey pucks” that are almost dry, so if you don't empty it immediately it doesn't get moldy. The water reservoir and drainage pans also slide out easily. After about three or so drinks, you’ll be instructed to empty either the small or large drainage pan.

The only operational downside I see is the cost of maintenance. You will eventually have to replace the cleaning solution, descaling tablets, and if something breaks – sending away to KRUPS for parts. The water filter is a nice perk, but as other reviewers have said, just run your water through a Britta (or similar) filter, and you’ll be good to go.

The price is really the first thing that catches your eye on this item. As of this writing, this is discounted to $2,500, with a list price of $3,800. Based on a month of heavy use, I would target this at half of the discounted price.


Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Filigree Bracelet, 7.25"
Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Filigree Bracelet, 7.25"
Price: $50.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazon's Sterling Silver Filigree, April 29, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The filigree design on the bracelet is beautiful. The squares are wide enough so that the patterns are noticeable when wearing, yet no so wide that they're heavy or clunky.

The rhodium plated sterling silver gives this piece a really nice shine. It's marked with the "925" stamp verifying that it is indeed composed of sterling silver. As such, it won't wear off over time and is easily cleaned and shined if tarnish appears due to oxidation. The rhodium coating will help curb the oxidation tarnish common with sterling silver.

The clasp is tight and has two extra safety clasps to ensure that the bracelet is secure and won't fall off.

The only drawback I saw is that there doesn't appear to be an easy way to adjust the bracelet's size for smaller wrists. The links look like they might be removable, but they're coated over with silver.

If you're giving this item as a gift, it comes in a fancy box, making gift giving easy.


Wellness CORE Air Dried Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Recipe, 2-Pound Bag
Wellness CORE Air Dried Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food, Original Recipe, 2-Pound Bag
Price: $27.50
4 used & new from $27.29

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Supplement to Your Dog's Dry Food, April 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our dog (a 4 year-old beagle dachshund mix) loves this product. She looks at it as a treat -- so much so that when she sees the bag, she gets up on her hind legs and "meercats". That's some serious praise! What I do is mix this in with Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe 24lb bag, and she's good to go.

It's kind of hard to see what the food looks like from the picture. At first I thought they were flakes, but they're more like little soft pellets -- about 1/4 of an inch.

What I like about Wellness products is that they provide pet foods with simple limited ingredients, meaning meat first in all diets with prebiotics and probiotics to help balance sensitive digestive systems. There is no wheat, corn, or soy filler in this product. The first two ingredients are deboned turkey and deboned chicken. Other notable elements within the ingredients are apples, blueberries, spinach, kale, glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate (for joint health), and taurine.

This is a fairly small bag. At two pounds, it's about the size of a large football. But when mixed with some quality dry dog food, you can get a bit of mileage out of a bag, ensuring your pet is getting top-notch nutrition.

***UPDATE*** Our dog still loves this, so I ordered another bag. As I've stated above, I've found that mixing this in with your dog's existing kibble is a good way to ensure he/she gets a good done of protein and vitamins. It also makes extends the life of the bag. At almost $40 a bag, it can get ridiculously expensive.

We're not experiencing what other reviewers' dogs have experienced with illness. We only use a 1/4 of a cup for a 25 lb. dog, so we're not using a lot. There's been no vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy... none of that -- but with ANY food you feed your pets, you want to gradually introduce it. I'm not doubting that these folks did that -- but immediately switching dog foods can be a cause of many of these symptoms. But we've been keeping an eye on our dog to make sure there aren't any of these symptoms -- even with the minimal amount we use.


