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41. All That We Let In
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42. Lucinda Williams
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43. MTV Unplugged
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44. Bryter Layter
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45. Hejira
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46. Dear Heather
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47. Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
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48. Freewheelin Bob Dylan (Hybr)
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49. Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol.
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50. Forever Changes [2001 Deluxe Edition]
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51. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
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52. On the Beach
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53. Decade
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54. Blonde on Blonde
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55. Teaser & The Firecat
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56. Ladies of the Canyon
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57. The Times They Are A-Changin'
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58. The Basement Tapes
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59. Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe
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60. The Hissing of Summer Lawns

41. All That We Let In
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Asin: B0001CCY1A
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 472
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Some 20 years into their career, the Indigo Girls continue to work the same protected turf they staked out with their first album, building on their strengths--gorgeous melodies, teardrop vocal blends, and the occasional poetic insight worth jotting on the back of an envelope.But on their ninth album, their irritating habits remain as intractable as ever: must every romantic spat be framed against saving the whales (okay, the shrinking water supply) and the fight for clean air? And why not put all that randy energy to good use? On "Tether," a Joan Osborne-fronted song that would have aired on progressive rock stations in the '60s and '70s, the three need to kick it up a notch and set a match to those dueling, gasoline-powered guitars. Yet when the chips are down, both Emily Sailers and Amy Ray turn out inspired songs, especially "Something Real," in which a long-awaited reunion with a friend leaves Sailers full of regrets, and "Cordova," a haunting eulogy in which Ray's choices in lust and liberal causes start to blur. --Alanna Nash ... Read more

Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC--AMY ROCKS ON THIS ALBUM
The Indigo Girls have amazed me again with the wide range of songs and lyrics. I for one, love the fact that they are so passionate about political issues and stay involved. The world might be a better place if other artists followed their lead. "Tether" rocks in rememberance of old Southern Rock that makes you hit repeat over and over. "Cordova" shows Amy's ability to truly sing. Emily still sings about love and life's journeys...true to what we all know Emily to be...Amy simply sets my heart on fire with this one..."Dairy Queen" resembles something we have all been through...breaking up and knowing it's right, yet still feeling love for the other person. Buy this cd today, and I promise you'll be completely satisfied.

5-0 out of 5 stars Feels like a duo again!
Now don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that I didn't like Shaming of the Sun, Come On Now Social, or Become You. I loved them all. But while each song was excellent in its own right on those albums, the albums as a whole didn't flow as well as some of the earlier Indigo releases, most notably Swamp Ophelia, which is a pure symphony from beginning to end.

All That We Let In is the first album since Swamp Ophelia that feels like it was recorded as a whole album instead of a collection of songs -- and the first since Swamp Ophelia that feels like it's a true INDIGO GIRLS album, instead of a showcase of the contrasting styles of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. Of course, their differences are what makes them interesting as a duo, but they finally seem to be working on common ground again here.

Emily, who spent the last few albums mostly immersed in the lullaby-ish ballads that she writes so well, seems to have stepped up to the challenge set by Amy's more daring songwriting with this album -- both musically and lyrically. She actually rocks out on a few tracks, most notably "Fill It Up Again" and "Rise Up," which is just fantastic to hear. And although the title track, "All That We Let In," is classic Emily (i.e. a folksy ballad), its lyrics are biting and poignant in an openly political way.

I must say, it makes me feel great to hear Emily "the quiet one" attacking our president's suppression of anyone he can suppress, in her words, "in the name of the free." (This line often earns a round of applause from fans when they play it live.)

And if you're the type who adores the ballads that Emily has become known for... don't worry. She's as good at writing love songs as she ever was. "Free in You" might just be the most uplifting Indigo love song out there, and "Come On Home" one of the darkest. "Something Real" lingers somewhere between dark and uplifting, but the impression it leaves is a lasting one.

But although this seems to be something of a comeback album for Emily, Amy's songs are far from disappointing! Indigo fanatics (myself included) were a little weirded out (read: "a LOT weirded out") by the ska-influenced arrangements on the previously-acoustic song "Heartache For Everyone" -- but even if the sound surprises you at first, give it a few listens. If it can grow on me, it can grow on anyone.

As for the other four Amy-penned songs on the album, I'd be very surprised if you even needed to give them a second listen before adding them to your Best Songs of All Time playlist. "Cordova" is a tender, heartbreaking ballad that shows off Amy's impressive tenor range beautifully. "Perfect World" and "Dairy Queen" (an environmental activist song and a song about a broken relationship, respectively) are both the type of catchy song that gets stuck in your head -- but unlike a lot of catchy tunes you hear these days, you'll be HAPPY to have these melodies in your head.

And "Tether" might just be the best song on the entire album. A rock anthem clocking in at over six minutes in length, "Tether" gives Amy a chance to jam as only Amy can do, while still managing to give us some of her best lyrics to date. I'd have bought this album for "Tether" alone.

But that's not the point. The point is that while each song on ATWLI has its own unique and wonderful merits, this album works magnificently as a whole. So whether you're a curious newbie to Amy and Emily's music, or a longtime fan, this album is a must-have.

4-0 out of 5 stars It grows on you
I've been an Indigo Girls fan for many years. At first, when I received this CD, I wasn't thrilled. I had pre-purchased it because I was so excited to get it. I was hoping it would go back to the harmonies that were found on Rites of Passage where the voices mattered more than the hard-edged guitar in their later works.

However, the more I listened, the more I liked it. It's not my favorite, by far, but it is a great CD and I would buy it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars This one is all about the music...
I have been a fan of the Indigo Girls since the 80's. I never thought the Girls could top Rites of Passage - still one of my favorite albums of all time. I cannot say All That We Let In 'tops' Rites of Passage, but it does offer the most musically comprehensive, mature song writing from the Girls in many years. I love this album more every time I listen. Just close your eyes and listen to the instrumental intricacies of Fill It Up Again.

Okay, I am more aligned with Emily Saliers' writing and musical style, but Amy Ray's compositions are also strong and classically satirical. I was not thrilled with their last few albums, all of which tried too hard to make a statement or send a political message. This product is all about the music! Overall, this is an excellent album, worthy of top honors. In my opinion, their best work in years!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best work since Rites of Passage
What makes the Indigo Girls tick? Apparently, it is way more than acoustic guitar. In fact there are tracks on this CD with no guitar at all. At first listen, it may take some getting used to but by the third or fourth time through, you will find yourself hooked. Kudos to Amy and Emily for testing new musical waters! And if you are fortunate enough to be near a tour date, get out and see them -- they get better every time! ... Read more


42. Lucinda Williams
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Asin: B000007NYS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3675
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Because this 1988 album produced hits for others ("Passionate Kisses" for Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Night's Too Long" for Patty Loveless), Williams is best known as a songwriter. She certainly deserves the rep: her "Side of the Road," for example, expresses the tension between loving another and remaining yourself better than any song ever written. But what makes this album so special is her voice. When she sings about wanting to visit "Crescent City," she packs more sheer longing into her delivery than even the greatest of songs could express. And, bonus, Lucinda Williams is chock full of great songs.--David Cantwell ... Read more

Reviews (58)

3-0 out of 5 stars lucinda williams
the true test of ms. williams genius is the fact that so many artists have found her songs strong enough to cover. But the most compelling aspect of her songs is the fact that when she sings them herself, the resulting product is absolutely sublime. I love mary chapin-carpenter, but 'passionate kisses', sung in ms.williams voice, is truly a work of art. 'side of the road', with its beautiful violin chorus, is almost too much to describe in words. Let me try. You been in love recently, real love? this tells it all. Worthy of literary criticism, worthy of a slot on the soundtrack of your life. if your lucky enough to get the live version, a little longer and slower, you can consider yourself a lucky person. reminds me of dylan, really. take your divas and your wanna be's, this womans voice speaks in the language of the soul.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good "Classic Lucinda"
First of all, the only bad thing about this album is that it sounds like it was produced when it was produced (1988) and it just doesn't have the "umph" that I think it could have.

That having been said, the songwriting is great, and the music sounds good. My favorites are "Crescent City", "Big Red Sun Blues" (if Jimmy Buffett could write songs this good, I might consider buying one of his records), and of course, the beautiful "Side of the Road". All the songs are great, the only thing is, although I like "Changed the Locks", Tom Petty's version rocks so well, that this one is pale. The story about the song (included in the CD) even making it on the CD is a good one, though, and shows that Lucinda knows what she's doing.

If you like Lucinda's other stuff on "Essence" and "Car Wheels" then you should pick this one up. It's a good album to listen to in the car, and in general, a pleasant album that won't rock your world, but will give you something to sing along with.

5-0 out of 5 stars A real treasure
This is one of my favorite Lucinda Williams albums.
Lucinda is a very talented songwriter. I love her voice as she sings her own songs. She also does a a most excellent job on the classic blues songs. Of these my favorite is 'Nothing In Rambling'. I'd buy the CD for this song alone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lucinda Wm's
She's Blues,Rock,Folk,Country An All Around Artist Start Here
To Begin Your Lucinda Experience

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential - but only if you like Lucinda!
Unlike most of the gushing reviewers, although I've been a fan of Lucinda's for a decade or so, I feel ambivalent about a lot of her music. I discovered her on an Austin City Limits episode about the time "Sweet Old World" came out, and my first reaction was to laugh out loud. I don't care how many "not helpfuls" you give the reviews that say she can't sing, or how many reviews say she has an amazing voice: I honestly thought I'd tuned into a Saturday Night Live sketch and that her performance was a joke. That voice seemed so awful to me at first. Same for lyrics that seemed repetitive and without substance. The utter lack of charisma may have been what sent me over the edge - she may have more stage presence these days, but on television back then she put the "dead" in deadpan. When I saw her perform live in the mid-90's (I really do love her, honest!), she was still underwhelming in terms of stage presence except when she got into old blues songs on a long version of "Hot Blood".

So I think it's only fair to warn a newcomer that this may be a voice they love to hate. I love Patti Smith and Bob Dylan and Neil Young and PJ Harvey, but let's face it - they grate on a lot of people's nerves, and Lucinda's voice does the same. Heck, I'm a fan, and I own all her CD's, but if I'm not in just the right mood she grates on mine. Thus, I disagree with those who think the cover versions are inferior - I'd often prefer Mary Chapin Carpenter doing "Passionate Kisses". For all I know Lucinda might too. In my youth, I once told Don Schlitz it was too bad some country artist had ruined one of the songs I loved hearing him perform. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me he loved the record. Maybe I didn't like commercial country music , but just because we sometimes think it's best hearing the songwriter's own interpretation doesn't make it true. Often another person interprets a song better and makes it their own. Or at least, in the case of Lucinda covers, sings in what would conventionally be considered a much better voice.

Later I saw her on TV again, and she began to grow on me until eventually I came to enjoy a quirky voice and lyrics that are poetic. I wouldn't be here writing about her if I hadn't come around, I'm just saying it's good to have some reviews here that are helpful to non-fans, and to acknowledge her weaknesses as well as her strenghts. The woman can use words; it just took me a while to get used to someone saying so much with so few of them. And when I'm in the mood to enjoy her voice, it's a joy to just sink into such luxurious lyrics. So - that's the stuff for people who don't know Lucinda at all. On to the comparisons.

Like others below, I only have the original CD and can't comment on the bonus tracks except to say that "Sweet Old World" truly is a great song and that I wouldn't mind having an extra version. "Sweet Old World" was the first Lucinda CD I ever bought, and my favorite until "Car Wheels". This one was always last on my list, though "Essence" made me think twice. Going back today and listening after spending a good deal of time with "World Without Tears", I realize how great the original "Lucinda Williams" was, though, and how much it foreshadowed her future music. The production isn't as sophisticated as on "Car Wheels" (probably still the best entry point for someone new to her music, as well as the most likely one) or the recordings following it, but the songwriting is so remarkably consistently good.

It's funny how things change with time, too. Most of the songs I considered amazing classics seemed less so today, while others I'd glossed over in the past, like the sublime "Side of the Road", stood out. There just isn't a bad song here. What struck me most was how much this recording foreshadowed her future songwriting. The way "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" expresses so much passion with so few words, no matter how repetitive or how unusual a voice. And the sheer poetry here - if "Side of the Road" stands out in terms of its imagery, it isn't alone in using words better than most songwriters can dream of. I also just noticed the gritty sensuality in "The Night's Too Long" that came back back later on "Car Wheels" with "Right in Time", or "Essence", or "Righteously" on "World Without Tears".

This is my long way of being the 58th person to say this is essential classic wonderful Lucinda, but with a grain of salt for those who might not find her voice palatable. This is a shopping site after all, and I'd never tell a friend to buy a Lucinda CD without first making sure her voice didn't drive them up the wall, or that she wasn't too country for them, or that the lyrics seemed as brilliant to them as to me - she really isn't for everyone. ... Read more


43. MTV Unplugged
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Asin: B000002HEM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5425
Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mellow Maniacs.
Since we never got that "Best of" from them, I guess this will have to due. Of course, this is basically an unplugged greatest hits album. And as good as the studio albums are, this actually seems, and sounds, more natural for them. It includes the classics "Like the Weather", "Trouble Me", and "These are Days". Other wonderful songs are "What's the Matter Here?" and "Noah's Dove". The only songs that I really miss, are "Dust Bowl", and "Circle Dream". But you can't have it all. Though "In My Tribe", "Blind Man's Zoo", and "Our Time In Eden" are excellent studio albums, I would still suggest this to the person looking for just one "10,000 Maniacs" disc. It's 14 unplugged tracks that sound as good as "Natalie Merchant" looks.

