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1. The Best of Van Morrison
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2. Moondance
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3. Astral Weeks
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4. Poetic Champions Compose
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5. Rum Sodomy & the Lash [Bonus
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6. Real World
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7. Something Beautiful
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8. No Guru No Method No Teacher
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9. If I Should Fall from Grace With
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10. Great Big Dvd & CD
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11. Ultimate Collection
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12. Rum Sodomy & the Lash
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13. Down the Road
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14. Red Roses for Me [Bonus Tracks]
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15. Beautiful Vision
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16. Rant and Roar
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17. The Whole of the Moon: The Music
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18. She Who Dwells
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19. If I Should Fall From Grace With
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20. Play It Again Sham

1. 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

2. Moondance
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Asin: B000002KHF
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 492
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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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

3. Astral Weeks
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Asin: B000002KAT
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2435
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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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

4. Poetic Champions Compose
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Asin: B000009DDN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1938
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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If his albums are any indication, Van Morrison seems to have bounced betweenreligions like a demented pinball. Amazingly, for a decade that saw the Belfast enigma explore Christianity and Scientology before returning, on Avalon Sunset, to Christianity, Poetic Champions Compose serves as a reminder that Van managed to even cram in an agnostic phase along the way. With this in mind, a desperately bleak version of the folk standard "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" lacerates the heartstrings. But the album shouldn't be assumed by any means to be a depressing affair. Three saxophone instrumentals, including the Miles Davis-influenced "Spanish Steps," lend a crisp Sunday morning feel to much of the proceedings, while "Queen of the Slipstream" and the live favorite "Did Ye Get Healed" suggest that, however bad the crisis of faith was (and the quite awesome preceding album No Guru, No Method, No Teacher suggests it was pretty bad), here is a man ultimately happy to find redemption in a love song.--Peter Paphides ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ethereal Splendour
This is a most serious work and presents Van Morrison at his introspective best. Album after album, with few exceptions, Van shows that he is one of the most intelligent and deep-thinking singer/songwriters in the business. Poetic Champions Compose is THE cd to pop in when you are in a reflective mood. There is not a weak song on the album. This is not lounge jazz or "soft" jazz. This is blues and jazz for thinking people. My favorites are The Mystery, I Forgot That Love Existed, Give Me My Rapture, and Did Ye Get Healed? The instrumentals are dreamy, the saxophones pouring forth an ethereal splendour. Van Morrison has made so many great albums its impossible to pick a favorite but this mid-period masterpiece surely ranks near the top.

5-0 out of 5 stars Adult jazz and pop music at it's finest !
When it comes to the music of Van Morrison and your a fan of his style, you almost can't go wrong. Alot of people just dont't dig Van's music and it's a shame. I think people don't like it because they are musically limited and frankly Van's style is just too darn urbane for alot of people. But enough of my preaching I don't agree with what alot of critics said about this 1987 release. They said that compared to "No Guru" from the previous year that this was a lackluster effort. Not neseccerily it just depends what style you like. This album has a smooth polished jazz and adult pop sound to it. Let us begin with "Spanish Steps" this saxophone instrumental is a quite dark and brooding opener for a Van album but it is relaxing like the other 2 instrumentals that follow."Next is The Mystery" that has a nice string arrangement it gives the song Van's special celtic touch. Following is Queen of the Slipstream, good song nice complex melody with nice harp and string arrangements. I forgot that love existed is a song that has a " radio friendly " sound to it the way the sax closes the song sounds cool I wish they would have played that part out longer. The only song I don't care for is "Motherless Child" it is just kind of brooding and too long. But Van really shows his talent on "Celtic Exscavation " a great sax instrumentatl" the ending is pretty moving you can even hear Van grunt at the end of it. I think "Someone like You" is my favorite song on the album (very emotional song) guys if this song doesn't turn a woman on I am not sure what music will. Allan Watts Blues is pretty cool it sounds like it also could have snagged some radio play. Give Me My Rapture is a simple but very enjoyable Gospel number that shows another side of the album. " Did Ye get healed " is really cool as well very enjoyable. The instrumental "Allow Me" closes the album and is very good. It either sounds like a slow dance song or a song you get drunk to like the " Leaving Las Vegas" soundtrack. It is so great I can like music even my parents enjoy and this album is an example of that. Definately worth taking a second look at!

4-0 out of 5 stars JAZZY, ATMOSPHERIC MUSIC
The instrumental Spanish Steps is the languid jazzy introduction to this album of understated songs. The album takes it name from a line in Queen Of The Slipstream, a gentle ballad with a haunting melody. I Forgot That Love Existed is another jazzy number with gorgeous instrumental flourishes, whilst Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child has more of a soul or R&B feel in its yearning vocals and has something of the same effect as Blind Faith's Can't Find My Way Home. Celtic Excavation is an ethereal and evocative instrumental with tinkling piano and a lovely lilting flow and Someone Like You is a slow and moving love song. My favourites include the bouncy Alan Watts Blues with its twanging guitar and the rhythmic uptempo Give Me My Rapture, a catchy inspirational song with great organ flourishes. The piece Did Ye Get Healed? has swirling female backing vocals and the album concludes with another jazzy instrumental titled Allow Me. The album is quite cohesive in creating a mood of contented contemplation with Morrison's characteristic spiritual undertone. It is probably not considered to be amongst his greatest work, but still a classic in my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Heard Van
I was a wedding photographer for many years & always tried to keep in touch with the DJ's. If the wedding was with an evangelical couple, this CD was normally played during the reception. This is one of Van's more happier & lighter CD's with love songs galore. Comes right after the more profound "No Guru, No Method, No Teacher" which gives a more quasi-Buddhist/Christian direct mystic appeal. Van Morrison always had the singing voice though very emotional & spiritual, can at times be rather rough & therefore many don't care for his songs. But this CD would be a good starting place to get use to his singing voice & enjoy the many styles & subject matters. Van is in top form with this CD, playing his beloved sax at times with a light jazz feel. Other songs are either R&B or straight ballad music. Try the "Listen to Samples" section, each of the songs are very good, the most famous song from the CD "Someone Like You" is not programmed for you to listen to. I gave this CD a "5" because the whole CD is good all the way through. I like other Van Morison CD's better, but their number would be off the chart.

Van Morrison discs will always retain a professionalism of musicianship and at least one great song. Poetic Champions is one of the latter day Van's best albums because a) he isn't resorting to synthesizers and other "flavor-of-the-week" produciton values that have dated much of his '80s work that would otherwaise be timeless, b) lyrically and musically, he doesn't shy away from sentimentality, but there is a distinct lack of Van's trademark cynicism, and c) it's one of the few examples post-Into theMusic, that Van really does seem to get let the music lead him, rather than the other way around.

The album kicks off with the mellow-jazz lounge instrumental (!) "Spanish Steps". It's followed by one of the BEST all-time devotional songs "The Mystery". Other compositions of romance and renewed faith abound: "Queen of the Slipstream", "I Forgot That Love Existed", "Someone Like You". These songs are all excellent and are unabashed love songs, both joyous and joyful. The other great track here is the cover of the traditional "Motherless Children". Van does a wonderful, inspired reading of this song that has been covered from everyone from Blind Willie Johnson to Eric Clapton.

Of Van's post-1980 work, this and Avalon Sunset are absolute must-owns (Hymns to the Silence and The Healing Game are damn good too). ... Read more

5. Rum Sodomy & the Lash [Bonus Tracks]
list price: $24.49
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Asin: B0006957S0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3367
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Remastered & expanded version of 1985 album includes six bonus tracks, "A Pistol For Paddy Garcia", "London Girl", "Rainy Night In Soho", "Body Of An American", "Planxty Noel Hill", & "The Parting Glass". WSM. 2004. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars best of the Pogues
It doesn't get any better than this. If this album doesn't move you, then you've already been shoved into the ground. Which may not matter, 'cause there's still a drink waiting for you in Shane's world. While If I Should Fall From Grace With God is often hailed as their pinnacle, the raw power of the Pogues and MacGowan is most evident here. Rum Sodomy & the Lash is definitely my favorite, and in my top ten favorite albums ever.

The re-release is great, with the addition of the Poguetry in Motion tracks (and two more), particularly Rainy Night in Soho. (For even more recent Pogues re-releasing, check out Nick Cave's B-Sides and Rarities collection, which features his duet with Shane on "What a Wonderful World," as well as Cave's rendition of "Rainy Night in Soho.") The repackaging is nice, with a booklet containing brief comments by Tom Waits, liner notes, some great photos, and of course complete lyrics for those who have a tough time remembering 'em all. I particularly love MacGowan's substitution of "Spring's a girl from the streets at night" for the printed "Spring's a girl in the street at night."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pogues At Their Best
"Rum, Sodomy and the Lash," is simply put brilliant from "The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn to the Band Played Waltzing Matilda."Elvis Costello was brought on board as the album's producer and gave this release a more polished sound than "Red Roses For Me," without taking away the raw power that made their debut album great.Shane MacGowan was also growing as a songwriter as well, with such beautiful ballads as "A Pair of Brown Eyes and The Old Main Drag," to the drunken rave-ups of "Sally MacLennane".This release was also the beginning of the MacGowan/Finer songwriting team (the new Lennon/McCartney,) with the excellent instrumental "Wild Cats of Kilkenny."Finer would also provide the surreal instrumental of "A Pistol For Paddy Garcia," as well.The Pogues also proved that they had an ear for other people's songs from Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town, Phil Gaston's "Navigator, to the traditional "I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday," sung beautifully by Cait O'Riordan (she would later marry Elvis Costello).Overall, I'm at a cross to decide whether this album, or "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," is the Pogues best album.So, I declare a tie, both of these albums show the band at their most creative peak and utter brilliance.
Now "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" contains the entire "Poguerty In Motion," EP.This release featured three of MacGowan's best penned songs.Starting with "London Girl," which reminds me a bit of the Nips, but with a bouncy accordion."A Rainy Night In Soho," is one of the best ballads Shane has ever written."The Body of an American," returns to the "Irish soul, equipped with swifting uileann pipes."Planxty Noel Hill," is an excellent Jem Finer instrumental.Finally the traditional reworking of "The Parting Glass," is on here as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars How could you not fall in love with this???
A remastered Rum, Sodomy is worth the extra dosh on its own.Throw in the entirety of the long unavailable EP, Poguetry in Motion and you've got a winner.Anyone with an ounce of soul needs this one. ... Read more

