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Passage
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (29 April, 1997)
list price: $11.98
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Editorial Review

Though never a fingerstyle technician on a par with the Pierre Bensusans and Martin Simpsons of the world, Windham Hill founder and acoustic guitarist Ackerman has a way with the elegiac and the moodily majestic, rarely so well-conceived as on this 1981 disc that features cameos from Darroll Anger and George Winston. An early example of digital recording, Passage illustrates Ackerman's command of the pedal-tone figure; hypnotic fingerpicked arpeggios with subtly moving basslines patiently draw the listener in. Anger's violin adds a spirited lyric voice to the meditative "Remedios," while Winston's characteristic phrasing adds splashes of color to "Hawk Circle." If Ackerman's 1976 LP In Search of the Turtle's Navel is, arguably, the album that invented new-age music, Passage is his refinement of the form. --James Rotondi ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars My All-time FAVORITE CD!
I first bought Passage as a vinyl recording back in 1981. I fell in love it and played it so much I ruined the record. :-( I then bought the cassette, which, again, I played until it was no longer playable. I never bought the CD- until now. (Sticker shock!!) but well worth it. It is the most beautiful, sad, sweet, emotional music I've ever heard that was not written by a classical artist. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. Just put it on, light a fire in your fireplace, get a glass of wine, and let your mind create all kinds of wonderful stories.....

5-0 out of 5 stars And Uncontrived Synthesis
Will Ackerman is now better know for his record label (Windham Hill) than he is as a guitar player. But his accomplishments as a musician are equally worth of note. Perhaps because he isn't a virtuoso like his cousin Alex de Grassi, Ackerman has worked hard to develop a musicality that immediately draws in the listener.

Usually labelled as a 'new age' guitarist, Ackerman's style is built out of traditional components - a melodic base over an arpeggiated foundation, usually with the guitar in an open tuning. While this is now a commonplace, one has to remember that, when Ackerman started out, this approach was still novel. Ackerman himself is responsible for the popularity of this musical architecture.

In an interview once, Ackerman attributed much of his approach to influences by Robbie Basho. Basho's big point was that a successful composition is always a song, even if there are no voices. All of the pieces on this album are proof that Ackerman took that advice to heart. Rarely is there a period where the music gets stuck in a grove without a melody. Instead there is a reaching quality that is almost magnetic. Both 'The Impending Death of the Virgin Spirit' and 'The Bricklayer's Beautiful Daughter' are fine examples of this, especially the latter, which is probably my favorite on the CD.

Another thing that sets Ackerman apart is the way he works with other musicians. Four of the pieces here are duets with accomplished musicmakers. Notably, Darol Anger on violin and George Winston on piano. The resulting efforts are joint efforts where Ackerman shares the lead rather than grabs the spotlight. The results, work like 'Remedios' and 'Hawk Circle' are brilliant syntheses - both joint performances and joint compositions.

The mood Ackerman creates is reflective rather than driven, with the arpeggios seting the rhythmic structure. His sound is smooth and bell like, the controlled tonalities for which Guild guitars used to be famous. The result is almost hypnotic at times. This is an impressive album, from a musician who was still finding his way at that time.

5-0 out of 5 stars haunting and beautiful - a must for the Ackerman collector
All of Ackermans music is beautiful, but this is the classic, the essential. It's haunting, spirited, sometimes gives you chills, sometimes brings a tear to your eye, makes your heart ache,enchants you completley. Perfect morning music, or end of day. If you have never purchased his music, this should be your 1st-it will not dissapoint, only leave you wanting more!This is the essence of Windam Hill New Age. ... Read more

Asin: B000000NF1


Five Leaves Left
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (08 May, 1992)
list price: $16.98
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Editorial Review

There's not a single dud in the trilogy of albums that singer/songwriter Nick Drake released during his all-too-short career. And 1968's Five Leaves Left--his first album--is certainly no exception. Drake's sensitive guitar work and sensitive vocals are backed by the baroque sounds of a chamber string group, and the platter's lyrics show maturity well beyond the age of their 20-year-old creator. Sparser than its follow-up, the jazzy Bryter Layter, but less tortured than Drake's dark final chapter, Pink Moon, Five Leaves Left is a classic British folk disc. Songs like "River Man," "The Thoughts of Mary Jane," and "Day Is Done" are among Drake's finest moments. Newcomers be forewarned: this music is as infectious as it is bleak, and a purchase of Drake's boxed set Fruit Tree might be a wise investment. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars Might be his best
Each album made by this cult hero from the 70's British folk movement, is quite impressive, but Nick Drake's 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left may be his best. Drake's strongly plucked acoustic guitar finds a warm home with the guesting chamber music instruments and together they create an almost flawless, misty, rainy atmosphere, which permeates through all of Nick's top class songs. It is astonishing that a young man in his early twenties is so vastly adept to writing wise, heartfelt songs such as "Cello Song" and "Time Will Tell Me" or songs as profound as "Three Hours" or "Fruit Tree," the last of which eerily forecasts Nick's posthumous rise from overlooked singer/songwriter to cult hero. "Safe in your place deep in the earth/That's when they'll know what you were really worth/Forgotten while you're here/Remembered for a while/A much updated ruin/From a much outdated style." Although, Drake would sadly never live to see his work at all appreciated, many more experienced and popular songwriters are trying desperately for the skillfully executed eeriness and unpretentious thoughtfulness mastered on Five Leaves Left.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deceptively Simple
Before reading an article on Nick Drake in Entertainment Weekly I'd never heard of him or his music. The article praised his brilliant musical talent and I was intrigued enough by the album synopses to by a CD. When I first listened to 'Five Leaves Left' I wasn't swept away. But something about it made me immediately listen to it a second time. Upon listening to it again I disovered depths to it that I didn't catch the first time. And each subsequent listening has revealed more and more depth. 'Man in a Shed' is one of the most buoyant love songs I've ever heard. The lively guitar picking is remarkable. 'Saturday Sun' perfectly captures the mood of waking up slowly on Saturday morning.

Sure, there are other artists who have silken voices and beautiful guitar playing but Nick Drake has something more. Maybe it's the melancholy, maybe it's the brief moments of optimism, but something about his music pulls you in and makes it hard for you to want to leave. It's a shame that his music wasn't really appreciated in his time but sometimes it takes a distance of years for a genius to really receive his due.

5-0 out of 5 stars boy this guy could write a song
A lot has been said about Nick Drake. I recall a Rolling Stone quote calling him "The saddest songwriter ever" or something to that effect. I think the fact that he died so young, possibly by suicide, tends to make people comment on how sad he was and how dark his music is. Well, some of his music may be dark, like Three Hours or Black Eyed Dog, but much of it is light. So don't expect this to be a depressing album.

With that said, this is an incredible album, although I feel it pales slightly in comparison to Pink Moon. While some people have said the strings hurt the album, I have a feeling they are only looking for a guitar shred-fest. While Drake was an excellent guitarist, his music was not based on technique and thank God for that. Most of his best stuff (on Pink Moon) was a lot simpler, guitar-wise. I for one think that the string arrangements really help some of the songs. ... Read more

Asin: B00000064E


Koln Concert
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (16 November, 1999)
list price: $17.98 -- our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
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Features

  • Live
Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars A sublime performance
Generally I resist the urge to hurl superlatives at something; but for this particular disc, only words like "transcendent" and "sublime" will do. Twenty years on, it still floors me.

The third track ("IIb") alone is a gem that is worth the price of the disc. I've listened to it a hundred times, and I continue to be astonished by the journey it takes you through: a steady progression over moody, lyrical landscapes, spiralling up to a jagged peak, urged on by Jarrett's mesmerizing left-hand work and annotated at the crest by his own gasped vocalizations, as if he, too, were amazed at the scenery. Its the climax of the whole concert --there's nowhere to go but gently retrace our steps back down to the sweet coda of "IIc". Truly a masterpiece of improvisation.

