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Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada)
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Warwick Records Story 59-62
Warwick Records Story 59-62
Price: CDN$ 18.03
18 used & new from CDN$ 7.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Child: The Warwick Records Story (3CDs): 75 songs with many hits and rare gems with good sound!, July 5 2014
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INTRODUCTION:

Warwick Records, initially backed by Canadian company United Telefilm Records, was founded by Morty Craft in 1959, following a short but highly successful stint at MGM. Lasting only 3 years, this label has discovered many major artists, like Johnny & the Hurricanes, the String-A-Longs, the Fireballs, Art Garfunkel (under the name of Artie Garr) and Paul Simon (under the name of Paul Kane, True Taylor and Jerry Landis). In 1962, Warwick filed for bankruptcy, perhaps paying the price for Morty Craft’s insistent focus on promotion over production. During its brief, hit-packed tenure, Warwick Records managed to leave a mark on what was perhaps the most exciting period in US music.

CONTENT:

This 3 CD set has 75 songs, from 1959 to 1962. To appreciate how good this set really is, you have to know what songs are in it. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (including chart positions and personal comments), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 Wild Child – Little Esther Phillips (Uncharted, 1960)
02 Talk Talk – Eddie Reeves (Uncharted, 1961)
03 Boo Boo – Marvin Rainwater (b-side to I Can’t Forget, 1961)*rare gem
04 Crossfire – Johnny & the Hurricanes (US 23/1959)
05 Water Boy – Bob Crewe (Uncharted, 1959)*rare gem
06 Well-A, Well-A – Shirley & Lee (US 77/1961)
07 Come On – The Distants (Uncharted, 1960)
08 Just A Boy – Jerry Landis (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem; Paul Simon’s initial effort under Jerry Landis, who scored later with The Lone Teen Ranger in 1963 on Amy Records.
09 Counting Sheep Over You – Linda Glover (Uncharted, 1960)
10 Across The Moon – Kitt ‘N’ Kory (Uncharted, 1960)
11 Big City Stomp – Link Wray (uncharted, 1962)*rare gem; after Rumble & Raw-Hide.
12 It’s All In Your Mind – Dean Barlow (Uncharted, 1961)
13 Good Good Lovin’ – Jimmy Gilmer (Uncharted, 1959)*solo song, before he joined the Fireballs to make the No. 1 hit Sugar Shack in 1963 on Dot label.
14 You – The Willows (Uncharted, 1960)*their only charted hit Church Bells May Ring (62/1956) on Melba label.
15 Beat Love – Artie Garr (Uncharted, 1959)*rare gem; was Art Garfunkel, who also wrote the song.
16 Amnesia – The Mysterians (Uncharted, 1960)
17 It’s Me Knockin’ – Jeannie & Her Boy Friends (Uncharted, 1959)
18 The Actor – The Crests (Uncharted, 1962)
19 Oh Yes I Do – Buddy Charles (Uncharted, 1959)
20 Mean Old World – The Halos (Uncharted, 1962)
21 Wheels – The String-A-Longs (US 3/1961)
22 I Can’t Be Wrong – Faye Adams (Uncharted, 1961)*original name: Faye Tuell.
23 Love Me Completely – The Harptones (Uncharted, 1959)*doo-wop group, with original version of Since I Fell For You; their only charted hit was What Will I Tell My Heart (96/1961) on Companion label.
24 Girl Of Mine – The Sedates (Uncharted, 1962)
25 The Dribble (Twist) – Raging Storms (Uncharted, 1962)*was a big regional hit in Buffalo, NY

