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Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada)
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Ender's Game / La stratégie Ender [Combo Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
Ender's Game / La stratégie Ender [Combo Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Price: CDN$ 13.49
14 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Ender’s Game (blu-ray): enjoyable movie from a great novel at a great price!, June 25 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO:

Ender’s Game arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC (33.97 Mbps) 1080p 2.40:1 encode. The picture was photographed digitally with the Red Epic camera system. The imagery is heavily CGI produced with green screen elements. Colour fidelity is generally excellent, though, at times the imagery appears undersaturated. Ender’s training in space is cold in appearance, with yellow dress against slate grayish and bluish backdrops highlighted with active lighting. The production design creates a capsule environment that is subdued in brightness. The zero gravity games are played out in a darkened environment that exhibits excellent shadow delineation. The battle scenes are richly glowing in brownish golds with engaging dimensionality. This is a dynamic visual experience (with high bit-rate). (4.5/5)

AUDIO:

The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack is strong on atmospherics and sound effects enhanced with deep bass. Along with an aggressive orchestral music score that projects well into the soundfield from the wide and deep soundstage, surround envelopment is strongly presented, for an effective immersive experience. Dialogue is nicely integrated spatially. This is an excellent science fiction soundtrack that creates a dimensional soundfield experience with excellent fidelity and impressive dynamics. (5/5)

MOVIE:

The Earth was ravaged by the Formics, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Seventy years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent their own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategically brilliant boy, is pulled out of his school to join the elite, trained under Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), to later lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race. The story is based on the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. (4/5)

TRIVIA:

Ender’s Game has an estimated budget of $110 million, but it did poorly at the box office, thus making a sequel, which continues with Enders as an adult, very unlikely. Therefore, if you want to know what happens next, I would highly recommend picking up the novel Speaker for the Dead, which continues Ender's tale. It is every bit as powerful and moving as the original novel.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Based on one of the best-written science fiction novels of all time, Ender's Game is an intelligent movie that doesn’t dumb-down its themes of manipulation, isolation, and xenophobia (among others) for the big screen. Although it didn't get the love it deserved at the box office, Ender's Game is almost certainly destined to become a cult classic as more and more people find their way to the movie. I personally find it very enjoyable. I also waited until the price has dropped to $12.49, making this purchase very highly recommended.

The LEGO Movie / Le Film LEGO [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet] (Sous-titres français)
The LEGO Movie / Le Film LEGO [Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet] (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Will Arnett
Price: CDN$ 19.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 15.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The LEGO Movie (2D blu-ray): Wonderful heart-warming story with top-notched video & audio; 3D version is preferred!, June 18 2014
VIDEO (2D):

The LEGO Movie arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. Primary colours are bold and vivid. Blacks are deep and inky. Contrast is consistently filmic and strong. Details are exceptional, like the chips along the edges of the plastic characters, the fingerprints when the light hits Benny or Lord Business just right, the wear and tear of a fading decal and the imperfections of a brick. Edges are clean and natural. To watch this video filling up my entire 12 foot wide screen (using anamorphic lens) is a sight to behold. This is simply a perfect picture. (5/5)

AUDIO:

Matching The LEGO Movie's video presentation high-point for high-point is Warner's wonderfully enveloping DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It is truly dynamic and surround channels are aggressive. Low-end output is big and boisterous, throwing weight and power behind every blast, explosion, crash and collision. Directionality is precise and involving, pans are smooth, and dynamics never falter. Dialogue is clear. The music is masterfully prioritized. If you have children, be warned that the song Everything Is Awesome in this movie has a similar hypnotic effect on children, like Let It Go from Frozen. This is a very immersive soundtrack. My only minor complaint is that it should have been 7.1 instead of 5.1. (5/5)

MOVIE:

Writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller brought their magic touch from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) and 21 Jump Street (2012) to The LEGO Movie, sharing a common theme of earnestly embracing material while poking fun at inherent commercial requirements. The LEGO Movie is an absolute joy, with endless verbal and visual gags. The LEGO Movie is impossibly creative on all levels. It is produced mostly as CGI animation, with a wee bit of live action stop motion. The film uses real LEGO pieces for everything, even little things like water droplets, which not only sets up many jokes, but is also wonderfully engrossing. You'd swear this was an impeccable stop-motion production. It looks like photo-realistic toys have come to life in a way where you could create these environments in your home. This is truly a fun movie to watch.

In LEGO Movie, the animation is entirely CGI. The creators deliberately tried to make the movie feel like stop-motion, and avoided making the computer-generated effects look too obvious. This was done to make the movie look like real Lego. Everything in the movie was designed to look as if built out of LEGO pieces. This even includes effects like water, fire, laser bolts, explosions and smoke. For instance, the lasers are actually transparent LEGO rods (commonly known as Lightsaber blades), while smaller puffs of smoke are LEGO ice cream pieces. This is in contrast with the direct-to-video LEGO movies and cartoon series, in which parts of the sceneries and most of the effects were made to look realistic. (Movie: 4.5/5)

TRIVIA:

The LEGO movie has an estimated budget of $60 million, but has a worldwide gross of $467 million (so far).

