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1. Careless Love
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2. Lonely Runs Both Ways
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3. Closer
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4. The Phantom of the Opera (Original
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5. Greatest Hits
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6. ABBA - Gold: Greatest Hits
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7. Come On Get Happy!: The Very Best
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8. Alison Krauss & Union Station
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9. Under My Skin
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10. At Last...The Duets Album
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11. Dino: The Essential Dean Martin
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12. Destiny Fulfilled
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13. Live at 25
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14. Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition
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15. Highlights From The Phantom Of
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16. Pure
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17. Thankful
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18. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway
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19. Wild Card
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20. Smile

1. Careless Love
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Asin: B0002NRRAG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 55
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When Madeleine Peyroux's debut, Dreamland, was released in 1996, its success threw her for a loop. She's taken eight years to create this follow-up, and, at age 30, she brings a confidence and resilience to this dozen-song set. She's able to move seamlessly between songs by writers as diverse as Elliott Smith and W.C. Handy, whose title track was popularized by Bessie Smith. Though American-born, Peyroux absorbed the language and culture of France growing up in Paris with her French-teacher mother. On her debut, she covered Edith Piaf, and this time out she wraps herself around "J'ai Deux Amours," which Josephine Baker sang to the Allied troops during World War II. --David Greenberger ... Read more


2. Lonely Runs Both Ways
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Asin: B000645UPA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7
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Nobody makes somber sound more exquisite than Alison Krauss. She's come an awfully long way from her days as a teenage fiddle prodigy, as her glamour gown on this CD's cover suggests and the bittersweet maturity of the music confirms. Krauss exchanges her bluegrass fiddle for the chamber strains of viola on much of the material, including four songs by Robert Lee Castleman (whose "The Lucky One," "Let Me Touch You for Awhile," and "Forget About It" were previously popularized by Krauss). Castleman's compositions showcase the emotional intimacy and interpretive subtlety of her breathy trill. The yearning harmonies on "Wouldn't Be So Bad" (written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) and "Borderline" (written by Sidney and Suzanne Cox) reinforce the album's restless spirit of quiet desperation. Change-of-pace contributions by Krauss's bandmates are more deeply rooted in the bluegrass/folk tradition, with Dan Tyminski renewing Del McCoury's "Rain Please Go Away" and Woody Guthrie's populist anthem "Pastures of Plenty"; Dobro master Jerry Douglas leads the charge on his instrumental "Unionhouse Branch." Few bands in bluegrass can match the virtuosity of Union Station's interplay, but the artistry of Alison Krauss transcends genre. --Don McLeese ... Read more


3. Closer
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Asin: B0000CFW87
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Thanks to a fortuitous intersection of talent and fate, 22-year-old Josh Groban hasn't finished his senior year in performing arts school but has already released his sophomore effort on a major major label. Fans of the young vocal phenom's debut will find much to enthrall them here, even if it nudges the singer closer to the center of producer/mentor David Foster's MOR pop sensibilities. Eschewing much of its predecessors more overt classic-lite pretensions and pop-rock covers for a slate of dramatic, Eurocentric ballads that serve as a showcase for the singer's inviting baritone, Groban shrewdly positions himself as the American alternative to the Bocelli-Watson crossover axis. "Caruso" may find the singer falling short of its operatic inspiration, but "Oceano" and "My Confession" quickly showcase the singer's truedramatic range (which seems to all but yearn for a bona fide Broadway musical challenge), while a vocal take of Bacalov's graceful "Il Postino" theme uses classical virtuoso Joshua Bell's violin flourishes to good effect. To his credit, Groban displays some promising efforts at songwriting collaboration on the bittersweet "Per Te" and "Remember When It Rains," while the ambient/ethnic soundscape of Deep Forest's "Never Let Go" offers a teasing alternative to the record's otherwise melodramatic production formula. Groban has found commercial triumph via Foster's mentoring, but there remains a nagging sense here that he hasn't truly pushed himself as an artist--yet.--Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (411)

4-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable voice
My four star rating is given because Josh Groban has, in my opinion, the best male voice out there right now. I bought this CD strictly to hear him sing. In that I wasn't disappointed although some of the song choices leave me somewhat less than thrilled. "Mi Mancherai" is done so beautifully. It is by far my favorite. The collaberation of he and Joshua Bell was genius. Tracks 2,4,6,7, and 11 are also lovely. "Remember When It Rained" was written by Josh Groban and is quite pretty. He plays the piano on that song and does so very well. I hope he will do more playing in his future projects. As for the opinions about "Caruso" being less than well performed, I would have to disagree.
The pop sound in some of the songs I could gladly do without. Ideally, he would stick to a more classical sound with the instruments adding to the beauty of his voice rather than detracting from it.
This is the only CD I've ever bought the day it came out. I will likely do the same next time. And if there are more violin or piano or cello accompaniments and fewer by electric guitars and drums, I will be thrilled!

