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Wayne Klein "If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.-Albert Einstein" RSS Feed (My Little Blue Window, USA)

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Jeff Beck Group-2015-Iconoclassic Remaster
Jeff Beck Group-2015-Iconoclassic Remaster
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4.0 out of 5 stars Follow up to "Rough and Ready" sounds marvelous with new remaster by Vic Anesini (review for the Iconclassic reissue), August 3, 2015
I fairly maligned because of one of Steve Cropper's earliest production jobs, "Jeff Beck Group" aka the "Orange" album continued to show that this line up had tremendous potential.

Either way you slice "Orange" (some folks feel it's an inferior album compared to the three that came before, while others prefer this with "Rough and Ready" because of Beck's playing and Bobby Tench's vocals) , this album provided a frame work for Beck to continue to grow as a guitar player.

There are a number of highlights here including a masterful cover of Don Nix's "Going Down", the Beck originals "Ice Cream Cakes" and the instrument Beck original "Definitely Maybe". The band is tight in the album and Beck is in top form.

Vic Anesini's mastering perfectly captures the tone and feel of the original release without betraying the performances or overusing compression. Anesini also manages to squeeze as much as he can from the sound of the original mastertapes to CD. Fans of this album may want to be aware that Ausio Fidelity is also releasing this as a dual layered SACD/CD combo disc using the quad mixes for the SACD layer. If you have an SACD player, you may want to wait and pick up that edition but for those who want this only on CD, It's hard to imagine anyone improving on Vic's mastering here.The bottom end which had been sadly lacking in previous issues but is solidly intact here. The midrange isn't overwhelming as it was with the Japanese reissue of this from a couple of years back.

This release doesn't have any bonus outtakes we do,however, get an excellent booklet that peels back the sessions revealing the challenges Beck faced in making this follow ip to "Rough and Ready". The seeds were planted on this album for Beck's follow,up "Blow By Blow" with only Max Middleton returning from this line up with Beck.

Anesini's work on the rest of the Sony remasters for Beck's albums were exceptional good (the first two albums were remastered by Peter Mew) and this further completes Beck's catalog with more stellar work from Mr. Anesini.


Angel Dust (2CD)(Explicit)(Deluxe)
Angel Dust (2CD)(Explicit)(Deluxe)
Price: $16.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe two CD edition (vinyl, too) brings together single bonus tracks and a bonus track outtake-mastering is OK (get the Mofi), July 31, 2015
Although it didn't sell quite as well as "The Real Thing" the band's break through album, "Angel Dust" continues to expand on the sound and direction of the previous album.

This expanded edition of the album (the last to feature guitarist Jim Martin) features the CD bonus tracks/b-sides released for each single from the album. Although this isn't the best mastering of the main album (the original CD was a bit bass shy IMHO. The best mastering remains the Mobile Fidelity Gold mastering by Rob LeVerde) this mastering compresses the album too much making it exceedingly loud and not as crankable as I would like without distortion.

"Easy" is on the first disc as it was on later pressings of the album when it became a hit single closing out the album after the rather relaxed version of the theme from "Midnight Cowboy" (one of John Barry's best non-Bond scores).

For those who never picked up the CD singles, this is a nice way to collect them as they are all in one place. There is a nice alternate version of "Easy" (which wasn't on the original pressing until it became a surprise hit) here, 9 live tracks, "The World Is Yours" (a cool outtake), remixes ( I really like the remix of "Midlife Crisis"), a track not on the album ("Let's Lynch The Landlord")

I'm hoping (although I doubt we'll get them) for deluxe editions of "King For A Day ...Fool For A Lifetime" and "Album Of The Year" or even the pre-Patton material. If this sells well perhaps we'll see Warner/Rhino take a risk and reissue both albums with a second disc of unreleased/outtakes/live material from the period.

Hopefully Warner will also invite the band to participate in any future reissues of the rest of their discography.

Beat / Kids Are the Same
Beat / Kids Are the Same
18 used & new from $24.92

4.0 out of 5 stars It's hard to beat this combo of the first and second albums plus two bonus tracks., July 21, 2015
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The Beat's first two albums arrived on CD from Wounded Bird back in 2005. This is probably going to be the definitive releases for the band's first and second album. The remasters released by Culture a Factory unfortunately have brickwalled these releases and boosted the sound so much you can't turn it up much to listen to it.

The sound is pretty good for both albums and we get a soundtrack song as a bonus track as well as a b-side to a single. As with all a Wounded Bird releases there aren't any notes on the making of the albums just a bare bones presentation with credits for the album.

The first album is a stone cold classic and the second is just a hair lower in quality and worthwhile.


