Lee Speaks About Music… #52

Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition) – Led Zeppelin

LZ - LZ1

Introduction…

Well I am sure everybody who was into this band would of had their albums just like myself many moons ago on vinyl. Over the years I even got their back catalogue on CD and I have been well impressed by the DVD they released in 2003 which contained restored live concert footage from as far back as 1969 – 1979.

To be perfectly honest the restoration on the 2003 Double DVD that got released, I would say is the best I have ever seen of any artist or band from many moons ago. It was breathtaking and they made it look like it was actually filmed with today’s technology. Even the 5.1 mix was superb. and it’s up there with the best DVD’s and Blu Ray’s I have ever brought for pristine high quality.

For anybody who read my last blog on books. You would of noticed that I am currently reading one written by Chris Welch on the band. I did notice a couple of years back that Jimmy Page had remastered all of the Led Zeppelin Studio Discography. I even watched a lot of footage of him speaking about the band and the new remasters on YouTube.

The only thing that put me off buying these new remastered Deluxe Editions. Was very much down to the fact that he had not done no 5.1 mixes of them. It’s only really 5.1 mixes that entice me more than anything to update my own music collection. But being has I was reading the book, it did prompt me to further investigate them.

A Brief Bit Of History Of How The Band Came About…

I am sure many will know the background history of the band Led Zeppelin. So I am not going to be going into great detail here for this review. But basically the band was formed from the left over members of the Yardbirds back in 1968 to which Jimmy Page was left on his own from the breakup of the band, and he was left with the band name and even a series of concerts that the band were booked for to play in Scandinavia.

Page tried to put the band back together being has he did not want to let those concerts pass by. His first idea was to get a singer so he could write some new material with. His first choice to fill that spot was a guy who Page had come across during his session playing days and was a guy by the name of Terry Reid.

Reid was a session vocalist and guitarist and at the time Page approached him he was already committed to go on a couple of tours supporting The Rolling Stones and Cream. Reid had supported the Stones a couple of years earlier too when he was with his band called the Jaywalkers and because of this commitment he turned Page down.

However it was Reid who did suggest a singer by the name of Robert Plant who was creating quite a stir around my own town of Birmingham even though he was born in black country in West Bromwich. He also told him to check out the drummer John Bonham who could also be found playing around the town of Birmingham even though he was born in Redditch. Both towns are quite close to my own town.

The Londoner Page travelled to Birmingham to seek out Plant and found him singing in a band named the Obs-Tweedle in a college Reid had told him he would find him. Page was immediately impressed by the singer and knew he had found the right man for the job.

Having found the singer for the job Page told Plant of his ideas and invited him to his house in London where they worked on many of the songs that was going to be featured on the band’s debut album. Plant also suggested John Bonham to him has he had played with the drummer in both the Crawling King Snakes and later they both went on to form the New Band Of Joy to which Plant was in the previous incarnation of the band beforehand and before it originally had split up.

Though Bonham took a lot more persuading to join has he was already doing well and was receiving better offers from Joe Cocker and Chris Farlowe to which he was already playing drums for them from time to time.

Both Page and his manger Peter Grant went to see Bonham play for Tim Rose at the Marquee club in London and were convinced he was the right man for the job. It’s also rumoured that Plant had sent 8 telegrams to Bonham and Grant had sent 40 to finally win him over.

Although when Page eventually got Bonham it was not really working out between the two of them simply because Bonham was too loud and quite unruly in the way that everything Page had told him to do, he simply ignored him and carried on doing his own thing.

This even resulted in Page phoning up his manager Grant to tell him it was not working out between him and the drummer and he was gonna have to let him go and bring in somebody else.

Peter Grant was quite a beast and a very powerful guy who did not let anybody get in his way.  He had managed many famous artists way before becoming the last manager of the Yardbirds and knew how to handle himself and the music business. Many people feared him. He spent most of his time handling his business in America.

It’s rumoured that upon hearing the trouble Page was having with Bonham over that phone conversation. That he came over and told Bonham straight. He basically told him if you want to play drums for this band, then you had better buck up your ideas and listen to what Page was telling him to do. Otherwise fuck off now.

Most people thought that the session player John Paul Jones was the first person Page had recruited. But in reality he was the last member to join the band.

It was down to the fact the he had heard Page was putting a band together, that he got in touch with Page and asked if he could be their bass player. It was also alleged that it was his wife was the one to make him to make the phone call in the first place.

Page and Jones had bumped into one another on many occasions during their session days and Page knew he was the right man for the job. Has a matter of a fact Page and Jones were the more professional musicians and more wider known than both Plant and Bonham. Both of the latter two were only really known in Birmingham at the time and not really beyond it.

Most musicians back in those days from Birmingham only became more known by travelling to London to play at the clubs there. It was the place to be if you really wanted to make a name for yourself. It was also the place were most people in the music business could spot potential and talent a mile off. so the chances of making it meant that you had to travel to London.

The band Black Sabbath were perhaps one of the exceptions and actually became famous for playing in their own town of Birmingham. Not many did what they did to get noticed. But even both Plant and Bonham and many others in Birmingham felt they was a laughing stock at the time and would never make it.

Though the band first aired their new material live under the name of the New Yardbirds in 1968. The name of Led Zepplein they already had and intended to change it to, when they finished the set of concerts they still had to play which was originally contracted to the Yardbirds.

The actual name came from a chat Page remembered a few years earlier when he Jeff Beck. Keith Moon and John Entwistle were thinking of putting band together. Moon joked that it would probably go down like a “Lead Balloon” and Entwistle followed up with or a “Lead Zeppelin”.

Page at first chose the name “Lead Zeppelin” and it was his manager Grant who suggested dropping out the “A” from the word “Lead” so it read Led Zeppelin. The rest is history and they certainly made their mark.

The Deluxe Edition Releases…

The Deluxe and Super Deluxe Edition of Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut album was all newly remastered and released in 2014. They come in the form of 3 different packages to suit your choice. They are as follows:

A Super Deluxe Edition Box Set containing 2 CD’s & 3 Vinyl LP’s. A 72 page album sized book. A replica of the original Atlantic press kit and a Download Card so that you can download the album in high quality audio formats of 96/24 & 48/24. It’s currently priced up on Amazon for £84.99.

A Triple Album Deluxe Edition that contains 3 Vinyl LP’s is currently priced on Amazon at £29.79 for all you vinyl lovers.

A Deluxe Edition that contains 2 CD’s. A 16 page booklet is priced on Amazon at £9.95. This was my personal choice, especially has I have no intention of dragging my Turntable back out of the loft and paying more for the vinyl album.

Incidentally the best way to find these releases on Amazon is via Led Zeppelin’s website. Otherwise you could end up paying something stupid for them or be put off by some of the ridiculous prices private sellers have on there.

The band’s website features all 9 studio albums across the top of the page and by clicking on them you will be able to see the newly remastered Deluxe Editions and by clicking on the link to buy them, it will take you to the right place on Amazon with the best price.

The website is here: http://www.ledzeppelin.com/

So let’s now take a look at the packaging.

The Packaging & Artwork…

20180109_150840

The packaging is constructed out of thin cardboard but very slim and neat in the way it is packaged up. It’s a lot slimmer than the packaging that was used for the Definitive Editions that the Yes albums came in, I reviewed last year.

But amazingly works better simply because there are no issues when closing it all up. Because of it’s sleek slender slim design it also takes up less space storing as well, and will take up perhaps half the space of those Yes albums.

The 2 CD’s are housed on both sides of the sleeve and can be retrieved from the top as in the picture above. The pockets they are housed in have a matt coated finish on the inside. For better protection a gloss coating or even a paper sleeve with polyurethane inside would of worked better. But at this price one cannot really complain.

The 16 page booklet is a bit disappointing unless your into pictures of the band. 14 of its pages are only pictures I am afraid and it gives you no information about the time the album was made at all, and the last 2 pages merely gives you the disc information and credits.

The booklet also is stored in a side pocket in the centre of the packaging which does make it a little harder to retrieve unlike the discs. But for what little information you do get here, I can hardly imagine anybody wanting to take it out of its pocket that often :))))).

I thought I should also mention that on the back of the packaging after unwrapping and removing the cellophane it came wrapped in. That there is a square plastic coated sticker on the back has seen in the picture below.

20180109_184909

Mine had a crease in it has you can see in the picture here, and it runs across the middle in a diagonal direction in between the track information of the both discs. Whoever stuck it on never did their job right in the first place.

Upon first inspection I thought it was just another piece of cellophane you have to peel off. But when I started to peel it from one of the corners I soon noticed that the white printed words had been printed on the cellophane itself, and not on the back of the cover. So I just stuck it back down to prevent any further damage.

I could of been a bit of a nitpicker and sent it back to Amazon for a replacement. But this is far too minor in reality and I am not like that. Though if the actual cover was ripped. I certainly would of sent it back and wanted a replacement.

To be honest I could of most likely peeled this back and got out the crease. But I was a bit too scared and did not really want to risk damaging it any more.

I felt I should mention it just in case somebody else thinks it’s just a piece of cellophane and makes the mistake of removing it.

Artwork.

Hindenburg_disaster

LZ 129 Hindenburg

The artwork was chosen by Jimmy Page and was an original photograph taken by Sam Sheer who captured the airships disaster has it burst into flames has it tried to land in New Jersey on the 6th may 1937.

The design of the album sleeve was coordinated by George Hardie who went on to do more work for the bands cover designs. To get the effect that is seen on the albums cover he rendered the original black & white photograph using a Rapidograph technical pen and used a Mezzotint technique.

The photographs of the band that was also featured on the cover was taken by Chris Dreja a former member of the Yardbirds.

Led Zeppelin (2 CD Deluxe Edition) Review…

The 2 CD Deluxe Edition of Led Zeppelin’s debut album was released on the 2nd June 2014. Both Led Zeppelin II & III were released on the same day. Has with all bonus material that comes with most Deluxe Editions that is featured on the 2nd disc. It mainly consists of early and alternative takes, live material and some previously unreleased material and sorts of that kind so to speak.

CD 1.

The 1st disc contains the original 1969 material to which has now been newly remastered by Jimmy Page. I have to say that these recordings on CD are quite remarkable and a hell of a lot better than the CD I brought back in the 80’s.

I would even go as far as to say that it’s that good, I can live and am extremely happy with it. There is also no need to drag my turntable and the original vinyl album out of the loft to make comparisons either.

CD 2.

The 2nd disc contains a live concert from the 10th of October 1969 which they performed at the Olympia in Paris France. It does state that this concert is previously unreleased but I am pretty sure some of it did appear in some of the previous box sets they released, though not in it’s entirety like we have here.

I also dare say there would of been a countless amount of bootlegs of this concert that surfaced over the years too. But those will never match this recording I can assure you. It’s quality and I only wish they would of had the film footage on a DVD to accompany it as well. But that might be wishing too hard.

The concert is some 71 minutes long and is purely awesome. Having checked out all the bonus material that comes with the bands other 8 studio albums in these new Deluxe Editions. This is the only one of them that features a whole live concert and for me personally it makes this Deluxe Edition a genuine must to have for fans alike.

Musicians & Credits…

Led-Zeppelin-1969-bw2-courtesy-of-Atlantic-Records_0

Recorded between September – October 1968 at the Olympic Studios London. Produced by Jimmy Page. Executive producer Peter Grant. Engineered by Glyn Johns. Cover Design by George Hardie. Back cover photography by Chris Dreja. 2014 Reissue mastering by Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page: Acoustic & Electric Guitars/Pedal Steel Guitars.
Robert Plant: Lead Vocals/Harmonica.
John Paul Jones: Bass Guitar/Hammond Organ/Backing Vocals.
John Bonham: Drums/Timpani/Backing Vocals.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original self titled album Led Zeppelin was released on the 12th January 1969 on Atlantic Records. The album contained 9 tracks and had a total playing time of 44 minutes and 52 seconds. Even though the band had no intention of being commercial by refusing to put out singles and only wanted to make albums. The band were launched into a massive commercial success in America upon the release of their debut album.

Though it was heavily criticised by a lot of the press and not so well received in their own country at the time. The album did peak at number 6 in the UK Album Charts 4 places higher than its peak of number 10 in the US Album Charts.

But no doubt the band had already broke America and the albums release coincided with the bands first North American tour. By July of the same year the album had already reached Gold Status.

Even this 2014 release put them back in the album charts and it peaked at number 7. Today the album has sold more than 8 million copies in the America alone and holds a status of 8 X Platinum there, and this is by far not their biggest selling album.

Having not long read about Marc Bolan and how much he used to brag about his record sales I have to laugh. Because in reality he sold peanuts in comparison to this band. Though I should not knock him cause he was another prolific artist who I liked a lot.

In all fairness even today Jimmy Page can still be quite big headed, and he still thinks Led Zeppelin were the greatest band ever. Even though both Page and Bolan’s egos were high, you certainly cannot deny the success they had and the music they filled so many people’s hearts of joy with.

So without further adieu let’s get down to the album tracks.

Track 1. Good Times Bad Times.

Though the bands manager Peter Grant did not want the band to release singles because it would harm their success and reduce the amount of album sales. America did insist on them releasing the odd single here and there, even though they were never released in their own country back here in the UK.

Good Times Bad Times” was the only single release off the album in the US and “Communication Breakdown” was the B-Side. To be honest it never really dented the singles charts in America and only reached around the number 80 mark. It was released on the 10th March 1969.

Other singles have materialised of it over the years in many other countries. Some with different B-Sides and even in the form of a 3 track EP. But they came much later and may not of been official releases. But to be perfectly honest I have no idea and just like Led Zeppelin. I am very much an albums man myself.

In many interviews I have seen of Jimmy Page over the years he often says that the sound of Led Zeppelin was something new. Like it had never been done before and they invented it. In my own opinion I honestly do not see his observations of being nothing new or of the sort.

For example take this opening track on the album “Good Times Bad Times” and just listen to what we have here. For starters the album has that typical 60’s sound with the reverb applied to the drums.

Has for the song itself it’s no different to listening to what Deep Purple was doing the year before when they released “Hush” and many other bands like Cream and Jeff Beck was doing for that matter. It’s a combination of the blues and rock n’ roll for Christ’s sake and nearly everybody was at it :)))))).

At this point in the bands career they was certainly more blues based than the harder edge they had on their follow up album that was to come. No doubt the band were very good musicians though, and had one hell of a singer with a rock voice. In my opinion the very best rock singer.

Good Times Bad Times” is a great song but not one I would consider a contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

Now we come to one of the stand out tracks on the album and here we can certainly see the quality this band really had, and yes they do stand out from the crowd here I have to say. The song has great progression and the combination of acoustic and electric guitars adds to the melancholy and more raunchier rock side of the band to which they was superb at doing. Plant’s voice on this track is to die for.

Led Zeppelin no doubt back in these days were well known for ripping off other peoples songs, and Plant never contributed any lyrics to this debut album at all. Some of the songs on this album were originally credited to them as the sole writers and those credits have been changed over the years since they got found out.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” was not quite one of those songs and Page had originally heard it performed by Joan Baez and got the inspiration to do his own version from her. Though Baez did not claim she wrote the original lyrics and even thought they were traditional lyrics from an unknown writer.

Later on it was discovered that the original song was written by Anne Bredon in the 50’s was an American folk singer back then. Originally the music was credited to Page and the words traditional. Since back then it’s now credited to Bredon & Page.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is my personal favourite track on the album and merits my top album spot award.

Track 3. You Shook Me.

