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    1. O
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    2. Franz Ferdinand
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    3. Shangri La
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    4. The Best of Van Morrison
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    5. Moondance
    $14.99 $10.99 list($17.98)
    6. Live from Austin, TX
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    7. Celtic Woman, Vol. 2
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    8. Pink Moon
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    9. Watermark
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    10. Celtic Woman
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    11. Five Leaves Left
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    12. Shepherd Moons
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    13. Songs from a Secret Garden
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    14. Live from Branson
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    15. Mermaid Avenue
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    16. Donovan's Greatest Hits
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    17. Burn the Maps
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    18. Astral Weeks
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    19. Franz Ferdinand [US Bonus CD]
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    20. The Farthest Wave

    1. O
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
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    Asin: B00009V7P8
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 83
    Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Irish troubadour Damien Rice doesn't so much reinvent the folk genre on this lush, impossibly mature debut album as push its boundaries in several compelling musical directions at once--all the more remarkable considering the album was largely self-produced and home-recorded. His songs revolve around familiar, bittersweet concerns of life, love and their attendant frustrations, but delivered with conspiratorial intimacy on melodic wings that (like on the graceful "Cannonball") Rice seems almost embarrassed to share. If there's anything like a template here, it's "The Blower's Daughter," the song that first attracted the interest/stewardship of film composer David Arnold (whose guest production provides "Amie" with expansive cinematic elegance) and became a massive Irish hit. His plaintive vocal, embroidered by the mournful solo cello of Vyvienne Long, is suddenly brightened by an instrumental flourish and Lisa Hannigan's vocals--before just as quickly wafting on the breeze. With touches that range from "Day in the Life"-styled string collages to the dizzy, exhilarating neo-operatic excesses of the 16-minute "Eskimo," Rice's musical palate here is as adventurous as his songs are grounded in emotional intimacy. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

    Reviews (154)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Haunting and Beautiful
    Damien Rice has a beautiful Irish tenor voice. And it works wonderfully in his folk aranged album. He also has a female companion who harmonizes with him, and she is a fantastic vocalist. This album is composed of guitar, the two vocalists, some percussion, and generally a cello or small strings arrangement. That makes for a wonderful album to listen and relax to.
    The song-writing on the album is amazing. Rice writes songs like conversations and uses the wonderful (and beautiful if you've seen the video) female to sing the response. Many songs are about lost love or bad love or just love, but they are not just simple, stupid, pop love songs. They are incredibly crafted lyrics that can stand alone without music, which says a lot about Rice's songwriting skills.
    Buy this album if you enjoy folk/pop music. James Taylor, Angie Aparo, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Gark Jules and David Gray are a few musicians I would say if you like you'll enjoy Damien Rice.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most beautiful album I have ever heard...
    Searching for words to describe this album are like trying to count the stars in the sky. (I know it's cliche, but it works). This album is amazingly beautiful.

    Back in May I picked up a friend of mine in Chicago after she spent the semester in Ireland and the whole way home (a 3+ hour drive) all we listened to was O. After we arrived home, I decided I had to have the album. I ordered the import off amazon and before it arrived, I got to see Damien back in Chicago at Schubas. If the album itself doesn't amaze you, go see him live and you'll fall in love. Just a few more weeks until he plays Chicago again.

    This album ranges from soft ballads (The Blower's Daughter) to heart-wrenching rock (the second half of I Remember). Unlike many albums from folk singers, I think this one is best listened through all the way at once. While there are great standout tracks (Amie, I Remember, Delicate), the whole album tells a story. There is a gradual almost epic-like progression throughout that sends the listener on a roller-coaster of emotions.

    One of the greatest things about this album is the fact that Damien recorded this (mostly) in his basement over the course of a year. Instead of being thrown into a studio for a month to record the album using manufactured emotion (having to record on days you don't feel like it), Damien recorded each of the songs when he was "feeling it". That's why all of the emotion in these songs are SO real, so genuine. There is nothing manufactured about its sound. Another magnificant thing about it is the range of instrumentation and musical genre used. As I said, there are the slow, soft ballads, and rocking songs as well as Operatic elements (Eskimo)and beautiful orchestration in "Amie" and "Cold Water".

    From listening to the album and several live shows I have, I can tell that Damien does not have a powerful, controlling, confident voice. Rather his voice sounds strong at times, but is usually more reserved and cautious. This cautious tone makes the album all the more believable, showing it is true emotion that has not been overproduced or forced.

    I really can not say enough good things about this album and if I could give 10 stars, I would. As I said, my favorite tracks are #1 Delicate, #6 Amie and #9 I Remember, but there is not a bad song on the album.

    As one other reviewer already said, my only complaint is that the last song (Eskimo) has 2 "hidden tracks" [Prague, and Silent Night (a song set to the tune of the traditional Silent Night Christmas song, but with different lyrics)] that should have been seperate tracks finishing off the album with 12 instead of 10. But as my only complaint, I must still recommend this album.

    E-mail me if you have any questions whatsoever.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
    Damien Rice is such a talented musician. His music never gets old, you can listen to it over and over again. His soultry voice is always nice to listen to. I highly recommend it!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fearless
    This is my first review of anything on Amazon, though I am a constant reader. I simply had to talk about this album.

    The best way to describe this album is fearless. He takes the road less traveled by other up-and-coming singer-songwriters. While the new batch has had some very good singers, nothing compares to this album. They seem more interested in making a "clean" album, while this album seems like he is alone in a room baring his soul.

    Though the strange thing is about the album s that you know he could not have been alone in a room. There is so much going on, so many chances taken that it is hard to descibe. Simply saying that it is an acoustic album is wrong. The album brings in much more.

    Fearless in his atempts to expand beyond just him and his guitar. Consider how at the end of Amie, out of nowhere comes what sounds like an entire orchestra. It sounds beautiful and it becomes almost impossible to imagine the song without it. Then the gorgarian (sp?) chants that enter into Cold Water. By the end of the album it seems only appropriate to have an opera singer at the end of Eskimo.

    But the wonderful things about the album is that it doesn't rely on these tricks. They are simply used to enchance the songs. Cannonball is simply him and his guitar, and it is one of the best songs on the album (a song friends of mine have confessed crying to when they heard it).

    Another huge difference between him and others is the feeling involved. I have yet to hear another singer coming out now who you can feel their pain so clearly and identify with it(Howie Day is close). The only line in the chorus of The Blower's Daughter is "I can't take my eyes off you..." The way he sings it and the passion in his voice make the line more romantic and meaningful than an entire boy-band album.

    Just the other night I went outside with my CD Player to sit on the front porch and listen to music while I smoked a cigarette. I started at track one, and became so engrossed in the songs, I just sat there until the album finished. It is THAT good. And it is that feeling that is put into every song that gives me the impression this album will age very well.

    I agree with others that he brings back memories of when Jeff Buckley was around. They invoke the same spirit. And that is nothing but a compliment, because if there is anything music needs now, it is someone who can do to people what Jeff did. Even though Jeff died too soon, people are still listening to his music because it means so much to them. I have the feeling that this album will do the same. It is Damien Rice's "Grace".

    My only concern is the same as others. How in the hell is he going to follow this up? But here is the fun part, imagine if he somehow makes a better album?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally...
    When I first heard Damien Rice I immediatley felt pleasantly confused and relieved, thinking to myself, "Finally someone new with passion and true emotion".

    I highly recommend this CD and hope more people discover this wonderful collection of songs. A true music fan will appreciate this one. Damien Rice's music is honest and full of heart. His backing vocalist, Lisa, is a purely gorgeous angelic voice that compliments Rice perfectly. The comibation of acoustic guitar and cello is simply beautiful. This CD has a refreshing classical feel that is delicate but full of power. The album was made to be heard loud from the first track all the way to the end. The songs are ordered to perfection and have a lot to give out to its audience. Don't miss out.

    We need more artists like Damien Rice and it's wonderful to know true artists are actually creating good sound somewhere. It's difficult to believe this is Damien Rice's debut CD, the possibilites are endless for a follow-up. ... Read more

    2. Franz Ferdinand
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $9.99
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    Asin: B0001ZMWQO
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 54
    Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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    Franz Ferdinand is an unrelentingly smart, fluffy, and fun debut. This Scottish four-piece plays vaguely angular, guitar-heavy post-pop that makes you want to dance around the room while playing air guitar. It's the ideal hipster guilty-pleasure music for 2004. This is what the Rapture and Interpol would sound like if they wrote songs half as good as those they rip off, or the Strokes if their parents had sent them to art school instead of the fashion academy. Every song on here is so blatantly derivative it sounds almost original, like a modern Blur without the gloomy hangover. It's too early yet to tell if this is just a band for the moment or one for the ages--but who really cares with pop music, anyway? Songs like "Darts of Pleasure," "Come on Home," "Take Me Out," and "Cheating on You" are so good they will surely appeal to those without slanty, messy haircuts. --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

    Reviews (126)

    4-0 out of 5 stars ok this album is pretty damn ok...
    franz ferdinand are like this year's britney spears of "indie" rock. last year was yeah yeah yeahs, and the year before was the strokes. i love all these bands and own all the music they have put out, but these bands are far too derivative to be "saving" rock n roll, or making any real mark in music other than the fact that they are all pretty ok and are somewhat popular (shock! decent music selling records?!?)and they are being hailed as rock messiahs in a britney-ruled music world. which i guess is a bit of a feat. hmmmmm. ok im rambling. this album is pretty great, they sound like stripped-down, less distorted vocals strokes. its good stuff. "michael" is f***ing great. so i guess buy it. these guys deserve your money more than britney or sum 41. and hey, they get indie cred by being great friends with belle and sebastian. and one last thing... how come "take me out" starts out AWESOME, then gets really lame?

    4-0 out of 5 stars Rock Out
    Length - 38:45
    Let me start off by saying that this album doesn't really present any exceptional new sound, groundbreaking material or brilliant rehashings of The Beatles. Nonetheless, it's a damn good album, and I'm quite glad that I bought it. As far as the music goes, I think The Strokes comparisons that are being made are valid to some extent. The vocals are strikingly similar on some tracks, the chords and bass sound alike, and the overall energy and exuberance of Franz is comparable to The Strokes. Contrastingly, I think Franz is more exciting, easier to dance to, and the songs are a bit more variegated (I have a hard time distinguishing between most of the tracks on Room On Fire). Another great part about this album is that there aren't any bad songs. There are at least two songs I skip on both Strokes records each time I listen to them. But Franz, solid straight through. In a word, if you're into The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand will be a fine purchase for you. If you care, my favorite tracks include the jaunty Tell Her Tonight, the manic Take Me Out and the brilliant, hypnotic closer, 40'.