Did you notice that the word LEGO is never used in the body of the movie itself?

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The LEGO Movie is fantastic on all levels. It's hilarious, exciting, clever, heart-warming, and pokes fun at modern story conventions. Lord and Miller are a top-rated filmmaking team capable of pulling off the impossible. They can take reboots and synergistic consumer tie-ins, turning them into tightly script stories that work really, really well. This is a film for moviegoers of all ages. If you have a 3D TV, the 3D version is truly “Everything Is Awesome” and my preferred choice. This 2D set is still a MUST-OWN!!

The LEGO Movie 3D - Everything is Awesome Edition [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet + LEGO Figurine] (Sous-titres français)
The LEGO Movie 3D - Everything is Awesome Edition [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet + LEGO Figurine] (Sous-titres français)
DVD ~ Will Arnett
Price: CDN$ 29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The LEGO Movie (3D blu-ray): Wonderful heart-warming story with top-notched video & audio; 3D version is preferred!, June 17 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO (2D):

The LEGO Movie arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. Primary colours are bold and vivid. Blacks are deep and inky. Contrast is consistently filmic and strong. Details are exceptional, like the chips along the edges of the plastic characters, the fingerprints when the light hits Benny or Lord Business just right, the wear and tear of a fading decal and the imperfections of a brick. Edges are clean and natural. To watch this video filling up my entire 12 foot wide screen (using anamorphic lens) is a sight to behold. This is simply a perfect picture. (5/5)

VIDEO (3D):

The LEGO Movie 3D arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 MVC 1080p 2.40:1 encode. While there aren't any in-your-face 3D gags, overall image depth is stunning. Watching this blu-ray 3D is like seeing the LEGO universe come to life. With the combination of excellent depth and dimensionality, brace yourselves for some of the most immersive and engaging 3D images, since Gravity 3D last year. All the good qualities from the 2D version are not only present, but greatly enhanced. This is a truly immersive 3D experience. (5+/5)

AUDIO:

Matching The LEGO Movie's video presentation high-point for high-point is Warner's wonderfully enveloping DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It is truly dynamic and surround channels are aggressive. Low-end output is big and boisterous, throwing weight and power behind every blast, explosion, crash and collision. Directionality is precise and involving, pans are smooth, and dynamics never falter. Dialogue is clear. The music is masterfully prioritized. If you have children, be warned that the song Everything Is Awesome in this movie has a similar hypnotic effect on children, like Let It Go from Frozen. This is a very immersive soundtrack. My only minor complaint is that it should have been 7.1 instead of 5.1. (5/5)

MOVIE:

Writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller brought their magic touch from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009) and 21 Jump Street (2012) to The LEGO Movie, sharing a common theme of earnestly embracing material while poking fun at inherent commercial requirements. The LEGO Movie is an absolute joy, with endless verbal and visual gags. The LEGO Movie is impossibly creative on all levels. It is produced mostly as CGI animation, with a wee bit of live action stop motion. The film uses real LEGO pieces for everything, even little things like water droplets, which not only sets up many jokes, but is also wonderfully engrossing. You'd swear this was an impeccable stop-motion production. It looks like photo-realistic toys have come to life in a way where you could create these environments in your home. This is truly a fun movie to watch.

In LEGO Movie, the animation is entirely CGI. The creators deliberately tried to make the movie feel like stop-motion, and avoided making the computer-generated effects look too obvious. This was done to make the movie look like real LEGO. Everything in the movie was designed to look as if built out of LEGO pieces. This even includes effects like water, fire, laser bolts, explosions and smoke. For instance, the lasers are actually transparent LEGO rods (commonly known as Lightsaber blades), while smaller puffs of smoke are LEGO ice cream pieces. This is in contrast with the direct-to-video LEGO movies and cartoon series, in which parts of the sceneries and most of the effects were made to look realistic. (Movie: 4.5/5)

TRIVIA:

The LEGO movie has an estimated budget of $60 million, but has a worldwide gross of $467 million (so far).

Did you notice that the word LEGO is never used in the body of the movie itself?

PACKAGING:

The LEGO Movie 3D debuts on blu-ray as part of an Everything is Awesome Edition. It includes the blu-ray 3D version of the movie as a bonus, a regular 2D Blu-ray with the film and bonus features, and a DVD. This edition also includes an exclusive Vitruvius LEGO Minifigure and a large 3D Emmet Photo. It is so cute that I am displaying that box next to my Cinderella box set, Gone With The Wind, Ten Commandments, etc, box sets outside my Lee Theatre HD. My only complaint is that the 3D blu-ray disc is stacked on top of the 2D blu-ray disc. Come on Paramount, you can do better with the packaging in such a major release.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The LEGO Movie is fantastic on all levels. It's hilarious, exciting, clever, heart-warming, and pokes fun at modern story conventions. Lord and Miller are a top-rated filmmaking team capable of pulling off the impossible. They can take reboots and synergistic consumer tie-ins, turning them into tightly scripted stories that work really, really well. This is a film for moviegoers of all ages. The 3D version is truly “Everything Is Awesome” and my preferred choice. This set is a MUST-OWN!!

