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Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: $19.02
66 used & new from $12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars without love, where would you be now??, April 10, 2015
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
this is an impressive collection of the first 5 albums from a classic southern rock band of the '70s. their first 2 albums were by far their best. the first album, Toulouse Street, was a fantastic disc, featuring the 3 big hits, Listen to the Music, Rocking Down the Highway and Jesus is Just Alright. the group's frontmen, Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons served up a great mix of rock and pop mixed well with folk and a touch of Calypso (on one tune). Over all, The Doobies did not lean on the blues nearly as much as most other southern rock bands, but this first album offered a decent dose of blues as well. With a few jamming guitar spots and a few moments of inspired, impressive composition, this first album came together as a great '70s rock album. The second album, The Captain and Me, is just as wonderful. This disc gave us the 4 big hits, China Grove, Long Train Runnin', Without You and South City Midnight Lady. they faded away from the blues influence on this disc, but they managed to maintain a great sound with the right amount of attention paid to offering strong composition and worthwhile guitar jams. by the third album, the pressures of the music biz was starting to get to them. this is evidenced by the fact that What Were Once Vises Are Now Habits only gave us one big hit, Black Water. in all fairness, after a few years of record execs keeping you either on tour or in the studio, it's hard to find the time to be creative. this third album had a few great spots (including ending with a sweet short instrumental) and a few good rocking moments, but overall this disc didn't quite measure up to the first two. they bounced back in fine form on the fourth album, Stampede. although it only gave us the one big hit Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me), this album nearly matched the magic of the first two records. great writing with attention to rock, folk, composition and guitar leads make this a much more worthy disc. they drifted in a different direction on the fifth album, Taking it to the Streets. Tom Johnston's influence can be felt, which is a good thing. however, he left halfway thru the album. Michael McDonald, who'd just left Steely Dan, stepped into the breach. he brought a funkier side to the group, as shown by the title hit and the other big hit, It Keeps You Runnin'. a bit of a jazzier side is displayed in tunes like For Someone Special, which got some radio play, but didn't make huge hit status. this album had some great moments, but was a little more spotty and forced than some of their earlier works. it definitely helped to launch Michael's solo career. and although Michael led them to one or two more big hits on subsequent albums, this collection holds the lion's share of the doobie's big hits and greatest moments.
again, there are a few spotty moments but overall this is a fantastic collection of albums that mark an important chapter in the world of classic southern rock. this music screams "The '70s"! it's a great example of what made the early 70s the best era in Rock & Roll!


Three Friends
Three Friends
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5.0 out of 5 stars peel the paint, March 25, 2015
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This review is from: Three Friends (Audio CD)
I can't say I've heard everything from this talented British progressive rock/pop band, but I've heard a good number of their albums. And though most of those albums are pleasant, this is the one absolutely MUST-HAVE album they gave us. I'm not an expert on their personnel either, but I know that between the 5 amazing musicians in this group, they can deftly cover almost every instrument you can realistically imagine. And they play a large array of instruments on this short but fabulous prog-rock album. And more-so than on a number of their other albums, they know when to stop singing and let their impressive musicianship take center stage. I am not knocking their vocal talents. Their singing, melodies and intricate vocal harmonies are a definite positive element in all their albums. Their compositions (vocal & musical) are always wonderful. But on this album, they know when to lose the vocals and let the gorgeous musical compositions and solos take over. Sometimes they go right into the heavy rock and roll.......that's great too! This is a concept album that tells a story. It's not complex or hard to follow: the Prologue gives you the overview that there are 3 friends who are best friends in school......but they grow up and life doesn't always allow things to stay that way. The song School Days of course starts the story in school where the 3 friends promise to be friends forever. Then, Working All Day shows one of them went into the blue-collar direction, working with his hands. The song, Peel the Paint shows that one decided to become an artist. The tune Mr. Class & Quality shows that one friend went in the white-collar direction and had to choose his friends carefully if he wanted to climb the corporate ladder. The closing title tune recaps how even though 3 friends promise to stay friends forever, they can grow up.....life happens.......they go in different directions.....oh well....life goes on.
So to sum up, a short but great British prog-rock album. Sometimes intricate, impressive musicianship and vocal harmonies. They know when to sing and when to stop and let music and composition do the talking. Once or twice they lean in a very rock direction! This is one album where a talented band really brought it all together! If you like prog-rock and for some reason you can only get one Gentle Giant album, this is the one!
Trust me!!