    5-0 out of 5 stars wooo---ROCK!
    All the songs in this album are fantastic!! Franz Ferdinand is an incredibly talented band that creates fearless music! They respect many different genres of music and they aren't (...) enough to say so. So, you see, you dimwitted metal rock punktards, you don't have to publicly hate pop music to be successful. No fear!!! wooo! music! wooo! WOOO!!! WOOOOOOO!!!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Franz Ferdinand kicks ass!!
    okay where do i start this is the greastest alt rock alblum ever enough said

    5-0 out of 5 stars If I could only have one CD for the rest of my life...
    Okay, well, who knows what my taste will be like when I'm an old person? But, I know what I like at this phase in my life, and it is precisely what Franz Ferdinand dishes out: unabashed, fun, get-up-and-dance rock music. From start to finish, this album is highly listenable. It's one of those discs that you can have on in the background and not get sick of it on repeat for a few hours, AND you can sit and listen to the lyrics and still appreciate it. People who say they dislike FF seem to have lost all ability to laugh and have fun without pretension. While music elitists seem rather disappointed that this band has achieved a wide fan base in a short time, the rest of us will be enjoying ourselves on the dance floor. ... Read more

    3. Shangri La
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $13.49
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    Asin: B0002VKZL6
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 63
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Mark Knopfler isn't afraid to drop names. The heavyweight Cassius Clay laid low, the man who made burgers and fries into big business, the kings of rock & roll and skiffle are among the motley assortment who pass through Knopfler's fourth solo album. Recorded in Malibu with a tight crew of steadfast Knopfler sidemen, Shangri-La (the title comes from the studio where the entire set was recorded) chronicles the foibles of the acclaimed and the adrift, all delivered with the nonchalant grace that has marked Knopfler's music since Dire Straits emerged in the late '70s. Seven of album's 14 originals clock in at between five and seven minutes. That's Knopfler in a nutshell--don't rush things, but don't loose the thread, either. As a songwriter, Knopfler has a storyteller's eye for minutiae, which he delivers with practiced nuance. He overreaches here and there ("Song for Sonny Liston" fails to capture the pathos of the menacing fighter), but also pulls off a few career highlights (the understated crime-drama opener "5.15 a.m."). --Steve Stolder ... Read more

    4. The Best of Van Morrison
    list price: $13.98
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    Asin: B000009DDJ
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 265
    Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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    Van Morrison reputedly wasn't crazy about the idea of a greatest-hits package, and this set's haphazard programming--which leaps from period to period, style to style, tossing in two key singles by his mid-'60s band Them--speaks to his lack of involvement. Still, it rivals Moondance as Morrison's most popular album, and for a reason: like that classic, it offers one deeply soulful, spiritually and musically thoughtful track after another. Much of his more "difficult" work is ignored here; in fact, Best of... gives us an intriguing picture of a Van who's almost eager to please. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

    Reviews (85)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pop Music the way it should be
    Van Morrison is one of the best songwriters out there. It's awesome to hear his voice and his songwriting talent skip around in different genres, from boogie rock like Brown-Eyed Girl and the spectacular Wild Night to British invasion hookey pop stuff like Gloria and Here Comes the Night to Cat Stevens-ish acoustic reflections like Sweetest Thing and Warm Love and finally to spiritual, decidedly Christian-themed lite rock like Cleaning Windows, Bright Side of the Road, and then God Shines His Light.

    There's something very cinematic about his music too. It sounds like it belongs in the movies. It has that way on perfectly capturing the mood of human emotion that seems perfect for a soundtrack.

    Unfortuantely, Morrison never really had the best voice around; he sort of screams with a little rasp- like a louder, fuller Dylan, but it's unique and adds a very Van-ish authenticity to his songs. Ultimately this CD is really just beautiful to listen to as a good collection of thoughtful, well-written pop tunes of various genres.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Bard of Belfast
    In the early 1990s Alan Parker filmed Roddy Doyle's wonderful book, The Commitments, about working class Irish kids trying to escape dead end jobs through the power of classic soul music. The band's lead singer--slightly pudgy but with a powerful voice and personality--reminded me at the time of a young Van Morrison. Of course, that's not much of a stretch--Doyle could very well have been basing some of his book on Morrison's early career.

    The Best of Van Morrison provides a nice synopsis of Morrison's first three decades as the bard of Belfast. Those humble beginnings with the band Them presents a sound that was as raw as any of the bluesmen and soul artists that he admired and is represented by three songs: the bluesy "Baby Please Don't Go," the anthemic "Gloria," and the ballad "Here Comes the Night." Van's voice sounds more like a growl in these songs, more like Mick Jagger than the warm, smooth sound that would become his trademark.

    The CD is not arranged chronologically, so I tend to group the songs by style rather than time period. Van's soul roots as a solo artist can be seen in how he favors background horns and female backup singers, as in "Domino," "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)," "Wonderful Remark," "Brown-Eyed Girl," "Warm Love," and "Wild Night."

    The flip side to that is his jazzy style, born from that blues beginning merging with the stream of conscience noodling that saw its fullest expression on Astral Weeks. These songs--"Sweet Thing," "Moondance," "Queen of the Slipstream," "Have I Told You Lately," "Bright Side of the Road"--often have unconventional structures, time signatures, or keys and reflect Van's experimentation.

    Often the purview of country music, Van likes the "story" song. His don't necessarily relate a narrative but instead capture characters or a time period. "And It Stoned Me" is a childhood reminescence, while "Cleaning Windows" tries to capture the simpler times when he performed manual labor.

    And, lastly, there's the songs of faith, not quite gospel, but like contemporary Christian with more moderate lyrics. These songs--"Full Force Gale," "Whenever God Shines His Light," "Dweller on the Threshold," and "Did Ya Get Healed"--could be maudlin, but there's something about the assuredness of the delivery that overcomes your doubts regarding the message, at least for the duration of the song.

    While containing all the radio hits, the total collection of 20 songs provides a great introduction to Van, who can be a little overindulgent and uneven in his albums. Once you become a confirmed fan, you're more likely to enjoy those experiments. Until then, this is your best one album collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In Response To IVAVARIO
    The new remaster has the unedited Brown Eyed Girl with the "Making Love in the green grass...." line intact.

    Now for the review, this is a great compilation for the Van Morrision newbie. It contains his most famous songs, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Gloria (with Them), Domino, Jackie Wilson Said..., Wild Night, Have I Told You Lately..., And It Stoned Me, among others.

    The only song that should have been on here that wasn't is Caravan. Other than that a perfect 10.


    Once again, if you are irritated about the original taking out that infamous line in Brown Eyed Girl, get the remaster. It shouldn't be hard to find since the unremastered is out of print.

    1-0 out of 5 stars I Hate This Dude
    This horrible little idiot is SO annoying. His voice stinks and his lyrics are stupid. His music is only for idiots who are too brainwashed by outdated garbage music like this to realize that there is such a thing as a catchy beat.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Discovery
    Having grown up in Generation X, I had no idea who Van Morrison was until a few years ago when I bought this CD for my father. He listened to it and loved it, and I borrowed it from him recently. I consider Van a great discovery.

    I was blown away by how great the music on this album is. There are so many songs of Morrison's that I was familiar with but did not know that he was the singer. I feel very fortunate to have "discovered" such a great artist.

    Though I'm not very familiar with Van's work, some songs here have become favorites of mine. These include:

    'Have I Told You Lately': Later remade by Rod Stewart, this has become one of the classic love songs of all time. The original is best, with Morrison's throaty voice driving the vocals.

    'Wild Night': Another song that has been remade, the original of 'Wild Night' is a bit rockier than John Mellencamp's version.

    'Moondance': Now one of my favorite songs, 'Moondance' is a classic, laid-back jazzy tune with brilliant vocals and a terrific shuffle.

    'Brown Eyed Girl': Year after year, the oldies radio station in Cleveland places this song at the top of their "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list. There's a reason why.

    I've read a few reviews saying that this isn't as good a compilation of Morrison's material as could be made. I can't speak for them, because, as a newcomer, I don't know much about his music. I can say that this album is amazing, and has definitely done a good job of introducing me to the magic of Van Morrison. What more could a greatest hits album ask for? ... Read more

    5. Moondance
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $7.99
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    Asin: B000002KHF
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 492
    Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

    Van Morrison went a long way towards defining his wild Irish heart with his first two classic albums: the brooding, introspective Astral Weeks (1968), and the expansive, swinging Moondance. If the first was the work of a poet, its sequel was the statement of a musician and bandleader. Moondance is that rare rock album where the band has buffed the arrangements to perfection, and where the sax solos instead of the guitar. The band puts out a jazzy shuffle on "Moondance" and plays it soulful on "These Dreams of You." The album includes both Morrison's most romantic ballad ("Crazy Love") and his most haunting ("Into the Mystic"). "And It Stoned Me" rolled off Morrison's tongue like a favorite fable, while "Caravan" told a tale full of emotional intrigue. Moondance stood out in the rock world of 1970 like a grownup in a kiddie matinee. --John Milward ... Read more

    Reviews (124)

    5-0 out of 5 stars My Own Private "Moondance" with Van.....
    This review refers to the Warner Bros. audio tape of Van Morrison's "Moondance"....

    I have to confess...I bought this "fantabulous" album on tape so I could pop it in my walkman and have my own private time with Van Morrison, his band and the exhilarating music. But alas, I always get caught. The music and the lyrics are just ones that I can't help singing aloud with(you know...'LA LA LA LA... LA LA LA'...), and playing on my own air instruments!

    The familiar and soothing voice, the soulful and oh so recognizable tunes, will "let your soul and spirit fly Into The Mystic". It's always "a marvelous night for a Moondance", and who could ever tire of "Come Running" and "Caravan". So 'rock your Gypsy soul', 'turn it up',and fall in love again to "Crazy Love".....'she give me love love love love...crazy love'.It'll 'seem like and feel like' a "Brand New Day" every time you play it.

    All the great sounds of the vocals and the band, including the wonderful solos sound great on this tape.If you are just starting to collect Van Morrison, start with this one.It's definitive of his work and one that you just won't be able to get enough of... 'And so you know, it's got soul'(see buying info for complete list of songs)

    Van..."Can I have just one more 'Moondance' with you"??? Just let me know and I'll "Come Running"....

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's a marvelous night for "Moondance"
    Moondance is a wonderful album. Van Morrison is a truly gifted songwriter, not to mention his wonderful, yet unique voice. If you want to hear music that is more flash and glitz and commercialism, give Moondance a listen. Just reading the lyrics to this album could stir your soul. The lyrics are amazing, and the music is great too. In addition to the great acoustic guitar playing, bass and drums, Van has also added saxophones, flutes, clarinets and pianos to many of the songs, giving the album a rather distinct sound. My favorites are Come Running, Moondance, These Dreams Of You, Caravan and of course, the BEST song on the album, maybe Van Morrison's best song: Into The Mystic. This album would get 5 stars just for Into The Mystic even if all the other songs were bad. Fortunately though, that's not the case. Moondance is marvelous from start to finish.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ice cold audio orange juice
    It's not as complex, beautiful and enigmatic as "Astral Weeks" and it's not as much of a soulful, one-two-punch workout as "Blowin' Your Mind," but for sheer, consistent, horn-driven happiness, you can't do much better than "Moondance."

    But because of my affection for those other two disks, I admit, I generally tend to underrate this album. But "Moondance" keeps coming back to me in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times: I'll hear "Caravan" in "The Last Waltz," or "Everyone" at the end of "The Royal Tenenbaums" or "Glad Tidings" three times in the "Sopranos" Season 5 finale, or notice "Into the Mystic" on the PA at the grocery store and be reminded that I need to let it out to play more often. That's the sign of a truly great musical work.