5-0 out of 5 stars A little range reach but "Closer" to roots of appeal.
I love music - all kinds of music. But the music on this cd seems almost tailor made for what my heart loves to hear best. David Foster has this incredible way of building a movie set of music around a spectacular voice. The effects are dramatic and to Josh Groban's interprative credit not melodramatic.

Josh Groban really took a couple of risks here, he cowrote and plays piano on "Remember When It Rained". It's great to hear something a little different from him even if it isn't the best track on the cd. Some of the tracks sound a little saccharin like "Broken Vow" - the live version on the cd/dvd was better but "My Confession" is a wonderfully elegant ballad that takes Josh's voice to a higher range and works majestically well. Some of the tracks are absolutely spectacular like "Mi Mancherai" which includes some of the most expressive violin from Joshua Bell and "Oceano" which also includes musical arrangements that compliment and frame Josh's exquisite voice. Josh Groban's absolute pitch, warmth and power are showcased so well but this cd illustrates some lovely diversity not seen in the debut. It's hard to ascertain what Josh Groban is conveying when he sings but the aura of emotional distancing doesn't interfere with the extraordinary delivery on each track, it creates an appealing mystique. Even if a couple tracks are skippable - the cd overall is a demonstrative delicious big bang.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW WHAT AN AMAZING ARTIST
This guy is amazing and i think that anybody that disagrees with me is crazy. This is a true artist and it is a GOD given talent also. You have to buy this CD if you really want to hear good music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blew me away
This guy and I are the same age and I cannot believe that wonderful voice comes out of him. This CD is a must get and I am glad I bought it. It is a perfect way to relax after a long day- his voice just soothes you. Favorite tunes are of course Oceano- also Mi Mancherai, Per Te, and Remember when it rained. He packs so much power into his music and Thank God for whoever discovered him!

1-0 out of 5 stars 0 Stars
What the world needs now is NOT an opera version of Clay Aiken! or should I say opera-wannabe version. Do yourself a favor and get the "Cabaret" soundtrack of the movie for some REAL MUSICAL TALENT. F-(-) ... Read more


4. The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)
list price: $37.98
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Asin: B00004YTY2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 151
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (261)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Let the specacle astound you!"
I can get a pretty good sense of what a theatrical experience this show must be from listening to its London cast recording. All that thundering, overpowering, eerie but beautiful music, which is actually pretty good and may very well be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best. The above-average, occasionally beautiful and touching lyrics to such songs as "Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," and "Point of No Return." The fine performance of Michael Crawford as the Phantom, which does a great job of conveying the character's passion and pain and thankfully doesn't really conjure up memories of his best-forgotten days as a juvenile lead in such fimusicals as "A Funny Thing..." and "Hello, Dolly!" The beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman as Christine. The supporting cast, from Steve Barton's Raoul to Rosemary Ashe's stunning Carlotta to the two theatrical agents, Andre and Farmin (or something like that). All contribute to the enjoyment and, yes, spectacle of this recording, and no doubt did and, in the case of the music and lyrics, still do contribute to the success of the stage show. All are reasons for buying it, so why not?

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording ever. . .the ONLY recording ever
Alright, let's get this straight. It's a simple math problem; even a first grader could get this. Michael Crawford=Phantom. Phantom=Michael Crawford. That's just how it is. In the title song, when he sings "The Phantom of the Opera is there"...oh its brilliant. Especially that funny thing his voice does on the "Phaaa" part of Phantom. Normally it might be a little awkward, but in this role its absolutley perfect. He really makes us sympathize with him and almost makes you bawl in the Finale.

Sarah Brightman does a great job with Christine. Most peolpe absolutely screw up the vocals at the end of the title song (ah-hem, 1992 Japanese Version and Sandra Joseph on Broadway. Hate to say it, but it doesn't work with their voices. Yeah, they can sing, but just not that. They do very well otherwise though) I like the way she screams out "I'll go MAD!" in Notes II.

The only bad part about this (but it's quite minor) are Madame Giry and Joseph Buquet. Buquet's voice is kind of breathy and the vibrato takes over and Madame Giry's voice is a little breathy also, but nothing major.

