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Reviews Written by
Peter J. Swingle "Architect, Poet, Music Lover" (Phoenix, AZ USA)

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Tres Hombres
Tres Hombres
Price: CDN$ 14.57
18 used & new from CDN$ 4.71

5.0 out of 5 stars The chemistry comes together for their best effort, July 25 2003
This review is from: Tres Hombres (Audio CD)
ZZ Top's staying power is to be admired. It's hard for a blues-rock band to reinvent itself, but they managed it in the 80s. But before Eliminator, ZZ Top was pushing the envelope of the genre. 'First Album' has a lot of highlights and introduces us to Billy's fabulous guitar work. 'Rio Grande Mud' is a bit of a sophomore slump in my opinion. By the time they made it to their third go-round, something else had crept into the mix. A hint of soul or gospel or something, but it jells just right here with the other ingredients, making for a tasty treat that I like to pull out every once in a while and enjoy from first bite to last. The most important gift of a bluesman is the ability to tell stories, and there are some good ones here, including Master of Sparks and Sheik. This is a great driving disc, as the beats propel you along. Probably my only complaint is that it's over too soon and I'm looking for something as good to follow it up. I rank this one as their best, followed by Eliminator and First Album. Enjoy!

St. Anger
St. Anger
Offered by langton_distribution
Price: CDN$ 43.87
19 used & new from CDN$ 2.67

2.0 out of 5 stars Irrelevant noise, June 11 2003
This review is from: St. Anger (Audio CD)
Ok, when I first heard Metallica (in 1985, on KNAC in L.A.) it was a life-altering experience. It was music that turned heads (ears?) It was ground-breaking, angry-yet-beautiful, well-crafted music that you could listen to over and over again - the definition of a true classic. St. Anger is not ground-breaking in any way whatsoever. It's a rehash of much of the same thing that's been done over the last 15 or 20 years, only not as good. I agree with the other reviewers about the lyrics not being up to par, and James' voice coming close to breaking at different points. And Lars' snare, that metallic ringing might have been a great effect for one song, but by the fourth or fifth one, it's annoying...

How The West Was Won: Live (3CD)
How The West Was Won: Live (3CD)
Price: CDN$ 23.84
50 used & new from CDN$ 9.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, May 30 2003
I've been a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan since High School, having collected all of their original releases early on, and more recently adding dozens of live bootleg shows to my catalog. The quality of these bootlegs varies from unlistenable to pretty good - but this release really has the clarity and dynamic of sound that makes you feel like you are there. It sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday - really amazing. The instruments are well-treated individually within the recording, which is absolutely essential since all four were masters of their respective instruments. When you add them all together, well, the chemistry goes without saying - it's Beatle-esque. We can thank Led Zeppelin for pushing the rock concert from a 20 minute set of playing songs note-for-note into a sprawling, exploring, total experience that often stretched 2 1/2 to 3 hours or more in their prime. This release helps to make up for the paucity of official live material in the Zeppelin catalog and is a must-have for serious fans, as well as those just looking to get that flashback experience. I'm looking forward to buying the new DVD as well to add the visual side to the experience.

Dave Matthews And Tim Reynolds Live At Luther College
Dave Matthews And Tim Reynolds Live At Luther College
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 18.62
34 used & new from CDN$ 4.27

5.0 out of 5 stars A unique way to experience Dave Matthews, May 28 2003
I have all of the Dave Matthews Band recordings, but I have to say that this release, featuring only Dave and uberguitarist Tim Reynolds, is my favorite. There is a great sense of intimacy in this live recording, the musicianship is outstanding, and I think that the messages that Dave is trying get across come through more clearly without the ever-increasing levels of bombast that are extant in the newer recordings. The sound quality of the recording is excellent, and rewards repeated listenings with unexpected levels of detail. If you are a fan, don't hesitate to pick this up right now! If you are not, it's a great place to start.

Solar: The Bebop Album
Solar: The Bebop Album
Price: CDN$ 17.09
15 used & new from CDN$ 11.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Tasteful, thoughtful, inspiring, May 28 2003
This review is from: Solar: The Bebop Album (Audio CD)
This duo works as well together as Herb Ellis & Joe Pass, with the same amount of skill and taste. Definitely great listening at home, relaxing after a long day at work. The mood is subdued yet warm and enveloping. This makes me wish that they had worked together for more than just this one disc.

