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Better Late Than Never (CD with DVD)
Better Late Than Never (CD with DVD)
Price: $14.99
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a roundabout mirage, November 15, 2015
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apparently, jon and jean-luc have known each other since the early '80s and have discussed working together since those days. of course, they have both been too busy to make it happen until now. this particular project appears to have started when jon Anderson began writing lyrics to some of his favorite old classic instrumental jazz/fusion jean-luc tunes. the supporting band is mostly old ponty band members like baron browne on bass, keyboardist wally minko, drummer rayford griffin and guitarist Jamie dunbar. they all still play remarkably well. about half of the tunes are reworked versions of old Yes tunes like wondrous stories, and you and I, (an upbeat, reggae-influenced version of) time and a word, owner of a lonely heart and of course, roundabout. the rest of the tunes are reworked versions (as I stated) of old ponty tunes that Anderson wanted to add Yes-like lyrics to. it turns out ponty and yes have been fans of each other's music as long or longer than they've been friends. this was meant to be a fun, friendly project of two old friends finally getting to work together.
and that's what it is!
it's a fun project that allows these two old friends to finally work together. I'll admit I would've been more impressed if they had written some new material just for this project. it would've also been better if they had allowed for more solos from the other band members. there aren't too many solos by the other band members....and they don't really stretch out in a more progressive rock format. they start with a nice short instrumental intro, then go right for the purpose of this collaboration....starting with Jon's take on rhythms of hope from jean-luc's grammy-winning jazz album, mystical adventures. jon's new lyrics are interesting and go sort of well with the music. jon's voice is still strong and there are plenty of good, fiery hot ponty solos. it's a fun project that is not meant to be taken too seriously, but it's a pleasant listen. I almost gave it only 3 stars, but it is real enjoyable.....and since the studio CD is accompanied by a live DVD with concert versions of most of the songs and a few short interviews, it's definitely even more enjoyable. I'll admit I like the live DVD more than the studio CD. in the live version on the DVD, the final tune starts with baron browne doing a bass solo that leads into his playing the guitar intro to roundabout on the bass! that leads into roundabout as their encore piece!! well done!!
so to close, don't expect it to be the best work any of these fine musicians has ever done....it is two old friends finally getting to do a fun project together.....both Anderson and Ponty get to show off and share the spotlight. there's a little prog rock, a little jazz/fusion, a good studio CD, a better live DVD. It allows these two musical legends to stretch out into areas they seldom explore. not absolutely wonderful, but a pleasant listen and a nice collection of music from two giants who have never worked together before......but as they say, better late than never!


Blue Horizon
Blue Horizon
30 used & new from $6.92

3.0 out of 5 stars not the old Wishbone, November 11, 2015
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This review is from: Blue Horizon (Audio CD)
I recently saw Wishbone Ash in a small club promoting this album. It was a great show! Even though Andy Powell is the only original member who is still in the group, the new band did a wonderful job playing the old classics, and the few new tunes went well in the show. I got this album shortly after, and I found it to be a nice disc....but it fell way short of measuring up to the old WA! Most of the tunes are good, but there are a few that didn't quite stack up. Overall, the album has a nice sound, but none of the guitar solos were long enough. They spent more time writing more expressive lyrics, and they think that means they didn't have to spend as much time letting the music do the talking without voice. They do have some nice musical passages where they stop singing and let the music speak. There are moments of decent WA-style prog rock composition and a few decent guitar solos....but not as many as there should be. The writing and lyric attitudes have certainly changed, but that is certainly understandable given the personnel changes and just the fact that everyone in the group is older (they're not kids anymore). That's okay! In fact, a little change after so many years can be refreshing! Still, what made WA such a great band in the beginning is that they were a Guitar God band: lots of long guitar solos and prog rock compositions and time where they would stop singing and let the music do the talking. This album has some of that, but those moments are too few and far between.....and with no LONG guitar solos and a few weaker tunes, the album falls a bit short of my expectations. It's not a bad album, though. If you'd like some new music that has SOME feel of the old days and SOME feel of a Wishbone-ish prog rock work, you might like this disc. It's much better than anything new that kids are listening to nowadays. Like me, you might find this a pleasant album that's worth playing every once in a while......but don't expect it to measure up to the old Wishbone....because it just doesn't!!