Disc 2:
01 Tonight I Fell In Love – The Tokens (US 15/1961)*just before they joined RCA and have their biggest hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1(3)/1961).
02 A Different Kind Of Love – Linda Glover (b-side to Counting Sheep Over You, 1960)
03 Let The Good Times Roll – Shirley & Lee (US 20/1956)*this is a new version of the original hit on Aladdin label in 1956.
04 Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall – Bill Kenny (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem; original lead singer of the Ink Spots from 1930s to 1950s.
05 All I Want – The Fashions (Uncharted, 1961)
06 Shake A Hand – Faye Adams (R&B 1(10)/1953)*rare gem; original label was Herald label.
07 Daddy’s Home – The Four Winds (Uncharted, 1961)*another version of the hit by Shep & The Limelites.
08 Transylvania – The Mysterians (b-side to Amnesia, 1960)
09 Romeo – Petula Clark (UK 3/1961)*before Downtown
10 Twistin’ Pneumonia – The Genies (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem; their only charted hit was Who’s That Knocking (71/1959) on Shad label.
11 Cool Time (In The Old Town Tonight) – Bob Crewe (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem
12 Village Of Love – The Halos (b-side to Mean Old World, 1962)
13 Play Me A Sad Song – Jerry Landis (Uncharted, 1961)*rare gem; good way to collect complete Paul Simon’s recordings.
14 Red River Rock – Johnny & the Hurricanes (US 5/1959)
15 No Moon At All – Fran Jeffries (Uncharted, 1960)
16 Alone – The Shepherd Sisters (US 18/1957)*rare gem; sisters from Ohio.
17 Blind Date – The Eternals (Uncharted, 1961)*white doo-wop group from New York; their only charted hit was Rockin’ In The Jungle (US 78/1959) on Hollywood label.
18 Dream Alone – Artie Garr (b-side to Beat Love, 1959)*rare gem; also written by Art Garfunkel, providing an interesting footnote to Art’s career.
19 What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am) – The Harptones (Uncharted, 1960)
20 Church Bells May Ring – Sunny Gale (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gems; charted 5 Top 20 hits 1952-54.
21 Ev’rytime – A Pair Of Kings (Uncharted, 1961)
22 Always – The Distants (b-side to Always, 1960)
23 A Scottish Soldier (Green Hills Of Tyrol) – Andy Stewart (US 79/1961)
24 Baby – Jeanie & Her Boyfriends (b-side to It’s Me Knockin’, 1959)
25 Quite A Party – The Fireballs (US 27/1961)*last charted hit before Jimmy Gilmer joined to have the hit Sugar Shack.

Disc 3:
01 Reveille Rock – Johnny & the Hurricanes (US 25/1959)
02 Your Love Is All I Need – Dean Barlow (Uncharted, 1960)
03 Oh How I Miss You Tonight – Bob Crewe (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem
04 Poppin’ Popeye – Link Wray (b-side to Big City Stomp, 1960)*rare gem
05 Little Young Girl – The Genies (Uncharted, 1960)*rare gem
06 Hurts Me To My Heart – Faye Adams (R&B 1(5)/1954)*rare gem; original under Herald label
07 My Dear, Dearest Darling – The Willows (b-side to You, 1960)
08 Big River – The Buddy Brennan Quartet (Uncharted, 1959)
09 Like You Used To Do – Shirley & Lee (b-side to I’ve Been Loved Before, 1960)
10 A Soldier’s Prayer – Buddy Charles (b-side to Oh Yes I Do, 1959)
11 I Remember – The Harptones (Uncharted, 1959)
12 Walking In The Rain – The Kact-Ties (Uncharted, 1962)
13 If I Had You – Larry Darnell (Uncharted, 1959)
14 He Likes Rock And Roll Better Than Me – Ginny Arnell (Uncharted, 1962)
15 I Don’t Know – Donny Marchand (Uncharted, 1962)
16 In My Heart Of Hearts – The Vox Poppers (Uncharted, 1962)*their only charted hit was Wishing For Your Love (18/1958) on Mercury label.
17 I’m Beginning To See The Light – Mary Osborne (Uncharted, 1959)
18 My Kind of Girl – Matt Monro (US 18/1961; UK 5/1961)
19 Shy – Jerry Landis (b-side to Just A Boy, 1960)*rare gem
20 Don’t Wanna Leave The Congo – Norman Sands & The Valiants (Uncharted, 1960)
21 My Foolish Heart – Sunny Gale (b-side to Church Bells May Ring, 1960)*rare gem
22 Whispering Grass – Bill Kenny (b-side to Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, 1960)*rare gem
23 The Taste Of A Tear – Johnny & The Tokens (US 112/1961)*rare gem
24 Feel Like I Wanna Cry – Little Esther Phillips (Uncharted, 1960)
25 Rock A-Long – The Craftsmen (Uncharted, 1960)

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 There are many rare gems and hits in this compilation.
2 The sound is well remastered, vibrant with no hiss.
3 The songs are all original versions, no re-recorded versions here.
4 The price is reasonable (especially from sellers).

