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Steve Ramm "Steve Ramm "Anything Phonographic"" RSS Feed (Phila, PA USA)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

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Children of the Revolution - A Tribute to T. Rex
Children of the Revolution - A Tribute to T. Rex
Price: $13.99
17 used & new from $9.00

3.0 out of 5 stars More hard and punk rock than long time T-Rex fans may want., June 27, 2015
This 57 minute album is a "Tribute to ...."Marc Bolan and T-Rex. With all deference to Debora the person bwho posted the only other review of this album, I'm not as thrilled with it as she is. Then again, I'm probably older and was a young adult when T-rex were in their prime. They were more of a "pop band" than a hard-rock band. Most - but not all - of the artists or bands on this album are definitely hard rock or punk bands and I missed the "fun" that was always in T-Rex's music. Sure, Steve Lewis, who performs "Spaceball Richocet" sounds like Bolan and I liked that, as well as Don Coyote's take on T-Rex's biggest hit "Bang A Gong" which gives it a New Orleans beat. But when you get the band Harpooner making the upbeat fun of "Telegram Sam " into a tuneless production (that's my opinion), I get turned off. You can't tell anything about the artists by looking at the digipak that holds it. I'm glad that Debora let us know the performers are all from the Nashville rock scene.

So, I just want to alert those who loved T-Rex and have their albums, that this is a lot punkier than you might like. It was for me.

There is a label on pkg that says that proceeds will benefit Y.E.A.H - "Connecting Youth and Arts.".

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Bora's Pantry: Fig & Almond
Bora's Pantry: Fig & Almond
Offered by Bora's Pantry
Price: $11.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! They took fruit and nut spread to a new taste level! And low sugar too!, June 27, 2015
Though I generally review entertainment products on Amazon I do occasionally review food products and this product was sent to me for an objective review.

I received the sample jar of this spread yesterday morning and decided to taste it for breakfast today. I was going to spread it on a thin sliced plain bagel (the usual base for my morning cream cheese or fruit spread) but I decided to take a little on a spoon first. My taste buds went "wow". I could taste the figs and there slivers of almonds were crunchy but this was more tart than sweet. Reading the notes on the label I learned that they use less sugar by weight than more spreads. And the flavors I was tasting were meyer lemon and lemon and lime juices plus bourbon vanilla and rosemary and thyme! Who would have thought that this would work?

I them spread it on a slice of bagel (a thin slice to cut the calories and carbs) and it tasted just as good. I then tried with a little light cream cheese and it blended perfectly. The calorie content is 55 per tablespoon and that tablespoon will cover a lot of area.

I honestly never heard of this company - they sent me a sweet potato spread as well - that I'm looking forward to trying.

There is best used by date of just over a year away but I think I'll be finished this sizable 14 oz jar long before then.

If you like the orange-fig spreads that you see in gourmet ships, and find them a little too sweet, you might want to try this one from Bora's. They call it a "rustic spread"

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2015 5:34 PM PDT


Skimpy Mixers Pineapple, 2.4 Pound (Pack of 6)
Skimpy Mixers Pineapple, 2.4 Pound (Pack of 6)
Price: $33.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Pineapple version - A tasty way to cut down cocktail calories - even with alcohol a drink is only 104 calories, June 27, 2015
Though I generally review entertainment products on Amazon I do occasionally review food products and this product was sent to me for an objective review.
I was sent the Pineapple version. (one of six varieties).

There are two components that make cocktails high in calories: the alcohol product and the "cocktail mix" that you add. In many cases the mix is loaded with sugar. This product uses no sugar but uses Manitol as sweetener and it's not the first ingredient. That is (well, they are) two different types of pineapple juice concentrate). These are the first two ingredients after "water" which makes up 52% of the liquid; the juice making up the remaining 48%.

The recipes calls for adding 1oz alcohol (I tried vodka and later gin - so as not to conflict with the pineapple taste) to 4 oz of the Skimpy Mixer. Then you pour over ice. The calorie content for the 4 oz of SM is just 40 calories. But- if you are counting calories remember that the ounce of vodka (for instance) is 64 calories so you still have just broken 100 calories. The bottle contains 8 (4 oz) servings so you could really add it to seltzer for a light drink.