Island of Dr. Moreau [Blu-ray]
Island of Dr. Moreau [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Michael York
Price: $13.49
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3.0 out of 5 stars Second best adaptation of Wells tale featuring a stellar cast and a solid transfer without much in the way of extras., July 19, 2015
There have been three versions of H.G. Wells' cautionary science fiction story made for the big screen. None of them have been perfect but, of the three, "Island of Lost Souls" from 1933 probably remains the best version out there (although it isn't completely faithful to Wells story anymore than the two that followed).

The 1978 version of the film featuring Burt Lancaster as Moreau and Michael York as our hero Braddock who ends up stranded on Moreau's island which provides him with the perfect environment to experiment on animals without interference from society.

Director Don Taylor does a solid job with this second film versions And it holds up very well nearly forty years on. Surprisingly faithful to much of Wells' themes, "Island" got mixed reviews at the time but received considerable praise for its groundbreaking make up (probably one of the reasons Taylor was hired was his experience directing "Escape From The Planet of The Apes" and "Night Gallery"). Taylor was well suited to dealing with a high powered star like Lancaster as he got his start as an actor and worked his way up as a director working with a variety of actors in Television and film. Taylor manages to balance the demands of the Wells' story (adapted for the screen by Al Ramus and John Herman Shaner) and the studio's need for more action in the story.

One of the flaws of the film is the lack of character development. I suspect that there was more in the original script (something I would expect from the screenwriters both of whom came began as actors before moving into,writing and production) but that it was probably sacrificed during rewrites by the demands of action from the studio.

The casting works very well with York ("Logan's Run" , "Austin Powers") bringing vitality to his role. He more than holds his own against Lancaster on screen. Nigel Davenport (a marvelous character actor who appeared in films as varied as "Chariots of Fire" to the cult classic "Phase IV") provides gravitas in his role as Moreau's assistant in his experiments push evolution forward.

Barbara Carrera and Richard Basehart round out the cast. Basehart does a marvelous job as the Sayer of The Law.

Kino's transfer receives a mixed looking transfer. The scenes set outdoors look positively lush with nice depth, details and colors that pop. The scenes set inside or that take place during the evenings aren't as strong with uneven consistency in terms of colors and a generally muddy look to them. I don't know how the latter scenes could be improved without a full restoration (unlikely to happen due to the cost and interest in the film) and, while these scenes leave a lot to be desired,money don't necessarily look bad. Either way the Blu-Ray high definition transfer is an improvement over the previous released DVD.

Audio sounds fine with dialog clear for the most part and English subtitles are provided for the feature.

As far as extras go, they are a bit limited. There evidently was an alternate ending version that played n network TV that I've never seen. We don't get that but we do get a still from that slightly different ending. There are also original theatrical trailers for the film provided. I see to recall that there was an EPK featurette that layed on Tav back in the day to promote the film that focused on the make up effects (my memory is s bit fuzzy here though). I don't know that this exists any longer (and it's certainly possible that I may be conflating two different resurrected) and I know when I looked for it on YouTube, I was t able to find any reference to it.

While this high definition transfer does leave a bit to be desired in some areas, the film looks pretty good all things considered and is a sleep up from the DVD. Fans of the film will generally be pleased.

Nuclear Burn
Nuclear Burn
Offered by skyvo-direct-usa
Price: $26.60
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice set, remastered but do the guys that created this music get a cut?, July 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Burn (Audio CD)
Like the Be Bop Deluxe and Robin Trower sets that EMI put out, this Virgin release gathers remasters of the first six albums by Brand X with some bonus tracks.

As with all things, some of the albums are better than others with the first three remaining exceptionally strong but even the weakest album (and everyon is going to have their own that they feel are weaker albums), have something to recommend them with stand out tracks.

The pluses of this set--

All of the albums use new remasters and, surprisingly, are dynamic and sound quite nice. We get four BBC sessions as bonus tracks. We get a nice little booklet with credits for the albums but not the extensive sleeve notes I woud have liked on recording the albums. Still, it's a nice package and compact. I'm surprised that, to date, Virgin hasn't released these in an Original Album Series style package with mini-cardboard sleeves.

The minuses--It appears that the main members of Brand X John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Robin Lumley (Phil Collins was also a frequent member) may make songwriting royalties but, because of the original agreement with their label Charisma,, they aren't seeing a cent from sales of this set at the time of this writing. That has nothing to do with Virgin but has everything to do with the agreement that Brand X signed years ago with Charisma for the album royalities. That's unfair and inappropriate. I'd urge fans to write to Charisma and Virgin to urge them to correct this problem.