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 Many charted hits or b-sides are missing:
(1) I Can’t Forget – Marvin Rainwater (US 119/1961)
(2) Gunshot – The Fireballs (b-side to Quite A Party, 1961)
(3) Beatnik Fly – Johnny & the Hurricanes (US 15/1960)
(4) The Whiffenproof Song - Bob Crewe (US 96/1960); Let’s Pretend (b-side, 1960)
(5) I’ve Been Loved Before – Shirley & Lee (US 88/1960)
(6) Brass Buttons – String-A-Longs (US 35/1961); Should I (US 42/1961)
(7) I’ll Always Love You – The Tokens (b-side to Tonight I Fell In Love, 1961)
(8) Donald Where’s Your Trousers – Andy Stewart (US 77/1961)
(9) Never Till Now – Johnny & the Tokens (b-side to The Taste Of A Tear, 1961)
2 There is no booklet and no chart positions.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This set does have many established hits from Johnny & the Hurricanes, the String-A-Longs, Shirley & Lee, plus many rare gems from the Fireballs, Jimmy Gilmer, Johnny & the Tokens, Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. The whole set is enjoyable, with good sound. This set is recommended.

Old Town Records Story 52-62
Old Town Records Story 52-62
Price: CDN$ 20.17
15 used & new from CDN$ 7.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Old Town Story (3CDs): 60 songs with many rare gems; good sound., July 5 2014
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INTRODUCTION:

Old Town Records was an American record label founded in 1952 by Hy Weiss. In 1949, he set up Parody Records with his brother Sam. Soon after, he added Modern Records to their stock. This was followed by Old Town Records. The inspiration for the name and its distinctive block printing on a yellow label came from the Old Town Paper Company in Brooklyn. The major artists under Old Town Records include Billy Bland, the Five Crowns, the Capris, the Fiestas, Robert & Johnny and Arthur Prysock.

CONTENTS:

This is a 3 CD set by One Day Music, a reputable reissue label, specializing in releasing compilations on different labels. In this set, there are 60 songs, from 1952 to 1962.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 There are lots of rare gems from various artists:
(1) Billy Bland (Let The Little Girl Dance)(US 7/1960)
(Chicken Hop)(Uncharted, 1956)
(Chicken In The Basket)(Uncharted, 1955)
(How Many Hearts)(Uncharted, 1962)
(2) Robert & Johnny (We Belong Together)(US 32/1958)
(You’re Mine)(Uncharted, 1956)
(Dream Girl)(Uncharted, 1959)
(Broken Hearted Man)(Uncharted, 1957)
(3) The Fiestas (So Fine)(US 11/1959)
(I’m Your Slave)(Uncharted, 1959)
(Look At That Girl)(b-side to I Feel Good All Over, 1962)
(Good News)(Uncharted, 1959)
(4) The Five Crowns (Good Luck Darling)(Uncharted, 1953)
(Later Later Baby)(Uncharted, 1952)
(Lullaby Of The Bells)(Uncharted, 1953)
(5) The Capris (There’s A Moon Out Tonight)(US 3/1960)
(Why Do I Cry)(Uncharted, 1961)
(6) Larry Finnegan (Pretty Suzy Sunshine)(Uncharted, 1962)
(Oh Lonesome Me)(Uncharted, 1962)
(7) Arthur Prysock (Good Rockin’ Tonight)(Uncharted, 1960)
2 The sound is well remastered, vibrant with no hiss.
3 The songs are all original versions, no re-recorded versions here.
4 The price is reasonable (especially from sellers).

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 There are many major charted hits or b-sides missing:
(1) 3 charted hits with b-sides by Bobby Bland (they are found in the CD Let The Little Girl Dance on Ace label; Sweet Thing (b-side to Let The Little Girl Dance)(not included in the Ace compilation)(ultra-rare)
(2) Dear One (a-side)(US 11/1962) and Candy Lips (b-side) by Larry Finnegan should be included. (You can find in the CD Dear One by Larry Finnegan)
(3) I Believe In You (US 93/1958) by Robert & Johnny (you can find it in The Very Best Of Robert & Johnny on Collectables).
(4) Indian Girl (b-side to There’s A Moon Out Tonight) plus 2 other charted hits with their b-sides not included. (you can find these songs in The Very Best of the Capris on Collectables).
(5) more songs by Five Crowns (in 1958, Benjamin Earl Nelson joined the group. He later became Ben E. King)(you can find their songs in the CD Rainbow & Old Towne Recordings on Collectables).
2 There is no booklet and no chart positions.
3 In the back cover, the song titles are in grey colour, while the background is red. This makes it hard for old folks like myself to read. Simple white should be fine.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This set brings me a few surprises, reminding me the many talents of Billy Bland, the Fiestas, the Five Crowns, plus many others. If you like doo-wops and songs from the late 50s and early 60s, this set is for you, otherwise, it is for more collectors.