    1-0 out of 5 stars he got stoned all rite!
    yo my parentz lissen tu dis cd! i mean theyre old, and i am an informed consumer uv hot topic clothing! so i must have a better taste in muzak, rite? i mean, da shtuff i lissen too is on da billbored chartz! like, American Idol peeps so bust Van da man fer rekord salez!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction in Van Morrison
    I was only familiar with the Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria Van Morrison but bought this because of the strong 5 star rating with nearly 130 reviews. They are right. This is a great CD filled with easily listened to (not easy listening) music. The lyrics are absolutely heartfelt. The speed of the music fluctuates from not to fast to slow and cool. This would be great entertaining music for a small group of people or just for that one person. ... Read more

    6. Live from Austin, TX
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007Z9R0W
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1021
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Austin City Limits tends to bring out the best in the musicians it showcases, and Richard Thompson is the sort of artist that the series reveres most. The veteran British folk-rock troubadour remains an instrumental virtuoso, a soulful singer, and a songwriter whose depth and emotional complexity rival Dylan's. This 15-song set provides neither a career-spanning retrospective nor a greatest-hits rehash, as Thompson's selection of some of his lesser-known material shows that he's incapable of writing a throwaway. The rhythm section of bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Michael Jerome gives his guitar plenty of room to maneuver on the acoustic numbers that dominate the performance before the set builds to the electrifying climax of the lacerating "She Twists the Knife Again" and the explosive "Shoot Out the Lights." On "Uninhabited Man," Thomspon combines a guitar progression that recalls the Byrds with a lyric that gives a sinister twist to the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, while the pensive, sinuous "Ghosts in the Wind" extends his exploration into the recesses of the psyche. Though Thompson's droll humor typically provides a change-of-pace respite from the dark intensity of his material, this disc edits out all the between-song patter in favor of more music. --Don McLeese

    Recommended Richard Thompson Discography

    Fairport Convention, Unhalfbricking

    Fairport Convention, Liege & Lief

    Fairport Convention, Full House

    Richard & Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

    Richard & Linda Thompson, Shoot Out the Lights

    Hand of Kindness

    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best singer/songwriter of our time
    The other day, my best friend, whose name happens to be 'Rich',
    was trying to explain to me how much he liked this song, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." I had never heard it before. Odd, considering I've been an avid Richard Thompson fan for over 30 years, since seeing Fairport during their last tour - in 1976 - before Sandy died. At any rate, Rich went on to tell me how he had found out the song was written by Richard Thompson. And he said, "Man, does that guy write everything??"

    The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that Richard Thompson has written every song with any meaning that I've heard for at least the last 15 years. From the haunting "Just The Motion," with its rocking guitar solo and suicidal edge, to the venerable "Genesis Hall" (a song RT performed at my request twice); from the wonderfully manic
    "Little Blue Number", woven with an out-of-the box krummhorn accompaniment that just isn't allowed, to the intense rocker "Living On Borrowed Time," this gifted musician is neither predictable nor limited, and he gives a hell of a performance, besides!

    It really doesn't get better than this. Oh, by the way, I finally got to hear "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." Kinda like Dylan -- only better!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lively, muscular sesson
    I think nearly everyone has heard a Richard Thompson recording, seen him in concert, or both, so many folks may bypass "Live from Austin, TX," figuring why do I need this one? To do so would be a mistake, even for those with a stack of Mr. Thompson's CDs.

    This performance, which was recorded live to tape for the "Austin City Limits" PBS show, features songs from throughout Mr. Thompson's long and steady career, some of which are not as well known as the tracks 1952 Vintage Black Lightning or Shoot Out the Lights. But throughout, Mr. Thompson brandishes his guitars like a weapon, ripping off searing solos or letting his fingers do the talking to convey emotional nuances. He is equally adroit on his vocals, conveying pain, adding a dash of humor, underscoring a turn of events with a bit of a sneer or a sustained note.

    Every track has its merits and its own story, from the self-effacing Walking the Long Miles Home to the undeterred love-struck soul in Persuasion. Hearing Mr. Thompson take an image, such as the jackknifed truck in Easy There, Steady Now, and using that as metaphor for lost love makes one appreciate what a fine writer he is. The angst that builds through She Twists the Knife Again mercifully culminates into a fiery guitar finale, making one wonder if the strings are infused with magnesium.

    Much of Mr. Thompson's work is as a solo artist, and while that work is enduring, hearing this collection performed with the excellent rhythm section of Danny Thompson on bass and Michael Jerome on drums is a revelation. This trio of veteran musicians never sounds at cross purposes but displays a subtle interplay equally effective with on the jazzy Al Bowling's in Heaven or the punchy rocker Crawl Back (Under My Stone).

    The sound quality is excellent, but Mr. Thompson's typical onstage banter (if you have seen him live, you know what I mean) and enough of the applause has been snipped out---which I think improves the overall flow and energy of this lively, muscular session.

    ... Read more

    7. Celtic Woman, Vol. 2
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $16.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00004S2TK
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 40179
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not the quality of the first
    I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this CD, it took three weeks between the order and the time it arrived. Was it worth the wait? Yes, but I was still a little disappointed. It wasn't the CD that I was expecting. Celtic Women 1 was an amazing CD. This was still good, but not great.

    Still, the CD features some return visitors from the first and a few great songs amongst them. Aine Furey makes a triumphant return with the song Vanities child, which highlights her haunting voice. I anxiously await the release of her band, Bohinta's new CD.

    Highlights are:
    Rita Connolly - Valparaiso
    Fiona Joyce - Lifting the veil
    Aine Furey - Vanity Child

    If you don't have the first one, buy it first. Followed by the Faire Celts CD which is another tremendous display of the female Celtic voice.

    3-0 out of 5 stars worth the coin
    skip vol. 1 and buy this 2nd volume. It will keep you interested for more than one spin. ... Read more

    8. Pink Moon
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000025XKM
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 911
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Reissue of the late British folk icon's final full-lengthalbum, released in 1972. 11 tracks. Slipcase. Island. ... Read more

    Reviews (214)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Raw. Dark. Inspired.
    Nick Drake has been an underground hero for musicians for many years now but only recently got any real public attention because of a VW commerical. There's nothing wrong with VW using his song, it's just a shame that commercial success never happened for Nick when he was alive. He deserved the attention he has received in 1999 way back in 1970.

    Nick was an incredible acoustic guitarist with a diverse fingerstyle technique with great finger-rolls and clever melodies woven throughout complex harmonies and various tunings.

    Pink Moon is raw and dark but absolutely pretty at the same time --and precisely played with just one acoustic guitar and an occasional piano. His baritone voice is delivered in an often slurred and breathy haze with lyrics that convey a sense of despair and emotional nakedness. The chords in his songs will weave a Minor progression of almost hopeless despair then break into a Major bridge and rising vocal melodies that brings a hope of soaring transcendence into the light - only to have it dashed back down to the ground. Beautiful.

    My favorite track is "Parasite." His guitar line brings a sense of calm and reassurance -even thorugh lyrics filled with personal inadequacy and despair. "Pink Moon" is the lead-off track that was used by VW and gave Nick life after death. If this album came out today, it would sound completely fresh and new, unlike many other folk albums from the same time. Timeless.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best of a genius
    I "discovered" Nick Drake in a roundabout way, through the fiction of his fellow Brit, author Phil Rickman, who seems to have been profoundly affected by Drake's music. The only album of his that I could find in print way back then was "Way to Blue," a sort of "Best of" collection. And I thought that Pink Moon was the best of the songs. when the CD was remastered and released, I bought it,and although this phrase is trite and overused, I was blown away. I've listened to his first two albums, and read about arguments with his producer about whether or not to add the (unnecessary, IMO)horn and string sections. Nick, quite correctly, felt his music could stand alone. Why he was not successful in his lifetime, I'll never know. I don't think he was having a breakdown as he wrote and recorded "Pink Moon," I think he was finally allowing himself to speak without euphemisms or too much symbolism. It is Nick being Nick, and it is his best. Finally, you can hear his guitar clearly. Listen closely, and you'll see that he has been sadly underrated; I believe he was the best acoustic guitarist in the 20th century (no offense to Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton fans). The song "Which Will" is my favorite track from the CD; the theme of love lost and watching the beloved move on is not unusual, but what he does with it is magical. I also love "Pink Moon;" some months after hearing it, I learned that in British superstition, the sight of a pinkish or reddish full moon means that someone is going to die. Perhaps a foreshadowing of "Black-Eyed Dog"?

    If you only buy one Nick Drake album, make it this one. You won't regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite CD by my favorite musician.
    This has to be the most beautiful album ever created. I have probably listened to this CD 75 times, in full, since I got it, and every time I am almost put in a trance by the beauty that is Nick Drake's music. Nick Drake uses differen't tunings for his guitar that sometimes make it sound as if a mini-orchestra is playing on his albums, but is just the sweet, melancholy tunes of a hushed voice singing out lyrics and the strings of a lone guitar slowely winding an environment of peace and serenity around your life, letting you fully relax, and see the beauty in things. I may sound like a hippy, but this is no exaggeration, you must get this CD now, and cherish it forever, for once you hear these beautiful songs your life will never be the same, it will be better.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let's get one thing straight about this record.
    Its average -- heh, virtually unanimous -- rating of five here probably has something to do with this: Nick Drake died, not certainly but quite likely a suicide, about two years after its release, and in retrospect this sounds like his suicide note, whether it was or not. It also has something to do with a car commercial that came out about 26 years too late to help Nick.

    And none of us should be ashamed of this.

    The facts of an artist's life are an inextricable part of his work. We've known this, cherished it in fact, since the first artist put a voice into music, or drew pictures and made gestures that expressed thoughts without words. Nick Drake was one depressed dude at the end. Either he killed himself deliberately or the drugs that did it -- and they were antidepressants -- were powerful enough to do it by accident.

    I got "Pink Moon" about five days ago and have played it about 35 times. The title track and the final one ("From the Morning") move me about as much as anything I've heard. Everything in between establishes a mood that could be interpreted as heavily flavored by sadness, if not dominated by depression. Even "Morning," a song of hope and uplift if ever was, is tinted by the small, haunting ache that attends the knowledge of death as an inevitable part of life. And the death that's on our minds is, unavoidably, Nick Drake's. It matters not why and how he died; it was too soon, this was his last record before it happened, and it colors -- unavoidably and rightly -- what we hear. When one knows how an artist's pain worked itself out in the artist's own life, it has an inevitable impact on how one receives the record.

    I join the people who thank Volkswagen for this record. I never saw the VW ad; I don't watch TV enough to do that. But I sure read enough about it here; and I only recently found that the wonderful lavish sounds I'd been hearing as sign-on music back in the early-mid '70s on good ol' WMAL-FM were Nick's own "Bryter Later." So I can claim to be one of the fogies who Knew Him (sorta) When. But only the one piece. That and the VW ad -- what's all this about a damn ad? -- prompted one of my best album purchases ever. I'm torn -- just run back to the store where they have his other two studio releases, nine-ninety-nine the pop? Or spring for "Fruit Tree"?

    Drake's first two albums are lusher, more lavish, more produced, more, well, what? optimistic. Then this one. Nick, his guitar, and a smattering of overdubbed but perfect piano. It would be interesting to have heard "Pink Moon" AFTER his first two records, instead of hearing it first. The contrast between those discs and this one is startling enough as it is. If you want to hear folk guitar played about as well as it can be, accompanied by a voice that, light and almost airy as it is, seems to triple the weight of the lyrics, Do not pass Go. Head straight to this record. If you don't have "Pink Moon" yet, and kind of wish there wasn't quite so much production on those two lovely Drake discs you do have, pick this one up. 'Cause the production is, well, not. I think it's wonderful that we got to hear not only as much of Nick Drake as we did, but as many different sides. I wouldn't want the first two records without the overdubbed strings and keyboards. This one, likewise, is perfect, just as is. Stark, painful, full of despair and full also of hope and appreciation for the beauty the artist saw in the world. It's just as in the first two records, but expressed differently and just as spot-on beautifully.