Runt
Runt
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4.0 out of 5 stars there are no words, March 24, 2015
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This review is from: Runt (Audio CD)
I believe this is Todd's first solo album. It's a real pleasant listening experience. Todd is usually best remembered for his lighter pop hits. And indeed this album offered the one big pop hit We Gotta Get You a Woman. It's a nice tune and there are other good songs in that vain on this disc. But Todd, like so many others, is at his best when he serves up albums that add some spice and material that has some "meat on the bone" i.e. some rock & roll, some variety...you know, more than just quick pop. This album delivers! Todd plays most of the instruments: guitars, piano, keyboards and even some backing sax. Aside from bass and drums, Todd plays nearly all instruments and does all vocal harmonies too. In those days, the early '70s, that sort of thing was just beginning to gain popularity, due to growing technology with double-tracking. The Beatles' influence was more obvious than it has been in subsequent decades. Todd shows a definite influence from the fab four on this album, including a medley of 3 half-songs in the pop vain that are glued together in an undeniable nod to Abbey Road. The opening tune has a more rocking taste that shows Todd's ability to play 2 lead guitar tracks at the same time......a great opening! There are a few other rock tunes that show off Todd's lead guitar talents......especially the 9-minute closing Birthday Carol, which also has a touch of orchestra. There is also a tune that has no lyrics, despite its panorama of Todd's vocal harmonies.......a strange addition to the album that works! There is nice pop, impressive rock, strange moments (some with spacy keyboards) and even a dash of humor. This is a fine and worthy album that I am happy to have....and recommend.


ECM Touchtones: Bass Desires
ECM Touchtones: Bass Desires
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4.0 out of 5 stars mojo highway, March 23, 2015
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this is a very pleasant jazz & fusion album. Johnson plays some fine doghouse bass on this rather intriguing disc that skirts back and forth over the borders of instrumental electric jazz and fusion. It doesn't really get too rowdy, but it does have a lively electric feel that is spiced with rocking jams in the appropriate spots. John Scofield offers his impressive guitar talents in a light, fluid, jazzy style that I often feel resembles that of Pat Metheny. John's guitar is a sweet gift to this album. Bill Frisell also delivers his wonderful guitar & guitar-synth talents that can complement and deftly contrast John's work with Bill's spicy, unique style that can hit you with a more rocking punch in the places that need that extra punch. Marc usually lays in the background with an easy-going doghouse bass. He occasionally steps up with an impressive solo, but he does not step forward or show off as much as you would expect from the album's star performer. He has a few shining moments.......he always sounds good, but seldom shows off. The final piece to this equation is Peter Erskine, a man who has been the drummer for many great bands (including Weather Report and Steely Dan). Peter does a wonderful job drumming on this real fine album. Sometimes this disc is rhythmic and melodic, sometimes it's more rambling, ambling and jazzy. It's pleasant, jamming.....sometimes more jazz, sometimes more fusion......but it's definitely a mighty fine slab of instrumental music delivered by a great group of musicians! I'm glad I found this on CD!


