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Paul Fischer (NE)
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Blonde On Blonde (Rm) (5.1)
Blonde On Blonde (Rm) (5.1)
Price: CDN$ 22.55
21 used & new from CDN$ 15.21

5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be disappointed, Sept. 29 2003
This is an edited version of my first review.
If you're one of those Dylan fans that doesn't have all that hi-tech, SACD equipment, and you just want a good remastered replacement for that sorry excuse of a CD that was issued by Columbia a long time ago, you won't be disappointed by this mix. I don't have an SACD player, and I bought this solely for playback on a normal CD player. The results are excellent. This disc is great on headphones.
Blonde on Blonde was just as groundbreaking as its predecessor, Hwy 61. It was the first double album by a major artist, and I THINK (this is unconfirmed) that it was the first album that came in a gatefold sleeve. Some other album MIGHT have done that before it, I don't know.
The subject matter on this track is more songs of love, comfort (Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands) , desire (I Want You, Visions of Johanna) , and sorrow (Just Like A Woman), and ridicule. (The hilarious "Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat" - if you're short 15 bucks and can't afford this album, I suggest reading the lyrics to this song on the net anyway) These are topics that weren't really covered on Hwy 61.
I know a lot of people listen to this record and try to figure out the genius of the production. If you ask me, it's the decision to restrain the guitar on several songs. On virtually every song, its the acoustic guitar and organ that carry the song, and the guitar fills in, like in the left channel on Memphis Blues Again. Except on rockers like One of Us Must Know and Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat (The former being recorded a few months earlier from the other 13 tracks.) Robbie Robertson (Who is given no credit in the liner notes, WTH?) is pretty inventive on this album.
I read one review complaining that the organ is buried in the mix of Visions of Johanna and is hard to hear. I listened to the song again, and I must say the organ should be more up front. It is still very audible though, and when I listened to this remaster the first time I enjoyed the song as always and didn't notice it. (The problem isn't that the organ is buried, its that its on the right channel, the same channel that the drums are on in this remastered version)
Like I stated in my first review, I have no idea what the people remastering John Wesley Harding were smoking, and there IS a phone number in the liner notes of the CD booklet for Sony Customer Service. I suggest that everyone that was ripped off should call in.
I've listened to the remastered B.O.B. numerous times now, and I haven't noticed any other problems.

Biograph (3CD)
Biograph (3CD)
Price: CDN$ 37.60
22 used & new from CDN$ 29.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Dylan compilation, Sept. 18 2003
This review is from: Biograph (3CD) (Audio CD)
Hopefully, a second box set will come out someday, perhaps when Dylan retires (if he ever does) that spans Infidels to his last release, whatever that will be. Until then, we have the best Dylan compilation out there.
I'm not joking. Not only do you get an excellent 3.5 hours of his best work, best outtakes, and best alternate versions, but an excellent booklet that gives a good biography of Dylan's career up to 1985. Don't forget the track-by-track retrospective Dylan gives on each song represented, but he gives a lot of commentary on his career in a very revealing interview with Cameron Crowe exclusively for the box set.
This compilation is NOT sloppy. In fact, the arrangement of the tracks is quite clever.
The first few songs on Disc One are Dylan's sweetest love songs (including a cover of Baby Let Me Follow You Down). This was how he started his career with 1962's Bob Dylan.
Then we progress to his best protest anthems, (Blowin' in the Wind, Masters of War, and the excellent unreleased Percy's Song)
surrealism (Tombstone Blues...Subterranean Homesick Blues, Visions of Johanna)
then some of his most lonesome and sad songs, including outtakes from his Blood on the Tracks period,
then songs of desire (notice the song titles BABY I'M IN THE MOOD FOR YOU, I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER, I WANT YOU)
then his spiritual songs (I Believe in You, Gotta Serve Somebody, Solid Rock)
You have everything on here you'll really need. I definitely wouldn't stop here though. Other essentials would include Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, and Blood on the Tracks.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
by Al Franken
Edition: Hardcover
127 used & new from CDN$ 0.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done Franken, Aug. 23 2003
My copy hasn't come in the mail yet but I spent a good half hour at the bookstore flipping through LIES this weekend, and it is pretty good. The book is actually about 350 pages long, not 288, as the product description says. I noticed that Franken actually hadn't finished the book back in June when he had the run-in with Bill O-Reilly. He has a chapter on O'Reilly that includes mention of the Book TV incident, and one of the last chapters addresses the current WMD disputes.
Other highlights include a chapter titled "HANNITY AND colmes" (Colmes' name is written in a smaller font whenever it is mentioned in this book in reference to Colmes being used as a lesser counterpart on the popular FOX NEWS program and his weak liberal voice on the program)
Two chapters that talk about Ann Coulter (But the reason this book loses 1 star is because I think Franken referring to Coulter as a "b1tch" is derogatory and is going a little too far despite Coulter going too far on a pagely basis.)
The O'Reilly chapter (in which Franken digs up O'Reilly's voter registration as Republican despite calling himself independent)
The Wellstone Memorial and how the right-wing media distorted it.
With the current controversy surrounding this book and its success before even hitting the shelves, this is the first book of this topic to get so much attention, and I hope it "blurs and tarnishes" FOX NEWS' credibility forever.
Oh, did I mention it is pretty darn funny? Definitely recommended for owners of Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot.