    Don't feel bad that you first heard about Nick Drake from a car salesman. Carlos Santana was right: It's getting it, not how, that counts. You have the music now, is what matters. The world is beautiful and it's OK. Play "Pink Moon" again, and again. That's Nick, telling you so.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy two copies
    It is a damn good thing that this man is not alive today. His purity and ethics would have left him in an even deeper state of depression if he were to suffer the fandom his music has earned him as well as the use of his music for commerical purposes. People this sensitive are gifts to the world, but they usually implode and lack the coping mechanisms to survive in modern society. Nick was a walking open wound, a raw exposed nerve and one listen to his art will reveal this. What an amazing thing that he was open enough and talented enough to bear his soul in a way that makes us feel ours so.

    The second track, "Place to Be" makes my chin quiver every time and cry most of the time I hear it, and I am not ashamed to admit it. There is something exquisite, decadent and enlightening about indulging in this artist's "dark" music. Depressing and melancholy? Yes, certainly. Beautiful, nuanced, and intimate? More so. I can say, as a heterosexual male that if I had a time machine, I would go back to 1972 and embrace this guy, tell him everything will be alright, and take him of a road trip through the wilderness. And I'd bring a tape recorder. ... Read more

    9. Watermark
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000002LRR
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 771
    Average Customer Review: 4.74 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

    Enya's 1988 recording Watermark achieved landmark success with her groundbreaking use of multi-tracking technology to fuse new age and Celtic themes and instrumentation. The meticulous production defines her sound and achieves continuity even while weaving together tender ballads, piano pieces, massively layered vocal harmonies, and symphonic synthesizer movements. Although Enya's pristine voice isn't especially strong, her lead vocals possess a vulnerability that reflects the lyrics' sense of personal searching. From the ubiquitous, frothy single "Orinoco Flow" (which was used to hawk Crystal Light on TV) to the hard, bold edge of "Cursum Perficio," Enya's style remains fresh and engaging today.--Richard Price ... Read more

    Reviews (153)

    4-0 out of 5 stars I Was Torn Between 4 And 5 Stars!
    Although this album of hers was produced in '88, I'd only (shamefully) purchased it a few weeks ago. It's frankly an excellent album, as always, but I got the awkward feeling that Enya had started out..."stiff". The fact that this was only her second new-age album - after an unsuccessful first from '83 to '84 - was accepted willingly by me on why all the tracks on this CD seemed to carry similar atmosphere - almost same tunes and similar rhythm. Honestly, because of this, I wanted to give her 5 stars, but considering the standards she's met up to today, I'd say this is mere second-hand work on her part (hence, a 4-star rating)! Nonetheless, it's definitely a new-age compilation worth listening to, for it's very clear why Enya shot to fame producing this CD! There're of course the three tracks which shortly made her the unprecedented superior diva in the era of new-age music, "Orinoco Flow", "Storms in Africa" and the title track, which is a beautiful piano recital, "Watermark". But not all the other songs and musical pieces are disappointing fillers (nah! You wouldn't expect that from her, would you?); other masterpieces include "The Longships (EXCELLENT instrumentation and voice budding)", "Miss Clare Remembers (a recital as wonderful as the title track)", "Exile (if you liked "Paint the Sky with Stars")", "River (a marvellous instrumental adaptation of "Orinoco Flow")" and "Evening Falls (a mystical lullaby)". This album would reassuringly still give new fans a good impression of this musical queen; as for those who have been avid all this while, you simply CANNOT miss this out in your collection!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The volume? Well, turn it up, turn it up...
    Watermark is a unique album, totally fantastic! It's incredible how a person - just 27 years old at that time - was able to create an album like this. I like the whole album, but I have two favourite tracks; the first is one of Enya's greatest hits... yes, of course it's the spectacular Orinoco Flow! The second is Storms In Africa which was a hit too, though a much smaller one. Other songs which I prefer are Cursum Perficio, River and The Long Ships but, as a mentioned before, the whole album is great. The music is from 1988 but that's impossible to hear, it could well have been the music of today.

    Here comes a short description of the tracks on Watermark:

    1. Watermark - Instrumental; very relaxing
    2. Cursum Perficio - Latin; pretty powerfull, special*
    3. On Your Shore - English; beautiful, relaxing
    4. Storms In Africa - Gaelic; great, wonderful, special*
    5. Exile - English; beautiful, pretty calm
    6. Miss Clare Remembers - Instrumental; relaxing
    7. Orinoco Flow - English; great, powerful, wonderful, special*
    8. Evening Falls - English; beautiful, pretty calm
    9. River - Instrumental; nice, beautiful
    10. The Long Ships - Gaelic; pretty powerful, special*
    11. Na Laetha Geal M'óige - Gaelic; calm and relaxing

    * Hard to say why these songs are special, but perhaps because they don't sound like any other musical stuff. There's only one person that's able to create songs like these and her name is - Enya. You must hear them, but don't forget to try her remaining albums such as Shepherd Moons and The Memory Of Trees.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A New-Age Dynasty has Begun
    Enya, one one the most talented musician I've ever heard, truly gives it all in this single CD. It wasn't new; I've heard songs by Enya in the past but I have never listened to all of them. In Watermark, one of her oldest albums, gently and beautifully expresses the contents of her heart. Her music has become a real inspiration to others and myself. When I first listened to Watermark, the first track, I realized that this is pure gold in music form. Anyone who wishes to explore some of the earliest and beautiful works by Enya must have Watermark. As the Editorial Review states, her first debut of this cd made a huge imapact on its' listeners. This cd personally impacted my outlook on New-Age music. It made me realize that new things can be found in old work. The effect on its' listeners is very calming. The instrumental music in addition with Enya's voice induces relaxation and will alleviate stress. Her heavenly voice, at a gentle pitch, helps sooth and put a smile on ones' face. This is a truly inspirational work by whom I consider the "Diva of New-Age" and listening to her wonderful achievments will have the same effect as it did for me.

    4-0 out of 5 stars WATERMARK: 5 STARS, 4 STARS FOR ENYA
    I enjoyed the cd but Enya has previously made much better cds. watermark is an amazing cd and i highly recommend it if it is your first enya cd but if youve heard enya many times, i would move on to so,thing morelike, Best of Enya.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of my top 5 CDs of all time
    I was a DJ in high school when I happened upon a used cassette of Watermark. I remember picking it up and thinking "oh, this is that singer who has that strange song Orinoco Flow out on the radio." I had only heard Orinoco Flow a few times, but it was getting tons of airplay. I decided to pick it up (even though my tastes in music were totally inapposite to Enya's style). I took the tape home--and I swear--I had to sit down because I was so overwhelmed by what I was hearing. I recall thinking "this is the single most beautiful voice I've ever heard in my life." From that point on, my taste in music changed dramatically. Funny that it all started with ENYA. I played the album for my parents and my siblings and they were equally stunned by its beauty.

    Watermark's production is immaculate and showcases Enya at her best (although I like everything she's done). I am amused by the bone-head comments made by Enya-haters who say "this music is sooo boring," or "it is so pretentious." It's like hearing a deaf mute gripe that Mozart's Requiem is dull or self-important. SHUT UP, BE SILENT, and take your tone-deaf selves to the local ska shop! Enya's music is only dull to individuals who have tin ears or are so musically disinclined that the don't know a whole note from a hole in their heads.

    I also strongly disagree with people who say that Enya's voice is "weak." She sings in a very traditional style (the style is called sean-nos and is exemplified by aspirated/breathy singing). You'll hear no fake SOUL DIVA sliding (a la Mariah Carey or Crustina Aguilera). That's because the Irish have a traditional singing style that is not influenced by the western classical tradition (or any pseudo-gospel/soul style). Enya's range and almost vibrato-less singing is really incredible. I don't think there are many others who can match her purity of tone (maybe Lisa Gerrard who is almost superhuman).

    Anyway, this music changed my entire musical perspective and still moves me to this day. It will always be the most important musical revelation in my life.
    If you don't own it, you need to go drop the $2.99 and pick it up :-) ... Read more

    10. Celtic Woman
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000FC34
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 7323
    Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (4)

    1-0 out of 5 stars buy vol.2
    Few selections good. If you love Loreena McKennitt
    keep buying her work, skip this cd and buy vol.2 of this title.
    Vol. 1 will not keep your ear interested for long.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful voices
    This CD is a beautiful compilation of many of today's contemporary female Celtic artists. Loreena McKennitt singing Annachie Gorden is a perfect example of the beauty that can be found in this edition - almost as beautiful as Mother Eire herself. Marian Bradfield, Melanie O'Reilly and Aine Furey, all contributing tracks show the wide variety of singing styles and popularity of many of the artists including. The songs selected tend to be traditional, but with a new spin such as Rita Connolly singing Ripples in the Rockpools. All of the songs whether traditional or contemporary are all timeless classics.

    3-0 out of 5 stars new celtic woman cd
    I was disappointed with this cd only because I had thought the music would be in a more traditional celtic style. Although the musical and recording quality is quite fine, most of these sections are in a pop/rock or folk sound. The selections that are more traditional celtic sound include only those by McKennitt and Ni Dhomhnaill. If you're looking for a contemporary vocal female sound in general, you will probably like this recording but the composers could be from a number of Western countries besides those of Celtic origin.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great compilation of contemporary celtic music
    This is a terrific album. Some compilation albums can be uneven, this is consistently good. Loreena McKennitt's Anachie Gordon is very good, from one of her earlier albums. I especially like the 4th track, Tonight Is Just For Us. This is a CD I'll listen to a lot.

    I also like the fact that they published the lyrics in the liner notes.

    With the explosion of celtic music, there is a lot available - good, bad, and mediocre, and of course a lot of it depends on personal taste. To gauge similar tastes, I also like Loreena McKennitt, Clannad/Maire Brennan, Sinead O'Connor, the Putamayo Celtic Women of the World 1 (but not 2), and the Women of Heart series. ... Read more

    11. Five Leaves Left
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $11.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000026FOA
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1823
    Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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    Album Description

    Reissue of the late British folk icon's 1969 debut album.Ten tracks. Island. ... Read more

    Reviews (57)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Autumnal Beauty
    Looking for an album to go with your favorite sunset? Nick Drake's debut encapsulates a mood of tragically transient beauty. The acoustic guitar style drifts between folk, country blues and Celtic flavored finger picking (I'm not much of a musician, so that's kind of a guess-ta-mite), with accompanying instruments that are simple and subtle: piano riffs, conga drums, and the occasional bass. On several tracks chamber music string sections and various wind instruments add a surprisingly effective and eerie compliment. Mostly, however, the album's mood and tone is created and sustained by Drake's ethereal voice. Only several notches louder than a whisper, it sounds as if it comes from a half remembered dream or a nineteenth century opium haze. "Three Hours" and "The Cello Song" are particularly haunting. A playful piano part belies the uncomfortable lyrics of "The Man In The Shed" that sting of the depression that would eventually consume him (he committed suicide in 1974). Drake released only three studio albums, his second "Bryter Later" contains a number of good songs, but many of the jazzy arrangements don't work as well. On his third, "Pink Moon", he is alone with his guitar; it's an excellent album, but his vocals take on a harsher more pained edge, which can be a little uncomfortable considering his previously mentioned exit. On "Five Leaves Left" all the elements come together in a gorgeous sonic whorl. Percy Bysshe Shelley would have dug this album.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Time has told me you're a rare, rare find.."
    Whether you know it or not, you've heard Nick Drake before. Maybe it's from his other albums, maybe it's from that VW commercial, maybe it's just the sound of that quiet bleakness we all feel when sadness comes to the door and doesn't want to leave. This music lives with all of us. It exists in quiet lonely nights, chilly autumn evenings, and the muted grey of the world when it's been raining all day. During his too-short musical career, Nick used music to look at those little feelings we all have and give them an exquisitely beautiful voice.

