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Who I am and details of  my life from birth to now.

 

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An index to all my music including CD and concert reviews and general writing

 

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I have written a diary over the past 37 years. You can view entries by using  this link

 

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An index page to my writing. my novels and my poetry

 

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My dissertation and other work for my MA degree.

 

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Places I have visited over 30 years of travelling

 

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My Amazon Reviews
Free music - Best of 2009

 

 

 

 

 

In memory of John Stewart 1939-2008, Harry Chapin 1942-1981, Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007 - Three great American singer-songwriters

Click Here to Go to The List of Reviews by artist

Click Here to see my album ratings

Current number of albums reviewed - 260 (approx)

2013 Album Reviews

David Bowie - The Next Day - Critically acclaimed but in general this album left me cold. John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts - The follow up to the excellent Queen of Denmark.

 

2012 Album Reviews

Ringo Starr - Ringo 2012 - Oh dear Ringo it really is time to call it a day. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die. Manufactured pop or talented singer? The latter I think Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas - At the age of 77 can LC still cut the mustard as a songwriter and poet. Paul McCartney - Kisses on the Bottom. Macca croons his way through old favourites
Ana Silvera - The Aviary - Occasionally an album comes along to make you realise just why you fell in love with music - This is one of those.

2010/2011 Album Reviews

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow - A surprise gem - all snow and frosty but also very good Smith and Burrows - Funny Looking Angels - One of the best 2011 Christmas albums Nick Lowe - That Old Magic - A lovely reflective album as Nick Lowe realises he is in his sixties  Sirenia - The Enigma of Life - Strange ethereal sounds that blend death metal, prog and classical.

Blackfield - Welcome to My DNA - Another unheralded gem and another of my favourites of 2011 British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall - One of the better British rock bands and a decent album as well Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues - Universally acclaimed as one of the best of 2011 I found myself luke warm on this one Guillemots - Walk The River - I like bands that sound a but different and certainly Guillemots fall into this category

Glen Campbell - Ghost on the Canvas - Campbell's final studio album following his Alzheimers announcement is a gem. Yes - Fly From Here - Mixed reviews for this one but as far as I'm concerned one of the best of 2011 Midlake - The Courage of Others - Midlake's third album is a lovely understated effort with passing nods to British folk rock and prog. Judge Smith - The Climber  Occasionally an album amazes. This provided a very rewarding experience.

John Grant - Queen of Denmark - A critically well received first solo album from the ex Czars frontman Neil Diamond - Dreams - Yes another covers album but is it any good? Ringo Starr - Y Not - Ringo continues to make average rock music but this one harks back to his Liverpool days again. Johnny Cash - American VI - The final instalment both of the American series and Cash's musical output.

In all cases click on the album covers to read the reviews.

Retro Reviews (these are just a few of reviews of historic albums)

 
Colosseum - Valentyne Suite. The first ever release on the Vertigo label. A mix of Blues, Jazz and Prog from 1969. Renaissance - Renaissance. Classical meets prog in this first album from Renaissance from 1969. Amon Duul II - Phallus Dei - One of the originators of Krautrock. An album from 1969  

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - Arguably the most confessional album of all time. Stark and harsh Sandy Denny - The North Star Grassman and the Ravens - Denny's first solo album from 1971 1960 British Hit Parade - Various Artists - A monumental six discs with every hit from 1960, Focus III - Overblown prog or subtle classical melodies. You pay your money and take your choice.

Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority. Blues meets jazz meets funk as Chicago released their debut album in 1969 Midlake - All three Midlake albums reviewed and rated. Wonderful harmonious Texas rock Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath - Sabbath's first album is dark and sinister, but is it any good? Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman - An understated album with some notable moments but too much filler

The Who - My Generation. Raw rhythm and Blues kicked things off for the Who The Beatles - Sergeant Pepper. Sergeant Pepper and 11 other Beatles albums rated and reviewed America - Silent Letters. A little known gem from one of my favourite soft rock, harmony bands. Al Stewart - Love Chronicles. An introverted but highly personal look at love from the Scottish bard.

