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Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada)
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Non-Stop [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
Non-Stop [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
Price: CDN$ 19.96
3 used & new from CDN$ 19.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop (blu-ray): a non-stop thrilling ride with top-notched video/audio!, Sept. 21 2014
VIDEO:

Non-Stop flew onto blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. The transfer was pristine. The film was shot with 35 mm film, faithful to Collet-Serra and cinematographer Flavio Martínez Labiano's intentions. Resolution is excellent, with fine detail evident in facial features, hair, clothing, and the airplane's interior surfaces. Contrast is well balanced with deep blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Though the airline interior doesn't burst with vibrant hues, the bluish seat upholstery and various costume accents look bright and bold, with deep blacks. This is a filmic visual experience. (5/5)

AUDIO:

Universal's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track effectively recreates the tight, confined spaces of an aircraft with precision-crafted directionality, slick pans and a suitably claustrophobic soundfield that crams the listener right alongside Liam Neeson. The sense of confined aircraft ambiance and atmosphere is excellent. Dialogue is consistently intelligible. The orchestral music score is actively engaging, with a wide and deep soundstage that extends aggressively to the surround. This is an excellent, thrilling, engaging and immersive experience. (5/5)

MOVIE:

The movie plot is quite engaging, keeping you guessing until the very end. A brooding atmosphere of tension pervades the proceedings, and a gallery of cold, suspicious characters populate the scenario, making it a real challenge to figure out who is the devious mastermind behind the murderous plot. Liam Neeson leads the charge, coupling the part's required square-jawed strength and gravity with a welcome dose of vulnerability, insecurity, and sincerity that makes him an instantly relatable everyman instead of a robotic, cardboard superman. Who could have predicted Taken would spawn such a drastic - and lucrative - career change? The movie is suspenseful and thrilling, with surprise ending. (4.5/5)

TRIVIA:

1 Did you know that while shooting the final scene of the movie, Liam Neeson suffered a stroke but he didn't break character?
2 Liam Neeson's character name in this film is Bill Marks. In Taken (2008) and Taken 2 (2012) his name is Bryan Mills. Both share the initials 'B.M.'
3 The set for the plane was built very slightly larger than a standard commercial airliner to accommodate Neeson's 6'4" height for filming.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I was literally “taken” by Liam Neeson’s performance in Taken. Since then, I followed this new-found action-hero career. He was already an established actor in Schindler’s List and Star Wars. He also had a supporting role as the henchman Bad Cop/Good Cop in the animated film The Lego Movie. In Non-Stop, he was the “soul” of the movie, and did an excellent believable job. It was a totally enjoyable and thrilling 107 minutes. Both the video and audio are top-notched. The blu-ray movie is highly recommended.

Dolton Records Story 1959-62
Dolton Records Story 1959-62
Price: CDN$ 14.65
9 used & new from CDN$ 6.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Werewolf: The Dolton Records Story (2CDs): 40 songs from Dolton (1959 – 1962); many rare gems; great sound!, Sept. 21 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Dolton Records was founded by Bob Reisdorff in 1958 in Seattle, Washington. The label was originally to have called Dolphin – hence the fish-like silhouettes on the label – but another company beat them to the name. The most famous artists are the Ventures, the Fleetwoods, and Vic Dana. The Ventures was originally known as the Versatones. They were initially rejected by Bob Reisdorff, until Seattle radio DJ Pat O’Day used Walk Don’t Run as a pre-news instrumental. The switchboards lit up in approval and one of the callers was Bob Reisdorff. He recognized his mistake and signed the Ventures. I guess the rest was history. In 1963 Liberty bought Dolton outright. Reisdorff left music and became a restaurateur. Liberty phased out Dolton in 1967, before themselves being purchased by United Artists. Its output of 120 singles and 50 albums remains both collectable and listenable today. Ventures is still active. I was lucky to see them live in Casino Rama north of Toronto a few years ago.

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set, released by One Day Music from UK, consists of 40 songs from 1959 – 1962. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (including label & number, chart position, plus comments):

DISC 1:
01 Werewolf – The Frantics (Dolton 13)(83/1960)*rare gem.
02 Come Softly To Me – The Fleetwoods (Dophin 1)(1(4)/1959)*later forced to change to Dolton because of copyright issue.
03 Born To Be With You – The Echoes (Dolton 18)(101/1960)*rare gem; duo consisting of Bonnie Guitar, major owner, and Don Robertson, vocal & whistling.
04 Walk, Don’t Run (Dolton 25)(2/1960)
05 Midnight Sun – The Five Whispers (Dolton 61)(115/1962)*rare gem
06 Here’s Where A Broken Heart Lives – Jeff Tabor (Dolton 17) (uncharted a-side, 1960)
07 I Love An Angel – Little Bill & The Bluenotes (Dolton 4)(66/1959) *rare gem
08 I Will – Vic Dana (Dolton 51)(47/1962)
09 Candy Apple Red – Bonnie Guitar (Dolton 10)(97/1959)*rare gem
10 Portrait Of A Blonde – Hank Levine (Dolton 63)(uncharted a-side, 1962)*his only charted hit: Image, Part 1 (98/1961) on ABC-Paramount; he assembled the studio band the Miniature Men.
11 It’s Almost Tomorrow – The Four Pearls (Dolton 26)(uncharted a-side, 1960)
12 Baby Elephant Walk – The Miniature Men (Dolton 57)(87/1962) *one of the few charted versions of this cute song.
13 Wo Wo Baby – Chuck Roberts (Dolton 36)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
14 Not For Love Or Money – Gary Hodge (Dolton 7)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
15 Fog Cutter – The Frantics (Dolton 6)(93/1959)*rare gem
16 Confidential – The Fleetwoods (Dolton 30)(uncharted a-side, 1960)*rare gem
17 Hello, Roomate – Vic Dana (Dolton 48)(b-side to Little Altar Boy, 1961)
18 My Very Best To You – Jerry Davis (Dolton 12)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
19 Come to Me Johnny – Johnny Victor (Dolton 53)(uncharted a-side, 1962)
20 Blue Moon – The Ventures (Dolton 47)(54/1961)