Hank
Hank
Price: CDN$ 37.19
22 used & new from CDN$ 15.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Hank Marvin: Hank: 14 great songs; great Hank Marvin guitar sound with his Fender Stratocaster, plus his son Ben also playing!, July 2 2014
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This review is from: Hank (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Hank is the latest CD by my all-time favourite guitarist, Hank Marvin. He was born Brian Robson Rankin on 28 October 1941 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He chose the name Hank Marvin while launching his music career. The name is an amalgamation of his childhood nickname of Hank, which he used to differentiate himself from a number of friends also named Brian, and Marvin Rainwater, a country and western singer. After his successful leader of the Shadows, he also enjoyed a great solo career. Since 1986, Marvin has lived in Perth, Western Australia. Marvin runs a recording studio: Nivram studios, from which this current CD was recorded. Shadows fans, of course, will know that Nivram is Marvin in reverse.

CONTENTS:

This CD has 14 songs, mostly familiar favourites, with one new song Summer Guitar. It peaked at #9 on the UK Album Chart. In this CD, Hank of course played his Signature Fender Stratocaster, a Crafter SA 12 string electric and Aylward Gypsy Jazz and Ramirez nylon-strung acoustic guitars, while his son Ben Marvin played Fender Stratocaster and Martin M-36 acoustic guitar. His friend Nunzio Mondia, who played piano, organ, keyboards and accordion, arranged 5 songs, including I Only Have Eyes For You, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, Summertime, Summer Of ’42 and Waterloo Sunset. Hank’s arrangement is more faithful to the original melody in a typical Hank Marvin style, while Nunzio Mondia’s arrangement is more contemporary and jazzy. But there is no mistake in recognizing the characteristic typical Hank Marvin sound.

The sound is very well remastered, with different instruments crisp and clean, while Hank’s guitar sound dominates in the middle. There is no hiss.

There is a 6 page booklet with 2 pages occupied by a picture of Hank and Ben playing guitars together. Ben is a good looking chap, who does not wear any glasses like his dad.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Sir Cliff Richard and the Shadows are my favourite artists. Besides having every domestic release by them, I also collected 33 Hank Marvin solo CDs (with 14 of them my own remastered Hank Marvin Collection). I think the last reunion between Cliff and the Shadows was the last one. Hank is very reclusive, and it will be very hard to drag him out again for a tour. So, in relief for his starving fans, I am very grateful for this release. The entire CD is totally enjoyable (of course I am very biased here), and is highly recommended for all Hank Marvin and guitar music fans.

C'mon and S-W-I-M
C'mon and S-W-I-M
Price: CDN$ 23.60
12 used & new from CDN$ 11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Freeman C’mon And S-W-I-M: 25 songs on Autumn label; 1 complete album; singles (a & b-sides) except 1! Early taste of Sly!, July 1 2014
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This review is from: C'mon and S-W-I-M (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Robert Freeman was born on June 13, 1940 in San Francisco, California. He is a African-American rock and roll and soul singer and songwriter. At the age of 14, he formed vocal group the Romancers, and then R&B group the Vacaleers. Bobby Freeman is often cited as a one-hit wonder thanks to his 1958 smash hit, “Do You Wanna Dance” or “Do You Want To Dance” as it was titled on its initial release. Since then, Sir Cliff Richard made this song his own (UK 2/1962). Other artists include Del Shannon (43/1964), the Beach Boys (12/1965), the Mamas & Papas (76/1968), Bette Midler (17/1973) and the Ramones (86/1978). I have just done a Complete Singles Discography on Bobby Freeman. Far from being a one-hit wonder, he has an extensive recording career from 1956 (as the Romancers) to 1979, with 31 singles, on various labels: Dootop, Baytone, Josie, Parkway, King, Autumn, Loma, Double Shot, Epter and Kimray.

CONTENT:

This CD contains 25 songs on the Autumn label by Bobby Freeman, collected here for the first time. It also charts the emergence of a precocious Sly Stone as writer, arranger, and producer on all sides. The song listing is found in the Amazon.ca website.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 From this CD, you will find the complete output by Bobby Freeman on the Autumn label. His album C’mon And S-W-I-M (Autumn LP 102)(1964) is included in its entirety. All the songs are making their CD debut!
All his 5 singles on Autumn label are found here (except 1, see below). There are 8 previous unreleased tracks.
2 The sound is very well remastered with no hiss. It was transferred from original analogue master tapes.
3 There is a 12-page booklet, containing a detailed and informative essay by Alec Palao, plus the front and back covers of the original album, each occupying one single page (this is the way things should be done, thank you).
4 Label & number are included on the back cover.
5 The price is reasonable.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 There is a glaring omission: Let’s Surf Again (Autumn 1)(1963), which is the a-side. Somehow, the rare b-side Come To Me is included.
2 No chart position is included.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Bobby Freeman is a much neglected artist as far as CD releases are concerned. If you are looking for his earlier release, I would recommend Do You Wanna Dance on Jasmine Records label (2014), 2 CDs with 38 songs, including his biggest hit Do You Wanna Dance. (my review is found elsewhere). Don’t bother with the many Best Of CDs currently available. They are from Collectables, with only 10 songs. If you are a completist like myself and looking for Bobby’s later release on Autumn label, this set is recommended.