Utopia
Utopia
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $11.80
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5.0 out of 5 stars take your place in the freak parade (get off the sidewalk!), March 23, 2015
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This review is from: Utopia (Audio CD)
by far, Todd's best album and arguably the best American progressive rock album ever! I won't over-talk this album. It is just a fantastic prog-rock album and a tremendous surprise coming from Todd. 1974 was a freaky year for Rundgren, and without a doubt, it was his best year! In addition to this masterpiece, he also released the solo album Todd: which was another album that boasted a strong, drug-addled sense of artistry and toying with (what was at the time) modern technology in that same year. But this album, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Todd took an unexpected turn into the artistically intricate and impressive world of progressive rock....and he did it in grand style! He assembled a very talented group of musicians. Todd himself stayed with the guitar for the whole album, which is unusual. He normally likes to switch to piano and keyboards sometimes. But on this album, he lets Moogy Klingman and Ralph Schuckett take the keyboards so he can focus on making this his hottest display of rocking guitar work ever. This album is just stupendous prog-rock with long tunes featuring long instrumental passages that flaunt incredible compositions that are the hallmark of the kind of prog-rock that typically comes out of England (or other parts of Europe). Again, I don't want to over-talk this album.......Todd's rare and greatest venture into prog-rock.......an incredible prog-rock album featuring great guitar work by Todd with fantastic attention to intricate, artistic, rocking composition. I don't know what got into Todd in '74, but I wish he held onto it a few years longer. He never had a great year like this afterward......even when he kept the band Utopia together after this point......they just never even tried to match this level of excellence after this unbelievable album!


Tejas
Tejas
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3.0 out of 5 stars asleep in the desert, February 4, 2015
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This review is from: Tejas (Audio CD)
this is a very poorly remastered version of what should have been a 4-star ZZ Top album. I had the vinyl album back in the day, and this is a good record by the Texas trio. there are some good southern rock/blues songs on this disc like Arrested For Driving While Blind, El Diablo, Ten Dollar Man and Avalon Hideaway. They dip in a country music direction with a few songs like It's Only Love and She's a Heartbreaker. And they ended the album in spectacular form with a mellow instrumental featuring Billy Gibbons on acoustic lead guitar called Asleep in the Desert.......one of their best album endings! It's a real fine album. However, this CD was very poorly remastered. I don't know what these people were thinking! The sound is tinny, the signal is weak and whoever mixed this thing should get fired! in short, this is a good ZZ Top album, but wait 'til they bother to make a worthwhile CD out of it!


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: $18.89
55 used & new from $12.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars no horse should have to go thru the desert with no name!, February 2, 2015
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
America certainly tore up the charts in the early-to-mid-70s with this, their first 5 albums. Their first album was by far their best. Their original dream of folk/rock was competently displayed with a fresh sound that boasted an original sound (delicately influenced by predecessors such as Dylan and CSNY). Hits such as A Horse With No Name and I Need You brought this album commercial success, but there were more impressive songs on the album. Wonderful tunes with a good number of acoustic and electric jams make for a fantastic album. The second album, Homecoming was not as strong.....but it was a good continuation of the original dream. Hits like Ventura Highway, Don't Cross the River and California Revisited mixed well with more great tunes to bring us another successful and pleasant album. Their third album, Hat Trick was much more of a struggle. They seemed to be searching for a sound and someone to rip off. Their original dream seemed to have evaporated and they appeared to try to regain their feel by attempting to adopt a Crosby/Stills/Nash sound. They failed to pull it off. The tune Muskrat Love was more popular when recorded by Captain & Tennille, even though neither group wrote the tune (and it's not a tune to be proud of, either way). Despite a few decent tunes, this album was the worst in this collection and brought them no big hits. They used an orchestra on their fourth album, Holiday, as they were still searching to capture a new sound. This time, they tried to emulate Sgt. Pepper. It wasn't perfect, but the album was a great improvement over Hat Trick. Holiday was a little spotty, but it was a good album overall.......and it brought us the hits, Tin Man and Lonely People. They were recovering and refinding their sound........and it was a good thing. They kept the orchestra for their fifth album, Hearts, and they continued to rediscover their own sound. This album was still kind of spotty as they struggled to maintain their popularity. This album did have its fine moments, including the hits Sister Golden Hair, Daisy Jane and Woman Tonight. Still, their struggle to create was more noticeable on the last 3 albums than it was on the first 2.
America was an important force in pop music in the first half of the '70s. Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek and Gerry Beckeley were good songwriters and talented musicians. I'm glad I got this 5 album collection, because I was able to make an incredible playlist with selections from all 5 CDs. These 5 discs were the most important albums of this group's pop career. I liked this group enough that I'm happy I got this collection. A great playlist made it well worth the cost. But their uncertainty and search for a sound was hard to ignore on a few of these albums.