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (-Recrue dans l'ombre) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (-Recrue dans l'ombre) [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Chris Pine
Price: CDN$ 12.94
2 used & new from CDN$ 12.94

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit blu-ray: Picture balanced with character, emotion, romance, plot, action & tension;great video & audio, June 17 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
VIDEO:

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.35:1 encode. This terrific transfer has a warm cinematic presence. Contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The colour palette is richly hued with strong primaries and vibrant highlights that pop with brightness. Colour graduations are perfectly smooth and beautifully textured. Resolution is outstanding, with fine detail evident throughout. Detail is never lost, even in the darkest scenes. Facial features are finely resolved, as well as hair, clothing, and object texture. Fleshtones are perfectly hued, for impressive naturalness. This is a wonderful picture with stunning, reference imagery. (5/5)

AUDIO:

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is effectively impressive, with a fully active immersive soundfield that envelops throughout, both in terms of low-level ambiance and energized peaks. The track is consistently dynamic, full, wide, and rich, delivering everything from robust musical notes to subtle ambiance with ease and lifelike accuracy. Music is very well spaced and plays with natural, enveloping stage presence. Clarity is strong throughout the range. Action sound effects are impeccably placed and detailed, whether the chaotic sounds of a helicopter before and after coming under fire, gunshots, or car crashes. Even more subtle sound effects, like brass casings falling to the floor after ejection from a suppressed pistol, play with an uncanny lifelike sound. Gently falling rain and rolling thunder, typical big city din, and airport public address announcements all play with a lifelike clarity and precision placement. Dialogue flows evenly and clearly from the center. This is a top-notch, reference-capable soundtrack from Paramount. (5/5)

MOVIE:

This is the fifth installment of the Jack Ryan franchise, following The Hunt For Red October (Alec Baldwin), Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger (Harrison Ford) and The Sum Of All Fears (Ben Affleck). Chris Pine did great justice to Clancy's patriotic, honest and heroic character. Ken Branagh was simply terrific, both as the Director, and as a ruthless Russian criminal, Viktor Cherevin. He brings an intensity to his villainous character, the likes of which we haven't seen in a Jack Ryan film yet. Both Kevin Costner and Keira Knightley are also terrific in their roles. For the first time not based on a previously existing Jack Ryan book, Shadow Recruit features a completely original story that gives the character an origin, a backstory and a motivation. (4.5/5)

PRICING:

I could not believe my eyes when one day I notice the price for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recuit suddenly dropped to $14.99. Naturally, I jumped at the offer. It wasn’t a One Day Deal nor Special Time-Limiting Deal. The low price just quietly sneaked in there. It does pay to scan the prices of items you want on a regular basis. Now the price has gone up to $18.99.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a worthy entry to Tom Clancy's five-film-deep Jack Ryan franchise, a solid way to kick-start the franchise for new viewers while pleasing the long-time fans. It's surprisingly well balanced with character, emotion, romance, plot, action and tension. The original screenplay written by Adam Cozad was entitled Dubai and was intended to be an action film starring Eric Bana. Paramount later asked Cozad to rewrite his old script and to change the lead character to Jack Ryan. Unfortunately, the box office was a failure. With good blu-ray sale, hopefully, we don’t have to wait another decade for another sequel to the Jack Ryan franchise. Both the video and audio are terrific. I particularly enjoyed the Commentary by Kenneth Branagh in the Bonus Feature, where the informative track demonstrated how grand his knowledge of filmmaking is. This set is highly recommended.

Do You Want to Dance: Best of 1956-61
Do You Want to Dance: Best of 1956-61
Price: CDN$ 24.90
21 used & new from CDN$ 11.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Freeman Do You Want To Dance: 38 songs; 2 complete albums; all the singles a & b-sides from 1956 to 1962. Great collection, June 17 2014
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 2 CD set contains 38 songs. Two Complete Albums are included, plus singles on Disc 2.

Disc 1:
LP Do You Wanna Dance (Jubilee 1086)(1959)(12 songs)
LP Twist With Bobby Freeman (Jubilee 5010)(1962)(8 songs)
Disc 2:
Singles (18 songs)

