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Product: Audio CD
Title: Secrets
Label: Atlantic
Artist: Brian Culbertson
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
The young white promise in smooth jazz!

Culbertson is still in his twenties but his mature ideas overpasses by far his promising youth. Undoubtly we are before one of the top keyboardists in the world of the smooth jazz .
This album has two top tracks : On my mind and Straight to the heart , but the level is so high that you can be engaged with any one of them .
What it wonders me about Culbertson is his enormous talent to switch from style under his masterful musical skills and different moods .
I must confess that Culbertson, Greg Karukas, Michael Camilo and Joe Sample are the most innovative smooth jazz players today .

Product: Audio CD
Title: The Goodbye Girl (1993 Original Broadway Cast)
Label: Sony
Artist: Marvin Hamlisch, David Zippel
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Marvin's Best Score

The previous review should be ignored. All the songs are great Marvin Hamlisch numbers, especially the instrumental "Jump For Joy". It's a complete thrill!

Product: Audio CD
Title: Honky Chateau
Label: Mobile Fidelity
Artist: Elton John
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Elton Finds His Sound

Honky Chateau was the first album to finally contain an identifiable "sound" for Elton John. Elton's previous albums meandered from country rock to gospel to symphonic to hard rock to was hard to tell just what type of music Elton was trying to sing. However, with Honky Chateau Elton defined a style that was to be his, and which I think is still his style today, evolved with time and skill.
Another of Elton's albums that went to number 1 on the album charts, this one was filled with gems that set a new personal standard for Elton, and gave rock music that would one day be classics.
"Honky Cat" was infused with a bit of jazz and had a fast beat, and has some thematic similarity to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Similar to the latter song "Honky Cat" charted as a single, and began to establish Elton as a pop star.
"Rocket Man" is a pop ballad that is one of Elton's most requested songs, both in concert and on the radio. Certainly one of the most memorable space songs, along with "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. The nearly humorous lyrics ("...Mar ain't the kind of place to raise your kids...") belie the very serious nature of the song.
"Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is another mellow pop song, with beautiful harmonies. Underappreciated though very well performed.
There is a lot of quality in the other songs. "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" is ironic in that the song is about death, but the music maintains a fast tempo and sounds upbeat. When I listen to this song I tend to ignore that the song is about suicide because the music just sounds so positive.
"Mellow" has moments of musical interest as the music breaks from the expected path and explores side paths. Elton John tries to inject progressive elements into his music?
"Hercules" has been a sort of theme song for Elton himself. During a 1975 concert in Denver Elton's band played Hercules for a very lengthy period of time as Elton walked around the stage and shook hands with as many fans as he could reach. He calls himself Elton Hercules John, of course. Rocking song that he seems to want to use to identify himself.
"Salvation" has the potential to be a gospel song, but it really doesn't sound very gospel. "All the Nasties" from "Madman Across the Water" has a much stronger gospel sound, which was less strong than the previous "Border Song". Elton has used gospel elements in a few songs, but as he progressed in his career the gospel elements became weaker and weaker. On his next album, "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player", the gospel element was essentially non-existent.
Every song on this CD is at least good, and range up to great. The only song I had trouble with on this version was the hyper version of "Slave" added as a bonus track. I guess after getting accustomed to the released version the hyper version sounds like the original speeded up, a lot.
"Honky Chateau" is classic Elton. Still not commercial. He'd just found a sound that was all his. He was maturing as a singer and song writer. With this album it was evident to even the most cynical critic that Elton was a force to be reckoned with in the music world. However, even given Elton's growing track record, no one could have predicted the power house that he was yet to be; but you know, listening to this album that was released before his peak...

Product: Audio CD
Title: Reality [Bonus Disc]
Label: Sony
Artist: David Bowie
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Upping the ante?

On the website, this album was likened to capturing the sound that "Heroes" through Scary Monsters explored between '77 and 1980; Heathen was apprently the rekindling of music between Hunky Dory and Low. I really fail to see that connection. While I understand that Bowie was more melodically-minded on Heathen - I think motivated and anchored by what seemed to be a need to prove himself as an energetic and tight songwriter - and thus may have appealed to a more Ziggy-minded, glammy audience, I think he was aiming to convey a certain peacefulness (or even softness). His early '70s works, I would argue, don't take that road. They don't really try. Reality does, however, speak of the sonic raucous that Bowie was flexing within Heroes (especially tracks 1,2,4,5), parts of Lodger (tracks 3,9), and Scary Monsters (tracks 1,3,6,7,8). There's a more treble-oriented scraping in the foreground with a lot of tracks on Reality, which at times struck me as a kind of purposeful distraction from some of the smoother undertones. His singing, while more appealing and adventurous on Heathen, is no less impressive (outstanding on "Try Some, Buy Some", "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon", "Reality", and the highlight "Bring Me the Disco King"), as he hits dead on all the right notes (and perfectly lands the wrong ones- something I've always admired about his singing).Absolutely worth buying, this album is good for much exploration on the listener's part.