A Trawl through the CD Collection (one day i will finish this!)

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Jul 1 2011, 20h21

Still trying to get through my CD collection...........
26 May 2008, 08:56



28 Feb 2008, 12:44
16 Jul 2007, 23:48
Well, since joining LAST.FM like many of you I have rediscovered my love of music, stuff i used to listen to loads and finding loads of new stuff as well. I must admit as well, through a few of my online chums I have discovered some brilliant new stuff Papilla, Ely Guerra and Broken Social Scene to name but, well three!

Well, I have this really huge cd collection like probably most of you and i spend days listening to my ipod and itunes because its easy and quick but as a result i have those cool little shiny discs gathering dust on the shelves and the only time they move is if I hear a song on a film or television soundtrack or see it on somebody's playlist and think oh i love that!!!

So, as a result I have decided that what i will do is start off with A and try and work through each of the cds in each letter! If i can play maybe one cd album a day then thats got to be good going. They will not be strict alphabetical for those Hornby fans amongst us but just the A's. At the end of the day some albums you have to be in the mood for, its also at this point where I realise that I will embarass myself with some right dodgy stuff- my only defence (and a good one!) i was a radio presenter and nightclub dj once upon a time so my taste is varied, or at least that's a word for it!

The A's

Bryan Adams 'Reckless'

I decided to kick off with some good old classic 80s rock and you know what during the first track 'One Night Love Affair' I thought that what I have just written will not even make it till the middle of this track. But hey, i knew there was a reason I had this cd and its because it rocks. 'Summer Of '69' is played to death but 'Run To You', 'Kids Wanna Rock' and the duet with Tina Turner 'It's Only Love' are real 80stastic tracks.

I have a good feeling about this idea, i have found a few more songs to add to my itunes, you can remind me of this good idea when I am trying to get through some of the other nonsense!

Right, that was a brilliant idea- i have sung my lungs out to all those songs and i remember them all, i knew there was a reason for seeing him live years ago! An album of only a mere 38 minutes but every minute a rock air guitar minute!

If you have this and have not played it for a while- do it!! You'll thank yourself for it. I want to do a mark system here but thats too anally retentive. Brilliant



17 Jul 2007, 23:34
A-Ha - Hunting High And Low (1985)

Yep, A's are looking interesting already Adams last night and I have just noticed there is another one of them kicking around before this section is up! So, A-ha

I remember distinctly when it was released because 'Take On Me' had that very cool video which if you lived in the UK, you will remember it being shown on Breakfast TV with Selina Scott! The album does have that number one and also 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' which made number one too! The other two singles were 'Train Of Thought' and 'Hunting High And Low'.

To be fair the four singles are brilliant and are very of the period but still can be listened too without any desperate need to turn it off. I read in a magazine a while ago about the forgotten track on the album and that was 'Love Is Reason' some would argue forgotten for a reason but its ok in an 80s synth type way!

I always remember preferring the second album 'Scoundrel Days' when I was younger and there's a reason for that!

I can safely say that 'Hunting High And Low' is one of those albums that you remember fondly but really its the singles that you remember and the videos because its ok but not that great. Not awful and worth listening to just not very often!

Probably one of those albums that its nice to know you have it and reminds you of a period in your life but you won't miss not hearing it for a while! But you have to love track names like 'I Dream Myself Alive'- what?!

Still glad I made the effort! and I own far worse albums I know so this is actually good! it only lasts 37 minutes but you know 'Train Of Thought' is superb!

Bring on more of this 80s synth pop! :)

Air - 'Moon Safari'

Well, time to move from the 80s tonight but trust me we will return with more amazingly great stuff!! Tonight, an album that I do often listen to and surely one of those that every music collection should have.

For the unelightened- they are a French band and this album is amazing- 'Sexy Boy' and 'Kelly Watch The Stars' were two massive singles.

The album is a very chilled out affair and would work well on a summer sunny evening sat chilling in your garden or house. Laid back electronic sound from track 1 (La Femme D'Argent) through to track 10 and the sublime Le Voyage De Penelope'. The standout tracks are probably 'All I Need' and 'You Make It Easy' which both feature a female guest vocalist who I think is Beth Hirsch?

If you don't own it you Should. I have enjoyed the other two albums greatly but this is the best one so far and to be fair by the end of this mamoth task will probably be one of the best albums in the whole collection. Superb!

Air - Talkie Walkie

Well, i have a few of these AIR alums to get through
whilst I hang around in the A's. It's one of those things, the chances are if you like one album by these guys you will probably like them all but maybe just one better than another, if you get my drift.

Talkie Walkie is equally as chilled as Moon Safari although I know several people who think its a better all round record. Having listened to it again from start to finish I must admit its even better than I remembered. Some of the stand-out tracks are 'Alone In Kyoto' , 'Surfing On A Rocket' and 'Mike Mills'.

The whole feel of the album is crafted beautifully and you can tell these are a band who leave nothing to chance with excellent production.

This is well worth a listen if you have it and forgotten about it but well worth picking up if you see it in a shop. Lovely!

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Well, this is the latest album from these guys and this is the first time I have spent some proper time in its company. I love the track 'Keep The Car Running' and that was really the point of getting it in and to be honest the whole album is so good.

I liked the album before and I have that to look forward too but I think this really displays how good the vocals and music are. Well written tracks that sound superb through the construction and production. A lot of lively and upbeat stuff with very catchy choruses in many of the tracks.

I am a little behind in getting into this album but it was worth the wait because its excellent. There is not one track that disappoints. I especially liked 'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations' and 'My Body Is A Cage'.

What other gems are hidden away in my collection that I need to blow the dust off I wonder?

Well I was only going to listen to the proper albums whilst I did this (ie- the ones that are not compilations of the artists work) but having seen Abba, The Animals and ABC all lined up in there I felt inclined to include them as well.

The Animals - The Most of The Animals

A compilation of 16 tracks by that cool 60s band The Animals who by all accounts were very successful both in the UK and the US. I have from my childhood, passed down from my mother a 7 of 'The House Of The Rising Sun' which is the track that kicks this compilation off and frankly its such an amazing song, That hammond organ sounds amazing throughout and there's a kind of foreboding to the track.

There are some other really cool tracks rattling around on this 50 minute compilation such as 'We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place' , 'Roadrunner' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. A very roar and bluesy sound throughout all of thei tracks and a band discussing those age old areas of love and living.

This is worth having for the aforementioned tracks but like so many bands of that period singles were often a huge priority and who knows if there is an album you should have by them but in the meantime I am happy to blast out this pulled together compilation for my Animals fix.

Really cool!

Rick Astley - Free

Yeah you read that right, Rick Astley, he of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame! Well, it's at this point I point out that I was not a fan of Astley until this one track came out and I will quickly point out that except for this one track on this album I am not a fan. I generally refer to him as the 80s guy with the dodgy dance who convinced millions he was good! (catchy tag line that!!)

There is a little history behind this cd as well which is probably more interesting than the music itself. Look I bought the album for the song 'Move Right Out' which those of you with a keen eye would have seen scrobbled at some point. I really like it- its one of those catchy little pop songs which is short and to the point! It's good- no really it is! So, instead of buying the single I bought the album.....now this came out in 1991 around the time I past my driving test and reward for passing the test was not the album no......it was to borrow the parents car...yippeee!!!

So, me and friends bundle into the car and go to the local shopping mall to shop, as you do first trip out. So, we get there and I buy Gastley Astley.....give it to my mate to hold when I get in the car. By the time we get home, in the car, we lose the cd!! Bugger it! So, me and said mate drive to the other town to get another copy (must have that song!!) buy the album again. However, first time out with the parents car and I knock the goddamn wingmirror off the car.....shit!! So, what a day, bust the wing mirror and pay twice as much to get a copy of the album! I probably paid a tenner in those days which means I paid £20 for one track....