5-0 out of 5 stars A hauntingly exquisite live album
This album stands as one of the most impressive MTV Unplugged albums ever recorded. The unique style and sound of the 10,000 Maniacs was captured beautifully in this concert, preserving an unforgettable legacy by the group which was essentially breaking up at the time this was released. Anyone who listened to the radio back then has to know and remember Because the Night. While it is still hard for me to believe this song so wonderfully suited to Natalie Merchant's voice was written by Bruce Springsteen, it served as a most impressive means of introducing Natalie Merchant sans Maniacs to the larger listening audience. Like many fans, I am not that familiar with the 10,000 Maniacs albums predating In My Tribe, but all of the 14 songs on this album (including four from In My Tribe) are just hauntingly exquisite. Each song tells a story, often a serious one touching on important social issues, infusing this modernized folk music with a very human folk music consciousness that speaks to both the head and heart in a number of very effective ways. If the unique sound of 10,000 Maniacs doesn't move you at first, give it a second listen, and I'm sure the power of the music will begin to reveal itself to you. It is unfortunate that Natalie Merchant left the group, but the magic that was 10,000 Maniacs has been wonderfully preserved in this truly incredible live recording.

3-0 out of 5 stars Love Merchant, Dislike the Maniacs
Natalie Merchant was truly the force behind this group. Luckily Merchant's voice raises this collection up from the formulaic collections of unplugged that have come before. (Think Eric Clapton etc) Trouble Me, and Because the Night are the two main reasons to buy this cd. If you don't have a love of the 10,000 Maniacs, you would be better to pay to download those two tracks. If you want to enjoy Natalie Merchants voice, please look at her solo debut Tigerlily.

4-0 out of 5 stars A bit flat, but still a great collection
I remember watching the original shortened broadcast of MTV Unplugged on TV before the album was released, and my first thought was that Natalie Merchant sounded tired during this performance. It's understandable, as the Maniacs were playing many dates in late '92 and early '93, but her last album with the Maniacs is also probably the worst. However, worse doesn't always mean "bad." This is a nice reworking of some of their back catalog, as well as the surprise hit, a cover of "Because the Night," that was worn out by excessive radio play.

5-0 out of 5 stars pleasant, incredibly good album
In my opinion - which of course may not agree with yours although it might- this is the best, and I mean the best light rock album with a female vocalist. If I were to pick the 5 best american female rock composers, Natalie would be among the three best with Tori and who else?... hmmmm that's a difficult one. But anyway, you know what I mean, her music is great, very melodic, inspires lots of different moods and adaptable for a wide variety of tastes. I wonder what is of Ten Thousand Maniacs nowadays now that they are without the marvelous Natalie. ... Read more


44. Bryter Layter
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B000025H0Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1990
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Reissue of the late British folk icon's 1970 sophomorealbum. Ten tracks. Island. ... Read more

Reviews (56)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple as a kettle, steady as a rock
Bryter Layter is one of those albums that you want all of your friends to listen to because you know how infectious it is. This album contains the song that I would choose as an introduction to Nick Drake. If you can listen to Northern Sky and not feel anything, you should check your pulse. It is quite simply the most beautiful, heartfelt song I have ever heard. Nick had such a way with the language, he was painting pictures with words in a style that was so different from anyone else. Thirty years later, there still has not been anyone who has done what Nick did. This albums also contains one of my favorite lyrics of all time: "If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine." I'm sure that almost anyone who listens to music can relate to that feeling. No record collection is complete without Nick Drake. This is as essential as it gets.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Drake's Best
This is definitely not Drake's best album. It is, however, a quality
recording. The only real criticism that I can offer is that it is a little
over produced. At times the string and horn arrangements become distracting
and seem out of place. The real beauty of Drake's other recordings are their
simplicity and minimalistic approach. This album, though, departs from that
standard and includes multiple overdubs and, as I said, superfulous
arrangements.

Do not, however, misunderstand me. I am a firm believer in
Drake's genius as a songwriter and musician. Bryter Layter certainly stands
as a testament to this. His vocals, as always, are majestic and
otherworldly. His songs, as always, are so beautiful they make you cry for
mama.

]This is a great album, but not necessarily the album I'd recommend to Nick
Drake newcomers. The tracks that stand out are "Fly" and "Poor Boy." The
later has a very nice loungy feel to it.

If you're expecting a laid back folk album in the vain of
Pink Moon, you will not find it in Bryter Layter. I would describe this
album as something more like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks but suffering from
an uncomfortable case of elevator strings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pulls one along with a gentle tension
"Bryter Layter" superbly pulls one along with a gentle tension: the music is arranged in a largely upbeat manner. Yet Nick Drake often sings about detachment as though it offers stability. It's as though he is the catalyst, melding jazzy riffs and structures with his lyrics that conjure up images of what was, what should have been, what could have been.

Even the instrumental tracks evoke a longing, a need for completion, a yin-yang that does not quite fit.

How anyone could quibble about the significance of this session escapes me: pairing Nick Drake with peers such as Thompson, Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks from Fairport Convention; John Cale; and Chris McGregor who contributes some excellent piano on Poor Boy is like a folk-rock dream team.

Mr. Drake's delicate vocals and the deft arrangements are the gossamer that binds this session, and "Bryter Layter" should ultimately be remembered for its myriad strengths instead of a foil for the rest of Mr. Drake's work or as a prescient-laden testimony to Mr. Drake's subsequent depression and death.

5-0 out of 5 stars instantly bryter
I'll go out on a limb and just hope that everyone knows that feeling where you're happy through and through and yet there's this deep seated hinting towards a desperate need to cry. I've yet to find a word for it, but whatever the word is, that's what this album is. Musically, there's incredible talent. The lyrics are heads above most. But mostly, it's the feeling that you get out of this.

5-0 out of 5 stars my personal favorite, but understandably criticized
I heard this album after I had already heard Five Leaves Left and Pink Moon, so I thought it was really weird to hear Nick Drake backed by a jazz band. It didn't seem to go along with him. But I listened to it while driving in a car at night on a rainy day, and it was perfect. I don't think the band dilutes him, I think it just makes this album very different from his two others.(which are definitely not identical to each other in the first place) Not only does it have different arrangements, it's more upbeat, musically if not lyrically. I really like the instrumentals, especially the title track- they're reminiscent of elevator music, but more energetic and more fun to listen to than anything that ever got played in an elevator. However, I can see why people complain, since in many songs, you have to listen hard to make out Nick's guitar. It's nice to hear John Cale on this album, I'm beginning to think that the six degrees of separation rule applies to session musicians as well as movie actors. Surprisingly, his distinctive viola playing suits Nick Drake just as well as it suited the Velvet Underground. This is probably the best of the "jazz-folk" albums of the late '60s and early '70s, it's more cohesive and balances the jazz and folk elements better than similar albums by Tim Buckley and Van Morrison, though both of them definitely did influence Drake. (Maybe it's not better than "Astral Weeks," but it's about as good, and easier to listen to) It also must be mentioned that Belle and Sebastian, and several other indie bands, literally owe their sound to this album(especially "Hazey Jane II"). If you want music that sounds good on a rainy day, but isn't sleep-inducing, or depressing, this is it. Being in a part of the world where there is a lot of precipitation, this album is in my CD player a lot, and it's my personal favorite of Drake's three masterpieces. ... Read more


45. Hejira
list price: $11.98
our price: $7.99
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Asin: B000002GYC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1596
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

After the expanded instrumental scale and sonic experimentation of Court & Spark and The Hissing of Summer Lawns[EJM2], Joni Mitchell reverses that flow for the more intimate, interior music on Hejira, which retracts the arranging style to focus on Mitchell's distinctive acoustic guitar and piano, and the brilliant, lyrical bass fantasias of fretless bass innovator Jaco Pastorius.Known for his furious, sometimes rococo figures beneath the music of Weather Report, Pastorius is tamed by Mitchell's cooler, more deliberate ballads: these meditations coax a far gentler, subdued lyricism from Pastorius, whose intricate bass counterpoints Mitchell's coolly elegant singing, especially on the sublime "Amelia," which transforms the mystery of Amelia Earheart into a parable of both feminism and romantic self-discovery.This isn't Mitchell at her most obviously ambitious, yet the depth of feeling, poetic reach, and musical confidence make this among the finest works in a very fine canon. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (73)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Shine on your witness, taking refuge in the roads..."
This album, released in 1976, is largely considered to be Joni's best. Joni alienated a lot of people with her previous album, 1975's "The Hissing of Summer Lawns." That album was lambasted by critics, leaving her very bitter. "Hejira" was very experimental but a bit more controlled. Here is a sound that is indigenous to Joni, you will never hear another album that sounds like this. The sound was described as being "as open and free as the Canadian prairies that spawned her." Joni herself says it has an "introspective, Buddhist quality." In late 1975, early 1976, Joni was driving alone from California to New York. Every time she stopped somewhere for the night, she would sit down and write a song. This is a song cycle about traveling, and the tales of the strange and not-so-strange people she met on the road, and also of different thoughts that came to mind. I'll tell you right now, you can sit down and listen to this album and appreciate the talent of the musicians, the beauty of Joni's lyrics, melodies, and arrangements, and the brilliance of her wild, out-there guitar tunings. But in order to really "get" this album, you have to travel a great distance along an unfamiliar route, by yourself, with this record playing. I've done this, and I can honestly say that I now appreciate the album on a great many levels. All of these thoughts really do come into your head. And I'll tell you, I lived parts of "Refuge of the Roads." Read along with the lyrics; I met a guy who drank and womanized but had some smart things to say. I also met a few drifters in a beach town (but I didn't wind up fixing dinner for them and Boston Jim). The title itself is pronounced hee-ZHEER-uh. It is an English word with Arabic roots meaning "leaving the dream no blame." Joni said that she was looking for a word that means the equivalent of "running away with honor." She joked "Exodus was taken, that belongs to Israel," and she found "hejira" while perusing the dictionary. And if you ask me, the album cover itself perfectly suits the album's content. Joni standing alone on an open stretch of land, cigarette in hand. It suits the introspective, solitary, brooding tone of the album. And the image of the road superimposed on her form means this to me: it seems to be Joni saying "You can say the miles I've traveled just by looking at me." Sorry to go on and on like this, but my love for this album knows no bounds. So in short, go buy it. Favorite tracks: "Coyote," "Amelia," "Hejira," "Refuge of the Raods."

5-0 out of 5 stars Joni Mitchell - in a class by herself
I bought this album because I play bass and I learned that Jaco Pastorius played on it (I also got "Mingus" - "Don Juan's..." and "Shadows and Light" are on my wish list). Mr.Pastorius is a powerful presence on the songs he plays on, his melodic sense really empowers the music. But, I could not help but fall in love with Joni as an artist. Her songs most of the time seem to have no beat - the music seems to be floating around you. You almost feel like she is improvising a story right along with her guitar. I imagine her sitting by a campfire with her guitar, singing her stories all through the night. This aspect is to me, musically speaking, the one that really sets her apart. This is not verse/chorus/verse/chorus/guitar solo/chorus music. Joni takes you by the hand and guides you through the twists and turns of love, fate, loss, and the structure of the music (or apparent lack of it) reflects that perfectly.Of course, her voice itself is absolutely beautiful and evocative. Joni is one of the greatest musical talents of the XX century, and I don't think she has gotten all the recognition she deserves. Joni Mitchell is in a class by herself, and this album proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible then and now.
I've never written a review here, but just have to say something about this album. If you like rock and/or have liked any jazz you've heard, you will never regret giving this cd a try. Especially if you like people such as Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, the Pat Metheny Group, Modesky Martin and Wood, Beth Orton, EBTG, Lucinda Williams, Suzanne Vega, or the shoegazers you'll love this, but that doesn't mean it sounds like them. Actually, their music was probably informed by having listened to it, but Hejira transcends categories. Each song is wonderful on its own, but the album almost requires being listened to as a whole. The lyrics are eloquent, clear-headed looks at herself and people around her, and alone are worth getting the album. The music's spareness, freshness and cohesive beauty is absolutely breathtaking. And by the way, what Jaco Pastorius did with the bass on this has to be some of his best work; if you like jazz bass you pretty much have to listen to this. Anyway, enough gushing. Just get this--but look out; if you play it in the car on a solo road trip it'll both haunt and change you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!
Isn't it interesting that Joni Mitchell, a folk-turned jazz singer-songwriter earned the respect of the likes of Prince and Led Zeppelin while also influencing the music of others like Rickie Lee Jones and Suzanne Vega? Mitchell is the consummate musical artist, and the greatest lyricist in pop music over the last 50 years. This is one of her many masterpieces, fully the equal of Blue, Court and Spark and For the Roses. Buy it, you'll fall in love with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless...
Thanks to "The Loft" on XM Satellite, I've reawakened to Joni Mitchell. I heard the title cut to Hejira the other day and her phrasing of "we're only particles of change I know, I know" caught my attention. I went out and bought the album last weekend and have been listening to it over and over like a mental patient. In high school I liked "Court and Spark" and later enjoyed "Blue" but this one's much better in my opinion, and after reading some of the other reviews, I don't think I'm alone. Although it sounds as if she hadn't sung "Cyotte" enough to really pace the words yet (compared to the live version on Shadows and Light), her performance of Hejira is worth the price of admission alone. This is a beautifully written and performed song that ranks up there with the very best pop music ever done. I'm happy to be a fan once again, Joni. ... Read more


46. Dear Heather
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Asin: B0002MPTDO
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Sales Rank: 342
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Leonard Cohen must be the envy of countless singer-songwriters. Who else has been cozily buffered from the ravages of pop music than this eminent but never particularly prominent Canadian wordsmith? Nearing four decades as a recording artist, Cohen has never left his original label, despite failing to ever register anything resembling a commercial hit. Long ago shed of the "new Dylan" trappings that greeted his first recordings, Cohen now cushions his carefully wrought lyrics in smooth keyboard-and-vocal-heavy arrangements that owe far more to MOR pop and cabaret then folk-rock. His words and delivery have become more nuanced and playful as he's grayed. Listen to the sexy self-deprecation of "Because of" ("Because of a few songs/ Wherein I spoke of their mystery/ Women have been/ Exceptionally kind in my old age") or the weary resolve of his 9-11 statement, "On That Day" ("Did you go crazy or did you report/ On that day…they wounded New York?"). Dear Heather, likes its creator, is at once new and old, familiar and fresh. --Steven Stolder ... Read more


47. Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
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Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars I wish he was back!!
I wish Cat Stevens was back... I miss his talent and his creative genius. Our loss is Islam's gain. At least I can stick this CD in and enjoy the likes of "Peace Train," "Oh Very Young" and "Father & Son." ...and, I am glad to say that my personal favorite "Morning Has Broken" is present and accounted for! Every time I listen to Cat Stevens's music I am transported back to the mid '70's laying on my bunk in the barracks listening to this wonderful music on my KOSS head phones! Take it from a LONG-time fan -- Buy this CD you will not regret it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent cat stevens greatest hits CD!
This collection has all of his very best in one great music compilation ever with most of Stevens popular hits from the seventies. The songs on here are really good classics like "Wild World", "Two Fine People", "Oh Very Young", "Peace Train" and "Moonshadow"!