The recording that, unfortunately, launched a thousand New Age noodlers seeking to capture its mood in simplified imitation; its no wonder that Jarrett has mixed feelings about it. And yes, as a long-time fan, I wouldn't even say its his best work. But it still speaks to me across the years like few other pieces of music I have ever known, in any category. I can't imagine ever tiring of it...and those who have heard it know what I mean.

And finally: if you like Jarrett's solo piano improvisations but haven't heard 'La Scala' yet, PLEASE do yourself a favor and click on over to get it asap. More technically brilliant than 'Koln' (as you would expect given the interval between the two performances), and the encore of "Over the Rainbow" is achingly beautiful. An absolute must-have.

5-0 out of 5 stars My One True Love
I have kept from writing about the Koln concert for such a long time, but I feel I must... Now that I read all the reviews.

Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert captures your soul and never lets go. I have went on and listened to all of Jarrett's albums. All the solo performances. All the solo albums. La Scala is perfect. Probably the best solo concert, in terms of musicality, soul and beauty. Paris is an overall genius, lyrical, touching, aching. So are Vienna, Concerts and the clavichord session, Book of Ways, which is a must-have, although it is not for everybody.

Whisper Not CD1 is friendly jazz. CD2 is hardcore jazz. Judge it as you might. The Melody At Night With You is pure Keith Jarrett.

But Koln... It is above all that. While all those other works are standing tall, rising high, crawling, digging deep... They are all grounded somwhere. Classically, jazz-oriented, blues, even pure piano soloing... You can DEFINE them.

The Koln Concert just floats. It belongs nowhere. It is in a world of its own. No one, including Jarrett, has ever, and will ever make another composition like this one. It belongs to no category. It obeys no rules. It does something to you that only Toccata and Fugue in D Minor comes close to doing to you. It does that from the very first note. It lasts long after the CD ends.

People wrote, I have listened to it well over a hundred times. Me too. Well over a thousand. Hundreds of times to Jarrett's other albums, too. Keith Jarrett hates this album because he knows he will never repeat such a divine composition. Notice something interesting - Koln is not played even in Jarrett's style.

Koln was a concert played by a force larger than Jarrett. It was a composition playing itself through Jarrett. A gift from God, whether you believe in God or not. Laugh as you may, this album does something to you no other album does. It grabs your soul and never lets you go. You are a different person once you've heard Koln.

5-0 out of 5 stars some of Jarrett's most sweepingly majestic moments
This is the first Keith Jarrett album I've heard. I am aware that Jarrett himself said: "I think of that album as being full of really rich ideas but describing not as much of the process as I'm interested in describing...very much less describing the process than the other live solo recordings."
Contrasting Koln to his other concerts (I own also Vienna, Paris, Bremen/Lausanne, Tokyo '84, Dark Intervals), I'm not sure what he means.

For one thing its the most "straightforward" sounding one, I suppose, which explains its accessibility and popularity.

But does that matter? How does that make it less good than the others?

Personally I think the Koln concert contains some of Jarrett's most hauntingly gorgeous moments. Part IIB has an almost minimalist (although much more interesting) passage which erupts into a very Romantic piano like passage. This is the most touching and deeply moving piano solo I have yet heard.

Whether or not Jarrett wants to get all intellectual on us and imply that its easily accessible to the public is immaterial as far as I'm concerned.

This is gorgeous music and you had better buy it. ... Read more

Asin: B0000262WI
Sales Rank: 958


$13.99

Passion & Warfare
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (24 June, 1997)
list price: $11.98 -- our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
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Editorial Review

The second solo album from Steve Vai shows the guitarist coming into his own as a composer, matching his prodigious talent as a performer. The result is an entertaining mix. The hilarious "Audience is Listening" complements more reflective pieces such as "For the Love of God." The high-powered "Animal" and "Greasy Kid's Stuff" are balanced by "Blue Powder" and "Alien Water Kiss." Unlike most guitar-god solo recordings, Passion & Warfare avoids the sort of technical noodling that is uninteresting to everyone except other guitarists, opting instead for a collection of high-quality music that is full of compositional experimentation without ever getting out of control. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable and unmistakeable!
Once upon a time, I taped a song from a university radio station that I thought was amazing. Then, 5 or 6 years later, I bought "Alien Love Secrets" by Steve Vai and I noticed that one brief burst of speed on the song "Juice" sounded just like that song I taped so long ago. I thought "whatever." At any rate, I was blown away by A.L.S. and decided to buy another Steve Vai album. That was "Passion and Warfare" and, lo and behold, "Erotic Nightmares" was the song I had taped many years before. I was ecstatic! The rest of the album blew me away, even more so than A.L.S. "Erotic Nightmares" is one of the coolest, most impressive guitar songs anyone will ever hear! "Answers" has many cool sounds and effects in it that sets it apart from many Vai songs. "Ballerina 12/24" is a prime example of how crisp all of Steve's recordings are and how great a producer he is. "For the Love of God" is a nice, thoughtful number that ranks up there with some of Steve's friend Joe Satriani's ballads. "The Audience is Listening" is an uber-guitar number that should be used as the blueprints on how to become a guitar-god. "Sisters" is another softer number and...I could go on about this album, but believe me when I say, this is an amazing album that deserves a prominent place in any guitar fan's collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Steve Vai - Guitar God
This album is a masterpiece of guitar playing. Steve Vai is one of the greatest guitars to ever walk the face of the earth, and Passion and Warfare is his most insane album yet. This album also features legendary bassist Stu Hamm on seven of the fourteen tracks on the album. The first song on the album is Liberty. It is the perfect intro to this stunning album. Erotic Nightmares follows, it is both heavy and funky. The guitar playing on this song is amazing. Steve Vai is able to make his guitar scream like no one else can. On The Animal, Steve makes a variety of animal noises from his guitar. Many of them sound very amusing but it is amazing what he can do with his instrument. Answers is a funky number, where not only is Steve amazing but Stu Hamm is as well. He is truly one of the greatest bassists to ever live. The Riddle is another amazing song. Being a guitar player I can't even begin to imagine how Steve plays most of his songs. This song is great because there is popping funk bass, a solid drum beat, light acoustic guitar in the background, and Steve wailing away on a distorted electric guitar. The next track on the album is Ballerina 12/24, this song has Steve playing an acoustic guitar and a harmonizer. It is one of the shorter songs on the album clocking in at one minute and forty five seconds. It also is an amazing introduction for the classic For the Love of God. This is not only a classic song but it's Steve's finest song to date. His playing is so intense it's unreal. Like a reviewer said before me this track would be worth the price of the whole album. This song will prove any doubters of his talent wrong, he is truly one of the most amazing musicians ever to live. The next song is also one of my favorite songs on the album. The Audience is Listening is not only an amazing example of Steve's playing but it's also hilarious. I can't even begin to explain. Steve's amazing on this track also. For the Love God and The Audience is Listening are two songs that leave me in awe everytime I listen to them. I Would Love To is another great song. It sounds very 80's pop rock. The song does however have a great effect on the listener. Blue Powder is a slow and melodic song then it kicks into a melodic rock song. Steve sounds amazing as usual and drummer Chris Frazier sounds great. There is also a bass solo that will put any bassist to shame. Greasy Kid's Stuff is cool because you hear Steve giving instructions in the beginning of the song. His guitar playing is also top notch especially on the last solo. Alien Water Kiss is a good song. It is only a minute and ten seconds of synthesizer and various noises but ther's something about it that I like, it is also the introduction to the beautifel, Sisters. It is a lovely acoustic number, featuring Stu Hamm on bass. The last song is Love Secrets. This song features Steve playing all of the instruments on it. This shows what a versatile musician he is. Not only is he an amazing guitarist but he's a great drummer also. This is a great song proving how talented he really is. Passion and Warfare is without a doubt the best instrumental album ever, and don't let the word instrumental scare you, it is not boring whatsoever. I reccommend this album to any music fans and musicians if you don't own this get it immediately.

