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Product: Audio CD
Title: Bowie at the Beeb: The Best of the BBC Radio Sessions
Label: Virgin Records
Artist: David Bowie
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
CD 2 still the best, but CD3 doesn't disappoint/Bowie Rocks!


Ever since David Bowie's two live albums (1975's David Live and 1978's Stage) ceased to be manufactured due to low sales and inadequate sound quality, his more dedicated fans have been forced to hunt down expensive imports and bootlegs for documentation of Mr. Bowie onstage. In 2000, however, the performer attempted to compensate for the lack of official live recordings with Bowie at the Beeb, a two-CD collection of performances from the BBC radio shows on which he guested during his formative years, augmented by a third, bonus disc, recorded at a small fan club gig in June of 2000.
The first two discs feature material from 1968 to 1972, during which a young Mr. Bowie shifted from gleeful mod to heady folk-wizard to glamrock superstar. No matter what form he takes, the singer and his band hit every note of his excellent compositions almost perfectly. A little too perfectly, in fact. On these particular performances, the ensemble sound almost robotic, expunging every moment of the arrangement right on key with the album version, sacrificing the looseness, energy and adventurism listeners expect from live recordings. During an interview segment on the first disc, a host asks Mr. Bowie why he would not be performing his hit, "Space Oddity," that day. "We'd need about five orchestras to get the right sound," he replied. A bolder performer would have coped. This attitude is much different from his approach to amphitheater performances during the time, as the aforementioned bootlegs (many of them featuring a heart stopping twenty-two minute version of Mr. Bowie's mystical-sexual epic, "Width of a Circle") can attest. Perhaps Mr. Bowie felt it best to keep the songs concise, cleanly cut and professional for the somewhat stuffy BBC programs. Regardless, Bowie at the Beeb sounds less like a live album than a series of alternative takes from regular recording sessions. If not for the generous offering of noteworthy rare songs (including such early gems as "Silly Boy Blue" and "Let Me Sleep Beside You" and a stunning cover of Jacque Brel's "Amsterdam"), the first two CDs would be almost useless to any fan who already owns Mr. Bowie's studio albums from this era.
The third disc, featuring Mr. Bowie and his backing band on an actual stage exchanging energy with an actual crowd of fans, fares significantly better. The musicians and back-up vocalists muster a spirit of enthusiasm and playfulness that streams through a set of grade A songs spanning Mr. Bowie's entire career. They perform a soaring "Survive," an enthralling "I'm Afraid of Americans," a triumphant "Absolute Beginners" and a lushly gorgeous "Always Crashing the Same Car." The disc's best track, however, is the performance of Mr. Bowie's 1983 mega-hit, "Let's Dance." The song begins as a slow, dreamy twinkling before fervently bursting into an onslaught of the anticipated clunking drumbeats and swinging guitar riffs. If the young Mr. Bowie had shown this vigor, charisma and confidence in the BBC studios thirty years ago, Bowie at the Beeb would be an absolute stunner. Unfortunately such is not so. This package may prove that Mr. Bowie can still arouse an audience, but for recordings that display his utmost power as a live performer in his younger days, fans are going to have to continue chasing bootlegs.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Hilary Duff
Label: Hollywood Records
Artist: Hilary Duff
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Not What I Expected


I have to admit that i truly enjoy hilary duff. i'm 23 years old and fresh out of college but i always have found her music fun and uplifting. When i purchased this CD i had completely different expecations. I thought I was going to hear more music life "So Yesterday" and "Why Not?". This is not what I heard.

My first listen, I didn't really like the music. I thought it was boring and didn't have much to it. Then i thought "I paid $13.99 for this CD, i'm going to enjoy it". I started listening to the lyrics and making an effort to enjoy it and I did. It's not the best CD of all time but is a good, entertaining pop album. I do recommend to listen to the samples at amazon.com, you'll get an idea of what the songs sound like. Then you just have to give it a chance.



