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David LaFlamme: White Bird
David LaFlamme: White Bird
13 used & new from $1.95

2.0 out of 5 stars 2 good tracks., March 3, 2015
This review is from: David LaFlamme: White Bird (Vinyl)
I bought this album when I was a poor, starving college student because music was always better than food. Boy, did I feel ripped off.

White Bird-a short, uninspired version of It's A Beautiful Day's greatest hit. It is only 4 minutes long and not that interesting. It is a pointless remake. It was only included so stupid fans like me would buy the album.

Hot Summer Day-another It's A Beautiful Day classic. This is a seven minute version, with a really interesting, spacy instrumental in the middle. It reminds of Pink Floyd's Echos. The singing isn't on par with the original version, but the music is more interesting.

Swept Away is a jazz fusion instrumental similar to what Jean Luc Ponty or Michael Urbaniak would do. It is very nice, but not up there with the best of Ponty.

Easy Woman is a lounge act song. It sounds like something Tom Jones would do or like the theme song to the Love Boat.

This Man is kind of disco a number.

Baby Be Wise is like a combination of Easy Woman and This Man.

Spirit of America sounds like something Kansas would do, with a little Bruce Springsteen and John Wayne thrown in.

This is really not an album worth getting, but if you do, you will get a nice, spacy Hot Summer Day.
Hal Wagnet, from the first It's A Beautiful Day album, plays bass on some of the tracks.
The back up singer is called Dominque DelaCroix. Her real name was Linda. She ended up marrying David LaFlamme, and became the second Linda LaFlamme. She is not to be confused with the first Linda LaFlamme. The first Linda was responsible for writing much of the great music on the first It's a Beautiful Day album. She also sang and played keyboards. She left the group, and David, after the first album.
After the Linda split from David, David was not as successful at writing songs. After the first album, all the best It's A Beautiful Day songs were written by Fred Webb, who replace Linda on keyboards. Patty Santos replaced Linda on vocals, and It's A Beautiful Day recorded four more albums. For some reason, Santos was not on the first album even though she was an original member of the group. On the last album, Today, David had left the group. Fred Webb and Patty Santos both died later.

It's A Beautiful Day has constantly been fueding with their original manager over the rights to the group's name and music. For this reason, the It's A Beautiful Day albums were taken off the market and have become very rare. But, you can now get them and also some wonderful live albums.

David and the second Linda stayed together and have been performing since the late seventies. Currently they are performing under the name David and Linda LaFlamme, IABD, formerly known as It's A Beautiful Day. Val Fuentes, the original drummer from It's A Beautiful Day is also in IABD.


Internal Exile
Internal Exile
20 used & new from $3.26

2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre album with poor sound quality. More like Collins than Gabriel., March 3, 2015
This review is from: Internal Exile (Audio CD)
Released in 1991, this is Fish's second solo album. It has 9 tracks and is 50 minutes long. The picture shown here is not the original album cover. I like this cover better than the original. The original cover makes it look like the album is going to be bad.

The biggest problem with this album is the sound quality. It has that muddy quality with no dynamic range, which was common in CDs through the mid 1990s. There were good sounding CDs during this time period, but most weren't. This CD is worse than most. Improved sound quality would make some of the lesser tracks more enjoyable. I would give this 3 stars for the music and am knocking it down a star for the sound quality.

When Fish was in Marillion the group sounded a lot like early Genesis, with Peter Gabriel, much of the time. Now, Fish going solo, he sounds more like Phil Collins led Genesis. That is not just an analogy. On a couple of songs we really does sound like Phil Collins.

There are some good songs, like the first two. But, there are others that are boring and border on being annoying (like the two Friend songs). I don't really like the jig, Internal Exile.

The album ends with Thunderclap Newman's Something in the Air. It starts out as an interesting take on the song, but he doesn't really pull it off in the end. His version is too soft, almost like a lounge singer version of the song....and the song loses its power.