1-0 out of 5 stars EVIL
THIS MUSIC IS SCUM IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING TO BUY THIS PLEASE DONT IT IS CHEESY RUBBISH WHICH MAKES THE SOUND OF SOMEONE GETTING STABBED OR A CAT DYING IN A POOL OF SPEW SOUND GOOD KEEP THIS IN MIND PLEASE ... Read more

Asin: B000002BWP


$10.99

Madhouse: The Very Best of Anthrax
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (26 June, 2001)
list price: $11.98 -- our price: $11.98
(price subject to change: see help)
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Features

  • Explicit Lyrics
Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for what it is
After the last greatest hits compilation of Anthrax material, "Attack of the Killer A's", didn't go down so well with older fans of the band due to a surprising lack of older material, another compilation featuring only older material was pretty much a no brainer. "Madhouse: The Very Best of Anthrax" may be no more than a record company's attempt to cash in, but it does offer a fine selection of some of the band's best older material. Yes, "Ball of Confusion" isn't here, but we get "Antisocial", "Caught in a Mosh", "Indians", "I Am the Law", "Belly of the Beast", the uncensored version of "I'm the Man", and naturally "Bring the Noise". If you already own all of Anthrax's older albums, there is no point in owning this; however if your looking to get into the band, this along with "Attack of the Killer A's" is a good place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a madhouse, or so they claim....
Next to "Attack Of The Killer B's", this is a great "Best Of" collection from the NYC thrashers. It includes some of their greatest songs from their early days (with Joey Belladonna and Dan Spitz), from the albums Spreading The Disease, Among The Living, Perception of Time, and others. All of the songs have been remastered and they all sound GREAT. I think this is a great CD to buy if you're just starting out on Anthrax, or want to hear what they sound like remastered. Yeah, it was released by Island, but so what? If you like bands in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. It's a good best-of from one of the most underrated bands in history. Recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's not totally comprehensive, but...
I'm a huge Anthrax fan. Always have been. But I was kind of conflicted with this one. I knew that this CD was a big faceless corporate record label trying to cash in on a great band. But what did I do? I cracked and bought it.

Here's my approach: I accept the record for what it is. It's a compilation with a bunch of great songs on it. It may be missing "Ball of Confusion," as so many here have noted, but I'm thinking of what it does include.

It's got "I Am the Law," "Indians," and "Caught in a Mosh," from arguably one of the best metal recordings ever, "Among the Living." It also has the uncensored version of "I'm the Man," which I so enjoy. And probably my two favorite songs the band has done, "Antisocial" and "Belly of the Beast." And it's got that great cut with Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise."

I give it four stars because it's not officially licensed and it's not 100% comprehensive, so in theory it should be a three star recording, but the quality of the songs chosen warrant an extra star. ... Read more

Asin: B00005LNG3
Sales Rank: 155365


$11.98

The Beatles (The White Album)
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (25 October, 1990)
list price: $34.98 -- our price: $27.99
(price subject to change: see help)
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Editorial Review

Better known as the "White Album," this was meant to be the record that brought them back to earth after three years of studio experimentation. Instead, it took them all over the place, continuing to burst the envelope of pop music. Lennon and McCartney were still at the height of their powers, with Lennon in particular growing into one of rock's towering figures. But even McCartney could still rock, and the amazement on "Helter Skelter" was that he had vocal cords at the end. From Beach Boys knock-offs to reggae and to the unknown ("Revolution #9"), this has it all. Some records have legend written all over them; this is one. --Chris Nickson ... Read more

Reviews (738)

4-0 out of 5 stars "I got blisters on my fingers!"
Don't get me wrong, this is a great collection of tunes. Recorded in 1968, The Beatles aka "The White Album" has arguably generated more debate than any other Beatles LP. This album is also the beginning of a lot of inner turmoil within the group, which might explain some of the dysfunction. The Beatles had done the India thing, Ringo quit for a few days, and Yoko Ono was hanging out in the studio.
The Beatles got away from the studio tricks of Sgt. Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour era songs, especially with the more organic, acoustic-guitar based tracks they wrote in India. "Dear Prudence," "Blackbird," and "Mother Nature's Son" are all very beautiful songs. There are straight ahead rock numbers like "Back in the USSR" with its mock Beach Boys chorus and twisted Russian lyrics. Paul plays drums on both Prudence and USSR. Other tunes like "Birthday" and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey" proved the Beatles could still really rock, and "Helter Skelter" is raw metal.
If George Martin had had his way, this would have been a classic single album, but we would have missed quirky tunes like "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" with Yoko's warbled "but when he looked so fierce" lyric. Or the multi-style, multi-time signature "Happiness is a Warm Gun" with some bizarre John Lennon lyrics and not so hidden theme.
The best song of this set is George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with its haunting rhythm, world-weary lyrics and Eric Clapton guitar solo. There's a beautiful, intimate solo acoustic version on Anthology 3 that's not to be missed.

Why do I give this only four stars?
1. It's disjointed, like it was thrown together with no sense of dynamic. "While My Guitar" is sandwiched between "Bungalow Bill" and "Warm Gun." Really loud songs are right next to really quiet songs, with no cushion.
2. Paul was pretty self-indulgent at this point, with "Wild Honey Pie," "Why Don't We Do it in the Road" and "Honey Pie." I think Honey Pie has a nice melody, but when Paul sings "I like this kind of music" it's a direct poke at Lennon's disdain for Paul's "granny songs."
3. Revolution 9. Love it or hate it, this experimental avant garde montage should have been released on a John and Yoko solo work. Thankfully, they had Ringo sing "Goodnight" to close the record and bring us back to earth.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
What can I say about The White Album that hasn't been said before? An amazing two disc set with 30 songs total. Opening with Back In The USSR, Ringo sings a Beach Boys parody/ tribute/.... Next, John gives us two amazing songs: Dear Prudence is a down-tempo ballad and Glass Onion is like I am The Walrus, a poppy song with strings. Ob-La-Di is a cheesey (yet catchy) song by Paul. It's an up-beat piano song with an odd bass line. Wild Honey Pie is the first filler track: Paul screams HONEY PIE over strange noises for barely a minute. Bungalow Bill is a folk song about a hunters that switches tempo nicely. While My Guitar... is George's first contribution. It's an excellent ballad with Eric Clapton (!) giving an awesome performance on lead guitar (obviously). Happieness... is John's strange tempo-switching rocker. It starts as a bluesy ballad, gets fast and straight than, without warning, turns to 1950's Doo-Wop. Marth My Dear is Paul's poppy ballad about his dog. I'm So Tired is an amazing ballad by John that gets faster as John's lyrics get more bitter, than slows down. Blackbird is optimistic ballad by Paul (I think). Piggies is another George song, with a harpsicord and bizarre lyrics. Rocky Racoon is Paul's mock country song, armed with only an accoustic guitar, a piano, funny country lyrics and a strange accent, Paul delivers. Don't Pass Me By answers the age old question: "How come Ringo never writes songs?" It's an Okay song with a strang piano-thingy and a fiddle. Why Don't We... is another filler song, slow and bluesey. I will is a song Sir McCartney could of written in his sleep, very radio Friendly. Julia is another great ballad by John. Birthday, Me and My Monkey, and Helter Skelter are all good, hard rock songs, particullarly Helter Skelter. Yer Blues is (suprise) a blues song by John. Very bluesy and loose feeling. Mother Nature... has Paul succeeding at writing a Lennon ballad. Sexy Sadie is a soft, piano rocker. Long... is another George song that's unbearably quiet. Reveloution is an interesting, laid back Lennon rocker. Honey Pie is a 1920's sounding ballad. George continues his roll with Savory Truffel, a horn-driven rocker about a box-o-chocolates. Cry Baby Cry is a ballad. #9 is John Lennon screwing around with a tape recorder, mixing a guy saying "Number Nine...." with backwards vocals, people yelling, and noise in general. A good idea, but not for eight ... minutes! Good Night is sung by Ringo and closes off th album in a string-laden ballad fashion. IGNORE THE EXPENSIFE PRICE BUY THE ALBUM!