    Ok, fine, I'll start talking like a normal person now. I realize those comments seem a little silly. It's easy enough to describe how this music sounds, but it's not as easy to convey the emotional impact it might have. Everything about this 40-minute jewel is beautifully composed, elegantly performed and topped off with Nick's simple understated lyrics, which read as well as poetry. His voice and guitar (pretty tricky guitar work, too) are backed up by changing accompaniments: some electric guitar and bass at times, some flute, some quiet conga percussion at others, and most often a smooth string section providing just the right bittersweet background. It's quiet folk melancholy with an addicting quality that can't really be explained. Not everything here is quite as sad as "Way to Blue" or the eerily prophetic "Fruit Tree," either. "Saturday Sun" adds some relatively upbeat jazzy piano, although it remains low-key to the end. "Time Has Told Me" is uplifting in its timeless simplicity. "Man in a Shed" is a wistful boy-girl tune, but the theme is as un-cliched and downright humble as I've ever heard it.

    Five Leaves Left was Nick's first album, and overall the most realized - he took over a year putting it together after all. If you don't like the sound of strings and flutes you'll probably want to hear the later Pink Moon instead, which is basically just Nick and his guitar. Either way, just make sure you check him out somehow. Any Drake offering is a treasure not to be missed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars boy this guy could write a song
    A lot has been said about Nick Drake. I recall a Rolling Stone quote calling him "The saddest songwriter ever" or something to that effect. I think the fact that he died so young, possibly by suicide, tends to make people comment on how sad he was and how dark his music is. Well, some of his music may be dark, like Three Hours or Black Eyed Dog, but much of it is light. So don't expect this to be a depressing album.

    With that said, this is an incredible album, although I feel it pales slightly in comparison to Pink Moon. While some people have said the strings hurt the album, I have a feeling they are only looking for a guitar shred-fest. While Drake was an excellent guitarist, his music was not based on technique and thank God for that. Most of his best stuff (on Pink Moon) was a lot simpler, guitar-wise. I for one think that the string arrangements really help some of the songs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The words perfect, beauty, and sadness weaved into song.
    This is one of three albums by the best musician, in my opinion, to ever step within this world of confusion, rushing, and absence of relaxation. Nick Drake may have made this album in the 1960's but the sounds have not aged at all, and will remain forever in my mind as the most beautiful songs ever recorded. This would go perfect for sitting alone at night, relaxing in light afternoon sun, or watching the hazy colors of a sunset replaced by the black calm of night. Get this CD, my friend, you will not regret it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars First of too few leaves... the book of Nick Drake, "Five Leaves Left" is one of two fairly lush (by folk standards) records he committed to the listening public - such as it was, for him, at the time - before (as legend has it) mounting depression over his lack of commercial success played its role in the creation of the bare-bones guitar beauty "Pink Moon," his final record before dying of an overdose of antidepressants in 1974 at age 26.

    My first Drake record was "Pink Moon." Within a few days, and about 35 listens, I'd rushed back to the store to liberate this record, "Bryter Later," and the just-released "Made to Love Magic." Such is the power of Drake's melancholy grip on the dynamics of wispy voice, intricate guitar, wrenching lyric and mood-perfect accompaniment. I'm still listening - I've heard every record at least twice - but the jury is no longer is out in my mind: the world overlooked a genius here, just as he predicted it would in this record's second-to-last cut, "Fruit Tree." He wasn't, one thinks, singing of himself, although he did that almost too well. But he might as well have been: "Safe in your place deep in the earth/That's when they'll know what you're truly worth.../They'll all know/That you were here when you're gone".

    "Five Leaves Left" has painful, hopeful, joyful (too few), and despairing bolts like this all through it. "Time Has Told Me," the opener, celebrates a great love while already lamenting its future loss, Drake's and Richard Thompson's guitars weaving a beautiful country atmosphere: "Time has told me/Not to ask for more/For someday our ocean/will find its shore." The second song, "River Man," is apparently overproduced for many, but I found the background strings but a natural extension of the emotional strain Drake's voice always seems just too slight to hold. It's too easy to confuse his vocal treatments with lack of emotional commitment, I guess; it's the only way I can explain the rare such accusation I've heard. I simply consider it the best voice at conveying soul-empty ache bound up with wonder that I ever heard on a record. At the end of "Cello Song," he does an almost-perfect vocal duet with the title instrument, such that I at first couldn't tell one from the other. I could go on; you could read most of the rest of the day. I haven't come up with favorites yet. I thought I was about to, then every one I didn't get on first listen suddenly started striking home. Nick Drake is like that, at least he is when you didn't fall in love with the song on first listen. Which seems to happen less than half the time. Given that I'd consider this far from "easy" listening, that's nothing short of remarkable. His stuff draws you in; it seems to fit the mood. Play this record, wherever you are, and it will work to draw out the best - and the most beautifully painful - of wherever you are and whatever you are doing. I don't tear up often when listening to music. I am happy, really, to say that Nick is making this a rather common occurrence. The pain you hear in his records, you've felt many, many times. It just never had a soundtrack before.

    You just have to hear it. You just have to hear this record, the next and last two he made - in short, all the Drake you can lay your hands on. (There's so little that your excuse just got eliminated.) I don't think anyone came closer to creating a complete record collection with so few albums. Nick Drake is that good. ... Read more

    12. Shepherd Moons
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000002LRT
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1057
    Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

    The success of her first international hit, Watermark, confirmedEnya as less a singer or songwriter than a sonic architect: working withproducer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan, the classically-trainedpianist built vaulting cathedrals of sound, framed by luminous piano, shimmeringsynthesizer orchestrations, and, above all, the seemingly infinite layers ofvocal harmonies she plied on every song. The deeply romantic Celtic pop on its1991 successor, Shepherd Moons, sustains the same spectrum of hushedreverie and surging, rhapsodic releases, as well as its mix of ballads, floatingmidtempo pieces, and forays into Celtic and Latin--and it's every bit asseductive.The terminally hip will sneer, but it's no accident that"Caribbean Blue," the best known song here, managed to sneak ontomodern rock, top 40, "adult alternative" and public radio playlists.--Sam Sutherland ... Read more

    Reviews (120)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Music As Always, But...
    I've been a great fan of Enya for the past few years and it was only recently that I came across this album of hers produced in 1991 (shame on me!). As always, she's a great musician and vocalist and captures wonderfully a night under Shepard Moons. However, you kinda get bored of the whole CD after a while - not all of them really capture your attention, like tunes from her later albums and '88 tour de force "Watermark". Still, most of the songs are truly magnificant. If you get this CD, listen out for "Ebudae", "Marble Halls", "Carribean Blue", "Afer Ventus" and, especially, "Smaointe". It took her great effort to write this 6-minute song of hers (it's her longest song yet!), and great skill, for its ambience surprisingly carries you through the song rather well! Yup, definitely worth looking out for nonetheless - if you're an avid Enya fan, buy this CD still. But if you've never heard her music, this wouldn't give you a very good initial impression of her; try her other records like "Watermark", "The Celts (a must-hear)" or "The Memory of Trees". Once you think you're prepared for the power of her true music, GRAB, BEG OR STEAL "Paint the Sky with Stars"! Enjoy!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Music As Always, But...
    I've been a great fan of Enya for the past few years and it was only recently that I came across this album of hers produced in 1991 (shame on me!). As always, she's a great musician and vocalist and captures wonderfully a night under Shepard Moons. However, you kinda get bored of the whole CD after a while - not all of them really capture your attention, like tunes from her later albums and '88 tour de force "Watermark". Still, most of the songs are truly magnificant. If you get this CD, listen out for "Ebudae", "Marble Halls", "Carribean Blue", "Afer Ventus" and, especially, "Smaointe". It took her great effort to write this 6-minute song of hers (it's her longest song yet!), and great skill, for its ambience surprisingly carries you through the song rather well! Yup, definitely worth looking out for nonetheless - if you're an avid Enya fan, buy this CD still. But if you've never heard her music, this wouldn't give you a very good initial impression of her; try her other records like "Watermark", "The Celts (a must-hear)" or "The Memory of Trees". Once you think you're prepared for the power of her true music, GRAB, BEG OR STEAL "Paint the Sky with Stars"! Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Music from Above
    When I first heard her first single "Orinocho Flow", I wasn't crazy about the song, and am still not. But over a decade later I borrowed several Enya CD's from a friend and was blown away. The most emotional and beautiful track on this CD is "Evacuee".

    Though not every track is equal to the next, many of her songs are incredible, on this CD and her others...they touch your soul like no other songs can. If Heaven has music, then this would be it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another World
    Shepherd Moons is unlike any other Enya CD. It plays songs to make you feel as if you are in another world. This easy listening CD includes 12 amazingly done songs. Only four of them are instrumental; Shepherd Moon, No Holly for Miss Quin, Lorthlorien, and Afer Ventus. The other 8 include the voice of Enya with lyrics. Instruments used are like no other. I find myself either just enjoying the instrumental pieces, or singing along. This CD also includes the song included in the credits of the movie, "Far and Away" with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. This song is called, Book of Days is track number 7.

    Overall, this is a must buy! If you're looking for music to sing along to, easy listening, or some New Age music this one should definitely be considered. If you are an Enya fan and prefer her instrumental music instead of lyrical music, The Celts by Enya is the one to go with. But if you are looking for the majority of the music to be lyrical with that fantasy feel, look no further!

    Lyrics from Track # 2: Caribbean Blue

    So the world goes round and round,
    With all you ever knew,
    They say the sky, high above
    Is Caribbean Blue

    If every man says all he can
    If every man is true
    Do I believe, the sky above
    Is Caribbean Blue?

    If all you told was turned to gold
    If all you dreamed was new
    Imagine sky, high above
    In Caribbean Blue

    This song is an example of her starry and earthy themes to her music, particularly to this CD. It is melodic and poetic. Another addition to this CD is the song, "How Can I Keep from Singing" track number 3. This is an old Quaker Hymn, sometimes song even in church, but Enya sings it with her own unique style. I think the song in itself is appropriate for this CD.

    Everything is simply amazing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the celtic beauty
    i have had this cd since it came out, before enya was known. it is still one of my favorites along with "Watermark".talent rules and endures. ... Read more

    13. Songs from a Secret Garden
    list price: $16.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000001GBJ
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1614
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Picture a square with Clannad, pianist David Lanz, Mannheim Steamroller, and the musicians of Riverdance at its corners. Somewhere within those stylistic borders you will encounter the European duo Secret Garden. The popular twosome--Irish violinist Fionnuala (fi-NOO-la) Sherry and Norwegian pianist/keyboardist Rolf Lovland--have attracted a sizable following with their heart-touching specialty: a wistful, violin-rooted, pop-folk-classical melange that often strikes the ear as a film score in search of some delicate romantic tale. Songs from a Secret Garden is the duo's debut recording from 1995, and it principally offers a series of pensive dialogues between Sherry's stately violin and Lovland's subdued piano, yielding equal measures of sweetness and melancholy. Whistles, pipes, percussion, strings, and ethereal voices serve as embellishments. At times you may sense you're being serenaded by strolling musicians with a heavy sentimental streak; at other times you may feel genuinely moved--perhaps by something as lovely as the reverential "Sigma" and its sublime, Gregorian-like choral passages. Only one uptempo tune, "The Rap," surfaces here; a few others would have been welcomed. And yes, this is the disc where you will find "Heartstrings," the composition that once smote Barbra Streisand's heart. She eventually acquired the rights to the piece, inserted lyrics, renamed it "I've Dreamed of You" (found on A Love Like Ours), and sang it to James Brolin during the couple's 1998 wedding.--Terry Wood ... Read more

    Reviews (125)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A relaxing, soulful journey through your own secret garden..
    I first heard "Songs from a Secret Garden" playing in a music store eight years ago, and I was entranced from the very first note. The music was a blend of classical, Celtic and Norwegian, a stunning combination of piano, violin, orchestra and voice. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard before: deeply moving, relaxing, meditative, a journey to a secret garden, perfect music for reflection on a rainy day.

