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The Ladykillers (1955) (Blu-ray)
Region 1 DVD
1 New from
Theres little to usefully add to the description here after watching the film again, other than to say that you also get a good scene where a young Frankie Howerd, playing a barrow boy, interacts with a cart horse intent on eating his fruit and veg, Mrs Wilberforce trying to stop him chastising the said horse and Mrs Wilberforces umbrella with which she attempts to chastise Frankie Howard. Jack Warner (Dixon of Dock Green) plays the man in charge of the police station.
Its one of the best ever British comedies which also features quite a few 1950s railway scenes of steam engines, including inside what appears to be Kings Cross station, which is a bonus for railway enthusiasts like me. In one scene you also see that theres a railway track within a couple of feet of what is presumably the back of Mrs Wilberforces house. Only a wooden fence separates it from the house wall.
At the end of the street where her house is, you can see what seems to be (though it is somewhat blurred) an LNER sign (London and North Eastern Railway prior to the formation of British Railways in 1948), again suggesting Kings Cross station (which the locomotives, carriages, lines and tunnels in other scenes confirm it is meant to be, Copenhagen tunnel being specifically featured. If it was indeed LNER on the sign and looking down a real street one wonders why, as the film was shot in 1955, well into British Railways days.
A must for all comedy and railway buffs.
Crystal Syphon - Download Track
This is stated to be recorded live at the Fillmore West on 21/1/68 but as there is no audible audience noise it may have been a rehearsal. Its a slow tune that rumbles along ponderously like a tank with an opening distinctive heavy riff which reoccurs on occasions throughout the song though it seems at times to get a little lost in the mix. More trademark vocal harmonies and weedy keyboards fill it out in a long middle section then its back to the slow, ponderous sound for the closing section making it sound like two tunes rolled into one. On the downside there is, however, a distinct lack of fuzz guitar.
Fuzzy and Jose
This is stated to be rehearsal recording from 11/7/68. It opens with a spooky keyboard sound more akin to a horror movie but soon settles into a mid paced commercial groove featuring bendy guitars and a tuneful vocal and some pleasant and distinctive harmonies over a rather weedy backing. There is a pleasant bass line there but for the most part it seems to too far back in the mix causing that overall weedy backing sound which probably knocks it down to a 4 star rating.
Try Something Different
This track is something a little different from the rest of the album, being a Byrds style tune featuring a beautiful lead vocal and harmonies with jangly guitars backed by keyboards well down in the mix until it launches into trademark fuzz licks, whilst still retaining the jangly guitar.
A short and commercial 3 minute tune, albeit still with the bands trade mark vocal harmonies interjected with some liquid fuzz licks, this track would probably have been the single off the bands album if one had been issued at the time, or perhaps the sole release with a B side when the label chickened out of an album release.
Are You Dead Yet
This is stated to be a rehearsal recording from 11/7/68. A Doors like keyboard sound dominates the very short (under 3 minutes) and rather too fast and commercial song for my taste. Its the type of relatively generic, nondescript pop rock tune that could be being done by any band of the era and seems to go out of tune right at the end. Its the poorest cut on the album and I recommend giving it a miss as a stand alone song.
Marcy, Your Eyes
A beautiful, hypnotic riff that I cannot quite place but have heard somewhere else (as I am sure that I have not heard this tune before) blended with liquid fuzz lines and light percussion really make this the best track on the album (though not by far I might add).
Fails to Shine
This is stated to be recorded live at the Fillmore West on 21/1/68 but as there is no audible audience noise it may have been a rehearsal. One of the longer tracks on the album at nearly 6 minutes, it features rather more harmony vocals than most of the other tracks, interspersed with classic fuzz guitar licks. It sounds a bit like a heavy take on Paul Revere and the Raiders. If edited down it could have made a classy 3 minute single (like say The Doors Light my Fire did). Heavy drumming adds to the power in the instrumental sections in between vocals.
Crystal Syphon - Download Album
This is not a real album in the popular sense of the word, being a compilation of studio tracks, rehearsal material and live recordings (from the Fillmore West, no less). The band apparently supported many famous groups of the time such as The Doors, Quicksilver, Big Brother and the Holding Company and lasted into the start of 1970 before calling it a day. Despite many labels interest they never got a deal as they insisted on retaining full artistic control over their recording and self penned songs.
The main attraction here is that it comprises largely classy fuzz drenched psych gems from the era (1967 to 1968) and if you like classic psych rock then you cant go wrong buying it. It really is so good as to be described as a classic lost album. If you want to see individual track reviews and ratings you can find them with the appropriate tracks in this MP3 download area. Suffice to say that six of the 10 tracks get a 5 star rating while all bar one of the others are 4 star.
Though you only get 10 tracks, many of them are lengthy so there is around 50 minutes of music.
The download is, of course, the cheaper option (the vinyl issue is around 22GBP here in the UK) but by not buying the vinyl release you will miss out on a rather pleasing album sleeve with copious notes on the rear and the pleasure of having and handling the real thing.
Love & Money - Download Track
The seventh track on the album is a mild mannered, soft affair apart from the strong lead vocals. It is another mid paced ballad that is again approaching the standard of the better 1980s Love and Money tracks.
Though on first hearing it is no Strange Kind of Love, I suppose that repeated listening may change that. Some nice backing vocals with a little good lead guitar makes it a strong contender for the title of best track on the album so buy with confidence as a stand alone track.