6. Real World
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Asin: B00079Z9XC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9878
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Every now and then, a band comes along that exists in multiple dimensions simultaneously. Given the bitter vicissitudes of Irish history and the way it haunts natives and ex-patriots alike, it is not surprising that such ensembles often hail from Ireland. Like many of their forebears and contemporaries (U2, The Pogues, Black 47, Flogging Molly, and especially the Canadian band, Great Big Sea), the Young Dubliners superficially appear to be creatures of the moment but a deeper context emanates from a cultural timeline buried in their DNA. That said, make no mistake: this a rock band, whose tunes range from stadium-friendly extravaganzas to more intimate but equally outspoken pub-sized opuses. Lead singer Keith Roberts' powerhouse vocals front a maelstrom of fiddle vamps, howling guitars and frenzied drums. But even so, the hint of rueful melancholy that lies at the heart of traditional Celtic music survives, transformed yet triumphant. --Christina Roden ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet!
This is the best yet for the Young Dubs."Real World" is an album that soars from the opening fiddle and drum intro all the way through dark guitar riffs of "Confusion".Songs like "Real World", "Touch the Sky", "OK", "Say its So" and "Evermore" signify the ascendency of the Young Dubs to the pinnacle of the Celtic rock genre and their transcendence of it.This is no niche market production, it is straight ahead rocknroll that just happens to use some traditional Celtic tunes and instrumentation.The recording is so tight and so well mixed it actually captures the intensity and energy of their renowned live show which is where the Dubs shine.

Keith Robert's vocals and lyrics are poignant and raucous all at once.Bob Boulding's guitars rip through song after song literally shredding the ears in "OK", a brilliantly written social critique with classic punk rock edge.With each listen I can smell the smoke rising off Chas Waltz's fiddle as he reels off some of the best bow-work ever especially in "Waxies Dargle".The foundation of this album however is what separates it from the pack.Dave Ingraham's drums and Brendan Holmes' bass are solid bedrock and the recording shows-off their thunder.Dave's driving rhythms and Brendan's melodic fretwork ground every track, especially when they put Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull through a workout in "Banshee".

As a body of work this is one of the most emotionally and intellectually mature recordings in the recent history of rocknroll, right up there with U2's "Atomic Bomb", seriously.The tracks on Real World conquer politics, war, grief and relationships with all the passion and enthusiasm of band that is in their prime.If you don't buy this CD you will be missing one rockin good time, so do yourself a favor and check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars I WOULD MARRY IT IF IT WAS LEGAL!

5-0 out of 5 stars Let it wear...
I'll admit that when I first heard many of the songs on "Real World," I was apprehensive. Quite a few were questionable, made more so by the sheer brilliance of the country-influenced "Come Back Home" and the sweet tone of "Please" (how many weddings will that one show up at?). The album is uneven, I'll admit; but it's made uneven precisely because so many of the songs on it are so well-written that they make songs like "Say It's So" and "Happy" seem like poor imitations of the Dubs rather than the real thing.

This was my first impression. Now that I'd had the CD on random play nonstop since getting the last copy at my local store, I'm beginning to see the wisdom of these "lesser" songs. Any band out there - Great Big Sea, Waterboys, even U2 - would be thrilled with this album. If U2 had put this out rather than the two-single potential of "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," it would have rivaled "Joshua Tree." It's *that good.* The technical aspects of each song are a marked improvement over some of the more awkward stylistic elements found in "Red" and to some extent "Alive Alive O'." I'm a sucker for bass, and Bren's bass has never been better - check out the bass lead on the (of course) instrumental "Banshee." And there's a rerecord of an old Dubs favorite called "Confusion." This is the first studio cut of the song, which I always considered to be the Achilles heel of "Alive Alive O'" until I heard what they did to it in the studio. I'm not a fan of heavy production - but in this case the rerecord has made it into a very different song, and moved it into some positive areas quality-wise.

There really isn't a poor song on the record, and my initial misgivings have dissipated with repeated listenings. It was a *good* CD before, but a *great* CD like this one introduces new elements in successive listening; there are certainly things I'm still noticing about a few songs I've heard a million times over the past few months.

I'd give it more of a 4.5 out of 5 if it were an option; this isn't the best Dubs album in my opinion, but the technical elements blow the others to shame. If you're going to wade in slowly, I'd suggest starting with "Please," "Come Back Home," "OK," and "Confusion." It makes a good introduction to the Dubs for anyone coming from a rock background ("Breathe" is better for the more traditional types, but admittedly we are in the minority). ... Read more

7. Something Beautiful
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Asin: B0001GOHN4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3167
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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A Platinum-selling act in their Canadian homeland, Great Big Sea has mined that country's proud Scots/Irish Celtic heritage in a decidedly modern context. Their arrangements are honeycombed with the accordions, bouzoukis, pipes, whistles and fiddles typical of traditional music and nicely handled they are, too. But these come across as afterthoughts amid a powerhouse hit machine featuring robust lead vocals, a booming drum kit, and close-harmony hooks obviously calibrated to induce stadium sing-alongs. The group is a throwback to seventies folk-rockers in that they veer between trad/arr material ("John Barbour") and original tunes ("Helmenthead," which catalogues the conquests of a kiss-and-tell hockey player). In contemporary terms, they occasionally recall singer-songwriter Paul Brady's polished lyrics or the crowd-pleasing barroom roughhousing of Black 47. But ultimately, this is a mainstream band, high-energy and very good at what they do; the question is how they'll play outside their comfort zone. --Christina Roden ... Read more

Reviews (24)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sorry to see less traditional music, BUT....................
the album holds up quite well. Unlike other Great Big Sea albums, there are two or three cuts here that I find myself skipping over, but original songs like "When I Were King", "Beat the Drum", "Shines right through", "Something Beautiful" and "Lucky you, Lucky me" are pretty darned good, and "John Barbour" is so good, it's almost worth picking up the CD just for that. "Helmethead" seemed very Pogues-like, and that's a compliment.

No, it's not "Rant and Roar or "Turn", those are five-star efforts, but this CD is deserving of four stars when put alongside past GBS releases. However, when compared to the usual schtick one finds on the radio dial, it IS a 5-star disc.

As for them selling out, it seems the fella who often fronts many of the traditional sea shanties has left the band and that is perhaps why GBS decided to go with just two traditional tunes. After all these years, what's so bad about them getting a little Bare Naked Ladies-type of recognition? They've earned it and I hope they achieve it.

One more thing, I saw them live for the first time on March 15th and they were spectacular. Anyone worried that the traditionals would take a back seat in their live shows need not worry. The new stuff sounded great also and "Lucky you, Lucky Me" was a perfect ode to the audience in one of their encores.

For fans and GBS and novies alike, I recommend getting this CD and I HIGHLY recommend seeing them live, you won't be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Something close to beautiful
"These days I feel a change/All the patterns rearranged." These lines could easily describe the rocky mainstream path that Canadian Celt-rockers Great Big Sea have followed. In "Something Beautiful," the guys return to the robustly fun acoustic rock that got them to where they were.

Starting off on the right foot is "Shines Right Through Me," followed by rounds of deliciously bouncy rockers like the catchy "When I Am King," the thumping "Beat the Drum," and trite but amusing "Love." But a quieter sensibility shines through in the gentle "Something Beautiful" and sweetly romantic "Summer," and their pub-crawler humor bounces out in the rollicking "Helmethead." The album finishes off on a traditional note with the danceable instrumental "Chafe's Celidh."

Great Big Sea strayed from their old sound in their last release, "Sea of No Cares," going more toward a typical electric-guitar sound than their usual blend of rock and fun Celtic music. Here they're back in fine form, presenting the sort of songs that you'd expect to hear on a Saturday night, as pubcrawlers dance on the tables.

The music is well-rounded, and polished with long experience. The guys effortlessly juggle the guitar, fiddle, accordian, and banjo with slightly more exotic instruments like the bodhran, the bouzouki, the mandola, and little whistles and pipes. It's mostly acoustic, although it is tainted with a few electric riffs and flourishes that sound out of place, like the harder-edged opener of "Shine Right Through Me."

Alan Doyle's voice is a little rough, but full and lively. He can wistfully murmur ballads and roar out hilarious songs about falling in love with all the wrong girls. The songs have their bad moments -- "Love" is effective as an anti-war anthem, except for the "la la la love" part -- but overall they have the same bouncy, vibrant quality as the music itself. "Goodbye! Fare thee well!" the guys roar without an ounce of levity. "Don't ever trust a fella with a helmet on his head." Words to live by.

"Something" isn't entirely beautiful, but it is a solid return to the lovable pub-rock sound that made Great Big Sea so popular in Canada and the U.S. A satisfying dose of Celt-rock.