Pecan Tree
Pecan Tree
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 35.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Joe effortlessly combines many musical worlds, Oct. 18 2002
This review is from: Pecan Tree (Audio CD)
Joe Sample exhibits here why he is a living legend on keyboards, surrounding himself with top-notch musicians and evoking bits of many genres in his compositions. Mostly jazz, yes, but infused with bits of soul and funk and who knows what else. We benefit from his years of experience and exposure to music. This is a refreshing disc in days when popular music is no longer determined by real talent.
11 tracks, 54 minutes playing time.

Heartfelt
Heartfelt
Price: CDN$ 9.49
25 used & new from CDN$ 5.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Fourplay back to the Groove, Oct. 16 2002
This review is from: Heartfelt (Audio CD)
I've been a fan of Fourplay for a long time, and have all of their releases. While Elixir is probably still my favorite, this disc comes really close to the energy and chemistry on that one. The first track is one of the highlights of the disc. It sucks you right in and sets the mood quite well. It's atypical of their previous work and sounds fresh and exploratory. The next few tracks follow the standard Fourplay time signatures and chord progressions. Then there's the obligatory vocal track - 'Let's Make Love', which could have easily been left off to increase this collection to 4 1/2 or 5 stars. Nathan should save his songwriting for a solo disc and save us the time skipping over his tracks on the Fourplay discs. Then the group collectively kick it up a notch on 'Tally Ho' and Cafe L'Amour, which are wonderful compositions, again very fresh and energized sounding. Fourplay sets the bar pretty high for a lot of the jazz pretenders out there fiddling with their programming. There's nothing like the chemistry of a group where every musician is above par and allowed to contribute their musical talents to find new heights.
12 tracks: playing time: 66:03

Willy Porter
Willy Porter
Price: CDN$ 16.04
22 used & new from CDN$ 5.52

5.0 out of 5 stars All the Willy Porter CDs are good!, Sept. 26 2002
This review is from: Willy Porter (Audio CD)
9-25-02 After seeing Willy at the Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Willy puts on an amazing show. In addition to selections from each of his four releases (I have all but the newest) he played a ripping rendition of The Beatles' "Day in the Life" and even had a bit where he queried the audience for snippets and made a song out of them on the spot, a la "Whose Line is it Anyway?", which I thought was great. (My contribution to this song-writing effort was the line: "We are all just oak leaves on the river of time.") When I got home, I was inspired to write the following:
I have heard you many times before
From the sterile plastic confines of the discs
But now you are here, flesh and bone, lung and finger
Standing, swaying, playing, singing for me
And for the rest of the intimate strangers in this room
I sit here, hearing and feeling your messages
Which I held close before, but now am convinced
That you and I share some strange artist's link
So I become the second tine of the tuning fork
Vibrations within my chest responding in kind
To the frequencies you so nimbly pour forth
Perhaps in another life, in another body
I was a musician myself, baring little bits of myself
For the world to see and empathize with
Creating bonds with those I don't even know
But yet, as you say, unwilling to celebrate
The bonds with those who are closest to us
And that may be the most important lesson of all.
If you get a chance - buy Willy and enjoy! I personally would start with "Falling Forward".

The Living Sea: Soundtrack From the IMAX Film
The Living Sea: Soundtrack From the IMAX Film
Offered by Fulfillment Express CA
Price: CDN$ 14.77
35 used & new from CDN$ 5.15

3.0 out of 5 stars Great music for the film, but wears thin after a while, April 17 2002
I first heard this music from a friend in graduate school. I was already a big fan of Sting's music at the time and I really enjoyed the theme of the disc. Then I went to Europe and saw the IMAX film in Barcelona. It was in Spanish, which I understand only passably. So I was more tuned in to the amazing views and the great music and how well they seemed to intertwine. Once home, I bought the disc and listened to it regularly for a month or so. After a while, the repetition gets to me. It works fine with the film, but on it's own it's not quite there. Sting is not on all of the tracks either, so if you're looking for the real thing, go get 'Nothing Like the Sun' or 'Soul Cages'.

Falling Forward
Falling Forward
Price: CDN$ 18.35
25 used & new from CDN$ 6.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly beautiful, April 17 2002
This review is from: Falling Forward (Audio CD)
There is always a distinct scarcity of musicians who understand the concept of completeness in a recording, while still leaving space for the listener. This is one of those recordings that has a palpable space in between the instruments and the hauntingly familiar voice. I liken it to Chris Isaak or Daniel Lanois, with the sound being laidback and even a little melancholy, but still refreshingly beautiful. The lyrics are thoughtful and reflective, the instruments well played and well recorded, the voice emotive and expressive. The songwriting invites you in. When you put it all together, it's enough to give you the chills of music euphoria that we all spend so much time chasing when buying new releases. You won't be sorry with this one.

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