10CC - 10CC - always one of the most innovative and clever of British bands, this was 10CCs 1973 debut. Reviewed alongside other releases. Love - Forever Changes - An undisputed classic as fresh today as it was in 1967 when it first appeared. Elton John -11-17-70 - I have never been a fan of Elton's live work. This one was recorded in November 1970 Janis Ian - Between the Lines - One of my favourite albums by a female singer-songwriter. Sad and uplifting at the same time

Elton John - Elton John - We begin our look at the work of Elton John with his second and to my mind best album. The Byrds - Byrdmaniax - Arguably one of the low spot of the Byrds' career The Byrds - (Untitled) - a mix of studio and live album in the group's longest player Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Welcome to the Pleasuredome. One of the best albums for the 1980s

Jimmy Webb - Lands End - To my mind the greatest living songwriter, but what of his solo ouput? It is reviewed here Judy Collins - Judith - An album that has been part of my life for over 30 years and Judy Collins at her best as an emerging song-writer David Bowie - Low - Sparse and uncompromising as Bowie changed directions with some excellent art inspired music. Lindisfarne - Fog on the Tyne - One of my favourite albums - so goodtime, so gloriously raucous, so wonderfully out of tune

Starsailor - Love Is Here. One of the best debut albums for a long time. Three Starsailor albums reviewed Billy Joel - Cold Spring Harbor - A very understated album to begin Joel's singer songwriter career. Don McLean -  Tapestry  - A fine debut album from a singer-songwriter on top of his game from the start Don McLean - American Pie - This was the real McCoy. A superb album.

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left. The first of Drake's trilogy. Read reviews of all three. Arcade Fire - Funeral. Canada has brought us a number of excellent bands in the last few years, Arcade Fire are one of the best

Bee Gees - Odessa. A complex album of pop, psychedelia, country and classical that works so well. Re-released in deluxe format

Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick. Dense textures in concept format from Jethro Tull. A number of other Tull albums are also reviewed.

Carpenters - Ticket to Ride - Nine Carpenters albums come under the microscope Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Where it all started - a strange ethereal album. Other Floyd albums also reviewed. Jethro Tull - This Was - a bluesy start to one of the darlings of progressive rock. Tull albums come under the microscope Supertramp - Crime of the Century - One of my favourite all time albums. See the entire Supertramp section

Divine Comedy - Absent Friends - More understated than some of the earlier DC albums finds Neil Hannon in reflective mood. Divine Comedy - Liberation - Neil Hannon considered this to be the first DC album and it showed the emergence of a highly literate style Divine Comedy - Fin de Siecle - A complex and charismatic album full of powerful pop. Scott Walker - Scott - Reviews of Scott Walkers early solo albums

The Moody Blues - Read reviews of the Moody Blues' first seven albums. Curved Air - Air Conditioning - Curved Air's first album and entry into the prog rock hall of fame. Curved Air - Second Album - Slightly less proggy and more of a vehicle for Sonja Kristina's vocals Curved Air - Phantasmagoria - The third album takes us firmly back into prog rock territory

The Monkees - More of the Monkees - The band's second album before they took control of their affairs

The Monkees - Headquarters - They took control, but was it worthwhile? Find out here

The Monkees - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd - Not sure about the title, but more weirdness from the boys Leonard Cohen - The Songs of Leonard Cohen - A trend-setting album from 1967. Other Cohen albums also reviewed.