Several years later........I take the cd out to listen to in a time like this when I decide to listen to things I have not heard for a while and the bloody thing as gone......I assume that I would have lost it whilst DJing although lets face it I would never have taken it out to a nightclub unless I was looking to be hung, in the true spirit of the Smiths song.................

Several years later.....2005 and amazingly it turns up in an old cd player in the house my dad was fixing, he used it (so he says) to test the machine and that was the first cd he could put his hands on.......rioght!

So, fastforward and 2007 I am listening to the album whilst I type this and the first track starts with a duet with Michael McDonald 'In The Name Of Love' (quite good), track two 'Cry For Help' the big single, track 3 the biggy 'Move Right Out'.

Another eight tracks to get through and they are not pleasent and rest assured not worth one wing mirror, £6 petrol and £20.

Still after that story.....how could you give it to a charity shop......besides in a twist of fate a mate would probably see it, not know I had actually found it and then bought me the bugger back!!

Here thankfully ends the Astley album. Cheesetastic and very 1991 is all I need say! Except for the infamous 'Move Right Out' this is a non-starter, you really wanna get hold of him before the end of track 8 and give him a good slap! I highly recommend 'MRO' but avoid the rest of the album for all your worth, it's 49 minutes of your life your not getting back!

Just as a footnote, check out the people that play on this Mark King (thunderthumb from Level 42), Rob Fisher (Climie Fisher), Elton John, Anne Dudley, Michael McDonald - well done guys for contibuting to a pile of toss!

AIR - The Virgin Suicides

Once upon a time there was a really good filmmaker called Francis Ford Copolla and he made movies like 'Rumblefish' , 'The Outsiders' , 'Apocalpyse Now' and 'The Godfather' in the third of his 'Godfather' pictures he put his daughter Sofia. Sofia couldn't act as well as the rest of the cast and was resigned to becoming a film director and thank-god she did!!

Sofia Coppolla as made 'Marie Antionette' , the amazing and one of the best films ever 'Lost In Translation' but she also made this really atmospheric movie called 'The Virgin Suicides'. Well, what a stroke of luck she had AIR compose the soundtrack.

AIR playing on the themes we have heard in the previous two albums so far in terms of style produces a slightly more upbeat but also sinister record. The album incorporates the movie soundtrack and you can follow the films narrative from the mood and song titles, exactly like you should be able too!

I do not really need to say anything else, 'Playground Love' is superb as is the rest. I had actually forgotten I own so many AIR albums, I still have another one to go......if I have not convinced you to buy some yet....shame on you!!!

More AIR class!

Tori Amos - Tales Of A Librarian (collection)

Well, Tori Amos is one of those artists that I really like but somehow never really play her stuff as much as i probably should. She's a singer-songwriter and from my charts you will see I am heavily into those, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant and a load of others.

I have several of her tracks on 7single (how old am I?) including 'Silent All These Years' which on the flip side as a cracking version of the Nirvana track 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

Anyway within tracks of this being on it all came flooding back, this 20 track collection is a prime example of exactly how briliant she is. Superb vocals with some beautiful and heartfelt lyrics throughout. The remix of 'Professional Widow' by Armand Van Helden is included which was a massive dancefloor crossover and you could mix it with just about anything at the time. Other brilliant tracks include 'Cornflake Girl' , 'Silent All These Years' , 'God' , ' Sweet Dreams' , 'Playboy Mommy' and 'Tear In Your Hand'. I adore one of the tracks recorded for this album 'Snow Cherries From France' which is beautiful.

A superb collection of tracks that demonstrates her talent. If you are new to her work, although the albums 'Under The Pink' and 'Little Earthquakes' are brilliant, go with this and then go and buy the rest later.

I do not plan on leaving it quite so long to listen to her again.

A-Ha - Headlines and Deadlines- The Hits of A-Ha

A greatest hits package where the title lasts as long as the songs included. This was the first best of A-ha available and contains 16 tracks all of which except for 'Touchy' are really good singles. What the hell is 'Touchy' from the chorus Me I'm Touchy' what!!! I think something lost in the translation there!

The other tracks though do include the obvious things from 'Hunting High And Low' (reviewed earlier in the week!) - 'Take On Me' , 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' and from 'Scoundrel Days' (interesting album name) 'Manhattan Skyline' which is brilliant, moody and very atmospheric. Also included from that album is 'Cry Wolf' and 'I've Been Losing You'.

In the Uk after 'Scoundrel Days' they kind of started to get very little radio play and had a few more hits including one of the best James Bond themes 'The Living Daylights' and the cover of 'Crying In The Rain'. After the release of 'Stay On These Roads' which did pretty well, they almost disappeared but thats probably because if 'Touchy' was not included on this cd the worst track would be 'You're The One' and that probably sealed their fate for a few years. That's a shame because 'Move To Memphis' , 'Early Morning' and 'I Call Your Name' are all really good tracks that most people do not even know exist.

Anyway- this is a good display of their tracks and as a hits package it works well, all catchy, hummable and just very 80s. They seem to have re-entered the limelight in the past couple of years and these 16 tracks remind us why we liked them in the first place, well ok 15 because 'Touchy' is terrible.

Nic Armstrong

This guy can be seen as Nic Armstrong, Nic Armstrong and the Naturals, Nic Armstrong and the Thieves or the new title Thieves IV! Either way the fact of the matter is I bought this album 'The Greatest White Liar' at a gig they were playing as a support for Paul Weller.

I have seen several support acts for Weller over the years and I felt these guys are probably the ones I have enjoyed the most. A four piece who sounded a little Beatlesesque and had that old forgotten thing- 3 minute poppy consturected songs.

A band that have been influenced by good music over the years such as the Beatles, T-Rex and probably any proper R'n'B band. The lyrics are of things we'd except Daltrey, Lennon or Jagger to be singing about girls, love and having a bloody good time.

The album lasts for 40 minutes and contains 14 tracks all of which are good well written and produced tracks. No fillers here! Some of the standout tracks include 'On A Pronise' , 'You Made It true' , 'Broken Mouth Blues' and 'Mrs.The Moralizer'.

This is already on my ipod and its where it will stay. Really good and you should check it.

AIR- Premiers Symptomes

This is a rare singles collection mini album according to the attached sticker on the cd. The cd consists of 7 tracks lasting just over 30 minutes and really what is there left to say about Air that I have not already covered.

This is of equal quality to any of the previous albums that I have revisited. The first track 'modular mix' is infact one of my fave tracks by them.

A very solid collection of tracks that are very well engineered and constructed. A beautiful serene trip through their world. Like great film directors that revisit themes and often play with ideas slightly they never really fail to include the right mix of things and the same can be said for our favourite French duo.

Probably like this more than 'Talkie Walkie' but still not quite 'Moon Safari'. I wonder whether I will get the new album before I move away from the A section. Although still a fair few to get through.

The Audience- The Audience

Well, before Sophie Ellis Bextor became a dancefloor diva she was the lead singer is the band The Audience. The band consisting of 5 men dressed in black and her also dressed in black!

Let's face it she's one of those people that just as a really good strong vocal and half the time the problem is not she's rubbish but the songs are not brilliant. However, this is not the case and frankly how this album did not do better than it did is mystifying! I guess that same old adage of not enough promotion or radio play.

During the brief period this lot were pumping out stuff with her crooning away in true indie style it was good. Really good. This is one of the bands i helped to promote at the places i used to dj at but although my lot were quite into it, it did not seem the case in other places.

