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2 used & new from $18.94

4.0 out of 5 stars First-rate second-rate mid-80s guitar indie on the terrific and short-lived Dolphin label, January 9, 2015
This review is from: Lifeboat (Vinyl)
First-rate second-rate mid-80s guitar indie on the terrific and short-lived Dolphin label. This was American indie at the start, deeply influenced by REM, jangly, melodic, upbeat and still a pleasure to throw back on the turntable.

Texas Fever
Texas Fever
Price: $10.80
27 used & new from $6.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Shining with a cruel content, January 8, 2015
This review is from: Texas Fever (Audio CD)
Jagged, ragged and wonderful, the boys weighed in with this deliciously rambunctious confection that disappeared into thin air. I hold it dear. "Bridge" was the single - which stiffed - and a fine one it was, with a rush of sung-spoken lyrics diving into this crackpot chorus:

And I've burnt every bridge that spans the water
Just for you
Now I'll never reach the other side
Oh what am I to do
Brunel's phoned my lawyer he's threatening to sue

With Brunel being an engineer from the early 1800s who built all sorts of pioneering things, including bridges and tunnels, as if anyone looking to rock out gives a flying fig about this self-satisfied punchline. Those folks are happily then given what Collins presumes they want - a torrid, smoking guitar break courtesy of the man himself, who is never given his just due for his axe, but "A Girl Like You" (not on here, rookies) was a consummate and masterful riff, and the guitar here burns almost as well. Willfully and delightfully obscure, the record then goes into "Craziest Feeling," which is a Scottish silly person's take on a Chuck Berry girl-in-a-car rock n' roll song, and it tumbles and guns along, rhythm akimbo, and laughably fantastic, right up to the final and focused pure pop finish with the repeating, "Oh you ain't no lover/
And you ain't no friend of mine." It's brilliant. I don't need to review the entire thing, but "A Place In My Heart" is a fantastic and simple love song crooned by Collins, but I do prefer the B-side version done dub style on the back of the "Bridge" 45 - yes, I am that nuts for this band. Finally, "A Sad Lament," which was one of my favorite songs in my college days. Absolutely no one else in the United States, except maybe ham radio operators and other lonely losers knew about it besides me. I have a version of it on my double-45 of "Rip It Up" - so it literally bridged that era and this. Out on Holden Caufield Universal (a make-believe Polydor derivative of Collins' own devising no doubt, and if I'm wrong, just accept the perfectly acceptable revisionist history on my part. I taught myself to play it on my Casio and did many a night with a faux brogue riding the organ. I loved the magic and mystery in the simple lyrics, and, no, I'm not going to close the parentheses:

Take the stage and take the plunge
Break a leg or a bust a lung
I'll disarm those who carry guns
And neutralize their caustic tongues

Edwyn Collins was brilliant in many of his Orange Juice days and this shines very brightly in obscurity. I'm glad it's out again on vinyl. I've seen it in the shop. I have no idea what it's doing there except that someone else besides me, who's getting old, loves it, and the band, too. That's a good thing for anyone who stumbles in here late one night and reads this and loves clever rock n' roll and fine slashing guitars and a little love song and arch tongue planted firmly in cheek. It's all here. Short, a touch acidic, heartfelt, playful and sweet. Lovely.

