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The Ladykillers (1955) (Blu-ray)
Region 1 DVD
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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.
Power of the A1s
Published in 2000 by the OPC and apparently not reprinted since (which is to me a bit of a surprise) this is an excellent pictorial record of the whole Peppercorn A1 class (plus Great Northern) with so much information given in the main caption for each class member (1 date built 2 shed allocations 3 dates of livery changes 4 dates of withdrawal 5 place of disposal) that it virtually becomes a reference book, especially perhaps for the modeller.
My only minor criticism as with all the books in the Power series, is that, other than on the dust jacket, there are no colour photographs.
Power of the A2s
This is certainly a 5* rated book. My only minor criticism is the lack of colour photographs (apart from those on the cover).
The layout is superb, dealing with each class member in chronological order as numbered by British Railways, with several photographs of each class member showing different liveries and forms such as single and double chimneys plus brief details of each member such as date of entry into service, shed allocations, date of withdrawal and date and place where scrapped.
An added and unexpected bonus is the first chapter covering each of the P2 2-8-2s in a similar manner, giving the dates rebuilt as A2s (and dates streamlined in the case of 2001 and 2002) and photographs.
Buy it before it goes out of print and commands silly prices for a second-hand copy.
L.A. Woman: 40th Anniversary Edition (2CD)
The Doors - CD
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Firstly apologies for lack of punctuation as no apostrophes, inverted commas etc are allowed in Play reviews.No this one is not just another reissue of the well known album but also one for the discerning Doors fans and collectors, the 2 CD triple fold out set featuring as it does, alongside the original album, different versions of 7 of the 10 tunes (exceptions being Hyacinth House (unfortunately as it is a beautiful song), LAmerica and Crawling King Snake). There is also the image of Morrison crucified on a telegraph pole included with the early original vinyl issue on a poster and on the inner sleeve.They were all recorded in The Doors Workshop at the time of the LA Woman sessions (hence the title of the double vinyl edition, The Workshop Sessions (which features only the alternate versions but does not appear to be widely available at present). The quality of the alternative versions is, as one would expect, excellent of course and I am surprised that they have never appeared before though thats probably down to the cynical record company penchant for making maximum money off old material (not that I am a cynic myself, you understand).Enough has been said about the original album so I will concentrate here on the alternative versions. I have not actually compared them to the originals, merely listened to the unreleased ones and said what comes to mind, but I can say with certainty that most of the alternate versions are less polished than those used on the album and, indeed, sound at times like demos rather than alternate takes. One does in fact mention the take number which probably means that none of them are actually demos. Studio chat features too.The Changeling, which Jim tells the band is his favourite number, is longer at nearly 5 minutes and powers along at around the same speed as the album version but with a different keyboard riff. It is, perhaps, more powerful and certainly bluesier with more raucous lead guitar. A few bum notes slip in but do not spoil the song overall.Love Her Madly features a lazier Morrison vocal with different lyrics and a totally different keyboard section in the middle.Been Down So Long is probably the least different alternative, much the same as the album version apart from being a bit rougher and longer.The slow, dirty, blues of Cars Hiss by My Window seems to feature somewhat more prominent guitar than the LP version and is 30 seconds longer.LA Woman meanwhile features different lead guitar riffs and a weird bit of extra vocalising brings it to a sudden end at 8.45.The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat) features different lyrics and is 1.20 longer than the album version but this comprises a cacophony of jazzy guitar and drums with no discernible tune. Theres an instrumental version thrown in too.Clocking in at 2 minutes longer than the original, Riders on the Storm could have been the jewel in the crown here, were it not for the fact that the extra time at the start is occupied by a throw away Morrison ditty, false start and chat plus a somewhat flat vocal from Morrison, especially evident at the start of the tune proper.Finally music wise you get the addition of an actual unreleased song, She Smells so Nice, which morphs into Rock Me, but they are pretty much of filler or single B side standard and it is no wonder they were not used on the LA Woman album proper or anywhere else.The 3 way fold out card sleeve packaging features, in addition to the original album artwork, 3 photos from the LA Woman sessions and a replica of the striking poster and inner bag image of a naked Morrison crucified on a telegraph pole that came with early copies of the original vinyl LP (referred to here as Electric Woman).