I Want Candy-Best of the Strangeloves
I Want Candy-Best of the Strangeloves
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 12.74
11 used & new from CDN$ 12.73

5.0 out of 5 stars Strangeloves: I Want Candy – The Best Of: 20 rare songs, many in stereo and making their CD debut! Great rare collection!, July 1 2014
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INTRODUCTION:

The Strangeloves was a fictional band created in 1964 by a New York-based American songwriting production team, consisting of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, often going by FGG Productions. They had already scored hits for other artists including 1963's My Boyfriend's Back by the Angels. Besides having singles on their own, they recorded the voice of Rick Derringer (known as Rick Zehringer at the time) over an existing music track from The Strangeloves' album, I Want Candy, and released Hang on Sloopy as a single under the name The McCoys, and the song shot up to Number 1. The FGG trio also collaborated on a charting 1965 single credited to The Beach-Nuts (=Strangeloves+the Angels). As well, Feldman and Goldstein (without Gottehrer) recorded charting hits as Rome & Paris in 1966, and as The Rock & Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Co. of Philadelphia 19141 in 1969. In 1970, they released a single Shakey Jakes under the name Strange Brothers Show. I have done a detailed singles discography on Stangeloves, and managed to get 28 tunes (a and b-sides from 1964 to 1970).

CONENT:

This fantastic release by Epic Legacy contains 20 songs. The song listing is found in the Amazon.ca website.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 From this CD, we have the complete album I Want Candy (12 songs), plus singles (a and b-sides) by Strangeloves, Beach-Nuts, and Rome & Paris, covering different labels from Swan, Bang and Sire Records.
2 Most of the songs are making their CD debut.
3 10 songs are in stereo, mixed from the original multi-track tapes to possess the same mighty wallop and intensity of the original mono singles.
4 The remastering is quite good with no hiss. But some songs are under-remastered and slightly uneven.
5 There is a tremendous 12-page booklet, containing an informative essay by Al Quaglieri, plus label & number with many pictures.
6 The price is reasonable.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 Disc: 56 minutes. Epic, you could have filled the remaining 24 minutes with lots of missing songs:
(1) Someday Soon (b-side to Out In The Sun (Hey-O)(as The Beach-Nuts)(Bang 504)(1965)
(2) Because Of You (Rome & Paris)(Roulette 4681)(US 104/1966)
(3) Why Oh Why (Rome & Paris)(b-side to Because Of You)(Roulette 4681) (1966)*I’m still searching for this song
(4) Bubble Gum Music (The Rock & Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Co. of Philadelphia 19141)(Buddah 78)(US 74/1969)*can be found in Bubblegum Classics, Volume 2 (Varese, 1995)
(5) On A Summer Night (b-side)( Buddah 78)(1969)
(6) Shakey Jakes (Strange Brothers Show)(Sire 4120)(1970)
(7) Right On (Strange Brothers Show)(Sire 4120)(1970)
2 The inclusion of chart positions would have been nice.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Strangeloves is a much neglected band from the 60s. There are many interesting histories behind this band, from their falsified resume stating coming from Australia to their many incarnations. It is really nice to hear the original version of Hang On Sloopy by the Strangeloves. This set is more for collectors.

Papillon: Limited Edition [Blu-ray Book]
Papillon: Limited Edition [Blu-ray Book]
DVD ~ Steve McQueen
Price: CDN$ 29.93
22 used & new from CDN$ 19.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Papillon (blu-ray digibook): a heavy film, well acted, great video & audio; great 34-page glossy-paged book!, June 29 2014
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VIDEO:

Papillon arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. For some unknown reasons, whether due to outright choices by Schaffner and DP Fred Koenekamp or due to what must have been extremely difficult location shooting challenges, the picture, at the first 10 – 15 minutes, was filled with heavy grain, slight noise, random blurriness, and lack of detail. The rest of the film, over two hours worth, was magnificent and truly spectacular. Detail was consistent, with soft shots nowhere to be found, and images were amazingly deep and beautiful. Compared with the previous DVD outing, colours are now incredibly lush and beautifully saturated. Some of the jungle scenes now reveal levels of shadow detail. The luscious location photography of Papillon really glistens now with increased sharpness and detail. (4/5)