On the Sunday of Life
On the Sunday of Life
Price: $10.99
49 used & new from $5.01

4.0 out of 5 stars sort of Porcupine Tree's first album.....Steve Wilson solo material, February 20, 2015
This review is from: On the Sunday of Life (Audio CD)
This is an odds and sods album. A bunch of disconnected stuff recorded over 3 years. It is easy to ridicule this album, but I still like it and that is what is important. It isn't great and maybe really only worth 3 stars....but with "star inflation" on Amazon, I have to give it 4 stars.

This is stuff Steve Wilson recorded from 1988 to 1991. He plays almost all the instruments with a couple of guests on a couple of songs. It was never intended to be an album, but was later gathered together and released as a double LP and then remastered into this CD. It is almost 80 minutes long.

The sound quality is very good to excellent. It does not sound like early demo cassettes. My comments are for the latest remaster. I have never heard the original.

The music is all over the place, but it is mostly like 1960s garage band psychedelic. Some of it reminds of the late 1960s German bands like Guru Guru, only a little more refined. Some of it sounds really dated but that was probably the intent.

In the liner notes, Wilson talks about this being early Porcupine Tree experiments and what the band would evolve into. He said the band became less like Jupiter Island and more like Radioactive Toys. That means he switched from ripping off early Pink Floyd albums like Ummagumma and More to ripping off the later albums like Animals (The Incident) and Wish You Were Here (The Sky Moves Sideways).

I saw Porcupine Tree on the first US stop of the Incident tour. We were lucky in a way, because on the rest of the tour they were the backup band for someone else and played a limited show. We got a full two hour show. We were unlucky in a way because the group was jet lagged and it showed in the performance. Also, the sound system was not that good and Wilson was wanting to become more of hard rock/metal artist. Good to see the band but a little disappointing.


Live
Live
Price: $10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I expected., February 8, 2015
This review is from: Live (MP3 Music)
THERE IS A DVD OF THIS SHOW. The DVD has a couple of more songs and it is sometimes much cheaper than the CD.

This is from a 2004 tour with a pretty good back up band. The sound qualify is fairly good....probably better than most of the Emerson, Lake and Palmer live albums.

Lake voice is surprisingly good. It isn't what is was in the 1970s, but he sounds much better than he did during much of the 1990s.

I don't know if this was the best song selection for Greg Lake. He does numbers that you would equate with Keith Emerson more than Greg Lake. Plus, there are a few bad newer songs, like Paper Blood, Touch and Go and Farewell to Arms. I don't what happened to Emerson's and Lake's ability to write songs, but it certainly dived after Brain Salad Surgery. The first two are just bombastic, repetitive music lines. Farewell to Arms (just like Pirates) were Emerson's and Lake's move to get into musical theater.

I also, don't need to hear yet another version of Lucky Man. After the first 100 times I heard it, I think the song part just drones on too long.

But, there are some very good moments on this CD. This version of Fanfare for the Common Man is the best live version I have heard. It isn't quite as good as the studio version on Works, but it is better than any version I have heard when Emerson has been involved.

I haven't been a fan of the truncated live versions of Pictures at an Exhibition. When I hear a concert, I want to hear something new and exciting being done to the music and I especially don't want to hear excerpts. But, again, this is the best version I have heard of this piece outside the original album.

The best things are Take a Pebble and In the Court of the Crimson King. It is a very interesting take on Take a Pebble with acoustic and electric guitar solos instead of the Emerson piano solos


Greg Lake
Greg Lake
15 used & new from $4.84

3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected. You might want to get the DVD instead., February 8, 2015
This review is from: Greg Lake (Audio CD)
THERE IS A DVD OF THIS SHOW. The DVD has a couple of more songs and it is sometimes much cheaper than the CD.

This is from a 2004 tour with a pretty good back up band. The sound qualify is fairly good....probably better than most of the Emerson, Lake and Palmer live albums.

Lake voice is surprisingly good. It isn't what is was in the 1970s, but he sounds much better than he did during much of the 1990s.

I don't know if this was the best song selection for Greg Lake. He does numbers that you would equate with Keith Emerson more than Greg Lake. Plus, there are a few bad newer songs, like Paper Blood, Touch and Go and Farewell to Arms. I don't what happened to Emerson's and Lake's ability to write songs, but it certainly dived after Brain Salad Surgery. The first two are just bombastic, repetitive music lines. Farewell to Arms (just like Pirates) were Emerson's and Lake's move to get into musical theater.