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 Two complete albums are included. These albums are difficult to find on CDs. Many of the album tracks are making their CD debut.
2 All the singles by Bobby Freeman are included (both a and b-sides, charted and uncharted) from 1958 to 1962.
3 Three singles (a and b-sides) by the Romancers are included. Truly precious!
4 The sound is very well remastered, with clear vocals and no hiss.
5 There is a six page booklet, containing an essay by Bob Fisher. But the outstanding improvement is the inclusion of label, number and chart positions for both albums and singles. Finally, Jasmine Records is catching up with the correct way of giving us the song listing.
6 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £7.83. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca in the future.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 No songs beyond 1962 are included, probably trying to save money due to copyright law relating to Public Domain.
2 Disc 1: 47 minutes; Disc 2 44 minutes. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining empty space with more songs or singles as bonus tracks. From my discography, there are 28 songs (a and b-sides) from 1963 to 1979.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Bobby Freeman is a much neglected artist as far as CD releases are concerned. If you are looking for his later release, I would recommend C’mon And Swim on Ace Records label (2001) with 25 songs. I have just purchased that set to complete my Bobby Freeman collection. Don’t bother with the many Best Of CDs currently available. They are from Collectables, with only 10 songs. In contrast, this current set has two complete albums with album tracks never on CDs before, plus a truly thorough collection of all his singles from 1956 to 1962, with great sound. This set is recommended.

Folk Songs You'll Like: Four Original Albums
Folk Songs You'll Like: Four Original Albums
Price: CDN$ 27.33
21 used & new from CDN$ 11.89

5.0 out of 5 stars The Easy Riders, featuring Terry Gilkyson (2 CDs): 4 complete hard-to-find albums (48 songs); great sound!, June 16 2014
INTRODUCTION:

The Easy Riders were an American folk music band, that operated from 1956 to 1959, consisting of Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr, and Frank Miller. Their career was guided by Mitch Miller, who had them under contract for Columbia Records.

Their greatest hit, in early 1957, was the song "Marianne". The group also composed some tunes for the 1958 documentary Windjammer, such as "Kari Waits for Me" and "Sugar Cane". One of Gilkyson's songs was a number one hit for Frankie Laine, "The Cry of the Wild Goose". Gilkyson wrote many tunes for Laine and Jimmy Boyd’s “Tell Me A Story”, and he and The Easy Riders were also featured on Frankie's 1957 hit, "Love Is a Golden Ring". Their song "Memories Are Made of This" became a top hit through the interpretation by Dean Martin. After the Easy Riders made a single with the 1927 song "Tell The Captain", the Beach Boys adapted it and made of it their hit "Sloop John B".

Gilkyson left the group in the early 1960s to work for Disney studios and wrote the Oscar-nominated "The Bear Necessities" for Disney's The Jungle Book. He was also featured vocalist on The Weavers’s hit recording of "On Top Of Old Smokey".

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set contains 4 complete albums with 48 songs:
Disc 1:
1 LP Marianne – An Other Songs You’ll Like (Columbia 990)(1957):
Single:
01 Marianne (Columbia 40817)(Billboard 4/1957)
02 Goodbye Chiquita (Columbia 40817)(b-side, 1957)
03 True Love And Tender Care (Columbia 40860)(Uncharted single, 1957)
04 Don’t Hurry, Worry Me (Columbia 40860)(b-side, 1957)
2 LP Wanderin’ – Folk Songs by the Easy Riders (Columbia 1272)(1959):
Single:
05 Wanderin’ Blues (Columbia 41284)(Uncharted single, 1958)
06 Sweet Sugar Cane (Columbia 41284)(b-side, 1958)
Disc 2:
3 LP Rollin’ (Kapp 1196)(1960):
Single:
07 The Cry Of The Wild Goose (Kapp 512)(1963)
08 Saturday Child (Kapp 512)(b-side, 1960)
4 LP Remember The Alamo (Kapp 1215)(1961):
Single:
09 Ballad Of The Alamo (Kapp 355)(1960)
10 The Green Leaves Of Summer (Kapp 355)(b-side, 1960)

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 The albums by Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders are not readily available on CDs. Now to have all four complete albums in one set is simply great. As noted above, five singles (both a and b-sides) are found within the 4 albums.
2 The sound is very well remastered, clean vocals and crisp guitar sound, with no hiss.
3 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £7.87. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca in the future.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 Disc 1: 53 minutes; Disc 2: 61 minutes. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining empty space with more songs or singles as bonus tracks, such as Blue Mountain (Columbia 41088) 1957; Shorty Joe (Columbia 41088)(b-side, 1957); Kari Waits For Me (Columbia 41147) 1958; Windjammer (Columbia 41147)(b-side, 1958). Personally, to complete my collection, I have just purchased the Windjammer Soundtrack with great music from Johnny Green. Songs by the Weavers, featuring Terry Gilkyson could also have been included.
2 There is no information on label & number and chart position. However, in reviewing other releases by Jasmine in the similar period, label & number and chart position were included.
3 The picture of each album front cover should be featured individually, instead of one on top of each other.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Overall, I am very pleased with this release. To get four relatively rare albums in 2 CDs at a reasonable price is great. If you like folk songs, this set is totally enjoyable. Plus, there is good sound with clear vocals and crisp guitar sound. If you are a completist, you will want to have the 6 CD box called Marianne from Bear Family (but at $267!!!) For me, this humble 2 CD set is good enough for me, and is recommended for all folk song lovers.