AUDIO:

Papillon arrives on blu-ray with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track, which is passable and pure, but hardly enveloping. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score. Goldsmith's compositions, characterized by a late romantic symphonic and impressionistic style suffused with a metered, exotic timbre (using instruments from Caribbean folk music), are distributed mainly in the second half of the film. I personally love this soundtrack, especially the Title Theme. You will instantly recognize it as soon as you hear it. The soundtrack is finally available on CD from Universal Music S.A. France (2002), still readily available on Amazon.ca. In the film, however, dialogue is crisp and clear. (4/5)

MOVIE:

Papillon is a movie about Henri "Papillon" Charierre (Steve McQueen), sentenced to life in prison, meeting Louis Degas (Dusty Hoffman), forming a bond that will last them a great many years, and the many escapes that they experienced. The film's title is French, meaning "Butterfly" in English, which is referring to the tattoo and nickname that Charriere was given. The film is a slow burn, that isn't about the escape as much as it is the experience, with the attention to the most minor of details only making the plot seem more truthful. You believe everything you see, you accept the actors for their characters, and as they fail, you suffer along with them as the film drags out the misery and pain. (4.5/5)

PACKAGING:

I bought the digibook version, but I feel it’s worth it. The book itself is the same as all of Warner's other efforts, though the extreme glossiness of this book makes it very neat looking, with 34 pages detailing the story and actors with many beautiful pictures.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Papillon isn't for everyone, due to its very tough pace, which makes the runtime seem an hour longer than its already lengthy journey. Still, Steve McQueen is fascinating to watch, bringing his character to such amazing life that it's hard to not be captivated by his every action or inaction. Warner's digibook release of the escape flick has video that goes from blah to fantastic in fifteen or so minutes, and good audio, both of which show no signs of wear. The 34-page book is great with glossy pages, great essays and fantastic pictures. I waited until the price was really low ($18.99 from seller) before I made my purchase. Now the price has gone up a little again. But compared to the high initial release price, this is still a bargain. This is a heavy film. I personally enjoyed both the film and soundtrack. The blu-ray book is highly recommended.

RoboCop [Blu-ray + DVD]
RoboCop [Blu-ray + DVD]
DVD ~ Joel Kinnaman
Price: CDN$ 19.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RoboCop (blu-ray)(2014): excellent video and audio presentation; great directing from José Padilha; relatively cheap price!, June 29 2014
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This review is from: RoboCop [Blu-ray + DVD] (Blu-ray)
VIDEO:

RoboCop (2014) arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC @ 26.29 Mbps 1080p 2.40:1 encode. Shot with a combination of Red Epic and Arri Alexa digital cameras, RoboCop was integrated with an array of digital effects, with the final image colour-corrected on a digital intermediate, producing the final encode. The image is pristine, crisp, detailed and generally spectacular. RoboCop's black suit is both solid black and, where appropriate, shinily reflective. The bright colors of some of the more festive scenes (e.g., the formal introduction of RoboCop to the public at police headquarters) are deep and saturated. Overall, clarity is clean, with razor-fine lines along buildings and the city streets. The tiniest objects in the background are distinct, and individual letters on holographic screens are plain and discrete. Facial complexions appear natural with a healthy hue in the entire cast, exposing pores, wrinkles and negligible blemishes during close-ups. (4.5/5)

AUDIO:

RoboCop (2014) is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, filled with thunderously satisfying affair with plenty of gunfire and several major battle scenes. The bass is deep and rattling, like two shootouts, one when Murphy raids Antoine Vallon's warehouse and the other when Murphy goes against the drones inside the OmniCorp building. Dialogue is very well-prioritized and distinct in the center while the rest of the soundstage delivers convincing off-screen effects and displays splendid channel separation. A 7.1 track would have been preferred. (4.5/5)

MOVIE:

In RoboCop (2014), the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years - and it's meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) - a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit - is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice. (movie: 3.5/5)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My initial impression is for the most part, RoboCop (2014) is a completely unnecessary, needless, and pretty much unwelcome remake, missing the subtle jabs, over-the-top gore, and darkly-satirical humour that has made Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original such a beloved favourite. However, to my shock and amazement, this mostly unwanted actioner is surprisingly an entertaining reimagining of an 80s cult classic, serving as a possible reboot of a long-dead franchise. In my estimation, this is in large part due to the talented and imaginative camerawork of Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha. This 2014 remake is sleeker and more stylish with updated visuals, with the reimagining of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 cult classic, working on its merits by emphasizing more character development and dialogue that centers on the human aspect. The movie is staffed with good actors, like Joel Kinnaman (as Alex Murphy/RoboCop), Gary Oldman (as Dr. Dennett Norton), Michael Keaton (as Raymond Sellers) and Samuel L. Jackson (as Pat Novak). Both the video and audio are excellent. The price is pretty decent at $19.99. The set is recommended.