Every song relies on her wonderfully strong vocal.If you like and are only aware of her solo dance stuff you should go back and see where the start was and how she re-invented herself.

The album as a cracking value for money 14 tracks, well value for money if you bought it and its not the promo you were sent! Anyways, brilliant titles such as 'A Pessimist is Never Disappointed' , 'I Know Enough (I Don;t Get Enough)'. The tracks are guitar and thrashy in places and light indie pop in others- the two tracks already mentioned are really good and were strong singles but my fave is probably 'Harry Don't Fetch The Water' and others such as 'You Get What You Deserve' and 'If You Can't Do It When You're Young; When Can You Do It?' are also good.

A cracking album which i need to listen to more often.

Virginia Astley - From Gardens Where We Feel Secure

Right, i should point out at this point in time- this woman is no relation (that i know of...) to the aforementioned Rick Astley.

If you live in the UK and you live in the countryside or Wales then this album is basically like sat in your garden (as long as you are not next to a busy road).

Possibly the most quintessential English album there is......it captures the essence of a beautiful Summer's day in about 40 minutes and its the most relaxing album ever....but the scary thing is, it is close to those cds you see for sale in garden centres which would suggest oldness creeping in.......

Do not be put off by this....you will be surprised at how good it is!!

If you have never experienced a Summer's Day and Evening in the UK then this will let you in on something. That something being its probably exactly the same where you live! The use of sounds and minimal music creates an atmosphere which could be used for almost any movie where people sit in a garden or a similiar ilk. There are no vocals on the tracks and that adds to the bare minimum feeling that it creates in its soundscape. It feels although it is one long track with the way it is mixed. This really takes me back to being a child even although I only heard it about six months ago.

I guess this is a good example of being experimental and there is probably arguments for the title concept album.......

Try it you'll be surprised......

Well, I haven't forgotten but I did need to muster up the energy to continue with this amazingly long idea!

So, I decided to throw myself in at the deepend and transport myself back to 1991.....

Bryan Adams- Waking Up The Neighbours

Well, firstly one saving grace about this album is Neighbours is spelt the English way and not missing any letter 'u' on the way!

So, transported back to the beginning of the 90s (1991) with the album that most people own if they have a Bryan Adams album. Not because it's full of throw-away 80s style soft rock like 'Reckless' (see above) but due to the inclusion of THAT song! I am trying to ignore that it will be playing at some point and am considering skipping it because let's face it- it probably gets enough scrobbles as it is!

Anyway, I saw Mr.Adams live this year as well in Cardiff Arms Park (now the Millenuim Stadium) and he was excellent. Stadium rock was created for people like this, it was a Summer's Evening and it was warm and bright with a light breeze. He came on and it was 2 and half hours of fun and soft rock(tastic).

This album takes me right back to that very day. There are 15 tracks on an album that lasts well over the hour mark which is very different to 'Reckless'. This is an album where he discusses the fundamentals of love, fun, parties, sexual innocence, relationships and death. Throughout every track there is room for an Adams guitar riff which just hooks you and you can't help but tap your foot and hum the tune.

The first half of the cd is better than the second half with hits and bubblegum rock tracks such as 'Hey Honey I'm Packin You In!' which either took him two minutes to come up with or the whole year. The best track on the album must be the hit 'Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven' and this keeps instep with the other long track titles like 'If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)'. Every song title is basically the song and what it is about- no abstract interpretations needed here.

The album rocks from start to finish and you have to listen to it just to be amazed how the Canadian Rocker can keep it going all the way through. The album title comes from a line in the absurd 'House Arrest' with catchy chorus, guitar riff and break-down allowing in live gigs the crowd to clap along in time (presumably with hands above their heads).

The only real downtime on the album comes in the middle with 'Do I Have To Say The Words?' where he cries out for help with loving that special girl. Of course the other ballad is THAT song! Did (get ready for another lengthy track title) 'Everything I Do) I Do It For You' really stay at number one that long? It's hard to believe especially at a time where most tracks these days spend only a week at the top. Was the song really that good? The film is not really very good? It will be a debate among some for sure. In my opinion, it's an ok track that if it had not been promoted on every radio station, tv station and cardboard box probably wouldn't have even made the top 40!

I must admit I enjoyed listening to it, it is by no means close to the quality of 'Reckless' but it is better than '18 Til I Die' (if that was the album title- which I remember not liking at all.

Good stuff if you want to have an hour of good solid soft rock toss! :)

So, back into the swing of looking at my cd collection, but still with a lot of work to do on the 'A's'.

25 May 2008, 12:59
ABC- ABSOLUTELY

This is obviously not a 'proper' album because it's the first release of a best of...greatest hits of....all the hits...whatever the term is this week for collection of songs that best represent the artist (although to be fair this cannot be applied to that Moby's Greatest Hits a few years back- it was possibly the worst combination of tracks from a guy who as produced some great stuff- anyway more of that in the M section, and that is a long way off!!).

So, Absolutley continues my trawl through my cd collection. ABC is Martin Fry and the other guys that a) no one can remember and b) probably do not appear in the current line-up.

I was a fan of them, well I liked them a lot when you are barely 10 you probably like songs a lot instead of being fans of them! Still I remember 'Poison Arrow' (which is the first track on this collection) and still it packs an 80s punch which leaves some other songs of the period with a bitter regret that they do not sound anywhere near as good as this, even now! If you thought that was good then you really are in 80s heaven when 'The Look Of Love' belts in followed by 'All Of My Heart'. I am sure at this point they probably thought they would be selling records non-stop for the next 3 decades. However, selling records and having hits is one thing but bettering what you have previously done is difficult and for this I am glad I am not a songwriter!

Still the album progresses with purley cool and good electronic soul pop which is probably not a bad way of describing ABC. The other stand out tracks are 'Be Near Me' , 'Tears Are Not Enough' and 'S.O.S'.

A mention at this point is probably a good idea about the lyrics- "No rhythm in cymbals, No tempo in drums, Love on arrival" (Poison Arrow) nonsense but in a popworld it works wonderfully well. Top marks for getting in a line about "Apple Crumble" in 'That Was Then But This Is Now'.

The album is full of quality tracks and Martin Fry does have a very cool voice that suits the music beautifully. Towards the end of the 80s it looked like they were going to be disappearing from the pop limelight but then came 'When Smokey Sings' which is equally as good as any of the the first three tracks on this collection.

The album is made up of songs from 'The Lexicon Of Love' , 'Beauty Star' and 'Alphabet City' and a couple of other releases. The annoying thing to mention about this collection is tracks 1-13 are all really good original versions but and this is a BIG BUT! This was released in 1990 and you can tell because someone decided that they needed to be 90s up for the new decade and tracks 14 through to 17 are all very poor pointless remixes of tracks from earlier in the album. The remixes are poor, the original stuff pure class.

This is a quality item. If you are unsure of the ABC back catalogue this is a good place to start!

I have other A's to listen too but.......

The B's

The reason for starting the B's at this point before the end of the A's is not to avoid Abba More Gold or Apollo 440 but because I woke up this morning (feeling fine- sure that's a song!) and decided that I would start listening to The Beatles albums in order.

I have listened to Please Please Me, With The Beatles, Beatles For Sale, A Hard Day's Night, Help and am currently on Rubber Soul. Let's get one thing straight from the start these are my fave band so it will be all roses about the quality of these albums except for maybe 2 songs! Everybody rates The Beatles in order of preference just like you do with the actors who have played James Bond! Incidentally Bond actually doesn't like The Beatles in 'Goldfinger' he says something like it's like listen to The Beatles without ear muffs its simply not done!