Gonna Tell You a Story: Complete Singles A's & B's
Gonna Tell You a Story: Complete Singles A's & B's
Price: CDN$ 24.54
20 used & new from CDN$ 12.02

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilbert Harrison: Gonna Tell You A Story (2CDs): 40 songs; Complete singles, As & Bs, 1953-1962; Great collection!, June 15 2014
INTRODUCTION:

Wilbert Harrison was born on January 5, 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1952, he was first signed to Deluxe Records, then Chart Records, and finally he signed a five year contract with the notorious owner Herman Lubinsky on his Savoy label. He ceased recording for Savoy around 1956 but was still under contract to that label until August 1959. But Wilbert Harrison convinced Fury label owner Bobby Robinson, and recorded Kansas City in March 1959. The song hit Number 1 for 2 weeks on Billboard Hot 100 and sold 2 million records. Lawsuits then ensued, resulting in delay in recording a follow-up to his multi-million seller. He stayed with Fury label until 1962. He then changed labels to Sue Records and SS International. In 1969, he rewrote his 1962 hit Let’s Stick Together as Let’s Work Together, and turned it from a song about divorce and separation into a call for world peace. The latter song shot up the chart to No. 32 in 1969. In 1970, Canned Heat’s version hit No. 2 in UK. In 1976, Bryan Ferry took his version of the original Let’s Stick Together to No. 4 on the UK chart. His remix version of that song was No. 12 on the UK chart in 1988. Remarkable! Sadly, Wilbert Harrison died of a stroke on October 26, 1994 at the age 65.

CONTENT:

This 2 CD set contains 40 songs by Wilbert Harrison, containing all singles from 1953 to 1962, a and b-sides.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 Jasmine Records is finally catching up on the art of making singles compilation. Here all the singles (under different labels) are arranged chronologically, a and b-sides, charted and uncharted, but only from 1953 to 1962.
2 There is a 6-page booklet with an informative essay by Bob Fisher (minor date error on Bryan Ferry's 2 releases). But the best improvement of all is the inclusion of label & number, plus year of release and chart positions (in both R&B and Pop charts).
3 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
4 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £7.84. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca in the future.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 No songs beyond 1962 are included, probably due to copyright law relating to Public Domain.
2 There are only 51 minutes on Disc 1 and 48 minutes on Disc 2. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining empty spaces with more songs from 1963 onward. From my Complete Singles Discography on Wilbert Harrison, there are at least 80 more songs that you can choose from, like his charted hits including Near To You (118/1963), Let’s Work Together (Parts 1 & 2)(32/1969) and My Heart Is Yours (98/1971).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Wilbert Harrison’s catalogue is not well represented on CDs. This is the first time a Complete Singles Collection (under different labels), a and b-sides, charted and uncharted, arranged chronologically, with label & number plus chart positions, is available and with good sound. Although it is only up to 1962, I am still very satisfied with this effort. But since Wilbert Harrison is not that well known with only one major hit (Kansas City), I feel that this set is more for collectors.

Bless You
Bless You
Price: CDN$ 22.25
22 used & new from CDN$ 8.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Tony Orlando: Bless You: 21 Tony Orlando’s solo hits on Epic;charted & uncharted, a & b-sides,1961–62 only;5 great bonus tracks, June 15 2014
This review is from: Bless You (Audio CD)
INTRODUCTON:

Tony Orlando was born Michael Anthony Cassavitis on April 3, 1944 in Manhattan, New York. He was discovered by Don Kirshner at the age 16. He started as a solo artist. I have done a Complete Singles Discography on Tony Orlando (solo hits), with a total of 34 songs from 1961 to 1979. His first label was Epic (1961-1964), followed by Atlantic, Life, Harbour and finally Casablanca Records. In 1969, he was the lead singer of New York studio group Wind, and also recorded as Billy Shields. In 1970, he formed Dawn, featuring session singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent. This current set concentrates only on his solo recordings.

CONTENT:

This release from Jasmine Records contains 21 Tony Orlando solo songs, plus 5 bonus tracks. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed song listing (with album & singles, label & number, chart position, with personal comments), which is as follows:

LP Bless You And Eleven Other Greats Hits (Epic 3808)(1961):
01 Halfway To Paradise (Epic 9441)(Billboard 39/1961)*In UK, the hit version was by Billy Fury (UK 3/1961); he apparently hated the song, but it became his signature tune; so he spent the rest of his life complaining about it! Carole King was on backing vocal)
02 Lonely Tomorrow (Epic 9441)(b-side, 1961)
03 Bless You (Epic 9452)(Billboard 15/1961; UK 5/1961)*big hit on both sides of the Atlantic; gold disc in US; silver disc in UK.
04 Am I The Guy (Epic 9452)(b-side, 1961)
05 Happy Times (Are Here To Stay)(Epic 9476)(Billboard 82/1961)
06 Lonely Am I (Epic 9476)(b-side, 1961)
07 The Lovin’ Touch
08 Some Kinda Wonderful
09 Tell Me Where To Run To
10 Dream Lover
11 Will You Love Me Tomorrow
12 I’d Never Find Another You (Epic 9502)(Uncharted single, 1962)*Again Billy Fury's cover version was a big hit in UK (UK 3/1961)

