- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
I have been a fan of The Eagles for a while now and when I saw a Documentary about the band on TV recently I decided that I would dig out some of their albums again and have a listen to them after not having listened to them for a while. I checked online to see whether they were touring the UK anytime soon and what did I find? To my delight they are Touring right now and I am tempted to go and see them at the O2 in London in a few weeks.
Hotel California is the band''s fifth studio album and first with Joe Walsh who joined the band when he replaced founding member Bernie Leadon. "Hotel California" was also the last Eagles album with bass player and singer Randy Meisner who was also another founding member. The album was released on 8th December 1976 and is their biggest album in terms of sales with over 32 million copies sold worldwide. It represented a growth in the bands style and musicianship. The album was critically acclaimed.
1.) Hotel California
This is one of my favourite songs of all time, It''s a dynamic and well structured track which really showcases the musical ability of the band. Whilst there have been many interpretations of the song, The band say it is their "interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles".whatever the meaning it''s a superb song with smooth vocals from Don Henley and dynamic guitar work from the guitar trio of Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Don Felder. It;s Walsh''s playing that is the most impressive though with a superb solo which sounds wonderful and has a real bite.
2.) New Kid in Town
This is a more country orientated track with some catchy hooks and gentle percussion. Glenn Frey takes on lead vocals here and he gives one of his best lead vocal performances with a natural, relaxed delivery that is backed well by the rest of the band. This track is a great example of the bands vocal harmonies which were so key to their music. There''s a gentle guitar solo that tops things off well and keeps the gentle mood.
3.) Life in the fast lane
This is another of the more dynamic Rock songs that feature on this album, Don Henley is on vocal duties here and puts in a gritty, distinctive vocal on this vibrant up tempo rock track which has some great licks and has a Southern Rock feel akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd or ZZ Top. Joe Walsh showcases his great guitar ability with some excellent licks and a fine solo. It''s one of the best tracks on the album and has a real toe tapping sound.
4.) Wasted Time
This is a fantastic song which takes the album into a more emotive feel with a fine ballad, performed by Don Henley who shows why he is the main singer from a band that share vocal duties more than most. I love the way this song builds and the beautiful strings and piano really play a part in making this one of their best songs. Don Henley''s touching vocals are brilliant and the guitar work from Joe Walsh is again superb,.
5.) Wasted time (reprise)
This is a short instrumental interlude which carries on from the previous track to close out the track with a really beautiful orchestral sequence which really drives home the incredible eclectic range of the band. Superbly done
6.) Victim of Love
This track gets things back to a vibrant up tempo sound with a loud Rock sound with biting guitars and gritty vocals from Don Henley. I love the contrast of the gritty guitars and the smooth vocal harmonies which really work well together. This track really showcases the new sound that the band had developed by this point. It is part of what made the band become split as they went in a more rock orientated direction instead of keep to the country rock roots
7.) Pretty maids all in a row
This is the sole track with lead vocals from Joe Walsh, He performs the song with a nice, relaxed vocal and of course produces some great guitar licks. The simple drum beat from Don Henley sets up the song perfectly and this really shows a different side to Joe Walsh and really showcases the overall vocal ability of the band as a whole as they all took turns on lead vocals. Something rare for a band with most just having a lead singer.
8.) Try and love again
Another different lead vocal here and this is the sole lead vocal from Randy Meisner, Ir''s a nicely performed track with some gentle, soulful bass tones and a nice vocal harmony which underpins the track well. The guitar sound develops and compliments the vocals. I like the way the song develops and also how it''s topped off by the guitar work which is quite gentle and emotive. .
9.) The last resort
This is the final track on the album and was written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey. It''s the longest song on the album and is about "how man inevitably destroys the places he finds beautiful" It''s a subtle and emotive ballad with some lovely slide guitar and piano. The gentle drums from Henley combine well with the rest of the instrumentation and I like the way the song develops. It''s a fine end to the album and fits well with the rest of the album too.
This is a fantastic album, It''s certainly one of the greatest albums of all time in my book. It not only represents an album of great quality but also a shift in their music. These songs may have been recorded nearly 40 years ago but many of the themes are still relevant today and that is the sign of a great album and boy is this a great album. It''s diverse, is crammed with fine musicianship and the vocals are well judged and the songs have meaning. When you hear it you are in no doubt of why it was ranked number 37 on Rolling Stone''s list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I''d probably rate it even higher than that myself.
Also posted on ciao as jcneil
I have owned a fair number of Calvin Klein fragrances over the past few years and one of the more recent fragrances I have had from the brand is CK Free which was released in 2009 and is still a popular choice now. It has a distinctive scent which is always something that I look for when choosing a new fragrance as I like for people to be able to know what fragrance I am wearing from smelling the scent.
The fragrance opens with the notes of Thai star anise, Jack fruit, Juniper berry, Absinthe. This gives the fragrance a little kick to start things off which makes for an interestingly unique scent. I was impressed when I first tried this in my local Boots store. These notes last for a good three or so hours and then fade into the middle notes.
Middle notes - give a more musky feel than the opening notes with Suede, Tobacco leaves, Coffee & South African buchu all featured. It gives the fragrance a little twist and lasts for another three hours or so before leading into the final notes.
Base Notes - The fragrance ends with Patchouli, Oakwood, Texan cedarwood, Costa Rican ironwood. These woody notes add a certain character to the fragrance and they finish the fragrance off well. They last for another three hours or so.
Although most artists find success at a fairly young age There are many stories of artists who have become big in their later years. One of the recent success stories for that happening is Charles Bradley, Up until recently he was a struggling Soul singer who had several jobs including being a Cook for ten years and he moved around America trying to find himself and a career in the music Industry. He played small shows for 20 years before being spotted. I came across him from the "Soul of America" documentary which was about the release of his debut album and how he had finally secured a record contract after all these years. While performing as "Black Velvet," he was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Daptone Records.
**Victim of love**
This is the second album from Charles Bradley, It was released on 2nd April 2013 and the album has received universal acclaim from music critics. It follows on from the debut album that he released in 2011 with Bradley's own mix of Soul and Funk. He is backed by the Menahan Street Band who provide instrumentation on the album.
1.) Strictly Reserved For You
This is an excellent opener which showcases the emotion in his voice and the vocal ability he possesses. The backing vocals are smooth and add a nice touch to the track. I like the soulful instrumentation that has a smoky 70s soul vibe with a more modern twist. This track is about showing your devotion to someone and showing them they are the one for you.
2.) You Put The Flame On It
This is a catchy soul track which reminds me of Otis Redding thanks to the flowing bass hooks and horns section. Bradley's vocals are again well performed and the nice backing vocals add to the overall feel. This is a strong track which is put together well and the guitar licks add a nice touch alongside the soulful melodies and horns. Nice song.
3.) Let Love Stand A Chance
This is an excellent track which has a very emotive feel from the off. The gentle licks are mixed with a Marvin Gaye like swooning vocal and some divine horns. This is a beautifully executed track which shows the best of Charles Bradley. When you listen to songs like this it's not hard to wonder why the album has garnered so many critically acclaimed reviews. This is a contender for best track on the album and shows the dripping emotion of his voice, Superb.