Fraction - CD
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Attention all heavy rock fans. This album, Moon Blood, by Fraction, was originally issued as a private pressing of 200 vinyl copies in 1971 (that now sell in very good nick for over 1000 GBP each, which is vastly overpriced of course thanks to a few idiots and ebay).
It is now freely available thanks to a recent (2010) vinyl and CD reissue so get it while you can (the vinyl all seems to have gone so is only available second hand).
The best tracks in my opinion are (and this is very subjective, depending as it does largely on taste) Eye of the Hurricane, This Bird and Prisms (a bonus track, not on the CD), the latter particularly featuring some awesome fuzz guitar and other epic riffage, whilst This Bird is more of a slow bluesy tune, still featuring some great guitar work with a heavy blues riff and a bit of spoken word, the vocals here sounding a little like Jim Morrison.
The poorest track, meanwhile, is the ponderous, largely acoustic Dawning Light which does not suit the bands otherwise rock style at all. It may not be too bad by other bands standards but certainly does not belong on this album.
Intercessors Blues (another bonus track), whilst not poor, fails to do much for me, apart from the Jim Morrison-style vocals which are a bit of a novelty.
Talking of Morrison, the lead vocalist, Jim Beach, has been compared to the former Lizard King but this is only apparent on odd tracks and to say, as someone apparently did in the distant past, that this was the album that The Doors wished they had made is just utter rubbish.
I feel rather hacked off that the bonus tracks appear to be only available as downloads but thats modern life I suppose.
Despite my criticisms, overall this is an excellent find and a must for the discerning 1970s heavy rock fan.
King Floyd - CD
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This is almost a killer compilation from the Sookie Sookie man, King Floyd. Based on this evidence it seems hard to believe that after the mid-1970s the guy couldnt get a label to sign him. Here in GB at least he must be one of the undiscovered or at least forgotton classic soul men.
The total stand-out track in my opinion is of course the 1970 US multi-million selling single Groove Me - one of the few soul singles that I bought at the time. Here it deservedly has pride of place as the introductory track on the album. Reportedly written by Floyd 5 years earlier, it was recorded in one take and originally intended as the B-side of the inferior What Our Love Needs (also here on the album) but ultimately flipped to the A-side after proving the popular tune on an early promo taken to a party by a DJ. I have rarely heard a song that requires only one listen to register in a big way like this. It is a superb soul classic, ranking alongside Clean Up Woman, Mr Big Stuff and Dock of the Bay (a magic cover of which is also featured here) and worth the CD price itself.The other tracks, though never quite matching the brilliance of Groove Me, are mainly pretty neat soul/funk tunes, several, like Groove Me, written by Floyd himself, with only a couple of tunes spoiled with unnecessary strings. Theres one funky track that nods in the direction of disco (unfortunately) and one reminiscent of The Temptations psychedelic era (a good thing to a psych fan like me of course) and the compilation is only really let down by a couple of filler-quality tracks.
Theres rather a lot of hiss and a few crackles present on the odd track, which usually means that the master tapes for the it have been lost and its mastered from a vinyl record but, hey, better have it than not for all that. They should really warn you about this in the notes and, though they dont in this case, its only a minor gripe and doesnt detract from the overall quality of the sound.
Unfortunately Floyd died on 6/3/06, a great loss to us all including predominantly rock fans like myself, not only soul fans, so theres no chance of a new album but where is that album or box including the elusive out-takes and unreleased material? Surely on this evidence there must be at least one LPs worth of decent unreleased stuff in the vaults?
Love - CD
If you want the extra 5 tracks namely 1 C.F.I. 2 He Knows a Lot of Good Women (alternative) 3 Find Somebody (alternative) 4 Midnight Sun (alternative) and 5 Product of the Times (alternative) you must buy the double vinyl LP issue.
Anyway what you get here on the CD is the Arthur Lee and Love Columbia 1971 sessions, several tracks from which Arthur Lee would later re-record for his second solo outing 1972's Vindicator. These are: 1 Sad Song; 2 Everybody's Gotta Live; 3 He Knows a Lot of Good Women; 4 Love Jumped Through my Window; 5 He Said She Said; and 6 Find Somebody. They are all truly excellent. In fact it's a little like an alternative Vindicator album. If you like the Vindicator album (Lee's Hendrix tribute) then you must own this too along with the expanded Vindicator CD. You will love it.