A very long version of a cover song the band done in typical blues style. Though the song was originally written by Willie Dixon and J. B. Lenoir who were musicians themselves and more popular in Chicago in the US. It was also covered by many other blues artists such as Muddy Waters. Howlin Wolf and all those. Even Jeff Beck covered it come to think of it.

I quite like Jones Hammond playing on this one, and Plant’s job on the harmonica too. Though I would not say that their version was really any better than the many others who did it on that score. It’s certainly more raunchier and rocked up I suppose, but I can also be a stickler for authentic blues too.

It’s very hard to do a cover better than the original artist in the first place. But the band do OK with this one.

Track 4. Dazed and Confused.

The rocker of the album this one and one that Page originally wrote whilst he was still with the Yardbirds. That band even rehearsed it in the studio though it was not as well developed as this version with this line up, and they never played it live with the Yardbirds. It was one that Page held back for his future plans.

For many this may well be seen as the best track on the album and it’s has to be a very high contender for the top spot as well being the rocker I am myself. It’s also a song that Page uses a violin bow on his guitar strings, and this is something he also did whilst playing with the Yardbirds. 

It was not just something new he introduced in the band that was to become Led Zeppelin. Though no doubt he had further developed the technique of using the bow with them. He got the original idea from the actor David McCallum’s father who was a session player violinist and gave him the bow and told him to try it out.

Page used his Fender Telecastor and his violin bow and recorded the song in one take just has he had played it with the Yardbirds when he first wrote it. It’s even said that Plant had changed some of Page’s original lyrics for the song, but this has never been proven to be the case and is a controversy.

Although on the original album the song had been credited solely to Page he was in fact inspired from another American songwriter  and folk singer who went by the name of Jack Holmes and heard him play his acoustic song he had entitled “I’m Confused” whilst in New York.

These days it is rightly credited to Page and bears the words “inspired” by Jack Holmes. The song became a showcase for the bands live shows.

Track 5. Your Time Is Gonna Come.

Your Time Is Gonna Come” is another quality well written song on the album. The pipe organ intro played by Jones is quite skilful and very reminiscent of Rick Wakeman’s playing with Yes. It was at this stage that Page had brought a Fender Pedal Steel guitar and learned to play it. It’s also used to very good effect on this song.

The song was only ever performed live at those early Scandinavian gigs under the name of the New Yardbirds they was contracted to play and finish. A snippet of the song was also performed live later on, and was used in the medley sometimes on “Whole Lotta Love“. Page also go to perform it live with the Black Crowes in 1999.

It’s a really great song that both Page and Jones penned, and is another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 6. Black Mountain Side.

A most beautiful acoustic instrumental piece written by Page that he played on a borrowed Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar he had tuned to D – A – D – G – A – D to simulate the sound of a sitar. The piece is accompanied by some superbly well executed tabla drums played by Viram Jasani a very well respected Indian musician.

The piece was influenced by “White Summer” to which he had played and recorded earlier with the Yardbirds. It was also said to be inspired by a traditional Irish folk song entitled “Down To The Black Waterside” the guitar arrangement closely follows Bert Jansch’s version of that song. It was Al Stewart who taught Page how to play that song back in 1967 when Page played as a session player on Stewart’s debut album Bedsitter Images.

It’s perhaps hard to even think how an acoustic track such as this could of ended up on the bands album when they had such a great singer. But this little ditty is a pure Gem and could even be another contender for the top spot on the album. It really is gorgeous.

Track 7. Communication Breakdown.

Another one of the bands great rockers that they played live a lot and was first played whilst they was still under the name of the New Yardbirds. It was often used as an anthem in this early stage and was rivalled by “Whole Lotta Love” which followed on their next album.

The song came from a hammering guitar riff Page delivered in the spirit of Eddie Cochran and was penned by Page, Jones and Bonham and not by Page and Plant as many believed. The song is quite short on the album, but with many of their songs they could stretch them out way longer when performed live on stage.

Page’s downstroke rapid guitar riff was also an inspiration later on for the Ramone’s guitarist Johnny Ramone. It’s a great song to belt out and  good fun.

Track 8. I Can’t Quit You Baby.

Another blues cover penned by Willie Dixon who Plant was very much a fan of. Plant’s voice works a treat on this classic and Page goes to town on his Les Paul. Bonham’s bass pedal works like a jack hammer. The whole band do the business on the song and certainly made it their own to some extent.

Track 9. How Many More Times.

The final track on the album is the longest weighing in at hefty 8 and half minutes. It’s credited to Page, Jones and Bonham. Though back then Plant was later credited too ASCAP credits but has Plant never contributed any lyrics to this album he has once again been removed from the writing credits.

Even though it was written by the above they did do a bit of stealing and just as Plant sings “Steal away” they certainly did and added “The Hunter” which was penned by Carl Wells and some of the members of Brooker T & The MG’s whilst they writing songs for  Stax Records. The song was made popular in 1967 by Albert King. Though they only used a quotation from that song.

Page originally started work on the song whilst he was with the Yardbirds has he did with quite a few of the songs, and had some bits and pieces of it he had pieced together. There maybe even some influences from Jeff BecksBolero” which was originally inspirered by Ravel’sBolero” to which Page mainly wrote whilst he was with Jeff Beck. John Paul Jones. Keith Moon and Nicky Hopkins making the record back in 1966.

The song was played live in the earlier years of Led Zepplin’s carer and later dropped from their live performances. It’s another great song and rounds off the album very well.

Summary…

To sum up this 2014 remastered Deluxe Edition of Led Zeppelin’s self titled debut album. I can honestly say it’s an excellent purchase in many ways. Firstly the recordings are really superb and freshen up your desire to listen to this great band again. Secondly the bonus disc presents you with a superb live concert which you never had before, and makes it even more worth buying it. For it’s price point of £10 for a double CD it’s an absolute steal and a genuine bargain.

Has debut albums go Led Zeppelin got off to a flying start especially in America which was down to their manager Peter Grant who was mainly based over there. It’s rumoured that Grant could not even get the band signed up to a record company here in England. Which is why they wound up being signed to Atlantic Records in the first place.

Peter Grant may have looked and acted like a gangster at times. But he was genuinely an honest business man who only wanted what was deemed as right for the artists he had under his belt. He would even take on the Mafia and risk his own life in the process in doing so. He was without doubt one of the best guys in the music business. He was often referred to as being the bands 5th member and quite rightly too.

Jimmy Page was also a man with the right head on his shoulders with everything he had picked up and learned about the music business during his days has a session player. He too knew the business like the back of his hand, and he knew what was best for the band.

I would not say that Led Zeppelin broke the mould when they made this particular album, but it was the start of something that was to become much bigger and no doubt in their heyday they did become one of the biggest and most successful bands in the world.

There is no doubt the success of the band went to Jimmy Page’s head and his ego is still as large as life today. In a more recent interview of him from last year I watched on YouTube. He stated that this album was where it all started and writing 8 tracks of our own for their debut album out of the 9 and only having one cover on it was a major achievement.

Well that statement is of course false and his ego is either too large or he is going senile in his old age. because only 6 of the 9 tracks on this album was genuinely written by him and the band. But of course the band have been had several times for plagiarism over the years, but there is no doubt that when the band do make a song, they more or less make it their own regardless.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of the bands self titled debut album. I would say that it’s near enough a solid album, and there is nothing here that I do not like on it. It’s an album that still holds up well today and can give you complete satisfaction and even more with this Deluxe Edition release.

Has for the band they was perhaps more blues based at this stage of their career. They showed some hard edge on some of the tracks and the highlights of the album for me personally are as follows: “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You“. “Dazed and Confused“. “Your Time Is Gonna Come” and “Black Mountain Side“.

Is there such a thing as the greatest band in the world. Personally I do not think so. The only way there could possibly be such a thing is if an individual person only collected the music of one band only. Then that maybe the best band in the world. But it would only be to that one person I am afraid.

My own music collection consists of many bands and artists and just like Led Zeppelin they too can make terrific albums. For me Led Zeppelin maybe the greatest one week and the next week it would be somebody else like Yes or whoever else I am listening to at the time. I am pretty sure it’s the same for all of us.

But no doubt Led Zeppelin did make a big impact on people’s lives back in their day, and they will also go down in history for sure. They certainly rocked my boat, but I have to confess it took me awhile for them to do so, and you can read all about that in my next review of the bands 2nd album.

I Got To Ramble, Oh Yeah…

The album track listing is as follows:

Disc 1.

01. Good Times Bad Times. 2:47.
02. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. 6:42.
03. You Shook Me. 6:28.
04. Dazed and Confused. 6:28.
05. Your Time Is Gonna Come. 4:34.
06. Black Mountain Side. 2:12.
07. Communication Breakdown. 2:30.
08. I Can’t Quit You Baby. 4:42.
09. How Many More Times. 8:29.

Disc 2.

01. Good Times Bad Times / Communication Breakdown (Live in Paris, 1969). 3:52.
02. I Can’t Quit You Baby (Live in Paris, 1969). 6:41.
03. Heartbreaker (Live in Paris, 1969). 3:49.
04. Dazed and Confused (Live in Paris, 1969). 15:01.
05. White Summer / Black Mountain Side (Live in Paris, 1969). 9:19.
06. You Shook Me (Live in Paris, 1969). 11:55.
07. Moby Dick (Live in Paris, 1969). 9:21.
08. How Many More Times (Live in Paris, 1969). 11:14.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Price Point Rating Score. 10/10

The Bonus CD Rating Score. 10/10

The Original Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Advertisements

Lee Speaks About Music… #51

Mainstream Artist Books…

20180108_163036

Introduction…

Well I must admit this is perhaps not the usual form of music media I generally speak about, and to be perfectly honest I have not read a book in around 3 decades until recently. But just before Christmas I noticed an advert from Greg Lake’s Facebook page advertising the latest autobiography of Greg Lake entitled Lucky Man.

The fact that Greg Lake had died at the end of 2016 and much earlier in the same year Keith Emerson had decided to end it all himself, left me feeling quite sad. I have always admired both artists individually and their work with Emerson Lake and Palmer. The Nice and King Crimson.

My hobbies have never really extended to reading books. Well not since I was in my 20’s when back then I did also buy a few autobiographies of mainstream artists, such as the Yes. Genesis. The Rolling Stones. The Doors and even Roger Deans Art book. Before then I would have to go back to my school days when I read fiction stories such as Biggles and Animal Farm as such.

However I have to confess that I did in fact listen to a free Audio Book based on a Crime Thriller that I had given me a couple of years back which was written by a good friend I met on Soundcloud. Who used to play guitar and put some of his music on there.

Then became more involved as an author of Crime Thrillers. His name is William Patching and I have to say I did thoroughly enjoy his book and he as even written another 2 sequels since.

But for me music and autobiographies have always been my preferred taste rather than crime stories and other fictional books.

Most of these so called autobiographies are mainly written by other people rather than the artists themselves.

But what struck me more than anything is that this book of Lake’s is that it was written by himself when he knew he was actually dying, and just how many people get the chance to do such a thing.

Rekindling My Interest Again In Books…

Two things rekindled my interest to buy books again. The first being Greg Lake and the second was the price. To be honest I could not believe how cheap you can obtain these books for. For example when I first seen that advert for Greg Lake’s Lucky Man. I clicked on it and it was linked to his website and the hardback edition was priced at £26.

This led me to see how much it was on Amazon and you could get the Kindle Edition for your phone or pad for £.9.99. The Paperback for £15 and amazingly the Hardback Edition was advertised with £20 off and was on there for £6.

Personally for me the hardback edition is the way to go, and my preferred choice. The Kindle edition maybe cheap. but I am a stickler for having something in my hand I can feel and hold. Just like I am with the music media I buy.

Not only that, but since I have amassed more physical music media. I very much have to extend my music media shelving and buy a new rack this year. So the books will help me fill it out a bit more.

But anyway I did order Greg Lake’s book from Amazon around the 3rd of November last year. Being a prime member I expected it the next day. But instead I got an email off them stating that the book was out of stock, and they would send it just as more became available.

I never heard nothing from them again till around 2 weeks before Christmas when they sent me another email telling me it was still out of stock, and I could either wait or cancel my order.

So I Googled Lake’s book and low and behold I came across a website called The Works.Co.UK. This particular stationary shop had recently opened up a shop in my local shopping centre just down the road from where I live. It had only been there a couple of weeks. On their website I noticed they too had the hardback edition for £6. So at first I popped down to the shop to see if they had it in.

No such luck. So I ordered it on their website and had it delivered to the shop to save on postage and packaging. It took 5 days as promised on their website, and whilst I was in the shop I noticed a book on Elton John which again was a hardback edition so I purchased that and read it first whilst waiting for Greg Lake’s Lucky Man to arrive.

Book Reviews…

Well I am not going to go into great detail on these new purchases of mine I got over the Christmas period, and scratch the surface a bit, to see what I thought of them, and give them some sort of score rating. So here goes starting with the first book I read…

Captain Fantastic

25994619_1557343474345201_1368741133987718236_n

By Tom Doyle…

I have to say the price of £4 was a genuine bargain, and one I could not resist. To be honest I never thought there was a lot this book could tell me about Elton’s career during the 70’s, because back in those days I was a massive fan of Elton John.

Over the years I have watched no end of documentaries on the guy, and even if you have (like I do upon its release back in 1975) his album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy you would of noticed that it actually came with a scrapbook and another book which had a lot about his early career in that as well.

But this book is not just about the album Captain Fantastic and goes completely through his career and as far back as the early 60’s right up to the end of the 70’s, and even contains content in here I never knew myself.

Though this book is not written by Elton himself and by Tom Doyle. He has obtained the information from Elton himself and many of the musicians that played on his albums. It also contains some facts from his personal diary.

I have to say I very much enjoyed this book and found it very informative and accurate too. If like myself you enjoyed Elton’s music in the 70’s to which was the highest point of his career. I very much think you will enjoy this.

Regarding it’s original price point of £16.99. I would say it was worthy of it. But would I have spent that much originally on a book like this?. Perhaps not and I would most likely of spent that money on other music media instead. But for this bargain price you could not even make it yourself for it.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Lucky Man

26165888_1563316013747947_6058459212743572463_n

By Greg Lake…

Greg Lake’s Lucky Man The Autobiography covers quite a bit of ground from the time he was born up to the day he more or less died. Considering only 282 pages are written by Lake and it closes with a short 4 page Eulogy by his closest friend and manager Stewart Young. It does take in quite a great deal.

Though over the years I have heard many other stories from various band members of the bands he was involved in which are perhaps not touched upon here.

It not only takes in his personal career with every band he played for, but even includes his short stint he had filling in for John Wetton on tour with the band Asia. It also takes in his family and his best friends. It even takes in Keith Emerson’s suicide to which Greg felt was not because of the problem he had with his hand at all, had he had that problem since way back in 1994.

Greg Lake was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer back in February 2014. He had left it too late in noticing it, and there was no cure. Hence the very reason he would of wrote this autobiography.

Greg was no doubt a Lucky Man and this is a book that good that it even reduced me to tears of sadness at the end reading his final words. The final words to his fans from a dying man, and one who will not be forgotten for sure.

To be honest this book of Greg’s I most likely would of brought at full price if I could not of got it cheaper. I love the fact the he wrote it himself. Getting it for £6 was a massive bonus.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Beautiful Dreamer

26114238_1557344994345049_6403841472872524756_n

By John Bramley…

Beautiful Dreamer is a book that you may have gathered by the cover about Mark Bolan. It’s not an autobiography but takes in this superstars career from the point of a big fan. To which the writer here John Bramley very much was.

