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Product: Audio CD
Title: But Seriously: American Comedy Box
Label: Rhino Records
Artist: Bruce, Dangerfield, Fields, Pryor
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
Meh. Could have been a contender.


I love comedy. I mean, I looovvvveee comedy-- so much so that I had to rush out and buy this compilation disk when it first came out, because it was claiming to be the Whitman's Sampler of American comedy. But I have to admit that this purchase had to be one of the biggest disappointments of my life. I can't tell you how much it irritates to have had this big, clunky white box collecting dust on my shelf for years, because no one-- and I mean no one-- wants to buy it from me. It sits there, its fake nose and Groucho glasses peering out at me, mocking me... mocking me... "40 bucks... you paid 40 bucks for me, you schmuck! BWAAAHHH-HAHAHAHA!"

Obviously I have to stop being so sarcastic and tell you why this collection bites the big one. Let me put it to you this way. If this compilation were a project by a high schooler, it would get an "INC" for a grade. It's not comprehensive enough, and has too little comedy and too few comedy greats represented. Of the greats who *are* represented (Dangerfield, Foxx, Bruce), the cuts you get from them are just way too short; have been overplayed to death (like Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television"); are inaudible; or have been taken so much out of context, you have no idea what the joke is. (What on earth is Mort Sahl talking about on the cut featured here?) So by the time you're done going through all the discs, all you're filled with is a hollowness and a lingering question: "That's IT?!?"

I think one of the reasons why this CD failed so badly in this regard was that it was in over its head, trying to cover American comedy too broadly. It's like trying to do a best of CD of 40 years of Rock on Roll on only one disc. It just can't be done-- too many contributors and genres to cover over too long an era of time, forcing some people to be left out, just like what happened on this CD. How can you boast *musical comedy bits* and not have classic stuff from Dr. Demento or Weird Al Yankovic? How can you have some standups and not others? (No Lily Tomlin or Woody Allen?) And how can you boast to have comedy bits up to the year *1994* when the only comedy included from the '90s is William's piece while all the others pre-date the mid-80s? What happened to all the other major standups who were big in the mid to late 80s, like Roseanne Barr and Sam Kinison? Sheeeeesh.

Don't get me wrong-- there are some wonderful cuts off this album. But when you really take stock of what it's supposed to represent and how much money you paid for it, this compilation feels like it wasn't really the best bang for the buck. So if you're thinking of buying this compilation, kindly pass-- or try to buy it at a cheap price (which shouldn't be hard to do).



Product: Audio CD
Title: A Love Supreme
Label: Universal
Artist: John Coltrane
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
One of the greatest musical statements of the 20th century


Overstated my title? No, I don't think so. For me this album is up there with the Rite of Spring by Stravinski and Axis: Bold as Love by Hendrix to name just two disparate yet amazing musically defining masterpieces. When I first heard A Love Supreme in the early '80s, I wasn't a jazz fan, this album turned me around. Coltrane's tonal explorations and melodic sense was unlike anything I'd ever heard before and sounded truly modern and unconventional. I was hooked. The sense of exploration and innovation were not limited to Coltrane alone. The classic quartet of McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones had been playing together for about 4 years by then and it shows. Their interplay is telepathic. That I'm a drummer also helped me appreciate to a great degree Elvin Jones mighty contributions to this album. He's a polyrhythmic master who never played better than when he was backing Coltrane. Pianist McCoy Tyner, whose style is instantly recognizable, is still playing today and a master in his own right. Jimmy Garrison isn't the flashiest bass player but he's rhythmically nimble and fit perfectly and subtly within the quartet.

Virtuosity aside, what truly hits me about this album is the emotion of the playing. This is one of the most emotionally moving albums I've ever heard, especially the first two compositions: Acknowledgement and Resolution. Tears come to my eyes; few albums affect me the way this one does. A Love Supreme perfectly illustrates Coltrane's then burgeoning spiritualiy. The first three compositions are like an ecstatic religious experience put to music. The album ends with the floating yet powerful Psalm that brings the listener gently back to earth. A desert island disk for sure and a must have for any music lover. It's simply a defining moment in jazz, in music period.

This is the album that made me truly listen to and explore the musical world of jazz. Without having listened to this album I might never have found out about the music of Charles Mingus, Ornette Colman, Duke Ellington, Art Pepper, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis ect... Thanks John.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Enchantment
Label: Sony
Artist:
Rating: 3/5
Customer rating - 3 out of 5
What is the big deal?


As a music school student here in Argentina, I was keenly interested in hearing Charlotte Church's CD as a guide to what level of performance would be required of me if I were to perform in the United States. I was surprised by her limited ability which seems no more competent than many of the students here in school. I expected a much stronger voice (based on what I have heard of her)and a greater vocal range. While the songs in her CD appeared very challenging, either she was not up to the challenge or what is acceptable in America is significantly less that what I had previously assumed. While this CD does not present a level to which I aspire, it now gives me great hope that I can also achieve a recording status in America and hopefully will be the subject of your reviews sometime in the near future after my graduation.



Product: Audio CD
Title: As Time Goes By
Label: Virgin Records
Artist: Bryan Ferry
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
A whole new world of music for your pleasure!


Bryan, thankyou so very much. Having always been a fan of yours I pounced on As Time Goes By the moment it hit the shops, but nothing prepared me for the pleasures that awaited me upon loading the CD into my stereo. It took a few plays, but as time went by I grew to love this album more and more. My only memories of any of these songs come from scratchy old 78rpm or movie soundtracks, settings in which they sound quaint and old fashioned. However you, Bryan, have succeeded in breathing new life into them with your sympathetic and stylish renditions, turning them into utterly ageless compositions, and exposing for the musical gems they truly are. I have not tired of this album yet, and my one complaint is that this is the only time you have managed to put sound to tape in five years. Please treat us to more of the same, just as soon as you are able. Long may you continue in your chosen career Bryan, because there is nobody amongst the endless ranks of pop pap today that even remotely looks like being capable or worthy of carrying your torch when the tragic day you retire finally arrives.