Languishing in the vaults for nearly 40 years the basic tracks were to have formed an album called Dear You. The lineup is: 1 Arthur Lee lead vocals; 2 Craig Tarwater lead guitar; 3 Don Poncher drums; and 4 Frank Fayad bass, although some tracks are acoustic demos with just Lee and his acoustic guitar. These are: 1 Love Jumped Through my Window; 2 He Said She Said; 3 Sad Song; 4 Good and Evil; and 5 For a Day. Add on amongst others: 1 a Hendrix cover, Ezy Rider; 2 a studio version of Product of the Times, from the album Studio Live; 3 the funky Trippin and Slippin; plus soul ballads 4 Looking Glass; and 5 Can't Find It. All together there are 14 superb tracks. My personal favourite is Everybody's Gotta Live which I also have on an Arthur Lee vinyl EP but that's a very subjective choice and the favourite selection is all yours.
Live In Amsterdam (CD & DVD)
Tony Joe White - CD
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A new album from Tony Joe White is always an event in my book, even if it is yet another live one which has not exactly got the significance of a new studio affair.
This 2008 concert features a 3 piece with Tony Joe on guitar and vocals, Jeff Hale on drums and Tyson Rogers on keyboards. The lineup nevertheless creates a full, rich and funky sound and of course you get to see it as well as hear it (the DVD being the way to go if possible, CD and DVD track listing stated as being the same).
It all starts, however, in a rather muted, low key mood with the slightly mediocre and slow Rich Woman Blues from the 1991 LP The Beginning, followed by the slightly faster Stockholm Blues from the 1970 LP Tony Joe, again a tad mediocre (as indeed is the studio original). To be honest, after these tracks I was beginning to feel a little disappointed with the show.
I need not have worried, however, as things pick up with the slightly more swampy feel of As the Crow Flies from the 1972 LP The Train Im On. Things slow down again, however, with Crack the Window Baby from the 1998 LP One Hot July, followed by the slow and bluesy Youre Gonna Look Good in Blues from the 1991 LP Closer to the Truth.
Things finally really hot up when Tony Joe slips into the path of a decent groove with a lengthy version of Roosevelt & Ira Lee from 1969s Continued LP, taken in the first half considerably slower than the original but remaining just as good nevertheless. This is followed by The Guitar Dont Lie from Album 95 and then one that I always disliked the title of, it seeming a little trite and silly, Feeling Snakey.
The concert then moves into two old classics, Rainy Night in Georgia (which he wrote of course, to be covered by all and sundry) and the late 60s single Polk Salad Annie, again in a superb extended form, to end with Steamy Windows, another from his Closer to the Truth LP, which he wrote for Tina Turner to perform a superb cover of to help bring her back into the big time.
A live album is never the place to start for the casual fan and this is no exception. It should be filed under very good but for Tony Joe White completists and those fans who dont already have one of his concerts on DVD.
Finally, though it is brilliant value for a CD and DVD, my copies only have 11 tracks, not including Do You Have a Garter Belt which is listed here.
Electric Wizard (Digipack)
Electric Wizard - CD
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I totally agree with the earlier review - this is an album of slow, rumbling stoner songs with intelligible vocals. Lots of buzzing guitar and some nice wah wah add to the effect to give a complete stoner experience.
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Were doomed I tell ye, doomed! By doom metal that is.
Do you like early Black Sabbath, especially the first two albums? Do you also like contemporary psych such as The Warlocks? Finally, do you like what used to be known as heavy metal?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES then you will probably love this band and album. If the answer to any 2 questions is YES then you will love them. If the answer to all 3 questions is YES then you will probably have this album already. If not then buy it to see exactly what you are missing.
There are only eight tracks (spread over a double vinyl album or single CD) only one of which is under 6 minutes (and then only just), all being slow and what non-genre fans would consider ponderous, with lots of wah-wah, fuzz and distortion, thus making for a very satisfying heavy psychedelic experience indeed.