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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

The WhoThe Who
Live At Shea Stadium 1982 (Eagle Rock)

Post Moonie - and sporting some remarkably distressing 'new wave' '80s clobber - the Who were a band fighting to find a direction and whilst It's Hard, the album this 1982 tour was supporting, had its moments it's never going to make anyone's all time Who classic lists - although if you are a fan then you will find live versions of certain tracks here and nowhere else - and this lack of direction/impetus does show here. The wildly flailing Moon is much missed and while Kenney Jones is a genuinely fine drummer (the Faces, small or otherwise, wouldn't have been the same without him), the unrestrained machine gun Moon clatter does leave a gaping hole, leaving the three remaining originals oddly subdued. That said, this is the 'Oo and even a subdued Townshend/Daltrey and Entwistle can't go far wrong on classics like 'I Can t Explain', 'Behind Blue Eyes', 'Baba O Riley', 'Pinball Wizard', 'Won't Get Fooled Again' and 'Love Reign O'er Me' (although I think we could all do without ever hearing their versions of 'I Saw Her Standing There' and 'Twist And Shout' ever again). So probably one for the real hard-core fans rather than the mildly interested.
Ray Harper

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Steven WilsonSteven Wilson
Get All You Deserve
(Kscope)

You have to wonder when Steven Wilson sleeps because whilst he’s hardly a household name (unless you live in a household obsessed with progressive rock that is), his work with Nu-Proggers Porcupine Tree (and side projects Blackfield, No-Man and Bass Communion), plus being in demand as a producer (Opeth, Anathema) and the ‘go-to’ guy for remixing and remastering classic rock albums - he has overseen all of the recent King Crimson anniversary editions with Robert Fripp – he then seems to spend every spare moment scheduling in live sets, like this one from Mexico City in April 2012, hell the bugger's busier than Simon Cowell (only making music that’s still going to be around in ten minutes). Ok, so it’s a little weird for those of us of a certain age to accept ex-bead-dreadlocked Kajagoogoo bass bunny Nick Beggs as a titan of new prog bass (he is in fact very good), but as always Wilson has surrounded himself with fine musicians including Jazz legend Theo Travis, hugely underrated Bulgarian guitarist Niko Tsonev, jazz pianist, and son of Jac, Adam Holzman and, yet another underrated name, German drummer Marco Minnemann which finds him pushing the material from his recent solo album Grace For Drowning into jazzier King Crimson-esque areas on a long and, damn near, faultless set.
The Oracle

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Wishbone AshWishbone Ash
This Is Wishbone Ash A Rockumentary
(Glasgow Productions)

Not to be confused with Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, this film following Andy Powell’s Wishbone Ash is not actually a rockumetary as such as it really only focuses on the band in the studio during the preparations for their recent album Elegant Stealth as Andy, Bob Skeat, Muddy Manninen and Joseph Crabtree jam, muck around in the back garden, do a little go-karting and play a selection of songs from their back catalogue live in a rather lovely French setting. Clearly there is a story to be told here, with two bands insisting they have the rights to the band name (although to be fair Powell has been the only consistent member throughout the bands forty odd year career), but if you are looking for enlightenment about this acrimonious split you won’t find it here. That said if you are a long term fan of the band you will find an engaging enough hours worth of interviews and songs (including six downloadable tracks on the DVD itself) and will doubtless enjoy the intimate setting and there’s no doubt that Powell and Manninen are keeping the duel lead guitar aspect of the band alive and well.
Ray Harper

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We Made Our Own DisasterWe Made Our Own Disaster: A Study of Fascism In late 20th Century Democracies
(Optronica/Mensch Films)

The debut multi-media audiovisual album from Noodles Foundation collaborators, filmmaker Robin Mahoney and dance music DJ and producer Si Begg, basically just over an hour of Mahoney’s cut and pasted visuals mixed seamlessly with Begg’s breakbeat driven sound track , built around, often grotesquely warped, spoken (or sung), visual samples (think V/VM’s decimation of Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady In Red’ and you are in the general area) – not unlike the work Coldcut, and more recently Addictive TV, have championed wherein the music is part of the visual process rather than being a later addition. Whether you could actually call this a Study Of Fascism In The Late 20th Century is open to question mind as the political points being made are occasionally heavy handed or completely obscure but there is plenty of humour in the mixture of images and samples (the old black and white footage in particular) and the music is pretty much spot on throughout - again if you are looking for sign-posts then the disconcerting time signatures, warped ambience and clattering break-beats of Aphex Twin are a good kicking off point. Expect to see much more of this sort of thing in the near future.
Drew Bass

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Rick Wakeman Rick Wakeman
The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Live at Hampton Court Palace (Eagle Vision)

Did you know that aside from being in the classic line-up of Yes Rick Wakeman has recorded almost 100 solo albums and performed as a guest or session musician for artists as varied as Alice Cooper, Elton John, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, T. Rex, Black Sabbath and , erm, Brotherhood of Man? If you can answer yes to these questions you are clearly an obsessive fan and will already own this, but for the rest of us who may only be acquainted with a few of his solo albums – The Six Wives… probably being one of them – this performance documents the first time the whole album was ever performed in concert and finally includes the track ‘Defender Of The Faith’, which had to be cut from the original album for space reasons plus new opening and closing pieces. On the minus side Brian Blessed seems to have had only a few seconds to learn his narration, and is woefully under-rehearsed (although, being the trooper he is, perseveres manfully) but all in all this is a very entertaining show, complete with some great wobbly scenery and an absolute must have for fans of the album, it is also available on Blu-Ray and CD (shorn of the Brian Blessed sections).
Ray Harper