4.) Victim Of Love
This is one of the slowest tracks on the album, It's an acoustic guitar and Bradley's vocals that are the centre point of the track and his vocals in particular come across very well indeed. There are some fine James Brown like yelps of emotion that showcase the feel of the song very well. This is a fine example of how the simplest of songs can be the most touching.
5.)Love Bug Blues
This track has a fine horn section to open things with and then the funky bass licks come in. This track has such a 70s soul feel but somehow it seems fresh. I love the bass guitar licks that run throughout the track and this is a fluid and catchy track which shows a more uptempo side to Charles Bradley and showcases the musicianship of the Menahan Street Band.
This is a gentle soulful ballad which has a 70s soul feel, This is the only instrumental track on the album and makes for an excellent showcase for the Menahan Street Band. It's an excellent addition to the album.
This is a James Brown tinged funk soul track with some excellent guitar licks and funky bass licks. The organs run along in the background and the track builds slowly behind Bradley's vocals. This is one of the more different tracks on the album and shows a different side to Charles Bradley. It's a good effort with a fine solo towards the end.
8.) Where Do We Go From Here
This is a funky slice of soul, Bradley's vocals are backed by some funky basslines and some punchy drums. There's more than a little James Brown in his vocals here and it works really well. This is up there with the best tracks on the album and shows the variety of Charles Bradley's vocals and there's some decent music on show too.
9.) Crying In The Chapel
This is a Blues/Soul track which is dripping with emotion, The simple yet effective piano piece sets the mood and Charles Bradley's vocals are superb as he emotes about his woes. The horns are on top form and the whole package is there. This is up there with the best tracks on the album and is a really superb track brimming with talent.
This is a funk soul masterpiece which has a memorable feel and has an excellent vocal performance and is superbly backed by the Menahan Street Band. Like so many of these tracks this one sounds like it's already a soul classic. I love the way the song builds and then slows as Bradley emotes.
11.) Through The Storm
This is comfortably the longest song on the album and is one of the best tracks on the album, It features a gritty emotion drenched vocal and some slick guitar licks backed by a punchy drum part. This is a superb track which ends the album on a superb note and sums up what is a superbly delivered album. I really like the way this song builds.
This is only the 65 year old's second album but when you consider the voice and the remarkable ability to emote it's a shame that he hasn't got a much greater back catalogue. I wonder what he could have been had he started young. The remarkable quality of this album leaves me wondering just what Marvin Gaye could be doing now if he was still alive. This is a superb album from Charles Bradley and more people need to know about this guy.
This particular variety of Lynx deodorant was one of the most popular fragrances in the range a few years ago and recently it was reintroduced to a good response from Lynx users. It is now one of their more popular current fragrances and I have bought it since it's come back. Recently Lynx introduced an XL size for their deodorants which is sold alongside the normal sized 150ml cans and they are also available in a new smaller sized can which is compressed to allow the same amount and use from a smaller can. The advertising campaign has featured a Space feel with Astronauts due to the name of the deodorant you might expect that it would contain something about space in the adverts.
This is a nice fragrance which is a mix of clary sage, quince and lavender. It has a fresh scent which feels clean and refreshing and works extremely well after a shower or bath using the Lynx Apollo shower gel or another of the shower gels in the range. It lasts pretty well for one of the cheaper deodorants on the market and will give you decent protection against odor and sweat, obviously the antiperspirant version will do that job better than the normal version but it depends on what you will use it for. The standard Lynx Apollo has a decent length of use and will smell very nice when applied to clean and washed skin. It works a treat.
I have used so many of the Lynx Deodorants over the years and this is one of my favourites. It is a quality scent which will last quite well and looks the part too. As it's a Lynx fragrance you will be able to find plenty of great deals in supermarkets and places like Boots, Wilkinson or Superdrug and I would recommend this fresh, clean scent for a younger male who likes crisp, clean scents that are quite light and distinctive. It's a solid product in my opinion and I would recommend it to anyone who likes similar scents. Why not give the tester a try. It just falls short of five stars as there is better out there if you spend a little more.
I have used a number of Ted Baker products over the years and they have become one of my favourite toiletry brands and I regularly pick up one of their products in Boots when they have some kind of offer on. I first tried this one at a friends house before we left for a night out, We hadn't planned to go out so I hadn't arrived there dolled up so used a bit of this when he sprayed it. I tend to have a few fragrances on the go at the same time and this particular one lasted for a couple of years as I used it sparingly, opting for more expensive fragrances.
The fragrance was introduced in 1998 and has become one of the most popular fragrances in the Ted Baker stable. It's a fresh citrus led fragrance which is ideal for the younger male as it's overall scent is similar in style to others available from other brands. The fragrance is available from around £8 for a 30ml bottle and you may find a bargain online. The bottles go up to 100ml which is pretty standard for fragrances of this kind. The bottle has a distinctive look which is reminiscent of other products in the Ted Baker range.
This is a good fragrance which starts off with the citrus Top notes of lime, bergamot and lemon and lead into the heart notes of rosemary, cypress and juniper. These lead to the Lingering base notes of sandalwood, amber, musk and cedar. Although this is a decent quality fragrance it won't last as long as the more expensive fragrances, It lasts around two hours for each of the Top, Heart and base notes which is still fairly good. It's ideal for everyday use and also for wearing on nights out. I particularly like the opening notes which have a really nice citrus scent.
I would recommend this Ted Baker scent to anyone looking for a decent but inexpensive fragrance that is suitable for everyday use as well as using on nights out and special occasions. It's particularly ideal for a second fragrance so your main more expensive fragrance lasts longer. However I would still recommend the fragrance as a standalone purchase due to it's decent fragrance and also the offers that are available on the Internet. Give it a spray in Superdrug and see what you think. I would consider buying it again if the deals were still decent when I come to buy a new fragrance in a few months time.
For me 2013 had some great debut albums, I am always looking out for the latest musical talent and scour Spotify for the latest gems and when I found London Grammar I became a huge fan pretty quickly through listening again and again to their album "If You Wait" London Grammar are British trip-hop trio formed by Hannah Reid, Dan Rothman and Dominic 'Dot' Major. Reid and Rothman met at Nottingham University and later joined forces with Dominic Major to form the group. They moved down to London after finishing their studies to pursue Music. They started gaining some buzz in late 2012 when they posted "Hey now" on YouTube, the track quickly gained a fanbase and they released an EP a couple of months later.
**If You Wait**
If You Wait was released on 9 September 2013 on Metal & Dust Recordings, The album debuted at number two the UK Albums Chart, selling 33,130 copies in its first week. The album has been critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike ranking amongst many "best of" lists for 2013 including mine.
1.) Hey Now
This is a lovely opener, it starts with some gentle keys and then develops when Hannah's vocals come in with an emotive delivery. The drum loops are intermittent and add a decent sound to the background. Although this was the first song released online from the album it was actually the fourth single from "If You Wait". The melodies are soothing and Hannah's vocals are really well judged. The gentle keys and guitar are well judged too and result in an excellent song all round.