Mr. No-Name, The Fat Guy

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant musical hodge-podge
The Beatles left very deep footprints, and, love them or hate them, they are a cultural force to be reckoned with. The White Album represents both the peak of their art and the nadir of their personal relationships within the group (only to be surpassed by the gruesome Let It Be sessions...). Less of a group effort, each of Fabs here showcase their individual songwriting and singing talents, using the others as session players. They decisively destroy the image of the four happy pop clones of 1964. It was a liberating move for the musicians, but it can also be a jarring experience for the listener. It is a massive, sprawling masterwork that occasionally verges on complete collapse. The Beatles were never afraid to push the envelope to breaking point and beyond: The White Album is a case-in-point. As a historical document, The White Album can be heard as the "come down" from the Summer of Love, a testament to the idealism and disillusion (and dissipation) of 1968 (the year that saw the murder of both Martin Luther King and the death of the dream of peace, both within the US and internationally with the escalation of the Vietnam War). The minimalist cover artwork can be seen as the inevitable antidote to the colorful and florid excesses of Flower Power fashion. The White Album is a historical moment preserved in song. Matching the anguish and uncertainty of the era is the anguish and schizophrenia of the Beatles music on this record.

Many (including producer George Martin) have complained that the album is too long and includes tracks of inferior quality, that it could have been boiled down to a single album of solid gold. Honestly, there is something here to offend everybody. While most people (including Paul McCartney) find Revolution #9 unlistenable, it was a major achievement of experimental electronica at the time, and it bears repeated listening (but not when you're in an Obla-di Obla-da mood!). You may find yourself consistently skipping over several tracks, like Why Don't We Do It in the Road?, Wild Honey Pie, Good Night, Don't Pass Me By because they're all put-ons.

I find myself skipping over some tracks, like Yer Blues, not because it's a poorly written tune, but because it's just too emotionally painful, which is actually an acknowledgement of Lennon's success as an artist. He was in pain, and he conveyed it all too clearly. Helter Skelter, on the other hand, is completely empty of meaning, yet is absolutely hair-raising, perhaps the most terrifying pop song ever (after I Am the Walrus). The frantic clanging of Everybody's Got Something to Hide matches perfectly with Lennon's manic mood and mystical mind at the time. He describes the most profound LSD and/or meditation experience - "Your outside is in/when your inside is out" - but the way he sings it, it sounds like he's being torn apart by the experience, making the song both inspiring and frightening. I'm So Tired is such an effective evocation of apathy, insomnia, and frustration that it also makes my hair stand on end, esp. when he screams "I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind!" That song has fit into the soundtrack of my life alarmingly well. In short, some people might be put off by The White Album because it is too emotionally charged and artistically adventurous. It wasn't designed as musical wallpaper and refuses to be reduced to that. You have to be prepared to listen to The White Album. When you are, it's an exhilirating experience. If not, it might make you want to puke.

The contrast in mood between the tracks is most jarring. Lennon snarls at his fans in Glass Onion, layers sarcasm on gun lovers in Happiness is a Warm Gun, pointedly berates the Left in Revolution #1, savagely attacks the Maharishi in Sexy Sadie, wails of suicide in Yer Blues. In contrast, McCarney offers some of his mildest, sweetest songs - I Will, Blackbird, and Mother Nature's Son, as well as the syrupy, music hall kitsch of Honey Pie, Martha My Dear, and Rocky Raccoon. None of McCartney's tracks here are "deep," but if you're in the mood for some tasty musical candies, these fit the bill quite nicely. Obladi Oblada is perhaps the best of the fluffy treats here. If this is your first exposure to the Beatles, you might well wonder how the group could contain such dramatic differences in temperament. (In fact, it couldn't, and would soon collapse because of those very differences in personality).

The classic tunes of this collection certainly more than justify the purchase of the two-disc set. John offers the stunning ode to his lost mother (and to Yoko) entitled Julia. George Harrison scores perhaps his greatest triumph with While My Guitar Gently Weeps (featuring Eric Clapton on lead guitar). Lennon's Dear Prudence is another touching masterpiece, written to order to induce Prudence Farrow to quit hiding out in her bungalow at Rishikesh. Ultimately, The White Album has something to delight everyone. If you prefer to avoid some tracks, you are among the majority of listeners. That's par for The White Album course. Once again, the inconsistency of the album accurately portrays the mind of each of the Beatles at the time as well as the larger cultural environment of 1968. It is required listening for anyone interested in 20th c. pop music. But be forewarned, it's not a smooth ride. ... Read more

Asin: B000002UAX


$27.99

Reckless Precision
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (15 May, 1990)
list price: $16.98 -- our price: $14.99
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Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars If Will Ackerman or Alex De Grassi played jazz...
... it would probably sound a lot like this. If you dig the Windham Hill crowd, you'll love this CD (seriously-- Windham Hill fans should buy it right now). However, if, like me, you STRONGLY prefer John Fahey's american-primative sound to Ackerman's new age sound, steer clear of this one. In jazz terms, if you love Wes Montgomery and can't stand Pat Metheny, you probably won't be as enthusiastic about this disc as other reviewers.

There is a frightening tendency among music (particularly guitar) fans to praise anyone who shows technical proficiency, which Tuck certainly does. However, I find most of Tuck's music a bit academic and antiseptic. This album has a few true high points. "Manonosh" and "Louie Louie" show that when Tuck really wants to, he can keep up with the best. I also found his rendition of Bonfa's classic, "Manha de Carnival" a somewhat refreshing new take on the track (although I prefer Sandy Bull's more elaborate interpretation on the highly recommended "Re-Inventions"). However, I am not as impressed by Tuck's pop stuff. When Coltrane covered "My Favorite Things," it was a revelation. When Andress covered "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," it sounded cheesy. Most disappointing was Andress' attempted opus, "Grooves of Joy," which ended up sounding like a bunch of disparate pieces of varied styles spliced together without any transition or sense of overall composition, although individually, the parts were interesting, which was why I found it so disappointing. For a finger style jazz artist capable of pulling something like that off, I would suggest Adrian Legg (particularly "Guitars and Other Cathedrals," on which the title track actually does pull together somewhat disparate strands into a tight composition, but be ware, Legg also plays a lot of bluegrass-type stuff that may not be to everyone's liking. Also, check out Preston Reed). Finally, if you are really interested in a mind-blowing technique combining melody and bass lines played at the same time, check out Charlie Hunter, who plays an 8-string guitar (3 bass strings, 5 guitar strings) allowing him to play bass lines and melody at the same time, and even mimic a Hammond almost flawlessly.

4-0 out of 5 stars Will bring fingerstylists to tears
One of the greatest fingerstyle jazz albums ever. Tuck's arrangements of the standards are amazing, and, despite his prodigious abilities, he never overplays. One minor complaint: too much string noise. Tuck's L5 sounds more acoustic than electric.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing artistry and technique-not to be missed.
We had the opportunity to witness this talent first hand. Fortunately,Tuck & Patti performed in our small town this spring. They were amazing and breathtaking.Tuck's styling and versitility on the guitar is unbelievable and under appreciated.And Patti's vocal range and styling was truly unique. I can only hope to experience this again. Until then, this recording (and other from the duo) will have to suffice. Definitely worth having in your collection if you appreciate guitar artistry. ... Read more

Asin: B000000NE7
Sales Rank: 21092


$14.99

The Joshua Tree
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (15 June, 1990)
list price: $13.98 -- our price: $11.99
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Editorial Review

Having nearly exhausted their capacity for pop-song politics on War and The Unforgettable Fire, U2 turned toward themes of personal identity and complex relationships on The Joshua Tree. Not that the group was willing to come down off the barricades entirely: "Mothers of the Disappeared" and "Bullet the Blue Sky" turned a jaundiced eye toward Central America and the United States' role there. But the predominant mood here is one of self-discovery and the hunger for something more on tracks like the pulsating "Where the Streets Have No Name" and the gospel-ish "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The album's masterstroke, however, is "With or Without You," a nasty love song dressed up as an ode of devotion and care. It ranks with the Police's "Every Breath You Take" as the most misread smash hit of the '80s. --Daniel Durchholz ... Read more