The albums are broken up oddly with the closing track from one album being the first song on the next disc or with three songs from the previous album opening up the next disc, etc. because the compilers chose to spread out all six albums over four discs. What would have been ideal would have been to try and keep the album "sides" or the whole album intact and put four songs from the BBC sessions as the last songs on the last disc.

The music is, as it was in the 70's and 80's, brilliant. Occasional member Phil Collins also appears on a number of these albums and with his drumming and vocals adds to a band that managed to fuse Jazz, Rock and the polyrhythms of World Music over a decade before Paul Simon and others.

If you choose to buy this set, be aware that thos who made the music (something I discovered AFTER I already purchased this set) aren't getting reimbursed the way that they should. You should also be aware that this is a nice remaster for individual albums that might cost you more.

5 Album Set
5 Album Set
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $31.90
22 used & new from $15.67

4.0 out of 5 stars The first five albums from the late, lamented band from downunder. Remasters used from the first disc, sounds really exceptional, July 18, 2015
This review is from: 5 Album Set (Audio CD)
Under appreciated by music listeners, The Go-Betweens managed to make literate, intelligent music that, despite critical acclaim, was virtually ignored in the United States. While other bands from Oz broke through to bigger and better things, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan toiled away producing some of the best music of the late 20th century.

This inexpensive boxed set allows new fans to acquire their first five albums. The mastering appears to be from the 2002-2004 Remasters released on Jet Set as part of the expanded editions of these albums. While this collection doesn't include any out takes, rarities or demos like their previous two CD reissues, this is a fine, compact way to collect these albums which are becoming increasing rare to find online or in stores since they went out of print.

Forster and McLennan complimented each other perfectly as they collaborated on the music but the respective singer would provide the lyrics for a song trading off. While I prefer McLennan's more melodic voice to Forster, each had a unique sound ( and lyrically each brought their own unique sensibility topped with melodies that have been described as "angular" but was also endlessly catchy.

The packaging is nothing to write home about--each album is presented in a mini-cardboard sleeve and there's no booklet or background on each album. Perhaps that's best in a way for new fans as it leaves some of the mystery about the band intact and fans that are looking to replace something they had on CD probably already know the story anyhow.

Each album has its high points and and the first, although filled with the charm of a DIY indie styled record, is probably the weakest of the bunch but that's only in hindsight as both writers grew enormously over the course of the first part of their career.

During the 1990's both MacLennan and Forster recorded a series of albums that upheld the band's legacy touching on what made them so unqiue in a decade (the 80's) that seemed to focus as much on hair styles and how much make up you could wear on stage as it did about the music itself. The duo regrouped with "The Friends of Rachel Worth" and continued to record until the untimely passing of McLennan at age 48.

While this might mot be th best set for hardcore fans, it does provide an exceptional overview of an important voice largely lost in all the background noise of what passed for music in the 80's.


Before During After: Woodentops 1982 - 1992
Before During After: Woodentops 1982 - 1992
Price: $27.99
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4.0 out of 5 stars Before they splintered, The Woodentops produced two fine albums and a handful of singles. This also has unreleased stuff., July 14, 2015
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The career of The Woodentops splintered when main Top Rolo McGinty couldn't broaden their fan base and his interest turned more to electronica. Their first album "Giant" is a stone cold classic. Filled with complex, rhythms, unusual weird melodies and McGinty's breathless vocal, it quickly became a favorite of late UK DJ John Peel.

The band followed this up with a live album as a stop gap release which captured much of the energy of their shows and displayed their quirky early singles. Whil the mixing on the live album could have been better, it was a fun snapshot of the band in transition.

The band's second studio album "Wood Foot Cops on The Highway" even with a stronger emphasis on guitar and dance beats, failed to ignite the charts. The songwriting on their second album wasn't quite as strong as the first with McGinty writing the material just before recording the album and between tours.

This three CD set gathers the band's first two albums along with stray singles, remixes and rarities to give a full picture of the band prior to their reunion (and new album) in 2014.

The material is from exceptional to very good although the mastering of this leaves a bit to be desired. It lacks the dynamic punch of their vinyl and first CD releases which the band used to advantage with their sound. The original mastering, white dynamic, lacked bass and sounded a bit "thin". A pity this couldn't have been remastered WITH dynamics and with the advantage of the latest transfer technology. Still, this is a nice set to have with stuff that has never appeared on CD or digitally before.

The digipak packaging isn't ideal (the CDs slide into the the tri-fold cardboard sleeve) but functional with nice graphics. There's a booklet included with comments by Rolo.

While the mastering could be better here, the music doesn't suffer from excessive distortion nor is it brickwalled but it could be a bit more dynamic. It is nice to have everything in one place.