I also, don't need to hear yet another version of Lucky Man. After the first 100 times I heard it, I think the song part just drones on too long.

But, there are some very good moments on this CD. This version of Fanfare for the Common Man is the best live version I have heard. It isn't quite as good as the studio version on Works, but it is better than any version I have heard when Emerson has been involved.

I haven't been a fan of the truncated live versions of Pictures at an Exhibition. When I hear a concert, I want to hear something new and exciting being done to the music and I especially don't want to hear excerpts. But, again, this is the best version I have heard of this piece outside the original album.

The best things are Take a Pebble and In the Court of the Crimson King. It is a very interesting take on Take a Pebble with acoustic and electric guitar solos instead of the Emerson piano solos.


In the Hot Seat
In the Hot Seat
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $12.22
36 used & new from $2.85

2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good. Bad songs and bad voice., January 28, 2015
This review is from: In the Hot Seat (Audio CD)
My version came a bonus track of Pictures at an Exhibition, recorded in 5.1 surround sound. This track could not be played on standard CD players, but it plays in my new car stereo. It is 14 minutes. It is labeled as track 11 in the liner notes, but it is actually broken up into 6 separate tracks. I think it is pointless and tedious. I don't see any reason for yet another truncated version of this piece.

The main album has 10 songs and is about 42 minutes long. The sound quality has that digital booming quality that was popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

This is a collection of songs that are not very good for the most part. And the musical accompaniment is not very interesting. There is a Bob Dylan tune, but I don't like the way they play it. I think this album is worse than Black Moon and Love Beach.

The one song that is moderately good is Thin Line. There are two other songs that I didn't totally hate: Change and Street War.
But, none of these songs are close to being as good as anything on the group's first 6 albums.

Daddy is a really depressing song about a man's daughter being kidnapped and murdered. It has a nice melody if you listen to it in the background, but you really don't want to listen to the words.


Live At The Orpheum
Live At The Orpheum
Price: $14.99
39 used & new from $11.00

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical King Crimson product. Probably a sampler before the full DVD is released., January 25, 2015
This review is from: Live At The Orpheum (Audio CD)
This is 40 minutes of the best of King Crimson's 2 hour show.
My guess is that Fripp will eventually release a DVD of a complete show.

Robert Fripp is just like Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. They have been milking their music for all its worth. There are countless re-issues and boxsets. For many of the latest King Crimson albums, Fripp would first release a short sampler (under 40 minutes) before releasing the full album. The sampler would have stuff that is on the new album but also stuff that wasn't, so if you are a big fan you feel compelled to buy both.

For this 2014 tour, King Crimson would play 2 hours including encore. They played mostly the same songs every night, but would slightly mix up the order. There were about 2 songs that would change every night.

For this tour, there was really no new music (except for a few jams). The much of the concert came from the John Wetton era of King Crimsons (Larks Tongue through Red). It also reached back to Islands. Also included are tunes from the DeonstrucKtion days. The general sound of Larks Tongue era is similar to the DeconstrucKtion era so the compositions from decades apart blended well.

I liked the concert I saw, but was slightly disappointed. I thought the group was too tight and too rehearsed. I was especially disappointed that the great Tony Levin really never broke out. He just played the bass lines as originally written. I much more enjoyed this music when I originally heard King Crimson play it back in 1974. That group was only a quartet, but they were much looser and open. I felt the music was more exciting back then. Now, it sounds more like a tribute band. To hear what I am talking about, listen to the Great Deceiver boxset and hear how good that band was.

I guess on the plus side, this short CD contains mostly the best of the concert (except for the drum solo introduction to Schizoid Man). The real stunner of the show was Starless. But there were some other great moments.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2015 7:22 AM PST


Immaginazione
Immaginazione
7 used & new from $34.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Some stunning music and some soft, boring music. Best studio album since Jet Leg., January 24, 2015
This review is from: Immaginazione (Audio CD)
My CD came with a DVD. The DVD has the same songs, but art project videos to go along with the music. I found this in a used CD store in Paris.