The orchestra in this is beautiful. In most recordings, the orchestra cuts short in the intrumentals before Hannibal and after the Auction (which is one of the best parts) but in this one is it really powerful. It gives you goosebumps because it blends so well together. Especially when the horns come in!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Recording
I simply love this recording. I have never seen Phantom performed on the stage and this is the only recording I have ever heard of the Phantom of the Opera, but I was delighted to hear its music. I have had this CD for only a week and cannot stop playing it for some reason! It has quite a musical score, and the story is very sad. I have never read the book (although I am waiting for its arrival from Amazon after ordering it), so I cannot tell you whether it is true to the original story. The story is that of a man who has been abandoned by all mankind and must live in a labyrinth under the opera house. He falls in love with Christine Daae and becomes her tutor. She believes that the Phantom is the Angel of Music sent by her deceased father. The Phantom loves her so and wants her career in the opera house to advance. He sends notes to the managers, telling them to give her main roles instead of the prima Donna Carlotta. It is a heart wrenching story because you really feel sorry for the Phantom.

The cast is strong. MICHAEL CRAWFORD plays the Phantom on this recording and is argued by many phans to be the best phantom. I have heard no other recording, so I can't argue that point. The role of Christine was written for SARAH BRIGHTMAN, so naturally she does well. There are many high notes and her role can be compared to that of COSETTE in LES MISERABLES because it seems that the majority of her parts are high. RAOUL is played by STEVE BARTON, and his voice is marvelous. ROSEMARY ASHE plays CARLOTTA. I don't like the part of Carlotta, but that isn't Ashe's fault!

Some of the music in this sounds familiar, like from CATS (I'm talking about a couple bars of music, not like a whole song or anything), so that is very interesting. If you like Andrew Lloyd Webber, you will love this rock opera! I like "Angel of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Music of the Night."

Buy this CD because it is worth every penny!

4-0 out of 5 stars Just as good the 100th time!
This is truly a great recording. Overall, I am totally in love with it, but I am here to give a review, not to push my personal biases on others. So, from the standpoint of a musician, actress, and singer, here goes. First of all the actors...
MICHAEL CRAWFORD: Overall, Awesome. Truly the best cast member. His voice is easy to listen to, and very expressive. He IS the Phantom. No questions asked. Technically, not perfect, but this is theatre, not technical type singing. Sometimes, he sounds like he has a bad cold, and tends to slide into the correct note on the higher notes, but overall, this detracts very little from his outrageous awsomeness.
SARAH BRIGHTMAN: Not a huge fan of Sarah's, I'm afraid. Vibrato is one thing, but when you sound like a chipmunk singing while sitting in one of those massage chair things, you're using a little too much. She hits all of the notes beautifully, but you would too if your husband wrote the part for you. Her acting skills and expression are below par, and her inunciation is like she's singing with dental equipment in her mouth. She should definately practice singing more forward, as she gets caught in the back of her throat frequently. Her solos can wear on the nerves, but overall, you could do worse, she's not completely devoid of vocal talent, and she sounds fine when she's singing with someone else.
STEVE BARTON: Not much to say about him. No surprises here, but easy to listen too, expression is on par, and he is technically the best out of the three leads. No complaints, but I've heard this voice a million times before.
OTHERS WHO STOOD OUT: Carlotta is excellant, and beautifully annoying, all though she does have one moment in NOTES where she slips out of character for a phrase. Meg sounds like she's singing while trying to breath through an oxygen tube, in other words, barely audible. I would have liked to hear her more in the harmony on Angel of Music. Everyone else: Fine. Cooly. No complaints.
AS FOR THE MUSIC: There is a lot of it, and it rocks. The orchestrations are fabulous for Broadway, and the melodies are beautiful, if frequently repetitive. Don't buy this if you don't like the tune of Angel of Music, it shows up in practically every song. The chorus numbers are ass-kicking and funky harmony-full.
THE FINAL VERDICT: You can't go wrong here. Even if you despise Sarah Brightman, everyone else more than compensates for her, erm , lack of pronunciation. Crawford is at his best, and the melodies are some of the most memorable in musical history. Even newbies to the Phantom world will rejoice. Go ahead, throw away your money here. You won't be dissapointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Overblown, but still worth a listen.
I am not one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest fans. But still, this is a good show. People that give this negative reviews claim that it is overated. And they are correct. But there are very good melodies in this show, although the lyrics are not top quality. There are also so many layers of the phantom that Gaston Leorux wrote in this character that are not explored in the lyrics. In this show we have little reason to sympathize with the main character. But in Sondheim's"Sweeney Todd" we are told in sometimes Gruesome detail why Sweeney has those killing sprees. But these shows are completly different animals of the theater. Phantom is a show that takes you to another world, while "Sweeney" makes you think. In my opinon, this is Andrew Lloyd Webbers last good show. ... Read more