DISC 2:
01 Mr. Blue – The Fleetwoods (Dolton 5)(1/1959)
02 Perfidia – The Ventures (Dolton 28)(15/1960)
03 (A Girl Needs) To Love And Be Loved – Vic Dana (Dolton 58) (uncharted a-side, 1962)*rare gem
04 The Tears You Never Cried – Johnny Victor (Dolton 53)(b-side to Come To Me Johnny, 1962)
05 San Antonio Rose – The Frantics (Dolton 33)(uncharted a-side, 1961)*rare gem
06 Look At Me – The Four Pearls (Dolton 26)(b-side to It’s Almost Tomorrow, 1960)
07 Moon In The Afternoon – The Five Whispers (Dolton 61)(b-side to Midnight Sun, 1962)*rare gem
08 The Story Behind My Tears – Vic Dana (Dolton 42)(uncharted a-side, 1961)*rare gem
09 Bye Bye Baby – Little Bill & The Bluenotes (Dolton 4)(b-side to I Love An Angel, 1961)*rare gem
10 Soupy’s Theme (Soupy’s Shuffle) – The Miniature Men (Dolton 52)(uncharted a-side, 1962)*rare gem
11 My Guiding Light – The Echoes (Dolton 18)(b-side to Born To Be With You, 1960)*rare gem
12 Straight Flush – The Frantics (Dolton 2)(uncharted a-side, 1959)*rare gem; this set is a good way to collect songs by the Frantics
13 I’m Lonesome – Jeff Tabor (Dolton 17)(b-side to Here’s Where A Broken Heart Lives, 1960)
14 Graduation’s Here – The Fleetwoods (Dolton 3)(39/1959)
15 Little Bitty Heart – Brady & Grady Sneed (Dolton 38)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
16 That’s How It’s Gonna Be – Chuck Roberts (Dolton 36)(b-side to Wo Wo Baby, 1961)
17 Ram Bunk Shush – The Ventures (Dolton 32)(29/1961)
18 Turn Around – The Wanderers Three (Dolton 66)(uncharted a-side, 1962)
19 The Whip – The Frantics (Dolton 24)(uncharted a-side, 1960)* rare gem
20 To Prove Our Love Is True – Jerry Davis (Dolton 12)(b-side to My Very Best To You, 1959)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 These 40 songs represent part of the output of Dolton Records from 1959 to 1962. There are many hit singles with quite a few rare gems.
2 The sound is good and clean with no hiss.
3 All the songs are original versions, no re-recorded versions.
4 The essay by Michael Heatley is informative. Label & number are given.
5 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 Disc 1 Time: 45 minutes; Disc 2 Time: 42 minutes. Surely, One Day Music could have put in many more songs to fill in the remaining space, thus adding more value to the set.
2 There is no chart position.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Just like ABC-Paramount label having Johnny Nash and Paul Anka, Dot label having Pat Boone and Billy Vaughn, and United Artists label having Al Caiola, I have special fondness for Dolton label because of the Ventures. I have every domestic album release by the Ventures. So far, I managed to collect 79 CDs, including all their Japanese performances. This set is a good way to introduce me to the other performers in the Dolton family. The entire CD is very enjoyable. The sound is great. There are many charted hit recordings, plus many rare gems. The set is recommended.

Sixty Minute Man: Madison 1958-61
Sixty Minute Man: Madison 1958-61
Price: CDN$ 14.78
13 used & new from CDN$ 5.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Sixty Minute Man: The Madison Records Story (2CDs): 50 songs with some rare gems; good sound., Sept. 21 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Madison Records was founded in 1958 by New Yorker Larry Uttal. Its output consisted of an eclectic mix of doowop, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll and the occasional novelty songs. The best known artists under Madison stable consisted of the Tassels, the Viscounts, Dante & The Evergreens (Jean Torrence, of Jan & Dean fame, recommended them to his manager, Herb Alpert) and Ellie Gee & The Jets (lead singer was Ellie Greenwich of songwriters Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich fame). Of course, Tico & The Triumphs had lead singer Paul Simon. After Uttal closed the label down he went to found Bell Records, which numbered Del Shannon, Lee Dorsey, the Box Tops and Tony Orlando. Madison Records, however, remains an integral part of New York’s contribution to the history of pop and rock ‘n’ roll.