Reviews (323)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, epic rock album.
For me, The Joshua Tree is the best album of the 1980's. It had a notably long recording process, and saw the group travel to the Heartland of America for inspiration and for the memorable B&W cover art. The inspiration they found was in the direction of spirited, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking sentiments delivered with fervour. Every song on the 11-track album is memorable. I'll start with my all-time favourite U2 song: Where The Streets Have No Name. I love this song dearly - it is about casting off one's shackles to find a true freedom of the spirit. I believe this theme is extended to the second single I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, which is about the search for spiritual meaning and an affirmation of faith despite a questioning soul. Songwriting does not get any better than these two tunes. With Or Without You is a brooding song that starts slowly , then winds into a majestic chorus before fading to a wonderful instrumental coda. Again, it evokes a strong passion clearly stated with no filters. U2 never made music this direct again, spinning off into irony and camp during their glittery 1990's Lemon sojourn, but these 3 all-time classics will never be forgotten. One Tree Hill is a passionate song for a NZ friend of the band's who was lost in an auto accident. Running To Stand Still is sort of exploring similar territory to 1984's Bad , but has a different feel, while the bleak Exit is an undiluted cry from someone at the end of a very dark tunnel of despair. The gentle refrain of Mothers Of The Disappeared is also about the painful emotions of the bereaved, but offers solace in the face of tyranny. In God's Country is a more straightforward tune that may have referred to the USA itself, where many patriots believe themselves divinely blessed. And why not?!!! U2 found the wellsprings of the rock and soul traditions in God's Country on their 1987 concert tour, and their American experiences are documented of course in the Rattle And Hum movie . This title comes from the incendiary track Bullet The Blue Sky, which is about the fear of the military and economic might of the USA in certain Central American regions. This became a dramatic concert favourite thereafter. Red Hill Mining Town is another track with a memorable, soaring vocal performance by Bono. The lightest touch on the album is in the tune Trip Through Your Wires. All in all, a richly emotional album with great music and inspiring lyrics. I have seen it written that the sound quality isn't the best. Not being an audiophile, I wouldn't know, but I really don't believe that matters much. All that matters is the music and the message. This is a 5-star masterpiece. Highly Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars One for a desert island!
Being a U2 fan for many years, I thought the best U2 album was 'Achtung Baby' and didn't think any album by them could come close to it.

Well that all changed last week when I finally got around to buying 'Joshua Tree'. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't just an album to parade U2's probably three most famous songs. Talking of these three famous songs, if someone can name me an album which has a better trio of opening tracks than 'Where the Streets..', 'Still Haven't Found..' and 'With or Without You', I will truely be amazed. But as I was saying. This album isn't just about those three true great musical anthems. The first other song on the album that really struck me was 'Running to Stand Still'. A beautiful ballad about a heroin addict, it sees Bono at his song writing best. And then there is the truely amazing and unique 'Exit' - a real musical journey, building you to a musical frenzy and back again.

Other highlights of the album include the classic-rock styled 'Bullet the Blue Sky' and the ode to America 'In God's Country'. Most other classic albums have at least one 'album filler' track, but not with 'Joshua Tree'.

To conclude, all I can say is, do you think your music collection is complete? Well its certainly not complete without 'Joshua Tree' and if you don't own this album you are depriving yourself of a truely timeless epic album.

I certainly 'found what what I was looking for'...

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic
"The Joshua Tree was the album U2 HAD to make, the only one they COULD make"

Those are the words of Eamon Dunphy, author of "Unforgettable Fire - The Definitive Biography of U2", on U2's process of making a new record in 1986 and early 1987. That might sound like an over-dramatization for a rock record, but once you've heard the record, that thought goes out the window. This record, U2's exploration of America, is one of the quintessential rock records ever recorded. It is, varying with opinion, U2's masterpiece of masterpieces. Since this album was recorded back when it was still 'ok' to talk about records in the context of 'sides', I will say that every song on the first 'side' of this record is a classic. 'Where The Streets Have No Name' with an intro that ranks with the best of all time, 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' with a theme of longing that anyone can relate to, 'With Or Without You'(my favorite U2 track), one of the most popular breakup songs ever, 'Bullet The Blue Sky' with its hypnotic talk/chant at the end at Edge's furious and passionate solos, and 'Running To Stand Still' with its atmosphere of deep pain being held in. The second 'side' was comprised of lesser-known but no less mesmerizing songs: 'Red Hill Mining Town', 'In God's Country', 'Trip Through Your Wires', 'One Tree Hill', which was written for roadie Greg Carroll, who died in a motercycle wreck running an errand for U2, the dark and moody 'Exit', and the mournful and haunting ballad closer, 'Mothers Of The Disappeared'.

This record catapaulted U2 in a realm of superstardom seldom seen by any band. They were not expecting it and they were taken by surprise a bit. I own this record on vinyl, cassette, and CD, and I even have the 'Classic Albums' DVD for it. This album has that quality about it, that sets it apart from from all other albums that don't pocess it. What quality is that? This was the first U2 record I ever heard, and I remember listening to it for the first time at age 13, and thinking to myself, before the album was even half over, 'hey, whoa, this band is one of the best ever'. That's the quality. Just like when you listen to 'Revolver' or 'Abbey Road' or any record of that quality, before it is even finished, you know the band is one of the best ever. I was completely blown away. It is a draining experience, one that will leave you exhausted when the album reaches its conclusion.

Spiritually, emotionally, lyrically, musically, commercially, U2 reached their peak with this record, and it was a peak they would remain on for a while to come, starting with the "Joshua Tree Tour", their biggest tour to date at the time. And not only did U2 reach their peak, but it is also important to note that on this record, Bono reached his peak as a singer. For U2's whole career up to this point, he had progressively improved as a singer with each outing. On this record he made the leap from being a very good rock singer to being one of the great rock singers of all time. I submit he is still the best, most emotional, most evocative rock singer of his time.

And though that tour would eventually lead to U2 being sick and tired of their current form, and to the brink of a breakdown, that was still a good two and a half years away. At this point U2 were excited to be as popular and relevant as they would ever be, which, incidentally gave them the leverage to pull stunts like the now legendary liquor-shop-roof-quasi-show during which the 'Where The Streets Have No Name' video was shot. U2 had arrived. ... Read more

Asin: B000001FS3


$11.99

Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories)
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (25 February, 1997)
list price: $18.98 -- our price: $14.99
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Editorial Review

This subtle, sublime collaboration finds bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Pat Metheny crafting bejeweled chamber duets that transcend genre. With their shared Missouri lineage as a thematic touchstone, Haden and Metheny forge a lyrical, mostly acoustic style at once intimate and expansive. Both pare their playing to a Zen-like economy, focusing on a purity of tone, clarity of harmony, and counterpoint to achieve a tender lyricism.