Well, back to the dread of the two songs- John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney- that's my order! I have time for Macca but really 'Yesterday' annoys the hell out of me, although to be fair even Lennon likes that if you listen to his 'How Do You Sleep' but I have suffered that because its on Help! I have to endure Hey Jude later and that is something that scares me........The b-side or was it double AA side was Revolution and that is way better!

Still moan over- Please Please Me- may only be about 30 minutes but its so good- from the title track onwards it is amazing. Love Me Do is one of my fave Beatles songs and Twist And Shout is an amazingly good version. You can see why they grew better and better because this is such a great start.

With The Beatles contains lots of covers too but there are some Lennon-McCartney tracks too (may the writing credit always stay in that order!!). The version of Money and Please Mr Postman are real rock 'n' roll tracks. This album does have Don't Bother Me which maybe the first Harrison song to feature on a Beatles album. Oh and the album cover is beautifully shot and lit.

Beatles For Sale- this like the previous ones does have lots of really good rock 'n' roll numbers and you kind of feel you would like to be transported back to that time just for a night to experience what going out was like with those tracks to dance too. Must have been amazing! Eight Days A Week, Honey Don't and Rock And Roll Music are brilliant. The whole album like the previous ones contains 14 tracks and everyone of them essential and not a filler in sight.

A Hard Day's Night- Well that cord and then the rest of the song starts off the title track- genius! Is this the first album of all Lennon and McCartney compositions? Half the album features on the really cool movie of the same name and the other tracks are all classic Beatlesesque tunes!
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My CD collection (continued- finally!!)
28 Feb 2008, 12:44

16 Jul 2007, 23:48
Well, since joining LAST.FM like many of you I have rediscovered my love of music, stuff i used to listen to loads and finding loads of new stuff as well. I must admit as well, through a few of my online chums I have discovered some brilliant new stuff Papilla, Ely Guerra and Broken Social Scene to name but, well three!

Well, I have this really huge cd collection like probably most of you and i spend days listening to my ipod and itunes because its easy and quick but as a result i have those cool little shiny discs gathering dust on the shelves and the only time they move is if I hear a song on a film or television soundtrack or see it on somebody's playlist and think oh i love that!!!

So, as a result I have decided that what i will do is start off with A and try and work through each of the cds in each letter! If i can play maybe one cd album a day then thats got to be good going. They will not be strict alphabetical for those Hornby fans amongst us but just the A's. At the end of the day some albums you have to be in the mood for, its also at this point where I realise that I will embarass myself with some right dodgy stuff- my only defence (and a good one!) i was a radio presenter and nightclub dj once upon a time so my taste is varied, or at least that's a word for it!

The A's

Bryan Adams 'Reckless'

I decided to kick off with some good old classic 80s rock and you know what during the first track 'One Night Love Affair' I thought that what I have just written will not even make it till the middle of this track. But hey, i knew there was a reason I had this cd and its because it rocks. 'Summer Of '69' is played to death but 'Run To You', 'Kids Wanna Rock' and the duet with Tina Turner 'It's Only Love' are real 80stastic tracks.

I have a good feeling about this idea, i have found a few more songs to add to my itunes, you can remind me of this good idea when I am trying to get through some of the other nonsense!

Right, that was a brilliant idea- i have sung my lungs out to all those songs and i remember them all, i knew there was a reason for seeing him live years ago! An album of only a mere 38 minutes but every minute a rock air guitar minute!

If you have this and have not played it for a while- do it!! You'll thank yourself for it. I want to do a mark system here but thats too anally retentive. Brilliant



17 Jul 2007, 23:34
A-Ha - Hunting High And Low (1985)

Yep, A's are looking interesting already Adams last night and I have just noticed there is another one of them kicking around before this section is up! So, A-ha

I remember distinctly when it was released because 'Take On Me' had that very cool video which if you lived in the UK, you will remember it being shown on Breakfast TV with Selina Scott! The album does have that number one and also 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' which made number one too! The other two singles were 'Train Of Thought' and 'Hunting High And Low'.

To be fair the four singles are brilliant and are very of the period but still can be listened too without any desperate need to turn it off. I read in a magazine a while ago about the forgotten track on the album and that was 'Love Is Reason' some would argue forgotten for a reason but its ok in an 80s synth type way!

I always remember preferring the second album 'Scoundrel Days' when I was younger and there's a reason for that!

I can safely say that 'Hunting High And Low' is one of those albums that you remember fondly but really its the singles that you remember and the videos because its ok but not that great. Not awful and worth listening to just not very often!

Probably one of those albums that its nice to know you have it and reminds you of a period in your life but you won't miss not hearing it for a while! But you have to love track names like 'I Dream Myself Alive'- what?!

Still glad I made the effort! and I own far worse albums I know so this is actually good! it only lasts 37 minutes but you know 'Train Of Thought' is superb!

Bring on more of this 80s synth pop! :)

Air - 'Moon Safari'

Well, time to move from the 80s tonight but trust me we will return with more amazingly great stuff!! Tonight, an album that I do often listen to and surely one of those that every music collection should have.

For the unelightened- they are a French band and this album is amazing- 'Sexy Boy' and 'Kelly Watch The Stars' were two massive singles.

The album is a very chilled out affair and would work well on a summer sunny evening sat chilling in your garden or house. Laid back electronic sound from track 1 (La Femme D'Argent) through to track 10 and the sublime Le Voyage De Penelope'. The standout tracks are probably 'All I Need' and 'You Make It Easy' which both feature a female guest vocalist who I think is Beth Hirsch?

If you don't own it you Should. I have enjoyed the other two albums greatly but this is the best one so far and to be fair by the end of this mamoth task will probably be one of the best albums in the whole collection. Superb!

Air - Talkie Walkie

Well, i have a few of these AIR alums to get through
whilst I hang around in the A's. It's one of those things, the chances are if you like one album by these guys you will probably like them all but maybe just one better than another, if you get my drift.

Talkie Walkie is equally as chilled as Moon Safari although I know several people who think its a better all round record. Having listened to it again from start to finish I must admit its even better than I remembered. Some of the stand-out tracks are 'Alone In Kyoto' , 'Surfing On A Rocket' and 'Mike Mills'.

The whole feel of the album is crafted beautifully and you can tell these are a band who leave nothing to chance with excellent production.

This is well worth a listen if you have it and forgotten about it but well worth picking up if you see it in a shop. Lovely!

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Well, this is the latest album from these guys and this is the first time I have spent some proper time in its company. I love the track 'Keep The Car Running' and that was really the point of getting it in and to be honest the whole album is so good.

I liked the album before and I have that to look forward too but I think this really displays how good the vocals and music are. Well written tracks that sound superb through the construction and production. A lot of lively and upbeat stuff with very catchy choruses in many of the tracks.

I am a little behind in getting into this album but it was worth the wait because its excellent. There is not one track that disappoints. I especially liked 'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations' and 'My Body Is A Cage'.

What other gems are hidden away in my collection that I need to blow the dust off I wonder?

Well I was only going to listen to the proper albums whilst I did this (ie- the ones that are not compilations of the artists work) but having seen Abba, The Animals and ABC all lined up in there I felt inclined to include them as well.

The Animals - The Most of The Animals

A compilation of 16 tracks by that cool 60s band The Animals who by all accounts were very successful both in the UK and the US. I have from my childhood, passed down from my mother a 7" of 'The House Of The Rising Sun' which is the track that kicks this compilation off and frankly its such an amazing song, That hammond organ sounds amazing throughout and there's a kind of foreboding to the track.

There are some other really cool tracks rattling around on this 50 minute compilation such as 'We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place' , 'Roadrunner' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. A very roar and bluesy sound throughout all of thei tracks and a band discussing those age old areas of love and living.