CONTENT:

This set, released by One Day Music from UK, consists of 2 CDs with 50 songs. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (including label & number, plus chart position):

DISC 1:
01 Sixty Minute Man – The Untouchables (Madison 139)(104/1960) *rare gem
02 Ally Oop – Dante & The Evergreens (Madison 130)(15/1960)
03 Shortnin’ Bread – The Bell Notes (Madison 136)(96/1960)*their biggest hit was I’ve Had it (6/1959) on Time label.
04 Cha-Cha Twist – Brice Coefield (Madison 137)(uncharted a-side, 1960)*rare gem; written by Hank Ballard.
05 Young Love – Gary Stites (Madison 138)(uncharted a-side, 1960)* his biggest hit was Lonely For You (24/1959) on Carlton label.
06 Harlem Nocturne – The Viscounts (Madison 123)(52/1959)
07 Take Me To Your Ladder – Buddy Clinton (Madison 144 (115/1960)*rare gem; b-side on disc 2
08 Love Bells – Eddie Delmar (Madison 168)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
09 Red Corvette – Ellie Gee & The Jets (Madison 160)(uncharted a-side, 1961)*another Corvette song; long before Prince’s Little Red Corvette (6/1983).
10 Got The Bull by The Horns – Hugh Barrett & The Victors (Madison 164)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
11 The Boy For Me – The Tassels (Madison 117)(b-side to To A Soldier Boy)*see track #20 disc 1; rare gem.
12 Peggy Peggy – Jimmy Rand (Madison 163)(uncharted a-side, 1962)
13 Boppin’ Bobbie Jean – King Victor (Madison 110)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
14 Juke Box Saturday Night – Nino & the Ebb Tides (Madison 166)(57/1961)*rare gem
15 Night Train – The Viscounts (Madison 133)(82/1960)
16 A Young Man’s Fancy – Stu Ellis (Madison 157)(uncharted a-side) (1961)
17 Ballad Of A Happy Heart – The Perri’s (Madison 105)(uncharted a-side, 1958)
18 Motorcycle – Tico & The Triumphs (Madison 169)(99/1962)*lead singer was Paul Simon; b-side on Disc 2
19 Shut-Ups – The Wild Tones (Madison 102)(uncharted a-side, 1958)
20 To A Soldier Boy – The Tassels (Madison 117)(55/1959)

DISC 2:
01 Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me Of You) – Nino & The Ebb Tides (Madison 162)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
02 Tempted – Brice Coefield (Madison 137)(uncharted a-side, 1960)
03 Little Star – The Freckles (Madison 158)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
04 I Go, You Go – Ellie Gee & The Jets (Madison 160)(b-side to Red Corvette, 1961)
05 There Was A Fungus Among Us – Hugh Barrett & The Victors (Madison 164)(b-side to Get The Bull by the Horns, 1961)
06 Real Wild Child – The Bell Notes (Madison 141)(uncharted a-side, 1960)
07 The Only Girl In My Life – Jimmy Rand (Madison 163)(b-side to Peggy, Peggy, 1962)
08 Shadrach – The Viscounts (Madison 152)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
09 My Guy And I – The Tassels (Madison 121)(uncharted a-side, 1959)*rare gem
10 New Born Baby – Johnny Brandon (Madison 103)(uncharted a-side, 1958)
11 Honey Girl – Gary Stites (Madison 155)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
12 Someone Loves You Joe – The Singing Belles (Madison 126) (91/1960)
13 Joanie’s Forever – Buddy Clinton (Madison 144)(b-side to Take Me to Your Ladder, 1961)
14 I Don’t Believe Them – Tico & The Triumphs (Madison 169)(b-side to Motorcycle, 1962)*singer Paul Simon
15 Chug-A-Lug – The Viscounts (Madison 129)(uncharted a-side, 1960)
16 Time Machine – Dante & The Evergreens (Madison 135)(73/1960)
17 My Bohemian Baby – King Victor (Madison 110)(b-side to Boppin’ Bobby Jean, 1959)
18 Blanche – Eddie Delmar (Madison 168)(b-side to Love Bells, 1961)
19 Sick Chick – The Wild Tones (Madison 109)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
20 Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight – The Untouchables (Madison 134)(uncharted a-side, 1960)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 These 40 songs represent an good output of Madison Records from 1958 to 1961. There are quite a few rare gems.
2 The sound is good and clean with no hiss.
3 All the songs are original versions, no re-recorded versions.
4 The essay by Brian Parks is informative. The paintings of young ladies on the front and back covers plus behind the two discs are very well done.
5 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 Disc 1 Time: 47 minutes; Disc 2 Time: 44 minutes. Surely, One Day Music could have put in many more songs to fill in the remaining space, thus adding more value to the set.
2 There is no chart position.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

One Day Music has released over 100 sets (3CDs or 2CDs) covering various labels. I have bought them all. In the past month, there seems to be no more release from One Day Music. They couldn't have run out of labels. Listening to these old songs simply brings me back to the good old days of the innocent era. At the same time, many rare gems, not previously released, are found. Madison Records is not a major label, and this set is more for collectors.

I'm a Man: 5 Albums 1959-61
I'm a Man: 5 Albums 1959-61
Price: CDN$ 33.29
17 used & new from CDN$ 11.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabian I’m A Man (2CDs): 5 albums (54 songs) from 1959-1961; good sound., Sept. 21 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Fabian was born Fabiano Anthony Forte on February 6, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was discovered at age 14 (because of his good looks and intriguing name) by a chance meeting with Bob Marucci, owner of Chancellor Records. He began his acting career in 1959 with Hound Dog Man. He belonged to the teenage idol, often compared to Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vee and Ricky Nelson. Although he has only 10 charted singles on Billboard Hot 100, I have done a detailed Complete Singles Discography, and found that he had released 20 singles from 1958 to 1971: 17 singles (charted and uncharted on Chancellor), 1 on Dot (1962), 1 on Philips (1971) and 1 on Cream (1977).