Metheny's acoustic steel-string and classical guitars predominate, but he also applies discreet overdubs (including some delicate synthesizer and keyboard textures) to sculpt orchestral detail. Haden, as always, is both a generous foil and a deft melodist on his own, moving easily into his instrument's upper register as he twines through Metheny's lines. The set's emotional coherence is particularly satisfying in light of the material, which spans Ennio Morricone ("Cinema Paradiso"), Henry Mancini ("Two for the Road"), Jim Webb ("The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"), and Roy Acuff ("The Precious Jewel") as well as affecting originals by both leaders. And giving the project a sense of closure, while commenting obliquely on the generational dialogue it represents, is the luminous "Spiritual" (composed by Haden's son, Josh), an instrumental prayer that exemplifies the balance of concision and deep emotion at the heart of this exquisite triumph. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (45)

2-0 out of 5 stars Nice cover, shame about the CD
I think a more apt sub-title for this CD would have been, "short bedtime stories" by charlie haden and pat metheny. Why ? Because it's enough to send anyone to sleep. Am I being unkind ? No, not really, it's the truth. For me, the 90's was not a particularly good period for pat metheny's music. For some reason or other, he felt that he had to go from one extreme to another on albums. On this one, it was his intention to go purely acoustic. Bear in mind that it would be just him, playing the acoustic guitar, and charlie, playing the acoustic bass. You don't need to be Einstein to realise, that with this combination, you are never likely to end up with a particularly exciting, or even interesting, album, as this one proves. One or two tracks in this format would have been fine, but a whole album does seem a bit excessive. I will give charlie the benefit of the doubt now, I do think he realised this, and tried to convince pat otherwise, obviously without much success. The expression, "It would have been easier to get blood out of a stone" comes to mind. Anyway, pat did concede slightly by introducing the synclavier and electric guitar on a couple of the tracks. I've got to that stage now where I only bother to listen to three tracks on the album, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "He's Gone Away" and "Cinema Paradiso (main theme)". As it happens, all of these tracks contain synclavier orchestration. For me, that synclavier was well under used, virtually every track needed it, better still they should have hired a backing band. I must admit, if I was offered my money back on this one I would take it, don't say I didn't warn you. If you're looking for a good pat metheny album then I can recommend the following; my star rating is in brackets. Letter From Home(5), Still Life Talking(4.5), Offramp(4), First Circle(4), Secret Story(4), We Live Here(4), The Road to You(4), Quartet(3), Travels(3), Imaginary Day(3).

4-0 out of 5 stars An unique collaboration among two giants
For those who know each of Haden's and Metheny's careers, this is an unusual album, somewhat out of the "mainstream". Similarly, do not expect to find similarities to other past Metheny-Haden projects such as the "Rejoicing" CD. Yet, both musicians deliver a solid musical communication that trascends their respective musical paths. That is perhaps what makes this album unique. Guitar-bass interactions go hand in hand, nothing on top of anything. Not-so-very-acoustic elements have been nicely incorporated into the recording. This is a rare opportunity to fully listen to Pat Metheny playing the acoustic guitar. At times his play is a bit rough (too much electric fingering?), but overall his performance is excellent. It reminds me of his earlier collaboration with Milton Nascimento's "Angelus" CD where Metheny plays the acoustic guitar on the track titled "amor amigo" on this 1994 album.

If you do not know Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden, I nevertheless recommend this album for the jazz listener. For most of the tunes, the performing quality of both artists will fly over any musical preconceptions. Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Whoa Dude!!! (..where's my car?)
This is a great cd that I have recently become hip to(o) it is almost as good as my metalica, cattlepress, or carcus records which rock my mind on an out of body experience that only my neo-classical death metal dude's can thrash. I listen to the intimacy and am like ... wow this is almost as good as iron maiden -and trust me I can rationalize ways in which iron maiden become musical geniuses in my warp. Rock On!!!! . . . (?) ... Read more

Asin: B0000047EC


$14.99

Axis: Bold As Love
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (22 April, 1997)
list price: $13.98 -- our price: $12.99
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Editorial Review

Jimi Hendrix's second album doesn't resonate through rock history the way its gatecrashing predecessor, Are You Experienced?, does. In places, it almost seems as if Hendrix is cruising, albeit sublimely. Yet it's a vital album, containing some of rock's molten milestones. There's the fluid psychedelia of "Castles Made of Sand," the viciously funky "Little Miss Lover," and the so-beautiful-it-hurts "Little Wing." Hendrix really hits altitude with "If 6 Was 9," where he waves his "freak flag high" over a tidal wave of guitar and a cacophonous army of Moroccan flutes, and he ends with "Bold As Love," based around Hendrix's typically far-fetched hankering for the axis of the planet to be tilted, thereby transforming life on earth. It works up into a head-melting frenzy of distorted guitar, a precursor to the staggeringly expansive leap forward he would take with 1968's Electric Ladyland. Hendrix dreamed the impossible and achieved it on his guitar. --David Stubbs ... Read more

Reviews (101)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jimi Hendrix Always Makes It A Heavenly Listening Experience
This really is a very excellent Cd. Axis:Bold As Love is one of those fine albums that are perfect from the beginning to the end. The only nit to pick is the first track "EXP", which sounds like Hendrix and his boys had too many drugs and too much spare time. The album really gets going with the wonderful "Spanish Castle Magic" which is metal before metal existed. From there, the album really flies off, and the listener is placed in a catochism of Hendrix guitar magic.
From "Spanish Castle Magic" to the last track "Bold As Love" not one song is really any worse than the other. Best Cuts?
"Spanish Castle Magic" gets the album rocking. The serene "Little Wing," an excellent example of Hendrix's masterful guitar playing. "If 6 was 9" is kinda blues sounding and a wondeful song. Other good ones are "Castles Made of Sand,"
the funky "Little Miss Lover," with the slap guitar, and lastly
"Bold As Love," a wonderful ending to a wonderful album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Taking the guitar to unexplored heights
First of all, that Fred Durst fan is an idiot but from reading his other reviews its obvious that he's goofing on everyone (he said that Alice In Chains is a third rate Puddle Of Mudd rip-off and that Tom DeLonge gives Joe Satriani a run for his money).

Now to my review. After his debut album 'Are You Experienced?' reached number two and rewrote the rules of rock guitar, Jimi Hendrix had a lot to live up to on his sophomore effort. But thankfully, 'Axis: Bold As Love', does not disappoint. Jimi's R&B influence is much more prominent here, especially on tracks like 'Castles Made Of Sand', 'Wait Until Tomorrow', and the beautiful 'Little Wing'. But don't let that lead you to believe that his playing isn't just as great as on the Experience's first album. He rips through one of his best solos in 'Bold As Love'. 'If Six Was Nine' is one of Jimi's better psychedelic experiments as is the funky 'Up From The Skies'. It is obvious to the listener that his personal songwriting is continually growing and the aforementioned 'Little Wing' is probably his most heartfelt and touching song. After this 'Axis' Jimi would release 'Electric Ladyland' which would take psychedelic guitar farther than anyone would ever imagine.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Experience's best studio album
Axis was originally released in 1968 and is the second of the three studio albums released in Hendrix's lifetime. For my money Axis is the Experience at their peak. Its better recorded than the debut "Are You Experienced?". The drums sound MUCH better and the guitar much more alive and richer in tone. And Axis is less rambling, more focused and less broad in scope than "Electric Ladyland". The songs flow better than either of the other studio albums and both the recording and song writing are more consistant. Not neccessarily better. Its just that Axis is more unified in sound than Hendrix's other studio output. It's his tightest and most psychedelic album. Jimi and his engineer Eddie Kramer really got some facinating sounds in the studio and used phasing among other tricks to great effect. Just check out the track list: Its got the live staple "Spanish Castle Magic", its got "Little Wing", its got "If Six Was Nine" "Im gonna wave my freak flag HIGH!" Its got the jazzy soul of "Up From the Skies" and the metal edged funk of "Aint No Telling" to the acid tinged 4 minute pop symphony of the title song "Bold As Love." Not to mention the beautiful Dylanesque rocker "Castles Made Of Sand." It doesn't get any better than this. One of the true psychedelic albums of the sixties. Just Beautiful. ... Read more

Asin: B000002P5W


$12.99

Alpha
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (19 March, 1996)
list price: $6.98 -- our price: $6.98
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Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Asia is a magnificent, feel-good band!
"Alpha" is an indelibly vivacious Prog Rock powerhouse from Asia. This CD, along with their debut "Asia" (1982), "Astra" (1986), and "Then and Now" (1990), has the ability to uplift you from Life's most bleakest misfortunes! Why shouldn't it?! Asia combines John Wetton along with Prog Rock overlords Carl Palmer (ELP), Steve Howe (Yes), and Geoff Downes; that says it all! The guitar work and the keyboards are a work of art, and Wetton's vocals burst with inspirational energy in each song.

