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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

Peter FramptonPeter Frampton
Live In Detroit
(Eagle Rock)

After last year’s, rather excellent, re-visitation/35th anniversary celebration of his massive smash Frampton Comes Alive! - FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton, also out on Eagle Rock - comes this show from 1999 recorded at the Pine Knob amphitheatre in Detroit (originally released on video in 2000). Most people will know of Frampton’s career from the Herd, via Humble Pie to huge solo success with that live album (and of course the famous Talkbox guitar effect), but how many of you know just how good a guitarist he actually is? David Bowie, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Bill Wyman have all utilized his guitar skills and even a cursory listen here reveals just why that is. Yes he has a good voice, yes he can write a pretty decent tune and yes, as this show highlights, he is a great live performer but what he is first and foremost is a very, very good guitarist. He is also a genuinely charming and down to earth sort of chap as his self deprecating appearances on The Simpsons and Family Guy prove, and the short but revealing interview tucked away in the extras is a welcome inclusion. Also available on Blu-ray.
Ray Harper

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Fairy TalesFairy Tales: Early Colour Stencil films from Pathé (BFI)

Best known as the inventors of the newsreels shown prior to films Pathé was actually founded as Société Pathé Frères (Pathé Brothers Company) in Paris in 1896, by the four brothers Charles, Émile, Théophile and Jacques and quickly became the world's largest film equipment and production company. Of course all that access to film making equipment ensured that doing some crazy stuff with it would ensue and this collection of early colour stencil film shorts is chock full of early camera trickery driven fables, fairy tales and some just plain bonkers stuff (known collectively as scènes de feeries) which will certainly appeal to film buffs. This release is of particular interest to music fans however because the Touch label – home to Chris Watson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Ryoji Ikeda, Philip Jeck, and BJ Nilsen amongst others – has newly sound-tracked these pieces making them even more atmospheric. Our particular favourites are Oren Ambarchi’s disconcerting counterpoint to the pages of a book coming to life in 'The Wonderful Album', Christian Fennesz’ glowering synth washes underpinning the butterfly collectors being themselves collected in 'Tit For Tat' and Hepworth Pictures bonus animated feature 'Little Red Riding Hood' which Rosy Parlane managed to turnm positively eerie.
The Oracle

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From The JamFrom The Jam
A First Class Return
(Invisible Hands)

From The Jam, can you see what they did there? Yes it’s the other two from the Jam who didn’t go on to have fascinating if inconsistent careers, Foxton having spent many a moon as a Stiff Little Finger and Buckler careering from Time UK, and furniture restoration to tribute outfit The Gift. So taking the piss would be like shooting very large fish in a very small barrel. But let’s get a bit of perspective here shall we, there are a great many people out there who want to hear old Jam tunes, tunes Weller himself will have no truck with, so who is better placed, or indeed more entitled to make a living (something we are all allowed to do, even musicians), playing the greatest hits from the Jam’s back catalogue than Buckler and Foxton? And lest we forget one of the reasons the Jam were so popular was at least partly down to their fearsomely punchy rhythm section and whilst some will have you believe that Russell Hastings is not trying to sound like Paul Weller, this would surely be a pretty pointless exercise so don't worry Jam fans, he does. All in all if you like the Jam, this is the only way you’re gonna get to hear those old songs played exactly the way they were the first time around.

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FaithlessFaithless
Live In Moscow
(Warner Music Entertainment)

For those who have never understood the appeal of Faithless – although many who‘ve seen the ‘Mass Destruction’ video have fallen madly in lust with Sister Bliss – the reason is simple, you really do need to see them live. Catch one of their hi-octane riff-driven trance-anthem live sets and then revisit the recorded output and it all makes sense. Exactly who Faithless are tends to evolve with each record and tour but the mainsprings of the whole setup are the studio based Rollo (real name Rowland Constantine O'Malley Armstrong – who is incidentally elder brother to Dido, real name Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong, no honestly!), the aforementioned Sister Bliss (real name Ayalah Bentovim), and of course the enigmatic Buddhist vocalist Maxi Jazz (ah go on then, real name Maxwell Fraser) and for a dance act, which they most certainly are, Faithless are not afraid to put their collective wellies on the ‘rock’ pedal, ‘Emergency’ and ‘Mass Destruction’ for example are given massive great guitar-fuelled goosebumpy workouts. Occasionally the impetus drops as the band try to make the most of their guests the Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra, but on the whole this is a pretty fair example of the Faithless live experience.