4-0 out of 5 stars Less Celtic pub, more quirky arena rock
The seventh album from this Newfoundland band, the second for the U.S. based Zoe/Rounder, rocks more heavily than their earlier releases. The songs are still hugely melodic, with well executed harmonies and backing vocals, but the bass and drums exert themselves more fully, and even the singing has some extra punch. The band's Celtic influences often move more to the edges, influencing the melodies and arrangements (such as the rhythmic backing vocal of "Beat the Drum") in more subtle shades.

On the surface, these songs sound like the sort of rousing arena rockers turned out by Bare Naked Ladies and Dave Matthews, but at their core are the sort of progressions brought to rock 'n' roll by Black 47 and The Pogues. The traditional instruments come to the fore now and again, such as for the quick spinning hockey reel, "Helmethead" the sea-faring waltz, "Lucky Me," and the accordion-and-whistle polka, "Chafe's Ceilidh."

Longtime fans will decry the band's growing affinity for the mainstream, manifested most notably in their employ of Bare Naked Ladies producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda to helm these sessions. But they're a really good mainstream band, weaving threads of their native Newfoundland into music whose appeal is broadened without being denuded. These songs may not resound throughout North American pubs, but they'll please mainstream rock fans looking for something with a bit of a twist.

5-0 out of 5 stars Give it a second listen!
I originally rated this one 3/5 and tossed it aside as "Helmethead" and a bunch of non-traditional songs. But after listening to it several more times, I've fallen for this CD and changed my rating to 5/5. It has a great mix of upbeat, happy songs (When I'm King, Beat The Drum, Helmethead) and some great songs that are more mellow (Let It Go and John Barbour are my personal favs). Pick up this CD and listen...and if they're ever within 100 miles of you GO SEE THEM, CDs do not do their music justice!

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome CD!!!!!
This is the only Great Big Sea album that I have right now, but I do plan to get more. I waited a while for this CD, and I got what I wanted. I heard "When I Am King" on the radio a whole bunch and when I listened to that song, I knew I had to get this CD. When I listened to it, I realized none of the songs are as energetic as "When i Am King", but were almost just as good. Here's my song rating (Songs marked with a * were released as a single):

1) Shines Right Through - 5/5
2) When I Am King* - 5/5
3) Beat The Drum - 5/5
4) Somthing Beautiful - 5/5
5) Helmethead - 5/5
6) Summer - 3/5
7) Sally Ann - 5/5
8) Somedays - 4/5
9) Let It Go - 5/5
10) John Barbour - 5/5
11) Lucky Me - 5/5
12) Love - 4/5
13) Chafe's Celidh - 4/5 ... Read more

8. No Guru No Method No Teacher
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Asin: B000009DDM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 27968
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Longtime Van Morrison fans may prefer the Belfast bard's tougher, emphatically R&B-driven work, yet it's his lusher, mid-'80s output that helped him consolidate the scrappy gains made in the prior decades. The once-heightened polarity between the earthy and the ethereal seemed muted on albums that traded in a softer-focus, romantic mysticism mirrored by the expanded scale of Morrison's band and arrangements, and left room for him to dabble in instrumental compositions or his renewed love of sax and piano. No Method, No Guru, No Teacher proves among the more durable, convincing chapters in this era, carrying a now-familiar array of symbolic touchstones (the Celtic legacy of "Tir Na Nog" or an extended instrumental allusion to a hymn set to William Blake's musings on England) and offering two of Morrison's better meditations on redemption, "In the Garden" and "A Town Called Paradise," which echoes the fevered waltz-time trance of "Astral Weeks" itself. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Statement from the Heart and an Absolute Masterpiece.
This is one of Van Morrison's best album's of any phase of his career, period. In the Garden, Tir Na Nog, Foreign Window, and Thanks for the Information are classics of lyric writing with horn arrangements to make you cry. I was lucky enough to see Van Morrison perform the tracks from this album live in Portland, Oregon back in 1986, and he and his band were phenomenal. I wish his later efforts were as brilliant. This is a "must have" disc for any serious follower of Van the Man.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the two masterpieces in Van's middle period.
This album, as the other respondents say, is amazing--transcendental and powerful, one of two masterpieces in Van's middle period (the other being Poetic Champions.) Got to Go Back is as incredibly warm as the song after it; "Highway" one of the most amazing roller coaster rides Van's written; In the Garden sublime; and Tir Na Nog is an astonishing, breathtaking beauty. Tir Na Nog refers to the Irish "Island of Children"--also, the "Island of the Past," the "Island of the Dead"--paradise. Reincarnation takes you there in this spellbinding vision. See Kavanaugh's (two) poems (on his father setting out trees) to catch this breathtaking moment of transcendence. I'm not kidding. Van goes beyond himself in this album.

4-0 out of 5 stars Introspective Musings
This is one of those Van Morrison CDs I've had for a long time, but never took the time to really know until recently. When I finally took it off the shelf to give it some time in the CD player, I found that I like it a lot more than when I first heard it.
Those who are long time Van Morrison fans are well acquainted with his periodic swings into the mystic realm from his rock and r&b roots. No Guru, No Method, No Teacher was issued in the midst of his longest flirtation with and exploration of things spiritual. Though I think Poetic Champions Compose is the finest recorded expression of his spiritual nature, No Guru is not to be overlooked.
Maybe one reason I was not ecstatic when I first listened to it is the rather even though above average quality of the music. There are only a two songs that stand above the others. One is "In The Garden" which presents a very religious and elevated view of love between a man and a woman. The other is Thanks For the Information, a slow and soulful rocker in Van's best tradition.
Hard core Van Morrison fans already own this CD. If you are fairly new to his music and prefer his slow-paced introspective Celtic musings to his more well-known swinging soul and rocking blues tunes, then this is a great album for you. I recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than Excedrin Migraine
This, along with Poetic Champions Compose, paints a picture of such peaceful, spirtual warmth that it can cure a stress headache faster than anything one can buy over the counter. This is from a singer/songwriter that knows exactly where he is going with this album and takes us along with him for the beautiful, joyous ride. Van's spirtuality shines through on this album like the noonday sun breaking completely free of clouds, but is as gently persuasive as an early evening breeze. Van vividly paints scene after scene with his writing, his voice and tremendous musical arrangements. Listen to this while gazing up at the night sky. One of the 100 Greatest Albums on the Ken Carroll Scale.

No Guru No Method No Teacher is an album of gentle ballads and meandering instrumental passages, revealing an understated mood of contentment. Got To Go Back is a mellow musing on childhood over undulating instrumentation, Oh The Warm Feeling reveals Van's trademark spirituality and Foreign Window with its lovely female backing has a dreamy feel. The tempo picks up for the catchy song A Town Called Paradise with its gripping guitar, sax and trumpet, inspiring lyrics and exquisite arrangement. The album title comes from the lyrics of In The Garden, a song with louder and softer sections and prominent rolling piano, whilst Tir Na Nog is a gorgeous Celtic excursion with lush instrumentation and poetic lyrics. Here Comes The Night is a lilting soulful love song whilst Thanks For The Information has a jazzy edge to it and a semi-spoken vocal. One Irish Rover is closer to traditional folk, but still infused with Van's unique sense of the mystical. On this album you won't find Morrison's most passionate or ecstatic moments, but rather a sense of calm and tranquility in the soothing and delectable melodies. ... Read more

9. If I Should Fall from Grace With God [Bonus Tracks]
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Asin: B0006957SA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8867
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Remastered & expanded reissue of 1987 album includes six bonus tracks, 'The Battle March Medley', 'The Irish Rover', 'Mountain Dew', 'Shanne Bradley', 'Sketches Of Spain', & 'South Australia'. WSM. 2004. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars If I Should Fall From Grace With God
This album was first shown to me by my high school band teacher, and thank god he did.He opened my eyes to a totally cool band with probably one of the most revolutionary sounds to ever hit the earth.Traditional sounds with pounding energy and extremely poetic lyrics, MacGowan and the rest of the Pogues deliver a sensational album.I just warn about not playing it in front of little kids, as some of the songs are a little suggestive for their age group.But all that aside, this album is one that shines above many and joins the rank of "CD that never leaves the player."