The Knox Phillips Sessions: The Unreleased Recordings
The Knox Phillips Sessions: The Unreleased Recordings
Price: $12.39
36 used & new from $7.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad Mother Humper, November 3, 2014
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I've got more Jerry Lee Lewis albums than I know what to do with. Hardly any of them are that shlocky, string sectiony stuff he still kicked a lot of tail on. I always sought out the raw and rocking and sad and crying. Jerry Lee, when doing his thing - his way - is pretty much the purest representation of the classic lineage of American music we've got, from the late 1800s straight through the 20th century. What he's still doing we ain't much doing now, but he's got a new album out (got it, haven't played it yet), and pushing 80 that's pretty good for a man with as much hellfire in him as he's got Holy Ghost, maybe more. I wrote a review on here about his 2010 record "Mean Old Man" and said, "He embodies everything." I gave that thing five stars, but there's no room to add more. "The Knox Phillips Sessions" is the best Jerry Lee Lewis ever put out, and if you need it more polished, you don't get him. This is rock and roll, and everything that led to it, plain and simple. Whether it's old-timey gospel, or "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" or some old weeper, the man and the band are all over it. It sounds like 2 a.m. and everything is humping. Rock and roll wasn't anything new. It was just the mass explosion, coalescing around Elvis, then the Beatles and Stones and all of that. There have always been wild animals out there playing music. This record is id and ego, a trip in the mind of Jerry Lee. He's not shy, that's for sure. Rollicking might be a good word. I don't know; I'm all over the place here with this. Sometimes you can write about something so crystalline; sometimes the words just get tripped up. It's just meant to be taken in awe. It's funny how he made so many records for Mercury and Smash that just filled up the years. In the liner notes to "The Knox Phillips Sessions" it talks about how sometimes down at Mercury they'd even use a session piano player for Jerry Lee. Are you kidding me? They supplied him some soft songs and he'd sing 'em. Everyone once in a while, he'd make some really good ones, but the studio stifled the madness and the genius. He kind of gets it back a little there in those Bear Family records in Europe with Frampton and, I don't know, Rory Gallagher, maybe, and worshipful, secondhand guys like that. He had a good time over there. But this - this is Memphis, and all the cats are on board, and if it's sloppy in a few spots, it's not really, only to nitpickers with sticks up the butt. You can't say you love Jerry Lee Lewis but not really love this. It's like when I went to see Joan Rivers at a tiny club in New York, and she was the foulest, dirtiest, most hilarious little thing I'd ever heard. But the tourists sat in their seats in stone-faced horror. That was no QVC Joan, red carpet Joan. This was real Joan, unbound, in all her glory. That's what this is like - unsanitized. It comes out of nowhere, vaults, I guess, and makes you laugh and smile with all those "mother humpers" Jerry is throwing around out there. You need to play it a few times through to catch all that he's doing. You need to be a musicologist to get it all down, like Dylan sometimes, on a cerebral level, but, honestly, that stuff is unimportant - the origins of tidbits - except to scholars. Just get it, hit it and feel it. Tonight we're drinking from the top shelf.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2014 9:17 AM PST

The Wolf of Wall Street (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
The Wolf of Wall Street (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
DVD ~ Leonardo DiCaprio
Offered by Expedited Warehouse
Price: $15.90
47 used & new from $6.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Lemmon 714, June 12, 2014
Nice to see somebody had the foresight to save Quualudes across the decades, and these guys had them in spades. And coke. And anything else they could get their hands on. Curiously, no weed. What this film is is one version of the American insane asylum. It easily could have been called "The Id of New York." The satisfying of pleasure centers could not be more base without getting more twisted and perverse and probably dangerous, yet our wolf and his ilk have a moral coda and complete justification for their relentless hunt to separate others from their money. These are shlubs finally getting their grubby hands on the American dream, and we are taught in this country that capitalism is a good thing to be aspired to. So they aspire with everything they've got, and they need drugs and sex to not only tolerate the madness of their pursuit, but to fill up its vacuousness, its emptiness. These things are also the spoils of a rich person's depravity. "The Wolf of Wall Street" ranks among DiCaprio's best performances, and he appears to be growing mightily as an actor. He toggles tragically between the sordidness of his own unleashed id and the desire to be a good husband, father and provider. He is a motivator, a rationalizer, a fighter, a failure. He is many things balled up into one drugged-up and -out character, and he pulls it off with magnetic power. I am not sure if this is a good movie or not, but it's riveting and toward the end even funny. The only missteps are the extended improvs with Jonah Hill, which feel completely out of place and forced representations of mayhem. Hill has his moments, to be sure, as does Marty, with this cockamamie vision. A vision that says, our compass is spinning wildly out of control.