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set, by Jasmine Records, a reputable reissue label in UK, contains 5 albums from 1959-1961. I have included the titles of albums, label & number, chart position, plus singles within each album with label & number & chart positions (BB Billboard, RW Record World, CB Cash Box):

Disc 1:
LP HOLD THAT TIGER (Chancellor 5003)(5/1959)(stereo), containing singles:
Be My Steady Date (Chancellor C-1024)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
Turn Me Loose (Chancellor C-1033)(BB (9/1959)(RW 12/1959)(CB 8/1959)
LP THE FABULOUS FABIAN (Chancellor 5005)(3/1959)(stereo)

Disc 2:
LP THE HIT MAKERS (With Frankie Avalon)(Chancellor 5009)(1960)(mono), containing 6 singles by each artist:*Turn Me Loose not included here because it was in disc 1
Tiger (Chancellor C-1037)(BB 3/1959)(RW 8/1959)(CB 6/1959)
Mighty Cold (To A Warm Warm Heart) (Chancellor C-1037)(b-side, 1959)
This Friendly World (Chancellor C-1044)(b-side, BB 12/1959)(RW 17/1959)(CB 16/1959)
I’m A Man (Chancellor C-1029)(BB 31/1959)(RW 36/1959)(CB 40/1959)
Hound Dog Man (Chancellor C-1044) (BB 9/1959)(RW 14/1959)(CB 11/1959)
LP GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (Chancellor 5012)(1960)(stereo)
LP ROCKIN’ HOT (Chancellor 5019)(1961)(mono), containing singles:
King Of Love (Chancellor C-1085)(RW 88/1960)(CB 93/1960)
Kansas City (Chancellor C-1086)(b-side, 1961)
Tomorrow (Chancellor C-1055)(b-side, 1960)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 If you are just looking for Fabian albums, this set is definitely the one for you. Five of his most popular albums are included, with stereo versions whether available. Please note that in that era, pop artists usually did not include singles in their albums but selected other songs (old standards) to demonstrate that they could sing. Other clear examples are the early albums by Johnny Nash and Paul Anka.
2 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
3 There is a 6-page booklet, with an informative essay by Bob Fisher. The most significant improvement by Jasmine Records is the inclusion of label & number and chart positions of each album and singles (besides Billboard, Record World & Cash Box are included for completeness sake). Good job! Please keep up the good work.
4 The price is reasonable, if you buy from seller. I bought mine from Amazon.co.uk because it took a long time for local sellers to lower their prices.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There is a minor error in the label number. For songs King of Love and Tomorrow, the label number should be Chancellor C-1055, not C-1085. I have checked various sources to confirm this.
2 Like Real Gone Music and Sepia Records, front album pictures should be featured, each occupying the entire page.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

If you are looking for Fabian’s albums, this set is definitely for you. But if you are looking for his singles collection, you should look elsewhere. My recommendation is This Is Fabian on Ace label, 1991, with 26 songs. (my review elsewhere). When you listen to this set, you just can’t help remembering the innocent era of days gone by. Those indeed were THE days. Enjoy. This set has good sound, and is recommended.

This Is Fabian!
This Is Fabian!
Price: CDN$ 23.56
27 used & new from CDN$ 11.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabian This Is…Fabian (Ace): 26 songs; most complete comprehensive coverage of Fabian’s singles; good sound., Sept. 21 2014
This review is from: This Is Fabian! (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Fabian was born Fabiano Anthony Forte on February 6, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was discovered at age 14 (because of his good looks and intriguing name) by a chance meeting with Bob Marucci, owner of Chancellor Records. He began his acting career in 1959 with Hound Dog Man. He belonged to the teenage idol, often compared to Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vee and Ricky Nelson. Although he has only 10 charted singles on Billboard Hot 100, I have done a detailed Complete Singles Discography, and found that he had released 20 singles from 1958 to 1971: 17 singles (charted and uncharted on Chancellor), 1 on Dot (1962), 1 on Philips (1971) and 1 on Cream (1977).

CONTENT:

This set, released by Ace Records, a reputable reissue label from UK, contains 26 songs. Since Amazon.ca has already provided a song listing, it will not be repeated here.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 I have a few Greatest Hits of Fabian, I feel that this is the most complete and comprehensive coverage of Fabian’s singles career. Out of 17 singles on Chancellor (34 songs), 26 are included here. You can find the missing ones from Jasmine’s recent release I’m A Man containing Fabian’s 5 albums (my review elsewhere) and Turn Me Loose…The Very Best of Fabian on Collectables, 1999. I am still missing one song on Chancellor: Dream Factory (b-side to A Girl Like You, 1961)
2 The sound is very well remastered, vibrant and clean. It was digitally transferred from original analogue master tapes.
3 There is a 4-page booklet containing nice pictures of Fabian. The label & number, plus year, were included.
4 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 The songs are arranged haphazardly, not chronologically a and b-sides.
2 Total time: 57 minutes. Surely, Ace could have included all the missing a and b-sides, arranged chronologically, like compilations by Collectors’ Choice and recent ones by Real Gone Music. Considering this set was released in 1991, this was considered excellent at that time.
3 Chart positions could have been included. Singles picture sleeves could have been included.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

There is still no Complete Singles Collection on Fabian. But his biggest this are included here with good sound. If you are just looking for his Greatest Hits, this set is definitely highly recommended.