    Secret Garden is made up of Norwegian composer Rolf Lovland on piano and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry. They have since released four other CDs: "White Stones," "Dawn of a New Century," "Dreamcatcher" (a best-of compilation taken from the first three releases), and "Once in a Red Moon," but for me "Songs from a Secret Garden" remains their masterpiece. It is by turns gentle, romantic, melancholy, playful and joyous. There is a Celtic element on some of the songs ("Sigma," with an Irish-language chorus and a boy soprano, "The Rap,"), but it is not as marked as their later releases, which to me sound like Riverdance imitations and have lost all of the "Secret Garden" magic for me. "Nocturne" features the stunning vocals of Gunnhild Tvinnereim, and this was the song that first catapulted Secret Garden to fame (it won the 1995 Eurovision song contest for Norway). My other favourite songs from the collection are "Songs from a Secret Garden" and "Sigma."

    (I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of the sheet music to "Songs from a Secret Garden" and I play selections from it every day. The foreword is in English and Norwegian, and there are additional notes by Rolf regarding performance tips and inspirations behind the songs. If you play piano, this is a worthy investment for a Secret Garden fan. The collection features all thirteen songs from "Songs from a Secret Garden" and is available at their official website at

    This is still a very popular album even though it was released in 1994: it is one of BMG Music Club's top-selling classical CDs, Barbara Streisand did a cover of "Heartstrings" for her wedding, adding lyrics and renaming it "I've Dreamed of You," and some of my favourite places in Québec City use "Songs from a Secret Garden" as background music (Aux Anciens Canadiens, 34 Rue Saint-Louis, Domaine Steinbach, 2205, chemin Royal
    Saint-Pierre de l'Île d'Orléans).

    This is the only CD I reach for after a long day. The stress just melts away and my spirits are lifted instantly. "Songs from a Secret Garden" is perfect for anyone seeking a quiet moment in their lives, a moment to reflect, dream, love, and explore their own secret garden.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One word: Beautiful
    I first heard of Secret Garden when I tuned into the New Age station on the TV, and fell in love instantly with their music and went out to buy one of their CDs.

    Songs From a Secret Garden will enchant your soul and mystify your mind with the awesome collection of touching and beautiful songs. The overall of the CD is very mournful, almost, but gives your heart something to think about. 'Ode to Simplicity' is my favorite song on the album; I could not stop listening to it. The other songs on this CD are wonderful to listen to as well, especially 'Nocturne' and track 7. (the title slips my mind at this moment.)

    If you like to listen to Enya's music then you will definitely like this group. New Age fans will adore this CD and this group.

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's no "Secret" that this is a wonderful album.
    Most may call this new age, but celtic and even classical might apply too. It reminds me alot of Loreena McKennitts "Book Of Secrets", and also a little of "Enya/Clannad". Some tracks are instrumentals, and those that are not include the most angelic vocals. "Fionnuala Sherry" also plays violin just as well as she sings. Overall it's a very peaceful release from "Secret Garden", and a perfect album to end your day with, or maybe even start it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thanks For The Introduction To Mehdi
    I've always enjoyed Secret Garden and this album is no exception, but while reading some of the customer recommendations posted on this page I discovered an artist by the name of Mehdi (pronounced meddie). After some investigation I found his site (SoothingMusic.Com) and listened to the samples...I also downloaded some of the free MP3 downloads that are available on
    I was instantly blown away by the quality of this music and so I gave it a try and now that I have listened to his CDs several times I really must say that although I'm still a Secret Garden fan I find Mehdi to be a tad more interesting. I have them both in my multi-disc CD player and love the way they compliment each other. I highly recommend that you give this artist a try or atleast just go listen to the samples, I have a feeling you'll be glad you did.

    5-0 out of 5 stars MidWest Review
    I was given this CD as gift and I shall be eternally grateful.
    Never have I been so spellbound with music before as I was upon hearing the beautiful music and voice that burst forth from my player.
    Each song filled my home with peace and unseen beauty, almost as if each note played had a life of its own. Mysterious, yet peaceful I sat and let this wonderous music sooth my soul.
    Highly recommended. ... Read more

    14. Live from Branson
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0007TV60M
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 6288
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Performance
    I am a great fan of Daniel O'Donnell, having collected all of his CDs and DVDs, but this performance at Branson would now be the number 1 of my collection. His uncomplicated style and rendition of some old evergreens makes for wonderful listening and enjoyment. I also want to thank DPTV Media for its initiative in releasing both the DVD of the concert and the CDs. Now I can listen to Daniel not only in the comfort of my lounge at home but also in the car on the road. I hope that there will be further DVD releases of Daniel's USA concerts.

    IT'S A HAFTA HAVE!!! ... Read more

    15. Mermaid Avenue
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000007NC0
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1014
    Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan's Best of 1998

    A ghost, a band, a troubadour. Easily the strangest co-op project ever, and easily one of the finest and most evocative albums of the year. British socialist and folkie Billy Bragg was given unprecedented access to Woody Guthrie's unrecorded lyrics. Teaming up with alt-country band Wilco and quoting from more than 50 years of country, folk, and rock music, Billy and company bring Guthrie's politics, poetry, and morality to the end of the century and prove he's as necessary now as ever. --Tod Nelson ... Read more

    Reviews (119)

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'd buy 10 cds to find this one.
    I'd buy 10 cds to find this one! Billy Bragg and Wilco have created the feeling that Woody Guthrie is alive and well and enjoying a little rock and roll. Their use of Woody's lyrics with original music is still true to an evolving Woody if there could be one. The music grabs you emotionally, hard and holds you through each cut. It's riveting. The range is amazing from Woody in love with living cuts such as "Walt Whitman's Niece" to serious political tunes like "Eisler on the Go" that focus on the witch hunts of the '40s and '50s in a very human way. And then there's what could have been a children's song--"Hoodoo Voodoo." Who else but Billy Bragg with help from Nora Guthrie could have done this? The album is a real album. It's all there. You can feel Guthrie writing 1000 songs in twenty years and then spending the next twenty years trapped in a deteriorating body in a state hospital. Sadness but not desperation, Guthrie never gives! up. Bragg extends Woody's contribution by pulling music from the lyrics, many of them written after Woody realized he faced a horrifying disease. Whatever else you do, listen to Mermaid Avenue and love it!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Do you know how hard it is to JUST ADD LYRICS to music?
    Especially if those lyrics are over 50 years old, practically poetry, and created by a master songwriter? Or put another way, imagine someone handing you the lyrics to a tune from "Nebraska" and saying, "OK, now just sing it real good." JESIS, I don't think so. And if that doesn't put this stellar effort by Bragg and Wilco into perspective, what more can I tell ya? [Eh, keep yer shorts on, there'll be another 3rd Blind Biscuit Korn Hole album out 'terrectly.] So i'm amazed they pulled it off? And with such interesting results -- there really is something here for all kinds of tastes: from the breadth of musical influences displayed [a bit of Dylan, Lennon, Garcia, the Band, it could on and on] to the lyrical content [from the personal to the political].

    Essential? You'd have to agree.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Remember; this is not Woody's music.
    This cd at least makes me wonder how Woody would've done it. I think the vocals would be edgier, and clearer,easier to understand and remember, even after one listening, as I can when listening to actual Guthrie recordings. Perhaps some of the sappier melodies here might have been a little harder, a little more manly, for lack of a better term. As for the choice of Bragg; I'd sooner have some digitalizing freak collect all of the appropriate Woody syllables, and put them back together into the 'new' material. Second choice, Dylan. Third choice, somebody who's not Billy Bragg.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars.... Masterful Mix of Guthrie Lyrics and New Music
    Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter, thought it might be fun to have new music set to Woody's "lost songs" (lyrics to which Woody had music set in his head, but he never published the music). Billy Bragg and Wilco may make a curious, or at least not a very obvious, choice for the task, but boy, are they up for it!

    "Mermaid Avenue" (15 tracks, 49 min.) is a true collaboration between the artists. Some songs find Wilco's Jeff Tweedy at lead vocal, Bragg on others. Music on some tracks is written by Bragg, others by Tweedy/Bennett, yet others by Bragg/Wilco. While I'm a huge Wilco fan, I must admit that the Bragg-written songs are more coherent within the Guthrie legacy. Check out for example the sparse "Eisler On the Go", and "Another Man's Done Done" (with Tweedy on lead vocal). The best is "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" (with Natalie Merchant on back vocals). Natalie also sings lead on "Birds and Ships". (So you really shouldn't be surprised by Natalie's fab collection of folk tunes "The House Carpenter's Daugther", issued independently last year).

    In all, this is a terrific collection, which deservedly received a second volume as well. Recommended for fans of Billy Bragg, Wilco, Woddy Guthrie, and of course Bob Dylan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'll try to be brief, for a change
    . . . If you are a Wilco fan and you don't have this album (and Vol. II), you should feel very silly, and buy this right now. It is absolutely sublime. ... Read more

    16. Donovan's Greatest Hits
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00000ICNY
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2747
    Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Greatest Hits is the budget option for those who've concluded that two discs of Donovan is a disc too many and zero is one too few. Troubadour, Sony's 1992 Donovan box set, boasts nearly three times the tracks this 15-song single-disc retrospective offers, but Greatest Hits delivers what it promises: "Colours" and "Catch the Wind" from his folkie phase and "Mellow Yellow," "Sunshine Superman," and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" from the lad's best-pal-a-flower-ever-had period. Also included are plenty more catchy folk-rock hits cut between 1964 and 1970 as well as four bonus tracks, including the delightfully earnest "Atlantis" and "Barabajagal," with the celebrated first-edition Jeff Beck Group providing backing. Donovan's blissed-out liner notes ("Whatever you think this song is about, it probably is") round out the package quite quaintly. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    4-0 out of 5 stars 60s Nostalgia In A Cost-Effective Donovan Hits Package
    In his updated liner notes to "Epistle To Dippy," Donovan writes, "Whatever you think this song is about, it probably is." Amid the flowery, quasi-mystical prose which decorated his songs and liner notes, it was a moment of clear truth.

    It could also apply to the rest of the set, which joins catchy pop melodies to World Music rhythms breaded in organic, cerebral myths and ideology. Many keep their freshness: "Sunshine Superman" was recently sampled in a rap song, while "Season Of The Witch" (great line: "Beatniks striking to get rich...") and "Mellow Yellow" retain some self-mocking wit with the second-hand smoke. "Atlantis" and "Barabajagal" remain fun relics.