5-0 out of 5 stars Fun, Rowdy Music
When I first heard this album 17 (!) years ago, I was hooked. If you like rowdy music and dancing, you'll love the Pogues. I finally saw them in 1996 (minus Shane Mc) and it was still the best show I ever saw, though it took me a few days to recover. The title track, Bottle of Smoke, South Australia are great moshing tunes, but some of the most interesting songs for me include the instrumental Metropolitan and Fairytale of New York. I've been listening to this album for almost two decades and have never been bored. Not bad for something I bought totally by accident in 1988!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pogues Strike Gold Again
If "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" confirmed the Pogues as no mere novelty act, than "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," is the triumph that they deserved.Shane MacGowan's writing was now at mythical proportions, with such songs as the title track, "Lullaby of London, Bottle of Smoke, and The Broad Majestic Shannon."Phil Chevron's song "Thousands Are Sailing," about the Irish diaspora, proved that MacGowan wasn't the only talented songwriter in the band.This album also contains the best Christmas song ever, the MacGowan/Finer "Fairytale of New York, featuring the late Kristy MacColl.This release also showed the Pogues expanding their boundaries adding jazz ("Metropolis") Spanish flamenco ("Fiesta") and Middle Eastern tunes ("Turkish Song of the Damned") into their rollicking Irish set."Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" showed MacGowan tackling political issues for the first time, and if you want to see the Pogues tear through some numbers than "Sit Down By the Fire, and Medley" find them doing just that.Overall, "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," is a brilliant democratically written album from a band at their most creative peak.
The new remastered version contains the Terry Woods instrumental "The Battle March Medley, and the traditional "South Australia."The Pogues and Dubliners duets on the "Irish Rover and Rare Ol' Mountain Dew" are on here as well.Shanne Bradley, a beautiful instrumental by Shane MacGowan, and Jem Finer's "Sketches of Spain," round off the bonus tracks. ... Read more

10. Great Big Dvd & CD
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Asin: B0002Y4SUM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5240
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11. Ultimate Collection
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Asin: B0007U8XHU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22365
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Album Details

Digitally Remastered Double CD Set Brings You the Best of the Pogues in the Studio and on the Stage. One Disc features Classic Hits from their Highly Popular Studio Albums, the Other Showcases the Musical Mayhem that is the Pogues Live in Concert. The Live Album was Recorded at Brixton Academy During the 2001 UK Tour, One of their Most Successful to Date. Featured Songs Include: "Irish Rover", a Raucous Collaboration with the Dubliners and the Band's First UK Top 10 Hit; The Punk Flamenco Anthem "Fiesta" and the Band's Unique Rendition of Ewan Maccoll's Ode to Urban Decay, "Dirty Old Town". The Jewel in this Crown is "Fairytale of New York", the Now Perennial Christmas Classic that features the Late, Great Kirsty Maccoll (Daughter of Ewan Maccoll) in Duet with Shane Macgowan. The Pogues Created a Distinctive Musical Style Filled with Witty Lyrical Genius (Courtesy of Frontman Shane Macgowan) and Incredible Melodies that Create their Memorable and Unique Sound. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars brings it all back
This is a fabulous offering. The compilation cd is a good place to start if you are new to their music but the real gem is the live cd contained in this package which brings all the atmosphere of their shows straight back. I worked front-stage at some of their gigs in Leeds (UK) in the eighties.If you remember them from then, this is an essential cd for you. The frenzied music,the heat coming off the crushed audience and the stench of sweat.Shane barely able to stand as he drinks and drinks and growls out his wonderful songs.The front rows of the audience 'Shane Shane - give us a drink !!'singing their hearts out to every tune.Most of the classics are on the live cd. 'Rainy night in Soho','Streams of Whiskey' and 'If..' stand out for me.Play it loud and have your spirits lifted every time you hear it.Absolutely brilliant.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful..and..Haunting....
I'm new to the Pogues but bought this CD after reading reviews on Amazon and Band biographies on other sites.I'm not disapointed.Shane is a tormented soul but obviously a highly talented singer and songwriter.This is Celtic music with an edge...lovely and razor sharp all at it and enjoy over a dirty pint of Guinness and a sip of Bushmill's.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pogues Ulitmate Collection, I'll Drink To That!!!!
Although there have been many "best of" compilation albums by the seminal Irish-folk punk rock band, this one by far is the most important and exciting one.The first disc, showcases the brilliant songwriting of Shane MacGowan, however, all of this material is found on other Pogues "best of" albums, not to mention their original albums.The compilation album features classic cuts from the Pogues brilliant first three albums, (Red Roses For Me, Rum Sodomy and the Lash, and If I Should Fall From Grace With God,) up to their very good follow-up albums (Peace and Love and Hell's Ditch.) There even is a post-Shane song on this first disc as well.But as before, all of this material can be found on other mediums.
The best feature of this new compilation album, is the bonus live CD of the Pogues in 2001, at London's Brixton Academy.This live album showcases the amazing energy that made the Pogues such an exciting live act in the first place, even Shane seems up to task as well.When listening to this CD, I felt that I was actually there, man what a feeling!!!!!
All in all a very good album, hopefully a new live CD will eventually be produced covering the Pogues 2004 reunion tour.But for right now, grab a Guinness, and drink up lads, its the best of the Pogues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Live Disk Makes Hits Collection A "Must Buy"
While the material on Disk 1 of this two disk set is really just a digitially remastered recycling of pre-released material (and incidentally about the 4th Pogues greatest hits album released), Disk 2, a live CD recorded at the Pogues Reunion Show in 2001, is simply unbelievable.

"Unbelievable" for a number of reasons.First, the sound quality is fantastic, which is not the case for most of the Pogues live recordings issued as bootlegs, etc.Second, Shane MacGowan sounds MUCH more coherent than he has recently on his live solo album ("Across The Broad Atlantic"), or even on his studio albums ("The Snake" & "The Crock of Gold").It is still the MacGowan sound that makes you wish that you were as drunk as he is, but the lyrics are decypherable.Finally, the song selection is great, including such post-Shane songs as "Tuesday Morning" (written and sung by Spider Stacy).

All in all, a great album, which is a "must" for Pogues fans and a fun, enjoyable listen for new Pogues listeners.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bury me at sea where no murdered ghost can haunt me.....
While no CD can truly capture the energy and excitement of a Pogues show, this is the next best thing.Sure, Shane's voice isn't what it once was, but God bless him, he still delivers.The rest of the band is in top form. Of special note is the one and only James Fearnley.I don't think any other band has more "best of" collections than the Pogues, but don't hold it against the boys. Any long time Pogues fan only wants the live CD, which rumor has it will be released on it's own at a later date. Everything on the first CD has been released several times, nothing new here. This would be a fantastic introduction to anyone new to the band. These are songs that will live forever from one of the best bands in history.

May the ghosts that howled
Round the house at night
Never keep you from your sleep-
May they all sleep tight
Down in hell tonight
Or where ever they may be... ... Read more

12. Rum Sodomy & the Lash
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Asin: B000005S6C
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3324
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Produced by Elvis Costello, the Pogues' second album brilliantly courted Irish drinking music with the thornier aspects of punk. Cait O' Riordan would eventually marry the producer and leave the band, but Shane MacGowan always made it his show and here he exploits his barfly voice to full effect. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" is worthy of Tom Waits, while "A Pair of Brown Eyes" is as sentimental as he gets. The addition of Uillean pipes, fiddle, and horns make this a grand statement about how all music can be filtered down to blood and guts and made to rock. --Rob O'Connor ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
I'll try not to re-hash the other reviews.

If I had to describe this album in one word, it would be "depth." The only thing "punk-ish" on "Rum, Sodomy" is attitude, and even that is a stretch. While the Pogues' preceding and following albums feature more riotous songs, about half of this album are slow ballads/dirges. Fine by me-- the slower numbers really reveal the infinite beauty and majesty of the Pogues' music, both lyrically and sonically. While all of the slow songs are great, the pinacle has got to be A Pair Of Brown Eyes, which is to emotion what the Parthenon is to architecture. But "Rum, Sodomy" is most definitely not a one-hit wonder. And don't worry-- there are enough raucous bone-crunchers in here too.

Some fans might dislike this album for its less polished feel, as opposed to later Pogues albums. But anyone who prefers "Peace & Love," "Hell's Ditch" (decent albums) and "Pogue Mahone" to this album most likely prefer White Snake to Led Zeppelin, John Mayer to Bob Dylan, and N'Sync to Simon and Garfunkel... ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.

If any one album totally encapsulates the Pogues, this is definitely it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Drink to Shane's masterpiece!
Too often, If I should Fall from Grace With God is at the top of many lists of Pogues fans, but their real masterpiece has to be their prior album, an album with a good mix of traditional Irish songs with a dose of the Pogues passion for punk, and some of Shane Macgowan's best originals.

Of Shane's original songs, The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn is a great opener, with the lyrics of a drunken Irishman (like Shane)and raw punk power. Shane gives one of his best vocal performances, speeding his vocal through such lines "And in the Euston Tavern/you screamed it was your shout/but they wouldn't give you service/so you kicked the windows out/they took you out into the street/and kicked you in the brains/so you walked back in through a bolted door and did it all again." Shane tells tales like a classic Irishman, but with the zest of punk rebel.

But the Pogues can be sad, as they weave their way through Shane's "Pair of Brown Eye's" or add spice to Eric Bogle's wartime tale "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" where Shane tells the tale with such sincerity that he presents himself as the showman no one ever believed Shane could be with his reputation.

The Pogues have fun on a couple of songs too. Particularly joyful is the rendition of "The Gentleman Soldier," which with the Pogues having as much fun as they are, sounds more like a Monty Python skit in the making than a tradition Irish song, as Shane rushes his way through the songs two characters with such humor and glee.

Irish music fan, pogues fan, punk fan, or just a music fan will find something on this album that's a celebration of all great things about music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rough, unpolished...yet a sparkling gem!
Some may be put off by the rough mix of this CD...but the mix actually works for true Pogues listeners. In fact,this is my favorite. Short on the "belt it out boys" bar tunes of the other Pogues CDs, the ballads of this recording actually bear repeated listening much better, esp my favorite, "Waltzing Matilda", which hooked me on the Pogues many years ago when I first heard it on college radio. And "Pair of Brown Eyes" ain't no slouch. The only question I have is, why this remained an "import only" CD for so long ? I can remember scrounging for a copy back in the 80's when it cost $30+...

1-0 out of 5 stars You know...
If it hadn't been for my horse, I would never have spent that summer in college.