Black Light
Black Light
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more McLaughlin magic, November 9, 2015
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This review is from: Black Light (Audio CD)
once again, john McLaughlin delivers a wonderful piece of music! I've said it on other reviews for his albums, but nobody writes like McLaughlin, and nobody plays like McLaughlin! this album features another list of new music written by John M, beautifully written and impeccably performed by an impressive band! If you like McLaughlin's previous recordings, this album will NOT disappoint! his unique style, time signatures and incredible artistry are all present and prevalent on this disc! John plays guitar-synth and even a few regular guitar solos that let you know he hasn't lost his touch! He is still a monster virtuoso on guitar! and the supporting band is fantastic!
there is only one thing that drags this album down....he adds some vocals by the percussionist (no lyrics....I'm not sure if it's nonsense vocals or some undeterminable foreign language, but it seems out of place and it does more harm than good). 5 of the 8 songs on this disc have a bit of vocals. it never lasts long or invades too much of any song, but it's enough to knock off a star on what would have easily been a 5-star album otherwise. I wish he would knock off the vocals and stick with the instrumental stuff like back in the old days! it sounded as if all these tunes started off as instrumental, but he threw in the vocals at the last minute as a favor to the vocalist. the brief vocal moments don't do any MAJOR damage....this is still a fine McLaughlin album....and the tune featuring acoustic guitar is an obvious tribute to John's friend, the late Paco De Lucia. It's a fine tune and very worthy of this great cd!!
It's very easy to recommend this wonderful jazz album from John M, but i wish he'd stick with keeping his tunes entirely instrumental!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 11, 2016 8:11 AM PST


Mr Gone
Mr Gone
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4.0 out of 5 stars punk jazz, October 12, 2015
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This review is from: Mr Gone (Audio CD)
I have a real weakness for this great album. This was of course recorded during the Jaco Pastorius era, which was their most popular era, as Jaco was by far the most popular and best of the many bassists this band went thru in their illustrious career. As any fan can tell you as well as band founders Josef Zawinul and Wayne Shorter can attest......Jaco was one of a kind and the most versatile, talented bassist this band ever had. Whatever they threw at him.....jazz, funk, rock, fusion or just something weird.....Jaco had them covered in ways that no one else could. It's a shame we lost Jaco in the '80s due to circumstances connected to his love for heroine. But this album was a good example of WR and Jaco at their best. The opening tune, The Pursuit of the Woman With the Feathered Hat was an interesting offbeat upbeat nod to prog rock jazz fusion that slips into an African influence that is highlighted by a touch of vocals (no lyrics, but African effect). It's a great song all together! The next tune, River People was written by Jaco and features him in a funky bassline and gives Josef Z a chance to enjoy his keyboard additions. The next song, Young and Fine is a more jazzy selection that allows saxman Wayne S time in the spotlight more so than the first 2 songs. A great WR tune! Side 1 of the original album ends with The Elders, which is a strange, spacy selection that in a signature manner helps set WR apart from other bands. And the first 3 songs on Side 2 of this album are wonderful WR tunes that are strong jazz fusion (as defined by this group), keyboards, sax, sound effects and Jaco's demanding, commanding bass (which is highlighted again in another funky tune of his called Punk Jazz). Then the album curiously ends on a disappointing vocal tune. They got a singer to sing a love song that is jazzy, but totally out of character for this album and this group. I don't know what they were thinking. The rest of this short album is an almost-totally-instrumental, fantastic, diverse, expressive jazz fusion (and more) Jaco-era WR album. I don't get that one vocal last tune........but the rest of this album is superb and very pleasing Weather Report!


Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
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4.0 out of 5 stars give thanks for the pilgrim, September 30, 2015
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This review is from: Pilgrimage (Audio CD)
essentially, I like most of this album, but it's a little spotty. Somehow I get the impression they weren't quite ready to do this album when it was recorded. the first tune Vas Dis doesn't have any lyrics and they thought they'd make up for it with scat over the main melody in spots. bad idea. the main melody is a bit too busy for scat and it didn't work. there are some decent jams, so the song is not a total waste....but without lyrics, the song would've worked better as a total instrumental. The Pilgrim is a great tune and an album highlight. Again, no lyrics....but just a quick "da da da" vocals that is just a short break in what is otherwise a brilliant 8-minute prog rock instrumental. Next, the popular Jail Bait gives us the bluesy side of WA and their closest brush with having a radio hit on this album....good song with good jams and got a little radio play. Then comes two short but great instrumentals, Alone and Lullaby, which were probably added to quickly complete the album, but they are both wonderful additions to this fine album and I'm glad those tunes are here. Valediction is the next tune with cheesy love song lyrics that needed work on vocal harmonies. They knew what the vocal harmonies SHOULD be, but needed work to pull them together......this song still had a saving grace in the good guitar jams. Then the last tune claims to be 10 minutes long, but it's a live performance with a minute of audience cheering, so the song is only 9 minutes. It's not the album highlight I expected. There are some decent jams, but the vocals are weak and there are times where the song just drags and lays there and goes nowhere.......it's okay, but not the highlight I expected.....and once again I am left to believe it was just added to complete an album they weren't ready to finish.
So.......there are great spots and tunes that make this album definitely worth getting.....but there are moments where you can tell they should've taken their time and finished properly! I'm still glad I have this album for the many great moments! it works really well in playlists!!


Shadowdance
Shadowdance
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4.0 out of 5 stars shadow and substance, August 23, 2015
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This review is from: Shadowdance (Audio CD)
since this was the group's second release on the Windham Hill label, it tends to get lumped into the category of New Age. although there are a few tunes that fit into the New Age genre, the whole album does not sit comfortably 'in the box'. New Age is not really easy to define and I'm not going to try to explain it's confines here. but as I said, this album doesn't really fit in any box. there are elements of world music, folk, the New Age influences of rock juxtaposed with classical and the final tune takes us down the road to progressive rock. the compositions are spicy but classy., fun and intriguing. the musicianship is impressive without being boastful. the first song on side 2 of the original album is the only tune on the album that has any vocals.......the song has a title about Brown Rice and features nonsense "da da dee" vocals and the title thrown in for effect. I guess they thought it was cool, but I didn't get it. it was thrown against an interesting, almost funky bassline as a counter-melody.......it was a nice tune that would have worked better if they had done it as an instrumental. thankfully, the rest of the tunes on the album are instrumental.
overall, the band has an intriguing and somewhat unique musical perspective. this disc does offer some delightful servings of New Age, but it refuses to color inside the lines. it goes where it wants to go. it's mellow and haunting. it stays with you. and ending the album with the somber 9-minute progressive rock instrumental A Song For My Brother was a wonderful choice. overall, this is a real nice album to have......especially on a Sunday morning!


No Smoke Without Fire
No Smoke Without Fire
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5.0 out of 5 stars anger in harmony, August 18, 2015
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This review is from: No Smoke Without Fire (Audio CD)
I don't know why, but I always loved this album! released in 1978, the music world was changing and progressive rock was slipping in popularity. WA wanted to stay true to their sound while staying current. they updated their sound a little to match up with this album's late-'70s release date. still, they made a strong effort to keep this a worthy WA album, but the sound and compositions were pure late '70s. there were a little more lyrics than on past discs.......the guitar solos were decently long enough to make a great WA disc, but not quite as long as some of their earlier albums. of course, the guitar leads were very impressive, as expected. since I was in high school in the late '70s, I found this to be a great record with tunes that are real easy to love! WA managed to do a great progressive rock album for its day with this disc.....a strong prog-rock but late '70s work.. it may not be the 'must-have' classic that a few of their early albums were, but it definitely has 5-star appeal. and it certainly was better than most of the music that was coming out at the time........especially just about anything that was getting radio play back in the late '70s!