2.) Stay Awake
This track builds slowly from a gentle opening and has a lovely relaxed feel about it. Gentle guitar strums and emotive piano combine with a simple yet effective drum sequence to give Hannah's vocals the perfect backing. Another well delivered track to open the album, It has some catchy licks and loops and Hannah Reid's vocals keep the emotive feel really well. This is another very strong track from the album
This is a lovely track which has some simple guitar licks and piano part but builds with the distinctive vocal from Hannah Reid, The beats come in with a punch and work well with the guitar and piano. This was the fifth single released from the album and is up there with the best tracks on the album. I really like the way it builds and Hannah's vocals come through.
4.) Wasting My Young Years
This is a fantastic song which builds slowly with some gentle keys and Hannah's distinctive vocals really shine throughout. This was the second single from the album and is about when you look back on a bad relationship wondering why you stayed for so long. Her vocal tone is very good indeed and she emotes so well. The instrumentation is also strong and delivers a simple yet effective melody that really works well with the vocals. Good stuff.
This is a lovely piano led ballad which again showcases Hannah's vocals. The musical backing comes courtesy of keyboard effects, the silky guitar tones and some punchy, but quite gentle beats. This track is another one that builds really well. It's one of the best tracks on the album and showcases the talents of all three members.
This was the third single from the album, It opens with a gentle guitar part with some gentle beats and then Hannah's vocals come in. This is certainly one of their most well known tracks and has a lovely sound. It builds wonderfully well and has some excellent instrumentation and as it develops the music becomes more centre stage. Hannah's vocals are well defined and emotive. This is one of my favourites from the album and has a lot going for it.
Opening with a lovely piano part, this track has a seductive and relaxed feel. The gentle guitar joins the piano to create a subtle sound. The vocals from Hannah Reid are again emotive and are perfect with the backing. This is another excellent track which builds really well. This was the sixth and final single released from the album and is one of the best tracks on the album for sure.
8.) Metal & Dust
This was the first single released from the album, It's starts off as a gentle track with some soft guitar tones and then later develops with some punchy beats which add a nice feel and twist around things rather well. Hannah's vocals are again well performed and combine well with the musical backing. I really like the combination of the gentle vocals and piano with the punchy beats and hooks. It shows a different side to the trio and really works well.
This is a beautifully done track which has a very simple piano piece which is beautifully done, Hannah's vocals are again excellent and the combination of piano and her vocals is really soothing. The simple percussion and guitar then come in and build the track well. This is one of the finest tracks on the album and really showcases the beauty of their music. One of the best tracks on the album for sure.
This track opens with some catchy percussion and guitar which shows a different sound to the album, This is another track that develops well and when it's in full flow it is an impressive track which again showcases the great vocals from Hannah Reid and the diversity of the trio. The track is about not being able to get someone out of your mind. It builds really well.
11.) If You Wait
The album ends on the title track which is up there with the best on the album, It's an ethereal track with some lovely sounds which are subtle and really emotive. Hannah's vocals are again superb. This wasn't a single but is a live favourite and has a superb feel. It really showcases the superbly emotive delivery that Hannah Reid brings with her vocals. It's a superb closer on the album and is a superb example of the trio's talents.
I had known of London Grammar for a few months before delving into their music, I am so glad I did decide to listen to them as they are undoubtedly one of my tips from 2013. They combine beauty, diversity and emotion to create a distinctive sound that is very good indeed. Hannah Reid is a superb singer who knows exactly how to emote. I would recommend this album to anyone who has heard of London Grammar but not yet actually listened to them properly. It's a really superb album.
I have been an admirer of Funkadelic for a few years now and hadn't really known too much about them and become a big fan of them until the last three or four years. I had remembered seeing their music in various documentaries about music in the 70s but until more recently I hadn't taken the time to delve deeper than their main singles. Funkadelic and their sister band Parliament were known for their lineup changes almost as much as they were known for eclectic funk and soul. I have already reviewed their album "Maggot Brain" which I love and here is my review of "Cosmic Slop"
This is the fifth studio release from Funkadelic and although it wasn't a commercial success at the time it has been critically acclaimed. As usual the vocal duties were shared and as a result several songs were sung by either Garry Shider or George Clinton. "Cosmic Slop" was released 9th July 1973 having been recorded in Detroit and Toronto. The album was produced by George Clinton.
Bernard Worrell: Keyboards & Melodica, Strings on 'Broken Heart'
"Boogie" Mosson: Bass Guitar
Tyrone Lampkin: Percussion
Gary Shider: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Ron Bykowski: Lead & Rhythm Guitar
1.) Nappy Dugout
This is a slang term for the vagina, although I had never previously heard it called that. This is a slice of Funk with some punchy percussion and some Hendrix like guitar waahs. As the opener of the album, this track really gets things going with a vibrant near instrumental piece which showcases the musicianship of the band. This track gets things off to a great start but there's a lot more to come.
2.) You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure
Interestingly the vocals are shared by George Clinton, Ray Davis & Garry Shider. This is a catchy track which tells of a man who's partner has left him for someone and he cries all day. The best vocals on the track come from Garry Shider and the music is catchy and is a reworking of the 1965 Parliaments single "Heart Trouble". It does a decent job and makes for a decent addition.
3.) March To The Witches Castle
This track was sung or spoken by George Clinton in his distinctive style. This is a wonderfully performed track with some lovely guitar work and punchy drums. The track is a Political one which deals with the disdain for the Vietnam War and speaks about a meeting of veterans with President Nixon. The track deals with the soldiers coming home with heroin addictions which they develops due to what they saw and to get them through things. It's a really excellent track which showcases some superb musicianship and also sounds wonderful in terms of the recording.
4.) Let's make it last
This is a vibrant and up tempo track which shows the superb musicianship of the band. It involves elements of Funk, Soul and Rock to create a signature sound. Garry Shider is the vocalist on this one as he sings about wanting to make a relationship last rather than having another fling. His guitar work is excellent and there's plenty of it on show and there is also some superb musicianship from the rest of the band too.
5.) Cosmic Slop
This is one of my favourite songs from Funkadelic, The song is about an impoverished mother with five children who has resorted to prostitution in order to support her family. It opens with some percussion and a screaming guitar but soon erupts into one of the most incredibly catchy tracks you will ever hear. The rhythm section is absolutely superb and really gets in your head due to it's relentlessness. The vocals have a Curtis Mayfield style about them and the backing vocals combine well. Garry Shider & Ron Bykowski are the guitarists on the track and they both do a fantastic job with their licks, hooks and solos. Superb stuff. Vocals are from Garry Shider. It's one of those tracks that you just want to listen to again & again.
6.) No compute
This track serves as a real twist compared to the rest of the album, It's a soulful ballad with some chirpy country style tones and licks. George Clinton provides lead vocals here and his relaxed delivery is done well. This is a typically quirky Clinton track which has a sexual tone to it. The track has a decent sound and is performed well by the band. It works well.