Has with all these books they are around the 280 to 300 page mark and are comfortable for the likes of myself to read. Bramley does cover Bolan’s career right from the start when he was picked up by a fashion magazine back in the early 60’s and was featured in it for the smart way he dressed. Right up to his death and a bit beyond.

Though it does not take in the fact of what happened to Bolan’s millions, and a lot of what is here is not perhaps quite as exciting as many of the documentaries that have already been put out of this Godfather of Glam Rock.

Never the less it does go into every album that was released from his first single in 1965 then later his career with Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex as well as his solo career.

Marc Bolan was perhaps a guy who thought he was IT regarding his stardom status, and from when he was just a mere boy, he knew he was going to be famous.

However big headed he may have been, he even proved it to the DJ John Peel who was the very guy that really got him started when he was known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. A side of Bolan’s music Peel loved the most, and it broke their relationship up when Bolan decided to go electric and come out of his shell so to speak.

For me personally I love both the acoustic and the electric side of Marc Bolan. My all time favourite of all his albums was actually the very first T.Rex album done back in 1970. I seriously shudder to think how on earth John Peel never liked it and decided to turn his back on Bolan at that stage of his career.

But then again Peel did recognise talent, and if it was not for him in the first place. I am sure many bands and artists would of never became successful in the first place.

Beautiful Dreamer by John Bramley is a worthy read even if it’s just to refresh your mind on who Marc Bolan was and what great music he wrote. The book even includes some quotes from Marc Bolan fans on Facebook.

I personally do not think it’s worth the original price of £20. But for the £6 I paid for it, it was a great bargain and I quite enjoyed it.

Lee’s overall Rating 7/10…

Led Zeppelin – The Biggest Band Of The 1970’s

LZ Book

By Chris Welch…

Well I don’t know about the Biggest Band of the 70’s so much, but this is certainly the biggest book I got over the Christmas period, and I got this at a right bargain price of £4 a couple of days before Christmas day.

Has with all the books I got they was all released last year in 2017 and this one is perhaps one that comes with the most pictures in it. It really is a superb well detailed book for its photography and the history of the band portrayed by long time music journalist Chris Welch.

The book itself contains 192 pages which may seem rather short. But taking in the size of the pages you get here, it’s easy to see that you can fit at least 4 or 5 pages of information on 1 of its pages of the other books I purchased above.

26060166_1557346027678279_1792522885543233401_o

26063462_1557346491011566_9165710226296794318_o

26063707_1557347231011492_2470330326994049729_o

Has you can see from the pictures above this is a very well detailed book. It weighs a ton and to be honest when seated in my computer chair reading it in my hands on my lap. after awhile I have to put it down cause my arms and hands ache :))))))).

It’s very much a book that really needs to be placed on a table to read because of its heavy weight. To even think you can get something of this quality for £4 quite frankly it’s beyond belief. It really is a treasure.

I am currently still reading this book right now and am around half way through it. But what I can say is that it takes you through every album and even details every track of every album better than I could with my own reviews.

It also takes in every band member individually and everything about the band as far as I can tell so far. Even if you paid the top price of £25 for this book I would say it’s genuinely worth it. Even based on the fact that I have not yet completed reading the book. My overall rating score can only be what it is here.

Lee’s overall Rating 10/10…

Summary…

Well I can only thank Greg Lake and the shop The Works.Co.Uk for rekindling my pleasure from reading books once again. No doubt I will be getting some more in the future, but still would prefer to focus my attention more on the music that I will be purchasing this year, and am looking forward to what comes out this year as well.

Do not be surprised if you see reviews from some of the artists albums in these books either.

Having just recently looked at the Deluxe Editions of Led Zeppelin’s entire studio discography that was released back in 2014 and 2015. I shall certainly be updating my Led Zeppelin collection with those. despite the fact that they have not made any 5.1 mixes of the albums.

Though most of them are only £10 for a double CD and that is still a bargain I will say. And it will not be too costly if for some reason the band do decide to make 5.1 mixes of the albums on their 50th Anniversary and I have to buy them all over again :)))))))).

Conclusion…

To conclude here I would just like to say that I had an exciting read over Christmas and am still enjoying reading in the new year with the last book I purchased here. I always love a good bargain and these were genuine ones at that.

I am not sure how books shops are in other countries, but one thing I do know is that all the books I got here was from one shop The Works.Co.UK and they are also cheaper than Amazon, which is why I use it, and will continue to do so for such items.

All 4 books here also come with the artists complete discography printed at the back of the book. Though you can of course find that out with the internet on many sites including the artists websites too.

Coming up next will be the first album review of the new year, and it will be Led Zeppelin’s debut album to which I sent for the 2014 Deluxe Edition today from Amazon. That should be with me tomorrow and it should be a blast and the review should be out by the weekend or sometime next week.

Incidentally according to Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin’s website. There is even another book being written right now on the band and is scheduled to be published later this year.

Until then I hope all my readers had a great Christmas and are doing well in what little of the New Year we are now in to.

Lee Speaks About Music… #50

The Best Of Lee Speaks About Music

LSAMA

2017 Awards

Introduction…

It’s been quite a year since I decided to make my new blog site back on the 17th April this year. Since then I have amassed many more albums, DVD’s & Blu Rays to add to my music collection and have had an exciting year listening and writing about them all.

In total I have amassed 49 more bits of media that have come in the shape of Digital Downloads. CD’s. DVD’s. Blu Rays and Box Sets from both mainstream and unsigned artists. No matter what media format they come in, you can be sure they all have something to say, and I very much like to speak back at them.

Many of the mainstream artists media I have purchased is very much the case of buying them again, to update my collection with the new 5.1 mixes more than anything. And for me personally that is very much a must of a thing to do, and I do not mind forking out that bit more for the quality you get on these new releases either.

But has with all media I personally would not be throwing too much money at them, and I basically like to see value for money, and certainly would not be spending ridiculous money like over £100 or more on a box set that comes with an array of extra discs, just to obtain one album with a 5.1 mix.

Those artists who do such things and do not even make the album available as an individual release with a 5.1 mix on, can kiss my arse as far I am concerned, and they are nothing but greedy money grabbers.

For example most of the new 5.1 releases I have purchased and reviewed come either with a CD and a DVD or Blu Ray and some even with 2 CD’s a DVD or Blu Ray and cost around the £12 to £20 mark. Which is great value for money. Some have also come with more discs for around the same price or slightly higher.

Just lately I noticed the Eagles had put out their 40th Anniversary release of their 1976 album Hotel California which comes with 2 CD’s and a DVD. Yet they are charging £85 for it. How on earth can anybody see that as value for money. It’s nothing but pure greed and no way would I buy it. I am sorry to say but at that price it’s way over the odds and is simply a case of “Welcome to the hotel cant’ afford ya” :)))))))))).

I thought I would use this last blog of the year to give some credit to the best purchases I made in 2017 and put them into a few categories to show why they merited an award so to speak.

I am going to start it off with the best package and box set of the year. So here goes…

The Best Box Set Package Of The Year…

JTSFTW

The 40th Anniversary Box Set of Jethro Tull’s classic 1977 album Songs From The Wood wins this award with ease. I pre-ordered this on Amazon and to even think you could get an hardbound 96 page book that contains 3 CD’s and 2 DVD’s for the sum of £19.19 it’s got to be the bargain of the century.

You would be dead lucky to get it at this price now and right now on Amazon it’s priced up at £58.32 here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Wood-Country-40th-Anniversary/dp/B06XZWT72V/ref=sr_1_1_twi_aud_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1513005721&sr=1-1&keywords=jethro+tull+songs+from+the+wood+40th+anniversary+edition+box+set

But I dare say prices will fluctuate up and down on Amazon. But if you shop around a bit, I would expect that you could still obtain it cheaper. But perhaps not as cheap as I got it.

It always pays to pre-order new releases before they are released if you want the best price. If I remember rightly when I first ordered this box set it was priced at £35. But with most pre-orders the price does drop down a lot by the time it gets released as in this case.

Speaking of such a thing I have on the 11th of this month just pre-ordered the 40th Anniversary of Jethro Tull’s Heavy Horses which once again comes in an hardbound book, 3 CD’s and 2 DVD’s. On Amazon it’s currently priced up at £32.08 but like all pre-orders that price will come down by the time it does get released which will be on the 9th February 2018 in this case.

The other good thing about Amazon is the fact that when you pre-order anything from them. They do not take your money from your bank until they have dispatched the item. In general they take your money during the week it’s about to be released or even a day or two before the release date when they dispatch it.

So it does allow you time to save up for the item and you can always cancel the item before it’s dispatched should you not be able to afford it that week.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Songs From The Wood is a superb quality made package. It’s a lot better quality than how any hardbound book has been made with its construction.

Personally I think all artists should follow suit when presenting their Anniversary Editions instead of using cheap cardboard wallets to house the discs in like you get with many box sets that cost well over £100.

Quite frankly this box set puts the Eagles 40th Anniversary Edition of Hotel California to shame, and it was sold at a quarter of the price of that thing. They really are ripping you off I am afraid.

You can find my full detailed review of the 40th Anniversary Box Set of Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/lee-speaks-about-music-6/

The Best Mainstream Artist Album Of The Year…

RWITTLWRW

To be honest I have not brought that many new studio albums that was released in 2017 by mainstream artists at all. I tend to spend my money on newer releases of the albums I already have for the 5.1 mixes or on a lot more older albums from the 70’s I never had back then, and have now got into sort of thing.

Out of all my reviews here, I am pretty sure that only 3 of the mainstream artist’s studio albums I brought were released this year. They were The Source by Ayreon. We Are Legend by Magenta and Is This The Life We Really Want by Roger Waters.

I decided to give the award to Roger Waters in the end. Basically because it was great to see a new rock album from him since he last done one 25 years ago, and he still managed to make a very good album that is certainly consistent and familiar with his previous works.

I felt that the new Magenta album was good, but I also felt it was a bit to close to some other bands influences on that score. I was not fond of some of the more modern samples you hear in today’s pop music either.

Has for Ayreon’s double album. That would of won the award, had it have not been let down by the material that was written for the 2nd Disc of the album.

I certainly would say that the opening track on the 1st Disc entitled “The Day That the World Breaks Down” was the best Progressive Rock track of the year by far. I would also say that the packaging the album came in was of the highest quality as well. It really was a splendid well made package.

But for me it was a pleasant surprise to see a new album by Roger Waters. The fact that he can still churn out great albums in his particular style and his so consistent at doing so. Is why he merits this ward.

You can find my full detailed review of Is This The Life We Really Want by Roger Waters here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/lee-speaks-about-music-7/

The Best Unsigned Artist Album Of The Year…

BKDD

I have to confess that all the unsigned artists I have brought and reviewed this year have done an extremely talented job on all the albums and EP’s they have released and produced. In total I purchased 19 albums done by 12 different bands and individual artists.

It also left me with a very difficult choice to pick the album I have merited with the award here, especially has the album Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman is very much a pop album and not that of my fave of genres of progressive rock.

But for me personally music no matter what shape or form it comes in, if done well in the first place will speak to me, and every album I brought here must of spoke to me to buy them in the first place.

Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman is a very well produced album and one where Bas has called upon some excellent musicians to lend an hand in making it all happen. His style of music is very much like that of Sting’s and just like him he can skilfully craft out great pop songs that have other elements of jazz and blues thrown in for good measure.

Considering this is an album that Bas sings in his own native language of Dutch and many will not even understand what on earth he’s singing about. It takes nothing away from the pleasure of listening to it, and it’s also an highly addictive album that will have you simply coming back for more spins. This is why it merits this award.

You can find my full detailed review of Dans Dwaas by Bas Kooman here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/lee-speaks-about-music-2/

The Best Unsigned Artist Concept Album Of The Year…

OCA

Well I do like a good concept album every now and then, and surprisingly there is 4 of the unsigned artists albums I brought and reviewed this year that I had to choose from, that had some kind of a concept to them.

But 2 of them were real concept albums in the way that they was written that way in the first place and had a complete story to tell. Those 2 were The Fall Of The House Of Usher by Gordon Midgley which was based around one of Edgar Alan Poe’s short stories. The other was a children’s story with a bit of humour thrown in, and was Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks.

The other 2 concept albums were the Tales of Auld Reekie by Dancing With Ghosts which contained a selection of fine haunting folk songs based around the history of Edinburgh in Scotland. And the other was a loosely based musical concept album entitled Marathon by Dunlooser.  Which was musically based around the war between the Persians and Greeks and ancient Greek Mythology.

To be honest all 4 albums are extremely well crafted and immensely enjoyable to listen too. But what the 7 piece band from Northamptonshire came up with who go by the name of Orange Clocks did, was quite an amazing concept in the way that it was just as exciting as what Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds was to some extent. Even if it was based on a spoof about a kiddies glove puppet destined for a television series that was to be released in Germany in 1973.

Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks is quite an amazing piece of work and is an highly addictive album. To even think that the band (to which they very much are) performing the album live in it’s entirety is something else. It took Jeff Wayne decades to bring War Of The Worlds to the stage and here are these guys performing it straight after they made it early this year. This is why it merits the best concept album of the year award.

You can find my full detailed review of Tope’s Sphere by Orange Clocks here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/lee-speaks-about-music-45/

The Best New Unsigned Artist/Band Of The Year…

TBLSSLJ

Over this year I stumbled across 4 newcomers in the way of them being unsigned artists who very much impressed me a lot. 3 of them are actual bands and the other being a guy who sits at home making music in his spare time, when he gets some. They are the German band Sproingg. The Northampton band Orange Clocks. The band from Los Angeles Mammoth and a Liverpudlian who lives in New Zealand who goes under the name of The Bob Lazar Story.

I can tell you now that all 4 of them made highly addictive albums that rock my boat 100%. Two of the bands have only made their debut albums this year. Whereas Mammoth have made several just like the Liverpudlian who lives in New Zealand has made 3 albums and 3 EP’s. The fact that he has been so consistent with every release more or less is why The Bob Lazer Story merits this award.

The man behind The Bob Lazar Story, Matt Deacon comes armed with a Mouse to construct the music on his computer. Mainly the keyboard parts, and then plays his guitars along to it and brings in other great musicians to play the bass and drums.

To be perfectly honest it’s perhaps not the way I like to see music being made, and I do myself prefer real musicians and instruments across the board just like the other 3 bands I mentioned here have done. But this is highly sophisticated music Matt is creating here and he is without a doubt a great guitarist with a great mind too.

The music of The Bob Lazar Story is that addictive. I simply had to buy it all. I chose to feature his 3rd EP Self Loathing Joe here simply because I rather think it makes an excellent starting point to get into the great music he creates.

You can find my full detailed review of Self Loathing Joe by The Bob Lazar Story here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/lee-speaks-about-music-34/

The Best 5.1 Mix Of The Year…

YCTTE

Well it was not released this year and I only decided to buy this album again this year. But never the less this Definitive Edition release that comes with a CD & Blu Ray of one of the best progressive rock albums of all time Close To The Edge by Yes is purely a stunning new mix. I could honestly throw my vinyl album from the 70’s in the bin and be happy with this release that’s for sure.

I think Steve Wilson done a grand job with the mixes of all 5 of the Yes albums that got released in the Definitive Series. But how he mixed this particular album in 5.1 was breathtaking, especially the middle section of the albums self titled song, which quite frankly blew my mind.

To be honest Steve Wilson is not my ultimate favourite 5.1 mixing engineer and over the many albums he has done 5.1 mixes for, he has without a doubt improved a lot on that score. I would even go as far as to say that Close To The Edge is the best 5.1 mix Steve Wilson has ever done on any album.

