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Product: Audio CD
Title: Hotel Costes, Vol. 5: Cinque
Label: Wagram Records
Artist: Stéphane Pompougnac
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Nice and groovy chic - but not that funky

This 5th installment of the Costes series is all based on the music supposedly played at Hotel Costes near the Place de La concorde. the music is eclectic and lounge based. Some of the French vocals are nice. But I really like the Jazz and Funk electro instrumentals and deep house tracks like St Germain's albums tourist and boulevard. these tracks are absent here. Costes 5 is not a jazz electro and funk electronica album.
I just bought this new release with all French artists called Paris Under A Groove. It is full of rich, Jazz and Funk french electronica groove tracks. And it includes a rare unreleased track from the father of all french electronica ST GERMAIN himself. this album truely reflects the underground and overground spirit of Paris. Check it out.

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Turning Point [Bonus Tracks 2001]
Label: Polydor / Pgd
Artist: John Mayall
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5

For purely sentimental and nostalgic reasons, THE TURNING POINT is my favorite John Mayall album. When I was three, I begged my parents to repeatedly play the exciting harmonica rave-up "Room to Move". It is virtually impossible still for me not to find my aging bones bouncing and hopping still as Mayall rips into that incredibly invigorating piece.
A word of warning: do not listen to "Room to Move" while driving. My insurance just went up due to a recent speeding ticket.
Also many folks may recognize this signature cut as it has become, like the annoyingly infectious "Who Let the Dogs Out" ubiquitous in sports arenas as a crowd instigator. Of course I obviously prefer the later to the former.
The rest of the album is filled with wonderful and intricate musicianship. The guitar, flute and sax interplay is sheer calming brilliance. It provides a great counterpoint to the release of the aforementioned cut. Mayall and his group think loose and play tight like the best of jazz musicians. They fuse elements of jazz, folk, blues and rock.
Mayall's often screeching voice is an acquired taste to be sure, but his absolute reverence for the music overcomes any technical shortcomings.
A fine album worth discovering.

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Will to Death
Label: Record Collection
Artist: John Frusciante
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Where does he get the time!?

JF is always outdoing himself! I'm always amazed at how determined and focused this guy is. After doing a 180 and completely changing his life around, he reenters the RHCP and proves once again he can write Chart toppers in and out of the band.
After recently purchasing his previous album, Shadows Collide with People, I was finding myself listening over and over again to tracks like Omission, Song to Sing When I'm Lonely, and Everyperson. The connectivity with John and Josh Klinghoffer is a mutual love for the heart-felt and meaningful song.
I was really hoping to hear this again with TWTD but I wasn't blown away this time. The idea of this album is great and it's refreshing to hear him producing this album (and the other 5) in one or two takes, but I find this time it feels a little too sappy for me. And I almost feel bad even saying that as a devoted fan of John, but when I go back through all his solo work, this just seems to lack the 'umf' I was looking forward to. It IS a personal journey for him and I can hear it in the song but even after the usual 3 or 4 rounds of listening to the albums (just about how long it takes to fall in love with it) I wasn't getting the same reaction.
To clarify, I'm not criticizing his production skills - I'm just hoping he's saving his efforts for the other five. And if you're a loyal fan, I'd expect to find my review "unhelpful" and ineffective in cautioning you on buying TWTD - because you SHOULD buy it and I'm NOT cautioning you to save your $$! So stop reading my review and buy the thing. :D
Note: As a graphic designer, this album looks truely elegant. John's got a great eye as well.

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Fox
Label: Mca Int'l
Artist: Elton John
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Powerful lyrics; haunting melodies

I can't understand why this CD is so obscure. There's not a bad cut on it. It's typical of Elton John's music in that it's very singable. I love it!