Bush Furniture Salinas Mission Desk and Hutch, Antique White Finish
Bush Furniture Salinas Mission Desk and Hutch, Antique White Finish
Price: $184.95
7 used & new from $176.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bush Furniture's Computer Hutch & Desk, April 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This computer desk and hutch has really turned into a nice desk for the bedroom. It’s compact, sturdy, and the off-white (more of a cream color) antique color blends in nicely. The pieces are made of laminated particleboard. While particleboard gets a bad rap (sometimes deservedly so), it does have its benefits: the materials are a fraction of the cost of plywood or lumber, and since particleboard is made from the scraps of other lumber products, there is no waste when particleboard is manufactured, and no extra logging need be done to produce particleboard. We’ve owned many pieces made of particle board over the past twenty years, and with only a few exceptions, it’s held up quite well. A word of caution (and one of the potential drawbacks for particleboard) – it’s best to put this together by hand with minimal power tools. The torque from a power drill might cause the boards to split when driving in a screw too fast.

DELIVERY: Your computer desk will come in pieces, in one box that measures approximately six feet in length, three feet high, and 150-pounds. It was too big to get up the stairs, so I had to open it up and take it upstairs a few pieces at a time. It’s packed very well, but there are a lot of loose pieces -- a few are quite small; so make sure you sort through all the Styrofoam pieces and wrap, taking inventory before you toss the box.

INSTRUCTIONS: The instruction booklet runs about 25 pages, front and back (50 printed pages), in English, French, and Spanish. One thing I noticed is that a few of the parts are mislabeled. For instance, the instructions under STEP 1 call for pieces E, F, and G. I had two E's and an F -- no G. The piece they had labeled as G was actually another E. There is a heavy reliance on drawings throughout rather than written instructions, and often I felt the need for a magnifying glass. One helpful hint -- on STEP 7, when place part CC, make sure to note the directions of the small holes in the drawing before screwing it in place. Doing so will save you much frustration if you've placed it incorrectly.

ASSISTANCE: While these aren’t the clearest instructions I’ve ever followed, Bush Industries is willing to assist with assembly and has their toll free phone number listed on each page of the instructions. I called just to see what the experience was. The voice response system provided the hours of availability -- 8:30 am to 7:30 PM EST, Monday through Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday. Option number 2 will get you to assembly assistance. I pressed two and was told I was next in line. I was on hold for just a few minutes when a representative came on and asked how she could help. I told her that I was just getting started with the assembly, but asked in the event I was missing a part, is this the number I’d call. She confirmed that it was, and that could also walk me through assembly if I needed help.

TOOLS NEEDED: A Philips head screwdriver and a hammer or rubber mallet. Optional (but recommended): safety glasses.

TIME TO BUILD: It took a little over four-and-a-half hours to get this assembled. There are so many little parts: multiple-sized screws, lock-bolts, dowels, hinges, and screw caps. And assembling this by hand, of course, takes a bit longer. I just didn’t want to risk splitting the wood with the drill. But once it was done, it was worth the effort. The result is a beautiful computer desk that fits in the corner of the bedroom that can also hold books, CDs, or DVDs. The maximum weight the desk can support is 150 pounds. This should be more than enough for any flat-screen monitor or laptop.

As I mentioned above, the Bush Furniture help line is available should you need it for assistance assembling your desk, to request missing parts, or to replace defective parts. They are VERY helpful and want to hear from you whether you are having difficulties returning a product, want to make a complaint about service, or simply would like to share general feedback. Their philosophy is that communicating with their customers helps them to address any issues and will help to create new processes and procedures aimed at improving their overall customer experience.


Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle-Gro Plant Food Concentrate (Systemic Insecticide Fertilizer)
Ortho Tree and Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle-Gro Plant Food Concentrate (Systemic Insecticide Fertilizer)
Price: $18.99
8 used & new from $14.37

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective -- But Use With Caution, April 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Please do your homework to see if this product is right for the type of trees or shrubs you plan to use this on. If used correctly, it can be very effective in eliminating insect pests plaguing your ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as providing additional nutrients to help them heal and grow. If used incorrectly, you can potentially make yourself sick, harm pets or wildlife in your area, or possibly damage the tree.