You can find my full detailed review of Close To The Edge by Yes here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/lee-speaks-about-music-13/

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Well that about wraps up this year’s awards apart from one special award I feel deserves to be here for its sheer beauty. And this award goes to an album I did finally buy this year and it was released some 5 years ago in 2012. For me it is without doubt a very special album and up there with the very best.

The Special Album Of The Year…

CFC

Chris Fry is very much a very talented versatile guitar player and more known for his guitar work with the neo prog rock band Magenta. I have been into Magenta for a good few years now and have all their albums. It was at the beginning of this year I finally stumbled upon his solo album Composed on Magenta’s website where I buy all my albums from the band, because they are always cheaper to buy from there.

For example the physical CD of Composed cost me £8 and that price even included the postage & packaging here in the UK. It’s peanuts compared to the beauty this album actually beholds. It’s an album that gives me tremendous pleasure listening to every now and then and will last me a lifetime.

It was down to the fact that at the time I started my new blog site of Lee Speaks About Music. I knew there was a new Magenta album coming out and I had pre-ordered it. So has I knew I would be reviewing that album, I very much decided to drag this one out and do a review of it just before.

The album Composed by Chris Fry is a solid body of work. It’s an album I would personally rate a lot better than some of Magenta’s albums. It’s pure Gold and that’s is why it merits this special award.

You can find my full detailed review of Composed by Chris Fry here: https://leespeaksoutaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/lee-speaks-about-music-4/

————————————————————————————————————————————

Now that really is it for the end of the year and I am looking forward to see what goodies will be coming out in 2018. I already have a couple of goodies on pre-order on Amazon which will be coming out towards the end of January and into February. and will be looking forward to reviewing those in the new year with plenty of others.

In many ways I would love to dig out some of the older albums to review I brought before starting this blog, but the fact is that I am forever buying music media every month, and the time it takes up to write a review, makes it practically impossible to do so.

For all those who never merited an end of year award or never got mentioned here. I can assure you that you all done a superb job and provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure.

I am not the sort of person who will buy an album just to review it. I buy albums because I genuinely like them, and in no way would I buy an album for sympathy or something that does not appeal to my personal taste.

Music to me is something I love a lot and love to listen too, and I can assure you, I am not the kind of person who will buy an album just to let it gather dust by not wanting to play it every now and then. The music has to speak to me to buy it in the first place.

I have already turned down a couple of unsigned artists this year who had seen my blog site and emailed me asking if I would review their albums. Having given them a quick listen, it was a case of having to I am afraid.

I do not have anything personal against anybody. But if I was to review those albums I honestly think they would not of been pleased with my review. Because basically when it comes to speaking about music I am honest and will speak my mind.

The music I buy and choose to review has to come from myself and be something that appeals to my taste has I have already stated. And all my reviews are based on my own personal opinion and nobody else’s on that score. Every one of us has different tastes and will see different things in other peoples music.

Finally I would like to thank everybody who has taken an interest in my blog site and wish you all a happy and creative new year.

Music was my first love and it will be my last. Music of the future and music of the past…

The immortal words of John Miles….

Lee Speaks About Music… #49

 Innate – Mammoth

M - I

Introduction…

Well since I received this bands latest album Deviations for my birthday from my good friend Dirk Radloff I very much had to checkout Mammoth’s back catalogue and was quite blown away by their 2nd album release Innate. This album impressed me that much, that it was very much a must to have for my album collection.

There is no doubt that the 3 piece band Mammoth have gone through quite a few line-up changes since they surfaced back in 2012. Innate is an album that was made with their most consistent line-up.

Mammoth 2

                  Wes Thrailkill; Guitars             Aliyar Kinik: Drums          Chase Bryant: Bass

This line-up of the band first featured on the bands 3rd release Polymorphism released back in 2014. The bass player Chase Bryant also featured on 1 track on their 2013 release of Dimension of Inversion.

The only change to the line-up from 2014 up till now is the bands bass player. Though Chase Bryant did also get to feature on a guest spot on 1 of the tracks on their latest 2016 album Deviations.

Innate Album In Review…

The album Innate by Mammoth was released on the 19th of May 2015. It’s perhaps a mini album in that it only contains 5 tracks over a playing time of 28 minutes, but never the less even in terms of most Digital EP’s being around the 24 minute slot and albums being around this short time slot in the 60’s and 70’s. For the benefit of the doubt I shall refer to it as an album.

To be honest most of Mammoth’s releases are over these type of shorter distances, some even shorter than this which are EP’s. Their longest album is their latest which weighs in at the 41 minute mark and is entitled Deviants.

The band maybe struggling to write material in some ways when you look at how short some of their releases are. But this is quite common with this type of music has it is very complex and takes a lot of working out.

I myself do p[refer the old time slots for albums of around the 30 to 40 minute mark. Simply because 1. Being that you can give them more attention, especially if you have a large record collection like myself. The album is over that much quicker so you can devote a lot more time to your record collection and not let them gather dust so to speak.

2. Simply because most albums around the 60 to 80 minutes mark are often filled with gap fillers just to make it look like your getting more value for your money. It’s a lot harder to make solid albums over the longer distance, and there is no need to use up all the space on a compact disc just to try and squeeze your money’s worth out of the disc.

So now let’s take a look at the 5 tracks in further detail here and see what you’re getting for your money so to speak.

Track 1. Innate.

I have to confess that the albums self titled track should by rights merit the top spot on the album award. It’s purely a superb track that goes in all the right places I would expect it to go. It’s also a very exciting track and speaks highly to myself as well.

My only gripe here is how it’s been mixed more than anything. Though I will also state that my personal gripe is also very minimalistic and nowhere enough to spoil the thrills and joys of hearing this marvellous piece of music.

To be perfectly honest my little gripes are quite tedious and to many people they most likely will not see my little niggles as being valid and worth bringing up in the first place.

For example if you listen to the overdubbed little guitar notes around the 1:16 – 1:26 mark. I have no real problem with the overdub itself, it’s just that for my ears I think they are a bit of tad to forward in the mix and do not seat that well. They perhaps stand out too tall is perhaps what I am trying to say.

This video of the band playing a run through of the track is very well done and oddly enough that little gripe I had, I cannot hear on it. Maybe it’s down to being more focused on the band playing there parts.

Innate (Band Play Through)

Without a doubt the self titled album track “Innate” is very much one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album. It’s very much a piece that has a very exciting blistering pace about it and goes up and down in the right places with how it weaves in and out of its styles of prog rock and jazz fusion. It’s a super very well constructed piece of work that has bags of diversity and progression along its path.

Track 2. Ceremonial Design.

The 2nd track on the album starts off at quite a pace and then it paces itself out in style with the jazz fusion they have so well crafted and blended into it all. It certainly has the flavour of the band Brand X and even artists like Alan Holdsworth about it all. It’s very much another excellent well crafted piece of music and it’s what I would even call Class.

Ceremonial Design” is without a doubt a classy piece of work and so very well structured and written piece of music, that it merits my top spot on the album award. Though I will say that with this album, it’s certainly difficult to make such a choice. Because every track is so well written, and for me personally this whole album is pure class.

Track 3. Repetition in Regression.

Another pure class piece on the album that weaves it’s way along in and out of superb styles. The interplay between all 3 band members is so superbly done and it features some super lead guitar from Wes Thrailkill with really great contrasting tones with whatever guitar effects he uses. Even the tones Chase Bryant gets out of his bass is to die for.

This superb piece is another very high contender for the top spot on the album, and out of the first 3 tracks on the album its perhaps so damn difficult to chose a genuine real favourite because they are all so equally highly addictive and very well done.

Track 4. Dispositional.

The shortest track on the album and one that is built up of overdubbed rhythms on the guitar. This piece does not feature the whole band and was most likely done by Wes Thrailkill himself. His guitars are very well blended together and the piece works well as a nice little more subtle come down section on the album.

Track 5. Paradigm.

The final track on the album sees the band back together and it’s a very powerful track. It’s perhaps the rocker of the album yet still goes through some great progression with its great well worked out structured riffs on the guitar. It ends the album off superbly and is another contender for the top spot I feel too.

Summary…

The album Innate by Mammoth is a very solid and exciting album that has bags of diversity and progression, it also has plenty of adrenalin and style and contains some very well crafted complex written pieces of music along its path. Personally I cannot fault anything on the album, and it works very well with everything you have here.

The highlights of the album would have to be the self titled album track “Innate“. “Ceremonial Design” and “Repetition in Regression“. These tracks are very much sheer class with how well they have been structured and written. There is no doubt that the band Mammoth consists of 3 highly skilled musicians.

Speaking of the band’s name. I have just recently noticed from the latest post on the bands Facebook wall, that they intend to change it next year. Their decision to do so may very well be down to them reading my previous review of their latest album Deviants I published 4 days ago and sent to them.

I also read that they are also working on a new album for next year and I shall certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for that.

Conclusion…

The album Innate by Mammoth maybe short in that it’s only 28 minutes long, but for me personally it’s the best album the band have made. It’s also the most solid one with the material that’s upon it. The album tracks are all very well placed too, and great care and attention has been applied to the placement of all the tracks on the album.

It’s an highly addictive album and one that I feel for everyone out there who enjoys prog rock combined with jazz fusion should have in their record collection.

Considering the album can be obtained for only 5 dollars which is peanuts. I certainly think it’s the best 5 dollars I have spent on music this year at this price. These guys can certainly play and are crafting out genuine quality music that will give you countless hours of enjoyment.

Check out the album for yourself. It comes with my 100% recommendation…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Innate here : https://mammothprog.bandcamp.com/album/innate

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Innate. 10:11.
02. Ceremonial Design. 3:26.
03. Repetition in Regression. 6:01.
04. Dispositional. 2:58.
05. Paradigm. 5:25.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #48

Deviations – Mammoth

cover

Introduction…

Well I guess I have to thank my good friend Dirk Radloff for introducing me to this 3 piece band from Los Angeles who go by the name of Mammoth after he very kindly sent it me as a gift on my birthday. I have to say it was quite a very good gift too.

I must say it’s very strange how any band would want to call themselves Mammoth. Especially when there have already been 7 bands who have gone by the same name over the past 3 decades. Oddly enough the first band that went by the name of Mammoth was a 4 piece band and were formed from the breakup of the Ian Gillan band back in the 80’s here in the UK.

Though that band only made 1 album it consisted of a load of heavy weights with a 19 stone bass player. A 22 stone drummer. A 24 stone guitar player and a 20 stone vocalist. They was certainly a Mammoth and perhaps lived up more to the name more than the 3 light weights we have here :)))))).

Joking aside and as light weighted the guys may appear to be in this 3 piece band who go by the same name, they certainly are in fine shape and their music carries quite a lot of weight with how so very well they have crafted and structured it all together.

22688380_1704473262930109_1737744246292999858_n

The Band Mammoth…

Has far as I can make out the band Mammoth were put together by guitarist Wes Thrailkill around 2011 and in January of 2012 they released an EP entitled Shapeless. Since then the band have gone through quite a few line-up changes regarding the bass players and drummers but have always maintained to be a 3 piece outfit.

Since the release of their first EP back in 2012 they have released a further 2 EP’s and 3 albums plus a compilation album and have built up quite a following. They certainly appear to be more popular judging by the sales of their 3rd album to date Deviations which was released last year, and appear to be having more success with their current line-up who are as follows:

Wes Thrailkill: Guitars.
Yasutaka Nomura: Bass.
Aliyar Kinik: Drums.

Although this is in fact the line-up that played on the album Deviations judging by this superb live performance of the albums opening track they played in September this year. They either have a new drummer by the name of Lang Zhao or he was filling in the spot on the drums at this gig.

Mammoth Live at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago 23rd September 2017.

No doubt the band can play and you need to be able to as well to be able to perform as good as this and play complex music at this level. They really area force and are excellent musicians. I would certainly pay to see them live and wish they lived a lot nearer on that score.

Deviations Album In Review…

Mammoth’s 3rd album release Deviations was released on the 21st October 2016. It’s their latest studio album and 6th release not counting their compilation album. The album contains 7 instrumental tracks and has a very respectable playing time of just over the 41 minute mark by a few seconds. The bands musical style reminds me a bit like the 70’s English band Brand X in that it’s along the lines of progressive rock and jazz fusion. Only Mammoth perhaps have a more modern approach to it all.

Though I would say that more modern approach is more derived from the keyboards that have been added in the studio. They tend to be more ambient and simplistic in the way they are just supported by a chord here and there, and nothing as complex like a more skilled keyboard player such has Robin Lumley would lend to the band Brand X on that score.

But overall the keyboards used on the album do a good enough job and I certainly could not take anything away from the 3 piece band that lies beneath it, and they are all very skilled musicians who have great timing and are a very close nit 3 piece band who can even take their skills to the stage and put on a superb live performance.

Besides the 3 main musicians of the band. The album Deviations also features a few guest musicians who play on a couple of the tracks. One of them is even their former bass player Chase Bryant who dropped in to play a bass solo on the 4th track. Mateus Asato who has also featured for the band in the way of having a guest spot on some of their previous albums, also contributes a guitar solo on the same track and Ben Luria plays some sax on the 2nd track of the album.

So now let’s take a look at the 7 tracks on the album and I will try my best to describe what we have here.

Track 1. Entanglements.

The opening track is one of the 4 lengthier tracks on the album. It’s title very much fits the music we have here like a glove, with its many twists in the way the music has been structured. It consists of short spasm bursts projecting from Wes Thrailkill’s guitar with interchanging short melody lines. It’s very complex and runs in many directions and shows great diversity and progression.

To be honest for even the bass player to follow some of these guitar lines it’s got to be one hell of a task, and you will very much need a bass guitarist who can play on the same level of the guitarist. And for my money Yasutaka Nomura does an extremely superb job in keeping up with it all and really does the business on this track too. The interplay between the guitar and bass is purely magic.

There is no doubt you also need a drummer of equal stature to keep everything in place here, and Aliyar Kinik fits the bill perfectly.

Entanglements” is one hell of a superb piece of music that is very well put together with not just it’s magical short burst spasms from how it all opens up, but the way it also contains more heavier power chord changes verging on metal in parts, and it even contains some more sweeter smoother come down melodies with the rhythm guitar and a sweet bass solo along its path. It’s very much one of the highest contenders for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Obscurements.

More twists and turns are contained in the longest track on the album which is entitled “Obscurements“. This 10 minute epic goes down more roads than what you would probably find in my city :))))). It’s a track that not only features Ben Luria playing some well good sax that works very well with the piece, but even the bands drummer Aliyar Kinik is on a roll here too.

There is once again some excellent interplay in some of the sections on this great track, and it’s not until we are into the 2nd half of it all that Ben’s sax comes into play adding a jazzy vibe to it all. The track does tend to wind down at the 7:40 mark and fizzles its way out so to speak. But this is another great track and one that is also in contention to have a stab at being a contender for the top spot.

Track 3. The Hilarity of Singularity.

One of the shorter tracks on the album and one that is perhaps more of a modern approach and something they perhaps seen as an attempt to make a single so to speak. They even included the sound of the needle being placed on the record. Which is very much another gimmick associated with modern pop music.

The track is very much constructed from the sound of a Clav playing some sort of frenzy. It also contains some ridiculous voice over that sounds like something from the television. The bass and drums are perhaps the best thing about it all, and I rather think this track lets the album down a bit on that score. It’s just too much of a mishmash and not my thing I am afraid.

Track 4. The Acclimation of Sedation.

A rather strange title but never the less I quite like it. I have to say the band are very much back on par with this piece and musically it has to be the best written piece on the album. This one very much merits the top spot award on the album and is my favourite track.