Straight Ahead
Straight Ahead
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 32.63
8 used & new from CDN$ 1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars In Response, July 18 2003
This review is from: Straight Ahead (Audio CD)
Straight Ahead looks like a good record simply from the appearance of "Thy Word" and "Angels". Now, to respond to the June 20,2002 reviewer:
'Amy says in Ladies Home Journal (December, 1985, p. 100), "I have a healthy sense of right and wrong, but sometimes, for example, using foul, exclamation-point words among friends can be good for a laugh."'
Where in the Bible are words like S()H()I()T, A()S()S(), or
H()E()L()L() considered a strike against the 10 commandments? Oh that's right, they're not. The Organized church has gained too much power these days and people look upon these words as breaking the 2nd commandment. There is only ONE way to break the 2nd commandment, to say God (d)(a)(m)(n). Amy Grant made an excellent observation in that interview, and she makes another one in the Bob Millard interview (see below)
'Amy says, "Why isolate yourself? Your life isolates you enough. I'm isolated when I walk into a room and somebody says, She's a Christian and NOBODY OFFERS ME A JOINT and all the coke (cocaine) disappears. . ." (Bob Millard, Amy Grant, (New York, 1986), p. 169)'
What Amy means by this statement is that anybody else could walk into the room and BE offered a joint, and the cocaine wouldn't disappear. But she feels isolated, or alienated, because she isn't offered one and people look upon her as the party pooper.
'Husband Gary Chapman confessed in People magazine (July 15, 1991 p. 72), of a six-year cocaine and marijuana addiction!'
First of all, that's Gary Chapman, not Amy Grant. Secondly, it could have been before he became a christian. You seem obsessed with digging up dirt. You must want to TOTALLY destroy Grant's legacy or career.
'Amy also says, "I remember years ago - the first time I smelled anybody smoking a joint at a concert, I WAS THRILLED . . . it meant to me that obviously this person is not affected by the church peer pressure."(Bob Millard, Amy Grant, (New York, 1986),p. 30)'
She wasn't thrilled because she craved the marijuana. (Great job capitalizing the comment in question) She was thrilled because she feels that the organized church has crossed the line once again and smoking pot is considered a sin. Note the words "Church peer pressure"
So there you have it, your case and your attempt to damage Amy Grant's career has been refuted. Go bother Evanescence.
Paul

Go West Young Man
Go West Young Man
Price: CDN$ 9.49
6 used & new from CDN$ 1.97

4.0 out of 5 stars dated yet delicate, July 18 2003
This review is from: Go West Young Man (Audio CD)
If the front cover of "2" looked like some sort of desperate attempt to become the 3rd member of WHAM, the album sleeve of "Go West Young Man" shows yours truly, Smitty, trying his best to pull off a Boy George.
When you put the CD in your stereo however, MWS makes a modest effort to pair christian lyrics with mainstream pop candy. Almost every track on hear is worth a listen. This stuff has sort of dated, but I will say that Go West Young Man sounds more fresh than the over-the-top poppiness of Change Your World.
The mainstream pop success (Place In this World, For You) was the newest crossover success since Stryper in the late 80's. Amy Grant practically one-upped Michael with her 1991 release "Heart in Motion", which had 2 no.1 singles among other tracks you still hear on the radio till this day. After that, Everyone from Jars of Clay to DC Talk to POD (Which donned no1 on TRL) has put a christian impact on a secular market.

Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Once Upon a Time in America (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, Robert De Niro
Offered by boutiquecinemaniac,com
Price: CDN$ 39.95
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.66

5.0 out of 5 stars At Long Last...., June 11 2003
ahhh...I told Amazon.com to e-mail me when "Once Upon A Time" was scheduled to be released on the queen mother of all movie formats, and here it is.
Frankly, I love long movies. I love losing myself for nearly 4 hours in a flick. And this one leaves me wanting more. When you get to the final shot with Noodles grinning madly in the Opium theater, you will feel like you've grown up with these characters.
This film will require more than one viewing to make sense. The opening 30 minutes moves back and forth between eras and leaves you wondering what time period they're in and why no one will answer that darned telephone. That's one of the few flaws.
Others will be Leone's unflinching and raw portrait of criminal minds. You can't cheer for ANYONE in this movie. Well, I guess you can for Noodles (Robert De Niro) until he rapes his childhood sweetheart in the back of a car. Well, he's pretty cruel. No hero there. This setting of the story is before sexual equality was present. EVERY woman in this film is either a prostitute, raped, or molested with a gun barrel.
I'm not sure why this is rated R, since the director's cut adds footage that was originally cut simply to satisfy an R rating from the MPAA. I hear that the extra 2 minutes of footage are, well, brutal, and are basically additions to what is already excessive rape and violence.
Francis Ford Coppola successfully brought Mario Puzo's breakthrough book THE GODFATHER to the screen in a tasteful manner. Horses got their heads chopped off, Sonny was riddled with bullets ala "Bonnie and Clyde", but the brutality and a small pinch of mysogny in those films were limited and didn't alienate the audience. If you're a feminist or a woman, period, do not watch this movie.
That said, this film is extraordinary. Sometimes its fun to just watch the first hour and a half, with a beautiful recreation of turn-of-the-century New York. This is where i feel the movie should have started with the Noodles/Fat Joe reunion appearing later. A young Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) plays Noodles' crush, Deborah. He also has a few other childhood pals, but, as Deborah points out, they're all punks and all they do is perform petty crimes for their boss, Bugsy, who lets them have a dollar or "roll the drunk" for their efforts. This is a very compelling portion of the film, with Deborah being the light in Noodles' criminal mind. She explains to him that its either his friends or her, an ongoing war in his mind that never ends. He can't choose between them.
There is occasional humor (you want to go swimming?, the police captain's baby being switched around), regret, betrayal, and an ending that has been the topic of message board discussions for several years now. There are several questions Leone purposely leaves unanswered for audience interpretation, another one being whether or not the whole movie is an opium dream in Noodles' mind.
These flaws still don't compare to the strengths and the triumphs of the movie, like the childhood turn-of-the-century flashback. It is the highlight of the film (The scene with them walking with the Brooklyn bridge behind them is breathtaking) and alone is worth 5 star status. The commentary by Richard Schickel is disappointing. All he says is "Oh, this is a wonderful scene", "Oh I like this transition", "I like this part". not much there.