4-0 out of 5 stars The artist formerly known as Cat
Before devoting himself to Islam and retiring from the music scene, the former Cat Stevens produced an impressive body of folk rock employing inventive acoustic arrangements and his own expressive, gruff-yet-tender voice. This compilation does not include all of his hits and obviously none of his fine songs that did not become radio hits, but it is an enjoyable overview of some of his most popular work. Very impressive. "Oh Very Young" has always been a particular favorite of mine.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful album!!
These are classics that will live for centuries to come.
One has to wonder why Stevens has virtually gone into hiding nowadays. He has a lot of talent to offer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uniquely mature artist
The thing about Cat Stevens' songs is that the guy was just 22 years old when he became a star. To hear the lyrics of songs like "Oh Very Young," "Hard Headed Woman," "Father & Son," and "Sitting," it's amazing to think that his peak of popularity was only five years along when the set was released in mid 1975. While almost every other singer-songwriter of that time was whining about their personal troubles or griping about the political arena, Stevens was treasuring humanity.

"Oh Very Young"
Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?
You're only dancing on this earth for a short time.
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now,
They will vanish away like your daddy's best jeans
Denim Blue fading up to the sky.

"Sitting"
Life is like a maze of doors, and they all open from the side you're on.
Just keep on pushing hard, boy, try as you may,
You're gonna wind up where you started from.

"Hard Headed Woman"
I'm looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard headed woman
I know the rest of my life will be blessed -- yes, yes, yes.
I know a lot of fancy dancers,
people who can glide you on a floor,
They move so smooth but have no answers.

"Father & Son" is a delicate and unbelievably mature and touching song detailing a conversation between two men, Stevens singing both parts, as the father tries to give his son a simple instruction on how to handle a current life-changing situation while the younger one expresses frustration at how he can't talk to his father although he wants to.

Father:
I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

Son:
How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.

From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.

That's special. If you're not very familiar with this artist but enjoy gentle music with a real heart, you've got to check this one out. ... Read more


48. Freewheelin Bob Dylan (Hybr)
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Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963, Columbia)
Bob Dylan remains one of the best songwriters, poets and storytellers of this time in American music history. Even after listening to "Another Side of Bob Dylan", "Bringing it All Back Home", the ever-lasting "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde"... "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" happens to be my most personal favorite Bob Dylan project.

Bob Dylan once said that "Poets don't drive cars"... (notice on the song "Bob Dylan's Blues" he says "I don't have no sports car and I don't even care to have one. I can walk anytime around the block...)"

Right before the dissappointing "The Times Are A-Changin'", Bob Dylan was only about 21 when he had made this album and he had known and claimed to have witnessed a lot of wars and he spoke of the natural fact that older people should know better (but some still do not). Dylan recorded the masterpiece "Masters of War" that is required listening in honor of people who have died in wars and especially the recent 9/11 attacks and how our President George W. Bush is handling the situation. It was very strong to hear how Dylan wishes someone would die in this song (and even the pitiful "You ain't worth the blood that runs in your veins). Unfortunately, not every one could have made a song like this without souding self-absorbed and orthodoxed (11 years later, Stevie Wonder [who had done a remake of Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" in his pre-teenage years] had made a song entitled "You Haven't Done Nothing", attacking President Nixon... although that was a great song, I do not believe it was as strong as "Masters of War").

Just like "Another Side of Bob Dylan" which was filled with folk love songs, this album has a few folky love songs that are quiet, yet passionate. "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" is an album that I have heard recently that is a God-send to me, that I've loved all the way through and that has influenced me a lot. Although I avoid comparison in many aspects, this album is ten times better than the over-rated Bruce Springsteen album "Born to Run".

The remastered version contains rare photos of Bob Dylan with remastered sound and great Digipak packaging that's very polished.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: All of them!

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant After All These Years
This is Bob Dylan's second album, a folk record of some of the best songs he's ever done, and he was so young. On this CD you'll find "Masters of War," a song as timely now as it was way back in 1963 and a song Dylan has revisited time and again throughout his career. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is on this album as well. It's my personal favorite, especially the way he performed it during the Concert for Bangla Desh with George Harrison at Madison Square Garden in 1971. If that isn't enough, Dylan performs the sweetest version of "Corina, Corina" you'll ever hear. And, of course, I have to mention, "Blowing in the Wind," perhaps the greatest protest song ever written. This CD is one you must own, though if you don't have an SACD player, stick with the original version.

Reviewed by Stephanie Sane

5-0 out of 5 stars A great album, even for non-Dylan fans
I am not a Dylan fan. But I've got an SACD player, and whenever I notice a retailer selling off their SACD stock cheaply, I tend to hoover it up.

I've always felt a bit guilty about not liking Dylan, given that he has had millions of fans, and was, at least until his motorbike accident in 1966, as big as Elvis and the Beatles. I think the problem is that I was born a decade too late, and music has always been much more important to me than lyrics. It may be heretical to say this but, as a teenager in the 1970s, I found the music of bands like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers more catchy than Dylan (great though the 'Desire' LP was).

But Dylan doesn't go away, and he's now one of the few popular artists to have much of his output available on SACD. THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN was one of the key visual references in the recent Cameron Crowe movie VANILLA SKY.

I think you have to have lived through the era to really appreciate the impact of what Dylan was doing. Coming late to the era, it matters little to a new fan that 'Highway 61 Revisited' was the first electric folk rock album. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of electric folk rock albums to choose from, and if anything, the later ones are likely to smoothe off the rough edges of the first.

But now I have a wad of Dylan SACDs and the opportunity to wade through them in chronological sequence. And I keep coming back to THE FREEWHEELIN' BOB DYLAN because it possesses a great purity and enthusiasm. As other reviewers have said, it's just the man, his mouth organ and his guitar (apart from on 'Corrina, Corrina'). SACD captures the simplicity of his performance superbly. NB This is SACD Stereo -- not Surround Sound, nor Dolby 5.1.

The music is part folk, part blues. Yes, it's slightly repetitive in that it lacks the diversity and creative input you could get from a wider group setting. But for me, this is solo Dylan at the top of his game, bristling with confidence that an enormous audience would take to the album. To enjoy this CD, you don't need to organise a sit-in, protest march or late-night coffee with a few student friends. It really is OK to listen to this in the car or while exercising or even (heaven forbid!) as background music while working or giving a dinner party. Dylan probably foresaw none of these uses for his music, and I suspect the only protest at such abuse would come from his diehard folk fans -- the same ones who protested about his later transition to electric instruments. Me, I just love it because it's so uncluttered. (And normally I don't like folk music!)

5-0 out of 5 stars Before the break.
His best "folk" period (accoustic) recording and possible his most individual creation to this point.

5-0 out of 5 stars First glimpse of Dylan the songwriter
The public was exposed to the genius of Dylan's early folk writings in this album, and the results are phenomenal. It's hard to imagine the 60's without this album, as many cuts became classics. If you are intersted in Dylan's folk phase, start here. ... Read more


49. Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
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Sales Rank: 625
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable collection of underappreciated songs
I was busy learning how to breathe and walk about the time this second Greatest Hits album was released in 1971, so this period of Bob Dylan's career was quite unknown to me when I became a fan as a teenager. I was familiar with early classics such as Blowin' in the Wind and Like a Rolling Stone, but the songs featured on this Greatest Hits Volume 2 package have been somewhat overlooked over the years. What few Dylan songs I would hear on the radio were the early wonders featured on the original Greatest Hits album. Thus, this 2-CD set of songs has helped fill a real void in my musical knowledge and experience. Dylan's remarkable versatility and diverse means of delivering his message are revealed in this collection of songs hand-picked by the man himself. There is great variety here, from up-tempo tracks such as Maggie's Farm and The Mighty Quinn to slow, romantic ballads like Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You and If Not For You to long, story-telling songs such as Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues and A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall which bear traces of stream-of-consciousness revelatory wonder. What strikes me the most here, though, is the dramatic difference in Dylan's vocal delivery. Tunes such as Lay, Lady, Lay and Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You feature a rather smooth, even refined voice that bears only a slight resemblance to the gritty vocals of Dylan's youth and the gravelly potency of his later releases.

The very notion of "greatest hits" almost seems beneath Dylan's standards. A Dylan "hit" is not necessarily a song that topped the charts; each of these songs is a hit because of the incredible writing and singing that gave it life. Some of these tracks weren't even popularized by Bob Dylan: All Along the Watchtower, for example, immediately brings to mind Jimi Hendrix. Notwithstanding this, each of these 21 tracks belong heart and soul to the man who wrote them and performed them in his unmatched, unique way. The most significant of these tracks, in my opinion, are Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again, My Back Pages, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, and It's All Over Now, Baby Blue. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about this compilation, though, is its inclusion of the powerful, previously unreleased recordings Watching the River Flow, Tomorrow Is a Long Time (a live version from 1963, no less), the incredible When I Paint My Masterpiece, I Shall Be Released, You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, and Down in the Flood.

I think a person needs to have a degree of appreciation of Bob Dylan before introducing himself to the songs on this second volume of his greatest hits. Start with his early classics and/or his critically acclaimed albums of the late 90s and early twenty-first century. Once you are properly grounded in Dylanology, you will marvel at the talent and power displayed on the somewhat neglected and definitely underappreciated tracks featured on this Greatest Hits Volume 2 compilation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bob's Best "Greatest"
"Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume II" is as close to perfection as two compact discs can get. Dylan's first Greatest Hits collection gathered most of his most well know songs from the 1960s, while this volume scoops up the rest. A number of these songs were big hits for other artists, including "All I Really Want to Do" (The Byrds), "All Along the Watchtower" (Jimi Hendrix) and "The Mighty Quinn" (Manfred Mann). Selected from Dylan's incredible run of top notch 60's albums, this collection features both accoustic and electric tracks. There are sentimental romantic ballads ("Lay Lady Lay," "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You") and verbose tounge twisting rants ("Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," ""It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"). There are angry political rants ("Maggie's Farm," "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall") and spiritually uplifting songs ("I Shall Be Released," "When I Paint My Masterpiece"). Bob shows both his folkie side and his rock and roll side and he's never been in better (uh) voice.

This is the definitive collection from Bob Dylan's classic period and is essential for any rock fan who does not own the original Dylan albums.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is "the" one
There are many brilliant albums by Bob Dylan. So it utimately comes to a matter of personal choice. You really can't go wrong with any of them. However, in the catagory of collections and greatest hits, this is outstanding, even for Bob. The second disc is especially good because there are some of the more obscure tracks. And for me, Dylan really shines on lesser known stuff, like Quinn the Eskimo and Down in the flood. Don't bother with the first Greatest Hits and head straight for the golden volume 2.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great New Stuff on The One
Because there were only four albums between "Greatest Hits, Vol. 2" and "Greatest Hits" a lot of people didn't think there was enough 'hit' material for another record, but they were wrong, almost every song on "Highway 61" and "Bringing it all Back Home" are so called 'hit material. However, the folks at Colombia and Mr. D himself were aware of the criticizism they might get, so they included enough new stuff to keep his fans happy, such as three new recordings Dylan did with banjo player Happy Traum "Crash on the Levee (Down in the Flood)," "I Shall Be Released," and "You Ain't Going Nowhere." Also this is the only album where you'll find, the two songs Leon Russell produced for Dylan, "When I Paint My Master Piece," and "Watching the River Flow" and then there is that haunting version of "Tomorrow is a Long Time," recorded live. This is a must have five star record.

Reviewed by Stephanie Sane

4-0 out of 5 stars It Has A Great Flow
This is an excellent start for someone interested in the music of Bob Dylan. This two CD set flows nicely from acoustic to rock to country and a few oddball tracks in between. Watching The River Flow is a great opener with some awesome guitar and keyboard playing. Dylan had the good sense to emply some top musicians on many of his tracks.

Then of course there is the long winded but strong lyrical epic Stuck Inside A Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again. Gosh even that title is long. But the words are so so cool with Bobby Boy getting his eyelids smoked and cigarette punched.