7.) This Broken heart
This is one of the most touching tracks on the album. Ben Edwards provided lead vocals on the track which is a cover of a song from The Sonics. The song is about proclaiming your love for someone and asking them whether they feel the same. It shows a different side to the band but still the Musicianship shines through with some excellent guitar solos from Shider and Bykowski. A very good ballad which may surprise casual listeners of Funkadelic.
8.) Trash A Go - Go
This is another extremely dynamic track with an up tempo feel and some of the catchiest melodies you are likely to hear. The track is about a man who goes on trial for being a pimp for his Girlfriend. There are some great guitar melodies on show that combine so well with the funky bass lines and crashing drums. This is one of the most impressive tracks on the album in terms of musicianship but it doesn't quite hold a candle against the top 2 from the album.
9.) Can't stand The Strain
The lead vocals come from Garry Shider and are backed up, This track is about when you suspect your partner of cheating on you and begging them to not leave you because of how much you love them and how you would feel if they left. There are plenty of great vocal moments from Shider here and the female backing vocals are a nice addition. This is an impressive track which again shows a different, more soulful sound to the band. Good stuff.
10.) Cosmic Slop (45 edit)
This is of course the single edit of Cosmic Slop and although it doesn't have the power and extended brilliance of the full length song it provides a superb example of the quality of the track and hints at what is to come from the album.
This is the second Funkadelic album in my collection after "Maggot Brain" and it really is a superb piece of work. The musicianship is still superb despite the absence of guitar genius Eddie Hazel who is replaced superbly with Garry Shider and Ron Bykowski. The best songs on the album are amongst the best material from the 1970s and for me anyway of all time. The recording quality stands up extremely well for the period and is one of the things that makes the album so good. Cosmic Slop is a brilliant album that deserves it's place in the Funkadelic Discography. I will definitely add to my collection with a couple more Funkadelic albums but I doubt too many would touch Cosmic Slop.
I stayed over at my Mothers the other night as I had an Interview in the evening and another meeting in the morning, I played her a few tracks on Spotify and one of them was "I'm Kissing you" from this album, When I got home I decided to dig out and listen to the album again as it's been a while since I had heard any of her other tracks from the album as I tend to listen to "I'm Kissing You" quite a lot as it's so beautiful and I like the movie too.
This was the third album released by Des'ree and was released on 11th August 1998 on Epic Records. It features multiple producers and the album is the follow up from 1994's "Movin On" There were six singles released from the album and the album reached sixteen in the UK Charts which was her second highest UK Album Chart after the previous album "Movin On" reached thirteen in 1994.
1.) What's Your Sign
The gentle acoustic guitar comes in with Des'ree's vocals and the song has a decent opening before the gentle beats come in. The vocals are fluid and conversational as the track develops but it isn't too memorable and although has some decent parts it just doesn't have that spark of the best songs on the album despite some good backing music and decent vocals. Not a bad track but not great either. Lacking a spark.
2.) God Only Knows
This is one of the forgettable songs from the album, It has a fairly decent catchy feel and some nice vocals but the chorus isn't too memorable and despite some nice strings in the background and some catchy parts it just doesn't have the spark of the best work from Des'ree. It's far from bad but it is disappointing as it doesn't offer anything in the way of longevity. Largely inoffensive track but won't be amongst many listeners favourites from the album.
This was a memorable single from the album and was released as the lead single despite "I'm kissing you" actually being released before due to the being on the Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack. "Life" is a punchy pop/R&B track which has a decent flow and a chirpy chorus. The track is about the things in life that make you happy and content. Des'ree's vocals are joined well by the backing vocals and there's some decent instrumentation that makes for a catchy track. This is one of the better tracks on the album.
4.) Best Days
This track has a different vocal sound to much of the album, the catchy drums and keys bring a flowing sound but the vocals aren't some of Des'ree's best on the album and the song, despite having some decent moments it doesn't live up to the best tracks on the album and isn't too memorable either. There's no memorable chorus and it just loses it's appeal.
5.) Proud To Be A Dread
There are some punchy beats that come in as Des'ree sings about her hair and her heritage. The beat is really the best part of the track for me and there are some nice parts which compliment the beats but although it's a fairly decent track it does go on a little too long without progression which is a shame but it's a decent track overall.
6.) I'm Kissing You
This is one of my favourite songs of all time, It's a beautifully touching ballad which is sung beautifully. It features in Romeo and Juliet. The simplicity of the song is just wonderful, An achingly beautiful piano and string sequence backs the beautiful vocals from Des'Ree in what is by far her best vocal performance. The perfect delivery on such a touching track. Sit back, close your eyes and just listen to the beauty of this track. Wonderful Orchestra and simple yet touching Piano and of course her voice. Just a beautiful song all round.
7.) Indigo Daisies
This is a slow track which starts with some nice guitar and Des'ree's sweet vocals which are gentle to open the track, There are some nice strings which come in. This is one of the better vocal performances on the album and the backing melodies aid her vocals to decent effect. This is one of the tracks from the album that keeps you interest and has some really nice orchestral parts that compliment her vocals.
This is up there as one of the best tracks on the album, It's a tender ballad with Des'ree's vocals shining well, the simple beat comes in with the guitar and the track has a decent flow. Her expressive vocals are again conversational and are complimented by the melodies which back her well. There's a lack of progression though which lowers the overall quality of the track but it does have value to the album.
9.) Down By The River
This is a nice track which has a simple acoustic guitar part to open and Des'ree's relaxed vocals come in with an emotive quality about them. This track has a nice, relaxed sound with simple effective instrumentation courtesy of the strings, keys and acoustic guitar. It's a well performed track with some decent emotion. The gentle percussion adds to the overall feel of the song and compliments her vocals and when the beat kicks in and the track develops it's a decent moment.
10.) Darwin Star
This track has a dark opening and then the lovely subtlety of the strings and punchy drums come in as the track slowly develops. The vocals are well performed and the sound is pretty good. I like the way the track develops slowly and builds throughout. It's a decent track which you need to stay with for the progression. It's not up there with the best track on the album but certainly has it's appeal.
11.) You Gotta Be
This might be more well known than "I'm Kissing You" it's a catchy mid tempo ballad about having confidence in yourself. There's a fairly long keyboard intro before the vocals come in and the tempo builds as all the instruments come in. I like the way Des'ree sings the song in a simple yet effective, conversational tone. The chorus is catchy and inspiring and this track is a decent one all round. Good stuff indeed.
There are some decent tracks on the album but none can compare to "I'm Kissing You" which is just sumptuous. The vocals and overall instrumentation on that song are just wonderful. There's nothing else on the album that touches that track and that is a little bit of a letdown but when you consider the overall quality of the rest of the tracks it does enough to hold onto a decent overall quality. Whilst those other tracks clearly lower the possible overall level of the album it does have enough to keep a four star rating just for "I'm Kissing You" but If we could give half stars I would give three and a half for this album. It's worth more than three for the reason I have outlined.