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Bernie WorrellBernie Worrell
Stranger: Bernie Worrell On Earth
(Wienerworld)

Never heard of Bernie Worrell? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, but just check the list of people more than happy to wax lyrical about the man, George Clinton, David Byrne, Mos Def, Bill Laswell, Bootsy Collins, Prince Paul and Doug Wimbush are just some of the talking heads on offer (in more ways than one as Byrne is also joined by Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz), and all of these people are clearly both in awe of, and exceptionally fond of, Bernie Worrell. Still none the wiser? well you may well have heard his playing on both Parliament/ Funkadelic and Talking Heads albums but this is just a small part of his incredible musical life as Worrell was also a musical prodigy, learning to play the piano by age three and writing a concerto at age eight. Worrell himself speaks very little but the film is absolutely littered with his playing which speaks volumes, it also highlights the fact that this prodigiously talented and influential keyboard player is pretty much broke and finds it damn near impossible to get his music released or indeed to even play it live. One assumes Worrell will earn something from this DVD so do yourself and the man a favour and buy one today.

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The WhoThe Who
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
(Eagle Vision)

The trouble with ‘legendary’ live performances is they’re often best left as fond memories rather than being disinterred and committed to film for repeated reappraisal. The Who in particular were a chaotic live proposition, Townshend’s deranged, unglued windmill gymnastics and Moons tumultuous, whirlwind ‘if I can reach it, I’ll hit it’ looning ensured bum notes, clattered chords, miss-hit cymbals and rim-shots peppered every performance. John Entwistle did his level best to hold it all together with marvellously florid bass rumbles and Daltry was always a class front man, the epitome of rock god cool, but the reality of the Who was always a cacophonous racket. That racket occasionally coalesced into something far greater than the sum of it’s parts and the results were very special indeed but more often than not audiences were left breathless due to the sheer rampaging runaway train-wreck nature of the live shows. This has its fair share of both inspired coherence and shambolic disorder, but it’s obvious that by ‘See Me Feel Me/Listening To You’ the audience and band are having a full blown epiphany and that still comes over 35 years down the line.

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Paul WellerPaul Weller
As Is Now
(Liberation Entertainment)

On something of a roll of late – a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, a double live album Catch-Flame and his very well received, by fans and critics alike, ninth album As Is Now, the meat around which this double disc DVD sandwich is built (eh? Ed) – Paul Weller’s star hasn’t burned quite so brightly since his heyday in the Jam, and judging by the incendiary clatter of the live 100 Club footage (recorded in 2005 to an intimate, and clearly enthralled audience of just 150, backed by Steve Craddock (guitar), Steve White (drums) and Damon Minchella (bass)), the current excitement surrounding him is pretty well justified, and proves the man behind some of the most intense tunes to tumble out of the punk scene is definitely back in love with the power of rock and roll, he even dips into the Jam’s back catalogue for versions of ‘In The Crowd’ and ‘A Town Called Malice’. The DVD also features a 45 minute documentary looking in-depth at the high speed creation of As Is Now, along with full renditions of five tracks in the studio, and an exclusive interviews with the grumpy old bugger himself.

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The White StripesThe White Stripes
Under Blackpool Lights
(XL)

Poor old Jack White, in the words of another great fish out of water Brian Wilson he simply wasn’t made for these times. Like Wilson’s old muckers the Beach Boys Jack and Sister/ex-wife Meg dress in matching, rather drippy, stage wear, and also like Wilson he’s fallen out with his old friends in a big way (belting poor old Von Bondies frontman Jason Stollemeister for good measure). Unlike Wilson however Jack’n’Meg deal in huge great clattering breeze block blues-rock and far from looking to load everything but the local fire-station onto their albums al la Smile J’n’M are about as stripped back as it’s possible to get without actually not turning up at all. So as you might imagine a White Stripes live show is about as bare bones as a bleached cow skull in the Mojave Desert, it is also the only real way to properly ’get’ what the White Stripes are all about. Contrary to a live review on this very web site (and accepting even good bands have an off night), you are unlikely to see anything as full-on as Jack’n’Meg in full bombastic, thunderous, goosebumb inducing flow anywhere, and this show recorded in Blackpool catches them in just such form.

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Andy WilliamsAndy Williams
Moon River and Me
(Demon Vision)

Whilst the rediscovery of lounge crooners like Tony Bennett and the reinvention of belt-‘em-out merchants like Tom Jones over the last few years suggests that anything from the less cool end of the 60s is now ripe for re-visitation it’s highly unlikely that the king of ‘easy listening’ Andy Williams is ever going to be anything other than an ironic name to be dropped in conversation for anyone under fifty years of age. Which is a pity as on this evidence it’s obvious Williams was a master of his art, the problem isn’t with his undoubted vocal skills but, oddly enough, with his effortless approach which too often simply made his performances sound soulless, made it look like he wasn’t trying. That and of course his willingness to drape a song with enough saccharine coated schmaltz to induce tooth decay at 100 meters. Fans will of course dismiss this as ill-informed tosh and will happily lap up the 90 min documentary (loaded with AW hits and narrated by Frasier star Kelsey Grammer), and the 75 min second disc entitled My Favorite Duets featuring Sammy Davis, Jr, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, The Osmonds, Simon & Garfunkel and the mighty Ray Charles.

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