Tuesday, March 22, 2005

ASIA ‘Archiva I & II’

ASIA ‘Archiva I & II’ Snapper Music (2005) www.snappermusic.com

The two volumes of ‘Archiva’ were originally released back in 1996 and now they have been bought together on this specially priced CD by Snapper Music. The songs were found after a flood at the recording studios used by John Payne and Geoff Downes and unlike other rarities/outtakes collection most of these would easily be worthy of being on a studio album. There are many gems on these two discs including the Queen like harmonies on ‘Fight Against The Tide’, the pomp rocking ‘Boys From Diamond City’ (another version can be heard on Max Bacon’s album of a few years back) and ‘The Higher You Climb’. John Payne very nearly joined ELO Part 2 back in the early 90’s and there is the very ELO sounding ‘A.L.O.’ on here – apparently written ready for when Payne may have joined the band. There is also a cover of ELO’s ‘Showdown’ that sees less strings more synths than the original version. Former members Steve Howe and Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy/21 Guns) also appear on tracks on these albums with Howe in fine form on ‘Ginger’.

If you are an Asia fan and have yet to sample either of these albums then now is the time to do so as you won’t be disappointed and there are many delights to be heard on the two discs. Just proves what a fine combination Downes and Payne make.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Puple Party

There was an interesting ‘mockumentary’ last night on BBC3, whereby former ‘Changing Rooms’ presenter Lawrence Lleweyn-Bowen started his own political party, the Purple Party. He was campaigning around the London borough of Greenwich with a manifesto based on saving and revamping heritage & improving the local environment. All the stereotypes were on display including the OTT camp PR man and a local who kept verbally attacking LLB wherever he went. To add kudos to the whole thing a few famous faces were asked to comment on his chances including Jonathan Aitken and Sir David Steel.

Not quite sure what the whole point of the programme was though but an interesting hour of TV. Some of his policies weren’t that crazy including increasing green spaces near dense housing areas but I am sure the tea-time bobbie idea (whereby your local policeman spends an hour week with locals over a cuppa) will ever catch on…

Purple Man

WIDESPREAD PANIC ‘Live At Myrtle Beach’

WIDESPREAD PANIC ‘Live At Myrtle Beach’ Sanctuary (2005) Panic weblink

Widespread Panic are a massive live draw in their native US and part of the very popular ‘jam’ band scene in the US that includes other bands like Blues Traveller and Phish. Here in the UK and Europe they would be lucky to fill a medium sized venue as for some reason we just don’t take to this type of music and/or it does not get much exposure.

As you’d expect the tracks take on new life and form in the live environment with more soloing (check out the 23 minutes plus of ‘Papa’s Home’). Vocalist John Bell has a drawling vocal style (sometimes he reminds me of BOC’s Eric Bloom in his quieter moments) that suits the music well and if you like guitar/piano jams underpinned by intricate percussion then give ‘Ain’t Life Grand’ and ‘Chilly Water’ a listen. There is a good, clear live sound throughout the two-disc set.

If you have not heard any Widespread Panic then I would recommend starting with ‘Don’t Tell The Band’ (for me the band’s finest hour studio album wise) and then trying a live album like this. Sometimes you can tire of the extended solos, whereas listening to the studio based tracks first will give you a better start to the band’s music.

Monday, March 07, 2005

YES `Yesspeak Yes Acoustic – 35th Anniversary Edition'

YES `Yesspeak Yes Acoustic – 35th Anniversary Edition' (DVD) Classic
Pictures (2005) www.classicpictures.co.uk

Here you get last year's number one bestselling DVD `Yes Acoustic'
plus `Yesspeak' the live show broadcast to 35 US cinemas last year.
You just can't fault the music on here from the epic strains
of `Heart of the Sunrise' through to `Long Distance Runaround' that
gets a new life in acoustic form. With the line-up of
Anderson/Howe/Squire/White/Wakeman you have arguably the best Yes
line-up. The photography is to be commended in this DVD as well –
clear shots of the band and zoom ins on band member's solo spots.

Bonus features include the trailers for the DVD from last year
plus a backstage view of the rehearsals, narrated in style by Rick
Wakeman. Wakeman's commentary had me laughing out loud in parts – if
he never made it as a musician he would surely have made top draw

If you're a Yes fan go get this now!

SURVIVOR `Eye Of The Tiger'

SURVIVOR `Eye Of The Tiger' SonyBMG (2005)
This album marked Survivor's sales peak, driven by the US and UK
number one hit single `Eye of the Tiger' (although for me
1984's `Vital Signs' was their best album overall). The line-up here
features original vocalist Dave Bickler (sporting a dodgy Frank
Spencer style beret on the back cover!), who left the band after this
album plus the core of guitarist Frankie Sullivan and Jim Petrik. As
for the songs well bar `I'M Not That Man Anymore' everyone is a
melodic rock gem from `Silver Girl' (featuring some awesome soloing
from Frankie Sulllivan) to the ballad `Ever Since The World Began' –
why not put this on the endless soft rock compilations for a
change? `Feels Like Love' rocks like a good `un whilst the title
track maybe overplayed but it is still a great song.
This re-release is re-mastered but sadly no bonus tracks. If
you've not got this album in your collection just one question – why

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Stoke City update & new player!

Former Leeds and Chelsea defender, Michael Dubberry has signed for Stoke on a free transfer. He did very well in a recent loan spell at Stoke but has never been a hit with the Leeds fans (to the point where he was booed at many games). Looks like a good signing and seeing as we have lost defender Marcus Hall (to Coventry) and striker Ade Akinbiyi (to Burnley) we need some reinforcements.

Dubberry signs...

We also have Leed’s striker Michael Ricketts on a month’s loan and again he is no crowd favourate at Leeds. Judging by his, shall we say ‘rounded’ figure, it looks like we won’t be keeping him long term and was apparently crap when he came on as a sub against Coventry.

Lots of players will be out of contract in the summer with Wayne Thomas looking set to leave which is a blow as he is a damn fine player. He’s turned down a contract but yet to respond to a revised contract. It seems the club is unwilling to get into contract talks yet as the current rumour is that Pullis will be leaving at the end of the season.

Finally, Pullis son has had a game with Torquay (where he is currently on loan from Stoke) and was awful. So much so he was subbed by an injured player! John Rudge says ‘he is on for the future’ – future in any career bar football it seems…
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