Ben Harper isn't one of my favourite artists but he comes under the category of artists that I have appreciation for and like a couple of their albums and admire them as an artist. I came across him when searching for other artists on YouTube and finding him performing with the artists. His music is a melting pot of blues, rock, soul, funk and even some gospel in there somewhere.
This album is a collaboration between Ben Harper and well known Harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite. The album was released on the renowned "Stax" label and is a collection of Blues Rock featuring both artists. "Get Up" was released on 29th January 2013 and has been a critical success as it picked up the Best Blues Album award at the Grammys. The duo first collaborated on a John Lee Hooker record in 1997 and then went onto work together intermittently until they got together to record this album as a collaborative project.
1.) Don't Look Twice
The album gets off to a slower feel with this acoustic blues track which has a sound which reminds me a little of the acoustic work on Eric Clapton's "Reptile" album. The guitar and harmonica blend well together and Ben Harper's emotive vocals are well judged. The track develops with some punchy drums and it gets better as the volume increases and becomes more of a Blues Rock tune. The expressive vocals from Harper are a very good part of the track. Good stuff.
2.) I'm In I'm Out And I'm Gone
This is one of the catchiest tracks on the album, It has a John Lee Hooker like sound which is very impressively done. The simple yet superbly effective blues melody gets the feet moving and the vocals and guitars and harmonica really impress with a musicality that works extremely well. This track is really well performed and is right up there with the best tracks on the album. A great effort from both Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite.
3.) We Can't End This Way
This is a catchy track which has a country blues feel, the catchy clapping sounds combine well with the harmonica and guitar to create a decent sound. The backing vocals add to the overall appeal of the song and as it develops into it's flow it's an impressively done track which features strong vocals and decent melodies. It's not up there with the best tracks on the album but certainly deserves it's place on the album as it has it's quality.
4.) I Don't Believe A Word You Say
This is one of the heavier moments on the album, It's a nice slice of Blues Rock with some vibrant guitar and harmonica and aggressive vocals from Ben Harper. The drums are a great part of the track and they help raise the overall quality of the track. It's up there with the best tracks on the album and has some very catchy moments which will certainly appeal to the listener. Good stuff indeed. One of the catchiest tracks on the album and topped off by a fine guitar solo.
5.) You Found Another lover (I lost another friend)
This is another track with an Eric Clapton like slow blues sound. The guitar and harmonica again blend really well and Ben Harper's gentle falsetto is very well judged as he emotes about the pain of a relationship ending. The music is simple yet achingly effective and this track is a perfect example of when simple can be just as good as the big style ballads. This is one of the best tracks on the album and shows the talent of both.
6.) I ride at dawn
This track opens with a fairly long intro with a progressive guitar strumming and bass hook. Harper's vocals come in with an emotive feel and as the song develops it improves into a well rounded track which showcases the relaxed musical feel with the quality vocals from Harper. I like the way the two blend together to create a decent sound for the lyrics to emote well. It's a very decent track which shows the quality from both.
7.) Blood side out
This is the shortest track on the album and after a slow intro it comes into it's own with a fast pace and some very vibrant melodies and hooks. The vocals are loud and well judged and the track moves along well and is a real toe tapper. It's one of the catchiest tracks on the album and features some excellent guitar work towards the end that is on the edge. Good stuff all round.
8.) Get Up
This is the excellent title track which features a very catchy underlying bass hook which is the key to the quality of the track overall. The harmonica from Charlie Musselwhite is well performed and Ben Harper's guitar work is bluesy and subtle at times. The punchy drums add a decent touch and the two collaborate really well together on this one. This is comfortably the longest song on the album at over six minutes and it's an excellent effort which shows the musicianship of the band and of course Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. One of the bluesiest tracks on the album for sure.
9.) She got kick
This track has an old style blues melody which is almost Jazz like in places, The track moves along at a catchy pace and the vocals are well performed and add to the overall feel of the song. The guitar and harmonica are well judged and there's an excellent organ part which is really catchy. This is one of the catchiest tracks on the album and is a real toe tapper. Some decent musicianship on show and the track brings an old style sound into the modern day with the expected twists that something like that brings.
10.) All that matters now
This is a lovely seductive blues tune which features a gentle musical feel and some subtle guitar and harmonica which blend together well to set the mood before the music develops and the vocals come in. The vocals are dripping in blues emotion and the subtleties of the music really build the seductive atmosphere. This makes for a very sweet blues, soul track which has a lot to like about it. It comes across very well indeed. It's a good track to end on.
When you listen to the album it's not surprising that it won a Grammy for best Blues Album. It's an excellent collaboration that showcases the talents of both Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite really well. There may be twenty six years between the two but they are right on it in terms of musicality. This album makes me want to check out more of Charlie Musselwhite's Discography. "Get Up" is not quite a five star album but it is certainly worth the four stars I am giving it. Two or three really excellent tracks.
I often buy a fragrance gift set after Christmas as there are always some great deals on them and even into February as I found out the other day in Boots. I picked up a gift set for £19.99 I believe and it had the fragrance and also a small shower gel. I hadn't bought a Roberto Cavalli fragrance before but I liked it when I tried some from the tester in Boots and decided to pick up the gift set as it was a decent price and I of course liked the fragrance. I knew something about the brand but not really any of their fragrances. The fragrance was first introduced in 2013 so it's a fairly new fragrance and has a decent look about it beyond the casing you find in the picture.
Just Cavalli Him was created by Domitille Bertier and Clement Gavarry. The fragrance opens with a distinctive spicy scent which draws you in with some fruity orange notes as well which give the fragrance a lighter feel. The fragrance then brings in the green notes of vetiver after a couple of hours which gives the fragrance a nice feel and keeps the masculine fragrance. The fragrance then moves into a more musky leather note for the last couple of hours which fades out the fragrance quite well. The fragrance lasts quite well with around a six hour length which is around what you would expect for fragrances similar to this one.
Top note is pimento; middle note is vetiver; base note is leather.
This is a very good fragrance which has a nice scent and lasts pretty well and is ideal with the shower gel that is included with the gift set. I would recommend this fragrance for the younger male and it's a nice fragrance for nights out and it's also decent for everyday use for work etc. With the great deals about at the moment you might have this for a back up for your main fragrance. All in all it's an excellent fragrance that I would certainly consider buying again as it ticks all the boxes. I would certainly recommend this to those looking for a new fragrance. Try it in store and see what you think.
I have been living at my current flat for nearly two years now and when I moved in I needed a few new things and one of those was a home phone as I had used my mobile only when I was at my last place as I was house sharing. I didn't want a fancy phone as I have an excellent smartphone and would just need a basic home phone so after a quick search in Argos I opted for this one which was £12.99 in a sale, I don't remember how much it was before that but it is £12.99 now. The phone is available in black as you can see here or silver with a black back cover. There are 20 name and number memories in the phone which gives you a decent amount. In the box you get the handset, a base station, the power adapter, a telephone cord, the rechargeable battery and finally the user guide.