5-0 out of 5 stars all i have to say is
"wild cats of kilkenney" is one of the best songs ever. i love shane and everyone should get this cd. now! ... Read more

13. Down the Road
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Asin: B0000646UW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14307
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Van Morrison's childhood was steeped in American music, in part because he grew up the son of a rabid collector of classic jazz and R&B records. Morrison's infatuation with the music understandably led to the raucous, blues-rooted performances of Them and his early solo records, but it also inspired his long, oft-misunderstood journey to find music more spiritually and geocentrically rooted. This inviting, if typically restive, collection brings the singer full circle, suggesting you can indeed go home again--and that your life's journey just might make you appreciate it with new eyes. Thirteen of these tracks are Morrison originals, though they have a warm, almost subliminal familiarity. Good-natured shuffles like the title track, "Choppin' Wood," and "Hey Mr. DJ" have a nostalgic edge that sharpens considerably on the jaunty "Whatever Happened to PJ Proby?," where Morrison grouses, "Nothin' much to relate to anymore / 'less you wanna be mediocre." But there's considerably more than simple blues redux on Morrison's agenda, as his graceful ballad "Steal My Heart Away" and sublime covers of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia" and Acker Bilk's "Evening Shadows" (originally an instrumental but now with lyrics by Morrison and an evocative, signature clarinet solo from Bilk himself) prove. A return to the classic Morrison sound, perhaps, but one gratifyingly informed by three decades of musical and spiritual pondering.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (70)

4-0 out of 5 stars Back On Top - For Real
The last time Van Morrison cut an album of original material, "Back on Top" (1999), he appeared to be letting the production overwhelm the songs. Moving (once again) away from the soulful R&B inspired music that he'd rediscovered on 1997's "The Healing Game", it appeared that Van was drifting back into soft (and soft-headed) overly-lush musical arrangements more appropriate for lite-jazz stations or retirement parties.

This new compilation shows Van back in stride - "Down the Road" is perhaps his best return to form since "Hymns to the Silence" (1991). As on that great double album, Van taps into and invokes the musical hertiage that has powered his finest efforts over the past 30 years - the title track, a mid-tempo re-write of "Real Real Gone", "Hey Mr. DJ" which evokes the best of Sam Cooke, "PJ Proby", "The Beauty of the Days Gone By" and the final track "Fast Train" all reflect his continuing fascination with the soulful side of R&B and demonstrate his ability to construct tight compelling arrangements that add depth to traditional bluesy melodic structures. His rendition of Carmichel's "Georgia on My Mind" recalls his "Just a Close Walk with Thee" on "Silence" - Van wraps his growling voice around this standard and brings out all the yearning he can muster. It's an amazing performance.

The high points on "Down the Road" probably aren't as high as those on "The Healing Game": three tracks off that album - "Rough God Goes Riding", "Piper At the Gates of Dawn", and the title track stand as three of the finest songs he's ever done. However, "Down the Road" avoids the lows of that album too - there's no misfires here, nothing you want to skip over. At first, Van appears to be simply retreading many of the old sounds and riffs he's done before - "Choppin' Wood" and "All Work and No Play" sound like bar-band standards - but the album has a cumulative power that resolves even the more derivative tracks into a cohesive whole. The beauty of some of the final tracks - "Only a Dream", "Man Has to Struggle", and "Fast Train" especially - demonstrate Van's unwillingness to allow his style to become formulaic.

All in all, a lively and lovely album - a revealing meditation on the unrecoverable past and the uncertainities of the future but without the moodiness that has characterized his earlier statements on this theme. Definitely recommended - especially for those long cross-country road trips you'll be taking this summer.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Master at work!
Van continues to amaze after all these years! This album compares favorably with the great Healing Game and the superb
Back On Top of recent years. In fact, this album arguably has some of Van's best songs of the past decade. Note the title track, "Choppin' Wood", "Steal My Heart Away", "Only A Dream",
and the amazing "Fast Train", which reminds one of the classic
"The Waiting Game", especially the harmonica intro. If that were not enough, listen to the exquisite rendition of "Georgia On My Mind".
Some of the tracks here evoke some of Van's earlier 80's and 90's work, especially "Only A Dream", a gem in itself. The
beautiful piano and sax work here is welcome return to the jazzier side of Morrison. And the lilting "That's What Makes the Irish Heart Beat" is evocative of the early 70's Tupelo Honey and Hard Nose the Highway, with a country and western feel. Beautiful!
In "The Beauty of the Days Gone By", Van sings, "...lift your glass and raise it high/to the beauty of the days gone by".
Amen! But Van is creating beauty still, to "keep me young as I
grow old". This is a great hymn led by acoustic guitar with a wonderful organ part. It sends me back to Avalon Sunset and even Saint Dominic's Preview. To keep me young, indeed!
With his triumphant trio of The Healing Game, Back On Top, and now Down the Road, Van has once again proven, along with Neil Young, and even Bob Dylan, that age is no barrier to true genius. I'm already looking forward to his next classic!

5-0 out of 5 stars dreams, memories, reflections.
I listen to this album, or indeed Van's latest, What's Wrong With This Picture, most days. I love the joyful articulation of the ups and downs of ordinary life. The highways and byways of consciousness. The sheer celebratory quality evident in each and every song. It is great to be able to participate in one man's journey down the neverending road towards peace, harmony and integration. Sheer joie de vivre.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pne of his worst efforts in 20 years
I have had this cd for since it was realesaed ( two years ago) and never take it off the shelf. This is not very good. Try Healing Game, Hymn to the Silence, or A Night in San Fran cisco instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Music for the Walmart Crowd
Since you're reading this review, you must have this music already, or are consider buying it. You must also be somewhat of a Van fan to even get this far, so my advice to you is to buy it and you will eventually love it.

As with most of Van's music, I don't like it much the first couple of times I listen to it. I may even put it away for a few days, or a week or so, if there aren't any songs that really catch my attention. I bought this and Van's "What's Wrong With This Picture?" at about the same time, and actually liked the other CD better in the beginning. Not so now. I still think "What's Wrong With This Picture?" is one of Van's weakest efforts, and I'm a huge Van fan.

I started fully appreciating the greatness of this CD after I had had it for a couple of months. There are five tracks that are brilliant songs, in my opinion. They are, in order of greatness: What Makes The Irish Heartbeat, Whatever Happened to P.J. Proby, Georgia on My Mind, Steal My Heart Away, and Down the Road. Only a Dream is decent, and the rest of the songs are throw away material. If you are a Van fan, I would think you'll eventually love this CD. Give it some time. If you're truly a Van fan, you will, and you will be rewarded. If you can't appreciate this music, go to Walmart and pay $14 for a Brittany Spears CD. You know what I mean.

A point I want to make is that to have 5 or 6 really good songs on one CD is fantastic. Just because the rest of the music is trash does not make this any less of a CD. If you read these reviews often, you will notice that just about everything gets a 4 or 5 star review. That's because the people reviewing are generally fans of the music they're reviewing. So, I'm really no different, except that I would be critical of Van if the music was not good, but that's not the case here.

I particularly didn't care for his version of Georgia on My Mind, after several listens. But this is a very strong effort that is one that I just can't get enough of now. His vocals are just fabulous as is the rest of his band.

So, I guess I'm making a similar point that another reviewer has made. Don't judge Van material by a couple of listens. Hang in there and you'll be rewarded with music that will bring you countless hours of joy. There's probably only a small percentage of the population that has the intellect and the ability to appreciate Van's music. We're not the Walmart croud. We're smarter than most people and are taste is better than most. We're the 10% of the population that has a clue as to what's going on in this world and a love and appreciation for the music of Van Morrison is just one other thing we have in common.

Buy, or burn this CD and enjoy. ... Read more

14. Red Roses for Me [Bonus Tracks]
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Asin: B0006957RQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9236
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The First and the Best
I first discovered The Pogues back in the mid 80's and once owned this album on cassette. I'm glad to see the extra tracks, particularly The Leaving of Liverpool, which is one of my favorite Irish tunes of all time. If you have even a drop of Irish blood in your veins this album will have you dancing in the streets. Excellent. Can't reccommend this one highly enough. Slainte!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pogues brilliant debut
The debut album by the Pogues sounded like nothing else of its time.This album was the Pogues at their most raw, with such songs as "Transmetropolitan, The Boys From the County Hell, Sea Shanty, The Dark Streets of London, Down In the Ground Where the Dead Man Goes and Streams of Whiskey."However, beneath the sheer raw power of this release was a songwriter of major vision and talent named Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan.It was Shane's poetic nature that was the driving force of the Pogues.This album contains seven of MacGowan's best penned tracks, plus the traditional reworkings of "Waxie's Dargle, Poor Paddy, Greenland Whale Fisheries, and Kitty."The Pogues haunting version of Brendan Behan's "The Auld Triangle," to the Jem Finer/traditional track "Dingle Regatta" are all standout tracks on this album.Overall, a sheer brilliant London-Irish album from the best band of the 1980's and Irish rock.
The new remastered version contains the traditional reworkings of "The Leaving of Liverpool, Whiskey You're the Devil, Muirshin Durkin, and the Wild Rover"The Spider Stacy penned instrumental "Repeal of the Licensing Laws, to the original single version of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" round out the bonus tracks.