I didn't taste any real aftertaste or chemical taste. So I was pleasantly surprised.

The SM comes in a plastic, not glass bottle, which makes it safe to use outdoors. You do need to refrigerate it after opening.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Price: $13.99
17 used & new from $9.89

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Levon Helm's producer and his wife step out front for the is fine debut album but the packaging is a big letdown, June 26, 2015
Larry Campbell is a multi-instrumentalist and producer and has done both with the late Levon Helm. His wife of 20+ years (Teresa Williams) was a backup singer in Helms band. This is their first recording with them out front.

Campbell, of course did the production work and - as always - it's high-class. Actually the whole album sounds like one of Helm's productions and, like Helm (whose daughter, Amy, adds her voice to the mix) Campbell has a voice that is not exactly "melodious" but you get used to it. He's a far better musician. The inclusion here of Williams' voice as lead on my two favorite tracks - "Another One More Time" and "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" (a neat gospel-tinged number) - made the album work best for me. For the track "You're Running Wild" - recorded before Helms (Levon's) death - we get to hear the iconic drummer's beats.

If for are a fan of Helm's CDs you'll like this one.

I did drop my rating one star because of the package graphic. I'm not sure who designed this package, but it is certainly not user friendly. The CD comes in a trifold digipak with the song credits (and list of musicians on the inside. The white print blends in with the background's sepia photos making it hard to read. Even worse is that there is an eight-page booklet inside with lyrics to all the songs and nearly all of them will require a magnifying glass to comprehend. I often wonder if performers actually test the graphic designs with consumers before "going to press"!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 28, 2015 3:15 PM PDT


Simply Gum 100% Natural Chewing Gum Mint - 6 Packs (15 pieces/pack)
Simply Gum 100% Natural Chewing Gum Mint - 6 Packs (15 pieces/pack)
Offered by SimplyGum
Price: $18.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name says it all - and the packaging is really thoughtful too! (Review of Mint Flavor), June 25, 2015
Though I generally review entertainment products on Amazon I do occasionally review food products and this product was sent to me for an objective review.
Actually it is five varieties that they sent - but the second I tasted.

I used to chew gum a lot but stopped years ago. Part of the reason was the sugar in it. Then I would by Trident or a sugarless gum but I got bored. This company "Simply Gum" was re-invented chewing gum in my opinion, with both creatively making a "health" gum and packaging it in a unique design.

First the gum. As the name suggests it is "simple". Just 6 ingredients. And only one of those changes (the natural flavor) when you taste one of their 6 varieties. The ingredients are:
Organic Cane Juice (for sweetening)
All Natural Chicle
Organic vegetable glycerin
Organic sunflower lecithin
Organic Rice Flower
AND "All Natural Flavor". In this case it is Mint.

Each small box contains 15 pieces. On the first chew it felt "tough" but as soon as my mouth saliva kicked in, it became soft. I did find that the flavor did go away after 5 minutes but that was fine. I was done with it then.
This brings me ti the packaging each box includes 15 small pieces of paper marked "post chew wraps" which you can use to discard the used gum. (And save someone from stepping on it!). Definitely clever.

So I'm impressed and will probably seek this product out again. It is - to use a play on their name - "simply" great gum.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Simply Gum 100% Natural Chewing Gum Maple - 6 Packs (15 Pieces Each Pack)
Simply Gum 100% Natural Chewing Gum Maple - 6 Packs (15 Pieces Each Pack)
Offered by SimplyGum
Price: $18.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name says it all - and the packaging is really thoughtful too! (Review of MAPLE flavor), June 25, 2015
The name says it all - and the packaging is really thoughtful too!
Though I generally review entertainment products on Amazon I do occasionally review food products and this product was sent to me for an objective review.
Actually it is five varieties that they sent - but the first I tasted.
I used to chew gum a lot but stopped years ago. Part of the reason was the sugar in it. Then I would by Trident or a sugarless gum but I got bored. This company "Simply Gum" was re-invented chewing gom in my opinion, with both creatively making a "health" gum and packaging it in a unique design.