Argus [Expanded Edition]
Argus [Expanded Edition]
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5.0 out of 5 stars blowin' free like a cornfield, August 16, 2015
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I believe this was their third album, and it really was the only album WA did that even tried to rival their first album as their all-time best. recorded in '72, this is one of the all-time greatest British progressive rock albums. it begins with the 9-minute Time Was, which begins with acoustic guitar and a folky feel......nearly 3 minutes into the tune, the electric guitars kick in and the song takes a more rocking personality, including a few long electric guitar jams. this sets the tone for the rest of the album.......a rocking, prog rock album that is a pure listening pleasure. their vocals tend to be a bit mellow, sort of Yes-ish. their compositions are kind of straight rock, with a slant in the prog rock direction. the long guitar jams that pepper this album are what really bring this album to the heights of greatness. the songs are just really pleasant from a prog rock standpoint. this is one of those underground classics that didn't receive the acclaim it deserved. the songs Blowin' Free and Sometime World got some FM radio play at the time......but nothing from this band got the psychotic overplay of some of the other bands of the time. I won't over-talk this album, but I will say that no prog rock collection is complete without this beautiful disc (and WA's first album too). although this disc is obviously more "prog rock" than their first album, both albums are absolute necessities for any real prog rock collection.......and this is one of those fantastic albums that helps prove that the early '70s was the greatest era of rock & roll! (I said something similar in my review of their first album, but it's just as true for this WA disc as well.) you just need to get this if you love British progressive rock!


Wishbone Ash
Wishbone Ash
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars queen of torture, August 9, 2015
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This review is from: Wishbone Ash (Audio CD)
this was a brilliant debut album by this underrated underground British progressive rock band. this set the stage for a great career that would never lead this group to the popularity they deserved. the opening tune, Blind Eye holds a very bluesy feel with some nice jams. then Lady Whiskey serves the most rockin' feel of the album, with longer rocking jams.....this was the tune that got the most FM radio play in its day. it was understated radio play, not as overplayed as many other bands of the day, but it sparked the underground prog rock following the group would enjoy for years to come. Errors of my Way and Queen of Torture round out Side 1 in a fine rock style with fine jamming guitar leads. Side 2 is the big jam side. two songs, neither of which have much vocals.....but there are plenty of long jams that feature the entire band. this side sets the standard that they would rarely match in subsequent albums. aside from Argus, none of their other albums even try to rival this album for the honor of being their best. They have a number of great albums after this.........but this is just about the best ever!!! this is a fantastic rock classic from an underground British prog rock band that just never got the attention or overplay of other groups of the time. This album is an excellent example of why the early '70s was the greatest era in rock history!


Elysium
Elysium
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars etc. in E Major, July 26, 2015
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This review is from: Elysium (Audio CD)
having a song in E Major on A Major project like this is only A minor setback. but all kidding aside, this is a great album! I'll admit I'm not a big fan of the album title or the self-serving cover photo. but as with all albums, the music is the only real important thing. and this is a fantastic disc of tunes! Al's sense of composition is as strong and sharp as ever. most songs start out with his signature sense of style on acoustic guitar with heavy influences in Spanish classical and American folk. then it is layered appropriately with fine and impressive electric guitar leads that reflect Al's journey from his beginnings right up to present day. I hear there are no drums on this album, but there is plenty of percussion breathing rhythmic life into this superb piece of work with Al's telltale Spanish and jazz/rock tempos in a manner that you would expect from this fusion guitar hero! I was going to mention some of the impressive work by other musicians in this project, but frankly, the writing on the cover is too small for these old eyes to read. Suffice to say the bass, percussion and scant keyboards on this disc are all well done and compliment this delightful new fusion work admirably. over all, this is just a sparkling gem of new tunes by this fusion giant. And if I tell you this disc is a must-have, that's just A Sharp observation on my part in B Flat.


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