300: Rise of an Empire (Bilingual) [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
300: Rise of an Empire (Bilingual) [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
DVD ~ Rodrigo Santoro
Price: CDN$ 29.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 300: Rise of an Empire 3D (blu-ray): stunning 2D video & audio, with respectable post-conversion 3D., June 29 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO (2D):

300: Rise of an Empire arrives onto blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC (27.51 Mbps) 1080p 2.40:1 encode. The transfer is a first-rate stunner, with an exceedingly refined image faithful to Murro and DP Simon Duggan's blood-soaked vision and flawless even in the face of the film's most frenetic action scenes. Colours are desaturated and stylized as intended, with opulent golds, sun-bathed ambers, stormy blues, visceral reds and deep, inky blacks. Contrast remains vibrant throughout. Edges are razor sharp. This transfer litters the screen with every juicy, bloody detail: drops of sweat glisten with shocking clarity, distinctive individual wrinkles on the faces of the cast, also exposing pores and the tiniest blemish on their lifelike complexions. (5/5)

VIDEO (3D):

300: Rise of an Empire 3D arrives onto blu-ray with MPEG-4 MVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. Though converted in post, the resulting 3D experience is beautifully realized, with a proficient picture backed by absorbing depth and convincing dimensionality. Foreground objects pop, background elements retreat naturally into the distance, and the Athenian and Persian ships exist believably in a spatially sound ocean-scape. Arterial eruptions spray outward. Sword tips all but pierce the fourth wall. In 3D, the film seems even deadlier. (4.5/5)

AUDIO (2D & 3D):

Similarly, the DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio lossless track is also first-class. Right from the start, as stone-like doors open to reveal the ending of the first movie, the track impresses with a deliberate design that commences subtly in the center and gradually widens, slowly spreading to the sides and rears before slamming with a deep, hard bass note. This mix presents with an immersive soundfield, filled with a variety of noises, from the daily activities of townfolk to the sounds of wildlife in the distance. Action sequences are, of course, the highlight, as the room fills with the roars of soldiers all around, weapons flying through the air, the winds of a violent storm blowing through the night or the loud sharp cracks of thunder overhead. Dialogue is intelligible, with perfectly prioritized voices. (5/5)

MOVIE:

Based on Frank Miller's latest graphic novel Xerxes and told in the breathtaking visual style of the previous blockbuster 300, this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield - on the sea - as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. 300: Rise of an Empire pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy. Ultimately, the only difference between the two movies is the two leads: Sullivan Stapleton as the theatrically gallant Themistocles and the stunningly beautiful Eva Green in a winning performance as the brilliant military strategist Artemisia. (3.5/5)

TRIVIA:

300: Rise of an Empire has an estimated budget of $110 million, but has a respectable $331 million worldwide gross. The original 300 grossed $457 million in 2006.

PACKAGING:

The 3D set comes with a 3D lenticular front cover. The packaging itself is less satisfactory, with the 3D disc stacked on top of the 2D disc. Come on, Warner, you can do better than that! Put the 3D and 2D discs in their own slipcases!

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Despite being stylishly identical to Zack Snyder's wildly imaginative adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, 300: Rise of an Empire is a passably entertaining follow-up that neither complements nor augments its predecessor. Other than for the visual design, the film's only genuine highlight is Eva Green's deliciously evil performance as the film's seductive villainess. The 2D version arrives with stunning, reference-quality audio and video presentation, with a respectable post-conversion 3D. This set is recommended.

Talk Dirty
Talk Dirty
Price: CDN$ 15.18
19 used & new from CDN$ 11.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Jason Derulo: Talk Dirty: first class album with proven hits and catchy tunes; great sound!, June 28 2014
This review is from: Talk Dirty (Audio CD)
TALK DIRTY vs. TATTOOS:

Talk Dirty is the reissue of Jason Derulo's third studio album, Tattoos, released in UK in 2013. The collection Talk Dirty was released solely in North America in 2014, after Tattoos was only released as a 5-track EP in US (September 2013). Released seven months after the original, the full-length album features seven songs from the Tattoos album as well as four newly recorded songs.