    But Donovan the hippie troubadour trumps Donovan the folky, earthy poet. "Colors" and "Catch The Wind" (here on their original, Hickory Records singles from 1964) catch Bob Dylan's style but not soul. "To Susan On The West Coast Waiting" (which Donovan describes as "a Dear John letter in reverse") is too pretty and slight to be an effective anti-war song. Yet these, Donovan's other hits here, and his lyrical world-view (which, judging from the liner notes, he still has) are a basic thread of Sixties pop culture. This makes Donovan's music essential to studying that period, and "Greatest Hits" the most cost-effective way to do it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Some Of The 60s Best Songs
    As a completist collector of hit singles from the 1950s and 1960s I must say I was delighted when this "expanded" version of the Epic CD came on the market with the additions of Atlantis, To Susan On The West Coast Waiting, Barabajagal, and Riki Tiki Tavi. That means that the only Donovan hits I still need to find are Universal Soldier [# 53 in 1965], Cella Of The Seals [# 84 in 1971], and I Like You [# 66 in 1973 and his last hit]. Why they didn't bite the bullet and include those three as well and make it an 18-selection CD is beyond me.

    Donovan Leitch of Glasgow was certainly an enigma of sorts when, after emerging as just another Dylan clone in the U.K., he then proceeded to put "flower power" hit after hit on the North American charts at a time when The Stones, Beatles, etc., ruled the airwaves. And, let's be honest, he gave us some of the catchiest tunes of the day, led by Mellow Yellow [later a margarine commercial], Sunshine Superman, and my favourite, Jennifer Juniper.

    His albums were also well-received, particularly 1967's Sunshine Superman, produced by the late Mickie Most and which included such gems as Young Girl Blues and Hampstead Incident. True, he did go a little weird in 1973 with his Cosmic Wheels in which he philosophizes about - among other things - an astronaut's toilet options in The Intergalactive Laxative.

    But we're talking about his hit singles here, and this CD gives you most of them. In lieu of liner notes there is an opening greeting written by Donovan, several photographs of him at various stages of his life, including one in his birthday suit at about age 15 months I'd guess. There is also a complete discography of the contents, each followed by personal notes on the selection in question.

    In bits of trivia, Donovan wrote the score for the 1969 film If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, appeared in The Pied Piper Of Hamlin [1972] and Brother Sun, Sister Moon [1973]. His son Donovan Jr. is an actor as is daughter Ione Skye, who is also married to Adam Horovitz of The Beastie Boys. On Mellow Yellow the whisperer is Paul McCartney, and on the title track from Alice Cooper's 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies, Donovan sang co-lead.

    It became fashionable among the elitists at Rolling Stone Magazine and the like to dismiss Donovan out of hand as "an aberration" - but that was a mistake. There is something of a genius at work here.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not the same
    If this is one of those albums you're looking to upgrade from LP to CD, beware. Though the title, graphics, and song listings are the same as the original LP (except the bonus tracks), three songs are presented in their folksie versions: "Colours", "Catch the wind", and "Lalena". Though you might consider them equally as good as the LP versions, they're not the same.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best music ever
    Donovan makes the best music you will ever hear in your life. Don't be some dome face stupid head and listen to anything other than what Donovan has to say. If there was a church for Donovan, I would be the preacher... but there's not, so I just figured I'd tell a lot of people about it. The first song is good, and the second one is also good. I like all of them actually, and I think you will too. My friend Pete likes them all a lot, and so does my uncle George. Generations are not important when it comes to Donovan. I know a guy who owns a store, and when he plays Donovan in his store... people buy more stuff. It's true. Everyone is into this

    3-0 out of 5 stars donovan greatest hits
    my opinion, i think these recordings were not remastered digitally. you can tell by turning up the volume. destortion sets in. i heard other epic/sony cd's that were digitally done and they sound more cleaner. ... Read more

    17. Burn the Maps
    list price: $13.98
    our price: $13.98
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00079I04C
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 1043
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    On their first studio album in nearly four years, the Frames have opted for a fuller, more adventurous sound than on 2001’s Steve Albini-produced For the Birds, although this placid, smoky-bar ambiance owes more to 'Birds than to 1999’s Dance The Devil. From the opening acoustic strums and lingering background vocals of "Happy" through "Locusts" and its Donovan-does-"Atlantis" vibe, this record teeters on the dark side, rescued by the stirring John Cale inspired string arrangements of violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Most of the Dublin based foursome’s dozen tracks have muted beginnings that swell to intoxicating volumes, as is the band’s trademark, with Glen Hansard’s uninhibited vocals uniformly at ease with the turbulent "Underglass" and the dreamy, windblown "Ship Caught in the Bay" (seemingly written with Astrud Gilberto in mind). It’s an unpredictably bipolar record with plenty of mood swings and emotional shifts that will ultimately leave listeners with feelings of euphoria. --Scott Holter ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Burn The Maps
    Recently voted Best Irish Band in the Meteor Awards, expectations rest heavily on The Frames.Four years after the platinum-selling, For the Birds, Burn The Maps could be the album that propels The Frames to the zenith of their career. It could also mark the site of what might have been.

    Every band has a strong point; be it the gravel of Johnny Cash, the intricacies of Lambchop, or the poetry of Dylan. For the Frames, it's the ability to be aggressively brash one moment and violently quiet the next. Some songs need canyons to breathe, but some sit quietly in the corner of the room. Burn the Maps doesn't start by kicking the door down. Opener, Happy, begins with solitary, gloomy acoustic followed by simple bass and drums. Glen Hansard's boy soprano melody glides over the top. It's very restrained, but with intimations of something more abandoned. The martial rhythms and brutal guitar enter next with single, Finally. Full of conviction and doubt, the vocals break into an anguished cry with the violin circling overhead like a vulture eyeing its prey. This is the Frames we know doing what they do best. In typical fashion, they pull the volume right down for the next track before bursting forth once more.
    The whole record speaks with the melancholy bitterness of a disappointed lover, ricocheting between resentment and regret, love and hate, art and blood. Full of big songs but sung with the conviction they need, the album's centrepiece is Fake, The Frames' answer to Smashing Pumpkins' Today. Soaring riffs merge with infectious melodies to disguise the honest lyrics. The `A' side builds up to this crescendo, with the `B' side coming back down, finishing how it started. Underglass is worth mention for its driving bassline, towering chorus and haunting verse. It's their darkest album to date, but the openness brings a feel of authenticity. If it gets the recognition it deserves, the Frames will be huge.

    Andrew Williamson

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Frames Are The Best
    I have not been so excited about a group since 1971. And never have listened to a CD more times than I've listened to The Frames' Fitzcarraldo.....but then I got that before Burn The Maps.
    There's not a moment of instrumental superflash a la Hendrix, rarely a lyric that astonishes a la Dylan........but no one on the planet sings with more heart than Glen Hansard.....many songs are like an entire play with soft, lulling passages opening into scenes of stormy yelling drama......

    And there's a tightness to this group, whose absolute center is Hansard.......and which has been going in various incarnations since 1990...............and a uniqueness (I loosely think of it as Irish alt-rock-folk)
    to the sound, the tone, the lyric........the blend of it all.........
    I guess the one proviso is that you have to like moody and romantic and rock and lyrical all together. I can't stand overly sentimental stuff, so
    the fact that The Frames can put so much emotion, longing, sorrow,anger, memory into a song without ever being cloying is miraculous.
    Ihave never seen a better concert than The Frames in Portland, Oregon in 2005.........and of perhaps 10,000 CDs I've listened to in my life...........would place Fitzcarraldo and Burn The Maps in the top 1%.........listen to Burn The Maps without expecting anything in particular..........and be ready to go somewhere both strange yet wonderfully familiar
    With most groups, I know where I stand on their music within a few notes of each song, certainly by the time I get thru a CD. The Frames start out with me thinking they're really good, and by the third time thru.......I am sent back decades to the excitement (though quite a different style of music) of being a teen-age fan listening to the Kinks, or Dylan, or Cream.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance
    On a first listen, this album may not grab you by the little fella's, but after 3 rotations you just can't stop listening to it. Every other review told you everything you already need to know-buy it, enjoy it and catch them live! I've been watching them live for 6/7 years, at least 3 times a year and have not become bored yet!

    5-0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful
    The thing about The Frames is that their live performances are so dynamic and engaging that their past recordings have only illustrated a portion of what makes this band so great.Conversely, the band's ethereal melodies and signature shifts in tempo, intensity, and octave lend themselves to the rich layers of a masterfully produced studio recording such as "For The Birds."

    FTB was my introduction to The Frames, and after listening to it regularly for about a month, I found it very appealing but it wasn't quite hooking me.Then I saw them live, and I immediately got it!The Frames' mostly unfamiliar music engaged me live in a way that only my favorites usually can, and the songs I'd come to know off FTB finally came to life in concert.As a result, the music quickly became very familiar with the help of "Set List," the live CD from Dublin.As much as I enjoy listening to this energetic live recording, it admittedly lacks the rich production value of the Frames' studio sound, and it always feels a bit 'thin' to me.

    I continue to see The Frames perform whenever possible, and the live introductions to their newest songs made them familiar by my first listen to "Burn The Maps."I am so happy to say that this CD just hits the nail right on the head!This beautiful collection of songs is about as cathartic as a live Frames show, while offering the moody ambience that we've come to expect from the band's finest studio efforts.This CD is a beautiful adventure, and one worth taking over and over again.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Can You Trust What i Say?
    If there's a Frames' album that deserves to be recognised, it's "Burn the Maps."This album has everything that's current.If you're an indie fan, you should enjoy the grand basslines and the sometimes-soft-somtimes-abrassive vocals of Glen Hansard, that are presented on this album.They sound much more ambisious and sound as though they've expanded their musical vision.

    Check it out; i've learned that no matter how well-written a review, the music must speak for itself to your naked ears. ... Read more

    18. Astral Weeks
    list price: $11.98
    our price: $10.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B000002KAT
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2435
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

    Never mind that Van Morrison is one of the most indelible songwriters of the 20th century--take each album on its own terms. On 1968's seminal Astral Weeks, a twentysomething Van Morrison can be found belting his gospelly, bluesy vocals in just as fine a form as he would be 20 years hence. In the sociopolitical context of the times, the album cried out about such ubiquitous '60s themes as cultural oppression and social upheaval. But it is Morrison's vocal dexterity and passion that maintains such timeless appeal. Take tracks like "Madame George" or "Cyprus Avenue" and you'll find such beautiful mourning, it'll be clear why modern songwriter Sinéad O'Connor once publicly exclaimed: "Van Morrison should be friggin' canonized." --Nick Heil ... Read more

    Reviews (175)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Look at the reviews:
    If popular sentiment means anything to you, 62+ people have written reviews for this CD. They tout it as the greatest, sweetest, best album of all time. My opinion echoes this. I love this album and everything about it. I love the sloppy offbeat harpsichord. I love the fact that "Madame George" is 12 minutes of the same three chords. I love Van's garbled rants of love and life. The album sways from folk to jazz in a seamless Van Morrison style. I have come across people who haven't liked this album or Van Morrison in general. Their reasons are that most of the songs don't have a beat and they can't understand what Van is saying. It's true most songs don't even have percussion and "Beside You" barely holds to any tempo at all. And how many times did you have to listen to Madame George to understand the lyrics? But, the album isn't really about having a great dance beat or easily accessible lyrics. I take this album as a more personal statement. For the most part, it isn't radio friendly. But if your only criteria for a good ablum are dancable beats and catchy generalizations as lyrics, them I wouldn't recommend this album anyway. "Astral Weeks" is timeless. It has a pureness to it that a lot of people have identified with. It is probably one of the most perfect albums ever written because of its rough edges. And to think that it was done in a week...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Childlike Visions Leaping Into View
    This is probably my favorite album of all time. I've listened to it countless times, and it never gets old. Those other reviewers who don't "get it" make a few valid points:

    1) It isn't perfectly played.
    2) The songs aren't polished.
    3) It isn't Van's strongest collection of songs.