So many other gems on this near masterpiece. How about When I Paint My Masterpiece with searing vocals. Down In The Flood is another tune loaded with spunk and verve. The key to the value of this recording is balance as one can surely get a picture of Bob Dylan's vivid imagery.

Like I said before, this is a good place to start for newbies. However, established fans of the man who want a extensive summary of his quality years can do little wrong with this collection. ... Read more


50. Forever Changes [2001 Deluxe Edition]
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Sales Rank: 2277
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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One of rock's most overlooked masterpieces, this third album by the L.A. folk-rock outfit led by inscrutable singer-songwriter Arthur Lee sounds as fresh and innovative today as it did upon its original release in 1968. With David Angel's atmospheric string and horn arrangements giving the work a conceptual underpinning, Lee explores mainstream America's penchant for paranoia ("The Red Telephone") and violence ("A House Is Not a Motel") with songs that are as sonically subtle and lilting as they are lyrically blunt and harrowing. Add two gems by Love's secret weapon, second guitarist Bryan MacLean ("Alone Again Or" and "Old Man"), and you've got one of the truly perfect albums in rock history. Rhino's deluxe reissue serves up seven bonus tracks, including outtakes, alternates, and the "Your Mind and We Belong Together"/"Laughing Stock" single. --Billy Altman ... Read more

Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars The breath of genius...
When this album was first released in late 1967 (Elektra), it seemed way beyond the pale, as though it had been produced in an alternate rock universe. But just mention it to those lucky fans who were aware of it at the time and their eyes widen, their voices drop into hushed tones of awe. "Forever Changes" was the breath of genius. With time, more and more rock critics have come to share that view. Even if you already own this album in another format, buy this CD.

The first CD version of this classic (Elektra/Asylum 1987) was typically nothing special in the audio department. The next version, presented in full on the two-CD boxed set, "Love Story 1966-1972" (Rhino 1995), was dramatically better sonically - everything brought forward, especially the bass, with lots more detail. However, although all the songs on "Forever Changes" were included (in indication of how highly regarded the album was), they were split between the two CDs. The new, intact re-master is a real joy. Although it may be hard for most listeners to detect any obvious sonic improvement over the "Love Story" boxed set (meaning only that Rhino did a great job on the boxed set), with a good sound system and a careful listen you can indeed hear greater detail. Actually, it's one of the most impeccable sonic presentations I've heard on any CD. The bonus tracks are a really nice addition, same high sonic quality, rounding out our appreciation for the original Love's final, brilliant recording sessions, from which "Forever Changes" was born. The 24-page CD booklet is also quite nice, with lots of text detailing the history of Love and frontman Arthur Lee, and the genesis and production of "Forever Changes", track by track. Thanks, Rhino, for giving this masterpiece everything it has so long deserved.

5-0 out of 5 stars beauty and dread
Okay, so the Beatles developed a perfect mix of experimentalism and melody for Sgt. Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour, Nick Drake had incredible string arrangements backing his intimate performances on Five Leaves Left (even better than this album- you may not agree but give "River Man" a listen) and Tim Buckley's vocals, however understated, always achieved devestating power on Goodbye and Hello and Happy Sad (Love from Room 109 at the Islander is one of the best songs ever recorded- You didn't like it? Much too long and slow? No, listen again and let its atmosphere envelope you - there's a reason I said best song ever recorded and not written).

For moments of stunning beauty, however, moments where you just can't help going "Ooh, i really, really like the way that sounds", look to Forever Changes. The unbelievable bridge in "The Red Telephone", where Lee sings "I don't know if the third's the fourth or if the/the fifth's to fix" over a swelling string arrangement. Or the second part of "You set the Scene", where Lee's voice absolutely soars over the breathtaking orchestra("This is the time of life that I am living/ and I'll face each day with a smile"- Lee's delivery is so powerful, the verse compels and resonates like some exquisitely melodic call-to-arms). The shimmering acoustic guitar at the core of "Live and Live and Let Live". The orchestral fluctuation as Lee sings "Hummingbirds hum, why do they hum-" in "the Good Humour Man-". The eerie moment in "The Daily Planet" when Lee sings "I feel shivers in my spine/ when the iceman, yes his ice is melting-"

Bryan Maclean contributes two songs that are perfect to the second- "Alone again Or" and "Old Man". Both are achingly beautful.

Forever Changes is the 60's psychedelic equivalent to a Broadway Musical. It can be corny at times, but overall, the emotional payoff is enormous. A quote on the back of the outside covering of the album sums it up best: "1967. Nothing caught the strangeness of those days, or captured the combination of beauty and dread they contained, quite like Love's masterpiece Forever Changes."

1-0 out of 5 stars stupid music this is horrible
STUPID TITLES STUPID VOCALS LIKE SOMEONE ON DOPE STUPID MUSIC THE GUITARRIST AKTS AS IF A CRAZY FOOL THE DRUMMER IS LIKE A LOONY - I CAN'T SAY HOW BAD THIS DUMB MUSIC IS EVEN THE LIRRICS ARE DUMB, ZERO STARS SEE YA

5-0 out of 5 stars It's like a dream every time you listen to it
I barely got into Love about summer of last year, getting some mp3's. I bought it earlier this year, but I have to say, this is a perfect summer record, especially if you live in the South, or somewhere very hot and very sunny.
The significance of this is that Love are one of few bands that I think effectively and enjoyably create an atmosphere. The guitar playing here is excellent, even though an electric guitar is used in only two songs (three if you count the extra songs). Love create a warm feeling with the guitar often slowly creating a mood or feeling for a song. They create these complex melodies and rhythms that just overwhelm you. And the horns; they really give the record a southern style feel. And the strings: they're not just dressing, pumping up emotion on songs. They're used smartly (see "You Set the Scene", which shows everything awesome about Love: the great horns, strings, guitar playing) so that they're as much an instrument in the band as a guitar. Even the liner notes state this. One of Love's biggest attributes is just the talent all members play their instruments: it's impressive but not in a show-off way, not in a self-indulgent way.
Arthur Lee was more than eccentric. He almost lived on another plane of existence. Convinced he was going to die, this album was supposed to be his final words. The songs are classic: kind of cryptic and often the meaning of the songs are hidden. It takes a little deciphering to find out what they're about, and there is nothing wrong with that. At all.
Bryan Maclean is underrated, as well: "Andmoreagain" has one of the sweetest melodies and vocal performances I have ever heard. See "Old Man" as well. A shame that he doesn't show up more often. Not that there's anything wrong with Lee, or his smooth voice (easily could've been a soul singer). Listen to "Maybe the People would Be the Times..." or "The Good Humor Man" for proof. He's capable of truly singing but not sounding overwrought, or cheesy, or out of tune. The centerpiece (in my opinion) of the album is "The Red Telephone". It's more than pseudo-hippy paranoia; if this album really was Arthur Lee's goodbye to the world, and then when seen from that perspective it's pretty chilling. Not to mention the "sha-la-la-las" about 2:30 in, and the amazing strings here. It's a flawless song.
As for the extras, "Hummingbirds" is an acoustic guitar only (no strings or horns or singing) playing the melody of "The Good Humor Man". Nice but not really worth repeat listens. "Wonder People" is excellent, I think even the liner notes (a long and informative biography of the band itself) state that the song could've been inserted into Forever Changes. The tracking sessions track is a lot of talking and a rough (but still great) cut of "Your Mind and We Belong Together". Another great song ("that guitar solo was out of sight"), and so is "Laughingstock". The alternate mixes are great but not essential.
This is Love at their (unfortunately) brief best. Everything here works: the singing, the songwriting, the instrumentation. It creates a feeling of atmosphere and cohesion few other albums can. I hate saying things like "an underrated rock and roll masterpiece" but it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars every listen is a new experience
there are a few albums i can listen to over and over and hear somthing new with each subsequent listen.zeppelins psyical graffiti,pink floyds piper at the gates of dawn,the beatles white album,porno for pyros good gods urge and loves forever changes.This album has it all mood, atmosphere and great music,from soft acustic numbers to rockers.there are strings and horns which are usually a turn off but in lee's capable hands only add to the elegant psychedelia and stylistic consistency of the album.In my opion this album conveys the aura of the 1960's better than any other.my highest possible recomendation. ... Read more


51. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
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Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3355
Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
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Opening with the methodical, hard-rocking "Cinnamon Girl"--still one of the singer-songwriter's most-hollered requests in concert--Young's second solo album introduces the cockeyed harmonies and sloppy, chiming guitars of Crazy Horse. His wide swings from soft-spoken country-folk ("Round & Round [It Won't Be Long]") to menacing metal (the punch line to "Down by the River" is "I shot my baby") indicate the multiple personalities in Young's future. His second album of 1969 broadcasts a sincere passion for the peace-and-love '60s (dig the long guitar solos) but also predicts the dark introspection of "Tonight's the Night." --Steve Knopper ... Read more

Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars Where It's At
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was Neil Young's second album and the first with his seminal backing band, Crazy Horse. In his work with Buffalo Springfield and on his first solo album, Mr. Young played music that was acoustic in base and had flares of country and folk. Crazy Horse added a hard, electric edge to his music and it is noticeable from the start on the high octane "Cinnamon Girl". The song has ringing guitars and a feedback coda that shows why Mr. Young is the godfather of grunge. "Down By The River" and "Cowgirl In The Sand" are lengthy cuts. The former is almost a blues dirge with a piercing guitar sound and murderous lyrics while the latter is more upbeat, but no less impressive. "Round & Round" is a soft and lamenting, country flavored song that is unfortunately overlooked. It is a great song and deserves alot more attention than it gets. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is a major leap by Mr. Young taking him into the upper stratosphere of musicians.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sends Me Away
I feel the same way about this album as I do about AFTER THE GOLD RUSH. Three decades (and change) ago, this would've gotten a 5-star rating from me. But some songs don't endure, they don't stand the test of time, and smack of hippie self-indulgence. In particular, "The Losing End" is tedious. And "Round and Round" is, for me, an audio sedative.

But three tunes are standard bearers of classic rock radio: "Cowgirl in the Sand", "Down by the River", and "Cinnamon Girl". And for good reason--they ARE classics in the sense that their intensity and creativity set an example for later singer/songwriters, rock bands, and lead guitarists.

This was Young's first album with Crazy Horse, and the tightness of the playing, the way the band highlights Young, and Young highlights them leaves little wonder why these guys play and record together to this day (except for Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten who entered overdose heaven 30 years ago). While some reviewers have stated that they find "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River" as being too long, I would counter, a la Mozart in "Amadeus", with "Which notes do you think should've been left out?" If anything, I think "Cinnamon Girl" is too short. In fact on Young's LIVE RUST (recorded ten years after this album) he repeated the final part ("Pa, send me money now...") and added a final guitar line. I recommend this album highly, in spite of the above-mentioned accoustic tunes. This is an album that will drag you "over the rainbows".

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best ever - one of those that changed music
I love many othe Neil Young albums ...... but not like this one, the classic of classics.

It is sooooo "rusty" and "raw" emotionally and musically and so "pure" from the heart.

The band is so tight, Neil;s voice on this still gives me goose bumps. The rawness that just cuts you up.

Cinnamon Girl - Opens up the album with those wonderous guitar. Tremendous power in them licks, from the gut. I can hear that song 1000 times in a row.

Then we have this country, folk stuff added with Cowgirl and Down By The River. Cowgirl my favorite and after years and years, never board of that long solo that kills with that unique power, passion and "roughness" of that solo tat is so interesting. So much emotional punch in that one.

This one must be up with those other albums that are the best of an era.

Yet, that sunofagun seems to be more appreciated now and more popular now than he was.

The Loosing end, that is about as good as Neil as ever Sounded.
It's so hard for me now
But I'll make it somehow,
Though I know I'll never be the same.
Won't you ever change your ways,
It's so hard to make love pay
When you're on the losing end,
And I feel that way again.

I love, love when the last part of the song when Neil get louder and end with a wonderful finishing "rough" country lick.

Round and Round, is to listen to late when camping in front of a fire. Those souful harmonies. Great words, great stuff.

There are not too many left of the great ledgends who are still out there creating. Everyone MUST here Alvin Lee in Tennesee and here the guitar master doing rockabilly with the guys that started it in Nashville. Best album of the year, so far. Actually Alvin is peaking now that he is playing with superior musicians and doesn't have his old backup group to hold back his creatvity.
There is Clapton, I think Johnny Winter is hanging on, OF course BB and Buddy Guy.

Jon

5-0 out of 5 stars Hello Neil Young in the sand...
This is a magnificent work by Neil Young. His best album ever.
The songs sound very catchy and very fun to listen.
The title song is really cool and there are more highlights in the lenghty Down By the River(an early metal song?) and the incredible Cowgirl in the Sand with great chorus and excellent solos and bass.
NI!