Once again we get some superb short spasms with the interchanging melody lines and then it settles into more of a jazz fusion mode with some really gorgeous well written melody lines. The piece features a gorgeous bass solo from the bands former bass player  Chase Bryant that comes into play at the 1;50 mark and around the 3:03 mark Mateus Asato contributes his guitar solo in one of the most gorgeous sections of the piece.

No doubt this is a class piece and a very well structured piece of work. There is some really superb precision from all the band here and it’s up there with many other superb bands that have this passion and flare for fusing jazz into their music. Though I would of liked a better ending rather than the voice over thingy. But that is hardly enough to spoil the beauty here at all.

Tracks 5,6, & 7. Limited Access To The One/Deviant/Unlimited Access To None.

Although the 5th track may seem like another short track on the album, it’s very much the 1st part of a 3 piece suite with how all the final 3 tracks are blended into one another like one track. “Limited Access To The One” kicks the whole thing off with an ambient keyboard intro that has a bit of a sense of tension and dramatics about it, with how it builds up.

The intro is only short and all of 42 seconds then in comes the heavier guitars thrusting more power into the piece. Its a very well worked out piece and the band are once again playing around a section of short quick bursts of power chords. It’s what I would call the more rockier section of the piece and it’s a very well structured piece.

The 2nd part of the suite is the albums title track “Deviations” and I must admit why they chose this piece for the title of the album is a bit bizarre, especially as it’s sandwiched in between two tracks that have a connection with the titles they gave to tracks 5 and 7.

Deviations” is the shortest section of the suite and is the more ambient softer section too. It starts off with a series of repeating harmonics on the guitar and is built up with the use of the keyboards more than anything thing else. The bass and drums play very little in this piece to be honest, but what little part they do play works quite well.

The final section of the suite “Unlimited Access To None” is the longest part of the 3 here. It has more of a jazzy flavour about it and is my favourite part of it. You can also get to hear how it’s very much a sister to the 1st part with how it falls back into it by playing an encore of it towards the end. I think they have combined all 3 parts of it very well and it winds up the whole album very well.

Summary…

Well I have never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth so to speak and since receiving the album Deviations by Mammoth has a treat for my birthday from my good friend. I have give it that many spins now I have lost count. But as with any album I review I do tend to give them at least 7 complete spins before writing any review. I would say that before I wrote my review here, the album got double that amount of spins.

Furthermore I went on Bandcamp to investigate the bands music further and gave all their albums a complete spin. Having done so I can tell you that the band Mammoth have certainly come on a long way over the past couple of years, and in many ways have changed their style a bit to include a touch of jazz fusion to it, and they tended to have more of rock approach earlier on, and some their material even reminded me of a bit like Joe Satriani.

In some ways listening to their earlier material I get the sense that the guitarist Wes Thrailkill may have been influenced by Satriani. Though there is no doubt that since the release of their 2015 album Innate I would say that he has found more of his own style and come along in leaps and bounds.

Today the band Mammoth sound more like a modern day version of Brand X but they have put their own stamp on the music they are now presenting to you and I personally find it way better than any of their releases before 2015. Though their debut album is quite a good album I will say, but it’s perhaps not as well produced.

To sum up the album Deviations by Mammoth it’s quite an enjoyable album and one I can sit with and appreciate the material that was written for it. I would not say it’s a solid album though, but then again that is perhaps down to my own preferable taste.

For example I am not so fond of the keyboard work on some of the tracks. Though I can see why they decided to use them perhaps. I have a couple of other gripes as well especially with the 3rd track on the album.

I also think their previous album Innate is a much stronger and solid album that works that much better for not having any keyboards. I personally think it’s their best album and one I had to buy myself cause it’s that good.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of the band Mammoth and their latest album to date Deviations. I would say that the 3 piece band are really class musicians who have done their homework and learned their instruments very well and put in the time. They are without a doubt highly skilled, and to be able to perform the music they create so well on the stage, they really are a force to be reckoned with and a super band.

Deviations may not be quite on par with their previous album, but never the less it’s still a very well crafted album and at its price point it’s a steal. The highlights for me are the tracks “Entanglements“. “Obscurements“. “The Acclimation of Sedation” and the final part of the long suite “Unlimited Access To None“.

It’s easy to see why the band Mammoth have quite a following, and to even be able to go out and support bands like Haken who are another superb prog rock band. You have to have that something special about you. And Mammoth certainly do.

Check it out for yourself. It may just be what you was looking for…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Deviations here : https://mammothprog.bandcamp.com/album/deviations

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Entanglements. 8:03.
02. Obscurements. 10:00.
03. The Hilarity of Singularity. 2:56.
04. The Acclimation of Sedation. 6:31.
05. Limited Access To The One. 3:26.
06. Deviations. 2:24.
07. Unlimited Access To None. 7:44.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

 

Lee Speaks About Music… #47

The End (Blu Ray) – Black Sabbath

20171130_100628

Introduction…

Well I suppose it’s time to say goodbye to one of the greatest rock bands that first made an impression back in 1970 when they released their self titled album Black Sabbath. A few decades have passed us by since then, and the band have gone through a load of different singers since Ozzy Osbourne was fired by them in 1979.

The original 3 members of the band once again reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and started playing quite a lot of live shows. It was in the December of that year that I myself seen them play live in my own town of Birmingham at the NEC Arena. They put on a really great show and were performing the songs live a lot better than they did back in the 70’s to be honest.

Since the band did reform many of their fans were calling out for a new album. Though it was not until a decade and half later in the year 2013 that they finally did get to do another album together, and by then the bands drummer Bill Ward had retired from the band due to his health. Both Ward and Osbourne had also fallen out with each other at this point to, and both have never made amends since.

The bands new album entitled 13 was quite a good album and in the same year the band went on another live tour promoting it, playing songs from the new album along with old classics from the 70’s. Brad Wilk played drums on the studio album, though he never played with the band on the road, and he was replaced by Tommy Clufetos.

By the end of the tour of their new album 13 in November of 2013. The band released Live… Gathered in Their Masses which was a live concert that they played on the other side of the world in Melbourne Australia. It was released in several formats CD/DVD/Blu Ray and a Box Set and I purchased the Blu Ray. Once again I have to say it was another really great live show featuring the same lineup we have here on their latest release The End.

The End In Review…

The End by Black Sabbath was released on the 17th November 2017. I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon and it arrived on the same day. Regarding what format to buy it in was a bit confusing at the time, because none of the formats were advertised very well and you could not really see if you was going to be missing anything by just say getting the DVD only for example. So in the end I just opted to go for the single Blu Ray and got it at a very reasonable price of £14.99.

The End Release Editions…

I have to say having now seen what you get in the way of other releases it came in. I honestly think I made a very wise choice.

For example one of the other choices I could of gone for was the 2 Blu Ray edition which was going for £21.99. Now upon recently discovering what was on the 2nd Blu Ray disc. I can honestly say that I am so glad I never wasted my money in buying it.

This particular edition does come in a nice cardboard gatefold sleeve, rather than the standard Blu Ray box I got mine in. However the so called 2nd disc is not a Blu Ray at all and is in fact a CD. The CD itself contains only contains 5 audio tracks, which are the very same tracks from The Angelic Sessions which happens to be a special feature on the single Blu Ray I purchased. And on that you can see the band in the studio with your own eyes playing the bloody things.

You can actually buy the double CD of this concert for £16.99. But I do not see that as value. Especially with both the Blu Ray and the DVD being cheaper at £14.99 and £12.99 respectively, and you will not only get to hear it, but you get to see it as well, and the actual sound quality is far more superior.

In reality that so called 2 Blu Ray edition for £21.99 should of came with the Double CD of the actual concert and not just some CD with 5 tracks on it.

You could of coarse of went out with the whole hog and brought the Box Set for £49.99.

71ONO+DLTNL._SL1200_

The End Box Set.

It contains the Double CD. The Angelic CD. The DVD and the Blu Ray. You even get a slightly different booklet with 12 more pages, a few guitar pics thrown into boot and a wallet to store them in and a badge. WOW! :)))))))))).

Wow it may seem, but just look how they stored the discs in cheap cardboard wallets and why on earth would you want all these discs that contain nothing more than what’s on the DVD & Blu Ray in the first place. The only extras here are the guitar pics, the wallet and the extra 12 pages in the booklet and the badge.

The End Blu Ray Review…

The End is a concert that captures Black Sabbath performing for the very last time, right at the very end of their farewell tour. Which all ended on the 4th February 2017 in their own town of Birmingham in England at the Genting Arena which was formerly known as the NEC Arena when I first saw them back in 1997.

Since the concert was released in various media formats on the 17th November last month. I have come across quite a few mixed reviews about it, which led myself to hold back my own review to check out a few things first, and wait for more reviews from other people to surface.

There appears to be a lot of unhappy fans regarding this release just by reading some reviews, and apparently The End was put out on the cinemas before the official media release in the stores.

Eagle Rock were the team behind the film, and it appears that what was shown on the cinema did also contain some film footage of the members of the band in the way of a documentary, as well as the live concert performed at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

To be honest I am not a cinema person so I never got to see it. I did also buy this release for the concert alone, and was not aware that any documentary had been made. But that would of made a great extra bonus feature for the Blu Ray, and I would liked to have seen that myself. So I can see why some of the fans are a bit upset.

There also seems to a lot of mixed reviews regarding the actual footage of the concert that was released. Many saying it was badly out of sync and they was not happy with the slowed down film footage you get every now and then.

Having watched the whole concert on Blu Ray a few times to be honest and I cannot see what on earth all the fuss is about. To be honest on the opening track which is the bands self titled song “Black Sabbath“. Ozzy does sing the opening verse of the song a bit too fast. But this has nothing what so ever to do with the film being out of sync, and is a case of Ozzy being out of time and nothing more. It’s also the only real mistake he does make as well.

Regarding the slowed down camera shots. This is something you get with a lot of concerts, and it’s done more for visual effect. OK for some it may be annoying but they do not do it throughout the whole of the concert and its more so in the first half. I do not really think it spoils the concert here at all. Honestly some of the people winging over this release need to get a life :))))).

The only real fault I did find on the Blu Ray was that on uploading the disc it just starts playing the concert straight away rather than present with you with a menu. By pressing the menu button on the remote control of your player it does take you to the menu so that you can make your choice of audio and see the extra bonus material and so on.

The Blu Ray.

SS 1

The main menu presents you with 4 options to choose from and plays some scenes of all the band members from the concert footage accompanied by the bands music. It’s just a shame that the disc never loaded to this screen first and you have to access it by using the remote control to get to it.

SS 2

By clicking on Songs from the main menu it presents you with the screen above which shows you all the songs that the band played at the concert. You can simply select what song you want to play.

SS 3

The Angelic Sessions is the bonus feature on the disc and here you can see the 5 songs the band played in the rehearsal studio.

SS 4

The final option from the main menu is the Audio Setup. Here you have the choice of LPCM Stereo which is set by default or the 5.1 mix which is the DTS Master Audio. Both formats come in a super high quality of 24/96K.

The 5.1 Mix.

To be honest concerts of bands like Black Sabbath are not the type of bands that will utilise the surround system for a 5.1 mix, and in general the rear speakers are more used for the noise from the audience to give you the feel and atmosphere of actually being there.

But of course it also impossible to capture the whole atmosphere of a live show on a recording and nothing beats actually being there on that score.

But no doubt a 5.1 surround mix can get closer to this feeling than any stereo recording could ever possibly get near to, and to be honest I was quite surprised how well they used the rear speakers not just for the audience but also the drums and the odd bit of Tony Iommi’s guitar to really good effect.

Ross Gregory was the guy behind the 5.1 mix and he’s done a really good job of it I have to say and overall sound of the concert is quite superb. They have also utilised the .1 sub woofer channel very well too, and it’s worth having your sub turned a notch or two more to get even more of a greater drive from your system.

The Picture Quality.

The whole of the visuals shot by the video cameras at the concert was directed by Dick Carruthers. Being a guy myself who has 100’s of music concerts on DVD and Blu Ray I can tell you that Carruthers is one of the best in the business. His work for other bands such as Led Zeppelin, OasisThe Rolling Stones and many more is phenomenal to say the least.

Reading some of the critical reviews regarding the way this concert was shot with all the angles and people saying that the quality of the picture of the Blu Ray was no better than the DVD. I can honestly say they must of watched it with shit covering their eyes (LOL).

The show looks totally awesome in full HD and I can tell you straight that no fucking DVD is ever gonna get nowhere near the pristine picture quality of the Blu Ray. It’s purely immaculate.

Musicians & Credits…

An Eagle Rock film production for Eagle Rock Entertainment LTD. Directed by Dick Carruthers. Produced by Jeremy Aziz. Director of photography Eugene O’ Connor. Edited by Tim Walcott. Supervising producer for ERF: Peter Worsley. Production manager for ERF: Melissa Morton Hicks. Audio mixed by Tony Iommi. Greg Price. Mike Exeter. Audio recording Greg Price. Additional Audio Engineering James Boblack. 5.1 Mixes WID Ross Gregory. Business Management Colin Newman.

Ozzy Osbourne: Vocals.
Tony Iommi: Guitar.
Geezer Butler: Bass.
Tommy Clufetos: Drums.
Adam Wakeman: Keyboards/Guitar.

Onto The Show…

Well just by looking at set list of the concert in the songs list in the picture I posted above, it very much seems that Black Sabbath decided to go out with most of the material from their first 4 albums. To which I feel was a bit of a shame, especially as I love the material they did on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage just as well.

The band do play an instrumental medley of “Supernaut“. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Megalomania” whilst Ozzy goes off the stage, but that’s hardly good enough I am afraid, and to miss out songs such as “Looking For Today” and “Hole In The Sky” is sacrilege :))))).

The only other song that did not come from the first 4 albums they play is “Dirty Women” from their 6th album Technical Ecstasy. I do like that one as well and Tony Iommi does a superb job on the solo and it’s one of the high points of the show.

It’s also a bit odd that the band never chose to play anything off their last album 13. But perhaps they thought they covered that with the live release of Live… Gathered in Their Masses from 2013. Perhaps they wanted to make sure that some of their lesser known songs that never got that much live attention in past from their first 4 albums, got done on this final show in favour of some of their other classics.

Speaking of classics the band kick off the show with one with the self titled song “Black Sabbath” which gets followed by another with “Fairies Wear Boots“. Later on we get “War Pigs” and the show ends off with “Iron Man” “Dirty Women“. “Children Of The Grave” and of course no show would be complete without “Paranoid” to which they also tend to end the show on.

Overall the band do a grand job on all of the songs and once again you get to see Ozzy effing and blinding all over the stage and tipping buckets of water over himself :))))). The only time you get to see Rick Wakeman’s son Adam is when Ozzy introduces him as the man you never get to see when he’s introducing the band to you.

The Special Feature…

The special bonus feature they have titled The Angelic Sessions. It captures the band in the Angelic Studios a few days after the live show, and is the last time they played live together even if it was in a studio.

They most likely recorded these other old classics for the future release of the DVD and it’s extras feature. I was pleased that none of the 5 songs here was not ones they played at the concert, so it made this much more interesting and worth watching.

There are a few classics in the 5 songs they do here too, and it was great to see them do “Changes” with just the 3 of them and see Tony playing the piano. Geezer playing the orchestration on a synth and Ozzy singing along to it all.

Summary…

The Blu Ray edition of The End by Black Sabbath is great value for the money especially down to the fact that it’s priced at a couple of quid cheaper than double CD. I do not see the need to buy the CD when you can see and hear the concert with your own eyes in both superb higher quality with the it’s picture and sound. I would even recommend the DVD over the CD as well on that score.