Many Splendored Themes
Many Splendored Themes
Price: CDN$ 20.61
15 used & new from CDN$ 11.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Felxi Slatkin: Many Splendored Themes/Magnificent XII: rare 2 album releases (24 songs) with first-rate sound!, Sept. 20 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Many Splendored Themes (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTION:

Felix Slatkin was born December 22, 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri. His original family name may have been Zlotkin. He was a classically trained violinist. At age 17, he joined the St. Louis Symphony. He later accepted the post of Concertmaster for Twentieth Century Fox Studios, performing numerous violin solos in motion pictures such as How Green Was My Valley and How to Marry a Millionaire. His conducting career included his founding of the Concert Arts Orchestra and appearances with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra. He was Frank Sinatra's concertmaster and conductor of choice during the Capitol years of the 1950s. He made over 25 recordings with these orchestras, also on the Capitol label, including a recording of Offenbach’s Gaîté Parisienne, which won a Grammy Award in 1958. He also made over a dozen recordings for Liberty Records establishing “The Fantastic Strings, Fantastic Fiddles, Fantastic Percussion, and Fantastic Brass of Felix Slatkin.” He has released 6 singles on Liberty, the most popular being Theme from The Sundowners (70/1960). He has released many memorable albums on Liberty, including the current set, plus Hoedown, Our Winter Love and Fantastic Strings. He sadly died on February 9, 1963 (age 47).

CONTENT:

This set, by reputable reissue label Hit Parade Records, contains 2 complete albums with 24 songs. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (containing label & number, chart position, plus personal comments):

LP MANY SPLENDORED THEMES (Liberty LSS-14011)(1961):
01 Bonanza
02 Golden Earrings
03 Spellbound
04 The Terry Theme From Limelight
05 Theme From A Summer Place *I collect different versions of songs that I like: this is my 72nd version of Theme From A Summer Place!
06 Peter Gunn
07 Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
08 Three Coins In The Fountain
09 Mr. Lucky
10 Gigi
11 Green Leaves of Summer
12 Around The World
LP THE MAGNIFICENT XII (Liberty LSS-14004)(1961):
13 Unchained Melody
14 The Magnificent XII
15 My Own True Love (Tara’s Theme)(Liberty 55299)(b-side, 1961)
16 Last Date
17 Where’s Your Heart? (Song From Moulin Rouge)
18 Theme From The Sundowners (single: Liberty 55282)(70/1960)
19 Laura
20 Never On Sunday
21 Exodus
22 Night Theme
23 Smile
24 It’s Not Forever (single: Liberty 55299)(uncharted a-side, 1961)

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 These two albums are extremely rare, and all the songs are making their CD debut! There are 3 songs that are singles (a or b-sides).
2 All the songs are in true stereo.
3 The songs are produced by Bill Buster, and remastered by the same Eric Records staff: Tom Daly, and Walt Weiskopf. The resultant sound is simply first class: vibrant, clean with no hiss. All the songs have become my new reference standards.
4 There is an 8-page booklet, with an informative essay by Greg Adams.
5 Both album front covers are featured, each occupying the entire page.
6 The price is reasonable, especially from sellers.

NEGATIVE POINT:

1 Total Time: 58 minutes. Bonus tracks could have been included, like all his single releases:

(01) Hora Staccato (Liberty 55224)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
(02) Original (Liberty 55224)(b-side, 1959)
(03) The Happy Hobo (Liberty 55232)(uncharted a-side, 1959)
(04) Turkish Bath (Liberty 55232)(b-side, 1959)
(05) Gayther’s Gone (Liberty 55282)(b-side to Theme from Sundowners, 1960)
(06) Street Scene (Liberty 55329)(uncharted a-side, 1961)
(07) Theme From A Pleasure of His Company (Liberty 55329)(b-side, 1961)
(08) Theme From King Of Kings (Liberty 55372)(120/1961)
(09) Mandolino (Liberty 55372)(b-side, 1961)
(10) Our Winter Love (Liberty 10082)(uncharted UK a-side, 1963)
(11) Meditation (Liberty 10082)(b-side, 1963)

HIT PARADE RECORDS/ERIC RECORDS:

This set is produced by Bill Buster. If you are a collector like myself, you are familiar with his name. His other outstanding productions include Hard To Find 45s on CD and Jukebox series, Teen Time series (all on Eric Records label), more recently the 3 separate volumes on Complete Pop Instrumental Hits Of The Sixties: 1960, 1961 and 1962, plus the recently released 3CD Amazing Early 60s Box. The sound was produced by Mark Mathews and Walt Weiskopf. This dedicated group reminded me of Ron Furmanek in the early 90s, who did great remastering job using original master tapes and with relatively primitive digital technology at that point in time. Mark Mathews and Walt Weiskopf are true audiophiles, paying close attention to all the details that matter: the best possible sources and EQ, correct fades and speed. In their singles compilation, every song was compared to the original vinyl single to give us ONLY the original 45-rpm hit single versions in every case. As the result, the sound for all songs is very vibrant with clean crisp vocals and detailed instrument separation, great drum beat and bass and finally true stereo.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Orchestral music arranged and performed by classically trained virtuosos and married to pop/rock rhythms flourished for only a short while in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. It would soon evolve into “easy listening” or “beautiful music” that endeavored to be soothing rather than a startling and fresh – music to recede into the background rather than to captivate. Today, this type of then-contemporary orchestral pop not only no longer exists – its former existence is practically unknown to listeners who weren’t around to experience it firsthand.

Fans of Slatkin’s classical recordings might view this collection as an artifact of the uncharacteristic, commercialized stage of his later career, but fans of orchestral pop music will celebrate it as an outstanding instance of a first-rate classical maestro applying his prodigious talents to pop music, with stunning results. I only hope and wish that labels like Hit Parade, Eric, Sepia, Real Gone Music and Jasmine Records will release more similar materials in the future. This set is highly recommended to all music lovers.