4-0 out of 5 stars I love this cd
I give this and "After the gold rush" four stars. They are Young's best albums and among my favorites in the classic rock category. "Cowgirl in the sand" and "Down by the river" are landmark songs that would create a new sound for rock & roll. "Cinnamon Girl" is a staple of classic rock in itself. My personal favorite songs on this album are "Everybody knows..." and "The losing end." Neil Young is a great songwriter and performer. Any fan of classic rock has an incomplete collection without this cd and "After the gold rush." ... Read more


52. On the Beach
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B00009P1O0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2005
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Sparse, underproduced, and at times downright dour, On the Beach was Neil Young's first studio album after Harvest had transformed him into a mainstream superstar two years before. It was a career move akin to "pissin' in the wind," as the artist himself describes life on one of the album's most famous lines. Young had already recorded the harrowing Tonight's the Night, his indictment of '60s drug culture and the damage done, but his label rejected it as too abrasive. So the artist gave them this instead. Less mournful but still haunting, the album is basically Young's rejection of rock stardom and what had become of the counterculture, covering a range of subjects, including Richard Nixon and Patty Hearst (the epic "Ambulance Blues"), his affair with actress Carrie Snodgrass ("Motion Pictures"), and, most famously, years before it became "chic" to do so, Charles Manson (the rocking "Revolution Blues"). "Vampire Blues," meanwhile, seemed to be about all those topics, as well as Young himself. Full of despair and little hope, On the Beach would nevertheless eventually come to be reappraised as a rock culture masterpiece. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lost Classic
Finally, Finally...4 of the lost 6 are available on CD. 'On The Beach', once deemed subpar upon release and ignored, has now gained legendary status among critics and Neil's fans, probably in large part to its "vinyl only" status--not even available on cassette! 'On The Beach', 'Time Fades Away' and 'Tonights The Night' are Neil's greatest trilogy, each hated when they came out since everyone wanted another 'Harvest'. Now everyone knows differently. I have come to prefer the harrowing songs of 'On The Beach' more than the more popular 'Night.' (save for the greatest road song ever written, "Albuquerque.") The deeply expressive "Ambulance Blues" involves many things--Neil's personal trials regarding the people around him, the end of the 60's, and Watergate. "Revolution Blues" and "On The Beach" evoke an anger at the society of the times and represent Neil's most effective songwriting.

If you are curious about all four of these formerly "lost" albums, but not sure which to buy, make certain "On The Beach" is the first. The other three are not nearly as artistically strong or interesting, save for "Like A Hurricane" on 'American Stars and Bars', a collection of unreleased tracks in 1977. However, all four are still essential to Neil's fans or completists. Hopefully they will be able to get "Time Fades Away" remastered eventually--the master tapes, I've heard, have some mastering problems that can't be overcome at the moment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Neil's masterpiece
Let me try to write a few notes on the album:
1) the album contains some of the greatest songs NY ever wrote, in particular "On the beach", "Revolution blues" and "Ambulance blues". These songs are just Neil Young at its best
2) this is not similar at all to Harvest or Rust Never Sleeps, this was written during a very bad period in which Neil was haunted by several demons (a friend had died, he had split form his wife, he was really too popular, and I think he was drinking far too much...)
3)the album was never released in CD until this year, this was a crime by Neil Young, who probably hated the record (or loved it too much). However some clever guy made a site on the internet with a petition by fans to release the record, I think he got a few thousand signatures on the petition (included mine) and probably Neil found out about it (at least I like to think this was the reason)
4)the record is interesting because it's not similar to anything else by Neil, in general the songs are a bit bluesy, with some ballads like "see the sky about to rain", "Ambulance Blues" and "for the turnstiles" who are more acoustic, and some very slow blues songs like "On the beach" and "Vampire blues". There is also a blues-rock piece, called "Revolution Blues", which is one of the best of the album, very aggressive both in lyrics and music
5) I rate it 5 stars because it's probably his darkest and more peculiar record, and to me his best, however if you never listened to NY you should start with Everybody Knows This is Nowhere or Rust Never Sleeps, or Zuma, this is a bit too difficult for beginners
6)Let's hope Neil keeps on rocking forever, and maybe he will give us another jewel like this.....

5-0 out of 5 stars GET THE DVD AUDIO VERSION
I'll just amend my previous review of this and advise you to get the DVD audio version of this disc because the clarity and intimacy of the sound surpasses anything I have ever heard. Justifies the price of a DVD Audio player all by itself, it does.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Dark and Angry Masterpiece!
Neil vents his anger on this one-anger at the music industry, fans, the movie industry, himself, and all the senseless drug deaths of his friends. It's barely produced, in fact it almost has the sound of a live recording-ragged and rough playing and singing. The lyrics are excellent, and convey a sense of anger and an urgency to let it all out. This is not party music, folks. It's for late nights alone, when you need a soul cleansing. Oddly enough, there is almost a sense of relief, and maybe even hopefullness by the time you get to the end. Despite all the angry and dark lyrics, there is a complete lack of bitterness, and a feeling that he said what he had to say in song, and can now move on. A MUST for all of Neil Young fans, and anyone who appreciates well written lyrics. Highly Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Young's best album
If you want to hear lyrics that bite like a strung out Doberman Pincher, this is the one to get. The pinacle of his songwriting career, On The Beach tackes on popular icons of the day as well as himself with equal disdain. Buy it. ... Read more


53. Decade
list price: $29.98
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Asin: B000002KCS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 602
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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The first stop for anybody new to Neil Young's music, this 34-song set (originally released in 1977) traces his growth from Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to Crazy Horse to his Harvest band, the Stray Gators. The album defined Young to rock radio the way Hot Rocks determined which Rolling Stones songs would become classics, but this is more than a quickie greatest-hits collection. Rarities and hits--Springfield's "Mr. Soul," CSNY's "Ohio," and Young's "Cinnamon Girl," "Heart of Gold," and the closing "Long May You Run"--develop in thematic and chronological patterns. --Steve Knopper ... Read more

Reviews (73)

4-0 out of 5 stars A greatest hits album that's actually worth buying.
Neil Young is perhaps the most versatile and prolific singer-songwriter in existence. Country (Neil Young and the Stray Gators), psychedelia (Buffalo Springfield), proto-grunge (Neil Young and Crazy Horse), and folk rock (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) are just some of the styles he's dabbled with. And inexplicably, a lot of his best stuff almost never sees radio airplay.

Which is what makes Decade remarkable. Unlike most compilations, Decade's tracks were selected by the artist himself, not by corporations who want only the radio hits on there. So along with heavily played classics (Cinnamon Girl, Southern Man, Ohio, Old Man, Long May You Run, Heart Of Gold), you get plenty of rarities and underrated cuts (Down To The Wire, Mr. Soul, Sugar Mountain, The Loner, Winterlong, Tonight's The Night, For The Turnstiles and so on) all on one album. Pretty impressive. Especially so when one realizes that this was all recorded from 1966-76.

While all the material is well-chosen and great, I have to say that my favorite Neil is the proto-grunge guitarist with Crazy Horse as his backing band. Down By The River, Cowgirl In The Sand, Like A Hurricane, and Cortez The Killer are in my eyes the best cuts, full of edgy and sharp guitar jams. Neil's lyrics are always introspective, emotional, intelligent, and occasionally controversial (Southern Man with its condemnation of the Deep South comes to mind). While his voice is a little thin and somewhat of an acquired taste, it is unique and imitated today by many vocalists.

If you're looking for a great intro to Neil Young, you can't go wrong with Decade. Once you find your favorite Neil style, go into the individual albums of your choosing--On The Beach, Harvest, Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere, etc. If you want a GREAT live release, go buy Rust Never Sleeps as well.

Note: The only problem with this album that keeps me from giving it a five-star rating is an apparent quality control problem on part of Reprise. Two brand-new copies of Decade I purchased had flaws that keep me from playing certain tracks using either Musicmatch or Media Player. Now, while it is not uncommon to run into one badly printed copy, finding TWO of them (at different stores no less) suggests that there is something amiss. It's extremely frustrating to have to drop a lot of money on a 2-disc set only to find flaws.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Decade of Rock and Roll
Neil Young's "Decade" was the precurser of the modern box set and just might be the best anthology album ever put together. It neatly covers the first ten years of his career (including material from Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), uncanilly hitting all of the high points. For an artist who has had only a handful of popular singles, this was quite an accomplishment.

Arranged in chronilogical order, the album starts with several of Neil's Buffalo Springfield tracks, including "Mr. Soul," "Down to the Wire" and the six minute sound collage "Broken Arrow." It then hits his early solo career, including early guitar workouts with Crazy Horse, "Down to the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand." At the beginning of the second disc are songs from his most popular period, with CSNY classics "Helpless" and "Ohio" next to smash solo hits "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man." The rest of the album contains highlights from Young's "Reinvention" period, including a generous helping of cuts from his best album "Tonight's the Night" as well as several excellent previously unreleased songs.

Overall, "Decade" neatly sums up what is today only the beginning of this diverse artist's amazingly durable career. The follow up set has been over a decade in the making and remains unreleased to this day. Here's hoping we see it soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best of Neil
If you are unfamiliar with Neil, this is the album to get. It is mostly earlier works, but it is the Neil 101 album. He is terrific, but you need to ease into him. Once you get it, you get it. He's the best.

Anyone looking to familiarize themselves with Neil should have this album. I've been listening to it for over 20 years and I'm still not tired of it.

The best of..

4-0 out of 5 stars What a Decade!
Decade was originally a 3 LP retrospective album, compiled by Neil Young himself. It covers his first 10 recording years, offering tracks from 1966 Buffalo Springfield till previously unreleased recordings from 1976.

The long playing time leaves good space for long recordings like "Cowgirl in the Sand", "Down By the River" and "Like a Hurricane" and so a good insight in Young's very personal guitar-playing style.

Still, first of all, Young is a songwriter and of course a great singer. This extensive compilation offers a lot of the best songs from his early records, as well as many previously unreleased songs, some of which are really great. "Deep Fobidden Lake, "Helpless" and "Long May You Run" are all-time favourites of mine. A special treat is the great unreleased Buffalo Springfield recording "Down to the Wire"; it was recorded for their "great lost" 2nd album "Stampede"

Well known classics like "Cinnamon Girl", "After The Gold Rush", "Harvest", "Heart of Gold" and "Walk On" are there as well. I wonder why Young left out "See The Sky About to Rain" from "On the Beach"! Go the for the original album for that one!

A minor complaint : I find it very hard to read Youngs handwitten notes !!

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless collection
Anyone who respects and loves music should have Decade. Neil Young is one of the best song writers and musicians to ever exist. His voice and sound is unique. His music is inspiring and has a meaning. New artists should look at him as an example. No matter what age you are you can listen and be swept into it. I was fourteen when my mom bought Harvest on cd. I loved "Heart of Gold" but never really got that into it. Then I listened to Unplugged and was convinced. If you've never heard or really listened to Neil then this is the perfect album. ... Read more


54. Blonde on Blonde
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B0000C8AVU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1148
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Considered an unprecedented magnum opus when it arrived on two records in May of 1966 (1997's Time out of Mind is actually only about a minute shorter), Blonde on Blonde featured Dylan continuing to demonstrate remarkable powers over the course of 14 new numbers. Working in Nashville with session men and a few conscripted recruits (Al Kooper, Robbie Robertson), Dylan continued to bend minds with his warped lyrics and phrasing. Even dashed-off numbers such as "Obviously 5 Believers" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" contribute to the crazed, fun-house ambiance. Dylan will never be this wild again. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars Just 1 Question...
I saw another reviewer post that having 2 cds (needlessly based on track length) makes it like having the vinyl. How? This album had 4 sides, not 2! When CDs first came out Hendrix's Electric Ladyland was on 2 discs, as were Kiss' Alive albums. This is pointless. It is NOT fully re-creating the feel of the original. All it accomplishes is to:
1) Increase the price
2) Make this album take up 2 spaces instead of 1 in my car's CD-changer
The Rolling Stones didn't do this, Kiss and Hendrix releases have subsequently addressed this matter. After all Dylan recorded this as a piece of work. Yes, sides were programmed, but larlgely due to formatting limitations of the time. The only cases in which 2 CDs should be acceptable for a double album are when it truly will not fit on one (The Beatles' "White Album", Lynyrd Skynurd's One More From the Road - itself shamelessly trimmed to fit on one disc on initial CD release).

Dylan and his fans deserves better than this. Still, at the end of the day it is a classic album, worthy (after quite some time) of being taken to new formats. It's better this is getting onto SACD than say, Backstreet Boys or some of the Dylan knock-offs. One star off for the multi-CD lunacy...

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy Again?
We all know about this album as being a classic. The great musicianship of Al kooper and Robbie Robertson coupled with Dylan's songwriting make this and Highway 61 among Dylan's best albums. A majority of buyers doubtless own this already and are pondering jumping on the reissue wagon again. The packaging of the reissue is well done compared to the barebones earlier issue. I am probably in the minority, but I always thought the previous cd issue of this particular album (though not some of the other dylan discs) sounded pretty good. I have grown so used to it that the reissue somehow does'nt sound right in comparison. I got the re-release partly based on the recommendations posted here. I use a cd player only, and as a cd I found the reissue not as enjoyable to listen to. True there are a few more details on the new mix, from an analytical standpoint it may be "better". I put on the reissue and did'nt really find myself enjoying the music. I then played the original disc and found it to be more relaxed and enjoyable. One thing I noticed is Al Koopers organ on "Visions of Johanna" is underneath the mix on the reissue, coming through thin and faintly. Kooper's musicianship is more readily appreciated on the original disc. The vocals on all the tunes sound a bit warmer and natural on the original disc too, though they might not be as "clear" as the reissue. The guitars, especially Dylan's acoustic, sound better with less clarity on the original disc, the reissue brings them out a little more, while this initially may seem "better", eventually it is not, bringing out more of a tin sound. I'm not sure that greater clarity and resolution always make old rock recordings more enjoyable. I did find "Blood on the Tracks" to be superior to the previous cd version, being consistantly more musical. Overall I can't say the same for the "Blonde on Blonde" reissue, which is more ambiguous... neither version is anything to write home about from a strictly sonic standpoint- collector's may want this one for the variation of content though. If you want to hear the best recording available from this period of Dylan's voice, guitar, and harmonica in emotionally moving performances, play the acoustic set disc one of "live 1966".