No doubt some people maybe a bit fussy over the slowed down camera shots you get every now and then, which is mainly through the first half of the show. But that’s done by Dick Carruthers direction for visual effects and I honestly do not mind it myself. You do not get those effects on their last concert in 2013 with Live… Gathered in Their Masses. But for me personally they are both great concerts, but I do also feel that The End contains a better set list even if it is mainly focused on the bands first 4 albums.

Although I have not seen the documentary that was shown on the cinema. I do feel that it should of been put on the Blu Ray and it would of made a great extra feature. I have no idea why it was omitted unless they are holding it back for a later release or even for it to be shown on television at some time in the future.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of The End by Black Sabbath. I would say that even despite there being no documentary and the fact that the band never played some of the material from the albums Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage which I would of loved to have seen. The Blu Ray still represents great value for the money and is well worth it’s price point.

I would also say that with the bands 50th Anniversary coming up next year. This may not be the end, but if it is I am so glad they choose to end it all were they started 49 years ago in my home town of Birmingham.

Yeah I Saw It, I Saw It, I Tell You No Lies…

The Set List is as follows:

01. Black Sabbath.
02. Fairies Wear Boots.
03. Under The Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes.
04. After Forever.
05. Into the Void.
06. Snowblind.
07. War Pigs.
08. Behind the Wall of Sleep.
09. (Basically Geezer Butler Bass Solo) N.I.B.
10. Hand of Doom.
11. Supernaut / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Megalomania / Rat Salad / Drum Solo (Instrumental Medley).
12. Iron Man .
13. Dirty Women.
14. Children of the Grave.
15. Paranoid.

Lee’s overall Complete Blu Ray Value Rating…

The Picture Quality Rating Score. 10/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 5/10

The Overall Blu Ray Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #46

Marathon – Dunlooser

D - M

Introduction…

The album Marathon is a brand new release from an unsigned artist who goes by the name of Kevin Sumner a.k.a. Dunlooser who happens to be a great talented musician and knows how to craft great songs and instrumental pieces. This particular album of his happens to be an instrumental one and very good one at that I will say.

I myself first stumbled across Kevin on Soundcloud a good 5 years ago now, and the output of his work has always pretty much impressed me. Besides being a one man operation sort of thing, and having the ability to be able to craft out the great material that’s on this album. Kevin has very much worked a lot in collaboration with another great musician and producer on Soundcloud who is Dave Friend, and also worked in collaboration with many others too.

Soundcloud I have always seen as a good vehicle to pick up things from, and I have always quite often found it to be good a learning curve myself, and have learned quite a bit myself from it. Though I have never seen myself as that great of a musician to do what the likes of these two guys can, and many others I have come to know over the years on it.

Just by listening to the great production Kevin has done on this first album he has just put out here, I can even see myself that Kevin has even learnt a lot from Dave Friend himself regarding the production we have here, and there is quite a difference from the production work Kevin used to do himself when I first came across him all those years back.

Previous Work/Influences & My Own Thoughts…

Over the many years Kevin has been playing, he has got to play in various bands and music has played a large part in his life. He will perhaps try his hand at most instruments but is mostly associated with stringed instruments, and I would think that the guitar and the mandolin are the type of instruments he enjoys playing the most.

Kevin very much started out playing the mandolin and even though he does play 6 string guitars, he also loves his 4 string tenor guitar as well. This fabulous live performance captures him playing another one of his many compositions on his Ashbury Tenor acoustic guitar.

Portsall Live.

Portsall is a beautiful instrumental piece that was inspired from the place he loves to visit on the Brittany coast. He has a great way of constructing fine melodies, and even though this piece of his is not on this album, there are many beautiful melodies on it.

No doubt like many of us Kevin has been influenced by many artists and bands during his lifetime, and he has quite a wide range of tastes too, and is fond of classical/folk/blues/rock/prog rock and no doubt a few other genres besides.

Over the time I have known him I got to notice his love for Mike Oldfield’s music and perhaps a lot of his influence has rubbed off on Kevin in some ways.

I also got to hear his own attempts of him doing Oldfield’s classic Tubular Bells and quite a few variations worked out around it over the years I first stumbled upon him. A lot of it would of been done many years before he joined Soundcloud as well, and would not have measured up to the more quality production I get to hear in his music these days.

I have always been quite a fan of Mike Oldfiled’s earlier works myself and I do get to hear his influence in some ways shine in Kevin’s music. Though I would say that some of  Kevin’s own material is perhaps more based along the acoustic side of Oldfield’s works with albums such as Ommadawn rather than Tubular Bells.

I particularly like that side of Kevin’s music the most because he knows how to combine the acoustic guitar with the mandolin very well, and he knows how to structure some really great melodies with those particular instruments.

You can hear how well he has done so with the material he has made and put on this album Marathon. Only here he as also added some orchestration to it which gives the music a more sweeter refined edge to it, and it’s perhaps leaning now more to the genre of New Age rather than Oldfield’s Ommadawn which was more of your Progressive Rock or Art Rock so to speak.

The Album Marathon In Review…

The new debut album Marathon by Dun Looser was released last month on the 22nd November 2017. The album itself contains 7 instrumental tracks and has a very respectable total playing time of 41 minutes. The album as also been made in the form of a digital download only on Bandcamp and is currently priced up at 5 Euro.

The material that was written for the album Kevin would of wrote over the last 2 years or more and though many would associate the word “Marathon” with running and athletics, here it was inspired by the battle of the Marathon which goes back to ancient Greek times, and a book he had read written by Christian Cameron entitled Killer Of Men which was about the long war. Hence both the word “Marathon” and the names of  the titles Kevin chose for the album tracks.

Though the music is inspired by some ancient long battle, it also has a lot of air and grace about it all. I have to confess that reviewing instrumental albums can be quite a task to take on, especially all the individual tracks. It would of been a lot easier to highlight the best tracks on the album on that score.

But I did find the titles quite interesting which led me to do a bit of research around the subject matter of them. So I got to learn a bit about Greek Mythology along the way. But I was never fond of history myself, but never the less I found it quite fascinating enough to include some of the background of it in the individual tracks has I went along.

Track 1. Ares.

The album opens up with a most beautiful well structured and very well written piece of music entitled “Ares“. Musically it contains some wonderful worked out melodies and the music is more or less structured around the use of percussion and fine orchestration. But for me the magic of it all is just how well Kevin has managed to work in his guitars and even his mandolin into the piece.

In Greek Mythology Ares is the son of Zeus and Hera and one of the twelve Olympians. He was also known as the God Of War. In Greek Literature he can be seen to represent the more physical violent untamed aspect of war. Though also in myth he can be seen as a man who faced a lot humiliation, and this may have been down to being on the losing side of the wars he thought in, including the Trojan War.

Ares

Ares: The God Of War

I would rather think that the music Kevin wrote to represent “Ares” captures not only his love of war and his many humiliations, but also Ares love for the goddess of love Aphrodite who was married to Hephaestus and the woman he was having a fling with at the time so to speak.

Ares” is a really great track on the album and quite a strong contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 2. Doru.

Well I could be completely wrong with my own observation about the Greek word “Doru” that goes back to those ancient Greek times. But the word seems to relate to one of the weapons of war they used back then known as a Spear.

This so called spike was also capped on the end with a sauroter which in Greek stood for lizard killer. It also acted as a weight for the counter balance of the spear.

Whatever the “Doru” is in this case musically it tends to weave it’s way along in quite a charming way and has quite a European charm about it.

It’s another fine piece of music and even the mandolin Kevin plays on this one captures that European feel about. It also has not just a Greek feel about it but also a Persian feel to which Christian Cameron was also portraying in his first series of books entitled Killer Of Men.

Track 3. Istes.

On this one Kevin gets out his arsenal of weapons and goes into battle with an array of guitars ranging from electric, bass, acoustic and of course the mandolin. The music he crafts out for this one in particular in some of the more heavier melody lines, do have that Tubular Bells and Mike Oldfield flavour to them.

Musically the piece is more constructed from the instrumentation rather than around the orchestration, and it contains perhaps less orchestration. It portrays the character from Cameron’s book known as Istes very well. Istes was left to defend a city from a Persian invasion so to speak. He was of coarse outnumbered but he never gave in and fought in battle all day long.

During the battle he gathered many of the women and children onto ships so they could flee to their safety. The music perhaps portrays this side of the story with its more subtle side and the beauty in the orchestrated sections. Istes knew himself that he was never going to be able get aboard a ship to safety and dies in battle at the end of a long day.

Istes” is another superb track on the album and happens to be my favourite and merits my top spot award.

Track 4. Kineas.

Quite a pleasant piece this one that builds its way along wonderfully. In some of the melodies it reminds me a bit like some of the great music Gordon Giltrap used to do back in the 70’s. It also has a really great striking middle section that it builds up to and then settles back into its theme to finish it all off very well.

The tyrant Kineas was seen as a semi-god by some and others a tyrannical monster according to Alexander The Great. He belonged to an elite Greek Companion cavalry unit fighting under Alexander. He was a guy who knew how to turn men into an effective army and proved to be very successful in the campaign in Asia Minor against the Persian Empire.

Track 5. Lesbos.

No tyrants and warriors here and Lesbos is one of the many Greek Isles although according to classical Greek Mythology Lesbos was the patron god of the island. But in Cameron’s book it is seen as the island of beauty and for its wealth and riches.

It’s another great track on the album that has a great upbeat about it with its chugging rhythm on the electric guitar and is accompanied by fine instrumentation throughout, and even features a rather nice organ on this one too.

Track 6. Trireme.

A Trireme is an ancient vessel or ship that was used widely in the Persian wars in which the Greeks won many a battle in them on the seas. The picture below displays a fleet of a modern fleet of Olympias Trireme’s that both the Persians and Greeks would of sanctioned at least 200 of them to be made for a battle.

Greek_Galleys

Trireme’s

This is another fine piece that is constructed from the percussion and orchestration that has quite a charm and European flavour about it. Kevin once again manages to work some wonderful acoustic guitar counter melodies around the main melody lines of the orchestrated piece.

Track 7. Marathon.

The final piece on the album is the self titled track “Marathon“. This one happens to be the longest track on the album weighing in at 10 minutes and 7 seconds and is an excellent piece of work and very well constructed composition.

Marathon” without a doubt is very much another very strong contender for the best track on the album. It utilises and blends in the acoustic guitars and mandolins into the orchestration perfectly. It’s a superb way to end off a very enjoyable album too.

Summary…

The album Marathon by Dun Looser is quite a fine solid body of work and very pleasing album with the well written material that is placed upon it. In a way you could call it a musical concept album made up of individual tracks and titles of them, that portrays the subject matter of Greek Mythology that Christian Cameron wrote in his book Killer Of Men.

Musically the way the album presents itself with the material we have here. It’s perhaps more of a charming and pleasant way to present the battles, rather than one with blood thirsty rage. There is nothing here perhaps heavy enough to put over a fierce battle. But that certainly does not take away anything away from how well the music comes across. There are many splendours to behold in its musical presentation and it’s great use of instrumentation.

The way it’s been orchestrated perhaps gives a contemporary classical feel to it, and the use of the guitars and mandolins gives it that more of a folky or celtic feel and vibe to it. Those latter instruments is where the real magic lies in how well they have been blended into it all. There is no doubt the album has been very well produced too and is certainly quite a splendid and enlightening album too.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of Marathon by Dun Looser. I would say that if your into the likes of Mike Oldfield. Gordon Giltrap and even Celtic music to some extent, this is the type of album that would fit very well in your collection. Though what I will also say that there is not just those influences here, and a lot of it has also come from Kevin Sumner himself, and he has done quite a remarkable job with the music he has presented here. Has debut albums go I honestly cannot fault it.

To be perfectly honest Kevin sent me this album and another one on CD has a good friend, and having heard this particular album it was me who suggested he put it up for sale on Bandcamp and gave him a bit of advice.

The price of 5 Euro is superb value for the money and there is no doubt the quality of the production and the material that’s upon it merits perhaps more than the price tag suggests. That much so that I brought it again. Not only to show my support, but because I genuinely love the album, and music this good needs to be paid for is how I really see it.

Kevin is a really talented musician with a gift. He has learnt a hell of a lot over the many years he has been playing instruments and writing songs and music. The album Marathon reflects a lot of his skills and talents and is a masterful piece of work and a very enjoyable album.

Check it out for yourself. It may just be what you was looking for…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Marathon here : https://dunlooser.bandcamp.com/album/marathon

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Ares. 5:36.
02. Doru. 4:13.
03. Istes. 7:21.
04. Kineas. 5:29.
05. Lesbos. 4:02.
06. Trireme. 4:13.
07. Marathon. 10:07.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #45

Tope’s Sphere 2 – Orange Clocks

cover

Introduction…

Well I suppose I have to thank Dan Lockart for introducing me to this 7 piece band from Northamptonshire in England who go by the name of Orange Clocks, having stumbled upon his post of this concept album in his prog rock group on Facebook.

I have to say the story behind the concept of Tope’s Sphere is certainly a most fascinating one, in that it’s based around an idea of a children’s animated series that was destined to be screened on German television back in 1973.

Even more clever is how they have presented the whole thing in the way of a spoof which came from the genius mind of the bands keyboard player Thomas Hunt.

To show you exactly what I mean. I have posted Hunt’s own words here in Orange.

Originally devised in 1973 by eccentric producer Tomska R Huntley and destined for German TV, Tope’s Sphere was set to be a ground-breaking animation featuring a live soundtrack by 1970’s UK/Germany supergroup, Klementine Uhren.

The series followed Tope, the knitted monkey protagonist, with his sidekick Chode on their outer-space adventures accompanied by lush layers of psychedelic music. Unfortunately for Tomska, Klementine Uhren were unhappy with the final mixes.

They promptly disappeared with all the tapes for an ‘extended session’, never to be seen again. Tomska was bankrupted and his dreams shattered; he dumped what was left from Tope’s Sphere into a skip and vanished into the depths of the Himalayan mountains.

After the discovery of the fragments of video tape, stage props and art from Tope’s Sphere, Russ Russell (Producer Extraordinaire of Parlour Studios) recruited Orange Clocks to re-imagine the soundtrack, taking what details they could find from the scraps of script rescued from the skip to bring the unique comic-book adventure back to life.

But I suppose the most amazing thing about it all, is the fact that the whole way they have done the actual album, does sound like it came from the 70’s.

22894356_1439723709450991_4120861360808753379_n

 The Band.

The band Orange Clocks have been together for a couple of years now though the 7 band members that make it up have played in many other incarnations and other bands for many hazy years so they say. The band itself consist of the following:

Derek Cotter: (Bass, Vocals)
Tom Hunt: (Synthesiser, Vocals)
Burn: (Drums)
Ja Lee: (Samples and Sounds)
Stuart Paterson: (Guitar)
Martin Winsley: (Vocals, Narration and Percussion)
Dan Merrills: (Guitar)

The Album Review…

The album Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks is the bands debut album and was released on the 3rd of March 2017. For those who are wondering where Tope’s Spear 1 is, there is not one, and my own observation is that they used the number 2 because the first one was done by the spoof band they made up who went by the name of Klementine Uhren. All the material written for the album is credited to the band Orange Clocks.

The album itself contains 20 short tracks that have been all mixed together like 1 track to put across the none stop story they are presenting, and has a total playing time of 30 and half minutes.

The concept story behind it all is quite a magical kiddies adventure in space. But done with a bit of adult humour, and is perhaps a bit like a cross between the children’s TV animated series of the Clangers and the radio series of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.