Wake Up & Live: Songbook
Wake Up & Live: Songbook
Price: CDN$ 49.66
18 used & new from CDN$ 21.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Andrews Sisters Wake Up & Live (4CDs): 124 songs; 57 songs (singles); rare Capitol and Dot releases after Decca; great sound!, Sept. 20 2014
INTRODUCTION:

The Andrews Sisters consisted of Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews, that emerged from Minneapolis to become the most popular female vocal group of the entire pre-1955 era. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. In the Pop Memories book by Joey Whitburn, they have 90 charted entries. I have now painstakingly compiled a Complete Singles Discocraphy on the Andrews Sisters, and found that they have released 203 singles from 1937 to 1973, with 402 songs (not 406, because 2 had no b-sides, and 2 had b-sides belonging to other artists, Bing Crosby & Jimmy Dorsey). This is truly an amazing feat! Their main label was Decca (1937 to 1955), then Capitol (1955 to 1973) with Dot releasing a single in 1963. They also collaborated with many artists, with the main one being Bing Crosby (23 charted entries; 50 duets together (charted & uncharted). Other duet artists also include Danny Kaye, Red Foley, Dick Haymes, Al Jolson, Dan Dailey, Carmen Miranda and Ernest Tubb. Their main orchestra was conducted by Vic Schoen. Sadly, LaVerne Andrews died on May 8, 1967 (age 52); Maxene Andrews died October 21, 1995 (age 79); Patty Andrews left us on January 30, 2013 (age 95).

With such a large discography, it is impossible to have a box set containing all the singles. I am glad to say that out of 402 songs, I am only missing one (Helena, uncharted single, 1953). As far as releasing Andrews Sisters songs, Jasmine Records, a reputable reissue label in UK, has released 3 separate box sets, each with 4 CDs, plus 1 set with 2 CDs, and 1 set on Patty Andrews (2CDs).

CONTENT:

This set was the third and probably last of 4 CD set on the Andrews Sisters, released in 2014. There are 124 songs.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 Out of 124 songs, 57 songs are singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted), covering the period from 1940 to 1963. There are many songs that are making their CD debut. It concentrates on the period from 1952 to 1963. This is the only place you will find their Capitol and Dot releases from 1956 to 1963, after they left Decca label. The Dot recordings of Mr. Bass Man (a-side) and My Midnight Prison (b-side) are extremely rare. Many of their Capitol releases in this set are not found in the original Collector’s Series on Capitol.
2 There are 17 live recordings. All these original versions are found in Jasmine’s other box sets, except The Wedding Samba and Tennessee Waltz (which you can find elsewhere).
3 Please note that the versions on Capitol label are remade of their earlier Decca hit recordings.
4 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
5 There is a 12-page booket, containing an informative essay by Robert Nickora. Dates of recording, backing orchestra and duet artists are provided.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 The songs are haphazardly arranged, and not arranged chronologically according to label & number.
2 There are no label & number and chart positions. I have to use various websites plus ebay to track down the label & number in compiling my Complete Singles Discography. Now I truly appreciate what Jasmine has done in providing so many singles in one set.
3 There are no picture sleeves, no label pictures.
4 The price is slightly expensive, but this is a 4-CD set and recent release. The price from sellers is more reasonable. I have checked and found that the price at Amazon.co.uk is even more expensive.

COMPLETE SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY:

To achieve getting 402 song, you will need the following CDs: (1) the current set, (2) Best of Andrews Sisters (5CDs, Wagram Records, to be released on September 16; from the song listing: the best Greatest Hits Collection, (3) The Golden Age Of Andrews Sisters (4CDs, Jasmine, 2002), (4) Some Sunny Day (4CDs, Jasmine, 2012), (5) Now Is The Time (2CDs, Jasmine, 2012), (6) Patty Andrews: I’ll Walk Alone (2CDs, Jasmine, 2010), (7) Their All-Time Greatest Hits (2CDs, MCA, 1994), (8) Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby: Complete Recordings (2CDs), (9) Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby: Merry Christmas, (10) Best of Andrews Sisters (2CDs, Charly UK, 1999), (11) Rum and Coca Cola (4CDs, Intense Media, 2014), (12) Says My Heart (1CD), (13) Mister Five by Five (1CD), (14) Melody Time (1 CD, Sepia); great selections with great sound, (15) The Magic of Andrews Sisters (1CD), and (16) Collector’s Series (1 CD, Capitol, 1991).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As noted above, if you want to make just one purchase to get most of the hits by the Andrews Sisters, I would highly recommended Best of Andrews Sisters: a 5CD set and the song listing is very impressive. I have purchased it (from Amazon.co.uk at a cheaper price), and I shall review it when I get it. Hopefully the sound is good. In the meantime, this current set is more for collectors and die-hard fans of the Andrews Sisters. There are 57 songs that are singles, especially their rare latest Capitol and Dot label releases. The entire set is totally enjoyable with great sound and harmony. These old songs sound like brand new. This type of close harmony is sorely missed. Long Live the Andrews Sisters.