Be very careful NOT to use this prior to or during bloom on any flowering trees, as it will kill honey bees. Ortho is very up front about this, and the instructions are very clear: “This compound is toxic to honey bees. The persistence of residues and potential toxicity of Dinotefuran in nectar and pollen suggest the possibility of chronic risk to honey bee larvae and the eventual instability of the hive.” The product works by the tree absorbing the mixture and carrying it throughout the tree to the leaves, essentially killing insects that would otherwise feed on or burrow into the tree. If you have to apply it to a flower-bearing tree frequented by bees, do so AFTER the bloom is over.

The instructions are to apply once a year, use 3 fluid ounces for every inch of tree trunk circumference, and mix that with one gallon of water. The Japanese maple I have has a 6 inch circumference. That would mean I would add 18 ounces in one gallon of water. There are 64 total ounces in the container. If you’re using this on shrubs, the instructions say mix 9 ounces for every foot of shrub height.

My original intent was to use this to treat some of my apple trees that had fallen victim to roundhead borers; however, the instructions state NOT to use this on fruit or nut trees if the produce is to be eaten. Since this product flows through the tree and to the fruit, you can make yourself sick. Combine this with the potential issue of nectar and pollen contamination mentioned above and it’s simply not a good thing to do. The instructions also say not to use this on any Tilia species – basswood and linden trees.

So if you’re looking for a way to protect ornamental trees and shrubs, a product like this that works from the inside out can be a convenient option. But make sure you are careful about where (near water sources) and when (after blooming completes) before application.


Amazon Gift Card - Print - Thank You (Note)
Amazon Gift Card - Print - Thank You (Note)
Price: $50.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Printable and Presentable Gift Card Option from Amazon, March 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Do you need a last minute giftcard but don't have time to rush out to the store? The Print at Home giftcard option from Amazon.com is a lifesaver. This option allows you to print out and fold a card for any occasion, rather than handing someone a piece of paper as a gift.
You can choose one of the 280+ designs from 35 categories that Amazon makes available or choose to upload your own photo. The provided designs are general enough to fit any occasion (e.g., holiday, graduation, birthday, a thank you note, etc.). Simply scroll through and click on the one you want to use. You'll see a preview on the left-hand side of your screen. If you choose your own background, Amazon provides 11 backgrounds to frame your picture (i.e. Happy Father's Day, Happy Birthday, etc.)
The next option is to enter an amount. Amazon has pre-set amounts you can choose from a drop-down box ($25 to $500), or you can set your own amount.
You also have the ablity to enter a message -- up to 8 lines and 300 characters.
Once you click Proceed to Checkout, you will have a chance to review the order. By default, it will be sent to the email address you have on file with Amazon. Once you send your order, you'll receive an e-mail from "Amazon.com Gift Card" that has a link to your gift card. Clicking the link will take you to a PDF with all the information and graphics you selected. Simply print it out and fold it in quarters, and you'll be good to go!


Grassroots Super Anti-oxidant Dou - Pomegrante Super Anti-oxidant Cream + Pomegranate Overnight Recovery Serum
Grassroots Super Anti-oxidant Dou - Pomegrante Super Anti-oxidant Cream + Pomegranate Overnight Recovery Serum
Offered by Giftshop and Beyond
Price: $25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Grassroots Pomegrante Super Antioxidant Cream, March 2, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Since high school I've been using facial creams to help protect against dryness, windburn, or sun damage. I figured back then, that it's probably better in the long run to make this part of my routine. Now in my mid-40s, I’m glad I did this. No wrinkles, no crow's feet, and no age spots yet. They'll certainly come; but with diet, exercise, and a good skincare regiment, I try and hold them off while I can.

The Grassroots Labs product line (an Este Lauder product) is the best product I've run across in the last 15-or-so years. This pomegranate anti-oxidant + serum package is the one I keep coming back to. It's a thicker cream, so a little goes a long way. Nor is ir greasy, so it doesn't feel like you've slathered Crisco on your face. Additionally, it did not cause me to break out. We all, however, have different tolerances. As for the scent -- there's a slight, subtle scent, but it's by no means overpowering.

Application: I use just a drop of the serum at night, right before bed. A couple drops on the hand, rub them together, and then apply to the face until it's absorbed. After that, put a bit of the oxidation cream on to seal it in.