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Fairport ConventionFairport Convention & Matthew Southern Comfort
Live In Maidstone 1970 (Voiceprint)

One for all you Fairport obsessives as this recently rediscovered footage features the Full House line-up (Thompson, Nicol, Pegg, Swarbrick and Mattacks) in all it’s youthful glory playing to a Kent audience in 1970. Filmed by Tony Palmer (the man behind the recently re-released All My Loving documentary) at least half of the fun here is watching the audience from stern ‘squares’ to hip young folkies and all points in between, and the glorious moment when the Fairport’s set is interrupted to allow the crowd to watch a helicopter team take off (complete with vocal, if unsanctioned, Fairport commentary over the PA), left this reviewer misty eyed for all those wonderfully haphazard old family fun days where you could see a marching band, some performing animals and a ‘pop’ group all in the same balloon peppered field, ah heady days. At just over 31 minutes it’s the briefest of tastes of this legendary line-up but the hi-octane clatter through ‘Jenny’s Chicken & The Mason’s Apron’ show a band firing on all cylinders and even Matthew Southern Comfort’s less than world-shattering efforts are pleasant enough. One for fans only probably but a worthwhile find nonetheless.

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ForeignerForeigner
Alive & Rockin’
(Eagle Vision)

Seldom does a new release elicit such divided responses at TotalMusic-Online towers, with opinion more or less equally divided into two camps, the first subscribing to the ‘proper classic grown up rock music that’s both melodic and punchy’ school of thought whilst the second plump for the slightly more confrontational ‘oh for god’s sake can’t someone take that irritating AOR shite off please’. Of course the line-up can now only boast the one original member in Mick Jones, but the real skill in writing songs like 'Cold As Ice', 'Hot Blooded' or 'Feels Like The First Time' is that pretty much anyone can play ‘em and the new line-up (including John Bonham’s son Jason), play the songs exactly the same as the old line-up, so no disappointments there. The only real downside is the truncated set (recorded live at the German Bang Your Head Festival in 2006 – Germany must be the only place in the world that Foreigner could play a 'heavy metal' festival), just the nine songs spread over an hour or so but the set rattles along at a fair old pace avoiding the slowies, and should satisfy any Foreigner fans keen to catch up on one of the biggest selling rock acts of all time.

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FaustFaust
Nobody Knows If It Ever Happened
(Ankstmusik)

The most volatile of the krautrock godfathers (a tag which they hate incidentally), Faust’s career could, at best, be described as sporadic, which makes this wonderfully ramshackle video of the bands performance at London's Garage in December 1996 all the more remarkable as the aged rockers - the line up features original members Werner ‘Zappi’ Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler and Jean-Hervé Péron - turn in a hugely enjoyable, unstructured, car crash of a performance which positively oozes menace and uncertainty. Lest we forget Faust all but invented the industrial plant machinery approach to music later adopted by bands like Ensturzende Neubauten, and all of that hardware is utilised to gob smacking effect here - the accompanying film of the band setting up, with lot’s of sawing up, welding and cement mixers being loaded on the stage, sets the tone before a note is played (or hammered, painted or indeed angle ground). It’s not all scary industrial clanging mind as classic tracks like 'Flashback Caruso' and 'J'ai Mal Aux Dents' get an airing but it’s not hard to see why most venues would shy away from a Faust performance as the Garage is left looking like an overturned paint lorry in a vandalised building site.