5-0 out of 5 stars On The 1st Day of March
It's about time. And, yes the bonus tracks sweeten the deal & make this one worth buying again. This just about blew away everything else I was listening to in the 80's. It made my Smiths records cower in fear. They bee-yatch slapped REM. Justly gave the finger to Goth acts like Bauhaus & The Cure while being more death obsessed than either. If they had a showdown with post London Calling Clash, The Pogues would have outdrew them at the time of this release. It was abreath of fresh, foul air. I'd say their version of "The Auld Triangle" remains definitive, leaving the Clancy Brothers choking in the dust. The same goes for "Kitty". As for the originals, Shane MacGowan was on the top of his game. And would remain so for 2 more albums. "Boys From Country Hell" remains one of my all time favorites. The same goes for "Down In The Ground". Instrumentals like "Repeal" go to show that the rest of the band were no joke. Far from a novelty act, they had a knack for making old songs sound new & new ones old. Listening to it again some 19 years later, Red Roses still doesn't sound dated. Truely the sound of a bunch of drunken pirates setting their ship on fire. Their pistol blarin' best next to RUM SODOMY & THE LASH. After that, they FELL FROM GRACE & PEACE & LOVE dumped them off into HELL'S DITCH. From which they never recovered.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Songs Ever!
This cd from the great band,, THe Pogues, is amazing! Their fast songs are piraty and punk rock! If you like Flogging Molly, you will love the Pogues! That is all!
Thank you! ... Read more

15. Beautiful Vision
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Asin: B000002KNG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 20262
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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This 1982 sleeper captures Van Morrison banking the fires of his more urgent, R&B-flavored '70s classics to sculpt a quieter, contemplative synthesis laced with Celtic flourishes, minimalist synthesizers, and the skeletal horn charts of saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis and trumpeter-synthesist Mark Isham. Neither as expansive as the pastoral jazz meditations of the underrated Common One nor as limpid as the glossier, sometimes gloomier confessional pop that dominates his later-'80s albums, Beautiful Vision hews to ballads and loping, midtempo songs that allow Morrison gentle foils for his unmistakable vocal melismas. On its best tracks, "Dweller on the Threshold," "Cleaning Windows," "Vanlose Stairway," and "She Gives Me Religion," he alchemizes soul, gospel, and his own Irish roots in a balance he would often pursue from this point forward. --Sam Sutherland ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars MELLOW GNOSIS
Morrison's vision finds a mellow, subdued expression here. Instead of his jubilant R&B numbers or his more passionate vocalising, the mysticism here is drawn out in slow pieces like Celtic Ray and Northern Muse, the last with particularly beautiful female backing vocals. The more uptempo Dweller On The Threshold with its esoteric imagery has a lovely lilting rhythm and joyful sax, whilst the powerful title track shows his strong voice at its best. Aryan Mist is another great flowing piece and Across The Bridge Where Angels Dwell is dreamy and meditative, also embellished with gorgeous female vocals. Scandinavia is a moody instrumental with prominent piano or keyboards, like a theme from an art movie. This is not the most familiar Van Morrison album and the songs do not display his usual musical variety, but I enjoy it and there are some great moments here. If you're in the mood for a more quiet, contemplative spiritual listening experience, you'll find much here to enjoy. But if you prefer a more rousing form of gnosis, try a song like Be Thou My Vision from Hymns To The Silence. Both Van, both beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Van's Best
This album may not be Van's best, but it's very close. Only the title track seems weak to me.
Every other song is stong. Lately I seem to like Aryan Mist and Celtic Ray best but some time ago Across the Bridge Where Angels Dwell and She gives me Religion were my favorites. Give the album a spin. You won't be sorry.

4-0 out of 5 stars mystical rapture
buy this just to be in tune with van romantic great inspiring ok im drunk but i love this van even plays piano at the end van u cool cat you

5-0 out of 5 stars How To Recognize A Prophet
This cd was my personal introduction to Van Morrison, well other than hearing Brown Eyed Girl or Tupelo Honey on the radio. I backtracked afterwards, and now own a lot of his catalog, but I always return to this one. Morrison gets awfully close to stirring your soul on Beautiful Vision.
His analogies are spirit driven. Although not someone to be worshiped, he is definitely a voice to listen to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Vision
Some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. ... Read more

16. Rant and Roar
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Asin: B000007OPC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6156
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Musicians have been fusing traditional Celtic music with rock & roll since the '60s, but few have done it as successfully as the Canadian band Great Big Sea. Rant and Roar is the band's sixth CD, and it's designed to introduce them to U.S. audiences by presenting the best songs from two of their earlier releases, Up and Play. Unlike most Celtic-rock fusion bands, Great Big Sea eschew electric guitars and synthesizers in favor of acoustic guitars and traditional instruments like bodhran, bouzouki, fiddle, flute, and whistle. But on tracks like "The Old Black Rum," a rousing drinking song in the Dubliners tradition; the moving ballad "General Taylor"; or their cover of R.E.M.'s "End of the World," their instrumental prowess and powerful vocals more than make up for the lack of electric instruments. Not only have Great Big Sea scored hits with previously archaic song forms like sea shanties, drinking tunes, and ballads, they make these old songs rock. --Michael Simmons ... Read more

Reviews (94)

5-0 out of 5 stars You'll probably get caught singing along...
A great album. It's like a "best of" UP and PLAY, GBS's latter two albums. I saw them live a few years ago in Prince Edward Island TWICE, the first time when they were called a 'party band' in a bar... not too many people showed because not too many people heard of them. I bought the album UP because I LOVED the music. Then I saw them again (this time the tickets were $20 instead of $8) and they were a sellout to a loud and dancing crowd in Charlottetown. That's when I first heard General Taylor, and the band got a standing ovation after singing it because of the power in the song. Even though I listen and love every song on this album, my faves are Ordinary Day, When I'm up, Mari-Mac (in concert they sing it faster and FASTER and FASTER), End of the World (Great version), Fast as I can (One of the first songs I ever heard by them), The Night Pat Murphy Died (My fave song on this album... this is how I want to go), Goin' up (Everybody loves this song), General Taylor (of course), Lukey (How can you not get caught singing along with this one?), The Old Black Rum (Ho ho ho... gotta LOVE this one) and Rant and Roar (perfect song to end the album like they ended UP). Buy this album people... if you want good music to sing along to... even if you DON'T like Celtic music... you'll love this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A refreshinly new musical experience for this rocker.
My musical taste has generally been hard rock and it was getting old and tired for me. I live in Massachusetts and I caught Great Big Sea doing an outdoor live concert from snowy Marble Mountain, Newfoundland on my satellite receiver.

I couln't believe my ears. I had been looking for something new and this band was proud, bold, rockin and entertaining like no other band I've ever known.

I can only best describe the music as happy, whimsical, and spirited. Music you can sing-a-long to, dance to or relax to. I obtained their first three Canadian CD's, Great Big Sea, Up and Play and I became a serious fan.

Their US release of Rant and Roar is a fantastic compilation and more of some of their best music. There is not a single lousy track. I highly recommend you buy the CD and you'll find yourself playing it over and over, again and again.

I love them so much, my wife Donna and I traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to see them perform. Don't miss a chance to see them live.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hey, hey, and away we go!
This CD is an instant good mood for me. It is one of the three CDs that own two copies of - one for home, and one for the office. (The others are Yes - Close to the Edge, and Rush - Permanent Waves. Is there a pattern? I doubt it.)

Great Big Sea's recipe for success is to take traditional Newfoundland maritime folk songs, whose roots may be from Ireland, Scotland, or French Canada, and add 'spice it up'. For example, the song Mari-Mac on this album was a traditional song that got a healthy dose of testoscerone in the GBS rendition. The hidden track on this CD is a rap version of the poem 'The Jolly Beggerman'. Another artist from the Canadian Maritimes, Ashleigh MacIsaac, did the same sort of thing with his rather hard-edged (but fun) 'Hi, How Are You Today' album, but GBS pulls it off in a way that both your buddies and your mother can enjoy.

We use this CD for a lot of different purposes. My kids (ages 7 and 9) put certain tracks on 'Repeat' and dance for a half hour or so (they especially like the hidden track). On St. Patrick's Day, I snuck 'The Night Paddy Murphy Died' into our on-hold music at work, and callers asked to be put back on hold. Numerous Chinese friends have used the tongue-twister lyrics in Mari-Mac as their English test - if you can understand that, you're ready for anything.

In summary, if you're looking for great party music, some beer-thirty on Friday night music, something to get you through your commute in a good mood, or something to wake you up and get your feet moving, then this CD is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest, true music for a music fan...
These guys opened for the Chieftans (with Sinead O'Conner) in 1998. I saw them in San Diego and had no idea who they were. They stole the show, poor Chieftans.

If there's only one comment to make about this album, its that it will put you in a good mood. As people have said in the other reviews, it WILL cause you to sing along. I have a convertible, and I'm sure there are farm animals across the country who know all the words to Rant and Roar now.

But seriously, these guys have a great energetic delivery with enough parts gravel and enough parts silk. There are different singers and enough song variety that, after seven years, this is still my favorite CD. Do I need to say more?

In case you're wondering what my music tastes are so you can match up whether or not you'd like it... here goes:
I like alternative rock. I just don't follow pop-rock and will always gravitate towards classic rock. I appreciate good singer-songwriters. When I want to listen to finely crafted symphonies, I will listen to finely crafted symphonists like Rufus Wainwright or Mark Knopfler(Dire Straits). When I want brainless entertainment, then its Mosquitos or Puddle of Mud. If I want to get revved up Love and Rockets or System of a Down will do the trick. When I want to get mellow, I'll listen to Tom Waits or Marc Cohn. When I want to listen to music that makes me feel good or if I just don't know what I want to listen to, then I'll put on some Great Big Sea. There's a time and place for everything, GBS's Rant and Roar somehow finds its time and place more often than anything else I own and has now for seven years.