Masculinity Factor: I've gotten past the whole macho thing and skincare products. I've always cared about keeping up my appearance for health reasons and, well, yes, vanity. Your skin is a reflection of your heath; take care of it, and it'll take care of you. One particular face cream, however, is not going to magically fix everything; you have to adjust your diet (especially eliminating unnecessary sugars) and (if you're sedentary) exercise. There are plenty of wise old sayingsť you can apply to your body (a temple, for instance), and they're all pretty much true.

Grassroots Labs: Grassroots Research Labs functions under the umbrella of the Este Lauder Corporation. Grassroots Research Labs products were introduced to the public in 2008. The line is sold at Kohl's Department Stores, on its website, and at some other online shopping sites. It includes seven categories of non-medicated products for hair and skin care that adults, babies, children, and even pets can use. There also is a special line of products for skin and hair issues that occur post-pregnancy. The brand's focus is the use of natural ingredients, such as botanicals and vitamins, to restore skin's health, vitality, and beauty. The company wants to combine science and nature to enhance the skin's ability to resist aging. Ingredients, such as pomegranate, bamboo leaf, blue algae, mushroom, and deep-sea water, are used to fight free radicals from the environment that tend to age your cells. The result is an array of products that can even, hydrate, brighten, calm, and reduce wrinkling in your skin. Some of the products include sunscreen, claiming prevention of further skin damage from sun exposure.

I place Este Lauder's Grassroots line at the top of the heap. And at this currently discounted price, it's certainly worth a try to see if it works for you.


Linksys N600 PRO Wi-Fi Range Extender with Built-In Audio Speaker (RE4100W-4A)
Linksys N600 PRO Wi-Fi Range Extender with Built-In Audio Speaker (RE4100W-4A)
Price: $69.99
44 used & new from $64.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Set up and Works Beautifully, February 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I found the Linksys N600 PRO Wi-Fi Range Extender surprisingly easy to set up. I don’t look forward to noodling with modem or router settings since I invariably screw up something, but none of that was necessary in this case. The instructions were quite simple – plug your device into the wall in an area where the signal was at least 50%, and then set it up via a smartphone or computer. This should result in a more reliable, consistent signal within your home or business.

Our house is about 2,300 square feet. Our Belkin modem tends to drop down to ˝ or Ľ across the house. I plugged the range extender in at about the halfway point of the house and waited for the light to turn from orange to green. Within 10 seconds, the extender appeared as a wireless option. After about a minute, voilà! The web setup appeared on my smartphone and walked me through step-by-step. It detected the two Wi-Fi options available, had me enter the Wi-Fi password, and then finished up. It all took less than 2 minutes. I went from a 25% signal up to 100% and it has remained consistent – no more buffering when streaming video, and no more flipping between cellular and wireless on the smartphones.

What comes in the box: (1) Linksys N600 PRO Wi-Fi Range Extender, (1) instruction page, (1) warranty booklet.

The range extender also has an Ethernet port on the bottom to establish a “remote” wired connection. I tried this with the laptop and had an instant, reliable connection. There is also a headphone jack on the side to plug in speakers to broadcast from your smartphone or laptop.

If you have Wi-Fi dead spots around the house and want an easy solution to boost your signal, you’ve found it!


Nautilus T616 Treadmill
Nautilus T616 Treadmill
Price: $999.99
2 used & new from $999.99

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nautilus' T616 Treadmill, January 20, 2015
This review is from: Nautilus T616 Treadmill (Sports)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I run about 15 miles a week. My preference is to run on the road, especially roads with hills for building stamina. Living in the Midwest, where each year winter seems to linger longer than it should, a treadmill is a necessity to maintain the endurance and mileage logged during the spring, summer, and fall.

My city's recreation center uses the Nautilus T614 model (a step below this one), so I was familiar with how everything operated. There are notable differences between the T614 and T616. These are detailed in the product description, but the most notable are that the T616 has slightly more powerful motor (2.75 CHP vs. 3 CHP), has Bluetooth capability (to synch with Nautilus' apps), a 2ply belt, and a bit more cushioning. It could be the constant use the gym treadmills get, but I immediately noticed the T616 was quieter and provided a more cushioned run (no thud! thud! thud!).