SINGLES:
13 Love On Your Lips (Epic 9502)(b-side, 1962)
14 My Baby’s A Stranger (Epic 9491)(Uncharted single, 1962)
15 Talkin’ About You (Epic 9491)(b-side, 1962)
16 Chills (Epic 9519)(Billboard 109/1962)
17 At The Edge Of Tears (Epic 9519)(b-side, 1962)
18 The Loneliest (Epic 9562)(Uncharted single, 1962)
19 Beautiful Dreamer (Epic 9562)(b-side, 1962)
20 Shirley (Epic 9570)(Billboard 133/1962)
21 Joanie (Epic 9570)(b-side)

BONUS TRACKS:
22 Ding Dong – Tony Orlando & The Milos (Milo 101)(1959)
23 All The World Loves A Lover – Bertell Dache (United Artists 260)(1961)
24 You Gotta Have Chicks – Bertell Dache (United Artists 260)(b-side, 1961)
25 Not Just Tomorrow, But Always – Bertell Dache (United Artists 290)(1961)
26 Love Eyes – Bertell Dache (United Artists 290)(b-side, 1961)

Please note that I have rearranged the sequence of the song listing.

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 All the singles (charted and uncharted, a and b-sides) from 1961 to 1962 are here, as noted above. The entire LP Bless You And Eleven Other Great Hits is included.
2 There is a 6 page booklet with an excellent essay by Groper Odson. In it, a few urban myths are finally clarified. First, the Tony Orlando who cut “Ding Dong” – a one-off single for the Milo label – was not “our” Tony, but another, slightly older singer from Newark, N.J. Secondly, despite anything that anyone else might try to tell you, Tony was most emphatically NOT Bertell Dache. We used to think that Bertell Dache was the pseudonym for Tony Orlando, because they both sound similar and sang similar songs from King-Goffen. In reality, Bertell Dache was black, and our Tony Orlando merely sounded black. All these songs, by Tony Orlando & the Milos, plus by Bertell Dache, are included as bonus tracks. Precious!
3 The sound is very well remastered, with clean vocals and no hiss.
4 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £6.79. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca in the future.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 No chart positions were listed.
2 No songs beyond 1962 are included, probably due to copyright law relating to Public Domain.
3 There are only 62 minutes on the entire CD. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining 18 minutes with more songs. After I have done a Complete Singles Discography on Tony Orlando’s solo hits (total of 34 songs), there are many other solo hits after 1962 that you could have given us the following missing tunes on Tony Orlando:

(01) I’ll Be There (Epic 9622)(Billboard 124/1963)*can be found in Tony Orlando Hits And Rarities on Marginal label (1995), or Bless You on Collectables (1997).
(02) What Am I Gonna Do (Epic 9622)(b-side, 1963) *can be found in Tony Orlando Hits And Rarities on Marginal label (1995), or Bless You on Collectables (1997).
(03) Tell Me What Can I Do (Epic 9668)(Uncharted single, 1964)*can be found in Halfway To Paradise Complete Epic Masters 1961-64 on Ace label.
(04) She Doesn’t Know It (Epic 9668)(b-side, 1964)*can be found in Halfway To Paradise Complete Epic Masters 1961-64 on Ace label.
(05) To Wait For Love (Epic 9715)(Uncharted single, 1964)*can be found in Halfway To Paradise Complete Epic Masters 1961-64 on Ace label.
(06) Accept It (Epic 9715)(b-side, 1964)*can be found in Halfway To Paradise Complete Epic Masters 1961-64 on Ace label.
(07) Make Believe – Wind (Life 200)(Billboard 28/1969)*Tony Orlando was lead singer; can be found in Hey Look What I Found Volume 6 on Mavis label.
(08) Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe (Life 200)(b-side, 1969)
(09) I Was A Boy (When You Needed A Man) – Billy Shields (Harbour 304)(Billboard 109/1969)
(10) Moments From Now Tomorrow (b-side, 1969)(Harbour 304)
(11) Don’t Let Go – Tony Orlando (Elektra 45501)(AC 48/1978)
(12) They’re Playing Our Song – Tony Orlando (Casablanca 967)(1979)
(13) Sweets For My Sweet (Casablanca 991)(AC 20/1979)*can be found in Tony’s solo album I Got Rhythm on Casablanca Records label or on CD The Casablanca Years (but this CD currently costs $145!!!
(14) High Steppin’ (Casablanca 991)(b-side, 1979)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

From my own discography on the solo hits of Tony Orlando, I managed to list 34 songs. This CD is pretty good. Jasmine Records is improving in that the singles are arranged chronologically. The complete Bless You album was included. The bonus tracks are great, providing greater value to the disc. The remastered sound is also very good. But if you want the best compilation of Tony Orlando’s solo singles hits on Epic, the one that I would recommend is “Halfway to Paradise: The Complete Epic Masters 1961 – 1964” on Ace label, which I have just purchased to complete my collection. But this current disc does have its merit, and is still recommended.