This is worth having for the aforementioned tracks but like so many bands of that period singles were often a huge priority and who knows if there is an album you should have by them but in the meantime I am happy to blast out this pulled together compilation for my Animals fix.

Really cool!

Rick Astley - Free

Yeah you read that right, Rick Astley, he of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame! Well, it's at this point I point out that I was not a fan of Astley until this one track came out and I will quickly point out that except for this one track on this album I am not a fan. I generally refer to him as the 80s guy with the dodgy dance who convinced millions he was good! (catchy tag line that!!)

There is a little history behind this cd as well which is probably more interesting than the music itself. Look I bought the album for the song 'Move Right Out' which those of you with a keen eye would have seen scrobbled at some point. I really like it- its one of those catchy little pop songs which is short and to the point! It's good- no really it is! So, instead of buying the single I bought the album.....now this came out in 1991 around the time I past my driving test and reward for passing the test was not the album no......it was to borrow the parents car...yippeee!!!

So, me and friends bundle into the car and go to the local shopping mall to shop, as you do first trip out. So, we get there and I buy Gastley Astley.....give it to my mate to hold when I get in the car. By the time we get home, in the car, we lose the cd!! Bugger it! So, me and said mate drive to the other town to get another copy (must have that song!!) buy the album again. However, first time out with the parents car and I knock the goddamn wingmirror off the car.....shit!! So, what a day, bust the wing mirror and pay twice as much to get a copy of the album! I probably paid a tenner in those days which means I paid £20 for one track....

Several years later........I take the cd out to listen to in a time like this when I decide to listen to things I have not heard for a while and the bloody thing as gone......I assume that I would have lost it whilst DJing although lets face it I would never have taken it out to a nightclub unless I was looking to be hung, in the true spirit of the Smiths song.................

Several years later.....2005 and amazingly it turns up in an old cd player in the house my dad was fixing, he used it (so he says) to test the machine and that was the first cd he could put his hands on.......rioght!

So, fastforward and 2007 I am listening to the album whilst I type this and the first track starts with a duet with Michael McDonald 'In The Name Of Love' (quite good), track two 'Cry For Help' the big single, track 3 the biggy 'Move Right Out'.

Another eight tracks to get through and they are not pleasent and rest assured not worth one wing mirror, £6 petrol and £20.

Still after that story.....how could you give it to a charity shop......besides in a twist of fate a mate would probably see it, not know I had actually found it and then bought me the bugger back!!

Here thankfully ends the Astley album. Cheesetastic and very 1991 is all I need say! Except for the infamous 'Move Right Out' this is a non-starter, you really wanna get hold of him before the end of track 8 and give him a good slap! I highly recommend 'MRO' but avoid the rest of the album for all your worth, it's 49 minutes of your life your not getting back!

Just as a footnote, check out the people that play on this Mark King (thunderthumb from Level 42), Rob Fisher (Climie Fisher), Elton John, Anne Dudley, Michael McDonald - well done guys for contibuting to a pile of toss!

AIR - The Virgin Suicides

Once upon a time there was a really good filmmaker called Francis Ford Copolla and he made movies like 'Rumblefish' , 'The Outsiders' , 'Apocalpyse Now' and 'The Godfather' in the third of his 'Godfather' pictures he put his daughter Sofia. Sofia couldn't act as well as the rest of the cast and was resigned to becoming a film director and thank-god she did!!

Sofia Coppolla as made 'Marie Antionette' , the amazing and one of the best films ever 'Lost In Translation' but she also made this really atmospheric movie called 'The Virgin Suicides'. Well, what a stroke of luck she had AIR compose the soundtrack.

AIR playing on the themes we have heard in the previous two albums so far in terms of style produces a slightly more upbeat but also sinister record. The album incorporates the movie soundtrack and you can follow the films narrative from the mood and song titles, exactly like you should be able too!

I do not really need to say anything else, 'Playground Love' is superb as is the rest. I had actually forgotten I own so many AIR albums, I still have another one to go......if I have not convinced you to buy some yet....shame on you!!!

More AIR class!

Tori Amos - Tales Of A Librarian (collection)

Well, Tori Amos is one of those artists that I really like but somehow never really play her stuff as much as i probably should. She's a singer-songwriter and from my charts you will see I am heavily into those, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant and a load of others.

I have several of her tracks on 7"single (how old am I?) including 'Silent All These Years' which on the flip side as a cracking version of the Nirvana track 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

Anyway within tracks of this being on it all came flooding back, this 20 track collection is a prime example of exactly how briliant she is. Superb vocals with some beautiful and heartfelt lyrics throughout. The remix of 'Professional Widow' by Armand Van Helden is included which was a massive dancefloor crossover and you could mix it with just about anything at the time. Other brilliant tracks include 'Cornflake Girl' , 'Silent All These Years' , 'God' , ' Sweet Dreams' , 'Playboy Mommy' and 'Tear In Your Hand'. I adore one of the tracks recorded for this album 'Snow Cherries From France' which is beautiful.

A superb collection of tracks that demonstrates her talent. If you are new to her work, although the albums 'Under The Pink' and 'Little Earthquakes' are brilliant, go with this and then go and buy the rest later.

I do not plan on leaving it quite so long to listen to her again.

A-Ha - Headlines and Deadlines- The Hits of A-Ha

A greatest hits package where the title lasts as long as the songs included. This was the first best of A-ha available and contains 16 tracks all of which except for 'Touchy' are really good singles. What the hell is 'Touchy' from the chorus "Me I'm Touchy' what!!! I think something lost in the translation there!

The other tracks though do include the obvious things from 'Hunting High And Low' (reviewed earlier in the week!) - 'Take On Me' , 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' and from 'Scoundrel Days' (interesting album name) 'Manhattan Skyline' which is brilliant, moody and very atmospheric. Also included from that album is 'Cry Wolf' and 'I've Been Losing You'.

In the Uk after 'Scoundrel Days' they kind of started to get very little radio play and had a few more hits including one of the best James Bond themes 'The Living Daylights' and the cover of 'Crying In The Rain'. After the release of 'Stay On These Roads' which did pretty well, they almost disappeared but thats probably because if 'Touchy' was not included on this cd the worst track would be 'You're The One' and that probably sealed their fate for a few years. That's a shame because 'Move To Memphis' , 'Early Morning' and 'I Call Your Name' are all really good tracks that most people do not even know exist.

Anyway- this is a good display of their tracks and as a hits package it works well, all catchy, hummable and just very 80s. They seem to have re-entered the limelight in the past couple of years and these 16 tracks remind us why we liked them in the first place, well ok 15 because 'Touchy' is terrible.

Nic Armstrong

This guy can be seen as Nic Armstrong, Nic Armstrong and the Naturals, Nic Armstrong and the Thieves or the new title Thieves IV! Either way the fact of the matter is I bought this album 'The Greatest White Liar' at a gig they were playing as a support for Paul Weller.

I have seen several support acts for Weller over the years and I felt these guys are probably the ones I have enjoyed the most. A four piece who sounded a little Beatlesesque and had that old forgotten thing- 3 minute poppy consturected songs.

A band that have been influenced by good music over the years such as the Beatles, T-Rex and probably any proper R'n'B band. The lyrics are of things we'd except Daltrey, Lennon or Jagger to be singing about girls, love and having a bloody good time.

The album lasts for 40 minutes and contains 14 tracks all of which are good well written and produced tracks. No fillers here! Some of the standout tracks include 'On A Pronise' , 'You Made It true' , 'Broken Mouth Blues' and 'Mrs.The Moralizer'.

This is already on my ipod and its where it will stay. Really good and you should check it.