Every track on "Alpha" is musical medicine for the broken soul. The very best tunes include "Don't Cry", "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", "Eye to Eye", "Midnight Sun", and "Open Your Eyes". However, I'm most madly in love with "My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)". This is one of the most positively healing rock tunes ever written! It seeks to tell you that you are worth something in this sometimes chaotic world, even if you do the right thing in your own way in lieu of much pain, opposition, or doubt because you know that good things will eventually come, even if you face it on your own. I don't think I would have ever gotten over breaking up with my First Love if it weren't for this song! God bless you, Asia!

4-0 out of 5 stars Symphonic rock at its best
Asia's "Alpha" is a tour de force for those who like to hear keyboards and guitars mixed in a rock environment. The dense layers of music are pierced by the soaring vocals of the legendary John Wetton, whose voice is unique yet accessible to those of us who like to sing along. Guitar great Steve Howe is matched by technopop keyboard wizard Geoff Downes in giving the album double lead instruments and Carl Palmer's drumming keeps it all moving in the same direction. Themes are often missing in music albums today, but "Alpha" delivers with the coming of age of today's woman as she becomes an independent force and the societal confusion between the genders as the roles are redefined. A great album full of layers of music and you'll find something different every time you listen. "Don't Cry" is a rock favorite and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" is one of the sweetest revenge songs you'll ever hear. "The Heat Goes On" delivers the rock, and "Open Your Eyes" is a proper climactic moment of this album as it's sweet melody drives to its' flourishing finish.

1-0 out of 5 stars Eca!
Annoying. Unbearable. That's the only words that come into my mind when thinking about the second album from ASIA. No wonder the band broke apart after this one, beginning an endless "dance fo chairs" with its musicians.

IT's sugar pop, of course played by extremely talented musicians, but it's sugar pop anyway. Really terrible. ... Read more

Asin: B000000OXH
Sales Rank: 46898


$6.98

Fragile
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (16 August, 1994)
list price: $11.98
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Editorial Review

With the 1972 release of Fragile, Yes established themselves as one of the most progressive rock bands on the scene. With the recent addition of towering, silver-caped Rick Wakeman on keyboards, they raised their innovative brand of music to even dizzier heights. "Roundabout," which is still a standard on classic rock playlists, is an unusual track, coming in under four minutes, while "Heart of the Sunrise"--with its varied constituents molded together perfectly--goes on for as long as it needs.--Paul Clark ... Read more

Features

  • Original recording remastered
Reviews (98)

4-0 out of 5 stars 4.75 Stars
Fragile, despite it's title, is a solid album. The opener Roundabout is about as much prog rock goodness as you can squeeze into 8 and a half minutes, a very good song on which Howe and Squire especially, show their talents. The other two non-solo pieces are South Side of the Sky, another good song on which Rick Wakeman lends his keyboard prowess and Heart of the Sunrise, which is one of Yes's absolute best songs. The intro is killer, with some great bass work from Squire, and interplay from Howe and Wakeman. Jon Anderson's composition Long Distance Runaround is another classic. As for the 5 solo pieces, well they're a mixed bag. I have no use for any of them except for Howe's and Squire's, and Anderson's in particular is annoying. Wakeman's is just pointless, why not listen to the real Cahns and Brahams? And Brufords, well, you better not blink or you'll miss it. On the other hand, Chris Squire's the Fish is an excellent bass solo, showing a taste of just how many sounds you can get out of the instrument. Steve Howe's Mood For A Day is one of the best acoustic solos I have ever heard, it is a beautiful song, even better than Clap on the Yes Album. Since this album contains only 4 full-band pieces and was hastily put together in part to cover the cost of new member Wakeman's expensive array of instruments, it leads one to wonder how much greater this already great album could have been.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mostly Filler Material, But Some Good Moments
After being completely blown away by CLOSE TO THE EDGE, I decided to go out and buy another Yes album to see how their other LPs sound. Unfortunately, while containing some fine moments, FRAGILE definitely lives up to its title. It is the predecessor to CLOSE TO THE EDGE after all (it was released a few months before in 1972), but that's no excuse. In reviewing this, I have divided it into three sections: the great songs, the "solo" pieces, and the throwaway tracks.

The Great Songs:

"Roundabout"--An 8-minute jam session featuring some stunning musicianship and lots of energy. Proves that progressive rock doesn't need to be all artsy and serious all the time. Became the band's biggest hit of the decade.

"South Side of the Sky"--A bit of a surprise, since it shows Yes really rocking out. In fact, this is as close to a heavy metal tune as Yes would ever get. Rick Wakeman's grand piano solo is very beautiful and haunting...it could've been used in a horror movie.

"Heart of the Sunrise"--The album's closing 10-minute opus which paves the way for Yes' longer epics on subsequent albums. Great vocals from Jon Anderson on this one.

The "Solo" Pieces:

Out of the five short solo pieces, Steve Howe's reflective acoustic number "Mood for a Day" is the best, with Jon Anderson's catchy "We Have Heaven" coming in at a close second. Chris Squire's "The Fish" is a bit of a disappointment, Wakeman's "Cans and Brahms" is pretty unnecessary, and do I really need to mention Bill Bruford's "Five Per Cent for Nothing?"

The Throwaway Tracks (only one):

"Long Distance Runaround"--Another big hit off this album, and it's by far the worst. Not one of my favorites.

FRAGILE is basically a very mixed and uneven effort. Hopefully the next Yes album I get is better, but for right now, skip this one and buy the far superior CLOSE TO THE EDGE.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Yes' Best Works
The reviewers below really hit it dead on: this is not Yes' most cohesive or best album, but it still is one of the essential albums in any rock collection. Every member of Yes is incredibly talented: Jon Anderson's raspy voice sounds like two people singing at the same time; Chris Squire plays bass as if it was a lead instrument; Steve Howe's guitar at times rings with classical underpinnings and at other times rips out overwhelming lightning fast rock riffs; Wakeman's only peer on keyboards is Keith Emerson; and I suspect Bill Bruford is one of the few drummers who could possibly anchor this much talent.

Without reviewing the songs individually, the music is some of the most complex to be produced by a mainstream rock band with extended instrumental passages which paint great musical landscapes. The lyrics are pure poetry, the meaning of which is not always ascertainable. In a way this enhances the band in that it allows Jon Anderson's voice to be a musical instrument communicating pure emotion without the necessity of resorting to the meaning of the words he is voicing.

Amazingly, 30 years after this album was released, YES! can still fill the 2500 seat Universal Amputheater in Los Angeles, with seats going for an average of $... a pop. That says a lot for the quality of the musicians and their compositions. And that is why this album is essential to a music collection.

Why buy the DVD-Audio?

CDs are harsh and brittle. They produce listening fatigue in minutes, and have always left me fiddling with the trebble in a feeble attempt correct the uncorrectable sound. Nothing worked. So, for serious music appreciation, I needed to resort to the long playing vinyl album. These have their own problems such as limited dynamic range, transient distortion, poor pressing quality, tape hiss and noise, scratches and thousands of pops and ticks, rumble, wow and flutter, and expensive playback equipment which needed care and tuning. And worst of all, I had to get up to flip the album half-way through!

DVD-Audio and SACDs fix these problems. Initially, I put on the CD of Yes' "Close to the Edge" just to assure myself that CDs aren't for extended listening. I then played the DVD-A and the vinyl of Fragile at the same time and flipped back and forth. The stereo track on the DVD-A revealed instruments which were burried on the vinyl: Steve Howe's guitar has a beautiful warmth to it which is missing on the vinyl -- the ring and sustain of the guitar notes at the beginning of Roundabout held on longer; the echo from the room in which Anderson was singing became more apparent; Wakeman's synthesizers sounded crystaline without harshness; and you could hear with clarity the wood of Bruford's sticks as they hit the rim of a drum. The 5.1 track reveals even more, most notably in "Cans and Brahms" when Wakeman hits a deep bass organ peddle and the room vibrates.

