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Product: Audio CD
Title: Bless the Weather
Label: Polygram Records
Artist: John Martyn
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Great For Late At Night

The feel of this music is as warm, mellow, and dense as an intoxicating haze. Bless The Weather displays all of the craft and integrity of Nick Drake's first two albums, but the arrangements are less ornate and more relaxed. Though the producers occasionally generate a few strange sounds that hover in the background, Martyn confines himself to guitar, piano, upright bass, and occasionally the muffled sound of bongo and steel drums, which are generally used to convey mood instead of rhythm.
As the seventies wore on and he descended into drug and alcohol abuse, Martyn's arrangements became more complex and less focused. But apart from Sugar Lump (a predictable blues number), every song on Bless The Weather is a jewel. It's nice to hear a folk jazz album that's genuinely beautiful without sounding gutless.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Before the Storm
Label: Strictly Rhythm
Artist: Darude
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Good at what it does, still needs work

This is by far one of the best albums of any genre I've heard all year. Mistakenly referred to as "trance" this collection of hard house has widespred appeal to non-house/trance listners, but maintains a degree of authenticity. All the original material is exellent, however the JS 16 remixes leave something to be desired. I felt like Darude produced 10 good tracks and then JS 16 told him that he needed more than 10 if he wanted to sell to foriegn markets so they filled the last few tracks with JS 16 remix ..., but the first 10 are so good that Darude deserves no less than 5 stars. Be sure to check out his website.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Aida (2000 Original Broadway Cast)
Label: Disney
Artist: Elton John, Tim Rice
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Aida soars

Aida is a triumph for musical theatre fans. As Elton John's first foray into writing music directly for the stage, there was a lot of doubt going into this show: but, boy, does this show deliver!

I first saw it on a tour that came to Dallas. It blew me away, and I picked up the cast album the next day. Then, a few months later, I saw it again on Broadway and the show was equally as powerful.

Aida is most rewarding for fans of Elton John, thanks to the various hints at his style and repertoire, but even those that aren't a fan of his solo music should fall madly in love with Aida. I would go as far as to say there is not a bad song on the album, a feat that is very rare on Broadway, especially in recent years.

I'm not a huge Adam Pascal fan -- he tends to pick great material, but his voice just sounds like it is doing things that are not physically safe for him as a performer. As in Rent, the brilliance of the music here makes any concerns I have about his voice disappear. Heather Headley won a Tony for her role: what a voice! She's great. But Sherie Ren?EScott as Amneris is the real show stealer. Every note she sings is like a drop of gold. Her voice is powerful and beautiful.

My favorite songs, in the order they appear on the album, are "Every Story is a Love Story," "My Strongest Suit," "Enchantment Passing Through," "Not Me," "Elaborate Lives," and "Radames' Letter." But really, you can't go wrong with a song on here. From soft, moving solos to emotionally gripping chorus numbers, Aida is a musical ride that you won't forget.

Even if you haven't seen the show, the album is definitely worth owning. Even in isolation these songs are great, but together they make one of the best albums out there, Broadway or otherwise.

Product: Audio CD
Title: No Strings Attached
Label: Jive
Artist: *NSYNC
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Koolio CD

I have to admit, I wasn't a fan of N Sync until I heard No Strings Attached. Personally, I prefer the Backstreet Boys, but this CD is great. I can't stop listening to it! Trust, me, you'll want to buy this CD. It's convinced me that N Sync is one of the best groups out there!