Offered by Hope's Store For Fun
Price: $45.99
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Boss, June 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Wrecking Ball, bloat and all, had its moments, so it's gratifying to see "High Hopes" surpass that. The songs might be from all over, but the focus feels tight. It's a batch not a themed mission statement. Good. The title track opener is a stomper though a little stuffy, and the entire first half feels like the big wheel trying to get itself to roll. "American Skin" is a great song, but this version sounds heavily processed in the studio, which dulls the chilling cautionary tale from "Live in New York City." Much of the album, in fact, adds weird electronic embellishments that do nothing to enhance the music. To be clear: I have never had a problem with electronics - I'm no rootsy purist - but artists choose their sound and sounds for reasons and the add-ons and phasing and squiggles here and on "Wrecking Ball" don't fit Bruce well. When the songs shine through, however, it doesn't really matter. I think the aces of "High Hopes" are on the backside: "Frankie Fell in Love" is weird and rousing, "This Is Your Sword" might be the briefest anthem in the Springsteen songbook, but, boy, he lays into it. The next four are as good as Bruce has sounded in a while, yet I just get the sense he doesn't know exactly what he should sound like in 2014. He's fishing for a new way to represent and maybe stay modern, when he shouldn't worry about it. Just play 'em. He reaches back here to 1998 for the "The Wall," one of the best songs he's ever written, and plays it unadorned, and it's worth the price of the record. There has been division over his album-ending version of Suicide's "Dream, Baby, Dream," and I think the naysayers wrongly overlook the Rorschach elasticity of the song's nature. Compare with Neneh Cherry's skronking dissolution on "The Cherry Thing," and also with the original, which sounds like Phil Spector's Wall of Sound streamed through Fisher-Price musical toys and heroin. Springsteen chooses hopeful hymn, and what is so wrong with that?

Toronto 1947
Toronto 1947
Price: $12.99
23 used & new from $8.10

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blown away . . ., January 17, 2014
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This review is from: Toronto 1947 (Audio CD)
Hopes sank when I popped this in the deck ... Why did I even think for a moment this was going to be a pristine, crystal-clear recording? It's something that was recorded live in 1947 and not issued until now. Surprisingly, the sound quality picks up as it goes along. Mostly it doesn't matter. This is an outrageously infectious date with heroic blowing from the two principals. Parker is an absolute revelation. Clearly, there was more than one Parker tearing it up back in the day. Listen to his baritone drop speaker-rattling depth charges as he roars through Basie's "Mutton Leg." Jacquet, too, is on fire on the date. Here's the thing: The show sounds like they were having a wild party that night in Toronto. The crowd sounds like it's in a drunken frenzy, whooping and hollering. A few woman won't shut up during a fine "Robin's Nest" Now, jazz shows you can hear a pin drop. This is when the music was living and breathing in regular people's lives, not some highbrow, cerebral museum piece. Which is not to say there isn't complex artistry here - some of the sounds unleashed foreshadow the skronking free jazz blow of 15 years later. These players are masters. The supporting cast is great too. Twice through, I've gotten over the sound deficiencies and just get into the joy of it all. I love when either horn lock in on a single note and blow it and blow it again and mutate it and then knock it out of the park. Repetition like a hammer and then off to the races with a wicked run. The slow stuff, too, is lovely. Knock a star for sound quality, but not the show. Top shelf.

Confessions (Deluxe)
Confessions (Deluxe)
Price: $14.38
33 used & new from $9.98

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confession . . ., March 6, 2013
This review is from: Confessions (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
. . . It's over, as far as I'm concerned. Bought it as soon as I saw it, and, lordy, what a drag. Look, what in the heck is so hard about going into the studio, looking at the producer and saying, "Make it sound like 'Buckcherry.'" You have lots of tattoos - threaten him. "Confessions" is so canned sounding, so brickwalled, it's painful. The songs? Cookie-cutter and tough to distinguish one from the next. Guitar solos pop up and try to rock a little and then disappear back into the murky flatness. The first album was a masterpiece. The second had it's moments. "15," it's moments and then worse and worse and worse until we hit this rock bottom. I love them. I see them. I got it from the start, but the tunes are gone. Just gone. It's Walmart rock 'n' roll - just sounds so faceless and corporate and poorly written and I could go on and on. Dudes, these riffs suck!
It is going 99 cents real fast. What happened? I don't know, and that first album forever keeps them in my good graces, but I know it's over now. I think a great album at this stage would be a miracle. This ain't it.

Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger
Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger
by Christopher Andersen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.85
172 used & new from $0.01

41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What rubbish, July 16, 2012
Honestly, I don't know what the hell was true. The women rolled in and out as if on a conveyor belt. The men, almost, too. The writing quality of this thing is absolute trash. Keith Richards, with a little help, wrote a real humdinger, full of insight, great stories, context, frank admissions, music and the rock 'n roll life of the man who laid down the blueprint for thousands to follow. This thing here is a catalog of crud. If it's all true, get a real writer to put it in readable semblance. Mick Jagger is a brilliant artist, one of the greatest songsmiths, recording artists and performers in the history of, at least, recorded music. What value, exactly, are we getting out of this mess?
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2013 12:17 AM PDT

Wrecking Ball (Vinyl LP)
Wrecking Ball (Vinyl LP)
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $19.39
50 used & new from $12.81

94 of 127 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Soft Ball, March 8, 2012
This review is from: Wrecking Ball (Vinyl LP) (Vinyl)
Bruce wants to carve lyrics in stones that can be thrown at the fortresses of power. The problem is that he has abandoned the storytelling that got him here. His small was always writ large, and now, on Wrecking Ball, it's all large, even when invoking the weak and exploited among us. His brilliant "The Rising" in response to the World Trade Center attack, dealt in majestic language that dropped down, at least in brush strokes, into identifiably real lives. The power there was fueled by a cohesive musical vision. Here, that musical vision feels very much that of a producer, one I've never heard of making his first appearance on a Springsteen record. It's bloated and poorly defined. I hate the lousy choirs and cheap artificial drums and layer upon layer of stuff. Penny whistles bleating through what could be a Fairlight Computer. Where is the thunder? The enterprise is more dirigible, impressive but in no way agile. I can imagine, over time, hooking into some of this, but Bruce used to grab you by the jugular right away. He sings out battle cries on "Wrecking Ball" but shows up to the battlefield in a Toyota Avalon. The late Clarence Clemons makes a stirring appearance in a recycled (from the New York live album) "Land of Hopes and Dreams," and I like this studio version just fine. Most of the record, however, feels like the work of a once-important late-middle-aged pro who no longer prowls and breathes the fire of the night. I still like to believe some day this brilliant hero will find his best form again. Bruce is too great to count out. It's just not happening here.
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2014 1:41 PM PDT

What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
Price: $8.99
71 used & new from $1.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Ra Ra Ra, December 30, 2011
It's as slight as the breeze and pulls its cards from a deck of "End of the Century"-era Ramones and Oasis and plays them like Jesus and Mary Chain jamming with Stone Roses, but, polarizing as they apparently are - and they could be all-out frauds for all I know - dammit, at least half the thing is pure ear candy. They look clean-cut, sing out the anthems clearly, see time when they look over their shoulder and almost seem engaged. The Vaccines appear to reach for the lowest hanging fruit in a bid for stardom, but I can say that the disc got in my hands as an impulse buy as I was leaving the Sound Garden (Balt.) and it hasn't left the car deck since. The lone review I had read prior said they had smashed up against the rocks of the shores in the good ole US of A, and we have a way with crushing dreams of British bands, but if the well-worn paths of the stars mentioned above have an attraction for you, this permutation of those sterling examples might go down easy. I wouldn't dare go for four stars and be played for the fool, but the three are rock solid and at this late date in the sunset years of rock n' roll, I'm happy to find myself enjoying a singalong.

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