A must have album. If you have a DVD player, I also recommend Yes Live at the House of Blues and Keys to Ascension. ... Read more

Asin: B000002J1F


So Far, So Good...So What!
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (25 October, 1990)
list price: $11.98
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Features

  • Explicit Lyrics
Reviews (84)

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated by many. Great record.
I agree to some people saying that Megadeth's "Peace Sells..." and "Rust in Peace" a superior to this album. But anyway, this is one of those classic thrash-metal CDs fully deserving a 5-star rating.

Despite his known drug-abuse problems and line-up changes, Dave Mustaine managed to put out yet another piece of high-speed, emotional, angry and hateful music, with venomous vocal rasps and lightning-fast solos.
I have to admit that this album got me acquainted with Megadeth back in 89, and it took a good amount of time to hook me up. But in the end it proved to be an excellent addition to Megadeth's series of thrash-metal greatness, continuing up until "Youthanasia" was released in 1994. Some call early Megadeth's style "thrash'n'roll", and they are not very far from the truth.
This record shouldn't be your first buy in Megadeth's discography, but it firmly belongs in the Top-5 of Mustaine's albums and I recommend you to buy it eventually.

PS I don't know if anyone mentioned it here, but the track "Liar" is dedicated to Megadeth's ex-guitarist Chris Poland. Nice one, eh? :)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, not great, just average.
After the Peace Sells tour, guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson were fired from Megadeth. Jeff Young and Chuck Behler were their replacements who would last even shorter in the band than their predecessors. How does this album, the only one to feature this album, measure up? Read on.

Into the Lungs of Hell: Light instrumental that soon becomes a heavier one. Good as an album starter but not much else. B+

Set the World Afire: Extremely fast and heavy. Enough said. A-

Anarchy in the U.K.: Megadeth covers the Sex Pistols, and it proves to be one of their WORST earlier efforts. The style fusion didn't work great here. C+

Mary Jane: Eighties Megadeth at its best. This track combines heavy and melodic stuff perfectly.

502: Hard rocker with sweet instrumental usage and some of Dave's best vocals to date. A

In My Darkest Hour: Dark and slow, Dave pays tribute to deceased Metallica bassist Cliff Burton here. This dark side is AWESOME. A+

Liar: Mid-fast tempo hard rocker. Strong effort. A

Hook in Mouth: Fairly generic hard rocker. B-

Though good for the most part, this album isn't one of Megadeth's best. In fact, I consider this their WORST album. The next one is where they'd achieve true greatness for the first time...

4-0 out of 5 stars Underrated
For awhile, this was my favorite Megadeth album, due in part to nostalgic reasons (it was my first Megadeth album). I love the way this one sounds, it's got great production, and some great songs. Jeff Young is overlooked as a great guitarist. I love everything about this one -- even the cover (front and back!). Recommended. ... Read more

Asin: B000002UDD
Sales Rank: 45299


MTV Unplugged in New York
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
Audio CD (01 November, 1994)
list price: $13.98 -- our price: $12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
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Editorial Review

The last Nirvana collection recorded before the untimely death of Kurt Cobain, Unplugged caught many by surprise with its stripped down, neo-acoustic offerings with a bridled fury. When Cobain sings, "I swear I don't have a gun, I don't have a gun" with clenched teeth (instead of an open howl) and when the haunting strains of "About a Girl"--from their earliest LP--chills even with quieted guitars, you discover a new appreciation for the nuances of one of the greatest bands of recent times. Highlights include covers of three Meat Puppets tracks (featuring special guests Curt and Kris Kirkwood of that influential "college rock" band), the weepy cello on the Vaselines' "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam," and their cover of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World." --Lorry Fleming ... Read more

Features

  • Live
Reviews (320)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and timeless
Nirvana's Unplugged remains one of the band's most majestic moments. Coming hot off the heels of the noisy In Utero album, the band decided to stop into MTV's studios in New York City and play an acoustic set that completely erased any notions that they were just a simple "grunge" band. Kurt Cobain seems completely relaxed throughout, and he gives some staggeringly beautiful vocal performances. Dave Grohl plays the drums with wire brushes and demonstrates that he was just as capable of subtle shading as he was at hard-hitting fury. Krist Novoselic proves himself to be a worthwhile musician as well, playing accordion on "Jesus Doen't Want Me For a Sunbeam" in additon to playing a very solid-yet-laid back acoustic bass. Add former Germs guitarist Pat Smear to the lineup, as well as a guest appearance by the Kirkwood brothers of Tempe band the Meat Puppets, and you have all of the ingredients of that legendary November 1993 night.

All of the most obvious choices from Nevermind are featured here, "Polly," and "Something in the Way" of course, but their acoustic rendering of "On a Plain" is both relevatory and surprising, since I would not have expected them to include this song, and what's more it actually works as an acoustic! The classic "Come As You Are" is given more subtlely and emotion here, and that flanged guitar solo sounds positively stunning on an acoustic (actually he was using a half-acoustic/half-electric hybrid). The band also delivers some of the most mature songs from In Utero, too. "Dumb" sounds both blissful and melancholy at the same time, "All Apologies" is one of the highlights here, and "Pennyroyal Tea" stands as one of Kurt's most emotionally naked moments (I actually like the version here better).

Like the Beatles before him, Kurt Cobain had the uncanny ability to take any cover song and make it his own. From Devo to Leadbelly, David Bowie to the Vaselines, Kurt made it sound like all of these songs were his own, and he does this beautifully here as well, especially on their rendition of Bowie's "Man Who Sold the World," and of course, Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." The latter has to be one of Nirvana's most chilling moments of all time, especially near the close of the song, where Kurt is giving it his all. Then, with an impassioned cry of "SHIVEEERRRRR!" he pauses for a couple of seconds before finishing the line. At this moment, I have to say the silence is deafening and is absolutely haunting in the purest sense of the word. It seems ironic that a band who was known for noisy live performances could rip walls out (and hearts) with two seconds of silence. This, if nothing else, stands as a testament to Nirvana's gifts.

As life affirming as this can be to listen to, sometimes it can also be quite sad knowing that this is ultimately the last word from Nirvana before Kurt's untimely death. But if this was the band's (and Kurt's) swan song, it is certainly the best finale that one can have, and I would certainly want something this beautiful to be my farewell, too. Even ten years later (God, has it been that long already?), Nirvana's Unplugged session remains as fresh as it was at the time, and stands as one of their very best live performances (as well as their most unique). Whether you are a casual fan or a diehard, this album is not to be missed and you are doing yourself a grave injustice if you skip out. This isn't just an Unplugged session, it is an experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars God, how i wish i could've been there...
This is one of the weridest albums i own, in a way. Nirvana, a band which set the whole grunge scene going, and arguably one of the best in the genre, decided to make a live unplugged show for MTV. Nirvana, you know. Fat distortions, atonal riffs, raging vocals, powerful shows. Nirvana.

That they did *THIS* good is a surprise, and should change more than one peoples' mind about the artistic merits of the band (and Kurt Cobain in particular). Forget what you thought of this Nirvana; the way they morphed their songs (and others too) into mellow accoustic tunes is remarkable, and against all odds, worked great. I mean, my dad, who can't stand 99.9% of grunge, loves this record. It's easy to listen, but not because the songs are cheezy, it's just the complete album is incredibly good.

From start to finish, it transports you first row to this (unique) performance. Like i said, the whole record is excellent, but tracks like "Plateau", "Oh me", "On a plain", "Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam", "Where did you sleep last night?", and "All apologies" are so deeply moving i prefer to listen them by myself, wearing headphones. I can only imagine, closing my eyes, what have it felt to be there.

This is hands down one of the best albums of the 90's, and easily one of the top 10 live recordings of all history. It's hard to say this things without sounding like a fanboy, but the truth is that it simply is. Whatever your musical cup-of-tea is, you deserve to give this record a listen. People argue about how much they like this album - i dare you find someone who doesn't.

5-0 out of 5 stars NIRVANA
If u love nirvana u should check this band out all their influences include nirvana their name is cannibal garden their site is http://www.cannibalgarden.cjb.net/ you should spread the word around about them. ... Read more

Asin: B000003TB9


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