When you make or receive a phone call the sound is clear and the signal stays pretty well for a cordless phone but there has been a huge stride in the quality of cordless phones. It's easy to move through your call log and then you press talk to ring someone. I have spoken on the phone for more than an hour plenty of times and the battery is still showing pretty full in the top corner of the screen and there is an indicator which beeps when your battery is low and the battery bar will flash like your mobile phone too. There are only five ringtones but you don't really need a vast array. The call log features the last ten numbers in the phone and there are five numbers available for redial through searching the options. The phone is fairly small and fits in your hand pretty nicely so it is comfortable to use when you are calling someone and also when you are talking to them on the phone. The buttons are a fair size and are easy to read and press.
I would recommend this phone for anyone who is looking for a simple home phone for a decent price with all the basics. It's reception is very clear and the battery life is good as it gives up to ten hours talktime and 100 hours on standby. I use the phone quite a lot and have used it for over an hour plenty of times and it has worked well throughout the call and it's light enough to not be an issue when it comes to holding it over your ear for that amount of time. If you are looking for a phone that has allows you to put it on speaker then this is not the phone for you but if you just want a basic reliable phone that works well and lasts well too then this could be a decent purchase. It's easy to listen to your messages and there is an icon which lets you know when you have an answerphone message.
Rhye are another of my Spotify discoveries and they have quickly become one of my favourite new artists. They are a duo based in Los Angeles, California. Its members are Canadian singer Mike Milosh and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal. They got together as a duo in 2010 when both were on the same record label. They started posting singles online without any information which developed a buzz and there was a lot of speculation about who they might be and who the "woman" singing the songs was, Incredibly the vocalist is actually Mike Milosh who does an incredible job of sounding like a great female singer.
Woman was released on 5th March 2013 on Polydor Records and the singles "Open" and "The Fall" were released online with music videos before the album was released. Rhye produced the album which has been highly praised by critics with some comparing the album to the work of Sade. "Woman" was named a long-listed nominee for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize but somehow didn't make the final cut of 10 albums. Despite the critical acclaim the album only reached 143 in the UK Album Charts.
This was one of the singles they posted online and it is an outstanding moment of beauty. Mike Milosh's vocals are truly remarkable and if you didn't know he was a man you would need to do a double take at the credits. The track has a lovely soulful feel with gentle instrumentation with keyboards and soft orchestration. It's a truly brilliant opener to the album and a track that pulls you in with it's seductive tones. There are some lovely strings at the end which sound wonderful and close the track really well.
2.) The Fall
This is a more uptempo track with some nice piano tones and a punchy rolling beat which backs up Mike's vocals really well. He again showcases his remarkable female vocal. His beautiful vocals combine well with the catchy shuffle of the beat to create a fine sound that again shows off his confusingly good vocal. There are some excellent string sequences in the background that add a nice relaxed feel to the song and compliment the beauty of his vocals. This was one of two singles released.
3.) Last Dance
This is another great track. It has some catchy guitar licks and a fine horn section which back up his wonderful voice really well. There are some stunning moments vocally on this one and the subtlety is one of the most striking things about the vocals. Not only is his voice superb, the instrumentation is also touching and very good indeed. Both parts compliment each other extremely well. This is another great track which will surprise.
This is another beautifully touching ballad from the album. Mike showcases his superb vocals and in parts he reminds me of Robin Thicke when he's doing his best falsetto. The subtle instrumentation of keys and strings is the perfect backdrop for the beauty and grace of Mike's vocals. This is one of the most impressive tracks on the album and really shows how good his female vocal is. It's truly remarkable that he can sound like this.
5.) Shed some blood
This is a catchy track which has some punchy drum beats and some subtle guitar tones with Mike Milosh's vocals run together to create an amazing vocal harmony. This track has classic written all over it. There is so much to like about this album and this track is a perfect example of why. There are some great orchestral moments that build in the middle of the song and add a fine sound to the already terrific feel of the song. Brilliant stuff.
6.) 3 Days
The lovely harp like sound that opens the track is achingly touching and when the gentle 80s keyboard sounds come in with a punchy drum machine beat things take a twist. The vocals are again wonderfully seductive and it is tremendously hard to imagine a man singing the song. Truly remarkable. The way the different sounds come in throughout the track adds to the overall level of the song. This is one of the most impressive tracks on the album.
7.) One of those summer days
Opening with a gentle guitar part, this is another very impressive ballad, It develops after less than a minute and when the vocals come in they are again beautifully done. This is a simple yet achingly effective song which showcases the simplicity and beauty of the music these two create. The horns come in later and take the song to another level whilst keeping the gentle simplicity of the track. This is another outstanding moment from the album.
8.) Major minor love
Opening with a gentle vocal part from Mike Milosh in which he goes through different ranges of his voice, The beats kick in with his gentle humming and then there are some male sounding parts which blend well with the female sounding vocals. The track develops with some beautifully subtle keys and the vocals become melodic and the strings add another beauty to the song. This is just another superb track which shows such vocal talent and a lovely musical simplicity.
This is a funky track which shows a different side and has a sound reminiscent of Daft Punk ft Pharell Williams but keeping the Rhye sound. Mike Milosh's vocals are again superb and are a contrast to the catchy funky melodies of the music. It shows the range of the duo and the talent as well. There are some great instrumentation's here that combined with the vocals make for a very pleasant sound which adds to the album. There's some nice trumpet to end the track with. Nice stuff.
This is the final track of the album and is another fine track which demonstrates the talent of the duo. It opens with a simple keyboard sequence and then Mike's achingly beautiful vocals come in with a real beauty about them with soft simplicity. The melody continues as his vocals soar and slow. This is a tremendously good track to end the album with and it demonstrates all you need know when it comes to the talent and musical grace of Rhye. Beautiful stuff.
Woman was released in 2013 and it has to be up there with the best albums of the year. I'd certainly make a case for it to be in the best albums of the decade if not greatest ever lists. The beauty and grace of the album is stark and the fact that the vocalist is actually a man is all the more remarkable. The talent is so high in my opinion. I can't wait to hear what they do next and they are already one of my favourite artists. I'd love to see them live. Woman is just a breathtakingly good album and is so refreshing.
Thanks to listening to him on Spotify In the past couple of years I have got into the Music of Leslie West. The veteran artist is still recording and still having strong reviews from critics and fans alike. The 68 year old has recorded thirteen studio albums as a solo artist and many others as part of Mountain and also West, Bruce and Laing. For those not familiar with Leslie West he is a guitarist and vocalist who hails from New York and started in 1965 aged 20 and he has worked with some very well known artists throughout the decades.
1.) Dying since the day I was born
This is a great opener, It's a riff laden heavy rock track featuring Mark Tremonti who is the lead guitarist of Creed and Alter Bridge. There's some great guitar work from both Tremonti and West here and the excellent drumming and bass hooks add to the overall sound. West's heavy rock vocals sound great for the music and this is a proper heavy rock track with some great musicianship from both guitarists in particular and gets the album off to a great start. You might not expect this kind of track from a 68 year old. Excellent stuff.