Blonde On Blonde (Rm)
Blonde On Blonde (Rm)
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 21.25
14 used & new from CDN$ 0.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Columbia you should get your 5h1t together, May 1 2003
This review is from: Blonde On Blonde (Rm) (Audio CD)
This is amazing stuff. I am only 17 years old and have over the last two years explored classic albums from everybody that made music what is today, from Beatles to Pink Floyd to Radiohead to U2, and I just recently grabbed Blonde on Blonde and started to build my Dylan catalogue, which is the quintessential cornerstone of music period.
Blonde on blonde took a few listens to get used to for me. I at first found Dylan's vocals to be low and at many times just plain talking. (I later found this trait to be my favorite thing on this album. He doesn't really do this at any other time in his career)
The lyrics are genius as always and range from sad (Sad Eyed Lady) to humurous and biting (The album is alone worth purchasing to hear the lines "I saw him making love to you/you forgot to close the garage door") to disillusionment and withdrawal. (Visions of Johanna) best of all, it is exactly 73 minutes long, so you'll get your money's worth. It is disappointing to occasionally hear my generation put Dylan down whenever he performs at the Grammys or Oscars and they fail to realize just how much of a legend he is.
Let's examine the album's contents:
1. The most avant-garde track, RAINY DAY WOMEN #12 & 35 (what are the numbers for?) was originally considered a drug anthem, and rightfully so after hearing the lyrics and the "background vocals" that jump in and out, accomodating Bob's dictation with whoops and hollers. The piano on this track is also killer, setting a Billy-the-kid saloon-like feel, and add the military drums in for kicks. 9
2. PLEDGING MY TIME suffers from a harmonica that can hurt the ears on this shoddy Columbia analog remastering from 1990. Hopefully, with the planned SACD-hybrids that are to be released later on this year, remastering will fix that slightly bothersome solo halfway through the song. The whole song sounds like it's drunk, just like the opener. 8
3. On VISIONS OF JOHANNA the instruments and the rhythm are now sober and tell the story of abandoned nomads, or whatever you think the lyrics mean. If you aren't very patient, this song isn't for you and its 7.5 minute running time may be a dismal drone. For me, it's a solid 10.
4. ONE OF US MOST KNOW reminds me of Bruce Springsteen. The verses are like the fuse of a bomb, Dylan tells the story of someone who is no longer with him, and gets away with murder by packing emotion in his often criticized vocal skills (I didn't know that you were saying good-bye for gooooooooooo-ooooood"). The bomb goes off, and the choruses rock out. The piano is what gives this song a 10.
5. On I WANT YOU Dylan stammers in the third verse. Whether this was an uncorrected mistake or intentional, it makes this track all the better. Listen closely and you'll catch it. Even his mistakes are genius. The organ carries the melody with lonesomeness unheard of. 10
6. I will admit STUCK INSIDE OF MOBILE WITH THE MEMPHIS BLUES AGAIN runs a little too long (like its title), but there's amazing lyrics that you have to appreciate. Dylan purposely swaps some around ("The post office has been stolen/and the mailbox is locked", "He just smoked my eyelids/and punched my cigarette") 8
7. As aforementioned, LEOPARD-SKIN PILLBOX HAT is hilarious. Dylan constructed a major diss around the story of a woman wearing the song's title. Unfortunately, i like to listen to music on my headphones, and the mix gets a little too loud at times. 9
8. JUST LIKE A WOMAN automatically gets a 10 for the small acoustic solo that comes after each chorus.
9. MOST LIKELY YOU GO... ah these pesky long titles!! Harmonica is too loud in this mix (once again hopefully repaired in the August 2003 rerelease) If you can ignore it, traditional classic Dylan. 9
10. Dylan is almost drunk on TEMPORARY LIKE ACHILLES. He's lonesome and wants some love. How sweet. Check out that organ! 9
11. Once again the organ carries ABSOLUTELY SWEET MARIE to a 9.
12. 4TH TIME AROUND has clever acoustic guitar playing and unannoying harmonica. Dylan was getting somewhere with the lyrics but it seems like he's just trying to rhyme. ("I stood there and hummed/I tapped on her drum"? --Why would she have a drum?) 8
13. OBVIOUSLY FIVE BELIEVERS is very annoying in this shoddy Columbia mix. 6
14. SAD EYED LADY OF THE LOWLANDS is a 12-minute epic that leaves you wanting more even with its running time. Grab some tissues when he gets to the chorus. 10

Maladroit
Maladroit
Price: CDN$ 10.07
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Is Rivers Psychologically abusing his fans?, April 26 2003
This review is from: Maladroit (Audio CD)
I'm more of a Pinkerton fan than an overall Weezer fan, but i have read a lot of articles regarding Rivers' mental health. He is a little "different" from other folks. But look at these facts:
1. He tries to get through gigs without playing any Pinkerton songs, despite fan requests, which occasionally coax him into playing one track like "Tired of Sex."
2. He tries not to engage in autographing sessions after shows.
3. He used to always have autographing sessions after shows in the early 90s.
4. He has referred to his fans in the past as "little b1tch35" (Try to read through that numeric camouflage)
5. During the Pinkerton tour Weezer would play the entire Pinkerton record in many shows.
6. In recent concerts Rivers would tease, or perhaps torture, his fans by starting to play the opening chords to a Pinkerton track before switching to a Green or Maladroit tune.
What does this mean? It means that perhaps Rivers has emotional baggage from the Pinkerton failure and feels that not only will he not give his fans any sort of Pinkerton nostalgia at concerts, but he feels like painting over his past with Green and Maladroit, both in the studio and in concert. (Fact 6 sounds rather taunting and cruel) His lyrics in green and maladroit are syrupy love songs to an anonymous girl. This is boyband fluff folks.
I think the dream is over. It seems like it isn't even Rivers anymore. Like its some imposter ...or something. Well, I'll always have the 75 minutes of bliss that are Blue and Pinkerton. (That is, unless they get too scratched and Rivers decides to remove Blue and Pinkerton out of circulation because they don't fit into his present 5h1tty repetoire

Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
Offered by music4sure Ca
Price: CDN$ 29.90
13 used & new from CDN$ 4.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Their best record, April 26 2003
This review is from: Wish You Were Here (Audio CD)
When I first picked up "Dark Side of the Moon", it was like holding a hollow gold nugget in your hands. I played it from beginning to end and found the heartbeat, "Time", the cash register and accompanying sound effects, and "Brain Damage", in a word, interesting. As the pulse slowly faded out again, I was quite puzzled as to why it wasn't that great an experience for me. I put it on the shelf and stuck "The Wall", in my opinion a better record, in my CD player.
Five years later, at the dawn of DSOTM's 30th Anniversary, I now understand why I didn't appreciate it that much. Too much hype. I was privileged to see "Titanic" in December of 1997, before it really started becoming the Godfather hype of the 90s. A lot of people in the Spring of '98 complained that they went, they saw, they enjoyed, but not to the "This is the best movie in the world" extent that their friends spread around the workplace. Hype raises expectations and disappoints. Perhaps DSOTM is Pink Floyd's greatest record, with hype removed. In the meantime, I got my vote on this gem from '75.
Wish You Were Here had a hard predecessor to succeed. Expectations were rather high. It took a different direction. While still having a cyclic theme (Synthesizers open and close this opus while every track is still linked together, except the break for switching LP sides) it isn't a dictation on human life. I like this transition. While Waters does have many excellent scientific-like observations of human nature and the like, fully explored in his solo work, to do the same thing again would be pushing in the envelope. Rather, Wish You Were Here sounds like all four band members just got ran over by a Record Exec in a Rolls-Royce while simultaneously spotting their former drug-induced bandbate across the street dropping a tab.
Yeah, Roger Waters, who once again writes all of the lyrics, gives WYWH an internal, defensive feeling rather than stick pinholes in society with previous lyrics like "You missed the starting gun" or "You race towards an early grave" Two tracks (technically three if you consider both sections of Shine On You Crazy Diamond as seperate works) focus on former bandbate Syd Barrett, who undoubtedly was missed after being dropped for losing all musical accountability due to his drug habits. Wish You Were Here is a sorrowful, even a little apologetic, folk track (they pick up acoustic guitars again, which I believe were not on DSOTM or they're inaudible) while the 24-minute epic Shine On You Crazy Diamond is an optimistic, hopeful, encouraging morale-booster that asks Syd to crawl out of his cave and "shine." (Ironically enough, he did during the recording sessions, bald and overweight. The band members eventually realized who he was, but he disappeared and didn't return for any sort of reacquaintance.) "Shine On" can be applied to anyone's personal life, though. It doesn't necessarily have to point to Syd. It can brighten up anyone having a bad day.
This is the most sincere stuff Waters ever wrote, along with Side 3 of The Wall double LP and The Final Cut. He throws down his philosophical-cynical spear and focuses on the band and a long-lost friend.
The two other tracks are more fitting than ever in this day and age of the corporate takeover of the music industry. "Have a Cigar" shows the carelessness and/or ignorance of industry CEOs (Which one's Pink?) while "Welcome to the Machine", complete with two synthesizer solos, both at the front of the mix, gives a chilling Orwellian look at the music industry in which you can only "dream" what they tell you to dream and play the style they prefer (perhaps over-the-top then, yet very true in 2003. Ever heard of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"?)
As usual, the album debuted at #1 but quickly was dismissed. No singles were put out to promote the record, and its transition from "Hear the softly spoken magic spells"-imaginatory lyrics and "Dig that hole"-biting social commentary to the painful, uninspiring "We're just two lost souls" and "We told you what to dream". Yes, there was backlash. Go head over to RollingStone.com and look at the ancient dismal album review they gave to WYWH back in 1975. But, like aging wine, it grew on many fans and has been hailed in many fan polls as their favorite record, with DSOTM falling behind the likes of "Animals"!...
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in a way returned to the optimism of tracks like "Fearless" and "The Gnome" while Waters got as bitter as ever on "Machine" and "Cigar." That gloom wouldn't wear off and was displayed fully on their next outing, the dismal "Animals."
Regardless, I suggest you pick up the Pink Floyd record that guitarist David Gilmour and keyboardist Richard Wright both regard as their favorite release. It is a triumph in its own right. Just listen to parts 8 and 9 of Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Part 8 is a slugging struggling number of something trying to happen, trying to get a foothold. It is then blissfully released in part 9, a happy and bright synthesizer fade-out that closes one of the best songs ever written.

Sigur Ros
Sigur Ros
Price: CDN$ 12.54
37 used & new from CDN$ 5.51

4.0 out of 5 stars The most personal album of the year, Nov. 16 2002
This review is from: Sigur Ros (Audio CD)
( ) has no title because you can give it your own. None of the album's tracks have titles because you can give them your own. And the inner artwork (quite beautiful I must say) comes with 10 blank pages (with trees and shrubs as watermarks) for you to make up your own lyrics. You can name each song and write down what it conveys to you! Since the album is half light and half dark (musically) I named the album grey. You can apply personal feelings that are emoted while listening to the songs, i.e. a loved one, a lost loved one, peace, joy, winning the lottery, whatever. This thus makes this 71-minute epic (of good music, don't forget the music! trust me, it's good) the most intimately applicable album of the year

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