Doin the Locomotion
Doin the Locomotion
Price: CDN$ 20.90
23 used & new from CDN$ 8.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Little Eva & Her Girlfriends: 25 songs; nothing spectacular; contains entire 1st album by Little Eva!, June 15 2014
This review is from: Doin the Locomotion (Audio CD)
CONTENT:

This set has 25 songs: 13 songs (Little Eva), Her Girlfriends: 4 songs (Carole King), 6 songs (Ronettes) and 2 songs (The Cookies).

LITTLE EVA (born Eva Narcissus Boyd on June 29, 1943 in Belhaven, North Carolina):
LP Llllloco-Motion (Dimension DLP-6000)(US 97/1962):
01 The Loco-Motion (Dimension 1000)(Billboard 1(1)/1962)
02 Some Kind Of Wonderful
03 I Have A Love
04 Down Home (Dimension 1008)(b-side to Let’s Turkey Trot, 1963)
05 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
06 Run To Her
07 Uptown
08 Where Do I Go (Dimension 1003)(b-side to Keep Your Hands Off My Baby, 1962)
09 Up On The Roof
10 Sharing You
11 He’s The Boy (Dimension 1000)(b-side to The Loco-Motion, 1962)
12 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Single:
13 Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (Dimension 1003)(Billboard 12/1962)
CAROLE KING:
14 It Might As Well Rain Until September (Dimension 2000)(Billboard 22/1962)
15 Nobody’s Perfect (Dimension 2000)(b-side to It Might As Well Rain Until September, 1962)
16 School Bells Are Ring (Dimension 1004)(Billboard 123/1962)
17 I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance (Dimension 1004)(b-side to School Bells Are Ringing, 1962)
THE COOKIES:
18 Chains (Dimension 1002)(Billboard 17/1962)
19 Stranger In My Arms (Dimension 1002)(b-side to Chains, 1962)
THE RONETTES:
20 I Want A Boy – The Ronettes (Colpix 601)(Uncharted single, 1961)
21 What’s So Sweet About Sweet Sixteen – The Ronettes (Colpix 601)(b-side, 1961)
22 I’m Gonna Quit While I’m Ahead – The Ronettes (Colpix 646)(Uncharted single, 1962)
23 I’m On The Wagon – The Ronettes (Colpix 646)(b-side, 1962)
24 Silhouettes – The Ronettes (May 114)(Uncharted single, 1962)
25 You Bet I Would – The Ronettes (May 114)(b-side to Silhouettes, 1962)

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 The Complete album Llllloco-Motion by Little Eva is included.
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. Label & Number for both albums and singles are included.
4 The price is reasonably cheap, especially from sellers. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £6.78. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from sellers on Amazon.ca.

NEGATIVE POINTS:
1 Jasmine Records has really lost its focus on this release. It is neither Little Eva’s Greatest Hits nor the label Dimension-Colpix Records Story.

If you are looking for the Greatest Hits of Little Eva, I would recommend LlllLittle Eva! The Complete Dimension Recordings on Westside label (1997) with 29 songs. If you are a completist, Little Eva left Dimension in 1965 to join Amy Records, Verve Records and Spring Records labels. All these songs (7 singles and 14 songs) did not chart and are hard to find.

If you are looking for Carole King (pre-Tapestry era), there is a 3 CD set called The Songs Of Carole King on Not Now Music label from UK, (2013) with 11 songs on Carole King. But the ultimate collection is called Carole King Brill Building Legends: Complete Recordings 1958 – 1966 with 57 tracks. And the price is equally high: $48. Even frivolous completist, like myself, will pass on that.

If you are looking for the Cookies, the best compilation is called The Cookies: Chains/The Dimension Links 1962 – 1964 with 24 songs on RPM label (2009).

2 The entire CD has only 62 minutes. Come on Jasmine Records, you could have filled up the remaining 18 minutes with more songs, like Carole King's charted songs in 1963.
3 No songs beyond 1962 are included, probably due to copyright law relating to Public Domain.
4 The Little Eva album front cover picture should be included in the booklet.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

The song Loco-Motion is one of those rare songs that are everlasting: Little Eva (Billboard 1/1962), Grand Funk Railroad (Billboard 1(2)/1974), and Kylie Minogue (UK 2/1988). By the way, Little Eva died from cervical cancer on April 10, 2003 at the age of 59. Being a gynecologist, I feel that cervical cancer can be preventable if one does her pap smear regularly.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This release is not up to the usual high standards from Jasmine Records. It is neither here or there. There is nothing spectacular. I bought this CD mainly to get the Little Eva album. Most people have all the songs already. If you do not have and like Little Eva and Her Girlfriends, then this set is for you.