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars everything's big in Texas, January 29, 2015
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
Texas-based southern rock/blues trio ZZ Top has become a respected force in the modern music scene, and deservedly so. This collection is a relatively well-selected choice of 5 of their best-remembered albums, spanning a career that gradually lifted them to commercial success. They have a good musical sense and feel for the blues. They can be serious and also have a sense of humor, flaunting a party-animal side that you have to love......for instance, it's no secret that the band took their name from their 2 favorite brands of cigarette rolling papers (even though they didn't claim to be rolling tobacco). Songs of drinking and hookers etc. blend well with their more serious side. Guitarist Billy Gibbons is a talented frontman, while bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard add admirably to the mix. This collection begins with their second album from the early '70s, Rio Grande Mud, which brought them radio play with Just Got Paid, a great example of the bluesy tone of this disc.....although that tune probably got more popular after their third album, Tres Hombres gave us the big hit La Grange (about a Texas cathouse), blues medley "Waiting for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago and the rockin' Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers. Their fourth album Fandango was not nearly as impressive overall, but it brought us the huge hit, Tush. One live side combined with a side of short, quick tunes made the album seem rushed and uninspired, but it did have great moments, such as Blue Jean Blues. Then this collection skips to their sixth album, Deguello because it gave us the huge hit Cheap Sunglasses, the popular I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide and their cover of the old Motown hit, I Thank You, which was co-written by The Temptations' Dave Porter and Isaac Hayes (who is best remembered for writing the music score for the '70s movie Shaft, and is more recently known as the voice of Chef on the animated series South Park). Deguello is a great improvement over their fourth album. Then for the last disc of this collection, they jump one or two albums ahead to Eliminator, which is the '80s album that brought us the hits, Sharp Dressed Man, Legs and Gimme All Your Lovin'. Although the album is a bit over-produced in a typically '80s fashion (this was obviously done to increase the chances of making this work sell better), it is a little spotty, but predominantly a good album. (note how their album titles often playfully boast their Texas origin)
I've seen reviews on this site claiming this collection was poorly remixed and remastered. It's difficult for me to argue. I'm not the world's biggest audiophile. Admittedly, these discs are not all remastered to an optimum volume and quality.....and they don't even match each other in quality. But they sound good on a decent stereo. And for me, this is a pleasant collection of well-selected albums that go well together and is a fine showcase of an impressive career that gradually brought this powerful group to the level of popularity they deserve. Audiophiles may be right to complain, but I find this a real fun collection that I'm going to thoroughly enjoy!!


White Rock
White Rock
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4.0 out of 5 stars Montezuma's Revenge, December 10, 2014
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This review is from: White Rock (Audio CD)
I used to love this record in the late '70s! I'm so glad it finally got released on CD! It's not quite as good as 6 Wives of Henry VIII, but it's a really pleasant '77 release from this British ex-Yes member. It's mostly just Rick on piano and electronic keyboards with a little bass and drums and one or two brief moments with a female choir. (luckily, not much with the choir) The title tune is mostly moog over an upbeat 12-bar blues base. It's not meant to sound too bluesy, but it's a definite blast of '70s music. Real sweet! From there, it goes to a traditional Rick format with classically-based piano layered over by the electronic edge that makes Wakeman's brand of prog-rock something special. Lax'x is the strangest, spaciest tune. After the Ball is the nearest to classical music. Montezuma's Revenge has a certain Russian/Hungarian feel with electric keyboards. Overall, this is a short but very nice expression of Wakeman's brand of nearly instrumental British prog-rock.
Wakeman was originally commissioned to do this music as the soundtrack to a movie about the previous year's winter Olympics at Innsbruck. The movie was called White Rock because it's about the winter Olympics and takes place on a snow-covered mountain. I never saw the film, but I enjoy the resulting soundtrack album. Again, this album is not as extensive or impressive as 6 Wives, but it's a very pleasant Rick Wakeman album. I'm glad they finally put this classic album on CD!