Basically, if you're the type that would read this far, then you'd like it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Try the real thing
Celtic thrash for an American audience. In case we didn't know they were descendents of Irish immigrants they seem to have to remind us in the lyrics of every other song. This music is an embarrassing bastardization of a genre of music thats been going on strong for decades in Ireland, and the UK. If you think you'll like folk-rock and want to try the real thing, I suggest the following for a start:

OysterBand, the Waterboys (Fisherman's Blues and Room to Roam album). The Levellers (first three Albums). Five Hand Reel, Runrig, Capercaillie, Dick Gaughan, Shooglenifty. Boys of the Lough. Alister Hulett. Saw Doctors (first three albums), Christy Moore, The Pogues. ... Read more

17. The Whole of the Moon: The Music of the Waterboys & Mike Scott
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Asin: B00000C2MO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 20697
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Never bought a Waterboys CD ? Buy this one...
A mix of irish folk tunes and excellent rock'n'roll, Mike Scott and the old Waterboys are back with a wonderful sampler full of old and new songs. Go to your cd dealer and listen to "She's So Beautiful", "What Do You Want Me To Do", "Love Anyway" and "Rare, Precious and Gone" - I bet you'll buy it...(Stefan in Germany)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pan Within this CD!
Wow! I'll tell you what, wow! This is the first Waterboys CD I have, and let me tell you that Mike Scott is a major talent! The diversity of his music is amazing! My personal favorites are The Pan Within--it starts out slow, and then builds to an awesome climax *put your face in my window...* and then calms back down to where it was in the beginning. Wonderful use of the violin. It makes the song so eerie. Glastonbury Song--Terrific lyrics, and great melody. The Fishermans Blues--spectacular combination of Irish and a little rock. Love Anyways--I love the lyrics to that song, as well as the instrumental part at the end. This is the Sea--The guitar in that song is amazing! 'Rich' is the only word to describe it. This is a must-buy for all people who think the world is going to bubble gum pop and boy bands. The Waterboys make their music art.

5-0 out of 5 stars a huge turn on!
Just picked this up on a whim. Unbelievably moving! Both the solo stuff and Waterboys works are powerfula and thought provoking. I cant get enough of this album. I recommend Human Drama a band that turned me on to Waterboys if your looking for more of this style of deep moving rock/folk poetry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mike Scott is a genius.
I "discovered" the Waterboys this year, and this CD is the best of the four I have. It's missing a couple of songs that should definitely be on the "best of," such as "Church Not Made With Hands" and "Pagan Place," but there isn't a song on this compilation that I don't like. A bonus is some of Mike Scott's solo work, and what they've put here is excellent. He's a lyrical and a musical genius--a rare find--with a voice you'd recognize anywhere. This whole CD makes you feel good. This would be a great place to start for someone wanting to become familiar with the Waterboys and Mike Scott. It's also a nice blend of their earlier (more rock-oriented) and later (more traditional) sounds.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars"
I discovered The Waterboys by chance. I caught half of the Romantic march, "The Whole of the Moon" on a program of Eighties pop during lunch in the car one day, and was impressed enough to go buy this best-of package. After playing it through several times, I'd say I like it a lot, but I wouldn't say this music is the most original that decade had to offer. Mike Scott is a better poet and storyteller than he is a lyricist, and he is a better lyricist than he is a composer. "Red Army Blues" is the most telling example of that hierarchy of gifts.

The closest to an American hit they ever had was "The Whole of the Moon." It's a glorious stab at transcendence, an ode to an artist-who could be anyone from Shelley to Rimbaud to Sid Barrett--overwhelmed by the gods with too many gifts. The song contains a great burst of poetic images, Scott's most successful welding of poetry and rock on this collection:

Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars

It's a wonderfully ingenuous song, as unlike anything else on the radio in the Eighties as The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" was unique in the Nineties. Yet even here I was left wanting more. Karl Wallinger's frigid, "Prince"-ly digital synths may have given it a contemporary feel when it was released in 1985, but I found myself mentally substituting an orchestral woodwinds section and a rack of tubular bells for his parts. Maybe on the Muzak version...

The album covers in the liner notes show Mike Scott's evolution from an Arcadian Adonis to a ramshackle village folkie, mirroring his musical evolution. Indeed, part of the entertainment value of _The Whole of the Moon_ is discerning The Waterboys' roots. Mike Scott sometimes sounds like a nasal Todd Rundgren, and sometimes like one of The Hollies, and, on "She Is So Beautiful", like Bob Dylan. A few of the best songs sound a lot like other songs. "She Is So Beautiful" sounds like Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman". "This is the Sea" could be a speeded-up rewrite of Van Morrison's "Listen to the Lion."

It's great that he has such good taste, and it's great that these echoes of those great artists emanated from The Spandex Years. This is a good collection of songs from what was by then a unique band. But given the derivative quality of the music, it's hard to see how The Waterboys could ever have been in the running for Next Big Thing. I'm content to enjoy this as being a reverent musical disciple at his peak, instead. ... Read more

18. She Who Dwells
list price: $24.98
our price: $22.99
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Asin: B0000AZKO4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 15365
Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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Sinead O’Connor really knows how to end a career. True, she’s been trying to do it since the early ‘90s, through incendiary action (ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live) and regularly spaced announcements of her retirement. The release of She Who Dwells comes with the caveat that it is O’Connor’s last willful act and musical testament—and, who knows, her third attempt to flee the music industry may stick. If so, it’s a shame because after nearly a decade of flailing musically, O’Connor rediscovered her true voice in 2002 with Sean-Nos Nua, an album of traditional Irish songs re-imagined in surprisingly fresh ways.

She Who Dwells (the full title is long enough to make Fiona Apple gasp for breath) is a two-CD set, but in typical O’Connor fashion it’s oddly framed. Disc one is a collection of 19 rarities and previously unreleased tracks split three very different ways. There are more traditional Irish tunes, her electronic collaborations with Massive Attack and Asian Dub Foundation, and a range of covers that includes songs written or made famous by Aretha Franklin, Gram Parsons, the B-52s, and Abba. (These latter tracks shouldn’t work, but for the best evidence they do, check out her almost Tex-Mex pop version of "Chiquitita.")

Disc two is a more traditional career-ending retrospective; it’s a 13-track recording taken from a late 2002 concert at Vicar Street Theatre in Dublin. About half the songs come from Sean-Nos Nua, with three songs each lifted off I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got and Universal Mother,. O’Connor is backed by a great band that features Irish music stalwarts Donal Lunny and Sharon Shannon. As good as they are, it’s O’Connor’s voice that stuns throughout, whether singing the Irish blues of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave" or a version of "Nothing Compares to U" that contains both flute and a stately cello solo. One hopes this isn’t the last we hear from O’Connor, but even if it is she’s left us on a pure, high note. --Keith Moerer ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Her last album?
Considering her track record, I don't really buy Sinead's claim that "She Who Dwells..." her swan song. I will have to see it to believe it. I am not exactly a diehard fan of Sinead O'Connor's music, it is more like a casual fan. I only own "She Who Dwells..." and her last album that consisted of traditional Irish folk songs. Still I always thought Sinead had a lovely voice. I absolutely loved her contributions to Conjure One and Moby's cds last year. I was seriously contemplating buying "She Who Dwells..." because I wanted to hear her versions of Nazareth's "Love Hurts" and ABBA's "Chiquitita". I came across "She Who Dwells" today in the used bins at my favorite record store. Needless to say, it left the store with me. Disc 1 consists of rarities and cover songs, and disc 2 is a live album that is also available on dvd. I loved what I heard on both cds. I thought her renditions of "Love Hurts" and "Chiquitita" were simply amazing. She quickly made those two songs into her own. On disc 2 there is an incredible acoustic version of Sinead's biggest hit "Nothing Compares 2 U". I loved the additional stringed section and acoustic melodies on the song. It sounded so much better than the album version. That alone made buying the 2-cd set worth the price. After listening to "She Who Dwells...", I realized just how underappreciated Sinead was as a vocalist. If people just put aside her outrageous statements from the past and just listened to her, they would realize just how unique she is as a singer.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sit back and relax, have a good time with Sinead
This double album is a nearly perfect parting gift from Sinead, if she's indeed retiring from music, which we should all pray is just another threat from hers truly.

The first CD is just Sinead doing covers and b-sides, as well as remixes of her previous materials--it's a perfect opportunity to just hear Sinead's beautiful voice doing new things. The opening track is perfect--a one-minute prayer that is enough to show the raw beauty and power of her voice. "Love Hurts" seems like a strange cover for Sinead, but she does a fantastic job to the old Nazareth tune--she gives it a retro 60's rock style, and does amazing new things with her voice that you just have to listen to believe. "Aint it A Shame" is a fun rocker in the vein of her old song "Jump in the River". Her reggae version of "This is a Rebel Song" is simply thrilling. Sure, it's a strange mix, but how can you resist that beat?!!

The second CD is from her concert DVD ("Thank you, good night, you've been a lovely audience"). The acoustic version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" is surprisingly strong and a refreshing antithesis to her famous album version--the cello and chime (?) are gorgeous. "I am stretched on your grave" goes back to the traditional sound of just voice and a quiet accordian. Of course "The Last Day of Our Acquaintence" is always lovely no matter how many times you hear it; Sinead sings it with articulate passion.

This is an album to play when you just want to relax and hear a truly great voice.

5-0 out of 5 stars saved best for last
Out of all Sinead's albums (and I listened to them all) this is, without a doubt, her best - only Sean-Nos Nua comes close in musical consistency and quality. Each one of her previous releases was chock-full of filler (musically if not lyrically or statement-wise etc, but I really care only about the general musical enjoyment and do not pay much attention to all that other stuff). In this case almost every track is a gem - I absolutely must mention here "It's All Good", "Nothing Compares 2 U" (live version that manages to surpass the older studio number) and stunning "Paddy's Lament" as the highlights; but this record basically doesn't have weak songs in it... well perhaps "Big Bunch of Junky Lies" is a bit of a throwaway. Anyway, if you need just one Sinead's album then this is the one to own - I'd prefer it even to her Greatest Hits compilation

5-0 out of 5 stars ONLY BERRIES
Having only owned "Faith and Courage" (purchased after seeing the video for the inspiring, "No Man's Woman"), I was fully prepared to have to suffer the brambles to get to the berries of this unwieldy collection of 32 b-sides and live performances.