The story itself starts off with Tope and his best friend Chode going about their day to day lives on there own planet of Trintar. Having playful fun eating ice creams and flying around in their magical spheres. When all of a sudden they are alerted by an SOS signal.

Upon investigating they get ambushed and Tope’s best friend Chode gets kidnapped by the evil Cromp and his cronies. Tope is left with the task to rescue his best friend.

However childish the story may appear the band present it in the form of a space rock opera and it’s superbly narrated by the bands Martin Winsley. Adding to the fire is some very well crafted music and songs that make the whole thing that more enjoyable.

Though album mainly consists of short tracks some of the more lengthier tracks are more song based and the highlights are “Trouble With Chode“. “Darkside“. “Magical Fields“. “Big Track” and the band even end the album off with the very well crafted “Theme from Tope’s Sphere“.

Though even a 50 second track can contain quite a bit of a magic song with the likes of track 15 entitled “Stromp’s Stomp” which sees the band sounding like the 70’s popular glam rock band The Sweet.

The band describe their genre of being Cosmic Psychedelic Space Rock and to a degree one may think around the lines of Gong’s album The Flying Teapot for its madness but there quite a lot of other great styles to their music including the likes of Pink Floyd and many others.

22712177_1432960446793984_4647150505148251021_o

Orange Clocks Live

The band Orange Clocks have even taken the album to the stage and are performing the whole album live in its entirety. That’s something I would love to see myself if they ever come and play in my own town of Birmingham. But for now they are mainly playing around their own town.

Summary…

Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks is quite a remarkable album and solid body of work the band have put together. Even though the concept of the story may sound a bit childish or daft I have to say it’s quite an addictive and very strong concept album that holds up very well and is well worthy of adding to my record collection. That much so that I just had to have the physical CD.

23592452_1517209595025256_4149512468806013184_o

The album was released by Bad Elephant Music and can be had from Bandcamp in the form of either a digital download for the price of £3.50 or a physical CD in a cardboard gate-fold sleeve as shown in the picture above for £7. Peanuts to pay whichever format you decide to choose and comes with a quality production for its price tag too.

Conclusion…

To round up my review of Tope’s Spear 2 by Orange Clocks. I would say that band have made a very exciting and very enjoyable album that may be short over its 30 minute time slot, but you will get hours of quality enjoyment out of it and it will even have you sticking it back on immediately for further spins. They come up with a real winner here and I shall be looking forward to see what the band will come up with next.

He’s One In A Million…

You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Tope’s Spear 2 here : https://orangeclocks.bandcamp.com/album/topes-sphere-2

The track listing of the album is as follows:

01. Tope’s Sphere Intro (Original Recording). 0:31
02. Just Kickin’ Back. 2:01
03. Fun In The Stars. 1:00
04. SOS. 1:30
05. Unknown Planet. 0:55
06. Ambush. 1:53
07. Sphere Malfunction. 0:53
08. Trouble With Chode. 2:12
09. Tope’s Hope. 0:30
10. Darkside. 3:03
11. Magical Fields. 3:45
12. Cogs, Brackets and Chains. 0:42
13. Big Track. 2:49
14. A Father’s Return. 0:59
15. Stromp’s Stomp. 0:50
16. Chode’s Down. 0:43
17. March of the Psilicybins. 1:37
18. Out of the Aether. 1:05
19. Utopean Dream. 0:55
20. Theme from Tope’s Sphere. 2:28

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #44

THRAK (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson

KC - T

Introduction…

A decade had passed by since the release of the 1984 album Three Of A Perfect Pair and in 1994 Robert Fripp decided it was time for King Crimson to re-emerge once again. He did so by using the exact line up from the 80’s and adding two other musicians to it, and formed what was known as a double trio. Once again they too was also Americans.

The band already had two guitarists with Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew and Fripp must of somehow thought it was only fair to bring in another bassist and drummer.

To accompany Tony Levin on the bass the Texan born War Guitar and Stick player Trey Gunn was brought in. Gunn was no stranger to Fripp at the time and had played with him in the mid 80’s in The League Of Crafty Guitarists. He also appeared on Toyah Wilcox’s 1991 solo album Ophelia’s Shadow.

Fripp married Wilcox back in 1986 and in the same year of 1991 Fripp, Wilcox and Gunn also formed a band together called Sunday All Over the World and they made their one and only album in the same year entitled Kneeling at the Shrine.

Gunn had also played with Fripp on a couple of albums that Fripp had done in collaboration with  David Sylvian. Both the albums they done was released in 1993. Gunn had also been a solo artist in his own right since 1985 and had played with many other bands and artists as a session player.

To accompany Bill Bruford on drums Fripp brought in the California drummer from the pop band Mr. Mister who was a guy known as Pat Mastelotto. So just how did a pop drummer get into a band like King Crimson one might ask?. Well it was down to a bit of sheer luck and determination by Mastelotto himself.

Mastelotto‘s career goes back to the 70’s where he was a session player and got to play for quite a few well known artists before the band Mr. Mister were assembled in the 80’s. Oddly enough he was also a fan of King Crimson back in the 70’s, and when he was 17 he got to see them play live in 1973. Since then it was sort of a long time ambition and dream to get to play for them.

Has the story goes it all came about from an ad placed in an LA newspaper Mastelotto had spotted of some guy wanting to trade a Leslie Cabinet for some gear. Mastelotto had on occasions hired a Leslie Cabinet for use on his drums with his band from time to time, and he thought it would be a good idea to have one himself. So he traded a compressor for it, and the guy he traded it with happened to be a guitarist who had played with the The League Of Crafty Guitarists.

This guy he did the trade with also happened to be a good friend of Trey Gunn and it was during the time both Gunn and Fripp were working with David Sylvian that they were planning to go on a live tour, but they were having some problems with the drummer Jerry Marotta who played for them on the both albums they made. Basically he did not want to go on a live tour with them.

The guy told Mastelotto that he might be interested and he quickly asked the guy for Gunn’s phone number to see if he could get the job so to speak.

It was on a Friday that Mastelotto made the call to Gunn asking for the managements contact number to see if he could get an audition. Has Gunn had never heard of him he told him not to bother, and that he would be wasting his time. Especially as the auditions were taking part in England on the following Wednesday. But Mastelotto persisted and not even knowing he would get the job, he still took the chance and flew to England for the audition.

Their were quite a few drummers on the day auditioning to play on the tour including ex King Crimson member Michael Giles who was such an inspiration to Mastelotto. He even got to have a chat with him has he was up next after Mastelotto had played is audition.

It was at this point that he thought he had not got the job. But the decision had to come from both Fripp and Sylvian and luckily for him he did get it.

When Fripp was putting together this 5th incarnation of King Crimson he originally wanted Jerry Marotta to partner alongside Bruford. But he turned the job down and that’s how Mastelotto ended up being in this line up of King Crimson.

Prior to the release of King Crimson’s 11th studio album THRAK in 1995 the band made a mini album in the previous year entitled VROOOM. Much of the material from that ended up on the full blown album we have here.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of King Crimson’s 10th studio album THRAK was released in October 2015. It was also released in the form of a 12 Disc Box Set in the following month of November. The Box Set is still available to buy at around the price of £114. I myself opted for the much cheaper CD/DVD version and purchased it from Amazon for £14.89.

The Packaging & Artwork…

20171123_093146

The packing is constructed out of the same material as with all these 40th Anniversary editions. They have been done slightly more on the cheap, but never the less do the job and look presentable. The booklet is also quite informative in relation to many others in these 40th Anniversary editions.

The artwork was done by Bill Smith though there is no information regarding what it is supposed to be. My own theory is that its perhaps a piece of corroded or broken metal from a car,  the car bonnet perhaps. Whatever it actually is it could also of been used to say that the album THRAK was heavier and more dense with the material they wrote for it, and it was verging more towards the genre of Metal in some parts.

Beat (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of THRAK by King Crimson comes with a CD that contains the new 2015 mixes of the album mixed by Jakko Jakszyk and Robert Fripp and Steve Wilson was not available for the mixes on this release. It also comes with a DVD that contains additional bonus material, but very little in the way of any real extras.

The CD.

Speaking of very little extras. The CD does contain the new mixes of the original tracks from the album, but absolutely nothing in the way of any bonus tracks. I will say the new mixes do sound superb though.

The DVD.

SS 1

The DVD Menu presents you with the option choices above to choose from and I must say that they went a little overboard here with them. This is because the last two choices in the list here are exactly the same as the first two on the list.

There is no difference at all simply because if you press the top selection “Play THRAK 2015” the next screen will present you with the same screen you get by pressing on the “THRAK 2015 (track list). So it was rather silly of them putting the last two items on the menu here at all.

SS 2

By pressing on the “Audio Setup” on the main menu it presents with the choice of audio. By default its set LPCM Stereo. Both the stereo and 5.1 mixes are of the highest quality of 24/96K.

The DVD also contains the 30th Anniversary Edition which is the original album that  was remastered in 2002. This is only other bonus that comes with the DVD and comes with an audio format of 24/48K.

The 5.1 Mix.

No Steve Wilson for the 5.1 mix here and it was done by Jakko Jakszyk and Robert Fripp from the new remixes they done. I have to say I am just as impressed by the 5.1 mix and they have both done a staggering job with them.

Musicians & Credits…

Original album produced by King Crimson and David Bottrill. Engineer David Bottrill. Assistant recording engineer Russell Kearney. Original THRAK artwork Bill Smith. Package art cover design by Hugh O’ Donnell. Photography Tony Levin. Production assistant and digital editor David Singleton. Equipment and strategic services liaison John Sinks. Recorded at Real World Studios. Bath. England.

Personnel:
Robert Fripp: Guitar/Soundscapes/Mellotron.
Adrian Belew: Guitar/Voice/Words.
Tony Levin: Upright & Electric Basses/Backing Vocals.
Trey Gunn: Stick/Backing Vocals.
Bill Bruford: Acoustic & Electronic Percussions.
Pat Mastelotto: Acoustic & Electronic Percussions.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

The original album THRAK by King Crimson was released on the 3rd April 1995. The album was made up of 8 vocal tracks and 7 instrumentals making a total of 15 tracks all together, and had a playing time of 56 minutes 37 seconds.

Has to what the album’s title of THRAK means I honestly could not tell you. The one person you never want to ask either is Robert Fripp himself. Otherwise you will be there for an hour and half listening to him give you a lecture about it, and at the end you still will not get an answer (LOL).

3 of the most popular answers has to what the word means I found came from the THRAK Live Tour Programme and they was all quoted by Robert Fripp. They are as follows:

1. 56 minutes and 37 seconds of songs and music about love, dying, redemption and mature guys who get erections.

2. A sudden and precise impact moving from intention, direction and commitment, in service of an aim.

3. The sound of 117 guitars almost striking the same chord simultaneously.

In my research I also came across answer from another source stating that it was the word he gave to his Mellotron. I am sure whatever it means Fripp will take it with him to his grave.

The one thing I can tell you myself is that there is no doubt that King Crimson were once again a force and made a remarkable comeback since their last release of Three Of A Perfect Pair back in 1984. The break had done them the world of good. A break is perhaps what they should of had after making their 1991 album Discipline in all respects.

The material that was written for THRAK if anything was a carbon copy of the album Discipline and once again the band had found the right formula regarding song writing and come up with the goods.

Track 1. Vrooom.

The first of the 7 instrumental tracks on the album opens up with the mellotron playing a short intro that is reminiscent with the 40’s it even sounds like it’s coming from one of those old wooden vintage radios. The intro lasts all of 27 seconds and then it unleashes it’s heavy power upon you and explodes into action.

The piece features heavy guitar riffs that are familiar with older tracks such as “Larks’ Talk In Aspic Part 2” and “Red“. Clanking heavy drums and percussion familiar with the stone age and the Flintsones bashing around in Bedrock and bass lines that make great deep grooves on vinyl records. It also has a lovely melodic come down section in the middle too and is a superb track.

It’s also a none stop track and Bruford’s roll on the drums at the end lead it into the next track very well too. “Vrooom” is very much a contender for the top spot on the album and is as good as those older tracks I mentioned too.

Track 2. Coda: Marine 475.

The tailspin from the opening track is a coda. Originally this piece was also part of the opening track “Vrooom” that was on the mini album that they released before this album. For this album they decided to make it into 2 tracks instead of the 1. Nothing as been altered either.

Even though it’s not marked down as an instrumental piece, it’s not a song either, and merely the voice is used here to speak out some numbers relating to the title. The numbers on a co-ordinance map perhaps and its sort of like being in a submarine with its dramatic approach.

Track 3. Dinosaur.

The first of the songs on the album also happens to be the longest track on the album too. It’s another excellent well written and worked out song and just as “Elephant Talk” was my favourite track on the album Discipline. “Dinosaur” happens to be my favourite track on this album too, and merits my top spot award.

It’s a song they do great live on the stage and is really great to watch as well. The song has an excellent come down section in the middle that features Adrian Belew playing the keyboard parts on his guitar. It also has a great little silent pause before unleashing itself into sheer bliss. Belew plays a massive part on this one and “I Like It”.

Track 4. Walking on Air.

Well I did say that the album THRAK was a carbon copy of Discipline and here we have another truly fantastic ballad of a song just like “Matte Kudasai” only this one also has the feel of a Beatles song about it. I love how Belew reaches the highs with his voice on this song and he expresses his own words superbly.

The song also contains gorgeous guitar tones and is pure class. Very much a very strong contender for the top spot on the album this one, and a truly great bit of song writing.

Track 5. B’Boom.

Another great dramatic instrumental piece that gives one the feel that they are in some desolate haunting railway station, and the ghost train is waiting for you to board it on the platform so to speak.

The piece is constructed from one of Fripp’s familiar type of soundscapes, and features both Bruford and Mastelotto bashing out the drums to represent the train running along the tracks. A bit reminiscent to the same sort of thing Yes did back in 1973 in the middle section of the “Ritual” from their  Tales From Topographic Oceans album.

Track 6. THRAK.

The self titled album track is perhaps the heaviest instrumental piece on the album. Here the band are bashing out the chaotic mayhem and noise in more of a metal thrashing style and it has a sort of I don’t really give a shit sort of attitude about it all.

If you ever want the cobwebs cleaned out of your ears so to speak, blast this one out and it will do the job :))))). Thankfully its only a short track and they have not dragged it out long enough to make your ears bleed (LOL).

Track 7. Inner Garden, Pt. 1.

A short haunting song about autumn that comes in 2 parts. Both of the parts have been constructed very much the same musically and only the words are slightly different. It’s quite a good little song and it gives the impression that this section of the album has been done in the way of some sort of a concept with the tracks that are about to follow it.

Track 8. People.

Another really great song the band often played live. “People” is a very well structured song that has quite a funky bit of fusion about it. It can be perhaps seen as more of a commercial song, but there is nothing wrong with that when it’s done as good as this one is.

It features some well good bass grooves and interplay between Levin and Gunn and I would of expected musically the song was conceived and written around their bass lines. No doubt another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 9. Radio, Pt. 1.

Another one of those little intervals between the main tracks on the album that comes in 2 parts. Once again it’s an haunting soundscape and quite an haunting bit of noise. I have no idea why they titled the piece “Radio” unless it’s a dead one :))))))).

This in reality is what I call a gap filler and nothing more. I am not really one for soundscapes I am afraid. Though thankfully its only 42 seconds long so this one is not really going to annoy me.

I would also say that this type of material does not belong on an album like this and is very much out of place. King Crimson really should make their mind up if they want to make a real album or one for films. You cannot combine the two together. It simply does not work I am afraid.

Track 10. One Time.