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic and favorite, but what about the remastering?
"Blonde On Blonde" is one of Dylan's three best albums, along with "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Bringing It All Back Home." This is widely agreed, and I won't write yet another review of this classic -- suffice it to say that if you have not yet heard it, you have quite an experience to look forward to. (See my "Memphis Blues Again" list of Dylan's 10 best.)

My review is for those considering an upgrade. I had it on wax for years (since 1974), and then the original CD. I was wary about the long-awaited remasters, given limited time and money and the amount of music yet unheard they are competing with -- I finally decided that if there was one Dylan album I would most like to hear with state-of-the-art sound, it was "Blonde On Blonde." Hoping to be astounded by the difference when listening to the original CD and the new remastered one back-to-back, I was disappointed. Yes, there are places where there is more detail, but on balance, my conclusion is that the slight improvement does not justify the expense. So my recommendation is, unless you have expensive enough equipment to maximize the SACD format, the old CD sounds just fine.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greats.
Possible his best recording. It has to be, along with the Beatles' Sargent Pepper's..., the most influenial recording from the 60s. I'd give it a 10 if possible. Still works for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Dylan's Most Misjudged Albums
with a few exceptions, this is a lighthearted album.
i've heard people call it a pop album, and i wouldn't go that far, but it definitely isn't his "deepest" album on the whole.
having said this, dylan accomplishes what he set out to accomplish in stunning fashion.

"rainy day women #12 & 35" is a bar song. and while the lyrics are simple for obvious reasons, this is as fun a song as you will hear. one of the greatest sing along songs ever, right up there with "don't let me down" and "alabama song" (5/5).
"pledging my time" is a blues song. dylan vocals are amazing, and for a simple song, the lyrics are quite good (5/5).
"visions of johanna" is the albums first true masterpiece, and one of only a few true poetic masterpieces on tis album. this song is somber and beatiful and perhaps dylan's most underrated song of all (5/5).
"one of us must know (sooner or later)" has one of my favorite melodies on the entire album, and though it's fairly simple "it's nobody's fault" break up song, dylan crafts the song and the lyrics like only dylan can (5/5).
"i want you" is another poetic masterpiece. and the tune is so jovial and intricate, i could listen to it all day (5/5).
"stuck inside of mobile with the memphis blues again" is my favorite song on this album. the cryptic lyrics make for, perhaps, the best written song on the album, dylan's smokey vocals are as good as any song on the album, and the guitar is enough to make you knees buckle (5/5).
"leopard-skin pill-box hat" is the funniest song on the album. it has a real bluesy vibe, and dylan spews out timeless phrases (5/5).
"just like a woman" is as somber as any song on the album. dylan executes the song very well, but i don't (and i know i'm in the face of heavy opposition here) think that it's executed as well as the majority of the album. it is still a great song, but i think that it's not as great as most of this album (4.5/5).

"most likely you go your way and i'll go mine" is a fun upbeat song with clever lyrics. i imagine that it'd be great to see live (4.5/5).
"temporary like achilles" is my least favorite song on the album. it's a very good song, but it drags on a bit, and the lyrics aren't as consistant as most dylan songs (4/5).
"absolutely sweet marie" is a magical song. dylan's rusty voice drags over the fast tempo beat beautifully, and the refrain is amazing (5/5).
"4th time around" is reminiscent of "norwegian wood," but it's still a great song. the melody is completely different as absolutely beautiful, and the lyrics are vrey interesting (4.75/5 i'll knock a quarter point off for sounding like "norwegian wood").
"obviously 5 believers" is in the same vein as "absolutely sweet marie," and it's just as amazing (5/5).
"sad eyed lady of the lowlands" is an interesting song to talk about poetically. it is sonically amazing, but poetically debatable. some people would say that dylan is just spewing abstract rubbish, but i would say that it's a very personal song that i'm assuming he's using analogies for. i love it (5/5).

this album is a true masterpiece, and while i don't put it in the same league as HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, or BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME, it is amazing for what it is.
this is a fun rock album with a few poetic masterpieces on it;
don't take it for anything more than that, and you'll find yourself enjoying this immensely. ... Read more


55. Teaser & The Firecat
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B00004T9W4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1675
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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The third album Cat Stevens put out in a 15-month burst that began in the summer of 1970 with Mona Bone Jakon, Teaser and the Firecat is where the enigmatic folk-pop idol crested commercially, if not artistically. Its immediate predecessor, Tea for the Tillerman, possesses an air of mystery and unforced whimsy that proved impossible for Stevens to replicate. That said, the singer-songwriter had it in him to pull together a captivating collection that boasted two of the biggest hits of his meteoric, if self-inhibited, career--"Peace Train" and the sublime hymn "Morning Has Broken." "The Wind," "If I Laugh," and "Moonshadow" are every bit as tuneful and appealing as the hits, while "Rubylove," "How Can I Tell You," and "Bitterblue" would be standouts on Stevens's less accomplished later albums. In fact, only the bellicose social statements "Changes IV" and "Tuesday's Dead" ring hollow. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stevens teases with his songcraft and melodies
Cat Stevens. Most folks remember him today for "soft rock", his devotion to the Muslim religion and little else. Which is sad. Stevens at his peak was one of the finest singer-songwriters to emerge during the 70's. He had his pretentious moments (Foreigner Suite from Foreigner) and his intellectually challenged songs as well (anything from Izitso)but most of his material has aged gracefully.

Teaser along with Mona Bone Jakon, Catch Bull and Tea for the Tillerman is among his best gems. Although it misses the whismical undercurrent of Tea and Mona, Teaser more than makes up for it with sharply constructed songs. The melodies throughout are rich and when the words get in the way (as happens on a couple of tunes), the rich production and music more than make up for it.

So how's the sound quality? Quite an improvement over the previously issued edition but not a huge difference from the last couple of anthologies that were issued. The sound quality is stunning with plenty of sonic detail. The remastering by the ubiquitious and talented Ted Jensen manages to capture both the warmth and depth missing from the previous version. Jensen doesn't sacrifice anything to achieve a better sounding CD.

The packaging varies a bit as there is a limited (numbered) edition with tries to duplicate the original LP art(which will probably be around for at least a little while). Then there is the standard CD version with the booklet. It doesn't really matter which one you get as they're about the same.

This reminds us about the life Cat Stevens had before he changed his name and gave up pop music. He moved on at the right time as he was pretty much a spent force musically by the time of Buddah & The Chocolate Box. Teaser has aged well and still charms with its percolating rhythms and rolling acoustic guitar sound.

Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost Tea for the Tillerman
Let me begin by saying that I think Cat Stevens was an amazing songwriter and he is truly a musical inspiration in my life. I don't care whatever his personal beliefs are in present day... his music speaks to me.

Teaser and the Firecat is no exception as it contains some of Cat's best songs: "Morning Has Broken", "Moonshadow", and perhaps the best song he ever recorded: "The Wind".

As a whole album though, this one is just slightly worse than the classic "Tea for the Tillerman" which was recorded one year prior. Tillerman seemed to be the peak in his career that he just couldn't top (Teaser being the first in the decline). Some tracks on this cd are somewhat weak and the structure of the album seems incohesive when compared to Tea for the Tillerman.

Tillerman had an ongoing theme of youth vs. adulthood and this one just seems to ramble about, similar to "Mona Bone Jakon", which is also a very good cd. These three albums are considered his best and I agree with that. But for my money, Tillerman is the very best.

Don't pass this album up though! And don't buy his greatest hits album.... You must buy Mona Bone Jakon, Tea for the Tillerman, and Teaser and the Firecat or else you will be missing some wonderful gems from one of rock's greatest artists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memories 1973
I can still remember laying in bed almost all day long with my girlfriend Gayle, in the upstairs room in Chico, CA, listening to Cat Stevens play over and over on our old phonograph. Do you remember those days, being young and in love, laying in darkened bedrooms while the sun shone so brightly and hopefully outside?

Later I remember standing on a beach near Marbella, Spain on the Costa del Sol. I was 19, hitchhiking alone through Western Europe. I was so lonely one night, I walked to the beach. I stood by the tide pools singing "Moonshadow" while I watched the moon slowly rise over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

Thank you, Cat, for some wonderful moments. And I finally found my hard-headed women. I hope you found yours.

2-0 out of 5 stars An OK CD
Quintessential 70s music. If that's what you like, then this is the album for you. Unfortunately, it's NOT what I like. Thus my two star rating. Of the 10 tracks on the CD, I rate two of them as Good, four as OK, and the remaining four as Bad (I use Media Player's five star rating system where two stars (not three stars) rates as OK). My specific track ratings are:

1. The Wind -- 1 Star
2. Rubylove -- 2 Stars
3. If I Laugh -- 1 Star
4. Changes IV -- 1 Star
5. How Can I Tell You -- 2 Stars
6. Tuesday's Dead -- 2 Stars
7. Morning Has Broken -- 3 Stars
8. Bitterblue -- 1 Star
9. Moonshadow -- 3 Stars
10. Peace Train -- 2 Stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Cat Stevens was one of the most popular singer and songwriters of 1970's. Almost every album he relesed between 1970 and 1975 went to the top of charts and even had a string of #1 songs including "Peace Train" which is included on this album. I love "Teaser and The Firecat" it is one of my favorites albums from this very talented and gifted performer who retired way too early from the music industry and converted himself into a buddist who I believe now lives somwhere in the Middle East. "If I Laugh" and "Bitterblue" are two of my favorite songs on this album and "Changes" is very good also. This is was a landmark album in Cat Stevens brief but successful career, come to think of it I think is one of his best albums ever next to another great one called "Tea For The Tillerman" I love the covers on both these albums. I don't know about "Tea For The Tillerman" but I do know that he thought of the concept and actually drew the cover for "Teaser and The Firecat". A man of many talents he was not only a fine musician but a very good artist as well. This album is FANTASTIC and I'm glad I found it on CD. ... Read more


56. Ladies of the Canyon
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002KOQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1655
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Joni Mitchell's third album offers a bridge between the artful but sometimes dour meditations of her earlier work and the more mature, confessional revelations of the classics that would follow. Voice and guitar still hew to the pretty filigree of a folk poet, but there's the giggling rush of rock & roll freedom in "Big Yellow Taxi," and the formal metaphor of her older songs ("The Circle Game," already oft-covered by the time of this recording) yields to the more impressionistic images of the new ones ("Woodstock"). The dark lyricism of her earliest ballads is intact (on "For Free" and "Rainy Night House"), yet there's a prevailing idealism here that sounds poignant alongside the warier, more mature songs to come on Blue and Court And Spark. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars A carousel of time
If I could only have one Joni Mitchell album (a terrible dilemma), this would be it. While there may be more cohesive and mature albums in her collection, Ladies perhaps came closest to capturing the very essence of Joni's musical and lyrical magic.

Ladies Of The Canyon is an album of bright summer mornings and rainy afternoons, throughout which Joni's voice and piano are at their purest and most exquisite. Morning Morgantown, Conversation and Ladies Of The Canyon itself have a freshness and a mystique that an incredible 32 years have failed to diminish in any way.

The tour de force of the album is still Circle Game, which is a bitter-sweet song about individual life unfoldment, reincarnation and the eternal cycles of the Universe.

While Blue, For The Roses, Court, Lawns, you name it, are all truly brilliant albums, I feel that only her classic 'live' album Miles Of Aisles comes close to equalling the sheer magic of Ladies Of The Canyon.

Whatever it is that makes Joni Mitchell the divine enchantress she has always been is fully captured here on Ladies Of The Canyon and on Miles Of Aisles.

An outstanding album that will never fade.

5-0 out of 5 stars Contains some of her best songs
Fans of the free-spirited Joni Mitchell - a TRUE artist with a rather simple voice - will all want to have this CD in their collection. It's one of the very best.

As a work of art, it isn't actually as brilliantly constructed as BLUE. But some of the individual songs are the best she's ever done. And a couple of them are pretty famous.

FOR FREE is an incredible tribute to street musicians. The modesty of the lyrics is quintessential Joni. The words say plainly that "successful" musicians like herself aren't always any better than somebody who plays "for free". It's that earthy modesty, and gentle thoughtfulness toward others that often comes across in her lyrics and makes listening fans feel like best friends with this artist.

WOODSTOCK is of course a very famous song. So is THE CIRCLE GAME and BIG YELLOW TAXI.

But I particularly like CONVERSATION - the simple and feisty professions of a woman who's tired of the man she loves coming to her, asking advice about his current girlfriend. When SHE wants to be his girlfriend!

This is a peppy album that folk-music-lovers can bop around to a little in the car. It definitely has an upbeat tone, interrupted by only the occasional long, soft ballad like WOODSTOCK.

It may be that serious fans will point to other albums as being cohesively more brilliant in some way. But no one can deny that this is a "must-have" album and that some of the songs are among her very best.