Some Sunny Day: The Songbook, the Energy & the Blend (4CD)
Some Sunny Day: The Songbook, the Energy & the Blend (4CD)
Price: CDN$ 40.13
21 used & new from CDN$ 20.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Andrews Sisters: Some Sunny Day (4CDs): 113 songs with 65 songs (singles); great sound and harmony!, Sept. 20 2014
INTRODUCTION:

The Andrews Sisters consisted of Patty, Maxene and LaVerne Andrews, that emerged from Minneapolis to become the most popular female vocal group of the entire pre-1955 era. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. In the Pop Memories book by Joey Whitburn, they have 90 charted entries. I have now painstakingly compiled a Complete Singles Discocraphy on the Andrews Sisters, and found that they have released 203 singles from 1937 to 1973, with 402 songs (not 406, because 2 had no b-sides, and 2 had b-sides belonging to other artists, Bing Crosby & Jimmy Dorsey). This is truly an amazing feat! Their main label was Decca (1937 to 1955), then Capitol (1955 to 1973) with Dot releasing a single in 1963. They also collaborated with many artists, with the main one being Bing Crosby (23 charted entries; 50 duets together (charted & uncharted). Other duet artists also include Danny Kaye, Red Foley, Dick Haymes, Al Jolson, Dan Dailey, Carmen Miranda and Ernest Tubb. Their main orchestra was conducted by Vic Schoen. Sadly, LaVerne Andrews died on May 8, 1967 (age 52); Maxene Andrews died October 21, 1995 (age 79); Patty Andrews left us on January 30, 2013 (age 95).

With such a large discography, it is impossible to have a box set containing all the singles. I am glad to say that out of 402 songs, I am only missing one (Helena, uncharted single, 1953). As far as releasing Andrews Sisters songs, Jasmine Records, a reputable reissue label in UK, has released 3 separate box sets, each with 4 CDs, plus 1 set with 2 CDs, and 1 set on Patty Andrews (2CDs).

CONTENT:

This set was the second of three 4 CD set on the Andrews Sisters, released in 2012. There are 113 songs.

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 Out of 113 songs, 65 songs are singles (a and b-sides, charted and uncharted), covering the period from 1946 to 1953. There are many songs that are making their CD debut. It concentrates on the period from 1947 to 1953.
2 All the songs are original versions, no re-recorded versions. Please note that if you are buying their capitol label output (like the Collector’s Series), those songs are remade of the original versions.
3 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
4 There is a 12-page booket, containing an informative essay by Robert Nickora, discussing various albums released by the Andrews Sisters. Backing orchestra and duet artists are provided.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 The songs are haphazardly arranged, and not arranged chronologically according to label & number.
2 There are no label & number and chart positions. I have to use various websites plus ebay to track down the label & number in compiling my Complete Singles Discography. Now I truly appreciate what Jasmine has done in providing so many singles (65 songs!) in one set. You can’t get a compilation like this anywhere else.
3 There are no picture sleeves, no label pictures.
4 The price is slightly expensive, but this is a 4-CD set.

COMPLETE SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY:

To achieve getting 402 song, you will need the following CDs: (1) the current set, (2) Best of Andrews Sisters (5CDs, Wagram Records, to be released on September 16; from the song listing: the best Greatest Hits Collection, (3) The Golden Age Of Andrews Sisters (4CDs, Jasmine, 2002), (4) Wake Up And Live! (4CDs, Jasmine, 2014), (5) Now Is The Time (2CDs, Jasmine, 2012), (6) Patty Andrews: I’ll Walk Alone (2CDs, Jasmine, 2010), (7) Their All-Time Greatest Hits (2CDs, MCA, 1994), (8) Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby: Complete Recordings (2CDs), (9) Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby: Merry Christmas, (10) Best of Andrews Sisters (2CDs, Charly UK, 1999), (11) Rum and Coca Cola (4CDs, Intense Media, 2014), (12) Says My Heart (1CD), (13) Mister Five by Five (1CD), (14) Melody Time (1 CD, Sepia); great selections with great sound, (15) The Magic of Andrews Sisters (1CD), and (16) Collector’s Series (1 CD, Capitol, 1991).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As noted above, if you want to make just one purchase to get most of the hits by the Andrews Sisters, I would highly recommended Best of Andrews Sisters: a 5CD set and the song listing is very impressive. I have purchased it (from Amazon.co.uk at a cheaper price), and I shall review it when I get it. Hopefully the sound is good. In the meantime, this current set is more for collectors and die-hard fans of the Andrews Sisters. There are 65 songs that are singles. The entire set is totally enjoyable with great sound and harmony. These old songs sound like brand new. This type of close harmony is sorely missed. Long Live the Andrews Sisters.

Godzilla (Bilingual) [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
Godzilla (Bilingual) [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet]
Price: CDN$ 29.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godzilla (2014) blu-ray review: welcome back, my beloved old Godzilla! Great audio, dark video., Sept. 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO:

Godzilla stomps onto blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. You will enjoy Godzilla much better if you have a really large screen and in complete dark room. Most of the monster battles were fought in the dark, due to the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects) knocking out all power under the influence of EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse). In my home theatre with 12 foot wide screen (anamorphic lens) filling up the entire screen in a completely dark room, the complexity of the digital creations, both monsters and destroyed environments, look fantastically sharp and natural. The film's first act serves as its brighter half in which colours appear naturally robust and details sharp and accurate. Facial textures, clothing seams, and general backgrounds -- whether foliage or manmade structures -- enjoy a natural, tactile texturing that shows a lot of vitality and complexity. (4.5/5)

AUDIO:

Godzilla roars onto blu-ray with a breathtaking, ear-shattering 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix. From Alexandre Desplat's ominous musical score to the aggressively panned auditory carnage of flying debris and destruction to the thunderous LFE of monstrous creatures colliding in a fight to the death, this is a track that delivers on all levels, giving us a totally immersive experience. The realism is uncanny not only in the low end but in the aggressive spacing and natural envelopment the track offers. Whether up-close or at a distance, the sounds of mayhem enjoy an incredible balance as destruction and ear-shattering creature screeches spill from every speaker. Of course, Godzilla's roar stressed my two subwoofers to the maximum, rounding out a totally enjoyable and immersive audio experience. (5/5)

MOVIE:

I was moved by Joe Brody sacrificing his wife in the nuclear plant at the very beginning, but somehow my emotions did not connect similarly with his son Ford, his wife Elle and son Sam. And I also felt that having Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Wantanabe) running aimlessly around was simply to add a little Japanese flavour to the movie. The scene that I enjoyed the most was to be able to see Godzilla in true daylight stomping back into the ocean. The drawing and recreation of Godzilla character was truly amazing with so much more details and realism. It does not look digital at all. (movie: 3/5)

TRIVIA:

Godzilla has an estimated budget of $160 million, but grossed a disappointing less than $200 million.