DELIVERY: When your treadmill is delivered, prepare for an 8 ft. by 3 ft. box. The base comes in one piece that weighs about to 250 lbs. You will definitely need some help moving it and assembling it. And DO NOT cut the yellow plastic band that securing the treadmill. I can't stress this enough. There is also a tag indicating "do not cut." If you do cut it, the treadmill will unfold at a 45 degree angle and be extremely unmanageable. Wait until you have your treadmill where you want it before you cut this all-important band. The box I received as ripped and damaged, so this tag was separated from the plastic band. So yes, idiot that I am, I cut the band, assuming it was part of the packaging. I had to get it down a pair of stairs, so I had a heck of a time getting it to stay closed again (thank you gorilla tape!).

IN THE BOX: The treadmill base, LCD control board with a mini fan, instructions/user manual, catalog, plastic accents and coverings, wall chord with three-prong plug, and all the required bolts, screws, washers, an MP3 speaker cable, silicon oil (for the belt), and hex-bolt and Phillip's head tools.

ASSEMBLY: Once we got the treadmill in place, I had it up and running in about an hour. The print for the instructions was small, but they were clear and to the point. You'll note that there are rubber bands wrapped around the treadmill base and on one of the supports for the LCD display. These are holding the wire connecting the base and display in place. Leave the bands where they are until you've reached that point in the assembly, or you'll have a heck of a time fishing it out. It'll take two people to secure the LCD panel to the base columns.

FIRST USE: It worked great. I am 6'3 and 215 lbs. The 7 ft. length made for a great run. I never felt like I was going to fall off the end. The base was solid and easily supported my weight, even when at an incline. For safety purposes, there's a red magnetic key that fits into the base of the LCD display, the other end clipping to your clothing. In the event you fall, pulling out the key, this will turn off the treadmill. DO NOT lose this, as the treadmill will not run without it. There is a selection of 26 training programs and 4 individual user settings. The user settings allow up to 4 unique users enter their height, weight, etc., allowing for customized workouts.

PROS:
* 26 workout programs: manual, quick goal, train, weight control, heart health, interval, and the ability to customize your workout.
* 4 individual user settings
* In addition to the heart rate monitor belt, there's also a heart rate monitor on the handlebars. This not only provides your heart rate at any time during your run, but also if you're in fat burning aerobic or anaerobic range.
* Bluetooth connectivity allows you to synch your data with Nautilus Connect(tm), the Nautilus Trainer(tm) App, and MyFitnessPal.
* Nautilus' Dual Track(tm) LCD display is nicely laid out, with in console speakers, an MP3 line-in, and a USB to charge your device while you work out. The LCD display is positioned to allow for easy viewing of movies or reading books on a tablet. Also included are two cup holders for water.
* When I run, I like to listen to music or an audio book. The speakers are loud enough, and the treadmill quiet enough, to enjoy listening without bothering everyone else in the house.
* I tend to get shin splits running on the road. The treadmill comes with Nautilus' StrikeZone(tm) cushioning system, resulting in an easier run for your shins and knees. I will say the cushioning does beat asphalt, and so far no shin splints. This cushioning also provides enough support so that each step doesn't result in a booming thud.

CONS (minimal - just a few little things I noticed):
* The adjustable fan, while quiet enough and appropriately positioned, wasn't all that effective.
* During setup, I accidently set the wrong date and time. The instructions say to unplug the unit for 3 minutes to allow for a total reset. I didn't have any luck with that. I then waited 3 hours, but it still retained my original settings.

While some of the exercise equipment I've bought over the years has turned into expensive "clothes hangers," I've always enjoyed treadmills - especially in the winter months. I used to run the roads in my 20s, but after a few close calls on ice, I no longer want to take the chance. Now that I've reached middle age, I have no desire to try to run in the snow or on icy sidewalks.