The Beat (Vinyl Replica Collection)
The Beat (Vinyl Replica Collection)
Price: $11.99
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great under appreciated album, compressed remaster has sounded much better, July 12, 2015
Paul Collins' Beat was an album I saw a lot in the racks of music stores (remember those?) and always intrigued me. I had t heard it but heard about it but decided at first to,go with The English Beat because I'm a sucker for British accents. Finally I did pick this up and was amazed at the top notch quality of the album and how many times I had stupidly ignored it and how people were still not buying it.

Then the second album came out and it was even better. Wow.

About a decade ago Wounded Bird reissued the first two albums on CD and, while it left a bit to be desired (like all of their albums it was a bare bones reissue). The mastering on it wasn't messed with--it was a straight forward transfer thst wasn't overly loud or jacked up sounding.

So Culture Factory has reissued this deserving album along with their second album. Are the remasters any good? Well, not so much u less you want something that sounds like a hyped up, over compressed MP3 file.

Despite the hype here and description from Culture Factory, using 24 bit files doesn't help you if you master things badly (and CDs are 16bit anyway but it does help to have a higher quality source).

The packaging has great attention to detail something that Culture Factory excels at not so much for the sound of these which is truly what really matters.

If you don't have another source of these albums (the Wounded Bird releases are out of print) will have to do. Hopefully someone else will license these.

The band's first two solo albums can be heard n their entirety at his website.

A five star album, 2 star remaster.

Collected Recordings 1983-89
Collected Recordings 1983-89
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $90.40
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not complete but an excellent collection of the band's first three albums, demos, b-sides, out takes, a DVD and book, July 10, 2015
An exceptional set "Collected a Recordings", gathers just about everything (well, except for a stray recording that Cole has elected to put on a remastered 2 CD set of "Rattlesnakes" but more on that later) the band ever recording and released plus a CD of 18 demos that have never been released before.

Ian Jones from Abbey Road remastered this with input from Cole and the band. It sounds very nice with a nice, dynamic presentation from the original master tapes (except the band's second album "Easy Pieces" which are MIA--these are pulled from a safety master as I recall reading). Six of the songs here are demos that have never released. For those who find this set a bit pricey I would suggest ordering from Amazon Canada or Amazon UK. The delivery will take a bit longer but due to the exchange rate, it's cheaper.

Handsome solely packaged, the box is thick and sturdy. Inside is a small hardcover book, a series of postcards from the photo shoot for the cover of this boxed set, the band's first three albums in quality cardboard sleeves (and the CDs are housed in another cardboard sleeve). The next two CDs feature all of the band's b-sides (except "Beautiful City" which is being held for the deluxe remastered, reissue of "Rattlesnakes" according to Cole) and out takes from aborted sessions. Again, they are in high quality cardboard sleeves with inner cardboard sleeves.

We get a DVD featuring the band's promotional videos as well as their BBC TV appearances. The DVD runs over sixty minutes. The DVD is, wisely, region free.

There's also a fold out poster which I didn't open.

The track listing is as follows:

Disc one – Rattlesnakes

1 Perfect Skin
2 Speedboat
3 Rattlesnakes
4 Down on Mission Street
5 Forest Fire
6 Charlotte Street
7 2cv
8 Four Flights Up
9 Patience
10 Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?
Disc two – Easy Pieces

1 Rich
2 Why I Love Country Music
3 Pretty Gone
4 Grace
5 Cut Me Down
6 Brand New Friend
7 Lost Weekend
8 James
9 Minor Character
10 Perfect Blue
Disc three – Mainstream

1 My Bag
2 From the Hip
3 29
4 Mainstream
5 Jennifer she said
6 Mr. Malcontent
7 Sean Penn Blues
8 Big Snake
9 Hey Rusty
10 These Days
Disc four – B-Sides, Remixes & Outtakes

1. The Sea and The Sand (B-side to Perfect Skin)
2. You Will Never Be No Good (B-side to Perfect Skin)
3. Andy’s Babies (B-side to Forest Fire)
4. Glory (B-side to Forest Fire)
5. Sweetness (B-side to Rattlesnakes)
6. Perfect Blue (Hardiman mix) B-side to Jennifer She Said
7. Jesus Said (B-side to My Bag)
8. Brand New Friend (1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased ***
9. From Grace (Unfinished 1985 Wessex Studio recording. Previously unreleased ***)
10. Her Last Fling ( B-side to Brand New Friend)
11. Big World (B-side to Lost Weekend)
12. Nevers End (B-side to Lost Weekend)
13. Mystery Train (Recorded live at The World, New York, 1986) B-side to Jennifer She Said
14. I Don’t Believe You (Recorded live at The World, New York, 1986) B-side to Jennifer She Said
15. Love Your Wife (B-side to From The Hip)
16. Lonely Mile (B-side to From The Hip)
17. Please (B-side to From The Hip)
18. My Bag (Dancing Mix) 12” single
Disc five – Demo Recordings & Rarities (ALL UNRELEASED except Trk 2 & 6)