Product: Audio CD
Title: A Single Man
Label: Island
Artist: Elton John
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
Single and Confused


Upon playing this album for the first time, two things prove prominent: while Elton's voice is in arguably its finest form, the album's lyrics undergo a roller-coaster ride of quality from acceptable to plain embarrassing. Elton had, as of autumn 1976, endured a series of aborted sessions with R&B producer Thom Bell. Though these sessions would later spawn top 40 hit "Mama Can't Buy You Love" (in 1979), these sessions with Bell would only prove beneficial to Elton's voice. According to Elton in 1990, Bell taught him "how to breathe" properly. On "A Single Man", this softer vocal work is notable with its wide dynamic and tonic range, as well as what sounds like effortless vibratto. The Bell sessions would also yield an early, 9-minute version of a wonderful song entitled "Shine on Through". The version on "A Single Man", re-interpretted as a love ballad, is much more favourable (and tolerable at a duration under four minutes).As for the lyrics, "A Single Man" lives up to its title with respect to the absence of Elon's long-famed lyricist Bernie Taupin. Taupin is replaced by Gary Osborne, an ex-jingle writer and an interesting albeit unexplained replacement for the superior Taupin. Osborne delivers catchy, predictable pop lyrics on such songs as "Part-Time Love" (a top 40 hit in the UK upon its release in 1978), but disappoints with superfluous efforts such as "I Don't Care" and "Shooting Star". Perhaps the greatest treat of the original eleven-track album is the playout track "Song For Guy"--an instrumental written by Elton for a Rocket Records (Elton's label) employee killed in a motorcycle crash. The song's success as a hit in England was a lnadmark for Elton--while it became his first hit instrumental, it was also the first of his recordings ever to use a "rhythm box" (drum machine).
And now some thoughts on the bonus tracks. "Ego" and "Flintstone Boy" are a nice pair of tracks to have on file, given that the two--respectively--were A and B sides in March 1978. However, while "Ego" features Taupin as lyricist, neither track comes from the "Single Man" sessions. While the origin of "Ego" seems to be a one-off (its video would be the first in history to have a budget comparable to that of a feature film), "Flinstone Boy" has long since rumoured to be an outtake from 1976's deply moving double-album "Blue Moves"--though no documentation has been produced to prove this. "Flintstone Boy" is an Elton-only composition (words and music), making it a novelty. "I Cry At Night" is another bonus track with a questionnable origin: its lyric penned by Taupin, it was released as the b-side to "Part-Time Love". Likewise, "Lovesick" was a b-side on a short-lived US release of the single "Song For Guy", its lyric as well being creditted to Taupin. "Strangers", the only bonus track on this CD that appears to be a true non-LP track from "A Single Man", is actaully one of the John/Osborne team's better songs, and is finally at home on this collection. In conclusion, this is one of those reissues that makes collectors scratch their heads with good reason--but try finding these bonus tracks anywhere else without having to paw through boxes of old dusty 45s at your local thrift store.
Adding this landmark release to your Elton John section is a must, no matter how uneven the original tracks prove to be. This import version features the original UK artwork (with a BLUE sky, whereas the US version featured a grey sky). When I was only ten years old, I had the rare privilege of being within yards of where this album cover photo was taken. With its simplicity and its strikingly faced Elton (no flashy spectacles),it remains my favourite album cover of all time.



Product: Audio CD
Title: The Three Tenors Christmas
Label: Sony
Artist: Pavarotti; Domingo; Carreras
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Long awaited Christmas flop


To start I just want to point out that when hearing this CD, one should not judge it as opera because it just isn't. Some reviewers talked about slow tempis. Hello! christmas songs! This is not Otello! Its magic relies on beautiful songs sung by three of the most beautiful voices ever.
And honestly...it is a great CD with great songs. The only bad thing about it is that sometimes Pavarotti forgets himself and starts siging with enormous power forgetting that he is in a church singing what is supposed to be very soft and light music.
Otherwise...great! Worth to have it.