AIR- Premiers Symptomes

This is a rare singles collection mini album according to the attached sticker on the cd. The cd consists of 7 tracks lasting just over 30 minutes and really what is there left to say about Air that I have not already covered.

This is of equal quality to any of the previous albums that I have revisited. The first track 'modular mix' is infact one of my fave tracks by them.

A very solid collection of tracks that are very well engineered and constructed. A beautiful serene trip through their world. Like great film directors that revisit themes and often play with ideas slightly they never really fail to include the right mix of things and the same can be said for our favourite French duo.

Probably like this more than 'Talkie Walkie' but still not quite 'Moon Safari'. I wonder whether I will get the new album before I move away from the A section. Although still a fair few to get through.

The Audience- The Audience

Well, before Sophie Ellis Bextor became a dancefloor diva she was the lead singer is the band The Audience. The band consisting of 5 men dressed in black and her also dressed in black!

Let's face it she's one of those people that just as a really good strong vocal and half the time the problem is not she's rubbish but the songs are not brilliant. However, this is not the case and frankly how this album did not do better than it did is mystifying! I guess that same old adage of not enough promotion or radio play.

During the brief period this lot were pumping out stuff with her crooning away in true indie style it was good. Really good. This is one of the bands i helped to promote at the places i used to dj at but although my lot were quite into it, it did not seem the case in other places.

Every song relies on her wonderfully strong vocal.If you like and are only aware of her solo dance stuff you should go back and see where the start was and how she re-invented herself.

The album as a cracking value for money 14 tracks, well value for money if you bought it and its not the promo you were sent! Anyways, brilliant titles such as 'A Pessimist is Never Disappointed' , 'I Know Enough (I Don;t Get Enough)'. The tracks are guitar and thrashy in places and light indie pop in others- the two tracks already mentioned are really good and were strong singles but my fave is probably 'Harry Don't Fetch The Water' and others such as 'You Get What You Deserve' and 'If You Can't Do It When You're Young; When Can You Do It?' are also good.

A cracking album which i need to listen to more often.

Virginia Astley - From Gardens Where We Feel Secure

Right, i should point out at this point in time- this woman is no relation (that i know of...) to the aforementioned Rick Astley.

If you live in the UK and you live in the countryside or Wales then this album is basically like sat in your garden (as long as you are not next to a busy road).

Possibly the most quintessential English album there is......it captures the essence of a beautiful Summer's day in about 40 minutes and its the most relaxing album ever....but the scary thing is, it is close to those cds you see for sale in garden centres which would suggest oldness creeping in.......

Do not be put off by this....you will be surprised at how good it is!!

If you have never experienced a Summer's Day and Evening in the UK then this will let you in on something. That something being its probably exactly the same where you live! The use of sounds and minimal music creates an atmosphere which could be used for almost any movie where people sit in a garden or a similiar ilk. There are no vocals on the tracks and that adds to the bare minimum feeling that it creates in its soundscape. It feels although it is one long track with the way it is mixed. This really takes me back to being a child even although I only heard it about six months ago.

I guess this is a good example of being experimental and there is probably arguments for the title concept album.......

Try it you'll be surprised......

Well, I haven't forgotten but I did need to muster up the energy to continue with this amazingly long idea!

So, I decided to throw myself in at the deepend and transport myself back to 1991.....

Bryan Adams- Waking Up The Neighbours

Well, firstly one saving grace about this album is Neighbours is spelt the English way and not missing any letter 'u' on the way!

So, transported back to the beginning of the 90s (1991) with the album that most people own if they have a Bryan Adams album. Not because it's full of throw-away 80s style soft rock like 'Reckless' (see above) but due to the inclusion of THAT song! I am trying to ignore that it will be playing at some point and am considering skipping it because let's face it- it probably gets enough scrobbles as it is!

Anyway, I saw Mr.Adams live this year as well in Cardiff Arms Park (now the Millenuim Stadium) and he was excellent. Stadium rock was created for people like this, it was a Summer's Evening and it was warm and bright with a light breeze. He came on and it was 2 and half hours of fun and soft rock(tastic).

This album takes me right back to that very day. There are 15 tracks on an album that lasts well over the hour mark which is very different to 'Reckless'. This is an album where he discusses the fundamentals of love, fun, parties, sexual innocence, relationships and death. Throughout every track there is room for an Adams guitar riff which just hooks you and you can't help but tap your foot and hum the tune.

The first half of the cd is better than the second half with hits and bubblegum rock tracks such as 'Hey Honey I'm Packin You In!' which either took him two minutes to come up with or the whole year. The best track on the album must be the hit 'Thought I'd Died And Gone To Heaven' and this keeps instep with the other long track titles like 'If You Wanna Leave Me (Can I Come Too?)'. Every song title is basically the song and what it is about- no abstract interpretations needed here.

The album rocks from start to finish and you have to listen to it just to be amazed how the Canadian Rocker can keep it going all the way through. The album title comes from a line in the absurd 'House Arrest' with catchy chorus, guitar riff and break-down allowing in live gigs the crowd to clap along in time (presumably with hands above their heads).

The only real downtime on the album comes in the middle with 'Do I Have To Say The Words?' where he cries out for help with loving that special girl. Of course the other ballad is THAT song! Did (get ready for another lengthy track title) 'Everything I Do) I Do It For You' really stay at number one that long? It's hard to believe especially at a time where most tracks these days spend only a week at the top. Was the song really that good? The film is not really very good? It will be a debate among some for sure. In my opinion, it's an ok track that if it had not been promoted on every radio station, tv station and cardboard box probably wouldn't have even made the top 40!

I must admit I enjoyed listening to it, it is by no means close to the quality of 'Reckless' but it is better than '18 Til I Die' (if that was the album title- which I remember not liking at all.

Good stuff if you want to have an hour of good solid soft rock toss! :)

So, back into the swing of looking at my cd collection, but still with a lot of work to do on the 'A's'.
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My CD collection
16 Jul 2007, 23:48

Well, since joining LAST.FM like many of you I have rediscovered my love of music, stuff i used to listen to loads and finding loads of new stuff as well. I must admit as well, through a few of my online chums I have discovered some brilliant new stuff Papilla, Ely Guerra and Broken Social Scene to name but, well three!

Well, I have this really huge cd collection like probably most of you and i spend days listening to my ipod and itunes because its easy and quick but as a result i have those cool little shiny discs gathering dust on the shelves and the only time they move is if I hear a song on a film or television soundtrack or see it on somebody's playlist and think oh i love that!!!

So, as a result I have decided that what i will do is start off with A and try and work through each of the cds in each letter! If i can play maybe one cd album a day then thats got to be good going. They will not be strict alphabetical for those Hornby fans amongst us but just the A's. At the end of the day some albums you have to be in the mood for, its also at this point where I realise that I will embarass myself with some right dodgy stuff- my only defence (and a good one!) i was a radio presenter and nightclub dj once upon a time so my taste is varied, or at least that's a word for it!

The A's

Bryan Adams 'Reckless'

I decided to kick off with some good old classic 80s rock and you know what during the first track 'One Night Love Affair' I thought that what I have just written will not even make it till the middle of this track. But hey, i knew there was a reason I had this cd and its because it rocks. 'Summer Of '69' is played to death but 'Run To You', 'Kids Wanna Rock' and the duet with Tina Turner 'It's Only Love' are real 80stastic tracks.

I have a good feeling about this idea, i have found a few more songs to add to my itunes, you can remind me of this good idea when I am trying to get through some of the other nonsense!

Right, that was a brilliant idea- i have sung my lungs out to all those songs and i remember them all, i knew there was a reason for seeing him live years ago! An album of only a mere 38 minutes but every minute a rock air guitar minute!