2.) Busted, Disgusted or Dead
This is a lighter track with a Blues Rock feel. Leslie's vocals are well performed and expressive. I like the way the track builds up from a slow intro to a flowing mid tempo sound. The track features fellow veteran guitarist Johnny Winter who also provides some excellent guitar work. There's an excellent drum breakdown in the middle of the song that showcases the excellent recording quality of the album. This is a very catchy track and has some great guitar work from both Leslie West and Johnny Winter and the pounding drums are a great feature.
3.) Fade into you
This is a touching track which starts slowly and then builds with a Rock Opera ballad sound. It's backed wonderfully by a string orchestra that combines so well with the vocals and the excellent guitar work which Leslie West showcases. It's an excellent track which builds wonderfully well and it shows that his vocals are still in good condition. It's up there with the best tracks on the album and shows how well both his voice and guitar playing still stack up. Great stuff.
4.) Not over you at all
This track opens with a dark sound and then as the drums kick in the melodies begin to work their magic. Leslie's vocals are gritty and emotive on this track about not being over a relationship and keep wishing they were back with you. There's some exceptional guitar playing on the track and there's a fantastic saxophone solo towards the middle of the song which showcases the range of Leslie West's music. This track is certainly right up there with the best on the album.
5.) Tales of woe
This is an excellent track which has a different sound to much of the album. The electro acoustic guitar adds a relaxed touch and the track builds well with his emotive vocals soaring well. There's an excellent guitar solo that is understated and emotive. There are no drums in this one and it's just guitars and his fine sounding vocals. It's tracks like this that show his eclectic range as an artist compared to others on the album. An impressive change from the heavier sound.
6.) Feeling Good
This track features Twisted Sister's Dee Snider and is a cover of that well known track. A sign of a great artist is taking a memorable song and making it your own and Leslie West certainly does that here with a Bluesy Rock version. There are some really great versions of this song. Dee Snider's vocals are well performed and this is a great duet between the two veterans. There's some really excellent guitar work going on in this track. Good stuff.
7.) Hatfield or McCoy
This is one of the more bluesy moments on the album, It has some excellent slide guitar and West's vocals are aggressive and showcases his powerful gritty voice. The drums and pounding and the guitars are crunchy as the track develops into a very listenable track with some great backing vocals and a nice progression.
8.) When A Man Loves A Woman
This is a fabulous reworking of a classic track, Jonny Lang appears on the track and both Leslie West and Lang provide some fine heartfelt vocals. The keys add a nice touch and the drumming is simple yet effective and gives both the best backing. I love the way the song develops and it's really topped off by some excellent guitar work from both West and Lang. It leads to a fabulous interplay towards the end that just takes the song to another level. Superb.
9.) Long Red
This is a reworking of one of Leslie West's tracks from Mountain which was released in 1969. He takes the original on and gives it a more modern sound. It's an impressive reworking and has a great riff and some nice organ parts. It's not quite as instant as some of the best tracks on the album but still has an excellent guitar solo and a very pleasant all round sound. It's certainly worth a listen, especially for fans of the original version.
10.) Don't ever let me go
This is a catchy track which features Dylan Rose who showcases some decent guitar riffs on the track. The interplay between the two works well and this is an uptempo Rock track which shows off Leslie West's gritty vocals and has a catchy feel. It's not quite up there with the best tracks on the album but is another track that's really worth a listen. The guitar solo towards the end raises the track and the catchy riffs are quite impressive.
11.) Rev Jones Time (Somewhere over the rainbow)
Opening with a guitar part this track sounds vibrant and really showcases the quality of the recording. The guitar is close mic'ed and is a subtle instrumental which is short at just over a minute and a half but ends the album nicely.
Despite losing his right leg to complications due to diabetes and his age of 68, Leslie West is still doing the business. The best songs on the album are very good indeed and really showcase the ability of the man as a guitarist and still as a singer like many critics have testified. I have liked a couple other more recent albums from Leslie West and this is right up there with the best I have heard from him. I am thankful that I researched more of his music when I was listening to his music on Spotify a couple of years ago. This is an excellent album of range and musicianship oh and it's also a fantastic recording.
I reviewed "Where it all begins" the 1994 release from The Allman Brothers Band a while ago after getting into them seriously after hearing their newer material with the obvious influence of Government Mule. My interest also comes from a couple of documentaries about the band and from Gregg Allman's TV performances of songs from his solo album "Low country blues" in 2011. I would probably say that I prefer the more up to date stuff from the band which now includes Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, Trucks is the son of the drummer Butch Trucks but the early work is what certainly brought me to become a real fan of the band.
**Brothers & Sisters**
This was a tough album to make, the first Allman Brothers Band studio album recorded after the deaths of Duane Allman and bassist Berry Oakley appeared on the first two tracks, He was replaced by Lamar Williams after his death. Oakley died in a motorcycle accident just three blocks from where Duane Allman had died the previous year. Many bands would not have been able to comeback from such tragic deaths but despite losing his brother, Gregg Allman took the band forward with the help of the newcomers. Brothers & Sisters is the fifth studio album from The Allman Brothers Band
1.) Wasted Words
This is a catchy opener with an early Lynyrd Skynyrd sound, no suprise as they were around at the same time and were both pioneers in the Southern Rock genre. The track is the first of the two songs which feature Berry Oakley before his death during the recording process. There are some excellent licks from guitarist Dickey Betts and this is a real toe tapper of a track with some very catchy melodies and Gregg Allman's vocals flow rather well. It's a good start to the album.
2.) Ramblin' Man
Another catchy track, this time with some smooth vocal harmonies and shows a different sound to the band. Dickey Betts is on vocals for the track and they are well judged and the backing vocals are light and harmonious. I like the way the song progresses and there are some nice and relaxed guitar tones which take the track to a higher level. This song shows that they got a very good replacement in for Duane Allman after his tragic death. This is the second and last track that they recorded for the album with Berry Oakley as bassist.
3.) Come And Go Blues
This is a Bluesy track with some excellent piano work from Chuck Leavell as he shows himself to be the Billy Powell of the Allman Brothers Band. This song is one of two from the album that was written solely by Gregg Allman. The other being the opener "Wasted words". There's some nice guitar work from both Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman and this song is a decent all round effort. There's some funky licks there and this is a strong track which has a good ending sequence.
4.) Jelly Jelly
Perhaps the most out and out Blues track on the album, This is a lovely ballad with some heartfelt vocals from Allman. It's one of the stand out tracks from the album and has some excellent organ, piano and guitar work in particular. There's one particular guitar solo towards the end that just tops things off wonderfully well and raises the overall quality of the track. Dickey Betts really lets loose and shows what he can do proving himself to be a great replacement for Duane Allman.
Another of the Blues tracks here, It's a track which has a very catchy feel and the guitar work brings the Bluesy feel. There's some great piano work and an impressive pace about it. There are some elements of funk there too with some catchy bass hooks. Dickey Betts shows his guitar ability again with some great licks and a very fine solo which tops things off well.