A song that has a great calmness to it all and another very well written song. It’s another song that the band play live a lot and no doubt the band are churning out some quality songs on this album. Putting it in between the 2 soundscapes really does not do the album any justice, and this is yet another contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 11. Radio, Pt. 2.

(Read Track 9.)

Track 12. Inner Garden, Pt. 2.

The 2nd part of the haunting song about autumn and the garden, and these nice little ditties are quite pleasing and say a lot more and work a damn site better than what the two parts of “Radio” ever did on that score.

Track 13. Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream.

Another excellent song with an excellent bass groove and great up-tempo feel about it. It’s the last of the written songs for the album and another superb song the band play live too. It shows great diversity and aggression and is another high contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 14. VROOOM VROOOM & Track 15. VROOOM VROOOM: Coda.

The album finishes off in the same great style it opened up with the last 2 instrumental pieces on the album. “VROOOM VROOOM” is more or less the same has the opening track “Vrooom” only it’s more like an extended version and a bit longer.

There is quite a few seconds of silence placed at the end of the track before the last track “VROOOM VROOOM: Coda” starts and is if they have placed it has a secret album track. The last track is also different in relation to the 2nd track on the album “Coda: Marine 475” and they have included a soundscape on the intro and slowed it right down and taken out the spoken words.

In reality the last two tracks on the album are very much like bonus tracks that have alternative mixes, and that’s how they should of really placed them on the album too.

Summary…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of King Crimson’s 1995 album THRAK may contain really nothing in the way of bonus material, but is certainly an album well worthy of buying again just for the 5.1 mix on the DVD. The new stereo mixes are also very well done too, and this release is quality.

The album THRAK is certainly one of King Crimson’s better albums. Take away “Radio (Parts 1 & 2)” and it’s very much what I would consider a solid album with the rest of material they wrote for it. It’s certainly on par with their 1981 album Discipline and is more or less a carbon copy with how close the well written material sounds and comes across. It even contains more songs with vocals than that album too, and they are all very well written and very good.

Though the album THRAK was intended to be done with a double trio in mind, effectively it was only ever a double trio when they worked out how to play the material live as a 6 piece band and got to perform it that way on stage.

The album itself was recorded with each member going into a room and recording their parts individually. It’s also said that the album was mixed so that when played in stereo, if you turn the balance to the left you will hear the parts played by Adrian Belew. Tony Levin and Bill Bruford. By turning it to the right you will hear Robert Fripp. Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto.

Conclusion…

THRAK is quite a remarkable album done with a very impressive line of King Crimson. The band went on to tour in 1995 playing the material mainly from this album and the material from their 1991 album Discipline.

In 1999 they released their first ever live concert footage on DVD which was taken from the live performances they played in Japan in 1995. They titled the DVD Déjà Vrooom and still till this day I regard it as the best ever quality live footage there is out there of King Crimson.

King Crimson were no doubt once again a force to be reckoned with in 1995. OK it’s perhaps not up their with what they did in the 70’s but never the less it was an exciting and impressive line up they had here.

The band have always been a bit of an hit and miss regarding the albums they produced and churned out throughout their entire career to be honest. No doubt the the bands line up between 1972 – 1974 was more of a solid one that made 3 very good albums, and that perhaps is their most highest point of their career.

But I still cannot fault both the albums Discipline and THRAK. They are a different breed that made them with their more modern approach, but for me personally they are up with their very best albums too.  They are both what I would call solid albums.

I’m A Dinosaur, Somebody Is Digging My Bones…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. VROOOM. 4:34.
02. Coda: Marine 475. 2:36.
03. Dinosuar. 6:38.
04. Walking on Air. 4:43.
05. B’Boom. 4:10.
06. THRAK. 3:59.
07. Inner Garden, Pt. 1. 1:47.
08. People. 5:51.
09. Radio, Pt. 1. 0:42.
10. One Time. 5:22.
11. Radio, Pt. 2. 0:57.
12. Inner Garden, Pt. 2. 1:16.
13. Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream. 4:49.
14. VROOOM VROOOM. 5:49.
15. VROOOM VROOOM: Coda. 2:57.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 2/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 9/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #43

Three Of A Perfect Pair (40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition) – King Crimson

KC - TOAPP

Introduction…

The third and final album from this incarnation of King Crimson sees the band still heading in a more commercial direction regarding some of the material that was written for it. Only this time they decided to make an album that had two sides to it. The so called “Left Side” features more accessible commercial material. The “Right Side” was reserved for the less accessible material of a bizarre noise.

There is no doubt the album Three Of A Perfect got heavily criticised on its release and even today many people can still criticise this particular album more so than their previous album Beat. Personally I felt the critics were entirely wrong simply because the band without a doubt struggled to make the material for Beat and it was perhaps a bit weaker than what we have here.

There is also no doubt that the material written for both Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair does not even measure up to being half as good as the material they wrote for Discipline. They are both poor albums in relation to it. But in some ways King Crimson did try and try to recapture some of the magic that can be found on Discipline with this album and there are a few really great tracks to be found on it.

The 40th Anniversary Edition Release…

The 40th Anniversary Edition of King Crimson’s 10th studio album Three Of A Perfect Pair was released on the same day as the 40th Anniversary edition of Beat on the 28th October 2016. Just like all 40th Anniversary releases it comes with a CD containing the new mixes and a DVD that contains the 5.1 mix and extras. I purchased my copy from Amazon for £14.89 which is a very respectable price and it was even £3 cheaper than what I paid for the 40th Anniversary editions of  Beat and Discipline.

The Packaging & Artwork…

20171108_104444

The packaging is a bit on the cheap side but never the less is colourful, cheerful and comes in a box with a mediocre informative booklet. Just like all these King Crimson 40th Anniversary Editions.

Once again the artwork is of a symbol and rather strange one at that. It was designed by Peter Willis and is meant to be some sort of sacred–profane dichotomy which is a religious symbol used by religious cults that profanely represents both good and evil. Robert Fripp seen it has a simplified version of the Larks’ Tongues In Aspic album cover of all things :))))) but at least it looks a damn site better than the symbol that was used for the album Beat.

Three Of A Perfect Pair (40th Anniversary CD/DVD) Review…

The 40th Anniversary CD/DVD Edition of Three Of A Perfect Pair by King Crimson comes with a CD that contains the new 2016 mixes of the album plus bonus tracks mixed by Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp and a DVD with an array of many other bonus features including a 5.1 mix and some video content.

The CD & Bonus Tracks.

The new 2016 mixes once again I have no complaints about and can very much live with them and they do sound better for it. Though I personally would not recommend buying a release like this just for the CD content alone, and you will get much better quality recordings from the DVD that come with all these 40th Anniversary editions of King Crimson.

The bonus material just like the 2001 30th Anniversary release comes with 6 bonus tracks. Only here it’s only “The King Crimson Barber Shop“. “Industrial Zone A” and “Industrial Zone B” that are the same, and the other 3 bonus tracks are different. The other 3 bonus tracks you get are “Robert’s Ballad“. “Shidare Zakura” and “Industrial Zone C“.

The DVD.

SS 1

The DVD’s Main Menu is quick and easy to get around and presents you with 4 simple options to choose from. Please note that is was a bad day when I took these pictures and the light was not very good. But the colour of the screen is a very bright yellow just like the colour of packaging.

SS 2

The Audio Setup is set to DTS 5.1 by default. Just like the release of Beat both the 5.1 and stereo audio formats are in 24/48 only and there is no 24/96 to be found anywhere on this release.

The 5.1 mixes have been done from the original tracks and the first 2 bonus tracks that were on the CD have also been given the 5.1 treatment. When selecting the LPCM Stereo version you get the same amount of bonus tracks that came with the CD.

SS 3

Just like we got with Beat there is not a lot of extras on this release either. Has you can see by the Extras Menu you do get the 30th Anniversary remastered edition which comes with 6 bonus tracks “The King Crimson Barber Shop“. “Industrial Zone A“. “Industrial Zone B“. “Sleepless (Tony Levin mix)“. “Sleepless (Bob Clearmountain mix)” and “Sleepless (François Kevorkiandance mix)“.

Has you can see we only get 1 video with this release which is the one made for “Sleepless“. Once again it’s not that good and the money was perhaps a bit wasted.

The 5.1 Mix.

The 5.1 mix is excellent and once again they have been done by Steve Wilson & Robert Fripp who have done the business on them. By far the best thing about these new editions and I am well chuffed with them.

Musicians & Credits…

Original album produced by King Crimson. Cover symbol by Peter Willis. Cover Art by Timothy Eames. Engineer Brad Davis with Tony Arnold on “Industry” and “Dig Me“.  Assistant Engineers Nick James & Ray Niznik. Recorded at Basing Street Studios, London. Social Services Tex Reed.

Personnel:
Robert Fripp: Guitar.
Adrian Belew: Voice/Fretted & Fretless Guitars.
Tony Levin: Bass/Stick/Synth/Backing Voice.
Bill Bruford: Acoustic & Electric Drumming.

The Original Album Tracks Review…

Three Of A Perfect Pair was King Crimson’s 10th studio album and was released on the 27th March 1984. The original album came with 9 tracks spread over a playing time of just under 41 minutes. There was no doubt that the band were still trying their hand at being more commercial with a few of its tracks that was amongst the material they made for the album, but they did also sort of rescue themselves by splitting the album in two halves with a Left and a Right side.

There is also no doubt that just like the album Beat they did do a couple of diabolical tracks out of the 9 we get here, but on an whole the material is much more stronger on this album and it has a lot more to say for itself.

Track 1. Three Of A Perfect Pair.

The album starts with the more commercial side of the album known as the “Left Side” and it’s self titled album track which is a really great song, that is in every way as good as the material that was written for Discipline in my book.

It’s a song that the band played better live and also one of the songs the band highly regarded to keep it in their live set list along with the material from Discipline that they quite often played over a decade or more later. This is something the band never did with the weaker material that was written for the album Beat.

Once again the combination between Belew and Fripp on the guitars is very well worked out, and although the song itself is quite different to “Frame By Frame” off the album Discipline. I would say that it on the same par as it, and for me “Three Of A Perfect Pair” wins my top spot award and is my personal favourite track on this album.

Track 2. Model Man.

Model Man” sees the band once again aiming to be more commercial again by writing a pop song. In many ways you could call this song “Modern Man” because it does fit the sort of more modern material that many pop artists were writing in the 80’s, it’s very much an 80’s song.

To be honest it’s quite a very well worked and well written song, and just like the German electronic band Kraftwerk did by going more commercial with their song “The Model” I can be quite partial and take a liking to this sort of modern approach, though no way would I put a song like this, or even Kraftwerk’s song as a contender for the best track on the album.  But I would not even say that both songs were particularly weak either.

Track 3. Sleepless.

Still staying with the commercial side of King CrimsonSleepless” was another one of their single releases accompanied by a video. It very much sees the band aiming to get a bit more recognition and stay in contention with the limelight of the commercial world.

The song itself is done in the style of a modern up-tempo funk dance groove, it’s very well driven and Tony Levin would of played the biggest part in writing this one I would of felt, with his well structured bass line.

It’s perhaps not what I would call a bad song, and quite good to be honest, but one does have to be in the mood for this type of song as well. There are times that I like it and other times it’s less appealing to myself.

Track 4. Man With an Open Heart.

Another commercial pop song without a doubt and this one for me personally is a complete load of dribble I am afraid to say. What on earth was they doing for god’s sake (LOL). This has to be my contender for the worst song on the album I am afraid. The less said about it the better :)))))).

Track 5. Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds).

The last of the more commercial pieces they wrote for the “Left Side” of the album is an instrumental piece. It’s the first of 4 instrumental pieces. I would not say that this was commercial either. If anything it’s perhaps out of place sticking it on this side and they should of swapped it around with the only song left on the album “Dig Me“.

It’s not a bad little number and it tries to be a bit more modern with the way the music has been structured around Levin’s bass and Bruford’s electronic percussion. Fripp does his usual and weaves his way around it with simplistic lead lines on his guitar.

It’s not exactly gonna set the world on fire and it does not really push any bells or whistles either.

Track 6. Industry.

The instrumental piece “Industry” kicks off the less commercial side of the album known as the “Right Side”. It’s the longest track on the album and sees the band going about their more familiar diverse fusion. It’s perhaps more familiar with the improvised material they wrote back in 72-74 but with a more modern edge perhaps.

No doubt this one for me personally is much more like it, and I would even make it a contender for the top spot on the album.

Track 7. Dig Me.

The last of the written songs on the album sees the band trying to be diverse again, and apart from the chorus of the song (which incidentally is the best part about it) the rest of it is just a complete mess around I am afraid. Potentially it could of been a good song, but instead they just ruined it :))))))).

Track 8. No Warning.

In some ways the 2nd side of the album is perhaps more dramatic and it could be also seen in the light of a bit of a concept around industrialism. “No Warning” if anything has a more cinematic approach about it. A fusion of noise is the perhaps the best way to describe it. It’s not too bad, but once again it’s not gonna push any bells or whistles either, but it is fitting to its title with the drama it presents here.

Track 9. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3.

The albums ends off with the band reworking and reconstructing the 1973 track “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2“. They tend to do it at a lot more faster pace and do manage to weave some magic here I will say, and it does embark on some of the lines and riffs that part 2 of this had about it.

Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3” is another track from this album that King Crimson still continued to played live well over a decade of this release. For me personally it’s the 2nd best track on this album and a strong contender for the top spot.

Summary…

To sum up my review of the 40th Anniversary edition of the album Three Of A Perfect Pair by King Crimson. It perhaps has more in the way of bonus tracks in comparison to the album Beat. But it still has little in the way of bonus material in relation to a lot of these 40th Anniversary editions. Once again the new mixes and the 5.1 mixes are excellent and the extra bonus tracks are also very good too.

I would rate the album Three Of A Perfect Pair marginally a bit better than Beat but it’s a long way off a solid album with the mixed bag of material you get here. The Highlights of the album for me is once again 3 tracks which are “Three Of A Perfect Pair“. “Industry” and “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3“. But these are by far way better written material than those we seen on Beat and are a lot more stronger.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of King Crimson’s 1984 album Three Of A Perfect Pair. I would say that it is more of a worthy purchase because it’s half decent album. It does offer slightly a bit more than the 3 tracks I highlighted to be fair, to which the album Beat never really gave you anything more and was so disappointing.

But an half decent album is not one I would recommend either, and if your after a really good King Crimson album Three Of A Perfect Pair is not gonna give you that I am afraid.

There is no doubt that the 80’s had a huge effect on King Crimson’s music and this incarnation of the band were influenced by what was going on in the pop charts at the time. It really led to their downfall in many respects, and out of the 3 albums they did make in this decade only 1 of them was really good and that was Discipline. You would be struggling to make half of a real decent album with the material they wrote for the albums Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair.

What A Perfect Mess…

The CD track listing is as follows:

01. Three of a Perfect Pair. 4:21.
02. Model Man. 4:01.
03. Sleepless. 5:36.
04. Man With an Open Heart. 3:06.
05. Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds). 4:47.
06. Industry. 7:03.
07. Dig Me. 3:16.
08. No Warning. 3:29.
09. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 3. 6:07.
10. The King Crimson Barber Shop [*]. 1:37.
11. Robert’s Ballad [*]. 3:23.
12. Shidare Zakura [*]. 2:40.
13. Industrial Zone A [*]. 3:15.
14. Industrial Zone B [*]. 5:34.
15. Industrial Zone C [*]. 15:50.

Lee’s overall Complete Package Value Rating…

The Packaging Rating Score. 7/10

The Bonus Tracks Rating Score. 6/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 10/10.

The Original Album Rating Score. 5/10.