First the gum. As the name suggests it is "simple". Just 6 ingredients. And only one of those changes (the natural flavor) when you taste one of their 6 varieties. The ingredients are:
Organic Cane Juice (for sweetening)
All Natural Chicle
Organic vegetable glycerin
Organic sunflower lecithin
Organic Rice Flower
AND "All Natural Flavor". In this case it is Maple.

Each small box contains 15 pieces. On the first chew it felt "tough" but as soon as my mouth saliva kicked in, it became soft. I did find that the flavor did go away after 5 minutes but that was fine. I was done with it then.
This brings me ti the packaging each box includes 15 small pieces of paper marked "post chew wraps" which you can use to discard the used gum. (And save someone from stepping on it!). Definitely clever.

So I'm impressed and will probably seek this product out again. It is - to use a play on their name - "simply" great gum.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Merchants of Doubt (Blu-ray + DVD)
Merchants of Doubt (Blu-ray + DVD)
DVD ~ Frederick Singer
Price: $27.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Bluray - with bonuses - creative photography makes this "shocking" film more than a "call to action", June 25, 2015
This is the followup film to the documentary "Food Inc" and is another "call to action" film -in a similar vein to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". But, unlike AIT there is no one person giving a lecture.

Director Robert Kenner draws you in immediately with "magic". Yes, here is an illusionist doing card trick and showing how deception can make you think you are seeing one thing, when it's really something else. The clever photography starts to draw you in. Then he uses archival news footage and vintage commercials to discuss how the tobacco firms hired "scientists" to tell the world that tobacco was not dangerous to our health. He moves on briefly to the furniture makers who used similar tactic re: fire-retardant chemical that were dangerous. Now that Kenner has drawn you in, he moves to the main topic - Global Warming. He actually allows both sides of the argument to have their say. But, as you will see - as I did - the "commentators" - nearly all right wing republicans - embarrass themselves on camera. But this is not an anti-republican film. You'll even learn that there is a wing of the Tea Party that supports efforts to stop this "killing of our planet for future generations". And here is former Secretary of State George Schultz saying that the pollution is dangerous.

I'll let you read other reviews of the film to get other perspectives and concentrate on the BD and DVD releases (I was provided with a BD for an objective review).

The film itself runs 96 minutes. In addition, there is a full-length commentary by director Kenner. (I have not listened to that yet). There is a 17 minute "Q&A" with Kenner at the Toronto International Film Festival screening. He is a personable interviewee and talks about what he learned from making "Food Inc." that he used here. There is also a 5 minute compilation of interview clips (not in the film), titled "Unlikely Voices", that include the aforementioned Schultz and the Atlanta Tea Part rep,.

Honestly, I think this BD/DVD will be seen more by those who care about the environment - and make them even madder than they are now - but if even a handful of folks are driven to contact their representatives in their state or federal offices, the film will have served a purpose.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Burn the Plan
Burn the Plan
Price: $12.99
28 used & new from $5.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "lovelies" are as lovely as ever. Finally a new CD, June 25, 2015
This review is from: Burn the Plan (Audio CD)
I first discovered this trio from Canada the Arts Presenters Conference and, not only loved their album but loved seeing them perform live (great show!). Unfortunately they haven't come through Philadelphia in about 10 years their last album - a few years ago - was a Christmas album, so I only play it one month a year. I was anxiously awaiting another studio album and here it is! 13 new songs! If I have one SMALL disappointment it is that this time they have a band with additional electric guitar, piano and percussion. I guess I fell in love with hearing just the three women singing and playing their instruments and am finding the additional instrumentation getting in the way. But, heck, it is their choice, and any new music from the "lovelies" is something I longed for.

The packaging is interesting because it's what I might call a hybrid digipak. The CD is held in place by a plastic holder and inside the slot where a disc would normally go is a 12 panel paper foldout with 12 graphic images on the back and the lyrics to all the songs on the front. The font size is acceptable for reading purposes and the contrast good too. It's just a bit unwieldy to unfold and refold each time you play it. (I like to follow - and sing - along.)