    First of all, it isn't necessary for great music to be note-perfect. ASTRAL WEEKS is about the magic of improvisation-- the suspended thrill of playing (and listening) on the cusp of discovery. In that way, the album is a perfect marriage of music and lyrics, as Van bends and twists the language in an effort to TRANSCEND the earthly significance of his words, to conjure a piece of heaven out of the frustration and pain that wracks his existence. Like Ray Charles did 15 years prior, Van fuses gospel and blues, the sacred and the profane.

    For those of you hear only hippy-dippy (...), you're obviously missing the unbearable heartache that haunts these songs. Cypress Avenue deals with unrequited, perhaps forbidden love. Madame George captures the mixture of joy and sadness that comes with lost innocence, getting on "the train" that takes one away from a place of safety and comfort. Ballerina is a burst of effusive passion, but the object of the singer's affection is separate from him, a spectral fantasy that he can only gaze on with paralyzed amazement. Thank god these rough gems weren't polished for radio consumption-- their unique, spontaneous quality would have been ruined.

    I concede that this isn't Van's strongest collection of songs, but it's hard to think of these tracks as "songs" in the conventional sense-- impressionistic sketches, maybe, but they hardly lose any artistic merit because of that. ASTRAL WEEKS is not a jazz album, but it certainly brandishes a jazz mentality-- the triumph of feel over form, emotional release over craftsmanship. If that's not your cup of tea, then proceed directly to MOONDANCE. But if you're searching for a true musical journey-- in the truest sense of the word-- then ASTRAL WEEKS is the apogee.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eternal
    I have only recently got into Van Morrison, I have to say, so this review is coming from a 23 year old from Belfast, who is only beginning to realise the impact Van's music has had. I must also admit that I had a strange bias against Van, for only a few years ago when playing his (and my) hometown he turned his back to the audience for his entire performance... While I was not there, that arrogance and ignorance really put me off the man, and unfortunately, that little portion of his music that I had heard...

    So now, having given this album a chance; my friend recommended it as one of his favourites of all time; I have to admit that, no matter what stories I have heard of this artist, his music is something absolutely eternal and mesmerising.

    From the stunning opening chords to the title track, through the absolutely seminal "Cyprus Avenue", "Madame George", "Ballerina" and "Sweet Thing", I have found an album with such undeniable heart and warmth that I know it will stay with me forever as one of the very few albums to have changed my perception of music.

    Perhaps it is the unbelievable vocal talents of the man, the jazzy and superb musicianship or just maybe the fact that I can (100%) identify with the visions this man is painting through his lyrics... It is not something I have experienced before whereby a lyric such as "Down on Cyprus Avenue" or "Sandy Row" can conjur such vivid and mesmerising images to my mind... I live just 5 minutes from the lovely Cyprus Avenue and I know it well. Thankfully I do not know Sandy Row too well; a scummy, horrible area of Belfast these days, I am proud never to have ventured deep into it. I do also know the house where Van grew up however, my father having taken me and my friends many times passed the house (which is now adorned with a brass plaque with his name) in east Belfast, just around the corner from my own house. It is maybe these insider views of the area I know that Van grew up in that help the pictures become clearler and more poignant... But his voice and passion can never be denied... It is truly something to behold, whether it be the vast epic of "Madame George" or the fiery jazz bombast of "The Way Young Lovers Do", you can never deny this man doesn't hold perhaps the most original, impressive voice in music... ever.

    This album, it must be said, seems (to me at least) to be his absolute masterpiece... Moondance is an album I have always heard since I was growing up... I never listened to it specifically, but it was always on in the kitchen when I was a kid...and, while I have yet to hear much of his later work, it is a journey I am going to fully enjoy and cherish. A man, a genius and an absolute legend. Beautiful album.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Van gets lengthy and ambitious
    All of Van's stuff from this era is brilliant. Astral Weeks is considered to be his masterpiece. It is very good. But, do we really want to hear Van break into one of ethereal chants for five minutes? The songs are great but they suffer from this kind of self indulgence that the other albums don't have. Van' really at his best when he's to the point. He can still manage the whole zen thing if he wants to, just tone it down. "Warm love" is perfect on this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best Van album, so good it's spiritual
    I must admit that I haven't heard every single Van album (I missed hearing alot of his earlier albums), but this is the best I heard--better than Moondance, Wavelength, and all his newer stuff--by far. A few years ago I picked up Astral and Moon at the same time and Moon hardly gets spun.

    There are some quality issues with the recording where some sonic distortion appears, but I never really noticed it after the first listen. I actually kind of like it, it's so unlike today's over-produced stuff. Van went into the studio, laid down the album in 2-3 days, and it was done...and the magic comes through. ... Read more

    19. Franz Ferdinand [US Bonus CD]
    list price: $18.98
    our price: $14.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B0006B29WA
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 5341
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
    I'm not a music expert by any means, but Franz Ferdinand strike me as a cross between The Clash and The Cure, with more modern Interpol-esque elements thrown in.What results is a highly (re)listenable, original, catchy sound that'll satisfy that need to listen to some "Good Stuff".

    A friend of mine suggested I listen to Interpol, so I ordered a couple of their albums off of Amazon and thought they were decent, although it seemed something was missing.Amazon always lists similar artists underneath any given CD, and I saw that Franz Ferdinand was listing.Having never heard of them, I offhandedly read a couple reviews and promptly forgot about them... until a few months later when I saw their CD combined with a bonus CD at a local "City" of the "Circuit" variety during their bi-annual $9.99 CD sale.I picked it up not expecting anything, but I gotta tell you -- I love it!

    The bonus CD is really the deal-maker, with a faster-tempo'd rerecording of This Fire (it's entitled This Fffire on the bonus CD) that's much catchier than the great, original version (it makes me think of "That Thing You Do", which started out as a slow song until Guy sped it up; some songs were born to be fast... "That Thing You Do" and "This Fire" are two of them)."Van Tango" is fun and one of the better songs on the two-CD album, along with "All For You, Sophia", which is currently my favorite Franz Ferdinand Song."Words So Leisured", while not their best work, is interesting as sort of a "respin" of "Darts of Pleasure", track number 8 on the main CD.

    The main album, also, isn't lacking great songs.I've greatly enjoyed "Take Me Out", an instanly recognizable song (after the 45-second introduction), even if you've never heard it before. "This Fire", of course, is excellent, and "Auf Achse" will have you pressing the repeat button a few times.

    The rest of the songs are all good; some may like the others even more than the ones I've suggested, proving that there's something good for everyone here.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Franz Ferdinand is Incredible
    What more can be said about this band than to look at their meteoric rise from obscurity in just one year. This album (along with the bonus CD) are only a hint of things to come. They are truly talented musicians and have incredible presence onstage (I've seen them in Atlanta and Chicago). Yes, their music is very retro but they make it seamlessly their own. It is melodic, danceable, joyful, humorous, intelligent, and literate without pomp or circumstance. Franz Ferdinand, both the band and the album, are incredible.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Best CD of 2004
    Franz Ferdinand's debut cd is one of the best post-punk cds to be released in the last decade, plus its just so damn groovy and catchy as hell!!! My new favourite band!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cute
    I was originally going to give this album four stars, but then I listened to the bonus disc.Believe me, the material on the bonus disc is better than much of the album material.It's less produced and more raw, and gives you a better feel for the actual talents of the band.
    The album itself is a cute and fun collection of some of the best pop music I've heard in a long time.It's got a unique sound, it's got a beat and you can dance to it.Yes, the album does sound like it is one really long song, but it's a good song.
    Stand-out tracks are "Auf Achse", "Darts of Pleasure", "40'" and of course the singles.
    But really, the album doesn't do this band justice.It's good, but the bonus material really makes you believe they're more than just a shallow pop band.And I personally think they are. ... Read more

    20. The Farthest Wave
    list price: $17.98
    our price: $13.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: B00008OE0Z
    Catlog: Music
    Sales Rank: 2314
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    In many ways, Ryan personifies Irish-America, a far-flung tribe who love their country yet were born into what their immigrant forebears perceived as exile. Generations later, they still cherish the music, literature and history of their ancestral homeland. Ryan's eloquent soprano keens and soars as her context shifts between ancient peat fires, long ago Appalachian spring-times and the bittersweet romanticism of a modern singer-songwriter. Her heartbreaking duet with Galway native Sean Keane, "What Will You Do, Love?", describes the plight of a loving couple facing separation. On the final track, she breathes new life into "Home Sweet Home?", a ballad which has long and unfairly been consigned to the chestnut barrel. Accompanied by a parlor piano, squeeze-box and a lonely-sounding whistle, frosted with delicately ironic vocal dissonances, the song speaks eloquently of those who feel displaced, even on their own doorsteps. Producer/fiddler John McCusker and team are perfectly in synch with the bandleader¹s haunting vocals. --Christina Roden ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars SUCH A VOICE
    If there is a more engrossing and beautiful album out this year, I'd be amazed.No naval-gazing song writing, no fascination with unhappiness. Cathie Ryan has an Irish/American voice to die for - perfectly suited for her own lovely compositions and for doing full justice to traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland and England.After two great records as lead singer with Cherish the Ladies, she has just come out with her fourth solo cd.THE FARTHEST WAVE is the second produced by the great John McCusker and both are beautifully buoyed by the many talents of the Rusby clan-John is the husband of the peerless Kate Rusby-and all those at the aptly named Pure Records in Yorkshire.Cathie seems unable to utter anything but the most lovely phrasing when she sings.That would be enough to please any listener.But, here she has forces aplenty assisting her.The guitar work is matchless throughout-especially John Doyle's and Kris Drever's.The multi-instrumental John McCusker brings that beautiful work he's displayed to such great effect on all of Kate Rusby's cds: fiddle, whistles, and cittern.He's also written a great jig and a smashing reel for this collection.Phil Cunningham's accordion has a personality all its own and appears throughout.Backing vocals are splendid-especially Karine Polwart's. The songs are so good that it's difficult to pick favorites-I won't try.Notable, however, is the traditional ROUGH AND ROCKY which Cathie heard originally on Emmylou Harris's great early album, BLUE KENTUCKY GIRL.If you can imagine one of the most beautiful voices in the world singing the following verse from the traditional (and by Dermot Henry), "As the Evening Declines," you may get the idea how great this work is:

    You can have all your gold, the high king of all metals
    With soft talk and kisses we'll never want better
    And the west of a ditch is the best of all settles
    Glory o, glory, glory when the evening declines
    Glory o, glory, glory as the evening declines

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Captivating Experience
    From the extended instrumental introduction to the opening song, "What's Closest to the Heart", to the four-part harmony of the final number, "Home Sweet Home", you will be transported by the music on this CD. While each of her "solo" effort CDs continues to top my list of favorite music, this one is the cream of the crop. As always, her singing is distinctive, and expressive; a perfect fit for each song. The arrangements and instrumental work are flawless. It would be difficult to match the number of "goosebump" moments produced by this album. You may want to listen to this CD in the car on the way to or from work, but you might miss some of the beautiful, intricate instrumentation. You may be tempted to listen to it as background music, but you will miss the touching lyrics. No, the best way to listen to this music is in quiet, with someone you love, and a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and let yourselves be completely taken in by the experience. ... Read more

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