This is truly an exceptional treadmill. If you're paying for an annual gym membership but only find yourself using the treadmill, this is certainly an alternative to consider. The convenience of using your electronic devices (iPhone, Kindle, etc.) while synching and tracking your progress via Bluetooth is a definitely plus. The T616 treadmill has just about everything you'd need to keep you running during the colder months and inclement weather, as well as the means of tracking your progress via Bluetooth. It all keeps this hamster on the wheel entertained and motivated.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2015 2:02 PM PDT


Tanx & Zinc Alloy Deluxe Edition
Tanx & Zinc Alloy Deluxe Edition
Price: $166.99
12 used & new from $75.40

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars T.Rex's Tanx and Zinc Alloy -- Deluxe Edition, January 14, 2015
If you're looking at this collection, you more than likely already have 1973's "Tanx" and 1974's "Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow" and are wondering if there's anything new here that would merit purchasing this collection. The decision to purchase something like this comes down to (1) your love for these albums and the desire to buy anything related to them; (2) unique or unreleased songs; (3) unique extras that come with the package (e.g., book, posters, shirts, etc.).

2014 marked the 41st anniversary for T. Rex's "Tanx" (1973) and the 40th anniversary of "Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow" (1974). These are two albums that many (myself included) feel mark the end of the classic "T. Rex sound." This is mainly due to this being the last album with Marc's longtime producer, Tony Visconti. Similar to how many people consider George Martin the "fifth Beatle" due to his involvement in producing their recordings, Visconti was just as intimately linked to T. Rex. One of the motivating factors for me in purchasing this package was Tony's involvement in handling the remastering and the hardcover book that includes his memories of recording these two often-overlooked albums.

I've done reviews on Tanx's and "Zinc Alloy's" numerous releases and repackagings over the years. If you're interested in a review of the music from either of these albums, be sure to check out the reviews for each; fans have left some great comments and insight over the years. So a review of the music would be redundant. It's the packaging and the quality of this release on which I want to focus.

There were apparently only 1,500 of these "boxed sets" manufactured by Demon Music Group. When originally announced, there were three tiers:

* The Ultimate Fan Bundle - included a T. Rex tote bag, colored 7-inch vinyl single of Solid Gold Easy Action b/w The Groover
* The Deluxe Fan Bundle -- with just the T. Rex tote bag
* The Deluxe Edition - No extras, just the hardcover book, discs, and DVD

The remasters by Ted Jenson and Tony Visconti are excellent. They are better than the 2002 remasters that seem to be set with loudness in mind rather than bringing out the nuances of each track. Tony knows the fans of these albums are intimately familiar with each track: the mellotron on "Mister Mister," the bird sounds on "Life is Strange," and the lush strings on "Broken Hearted Blues" - so much care and attention to detail is given.

If you've purchased the previous releases of either album, you more than likely have the demos and outtakes that come on disc 2 and 4. These have been released in some form on the Unchained series from the 90's, as well as on Alternate Tanx and Change (The Alternate Zinc Alloy). This set, however, provides everything in one place. Also included is a DVD with the following tracks:
1. Children Of The Revolution (Top Of The Pops Performance)
2. Solid Gold Easy Action (Top Of The Pops Performance)
3. Mad Donna (Cilla Black Show Performance)
4. The Groover (Promo film)
5. Teenage Dream (Top Of The Pops Performance)
6. Children Of The Revolution (Promo film)

So is it worth getting? If you have the albums or CDs and are happy with them -- then probably not. There's really nothing new here that you probably don't already have. On the other hand, if you're a Bolan completest, the limited release and packaging may appeal to you. Personally, I love both of these albums and have several versions of both. After seeing the deluxe versions of Electric Warrior and The Slider, I'm glad to see something similar done to these two often overlooked masterpieces. However, I would have liked to have seen them released as individual deluxe sets. If done properly -- each album has enough history behind it to tell a good story. But I couldn't pass this up. As a fan of Marc Bolan and his music -- especially these two albums -- I had to add it to the collection.


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