The CD and DVD are about 45 minutes long. The sound quality is very good to excellent. The DVD sound is only in stereo. I'm not sure that it is any better than the CD sound.

By now, PFM is down to a trio now that keyboardist Flavio Premoli has left the group.
This CD starts out great with some fantastic guitar work. There are some great instrumentals throughout. However, at times the music is a little soft and mushy. I think the videos were done to match the music, but it almost seems that on some of these boring compositions that the music was quickly composed to match the video.

Some of these compositions are played on the live disc, PFM, Live in Roma. That performance has a guest appearance by Ian Anderson. In the very early days, PFM used to play a couple of Jethro Tull songs in concert and now 40 years later they got to play them with Ian Anderson.

I started listening to PFM from the first US tour in 1973 (I think). I think that when violinist Mauro Pagani left the group some of the magic was gone. I think he was responsible for more of the classical Italian sound. The group was completely different live than they were on the studio albums. Live they are a rocking, jamming band, even when Pagani left. I haven't really like any of PFM's studio albums since Jet Lag. There is also a two volume live set where PFM is the back up band for an Italian folk singer. I couldn't really appreciate that one either since I wasn't into Italian folk music.....maybe if I spoke Italian it would make a difference.


Tape to PC Super USB Cassette-to-MP3 Converter Capture Audio Music Player with Headphones
Tape to PC Super USB Cassette-to-MP3 Converter Capture Audio Music Player with Headphones
Offered by Wire Factory
Price: $24.98
13 used & new from $14.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so so, January 17, 2015
THIS IS SOLD UNDER MANY DIFFERENT NAMES. This exact module is sold by many different companies who give it different names.
The prices can vary from $16 to $30.

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DO THIS THAT WILL GIVE YOU BETTER SOUND. If you already have a good quality cassette deck or a portable device like a Walkman, you can use that. There are two ways to do this:
-You can buy a Behringer Uphono, or similar device. You plug the cassette deck into the Uphono, which you plug into your computer. The Uphono is a high quality digitizer. The procedure for digitizing cassettes is the same as buying this unit.
-You can plug your cassette player directly into the sound card of your computer and the computer can digitize the music. This just requires a cable. It depends upon the sound card in your computer how good the results will be.
-There is free software on line to help you with either method. Audacity is the most popular but there are others. This cassette player comes with Audacity software on a mini CD.

This cassette player is of mediocre quality. It is definitely not as good as any home cassette deck. And, most portable Walkman type players I have heard are better than this. Beside not having great playback, this unit sometimes adds in additional noise. The noise can be bad sometimes, sounding like a helicopter. I get my best results if I don't put the cassette player on the computer.

But, if you don't already have a cassette player, then this might be worth getting. The quality of most prerecorded tapes is poor to begin with. You could make a lot better sounding cassette tape at home by recording an LP with a tape deck than if you bought a pre recorded tape in a record store. So, even though this is not a high fidelity unit, you really aren't loosing that much because the sound quality of most cassette tapes is poor. In the early 1980s, cassette tapes sales surpassed LP sales by a wide margin. What boosted the CD is that it was so much better than cassettes and quickly killed the cassette business.

This unit comes with a mini CD with Audacity software. Audacity is free software that you can download for free from the Audacity website. The Audacity software lets you capture the music on to your computer and also lets you edit the music files to improve the sound. The benefit of loading the Audacity software from the mini CD instead of the website is that the mini CD sets up all the correct defaults.

Digitizing cassette tapes is long, tedious work and not for the computer novice. Here are the steps;
-Load the Audacity software and set it up as instructed.
-Plug cassette player into computer with USB cable.
-Play cassette and push the record button on the Audacity software to record the music on your computer.
-->From here, you can either record individual songs or you can record the whole side and then split up the songs later. Either way is tedious.
Here is how I do it:
-Record the whole side of the tape.
-Import the whole side as a WAV file (the Audacity software will show you how to do it).
-Load the file back into Audacity.
-Run the noise reduction software to eliminate the tape hiss and the extra noise this unit sometimes adds.
-Separate the songs out one by one. With the Audacity software, it is easy to tell where one song starts and ends. You then just cut out all the other songs.
-Export the song. Use the song title as the file name.
-A window pops up asking for song info, such as album and artist. Fill that in.
-Repeat for all songs on that side.