How heartened I was to find only berries! Oddly, the 19 songs on disc one do not feel like a hodgepodge collection, as they are united in theme and passion, even as they are disparate in genre, spanning from lover's rock, to horn-punching reggae, to trip-hop, to dirge to to retro go-go music!

Highlights are the mesmerizing electronica of "Love is Ours" and "1000 Mirrors," the folk simplicity of "Dense Water, Deeper Down," and retro-rocker's "Ain't it A Shame" and "It's All Good." It's not just her voice, it's her choice of music that makes her great.

Disc two is a journey through a dark night of a soul. It is sad, but it pricks you with it's beauty as well. She's cursed with the infamous Irish melancholy, but she carries it in the prism of art, dispersing, rather than multiplying it's heaviness with 1000 mirrors, each shard a song to tell us what is wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars intense performer
I kind of "hung out" around the studio where Ms. Oconnor recorded Universal Mother and i was priveledged to witness first hand an intense, soulfull, perfessional performer. i surely hope that this isnt her swan song, or her last cd. The woman that I was fortunate enough to witness simplyb has to much talent to give. ... Read more

19. If I Should Fall From Grace With God
list price: $23.49
our price: $23.49
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Asin: B000005S6B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3683
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Deleted in the U.S., this is their 1987 album on Stiff/ WEA International featuring their unforgettable collaboration with Kirsty MacColl, 'Fairytale Of New York'. Produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, Simple Minds, Big Country), it contains a total of 15 tracks. ... Read more

Reviews (48)

5-0 out of 5 stars Most poetic and cohesive album ever? Could be!
If you've never heard the Pogues, this is THE place to start. Much has been said about their blend of Irish Folk music, Rock and Punk, but what all of the blathering amounts to is this: This is the finest album to swill copious amounts of liquor to on the planet. Shane MacGowan is, in this poor proles estimation, the finest and most HUMAN of the poets of the twentieth century. The fact that the backdrop to Shane's beautiful lyrics happens to be the most toe-tapping, vibrant, and downright beautiful blend of instruments and instrumentalists sometimes makes little difference. When you're shouting out "Let EM Go, Boys!" at the top of your drunk lungs at three in the morning, don't say you weren't warned. The most infectuous and brilliant piece of literature and, simultaneously, symphony, is but one click away. ORDER THIS WITH YOUR LAST 20 DOLLARS AND SAVE YOUR SOUL.

5-0 out of 5 stars The truly essential Pogues album
I bought this CD many years ago after seeing the Pogues on Sat night live. In the span of the Pogues recording career, something magical happened on this one. Perhaps it was Steve Lillywhite's genious, or just the right time for the band. If I were stranded on a deserted island with only 5 cd's to hear for the rest of my life, this would be one. I've heard it a million times and it's still stands the test of time. So many great songs with so much to say- if you haven't heard the Pogues or Shane MacGowan yet- start here. If you buy this one, you'll have the whole Pogues/Shane collection within a year. I've been hooked for 8 wonderful years and damn, it's really great to be Irish! Raise a pint of the black stuff and prepare to be reborn!

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
The pogues are amazing and this CD sums that up perfectly. They are the granddaddy of my favorite bands (dkm, flogging molly), which is why you simple cannot live without the pogues if you're into this type of celtic folk/irish punk music. It's a perfect mix of the two. This disc will put you in a state of nirvana. Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars All New Celtic Punk Banks Must Pay Homage
This is the grand-daddy of them all: Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, Tossers, Black 47, etc. etc. I especially encourage younger listeners to pick up a copy of this disc. The collection of tunes represents The Pogues at their musical and creative peak in my opinion. From the title track till the end, you are served a great meal of pseudo-punk and traditional celtic influenced music.

Buy this disc. Pour a Guinness. Strap yourself into your recliner. Turn on this CD and save your soul.

4-0 out of 5 stars great
I love this cd, I didnt buy it but i listened to it and you know i listen to all differnt kinds of music, but the pogues stand out in my mind because when i was really small i loved that song Fairytale of Newyork its soo full of Hate lol yet those two love each other soo much soo fun i love the whole cd... its great kinda punkish in and 80's version its great buyit ... Read more

20. Play It Again Sham
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000AB145
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14184
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

The Saw Doctors, Ireland's most underrated rock outfit,have put out a near-perfect collection of their best songsfrom 1990 through 2000. Unlike the grand themes of U2 orthe introspection of Sinead O'Connor, the Saw Doctors are a pub band that wrestles with the notion of snagging a little piece of heaven here on earth - & paying for it in helllater. The music is an inviting tapestry that weaves hintsof traditional Celtic with roots rock on songs that have atroubadour's storytelling quality. These guys know words &music, & they're not afraid to use either. There isn't abad tune among the 20 tracks. Shamtown. 2002. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars play it again and again and again.......
as a saw doctor fan I was ecstatic to here of this release. I had only heard of 3 songs before(World of good, Apples, sweets etc...and Bless me father) and was very curious to see what constitutes a 'b' side from the Doctors. All I can say is I was hooked from listen #1. Kiss the Bangles, Michael D, Small ball, Broke my heart, Sound sham, etc.. are all great , catchy pop songs with awesome lyrics. I agree with Dan Aquilante of the NY Post who said there wasn't a bad track on the album. I believe that anybody who hears this as their first taste of the Saw Doctors will be very impressed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

5-0 out of 5 stars This CD is to the Saw Doctors what Tracks is to Springsteen
I, a New Jerseyite has had the the fortune of falling in love with, and marrying a Gallwegian. I never thought I'd love a band as much as the E Street Band, until my bride turned me on to the Saw Doctors. Like Bruce and the E Streeters, they are so provincial, they are universal. This CD is to the Saw Doctors what Tracks is to Springsteen

Buy this CD. This is all the off the wall stuff that makes them unique. Buy everything else, they've put out as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saw Doctors, an amazing set of tunes
Finding this album in my local record store was like finding the missing link in the Saw Doctors' music. Sure, they say it's all b-sides and the less standard tunes, but "Play it Again, Sham!" is the closest thing to a comprehensive collection of great tunes by this band that reminds us just what rock 'n' roll is supposed to be about. Yee-haw. As I listen to this album yet AGAIN, I find myself wondering how it's POSSIBLE that a lot of these songs never made it to a standard release album. "World of Good" is one of their very best songs, with some of their best lyrics--come on, it could be up there with N17 and other classics. But let's talk about a few more highlights, eh?
"I'd Love to Kiss the Bangles." Raucous, yes, fun, yes...rock, yes please.
"Bless Me Father;" now come on, another Saw Docs classic, best in concert but then all these tunes are! Another solid, incredibly addictive rock tune that's another in their immortal series of Church/lust songs...and who doesn't love those? While we're at it, "Howya Julia" is an equally illustrious member of this set, perhaps even catchier. Think "Hay Wrap" and "Bless Me Father" and some red-hot scandal (ouch!) all morphed into one awesome song that may cause you to break out some of your best funky dance moves....or maybe rap moves...or...
At first I was NOT a fan of "Crock of Gold" or "Small Bit o' Love" but after about the third listen to each I was hooked...these have a real country-western feel, wonderful and bouncy tunes. The latter has some especially nice lyrics, too.
"We're the Popsuckers" is...amusing...but then you realize that as it glorifies pop it creates a dang catchy pop tune of its own. And ya know what? These guys have good taste...the Kinks AND Buddy Holly? Oh yeah, rock on boys!
"Bushwackin'" is another great raucous tune, but as always the Saw Doctors do it with a REAL sense of GRACE and MUSICALITY that makes them so unique.
"Sound Sham" is maybe my very favorite song here, again I can't believe this isn't on an album...A great rock song with a wonderfully strong beat, it is also a beautiful song at second listen. Love the cathedral-bell motif in here, extremely unique and genuinely REFRESHING. Now I just have to work on deciphering the words...
"Letter from Louise" has some of their most poignant and insightful lyrics to date.
"Where's the Party ?!?!?!?!?!" is a great live recording of the tune, with a fun lengthy talking's a Saw Docs live party tune in the purest sense, there's no depth to the message but it makes you feel great, HaPPy, fun...this recording manages to capture a sense of their stunning live energy.

So in the end, what have we here?? A mixture of raucous rock feel-good tunes, and some really insightful and sensitive songs...that still make you feel good about the world and the fate of popular music...So if you're looking for an intro to the Docs, or if you're already a fan, or if you happened accross this randomly, I reccomend this HIGHLY. Perhaps most of all the Docs' albums. There's something here for everyone, but you're also going to have to take my word for it that you'll like almost every single song on here...actually you'll love them. An amazing set o' tunes!

4-0 out of 5 stars Must for collectors, but not best of decade
The editorial review indicates that these are the best Saw Doctors songs from 1990 to 2000, but this album is actually composed of singles and b-sides that never made it to a regular album releases. Don't get me wrong, the songs are fun and great, especially to avid Saw Doctors fans. But if you are new to the Saw Doctors, pick one of their other CDs first (Villians, Songs from Sun Street, If this is Rock and Roll...). ... Read more

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