5-0 out of 5 stars LADIES OF THE CANYON
Apart from BLUE, most of the people who know the music of Joni Mitchell appreciate, above all, COURT AND SPARK (1974) and HEJIRA (1976). I won't blame it on them - those are beautiful, elegant albums. Nevertheless, I consider the trilogy formed by LADIES OF THE CANYON (1970), BLUE (1971) and FOR THE ROSES (1972), one of the finest works in pop music. The first chapter, released in April of 1970, is a group of songs written between 1966 and 1969. It is for this reason that the LP is like a summary, a compound of the best pieces she has written up to then. The lyrics go from the intimistic tone to protest and accuse, to just simply storytelling. "Willy" forewarns the tones of BLUE - it's a beautiful song about inadequacy in a relationship, in which is clearly perceptible a sense of impotence even in front of an immense love that makes her feel "like a shiny light breaking in a storm". Or "Conversation", in which she plays the part of someone's lover's lover and she's so in love that makes you feel in love too. On the other hand, songs like "The Arrangement" and "Big Yellow Taxi" develope a clear accuse against modern life abuses and consumer mentality. Together with these are some lyrics that remind the ones belonging to her first two albums, such as "Morning Morgantown" - which is obviously connected with "Chelsea Morning", in CLOUDS (1969).
For what the music is concerned, it's a great step forward in Mitchell's growth as a musician; while her first two albums were based quite exclusively on acoustic guitar, for the first time here we can hear not only the piano - an instrumet which Joni wouldn't play for a long time - but also percussions, a jazzy clarinet (on the final notes of "For Free"), a sax, a flute and a cello.
So, to conclude, Joni paints stories and personal feelings with a taste of free innocence. Maybe the best thing about this album is just that it is open, free. It represents the most sincere and deep expression of her thoughts. Hence, the reason why I consider LADIES OF THE CANYON her best album is because there's a variety of themes and tones that you can't find in her other works, neither in BLUE, nor in COURT AND SPARK, nor in HEJIRA.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joni is a goddess of music
This, along with Blue and Clouds, is my favorite Joni album. She ranks up with Bob Dylan as far as her lyrics are concerned, and technically, has a much prettier voice, though I adore Dylan's voice because it goes with his music so well. The best tracks are For Free, Rainy Night House, Arrangement . . . oh hell they all rock. This is a must buy. I absolutely adore it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Early Joni for the Ages
I first heard this album when I bought a tape deck (reel-to-reel) from my brother in the early 70's when I was in my early teens. A recording of this was included. I knew who it was, but didn't know the name of the album for a long time as the box was unlabelled. I remember being struck with how clean it was, and enjoyed the standards on it (Circle Game, For Free, Big Yellow Taxi), but didnt' think too much about it. I rediscovered the album as a heartbroken 21 year old, and was stunned at the words that Joni had penned. They spoke to me so directly and with such insight, she'd been where I was.

This album comes in and out of my life, much like some people do, close friends who you may only connect with now and then, the time with them is so intense, you almost can't do it on a regular basis, but they are so valuble to you. This and most of Ms. Mitchell's other mid-period work are like that with me, when I'm in a time loss or reflection, they come out.

Anyway, can't add too much musically to the already written reviews, except that I hope people really listen to the words (and read them to get them all) because she is saying some amazing things here. ... Read more


57. The Times They Are A-Changin'
list price: $9.98
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Asin: B0000024RZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2700
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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One of the darkest of Dylan albums, Times is the work of a 22-year-old who sounds no less sick of it all than the ailing 55-year-old who made Time out of Mind. There's a place here for rousing protests such as the title track and "When the Ship Comes In," but those songs are outnumbered by the equally powerful, drainingly pessimistic likes of "Only a Pawn in Their Game," "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," and "The Ballad of Hollis Brown." It's as if Dylan had to deliver his grimmest topical material before moving on to Another Side's liberation and laughs. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dylan in ultra-protest mode
When many people think of Bob Dylan, they think of a protest singer. In reality, that is only a very small part of the whole picture. This is the album where Bob Dylan was in protest mode. Nowhere did he ever sound as indignant and world-weary as he did here. The title track is one of Dylan's best known songs, but there are other gems here as well. "Ballad Of Hollis Brown" is a slow dirge-like song about an impoverished farmer who spends his last buck on shotgun shells so he can kill his whole family and then himself. It's very moving. "With God On Our Side" features Dylan at his most cynical and weary. "Boots of Spanish Leather" (basically a rewrite of "Girl From The North Country") is one of the most touching ballads on the album. Dylan tackles contemporary issues in songs like "Only A Pawn In Their Game" about racism in the South and the murder of Medgar Evers. This album is not easy listening though. The pace is rather slow. The last song, "Restless Farewell", moves along at an unbearable pace. I personally can't stand it. However, this album is worth picking up. After the release of this album, Dylan was afraid of being labeled a spokesman of his generation. As a result, his music became more personal and idiosyncratic after this release, but it became better too.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of Dylan's darkest
Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' sternly rejected the romance and optimism of most popular albums of the sixties. On this disc, Dylan all but put aside his streaks of wittiness and tenderness and his knack for rallying the crowds ("When the Ship Comes In" and the title anthem being exceptions) and focused his peerless song-writing skills on spiteful confrontation. Times is an album of bleak social commentary ("With God on Our Side," "Only a Pawn in their Game"), accounts of romance gone bitter ("Boots of Spanish Leather," "Restless Farewell") and tragic story-songs ("The Ballad of Hollis Brown," "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol"). The album, like its more varied predecessor, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, presents a catalogue of endlessly covered classics. Times surely continued to cement Dylan's place as the best songwriter of his generation, but, take as a whole, it can be one bitter pill to swallow.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transitional record with some great songs.
Here Dylan's starting to sound like himself and less like his greatest vocal influence Rambln' Jack Elliot.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dylan, and The Times They Are A-Changin┬┐
Dylan's first three albums: Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and The Times They Are A-Changin' immediately established him as a songwriter of great distinction. If you like Bob Dylan these three albums are a must for your collection.

May I also recommend a book that is available on this web site: "The Bob Dylan Albums" by Anthony Varesi. The book by Varesi is a fair and honest review of the albums by Dylan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great record and uderrated
There's a lot to say about this album, personally i think is much better than the Frewhellin', why? Don't know. This bug hit me harder.
This is the LAST album by bobby featuring "finger-pointing" songs, so in my humble opinion the best of this record are the pesonal ballads, with a lot of intimicy and with a great tecnique of smooth "fingerpickin'" (for those who say that bobby can't play the guitar) like "One too many Mornings" which is great (you should listen to the one live at the RAH'66 with the back-vocals), i don't consider "When the Ship Comes In" a protest song, it's a beatiful song which shows bobby with certain hope for a better world (but he ain't protesting...).
"Restless farewell" is said that is another song by bobby saying goodbye to folk or lefty music, he was going to do it in the next two albums with "It ain't me babe" and "It's all over now baby blue", always as the final cut.
But THE song here is "Boot of Spanish Leather", with the has the same chords from "Girl from north country" and the same temathic of lost love of "Don't think twice", just a beatiful piece that's worth the album. ... Read more


58. The Basement Tapes
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Asin: B000002552
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2917
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

The Basement Tapes can be heard as a manifesto for the '90s' underlying Americana agenda or as the greatest album never intended for commercial release. Homegrown 1967 recordings taped in the Band's fabled Big Pink hermitage in Saugerties, New York, many of the 24 songs resonated across American and English rock and folk long before their belated 1975 release through studio interpretations by the Byrds, Fairport Convention, Manfred Mann, Peter, Paul & Mary, and numerous other acolytes, as well as through myriad unauthorized bootlegs. Good as the covers were, Dylan and the Band rolled their own with an extraordinary coherence that sounds only more authentic in these rough-hewn, intimate, always musical performances, which dovetail with Dylan's stark John Wesley Harding and the Band's stunning debut, Music from Big Pink as well as the presciently lo-fi The Band. At a time when most rock culture was entranced with its post-atomic origins, these songs sounded timeless, plunging into pre-industrial folk, turn of the (20th) century barrelhouse and blues, and crackling, vintage rock & roll excursions with offhand verve and a thrilling disregard for what was hip. Time has only reinforced their visionary power. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars Historical criteria murders this otherwise flawless album.
THE BASEMENT TAPES' central problem, and here I speak of the official, double disc 1975 album is presentation. If the reader will read very many of these reviews he/she will keep coming to those who talk about the historical inaccuracy of this record and why, with so much (still unreleased) music in the vaults, it only makes this album all the more flawed. I will not go into detail on the historical inaccuracies other than what is immediately relevant to my own review as other reviewers have covered this topic quite thoroughly (given the review word limit). Alexander G. Lynn's review (7-1-01) is an excellent introduction into the various historical inaccuracies.

Essentially, the eight Band songs present are not legitimate but recorded later by The Band. The commonly agreed reason (well backed with evidence) is Robbie Robertson's ego. Historically this release paints The Band as being nearly as active during as Dylan, which simply isn't true. Dylan was the clear domineering force in the sessions, although that should not alone be reason enough to discount the worthwhile contributions that The Band brings to these recordings. Dylan and The Band fed off each other's energy.

My main gripe with the presentation of THE BASEMENT TAPES is this blatant deception by Robertson, for the unimportant reason of feeding his own ego, totally throws this otherwise flawless album into the gutter simply because it entails all the wrong criteria to judge this work. From a historical viewpoint, this record needs an incredible amount of work. Eight tracks passing for THE BASEMENT TAPES when they were not even recorded at the sessions do indeed have no business here (from the historical standpoint, that is, though not necessarily a musical, ascetic standpoint). Not only that, these eight tracks were made to sound lo-fi to fit more into the official release. It is bad enough to include tracks not recorded at the sessions, but to tamper with them makes it even worst.

We now come to the crux of the matter: the wrong criteria (from an ascetic point of view) is used (and must be, because of the method of presentation) in judging this work. With the release of THE BASEMENT TAPES, everyone came at this work from a historical vantage point. This is still prevalent, and it is not unreasonable. Because this criteria is used, THE BASEMENT TAPES are often viewed as deceptive and a botched opportunity (which, again, this release is indeed guilty of historically). To be fair, it would have been unprecedented for Columbia to release the complete Basement Tapes recordings. The five CD-set, with the extended time length unavailable to vinyl records, would be a massive set unparalleled with anything else in 1975. Box sets were not established as commercially viable until the mid to late 1980s with the publication of Dylan's BIOGRAPH and Clapton's CROSSROADS. This is important facet for my view of this album, because without this facet the view I am about to state would be damnably undermined.

If you strip this album away from the mindset of "This is the Basement Tapes," and instead approach it with "This is Dylan and The Band reinventing Americana," suddenly the problems with this album just melt away. All of the music here is brilliant, including the eight Band songs.

What would make this album a success would be had it been released not as THE BASEMENT TAPES, but a double album utilizing parts of THE BASEMENT TAPES and Band songs that had not been officially released to give us a chronicle of their reinvention of Americana. From that standpoint, this album becomes an absolutely smashing success. Had this approach been adopted, the historical inaccuracy would not exist for the fact there were songs included that were not Basement Tapes would simply not be an issue because they were not being presented as Basement Tape tracks.

The reason why the establishment of Box Sets had not been included was because there would be the very reasonable question of WHY didn't they just release all of them? My answer, had it been presented properly, would be they found an official reason to release the songs. As it stands, the entire body of recorded Basement Tapes songs give us the same feeling: this is Americana at it's wildest, weirdest, and, oddly, most modern, yet because of the fact that had not been established, instead they give us this double album.

If this was presented as a study in Americana, this would be fully appreciated as the wonderful album it is. In his 2001 release LOVE AND THEFT*, Dylan does much the same with taking old musical traditions, letting them retain their traditional feel to it, yet giving us uniquely modern music based on traditional song structures and breathing new life into them. The reason THE BASEMENT TAPES are so famous is because Dylan does the same here*. In a time when psychedelic was at its most prominent, Dylan and The Band was recording music that were at great odds with the musical community. CCR is the only comparable band during this time frame that engaged in the same sort of musical rebellion, and although they have a string of must-have albums, they do not reach the brilliance here. Their music was recorded for release whilst this was not.

Another thing this ascetic way of approaching this album has going for it, while historically a travesty, the eight Band tracks provides a context for Dylan's wild and extremely loose approach to these sessions, as AMG points out.

Bottom line: From a historical viewpoint, a botched opportunity. From the viewpoint of a study in Americana, this stands as one of the best albums ever issued. ...Dylan synthesized older traditions into music for our day and age. ... Dylan could not have accomplished this without burying himself in traditional songs and the older music of an era long ago. THE BASEMENT TAPES of the 1960s and LOVE AND THEFT of 2001 have so much resonance because of Dylan's presentation of the older style of music in a distinctly modern approach, creating a tension that would not otherwise be there.

3-0 out of 5 stars 5 star music, 2 deducted for deceptive presentation
A few thoughts on the official Columbia Records Basement Tapes album:

The informal sessions recorded during the summer of 1967 mostly at Big Pink in West Saugerties, New York, are one of the essential bodies of work in the history of American music, as rich in their manner as the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens, Robert Johnson's 1936 - 37 recordings, or Hank Williams' MGM recordings. Their beauty is such that even this dodgily compiled and inferior sounding official release from 1975 cannot diminish their importance and their influence on an entire generation of musicians.

As a few reviewers have noted on this page and elsewhere, the album as released is a bit of sleight-of-hand. The vast majority of tracks by The Band included here were not in fact recorded at the same time, or even in the same place (the legendary "Big Pink") as the Dylan tracks here. Partly, this is attributable to Robbie Robertson's disturbing tendency to obfuscate his own role i!n the formation of The Band's signature sound, and his de-emphasis of the collaborative nature of this wonderful group. In 1975, Robertson and Rob Fraboni compiled the official Basements album, and Robertson included a group of Band tracks on the official album, presumably to allege that he was writing songs along with Dylan at Big Pink. Unfortunately, there's little evidence to support this inference. The Band's earliest self-penned songs often came from Richard Manuel, who unfortunately is not alive to attest to his role in the Band's early years. Rick Danko is also no longer with us, while Garth Hudson and Levon Helm are generally disinclined to speak about the matter, leaving Robertson to parlay his falsehoods unchecked. In the wake of the Capitol reissues, most of The Band recordings supposedly from the Basement sessions have now been restored to their rightful chronology, and with mostly correct recording information, and much-improved sound quality. "Yazoo Street Scanda!l" (recorded January 10th, 1968), "Orange Juice Blues," "Katie's Been Gone" (both likely recorded in September 1967), "Long Distance Operator" (written by Dylan, recorded in Los Angeles, February 21st, 1968), and "Bessie Smith" (recorded sometime between 1969 and 71) all postdate the actual Big Pink sessions. All of these tracks were subjected to manipulations in the studio, most likely in 1975, to make them more 'lo-fi' and to make them better fit in with the true Big Pink recordings of summer 1967. For the lowdown on this, see also Dave Hopkins' article "The Band Remasters," on The Band's website, and Barney Hoskyns' rejected (by Robertson, for reasons that become clear once the two sets of liner notes are compared) liner notes to the first four Band reissues.