Opening with an acoustic feel this track soon turns into a very enjoyable southern rock track which is very recognisable for viewers of Top Gear. The track was named after Jessica Betts. The Daughter of guitarist Dickey Betts. There's some excellent guitar work from Betts and Allman and the backing of the drums and piano in particular is impressive. I love the way the track builds then slows then builds again. There's some excellent piano work in the middle and the guitar just tops things off. "Jessica" is an instrumental.
7.) Pony Boy
This is a nice closer for the album, In those days a seven track album was rather common. This is a nice slide guitar based track. Dickey Betts provides vocals for this track which quickly moves from a southern blues style to a more Bluegrass sound. Whilst it's not the best track on the album it's a nice closer and gives an example of the album. The track picks up pace towards the end where there's a nice bluegrass guitar part which is joined by the piano and drums. Good stuff.
After the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, Brothers & Sisters could have easily been a forgettable album but it was the love for Music and the astute replacements that kept the band going and both Dickey Betts and Lamar Williams helped make the album a very good one. They kept the Allman Brothers sound intact whilst widening it in some ways. Despite the bands struggles following on from the album, Brothers & Sisters might well be one of the most important albums in the whole existence of the band.
As someone who has a love for many kinds of music I am always on the lookout for documentaries or live concerts on Sky Arts and recently I came across a Documentary about the making of Metallica's most well known and biggest selling album. I wouldn't describe myself as a Metallica nut but I do appreciate their place in Metal History and am very fond of many of their tracks so I decided to watch the documentary and after doing so I dug out the album from my collection and began listening to it again for the first time in a while and then I set about planning to review the album.
Although titled Metallica the album is more commonly referred to as "The Black Album" and features so many of Metallica's greatest tracks, It may as well be their Greatest hits album. This was their fifth studio album and they had been recording for eight years by this album. The album was released on 12th August 1991 and became their biggest selling album by far selling over 30 million copies worldwide. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich produced the album with the help of legendary producer Bob Rock and brought in a more melodic harmonic based sound than the thrash metal of much of their early work. The album includes a couple of special ballads which show a different side to the band. The album was very well recorded and stands out from many recordings from the time.
1.) Enter Sandman
This is a dark heavy metal track which has some big riffs and crashing drums as James Hetfield sings about a child's nightmares. There's a lot going on musically with plenty of melodies and hooks. It's one of the most melodic tracks on the album and shows the musicianship of the band. Kirk Hammett showcases his superb guitar work on a couple of great solos and there's some great interplay between Hammett and Hetfield. It's a great start to the album.
2.) Sad but true
This is another dark heavy metal track with some crashing drums and heavy riffs. In parts it is heavier than the opener and has some great toe tapping moments. That riff is unmistakable and forms the basis of the whole song. It's a very melodic track with some great guitar work and the crashing drums combine well with the guitars to create a fine heavy sound. It's a real headbanger of a track. It has been described by critics as one of their best tracks with the riffs garnering special praise.
3.) Holier than Thou
This track has a sound more akin to their previous material and as you would expect has a very heavy feel. It has a long intro and the crashing drums and guitar riffs set the musical scene before James Hetfield comes in with the aggressive vocals. It's one of the less well known tracks on the album but has that unmistakable Metallica quality to it and there's the excellent riffs that run throughout the track and the guitar solo tops things off really well.
4.) The Unforgiven
This is the first of the few ballads on the album and starts with a gentle guitar part and soft drumming from Lars Ulrich. There are some great guitar melodies on this track and the track soon gets into it's flow with Hetfield's vocals backed by an excellent melody and the varied drumming adds a nice touch. The track features some smoother vocals from Hetfield than he was known for at the time and showed a different side to the band. I really like the way the track develops and it's topped off by a fine solo which some great musicianship and is some of the fastest playing on the album.
5.) Wherever I may roam
Interestingly the track opens with a sitar and then the mood changes with some aggressive guitar riffs and crashing drums. The bass hooks combine well with both and there's some great interplay between the members. It was the fourth single from the album and is yet another with plenty of big riffs and crashing drums. It's a track that develops well and whilst it's not up there with the best on the album it still stacks up well to much of their back catalogue.
6.) Don't tread on me
Opening with a typically heavy metal riff and drum pounding, this track has a very catchy feel and has an excellent stop start melody which combines well with the heavy metal chant vocals from James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. The instrumental introduction uses the famous eight bar phrase from "America" from West Side Story and the subject of the song has it's roots in the American Revolutionary War. There are some great riffs on the album and this one has several.
7.) Through The Never
Another heavy track here, This track opens at a frenetic pace and has some great guitar work from both Hetfield and Hammett and the crashing drums and bass from Lars Ulrich and Jason Newsted respectively make for a very entertaining and heavy sound. The track isn't one of the most well known from the album but it is still very impressive musically and has the trademark Metallica sound with some really heavy moments more like the Metallica of old. There's a great solo that tops things off really well.
8.) Nothing Else Matters
This has to be my favourite Metallica song. It's a superb ballad which opens with some nice intricate guitar work and then Hetfield's vocals come in. The track was one of few Metallica tracks to feature strings in the background and it works to great effect. This is one of the most personal, emotive songs from Metallica and has a lovely build up and Hetfield's vocals are well judged as he moves through the song. The way the song develops you can tell it's building up to something special and that's exactly what you get when Kirk Hammett lets loose on some superb guitar work to just top things off wonderfully well.
9.) Of wolf & man
This is the first of the last few tracks on the album that aren't too well known when it comes to Metallica's biggest tracks. It features backing vocals from the others in the band and has a typically heavy metal Metallica sound with some great riffs and continues their progression to a more melodic yet still heavy sound which they pioneered on this album. It's still a very strong track without quite having that overall quality of the best tracks on the album.
10.) The God that failed
This track opens with some great drumming and then the riffs come in with some great teamwork between Hetfield and Hammett to create a meaty riff. There are some great stop start melodies on the track that really work well and in some parts the song sounds a little like "Sad but true", There's a fine guitar solo towards the end that really tops things off well. A very impressive track all round with some great guitar work and not just on the solo.
11.) The friend of misery
This is one of three tracks that you could describe as ballad like in style. The track starts gently and then gets into full swing with some punchy drums and some relaxed yet heavy riffs. The track is the longest on the album at six minutes and fifty seconds and features some great riffs and melodies. Hetfield's vocals are well performed as well and this is a well judged track.
12.) The struggle within
The track opens with some great military style drumming and then the bass drum kicks in with some heavy riffs and then the high pitched guitar tone comes in and soon this track is moving along at a frenetic pace. It's the final track on the album and showcases more of the old style of Metallica compared to the new sound which was brought in on much of the album. There's a fine solo towards the end that just tops things off really well.
Whilst this is not quite a perfect album it does have sound exceptional tracks which are amongst the best of Metallica's career. The stand out tracks for me are "Enter Sandman", "Nothing Else Matters", "Sad but True", "Wherever I May Roam" and "The Unforgiven". These tracks stack up against anything from the genre. If there were a couple more as good as these ones then I would award the album five stars, As it is I would award just over four but as it's in full stars I award four. This album deserves to be their biggest selling.