1. Down At The Mission [Unreleased single A-side]
2. Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? [Unreleased single B-side (appeared previously on Rattlesnakes Deluxe Edition 2004)]
3. Patience [Demo recording]
4. Eat My Words [Demo recording (Never before heard)]
5. Forest Fire [Demo recording]
6. Perfect Skin [Demo recording (appeared previously on Rattlesnakes Deluxe Edition 2004)]
7. Poons [Demo recording (Never before heard)]
8. Old Hats [Demo recording]
9. You Win [Demo recording (Never before heard)]
10. Old Wants Never Gets [Demo recording (Never before heard)]
11. Another Dry Day [Demo recording. (Never before heard)]
12. 29 [Demo recording]
13. Jennifer She Said [Demo recording]
14. Hey Rusty [Demo recording]
15. Everyone’s Complaining [Unreleased recording. Studio Grande Armée (Paris). Produced by Chris Thomas]
16. Mr Malcontent [Unreleased recording. Studio Grande Armée (Paris). Produced by Chris Thomas]
17. Jennifer She Said (Polished Rough Mix) [Unreleased recording. Sarm Studios (London). Produced by Stewart Copeland and Julian Mendelsohn]
18. Hey Rusty [Unreleased recording. Sarm Studios (London). Produced by Stewart Copeland and Julian Mendelsohn]

Promotional videos

1 Perfect Skin
2 Forest Fire
3 Rattlesnakes
4 Brand New Friend
5 Lost Weekend
6 Cut Me Down
7 My Bag
8 Jennifer She Said
9 From The Hip
10 Mainstream

Perfect Skin (Top of the Pops, June 1984)
12 Rattlesnakes (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
13 Speedboat (The Old Grey Whistle Test, November 1984)
14 Brand New Friend (Wogan, September 1985)
15 Brand New Friend (Top of the Pops, September 1985)
16 Lost Weekend (Top of the Pops, November 1985)
17 Mister Malcontent (Recorded live in concert at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, June 1986)
18. My Bag (Wogan, September 1987)

There are gaps such as remixes that have never made CD or digital appearances which could have made up another disc at least. Not sure why this isn't a complete recordings set but what we do get here is excellent and Cole has done a brilliant job of putting his band's three essential albums out with nice Remasters and extras.

Fans should be pleased with this set and the fact that we get demos for what would have been the band's fourth album, out takes from aborted sessions with producers such as Chris Thomas and Stewart Copeland.

Highly recommended.

Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $25.28
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice set for Reid fans (or newbies) although "Seeds of A Memory" should really be here, sound quality is very good., July 8, 2015
This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
What might have been--Terry Reid singing and playing for "The New Yardbirds" (Led Zep) or Deep Purple instead became a solo career for this gifted guitarist and vocalist. Ironically better known in the U.S. at the time than his native U.K., Reid's early albums share some hallmarks with Jeff Beck Group and even Donvoan who were also managed and produced by Mickie Most at the time.

This "Original Album Series" set captures four of Reid's essential albums (although "Rogue Waves" is quite good, it isn't quite as strong as the other albums here nor as strong as his other album that should have made this set--"Seeds of A Memory")taken from the 2004 remasters in most cases here. There aren't any bonus tracks (The Warner/Rhino releases rarely if ever include bonus tracks from the stand alone releases unlike Sony). As I recall, Peter Mew remastered these so those who don't like Mew's style may want to consider that fact although I didn't find these too bright (a hallmark of Mew's work) and you can, of course, re-EQ them yourself. The transfers are clean and sound quite nice.

Nevertheless, this set provides excellent value for fans of Reid or those revisiting his music (even those trying his music for the first time).

As with the other Original Album Series releases from Warner/Rhino, the cardboard casing leaves a bit to be desired as it isn't very sturdy (unlike the glossy Sony/BMG releases). The interior cardboard sleeves are fine but be careful as they may scratch the discs. I tend to store mine with the opening up in the cardboard holder to prevent the accidental release of the CDs.

We get writing credits on the discs and each edge of the cardboard sleeves is color coded to each disc.

This is a fine set for the money with a handful of classic albums from this largely forgotten but seminal artist.


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