It seems that Robertson was introduced to the practice of taking credit for things he did not do quite early on: Several of the tracks recorded with Ronnie Hawkins in the early 1960's bore writing credits that !listed Robertson as writer or co-writer of songs he definitely did not write. Roulette Records label boss Morris Levy seems to have left an impression on Robertson in this respect, assigning writing credits to his girlfriend and Robertson, as well as Levon Helm, presumably for the purposes of personal gain. The disturbing aspect of this is that it underscores what has been, for Robertson, a career-long tendency to obscure the facts surrounding his recorded output.

Recently, bootleg albums of the proper Big Pink material have featured much better sound quality than even the legendary 5 CD bootleg The Genuine Basement Tapes. Whether these new, official release quality mixes of these recordings were prepared by bootleggers or by Columbia/Sony in preparation for a future and much needed official release of the complete Basement Tapes (possibly as further volumes of the Bootleg Series) is open to debate. What is important at this point in time is the knowledge that the ster!eo recordings made at Big Pink, given proper treatment, can be released in excellent stereo sound quality, almost on par with recordings made in a 'proper' recording studio. When will the world at large be able to easily obtain recordings of important Dylan works such as "The All American Boy," "Sign on the Cross," "I'm Not There," the superior alternate take of "Too Much of Nothing," the hilarious and entirely different alternate of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," plus fine alternates of "Nothing Was Delivered," "Odds and Ends" and much more? What of the many, many wonderful cover songs recorded during the Big Pink Sessions: "Bonnie Ship the Diamond," "The Banks of the Royal Canal," "Four Strong Winds," "(Now and Then) There's a Fool Such as I," and many, many more? How about the wonderful-sounding undubbed stereo versions of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" "This Wheel's On Fire"? Columbia Records, when are these recordings going to available to those who don't care to wander through th!e numerous and varying bootlegs of this material?

An interesting if highly conjectural account of these recordings and their role in American Culture can be found in Greil Marcus' sometimes-brilliant, sometimes-aggravating book-length study, Invisible Republic. A more concise, fact oriented and sometimes-vitriolic account of the official album's deceptive nature can be found in Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin's book Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, pages 54 - 68.

I do recommend this album as an inexpensive and readily available introduction to the still mostly hidden glories of the Basements. Until Sony/Columbia or Dylan decides to grace this world with an official proper release of this material, The Basement Tapes double album will have to suffice. It's a great listen, really. Nothing at all like Blonde on Blonde, which preceded it, or John Wesley Harding, which followed it. The Basement music is timeless, deathless, often beautiful, sometimes humorously beaut!iful, sometimes poignant, and occasionally absolutely ravishing in its' exploration of what lies at the heart of what Greil Marcus termed the "weird, old America." Robertson's terse, economical guitar solo at the end of "Goin' to Acapulco" is a gem all by itself. Don't miss it.

5-0 out of 5 stars An idea for Dylan fanatics
The Band were a pretty fine, er, band...and even better when Bob brought out their talent like he did. But here's something I finally did for myself (besides obtaining the "Genuine BTs"). From this commercial release, I put all the songs where Dylan sings onto one disc. The result is so pleasing: 46+ minutes worth of fun I call "The Only-Bob Basement Tapes." It's way better than often skipping to his stuff track-to-track anyway -- Bob Dylan's "stuff" being just too magical to always sit alongside The Band's studio takes.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Travesty-why did Dylan OK this fraud?
The Complete Basement Tapes, on five CDs, is the real deal. An essential recording for Dylan fanatics to be sure.

This poorly mastered, poorly packaged double CD is another matter. The fraudulent Band tracks really do dilute this collection. Substituting Band recordings made AFTER "Music from Big Pink" for indisputable "real" basement tapes classics like "I Shall Be Released" and "Quinn the Eskimo" is truly unforgivable. I admit that the 5-CD set may STILL not be a commericially viable proposition but why not release just the so-called "Basement Tapes Acetate". This fourteen song "LP", rumoured to be recorded by Dylan to fulfill his expiring Columbia Records contract, purportedly consisted of the following tracks:

1. Million Dollar Bash
2. Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread
3. Please Mrs. Henry
4. Down in The Flood
5. Lo and Behold!
6. Tiny Montgomery
7. This Wheel's On Fire
8. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
9. I Shall Be Released
10. Tears of Rage
11. Too Much of Nothing
12. Quinn the Eskimo
13. Open the Door, Homer
14. Nothing Was Delivered

Throw in "Going to Acapulco", "Odds and Ends", "Clothesline Saga", and "Apple Suckling Tree" (all Dylan tunes) and you have a potential blockbuster. I really wish Columbia would delete this two volume bulky monstrosity with its dopey circus pictures and treat these recordings with the respect it deserves. Especially now since The Band numbers have been released properly on THEIR "remastered" series.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing recordings!
When I first listened to this album, I already had most of Dylan's albums. I prefer "Freewheelin" to his others, but I also really like some of "Bringing it all Back Home" alot. I bought this album thinking that it would be another Dylan like experience. Well, it turned out to be better than that. I think this album is better than any Dylan album except Freewheelin. "The Basement Tapes" also changed my expectations for good music. I like experimental music, and this music is experimental in the sense that you will hear so many stylistically different songs arranged together where they all are so good. The emotional effect of this album is amazing, and if that is the point of good music than just take my word for it, you will be stunned. This is probably among the best albums that I have ever heard. Another suprizingly great album that I have just experienced is Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska." ... Read more


59. Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)
list price: $32.98
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Asin: B000679N8W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 62
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One may never be able to go home again, but that hasn't kept Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel from trying every other decade or so. This two-CD plus DVD live set (recorded in December 2003 at the Meadowlands and Madison Square Garden) shows their musical chemistry has transcended the years--and no small amount of acrimony. But while their '80s live reunion was marked by an aura of celebration, this one floats on an undercurrent of bittersweet resolve. There's no mistaking the elegiac tone of the title track, while stark readings of "Hazy Shade of Winter" and "Sounds of Silence" can't help but evoke the scars of 9/11. A musical circle is completed as the Everly Brothers step in for a joyous "Bye Bye Love," while elsewhere Simon's musical restlessness inspires a subtly jazzy reworking of "Slip Slidin' Away" and Garfunkel adds his stately grace to his partner's "American Tune." The album concludes with S&G's first new studio recording in 30 years, the plaintive, irony-studded plea, "Citizen of the Planet." --Jerry McCulley

Recommended Simon & Garfunkel Discography


Bridge Over Troubled Water

Sounds Of Silence

Bookends

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme

Wednesday Morning, 3am

The Columbia Studio Recordings

... Read more


60. The Hissing of Summer Lawns
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Asin: B000002GY2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3260
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Court and Spark had earned Joni Mitchell mainstream pop acceptance, but its underlying spirit of discovery pushed her to risk new-found success with this edgier, experimental sequel released in 1975. Although the session crew is largely the same, and sleek jazz elements again abound, these songs find her introducing Burundi drums (on "The Jungle Line"), layering magisterial but forbidding vocal harmonies ("Shadows and Light"), and casting rueful shadows across the sun-dazed Southern California of the title song. Her daring promptly earned critical scorn and halted her commercial expansion, but the album's confident eclecticism and dark beauty have outlived that reception: from the safety of hindsight, Hissing was a promise to stay hungry and creatively adventurous, a promise kept then and now. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant, Sensuous Folk-Jazz-Pop Stylings
Having released four definitive albums in a row ("Ladies Of The Canyon", "Blue", "For The Roses", "Court And Spark"), with each outstripping the next in lyrical and musical sophistication, song-poetess Joni Mitchell once again outdid herself on 1975's stunning "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns". As stated in the other reviews here, the album was a seamless blend of folk, jazz, pop and world music stylings, which created something altogether more trippy and sensuous. "Court And Spark"'s savvy adult-pop sensibilities were expanded here to become wildly imaginative blends of words and music; her music was never more experimental, and her lyrics were never more vividly descriptive as they are here. Although her lyrical point of view had shifted from first to third person in keeping with the album's main concept, her surreal character sketches evoked emotions just as powerful. And outside of a few in the prog-rock field, almost nobody--male or female--was attempting the ambitious yet still accessible musical fusion found here, which possibly accounts for the unsurprisingly poor critical reception it received on its release. Mitchell's jazz sensibilities never sounded sharper, and she would never again attain the same heights of greatness: along with "Court And Spark", "Hissing" remains the high point of her career.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joni firmly announces "I DON'T WANT TO BE A STAR!"
COURT AND SPARK won Joni Mitchell the commercial acclaim her songs had won courtesy of other artists. But she's always had a cynical attitude towards the music business, as "Free Man In Paris" off COURT AND SPARK indicated. And while this album made the top 5 on its release, it was her very effective raspberry to the powers that be that run the industry. Except for the opening "In France They Kiss On Main Street", THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS is the epitome of anti-commercial. Joni reaches new emotional heights with songs like "Shades Of Scarlett Conquering", "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow", and "Shadows & Light". "Scarlett" is probably Joni's best-written song ever, while "Shadows" manages to encompass all the majestic sounds of an orchestra with just a chorus of female voices and a synthesizer. If that wasn't enough, there's the African drum sound of "The Jungle Line" which didn't exactly prove to be anti-commercial, but in fact inspired the world music dabblings that Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Sting would base much of their careers on. When released in late 1975, THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS was called by ROLLING STONE magazine as one of the worst albums of the year. For the time, it probably was a unanimous sentiment, but now that time has passed, and Joni Mitchell's career is looked at as a whole, it ranks as one of her most ambitious (and, to the uninitiated, impenetrable) works. As a first album to buy, this is not a wise move. But when you get deeper into her music, you'll find THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS to be quite rewarding.

3-0 out of 5 stars In limbo between greats
Like Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks," this is one of those albums people either get or they don't, and thus they tend to love it or hate it. I like much of Joni Mitchell's work, but I have to confess that I'm not particularly fond of this album, though I certainly don't hate it. The jazzy pop Mitchell had delved into with "Court and Spark" is here taken a step further, with an accent more on the jazz than the pop. The result features some beautiful moments and moods, but precious few memorable melodies. Even "Hejira," the next step in the experimental process, seemed to feature better songwriting to my ears. Mitchell's lyrics are good as always, and vaguely thematic in their approach to urban life. I'm glad she chose to get experimental, though I don't care for some of the results, especially "The Jungle Line," a clunker full of some annoying moog synthesizer programs that might have sounded better if somebody had even just mixed it differently to emphasize different sounds in it. Some of her "contemporary" (yuck) jazzy sounding basses and guitars sound rather cloying and lack bite, but Joni's voice is wonderful as usual and "In Paris They Kiss on Main Street" is a genuinely exciting track.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my "deserted island" choices
Other reviewers waxed eloquent about this jewel, and rightly so. I can't add much add other than that this is one of the handful of albums I'd want on that deserted island, along with these:

Pink Floyd / Dark Side of the Moon
Pat Metheny Group / Path Metheney Group
Miles Davis / Kind of Blue
Weather Report / Heavy Weather
Bruce Springsteen / Born to Run
Steely Dan / Aja
James Taylor / Greatest Hits

It's the kind of album that still sounds fresh and relevant after 25 or 30 years. Albums that have stayed at arm's reach the entire time, never forgotten or falling into disfavor.

If you liked "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris" from Court and Spark, or "Last Time I Saw Richard" from Miles of Aisles, chances are you'll like this album too. The folksy Joni has been put on the back burner but the jazz Joni hasn't quite emerged yet. What you get instead is the sophisticated pop Joni at her very best. If you're looking for folk style or very jazzy stuff, this isn't it. Also, there's less of her floaty guitar style on this album than on subsequent ones like Hejira.

This album is also ideal for people who thrive on searching for various levels of meaning in the lyrics. As Joni states in the liner notes, the album was conceived as a whole, and all the pieces fit together conceptually as well as musically.

Great backup work by Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Robbenn Ford, Jeff Baxter, Max Bennett, Victor Feldman, John Guerin, and Chuck Findley, and including backing vox and other instruments by James Taylor, Graham Nash, and David Crosby.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joni's most ambitious one
Joni Mitchell is one of the best female vocalist in the popular music. Her earlier works were anchored in folk-music, she then turned to a more jazz/pop-oriented music. THoSL is a hybrid, blending pop songs, balads, jazz and an african influence on 'the jungle line'. Not only is Joni a gifted vocalist, but she is also a great drawer (she is under most of her albums' covers artwork). Returning to the review, THoSL is IMHO a true masterpiece and shows Joni's ability to play different kinds of music. Joni's voice is beautiful, and not less is the music that accompanies it. She played with the biggest jazz artists after this recording : Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Jaco Pastorius and her music was still pleasant, although exploring other horizons. If you want to discover Joni's best works, begin with THoSL and follow with her other 70's recordings, from 'Court and Spark' to 'Mingus'. ... Read more


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