But, with the poor quality of cassette tapes and the work involved, you got to wonder if it is worth doing this.
Well, I am because my wife had a bunch of cassette tapes, she does not care about sound quality and she is not worried about me wasting my time on anything as long as I am doing something for her.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2015 11:41 AM PST


Neewer Portable USB 2.0/1.1 Handheld Tape to PC Super USB Cassette-to-MP3 Converter Capture
Neewer Portable USB 2.0/1.1 Handheld Tape to PC Super USB Cassette-to-MP3 Converter Capture
Offered by Global_omo
Price: $16.95
15 used & new from $11.96

3.0 out of 5 stars mediocre sound quality, January 17, 2015
THIS IS SOLD UNDER MANY DIFFERENT NAMES. This exact module is sold by many different companies who give it different names.
The prices can vary from $16 to $30.

THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DO THIS THAT WILL GIVE YOU BETTER SOUND. If you already have a good quality cassette deck or a portable device like a Walkman, you can use that. There are two ways to do this:
-You can buy a Behringer Uphono, or similar device. You plug the cassette deck into the Uphono, which you plug into your computer. The Uphono is a high quality digitizer. The procedure for digitizing cassettes is the same as buying this unit.
-You can plug your cassette player directly into the sound card of your computer and the computer can digitize the music. This just requires a cable. It depends upon the sound card in your computer how good the results will be.
-There is free software on line to help you with either method. Audacity is the most popular but there are others. This cassette player comes with Audacity software on a mini CD.

This cassette player is of mediocre quality. It is definitely not as good as any home cassette deck. And, most portable Walkman type players I have heard are better than this. Beside not having great playback, this unit sometimes adds in additional noise. The noise can be bad sometimes, sounding like a helicopter. I get my best results if I don't put the cassette player on the computer.

But, if you don't already have a cassette player, then this might be worth getting. The quality of most prerecorded tapes is poor to begin with. You could make a lot better sounding cassette tape at home by recording an LP with a tape deck than if you bought a pre recorded tape in a record store. So, even though this is not a high fidelity unit, you really aren't loosing that much because the sound quality of most cassette tapes is poor. In the early 1980s, cassette tapes sales surpassed LP sales by a wide margin. What boosted the CD is that it was so much better than cassettes and quickly killed the cassette business.

This unit comes with a mini CD with Audacity software. Audacity is free software that you can download for free from the Audacity website. The Audacity software lets you capture the music on to your computer and also lets you edit the music files to improve the sound. The benefit of loading the Audacity software from the mini CD instead of the website is that the mini CD sets up all the correct defaults.

Digitizing cassette tapes is long, tedious work and not for the computer novice. Here are the steps;
-Load the Audacity software and set it up as instructed.
-Plug cassette player into computer with USB cable.
-Play cassette and push the record button on the Audacity software to record the music on your computer.
-->From here, you can either record individual songs or you can record the whole side and then split up the songs later. Either way is tedious.
Here is how I do it:
-Record the whole side of the tape.
-Import the whole side as a WAV file (the Audacity software will show you how to do it).
-Load the file back into Audacity.
-Run the noise reduction software to eliminate the tape hiss and the extra noise this unit sometimes adds.
-Separate the songs out one by one. With the Audacity software, it is easy to tell where one song starts and ends. You then just cut out all the other songs.
-Export the song. Use the song title as the file name.
-A window pops up asking for song info, such as album and artist. Fill that in.
-Repeat for all songs on that side.

But, with the poor quality of cassette tapes and the work involved, you got to wonder if it is worth doing this.
Well, I am because my wife had a bunch of cassette tapes, she does not care about sound quality and she is not worried about me wasting my time on anything as long as I am doing something for her.


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