Ted Bundy / Dahmer / Ed Gein
Ted Bundy / Dahmer / Ed Gein
DVD ~ Steve Railsback
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3.0 out of 5 stars could've been so much more, December 10, 2014
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This review is from: Ted Bundy / Dahmer / Ed Gein (DVD)
My main interest in serial killers is learning how they think. What makes someone think it's okay to do these things? I'll admit I like slasher movies and flicks like the Saw series, but that is not what I was looking for here. I wanted a real look at these twisted people. I was first drawn to this collection when I heard Steve Railsback played the title role in the Ed Gein story. And that movie is by far the best of these three films. I loved Railsback's portrayal of Charlie Manson in the original Helter Skelter. And Steve did a wonderful job in his role as Gein, who was a much different type of person. Ed Gein as a movie by itself was almost worth 4 stars. This flick which was also produced by Railsback, made an effort to show Ed's childhood and offered some insight as to how he got screwed up. It even touched on how his brother died in a suspicious fire and how Ed may have started the fire to hide the fact that he killed his brother first. This movie tends to assume those accusations are true. It shows Ed robbing graves, but it seems to downplay how much he is suspected of indulging in that behavior. You don't see in this movie how much he does that or how he switched from grave-robbing to murder. The film shows the two murders he was convicted of, but seems to ignore the allegations of other murders he may have committed. Like the other two films, this movie tries to avoid exploitations of blood and violence, but does show measured amounts of gore. That is a plus in all three films. Ed Gein also shows one short scene of Ed prancing around in a girl suit that he made from skinning his victims. This is admirably done with an effort to avoid exploitation. They show Ed's capture and explain his jail time and death. It also shows a number of the horrible "trophies" he kept in his house and barn. However, this movie never wraps up how much this sick ticket did. It tries to show some of "how" this happened and some of what happened. It gave you a few start dates and end dates, but it lacks a true chronology, timeline or detail as far as what all happened in this small Wisconsin town. There is great acting by everyone involved, especially Carrie Snodgrass who does a fabulous job in the role as Ed's mother. There is certain function and purpose in this flick. There is a strong view of this unbalanced man. There is a certain amount of insight. However, the lack of a time-line or details of what actually transpired leaves this film with a lack of purpose and focus. I don't mind the fact that they didn't exploit the blood and gore, but the random depiction of events and lack of chronology makes this film fall a bit short of fulfilling its intended purpose.

The other two films are easy to review together, because they both have the same strengths and weaknesses. As I stated, Ted Bundy and Dahmer both showed a little carnage but both made a gallant effort to avoid exploitation with overkill, so to speak. That is good. Both movies were very well cast and the acting was fantastic throughout. However, each of these efforts were 3-star films at best. Neither movie showed any look at the childhood of either of these monsters. No insight was offered to show how either of these men got so messed up. I liked the choice of Bruce Davidson as Jeffrey Dahmer's father. I'll always remember Bruce's role as the title character in Willard, the '70s flick about the mousy young man who befriends the rats that are infesting his mother's house. As in Willard, Bruce does a great job in his role as the man who struggles to understand and help his troubled son, Jeffrey. However, there is no look into the past. You never see how Jeffrey got to where he ended up: the sick serial killer! You see some of what Dahmer does, just like they show in the Bundy flick.......but neither film gives a clear time-line or detail about how many murders they may have committed or what extent these psychos reached. Both movies seem to be a random depiction of some of the events that happened.....and nothing more. The Bundy movie shows his execution by electrocution, but lacks any storyline, focus or purpose. Dahmer doesn't even show his capture. The last thing you see is Jeffrey's father taking him to a clinic for his alcoholism, but Jeffrey doesn't enter the building......he just runs off into the woods. Then they say "he was eventually captured" and they give the date he was killed by a fellow inmate in prison and the movie's over. I mean, what the hell??? Both movies lack a time-line, function, direction, focus and purpose. All they tell you is "here is a brief depiction of some of the things these monsters did in no particular order. We won't tell you how they got here.....just some of the things they did......no focus or purpose.....now the movie's over......go away!" I don't know why they bothered making these two movies.

In the end, all three of these movies had good points, but they could've been so much more!


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