Early Ray Stevens
Early Ray Stevens
Price: CDN$ 19.28
23 used & new from CDN$ 9.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Stevens: The Early Ray Stevens: 31 songs from 1957 - 1962; many hit singles; entire 1837 Seconds Of Humor LP; good sound!, June 14 2014
This review is from: Early Ray Stevens (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 holder belongs to Stars On 45’s 1981 No. 1 single, Medley with 41 words and 152 letters.

CONTENT:

This CD from Jasmine Records contains 31 tracks, covering the period from 1957 to 1962. Since Amazon.ca did not provide a song listing, I have compiled a detailed track listing (containing source, label & number, chart position):

01 Rang Tang Ding Dong (I’m The Japanese Sandman)(Prep 108)(Uncharted single, 1957)
02 Silver Bracelet (Prep 108)(b-side, 1957)
03 Cholly Wolly Chang Chang (previously unreleased)
04 Five More Steps (Prep 122)(Uncharted single, 1957)
05 Tingle (Prep 122)(b-side, 1957)
06 That’s What She Means To Me (previously unreleased)
07 Chickie-Chickie Wah Wah (Capitol 3967)(Uncharted single, 1958)
08 Cat Pants (Capitol 4030)(Uncharted single, 1958)*promotional; no b-side.
09 The Clown (Capitol 4101)(Uncharted single, 1959)
10 School (Capitol 4101)(b-side, 1959)
11 High School Yearbook (NRC 031)(Uncharted single, 1959)
12 Truly True (NRC 031)(b-side, 1959)
13 What Would I Do Without You (NRC 042)(Uncharted single, 1960)
14 Sergent Preston Of The Yukon (NRC 057)(Billboard 108/1960)
15 Who Do You Love? (NRC 057)(b-side, 1960)
16 Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills (Mercury 71843)(Billboard 35/1961)
17 Teen Years (Mercury 71843)(b-side, 1961)
18 Scratch My Back (I Love It)(Mercury 71888)(Uncharted single, 1961)
19 Ahab The Arab (single edit mono)(Mercury 71966)(Billboard 5/1962)
20 It’s Been So Long (Mercury 71966)(b-side, 1962)
21 Further More (Mercury 72039)(Billboard 91/1962)
22 Saturday Night At The Movies (Mercury 72039)(b-side, 1962)
23 Santa Claus Is Watching You (Mercury 72058)(Billboard 45/1962)
24 Loved And Lost (Mercury 72058)(b-side, 1962)
LP 1837 Seconds Of Humor (Mercury 60732)(135/1962):
25 Ahab The Arab (album version, stereo)
26 Popeye And Olive Oil
27 The Rockin’ Boppin’ Waltz
28 PFC Rhythm And Blues Jones
29 The Rock And Roll Show
30 Julius Played The Trumpet
31 A Hermit Named Dave

POSITIVE POINTS:
1 This is a good collection of early Ray Stevens, containing singles (charted and uncharted, plus unreleased rare gems), plus 7 tracks from the complete album 1937 Seconds Of Humor (7 tracks + 4 singles tracks listed previously). We also have both the single (mono) and album (stereo) versions of Ahab The Arab.
2 The sound is very well remastered, clean, crisp vocal with no hiss.
3 There is a decent 6 page booklet, containing the singles chart positions and label & number, plus album label & chart number. This is a great improvement for Jasmine…it is slowly improving. Two pictures sleeves plus pictures of two singles labels in the booklet, plus pictures of 4 singles labels on the cd back inner cover under the disc were included. The essay by Groper Odson is informative.
4 The price is very reasonable if you buy from seller. I got mine from Amazon.co.uk for £5.48. But with the low Canadian $ plus delay in shipping, I am rethinking my strategy for purchase of future UK releases. I probably get the best bargain if I wait for the price to drop from local sellers on Amazon.ca.
5 Good value: 78 minutes.

NEGATIVE POINT:
1 After I have done a Complete Singles Discography on Ray Stevens, I found that there are a few a and b-sides missing:
(1) Well, Well, Well, Well! (Capitol 3889)(Uncharted single, 1958)
(2) You Just Kissed Me Goodbye (Capitol 3889)(b-side, 1958)
(3) Crying Goodbye (Capitol 3967)(b-side to Chickie Chickie Wah Wah, 1958)
(4) Love Goes On Forever (Capitol 4030)(b-side to Cat Pants, 1958)
(5) My Heart Cries For You (NRC 042)(b-side to What Would I Do Without You, 1960)
(6) Happy Blue Year (NRC 063)(Uncharted a-side, 1960)
(7) White Christmas (NRC 063)(b-side to Happy Blue Year, 1960)
(8) When You Wish Upon A Star (Mercury 71888)(b-side to Scratch My Back (I Love It), 1961)

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This is a great collection of early Ray Stevens from 1957 to 1962. There are many rare gems that made CD debut. He is indeed a multi-talented country and pop singer-songwriter musician and comedian. His last charted C&W hit was called Osama-Yo’ Mama. After the death of Osama bin Laden, this video surpassed 1 million on-line views. I rest my case. This set is a good collection of early Ray Stevens, and is highly recommended for all his fans.

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