Abba - Ring Ring - The first album even before the name had evolved. A very patchy effort Abba - Waterloo - Another patchy effort from a band trying to find the identity they would achieve later. Abba - Abba - One or two high spots but again an album with plenty of filler in it Abba - Arrival - The band begin to come of age with more grown-up material, better songs and lyrics

Deep Purple in Rock - Deep Purple - The finest example of heavy metal ever recorded and it sounds as fresh today as in 1970 Richard Harris - A Tramp Shining - The first of two successful collaborations with one of my favourite songwriters Jimmy Webb David Bowie - Pin Ups - An album of covers from 1973 that came between Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs. Emerson Lake and Palmer - Tarkus - If the first ELP album was a classic this somehow fell well short.

Queen- Queen - A good starting point for a band that was to become one of the all time greats. Queen II - Queen. The cover alone shows the emergence of a classic rock band and the melodies and prog rock takes the band to another level. Brian Wilson - Imagination Possibly Wilson's best solo album and the one that conjures up the surf and sand Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The first and arguably the best from three musicians of individual brilliance

The Strawbs - From the Witchwood -  An embryonic folk rock band prepares to rip into the crazy world of rock. We revisit this 1971 offering

The Strawbs - Grave New World One of the most powerful albums ever as the Strawbs find their feet and find their style - a classic

Rod Stewart - An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down -  opened his long career with this rocker. There was better to come.

Rod Stewart - Gasoline Alley  Gasoline continued the road to rock stardom and was a more confident offering than the previous.

Rod Stewart  Every Picture Tells A Story - One of the classic rock albums of all time where all the promise came to fruition Rod Stewart - Never A Dull Moment - The last of Stewart's rock quartet of albums. Had the downward spiral begun? Simon and Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning 3 am  S and G first album is a beautifully understated collection of traditional songs and Paul Simon originals. Simon and Garfunkel - Sound of Silence. Paul Simon comes of age, writing 10 of the 11 tracks on this album as he turns into the world's great folk/rock poet

Simon and Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme - Some have likened this to Sergeant Pepper and Pet Sounds. Is it that good? Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends -  S and G tread the well worn path of folk stardom with a further selection of excellent songs Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water -- A sublime collection of songs that have a lasting and important place in the chronicles of Folk and Rock history. Neil Young - Neil Young - A quiet and reasonably efficient solo debut album that hinted of the glories to come

Neil Young -Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. This first effort with Crazy Horse was a rather rambling affair Neil Young - After the Goldrush - Young comes of age with a vengeance and records one of the great folk/rock albums Neil Young - Harvest - Another groundbreaking album full of atmosphere and sublime tunes The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home -  Sussex seems to have produced some excellent Brit-pop bands. Here is one of them

In Memoriam

Classic albums by artists sadly no longer with us

 

Dan Fogelberg - The Innocent Age - A great album of childhood, manhood and life itself with some classic songs John Stewart - California Bloodlines-  Timeless country rock and one of the greatest albums of its genre Harry Chapin - Short Stories - . The greatest storyteller song writer of all time (imho) and this was one of his finest albums

The reason for my music review section is partly one of self-indulgence but hopefully it will be of interest to a few people who pop by either intentionally or purely by chance.

It has been set-up to reflect my love of music. The object is not to educate the reader about the bands/artists with in depth biographies. They can be found in proliferation elsewhere on the internet and in reference books by the thousands.

The object is to review individual artists from my existing record collection along with important new releases. The reviews will reflect the part the music has played in my life rather than academic assessments.

Music has managed to somehow keep me sane for more years than I care to remember. Simply listing artists takes me on a journey through my past.

This review section is my attempt to analyse my own music journey through albums that have had some affect on me - whether it be good or bad.

It is not my intention to compare albums with those by different artists but to take each artist individually, comparing them against their own output. I am also much more likely to comment on the album from my own views and experiences. Each album will be given a mark out of 10 which will be based on a number of factors.  Again the ratings should only be taken within that artist's output and not used to compare with albums by other artists, although I do list them all together in a ratings' section.

Obviously I will be building the reviews over a period of time. So bear with me and please return. If you want to make any comments about my reviews or review the albums yourself please e-mail me by clicking here and I will include them alongside my own. To start the journey go to the individual links by clicking here.