If you know their music, I think you'll love this new album. If not, check out samples and see if - like me - you'll get hooked on their harmonies. I hope the time between releases does not stay so long (and I'd LOVE them to come back to Philly to play!)

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Tonnino Ventrescas In Olive Oil, 6.7-Ounce
Tonnino Ventrescas In Olive Oil, 6.7-Ounce
Offered by Taylor's Market
Price: $9.99
4 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT canned tuna. It is jarred in olive oil and you can certainly taste the difference. No additional seasoning needed., June 24, 2015
Though I generally review entertainment products on Amazon I do occasionally review food products and this product was sent to me for an objective review.
Actually only one of the varieties of their line included in this package that was sent and the only one I tasted so far.

Sure I eat Chicken of the Sea, Star-Kist and Bumble Bee tuna when I'm making tuna salad. It's cheap and the mayonnaise (and mustard, in my case) mask much of the flavor. But I learned years ago that good tuna comes in a JAR, in olive oil. That's all you need. Put it on some French bread or flatbread (nothing too seasoned or it will overpower the flavor) and enjoy a delicacy. Per the product literature I received, this variety comes from the underbelly of the tuna and that's what makes it so tasty.

Yes, it costs about 3-4 times as much as a can of recognizable brand tuna but, you can easily get two large appetizer meals from it. I'm also told that some large grocery chains carry it. It's got a high shipping fee from Amazon but that is obviously because these are GLASS jars and they need to be padded well for shipment.

I'm looking forward to trying the other varieties as well but, based on this jar, I'm REALLY impressed.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


Woman in Gold [Blu-ray]
Woman in Gold [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Simon Curtis
Price: $17.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of BD including bonus features - Excellent firm on art and holocaust with no spoilers here, June 24, 2015
This review is from: Woman in Gold [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As I post this there are 27 reviews listed though the BD and DVD will not be released until July (2015). That is because Amazon groups all reviews of all formats (theater, streaming and home video.) I suggest to potential buyers that they sort by "newest first" and see what format the reviewer is discussing. This review is the Bluray and DVD versions.

This Bluray (and DVD) release is the type of project that The Weinstein Company (via Anchor Bay Home Video) does best. It's a compelling biography of a person who most people don't know and has an award -winning actor (or actress) in the lead role.

I missed the film in the theaters and, honestly, I knew nothing about the story line until I inserted the Bd (sent to me by Anchor Bay for an objective review) into my player. I knew it starred Helen Mirren (whose career I've followed for years - even sitting through the embarrassingly poor "Love Ranch" that her husband (Taylor Hackford) directed. And the case said "Justice is Priceless". I think that is the best way to experience this engrossing film. I will reveal a bit more of the plot - with no spoilers - by telling you that this drama is based on the real like for an Maria Altmannn, a WWII refugee from Vienna and here fight to get the ownership of some artwork stolen from her family by the Nazi's. The events take place in the late 1990s with recreated flashbacks to Austria during the Holocaust. The film is about surviving the Holocaust, the value of "art masterpieces" and the justice system in both Austria and the US.

If you didn't know it was Mirren playing the lead, you'd never recognizes her with brown hair and a think Austrian accent. Her co-star - Ryan Reynolds - is new to me. Actress Elizabeth McGovern has a small role as a judge (the Director of this film - Simon Curtis - is McGovern's husband.)
Since there are other reviews here about the film - though I will, again, suggest that the less you know beforehand, the more you'll enjoy the film - I won't concentrate on that.

The BD and DVD both have two bonus features: The now-requisite "Making of..." featurette (23 minutes) with many of the production team and lead cast members. A full-length commentary with the director and producer (which I haven't listened to), and a "trailer" for the documentary "Stealing Klimt" about Altmann (2 ½ minutes). The BD release adds one more: a 10-minute press conference at a New York museum founded by Ronald Lauder (of the Estee Lauder family) where some of the art discussed in the film is now housed.
If you like an engaging story with superb acting (Mirren is simply brilliant), I can highly recommend this BD or DVD.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"


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