Talk Dirty CD (US 5/2014):
01 Talk Dirty (featuring 2 Chainz)(US 3/2013; UK 1/2013)
02 Wiggle (featuring Snoop Dogg)(US 5/2014; UK 8/2014)*new
03 Trumpets (US 56/2013; UK 4/2013)
04 Bubblegum (featuring Tyga)*new
05 Vertigo (featuring Jordin Sparks)
06 Kama Sutra (featuring Kid Ink)*new
07 Zipper*new
08 The Other Side (US 18/2013; UK 2/2013)
09 With The Lights On
10 Stupid Love (UK 54/2014)
11 Marry Me (US 26/2013; UK 52/2013)

Tattoos EP (US only):
01 The Other Side
02 Talk Dirty
03 Marry Me
04 Tattoo
05 Vertigo

Tattoos CD (UK 5/2013)
Songs in Tattoos only, not in Talk Dirty: Tattoo, Fire (featuring Pitbull), Side Fx (featuring the Game), Rest Of Your Love. International Deluxe Edition of Tattoos will be released on June 30, 2014, and it has 4 new songs found in Talk Dirty: Wiggle, Bubblegum, Kama Sutra, and Zipper.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I hope I have cleared up the confusion between the 3 albums: Tattoos CD (UK), Tattoos EP (US) and Talk Dirty CD (US). I wish that the 4 songs found only in Tattoos CD are included in this Talk Dirty album. In the end, if you really want the complete set, my only recommendation is wait for the Deluxe Edition of Tattoos. As far as Talk Dirty is concerned, it is an excellent album with proven hits and catchy tunes. The sound is first class, with crisp vocal and great bass. The entire album is very enjoyable and is highly recommended

Box Set
Box Set
Price: CDN$ 23.15
20 used & new from CDN$ 15.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Stevens: Box Set (3CDs): 51 songs, containing 17 singles, some making CD debut; many great album tracks; good sound!, June 28 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Box Set (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Ray Stevens was born Harold Ray Ragsdale on January 24, 1939 in Clarksdale, Georgia. He has an extensive recording career in both pop and country charts: Pop (36 charted entries from 1957 to 1980) and Country (24 charted entries from 1969 to 2001). He has two No. 1 pop hits: Everything Is Beautiful (1(2)/1970) and The Streak (1(3)/1974). He was famous for all the novelty tunes. His song “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills” (with 90 letters with no bracket) is still considered one of the longest charted title. The current record belongs to Stars On 45’s 1981 No. 1 single, Medley with 41 words and 152 letters.

CONTENT:

This 3 CD set on Curb label contains 51 songs. The song listing can be found on the Amazon.ca website, and will not be listed here.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 There are many singles found in this set, mostly on the Country chart, from different labels:
(01) Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills (Pop 25/1961)
(02) Ahab The Arab (Pop 5/1962)
(03) Gitazan (Pop 8/1969)
(04) Everything Is Beautiful (Pop 1(2)/1970; C&W 39/1970)
(05) Bridget The Midget (Pop 50/1970)
(06) Turn The Radio On (Pop 63/1971; C&W 17/1971)
(07) Nashville (C&W 37/1973)
(08) The Streak (Pop 1(3)/1974; C&W 3/1974)
(09) Misty (Pop 14/1975; C&W 3/1974)
(10) Be Your Own Best Friend (C&W 36/1978)*CD debut
(11) Shriner’s Convention (Pop 101/1980; C&W 7/1980)
(12) The Mississippi Squirrel Revival (C&W 20/1984)*CD debut
(13) It’s Me Again, Margaret (C&W 74/1985)*CD debut
(14) The Haircut Song (C&W 45/1985)*CD debut
(15) The Ballad Of The Blue Cyclone (C&W 50/1986)*CD debut; containing 2 separate parts: The Beginning and The End.
(16) Power Tools (C&W 72/1992)*CD debut
(17) Osama-Yo’ Mama (C&W 13403)*CD debut
2 The rest are album tracks, containing many hilarious novelty songs, some of them making their CD debut!
3 The sound is very well remastered with no hiss.
4 All the songs are original versions. No re-recorded versions.
5 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 Disc 1: 60 minutes; Disc 2: 61 minutes; Disc 3: 60 minutes. Curb, you are an established and well respected label. You could have filled up the discs with more of Ray’s singles, especially on the Country Chart! Slightly disappointing!
2 The booklet is a measly 4 page booklet. There are no label & number, and no chart positions. No essay. No picture sleeves.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This “box set” has only 51 songs, with 60 minutes of empty spaces on the discs. I bought this set mainly to get Ray’s country output, many of whom are making their CD debut. There are also many great hilarious album tracks. This is a welcome addition to my Ray Stevens collection. This set is recommended to all Ray Stevens fans.

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