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Bryan FerryBryan Ferry
Dylanesque Live - The London Sessions
(Eagle Rock)

A positive orgy of Bryan Ferry this month (OK two DVD’s, but for Ferry fans that’s a lot), but unlike the preening, camp glam rocker found above, this is the smooth, velvet tongued crooner wrapping his warm tonsils around a dozen Bob Dylan tracks with various degrees of success. Never an obvious Dylan acolyte (he even admits to not ‘getting’ Dylan in the early folkie days) it’s Ferry’s love of Dylan’s remarkable lyrical imagery which initially prompted his covers album Dylanesque, around which this live session was created, and several of the arrangements are certainly different enough from the recorded versions to warrant the purchase for Ferry completists. The album certainly alienated some Dylan AND Ferry hardliners and this won’t do anything to convince either camp differently, but needless to say if you liked the album (and we did) then you will almost certainly like this especially with the addition of non-album track ‘Don’t Think Twice, It's Alright’, between song musings on the songs from the man himself and the original 1973 video of ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’. And to cap it all this is probably the only time you are ever likely to see Ferry wearing jeans, oh yes!

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Peter FramptonPeter Frampton
Frampton Comes Alive II
(Universal)

Ex-Bromley Technical School (also home to one David ‘Bowie’ Jones), ex-Herd, ex-Humble Pie and the man behind, possibly still, the biggest selling solo album of all time the six times platinum Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton’s career has been a bit like Orson Wells in that it has become steadily less successful as it continued – not least when he signed on for the hideous Bee Gees film flop Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - and, like Meat Loaf recently, he has obviously decided that a follow up to his greatest success will put him back in the worlds arenas. Which brings us to this (not an updated version of the original, although several of the tracks from FCA I survive). Looking considerably less hirsute than on the original effort, FCA II is in truth a lot like FCA I, if slightly less energetic, but the world has moved on and whilst Frampton’s guitar playing is still excellent his song-writing remains avowedly AOR in style which is about as popular as a wee jobbie in the bath right now. Still, if you loved the first instalment then this will probably still appeal, and yes he does use the old talk box thingie.

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Free ForeverFree
Forever
(Universal)

It’s been remarked elsewhere on TM-Online that Free never really received the kudos (or indeed the dosh) that bands like Cream or Led Zeppelin did and yet were easily their equal musically, a deal more soulful and head and shoulders above the general lumpen blues rockers alongside which they spent most of their careers. Trawling around the world on a never-ending enthusiasm sapping merry-go-round of tours would ultimately do for the band (and of course Paul Kossof would ultimately lose his long fight with drug addiction) but this extensive collection of clips, videos and live footage (including some recently uncovered images from a great live set at the Isle Of Wight – the ‘audio only’ material from the show is also included) is manna from heaven for old hands and hopefully also a gob-smacking introduction to a new generation of fans. Peppered with wonderful old unseen footage, interviews - including any number of entertainingly differing reminiscences about the old days (including numerous theories about the genesis of ‘All Right Now’) - and lots of little hidden bits and bobs to ferret out, this is a well constructed, well packaged collection which will provide many hours of entertainment for fans old and new.

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FaithlessFaithless
Forever Faithless
(Sony/BMG)

Strange cove Johnny video collection, especially in the case of an act like Faithless who really need to be experienced live to get the full, hands-in-the-air, euphoric effect of their thought provoking trance/rock (We Come 1 and Take The Long Way Home really fly live but are oddly muted here despite both having very watchable vids). Naturally enough when the visuals are good (Muhammad Ali, God Is A DJ, Mass Destruction), they do add a certain frisson to the proceedings, but when they’re mundane, even if the sounds are cool and you still tune in mentally, you just stop looking (early efforts like Salva Mea and Don’t Leave are strictly by-the-numbers efforts, and Bliss and Dido out cleavaging each other on One Step Too Far is just plain dull). On the whole things work best when the video makers pick up on the handsome stately grace of Maxi Jazz and the hard as nails, but sexy with it, Sister Bliss - the good sister whacking drums on Mass Destruction is far more pulse racing than any Britney S or C Aguilera sweatathon – but Faithless on film is never going to be as exciting as Faithless in the flesh

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