If you have this and have not played it for a while- do it!! You'll thank yourself for it. I want to do a mark system here but thats too anally retentive. Brilliant



17 Jul 2007, 23:34
A-Ha - Hunting High And Low (1985)

Yep, A's are looking interesting already Adams last night and I have just noticed there is another one of them kicking around before this section is up! So, A-ha

I remember distinctly when it was released because 'Take On Me' had that very cool video which if you lived in the UK, you will remember it being shown on Breakfast TV with Selina Scott! The album does have that number one and also 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' which made number one too! The other two singles were 'Train Of Thought' and 'Hunting High And Low'.

To be fair the four singles are brilliant and are very of the period but still can be listened too without any desperate need to turn it off. I read in a magazine a while ago about the forgotten track on the album and that was 'Love Is Reason' some would argue forgotten for a reason but its ok in an 80s synth type way!

I always remember preferring the second album 'Scoundrel Days' when I was younger and there's a reason for that!

I can safely say that 'Hunting High And Low' is one of those albums that you remember fondly but really its the singles that you remember and the videos because its ok but not that great. Not awful and worth listening to just not very often!

Probably one of those albums that its nice to know you have it and reminds you of a period in your life but you won't miss not hearing it for a while! But you have to love track names like 'I Dream Myself Alive'- what?!

Still glad I made the effort! and I own far worse albums I know so this is actually good! it only lasts 37 minutes but you know 'Train Of Thought' is superb!

Bring on more of this 80s synth pop! :)

Air - 'Moon Safari'

Well, time to move from the 80s tonight but trust me we will return with more amazingly great stuff!! Tonight, an album that I do often listen to and surely one of those that every music collection should have.

For the unelightened- they are a French band and this album is amazing- 'Sexy Boy' and 'Kelly Watch The Stars' were two massive singles.

The album is a very chilled out affair and would work well on a summer sunny evening sat chilling in your garden or house. Laid back electronic sound from track 1 (La Femme D'Argent) through to track 10 and the sublime Le Voyage De Penelope'. The standout tracks are probably 'All I Need' and 'You Make It Easy' which both feature a female guest vocalist who I think is Beth Hirsch?

If you don't own it you Should. I have enjoyed the other two albums greatly but this is the best one so far and to be fair by the end of this mamoth task will probably be one of the best albums in the whole collection. Superb!

Air - Talkie Walkie

Well, i have a few of these AIR alums to get through
whilst I hang around in the A's. It's one of those things, the chances are if you like one album by these guys you will probably like them all but maybe just one better than another, if you get my drift.

Talkie Walkie is equally as chilled as Moon Safari although I know several people who think its a better all round record. Having listened to it again from start to finish I must admit its even better than I remembered. Some of the stand-out tracks are 'Alone In Kyoto' , 'Surfing On A Rocket' and 'Mike Mills'.

The whole feel of the album is crafted beautifully and you can tell these are a band who leave nothing to chance with excellent production.

This is well worth a listen if you have it and forgotten about it but well worth picking up if you see it in a shop. Lovely!

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Well, this is the latest album from these guys and this is the first time I have spent some proper time in its company. I love the track 'Keep The Car Running' and that was really the point of getting it in and to be honest the whole album is so good.

I liked the album before and I have that to look forward too but I think this really displays how good the vocals and music are. Well written tracks that sound superb through the construction and production. A lot of lively and upbeat stuff with very catchy choruses in many of the tracks.

I am a little behind in getting into this album but it was worth the wait because its excellent. There is not one track that disappoints. I especially liked 'Black Wave/Bad Vibrations' and 'My Body Is A Cage'.

What other gems are hidden away in my collection that I need to blow the dust off I wonder?

Well I was only going to listen to the proper albums whilst I did this (ie- the ones that are not compilations of the artists work) but having seen Abba, The Animals and ABC all lined up in there I felt inclined to include them as well.

The Animals - The Most of The Animals

A compilation of 16 tracks by that cool 60s band The Animals who by all accounts were very successful both in the UK and the US. I have from my childhood, passed down from my mother a 7" of 'The House Of The Rising Sun' which is the track that kicks this compilation off and frankly its such an amazing song, That hammond organ sounds amazing throughout and there's a kind of foreboding to the track.

There are some other really cool tracks rattling around on this 50 minute compilation such as 'We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place' , 'Roadrunner' and 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. A very roar and bluesy sound throughout all of thei tracks and a band discussing those age old areas of love and living.

This is worth having for the aforementioned tracks but like so many bands of that period singles were often a huge priority and who knows if there is an album you should have by them but in the meantime I am happy to blast out this pulled together compilation for my Animals fix.

Really cool!

Rick Astley - Free

Yeah you read that right, Rick Astley, he of Stock, Aitken and Waterman fame! Well, it's at this point I point out that I was not a fan of Astley until this one track came out and I will quickly point out that except for this one track on this album I am not a fan. I generally refer to him as the 80s guy with the dodgy dance who convinced millions he was good! (catchy tag line that!!)

There is a little history behind this cd as well which is probably more interesting than the music itself. Look I bought the album for the song 'Move Right Out' which those of you with a keen eye would have seen scrobbled at some point. I really like it- its one of those catchy little pop songs which is short and to the point! It's good- no really it is! So, instead of buying the single I bought the album.....now this came out in 1991 around the time I past my driving test and reward for passing the test was not the album no......it was to borrow the parents car...yippeee!!!

So, me and friends bundle into the car and go to the local shopping mall to shop, as you do first trip out. So, we get there and I buy Gastley Astley.....give it to my mate to hold when I get in the car. By the time we get home, in the car, we lose the cd!! Bugger it! So, me and said mate drive to the other town to get another copy (must have that song!!) buy the album again. However, first time out with the parents car and I knock the goddamn wingmirror off the car.....shit!! So, what a day, bust the wing mirror and pay twice as much to get a copy of the album! I probably paid a tenner in those days which means I paid £20 for one track....

Several years later........I take the cd out to listen to in a time like this when I decide to listen to things I have not heard for a while and the bloody thing as gone......I assume that I would have lost it whilst DJing although lets face it I would never have taken it out to a nightclub unless I was looking to be hung, in the true spirit of the Smiths song.................

Several years later.....2005 and amazingly it turns up in an old cd player in the house my dad was fixing, he used it (so he says) to test the machine and that was the first cd he could put his hands on.......rioght!

So, fastforward and 2007 I am listening to the album whilst I type this and the first track starts with a duet with Michael McDonald 'In The Name Of Love' (quite good), track two 'Cry For Help' the big single, track 3 the biggy 'Move Right Out'.

Another eight tracks to get through and they are not pleasent and rest assured not worth one wing mirror, £6 petrol and £20.

Still after that story.....how could you give it to a charity shop......besides in a twist of fate a mate would probably see it, not know I had actually found it and then bought me the bugger back!!

Here thankfully ends the Astley album. Cheesetastic and very 1991 is all I need say! Except for the infamous 'Move Right Out' this is a non-starter, you really wanna get hold of him before the end of track 8 and give him a good slap! I highly recommend 'MRO' but avoid the rest of the album for all your worth, it's 49 minutes of your life your not getting back!

Just as a footnote, check out the people that play on this Mark King (thunderthumb from Level 42), Rob Fisher (Climie Fisher), Elton John, Anne Dudley, Michael McDonald - well done guys for contibuting to a pile of toss!

AIR - The Virgin Suicides

Once upon a time there was a really good filmmaker called Francis Ford Copolla and he made movies like 'Rumblefish' , 'The Outsiders' , 'Apocalpyse Now' and 'The Godfather' in the third of his 'Godfather' pictures he put his daughter Sofia. Sofia couldn't act as well as the rest of the cast and was resigned to becoming a film director and thank-god she did!!