When the Janjira plant goes down, Ford Brody is attending a class about the life cycle of moths, completely with a moth that resembles Mothra (1961). Also seen in the classroom is a red pteranodon (that resembles Rodan (1956) and a dinosaur skeleton (whose form resembles Godzilla (1954).

When both Ford and Joe Brody return to Janjira, within their old home is a small insect tank with the words 'Mothra' on the side. The inside of tank shows a heavily over grown Moth cocoon. This is a reference to the film Mothra (1961), who is a classic Godzilla enemy and friend.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 I bought the 3D version, and found that the 3D disc is stacked on top of the 2D disc. Come on, Warner Brothers, you can do better than that!

2 Be warn that if you have a 2.40:1 screen and anamorphic lens (constant height), parts of the subtitles were outside the screen. Fortunately with my Oppo 103D blu ray player, I managed to move the subtitles up. Again, Warner Brothers, this type of mistakes should not be happening.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Godzilla here looks a little meatier, and much more like the beloved behemoth than it did in the '98 movie, the music hearkens to the classic Japanese overtures of the old Gojira film era, and the camera work has the comically silly nature of Sam Rami's Spiderman series. The story-line is so-so. My only complaint is that why couldn't Godzilla and MUTOs fight in the daytime? For all Godzilla fans, this set is highly recommended.

Theme From the Unforgiven & Hollywood Premiere
Theme From the Unforgiven & Hollywood Premiere
Price: CDN$ 17.85
19 used & new from CDN$ 7.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Don Cost: Theme from Unforgiven/Hollywood Premiere: 2 complete rare albums with great sound!, Sept. 16 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Don Costa was born on June 10, 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the arranger for Vaughn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme and the Ames Brothers. He was A&R director of ABC-Paramount Records, when he was arranger for many of Paul Anka’s pop recordings. Then, he moved to United Artists, with Steve & Eydie. His most famous recording was Never On Sunday. He later moved to Reprise to arrange for Frank Sinatra, the boss at Reprise. Sinatra and Strings was released in 1962. He also did similar arrangements for Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan and Barbra Streisand. In the mid-60s, he formed his own company, DCP International, and was responsible for the revival of Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Although he has only 5 charted singles on Billboard Hot 100, I have just done a Complete Singles Discography and found that he has actually released 24 singles (48 songs) in US from 1955 to 1968. He sadly died on January 19, 1983 (age 57).

CONTENT:

This set, released by Sepia Records, a renowned reputable reissue label from UK, contains two complete albums. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a track listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (with LP label & number, year, singles label & number, chart positions):

LP The Theme From “The Unforgiven” (United Artists UAS 6119)(1960):
01 Theme From The “Unforgiven” (United Artists 221)(27/1960)
02 An Affair To Remember
03 Invitation
04 The Song From Moulin Rouge
05 Laura
06 The Third Man Theme (United Artists 1525) (uncharted a-side, 1961)
07 Smile
08 Lonely Room
09 From Here To Eternity ((United Artists 1525)(b-side, 1961)
10 Picnic
11 Stella by Starlight
12 Return to Paradise
LP Hollywood Premiere (Columbia 1880)(1962):
13 Theme From “The Wonderful World of The Brothers Grimm” (Columbia 42494)(uncharted a-side, 1962)
14 Theme From “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”
15 Theme From “Lisa”
16 Theme From “The Miracle Worker” (Columbia 42442)(uncharted a-side, 1962)
17 Baby Elephant Walk
18 Theme From “My Geisha”
19 Theme From “Mutiny On The Bounty”
20 Above The Stars (Columbia 42494)(b-side, 1962)
21 Theme From “Advise And Consent”
22 Theme From “All Fall Down”
23 My Romance
24 Love Theme From “Lolita”

POSITIVE POINTS:

1 This set contains 2 complete rare albums by Don Costa. His CDs are not released. The only CD I have is called Never on Sunday: Classic Movie Music of the ‘50s & ‘60s on EMI (1977). This is not available on Amazon.ca, but available on Amazon.co.uk.
2 The sound is very well remastered, as per usual high standards at Sepia Records, using 24 bit Cedar System.
3 The front cover of Hollywood Premiere was featured on an entire back page of the 4-page booklet. As to the front cover of The Theme From The Unforgiven, the area where the songs are listed is replaced by the words Hollywood Premiere. The original liner notes are included.
4 The price is reasonable, especially from seller.

NEGATIVE POINTS:

1 There are no bonus tracks. Usually, Sepia Records would add bonus tracks to fill up the space, thus adding more value to the purchase.
2 There is no picture of back cover.
3 There are no label & number, no chart position.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

When people are looking for Don Costa songs, the first thing they would look for is Never On Sunday. This should have been included in the bonus tracks. Fortunately, that song is readily available. Too bad! Nevertheless, I treasure this release because of the rarity of the materials and great remastered sound by Sepia Records. I personally have six vinyl albums of Don Costa. One day when I have time, I shall remaster and convert them into CDs. If you like instrumental music, especially movie themes, this set is recommended.

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