Sofia Coppolla as made 'Marie Antionette' , the amazing and one of the best films ever 'Lost In Translation' but she also made this really atmospheric movie called 'The Virgin Suicides'. Well, what a stroke of luck she had AIR compose the soundtrack.

AIR playing on the themes we have heard in the previous two albums so far in terms of style produces a slightly more upbeat but also sinister record. The album incorporates the movie soundtrack and you can follow the films narrative from the mood and song titles, exactly like you should be able too!

I do not really need to say anything else, 'Playground Love' is superb as is the rest. I had actually forgotten I own so many AIR albums, I still have another one to go......if I have not convinced you to buy some yet....shame on you!!!

More AIR class!

Tori Amos - Tales Of A Librarian (collection)

Well, Tori Amos is one of those artists that I really like but somehow never really play her stuff as much as i probably should. She's a singer-songwriter and from my charts you will see I am heavily into those, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant and a load of others.

I have several of her tracks on 7"single (how old am I?) including 'Silent All These Years' which on the flip side as a cracking version of the Nirvana track 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

Anyway within tracks of this being on it all came flooding back, this 20 track collection is a prime example of exactly how briliant she is. Superb vocals with some beautiful and heartfelt lyrics throughout. The remix of 'Professional Widow' by Armand Van Helden is included which was a massive dancefloor crossover and you could mix it with just about anything at the time. Other brilliant tracks include 'Cornflake Girl' , 'Silent All These Years' , 'God' , ' Sweet Dreams' , 'Playboy Mommy' and 'Tear In Your Hand'. I adore one of the tracks recorded for this album 'Snow Cherries From France' which is beautiful.

A superb collection of tracks that demonstrates her talent. If you are new to her work, although the albums 'Under The Pink' and 'Little Earthquakes' are brilliant, go with this and then go and buy the rest later.

I do not plan on leaving it quite so long to listen to her again.

A-Ha - Headlines and Deadlines- The Hits of A-Ha

A greatest hits package where the title lasts as long as the songs included. This was the first best of A-ha available and contains 16 tracks all of which except for 'Touchy' are really good singles. What the hell is 'Touchy' from the chorus "Me I'm Touchy' what!!! I think something lost in the translation there!

The other tracks though do include the obvious things from 'Hunting High And Low' (reviewed earlier in the week!) - 'Take On Me' , 'The Sun Always Shines On TV' and from 'Scoundrel Days' (interesting album name) 'Manhattan Skyline' which is brilliant, moody and very atmospheric. Also included from that album is 'Cry Wolf' and 'I've Been Losing You'.

In the Uk after 'Scoundrel Days' they kind of started to get very little radio play and had a few more hits including one of the best James Bond themes 'The Living Daylights' and the cover of 'Crying In The Rain'. After the release of 'Stay On These Roads' which did pretty well, they almost disappeared but thats probably because if 'Touchy' was not included on this cd the worst track would be 'You're The One' and that probably sealed their fate for a few years. That's a shame because 'Move To Memphis' , 'Early Morning' and 'I Call Your Name' are all really good tracks that most people do not even know exist.

Anyway- this is a good display of their tracks and as a hits package it works well, all catchy, hummable and just very 80s. They seem to have re-entered the limelight in the past couple of years and these 16 tracks remind us why we liked them in the first place, well ok 15 because 'Touchy' is terrible.

Nic Armstrong

This guy can be seen as Nic Armstrong, Nic Armstrong and the Naturals, Nic Armstrong and the Thieves or the new title Thieves IV! Either way the fact of the matter is I bought this album 'The Greatest White Liar' at a gig they were playing as a support for Paul Weller.

I have seen several support acts for Weller over the years and I felt these guys are probably the ones I have enjoyed the most. A four piece who sounded a little Beatlesesque and had that old forgotten thing- 3 minute poppy consturected songs.

A band that have been influenced by good music over the years such as the Beatles, T-Rex and probably any proper R'n'B band. The lyrics are of things we'd except Daltrey, Lennon or Jagger to be singing about girls, love and having a bloody good time.

The album lasts for 40 minutes and contains 14 tracks all of which are good well written and produced tracks. No fillers here! Some of the standout tracks include 'On A Pronise' , 'You Made It true' , 'Broken Mouth Blues' and 'Mrs.The Moralizer'.

This is already on my ipod and its where it will stay. Really good and you should check it.

AIR- Premiers Symptomes

This is a rare singles collection mini album according to the attached sticker on the cd. The cd consists of 7 tracks lasting just over 30 minutes and really what is there left to say about Air that I have not already covered.

This is of equal quality to any of the previous albums that I have revisited. The first track 'modular mix' is infact one of my fave tracks by them.

A very solid collection of tracks that are very well engineered and constructed. A beautiful serene trip through their world. Like great film directors that revisit themes and often play with ideas slightly they never really fail to include the right mix of things and the same can be said for our favourite French duo.

Probably like this more than 'Talkie Walkie' but still not quite 'Moon Safari'. I wonder whether I will get the new album before I move away from the A section. Although still a fair few to get through.

The Audience- The Audience

Well, before Sophie Ellis Bextor became a dancefloor diva she was the lead singer is the band The Audience. The band consisting of 5 men dressed in black and her also dressed in black!

Let's face it she's one of those people that just as a really good strong vocal and half the time the problem is not she's rubbish but the songs are not brilliant. However, this is not the case and frankly how this album did not do better than it did is mystifying! I guess that same old adage of not enough promotion or radio play.

During the brief period this lot were pumping out stuff with her crooning away in true indie style it was good. Really good. This is one of the bands i helped to promote at the places i used to dj at but although my lot were quite into it, it did not seem the case in other places.

Every song relies on her wonderfully strong vocal.If you like and are only aware of her solo dance stuff you should go back and see where the start was and how she re-invented herself.

The album as a cracking value for money 14 tracks, well value for money if you bought it and its not the promo you were sent! Anyways, brilliant titles such as 'A Pessimist is Never Disappointed' , 'I Know Enough (I Don;t Get Enough)'. The tracks are guitar and thrashy in places and light indie pop in others- the two tracks already mentioned are really good and were strong singles but my fave is probably 'Harry Don't Fetch The Water' and others such as 'You Get What You Deserve' and 'If You Can't Do It When You're Young; When Can You Do It?' are also good.

A cracking album which i need to listen to more often.

Virginia Astley - From Gardens Where We Feel Secure

Right, i should point out at this point in time- this woman is no relation (that i know of...) to the aforementioned Rick Astley.

If you live in the UK and you live in the countryside or Wales then this album is basically like sat in your garden (as long as you are not next to a busy road).

Possibly the most quintessential English album there is......it captures the essence of a beautiful Summer's day in about 40 minutes and its the most relaxing album ever....but the scary thing is, it is close to those cds you see for sale in garden centres which would suggest oldness creeping in.......

Do not be put off by this....you will be surprised at how good it is!!

If you have never experienced a Summer's Day and Evening in the UK then this will let you in on something. That something being its probably exactly the same where you live! The use of sounds and minimal music creates an atmosphere which could be used for almost any movie where people sit in a garden or a similiar ilk. There are no vocals on the tracks and that adds to the bare minimum feeling that it creates in its soundscape. It feels although it is one long track with the way it is mixed. This really takes me back to being a child even although I only heard it about six months ago.

I guess this is a good example of being experimental and there is probably arguments for the title concept album.......

Try it you'll be surprised......


Bryan AdamsVirginia AstleyRick AstleyThe AudienceAirArcade Firea-haNic ArmstrongThe Animals

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