5. Greatest Hits
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Asin: B0002Z1EG2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9
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Amazon.com

Shania Twain--reclusive, happily married, mother of one--has sold more than 40 million albums with flirty, hook-laden, beat-heavy, country-tinged pop that has all the subtlety of a musical wet T-shirt contest, yet is as irresistible as Swiss chocolate and Pringles. There are a few heartfelt, moon-in-June love ballads on this generous and long-awaited 20-song collection, which includes three new songs along with all the predictable chart-toppers and near-chart-toppers. But it's the mostly non-stop, uptempo booty-shakers--too often with garish overproduction and vapid lyrics--that, for the unconverted, tend to run together after a while. No doubt, this relentlessly upbeat retrospective will keep Twain's millions of fans jumping up and down on their sofas. --Bob Allen ... Read more


6. ABBA - Gold: Greatest Hits
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Asin: B000001DZO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 336
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Anyone looking for the key to Abba's enduring appeal should look no further than "Voulez Vous" and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" for their answer. There was an innocence to the Swedish quartet, even when they were singing about one-night stands and the invitations to them. Gold establishes that the band, while appreciated as campy, were actually multifaceted in their execution. "S.O.S." has a raw urgency in its chorus, and "Does Your Mother Know" draws its energy from classic '50s rock & roll. Likewise, you don't have to be Priscilla to swoon over "Mamma Mia" or "Dancing Queen." And when it comes to drama, those soaring vocals on "The Winner Takes It All" turn the song into a bitter anthem of every relationship that has ever fallen apart. The much-covered "Lay All Your Love on Me" is practically epic. --Steve Gdula ... Read more

Reviews (185)

5-0 out of 5 stars PURE GOLD!
There are three words I can say after listening to this album all the way through: wow, WoW and WOW!!! I must admit, I originally thought ABBA was one or two hit wonder because all I've ever heard from them was the ever-popular "Dancing Queen." (However after listening to it I found myself asking "They sang that?! I had no idea!") I enjoyed "Dancing Queen" enough that my sister bought this wonderful album for me as a Christmas present. At first I was a little hesistant to listen to the other tracks but I decided to do so anyway. And boy, was I impressed!! This is one of the few, exclusive albums that I can listen to all the way through. It's just *that* good.

Even in the 2000's ABBA's legacy lives on. Their music can be tolerated even in today's pop music world. Take the group A*teens for example. Isn't it great that you hear children singing songs such as "Take A Chance On Me" and "Mama Mia"? Yeah maybe they aren't the best singers but the fact remains: ABBA still get recognized even today, decades later. Currently, the Broadway musical "Mama, Mia!" is a hit. With a musical based on ABBA's greatest hits, why wouldn't it be? "Mama Mia!" was written by Benny and Bjork (The two male singers/songwriters of ABBA) as well as the often produced musical, "Chess."

My favorite songs on the album are as follows:
"Take A Chance On Me", "Super Trouper", "Chiquitita", "Voulez Vous", "Does Your Mother Know", "One Of Us", "The Name of the Game" and "Thank You For The Music."
Don't worry, there are more songs on the album then this, all of great merit. I had a hard time myself thinking up which ones were my absolute favorites, and in time they may change as well. All of the songs on this album are up-beat and make you just feel happy inside. The rhythm just makes ya wanna get up and dance (Especially "Dancing Queen"). Yeah, some maybe a little 70's like ("Lay All Your Love On Me") but the fact still remains: ABBA is here to stay!! Reccomended to *anyone*...even if only hearing their song "Dancing Queen."

5-0 out of 5 stars This Is Pure Gold
The title says it all. Gold - Greatest Hits and every one of the hits included on this album are of the highest standard.

One of the top bands of the 70's and writers of timeless quality songs, Abba's music will surely never die and is currently being boosted further by the tribute band The A Teens which is bringing Abba's music to a new generation of listeners.

Every song included here is great and must be if nine of them topped the UK singles chart during the 70's and early 80's. As well as the number ones there are 10 other great tracks that will no doubt ring a bell to anyone dancing in the 70's. From the major hits Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You, Mamma Mia and the Eurovision Winner Waterloo to lesser known but still as good hits Does Your Mother Know, I Have A Dream and Voulez Vous this CD is sure to please.

My personal favourites are some of Abba's later hits. One Of Us is a beautiful and touching ballad, Lay All Your Love On Me is a stomping disco classic and Chiquitita which is my all time favourite Abba song as i feel it has everything required by a great pop song.

Whether you are young or old, male or female you are sure to enjoy this compilation of some of the finest music of the 70's.

4-0 out of 5 stars Abba Gold rocks my socks
As i listened to this cd, i realize that i know every single word to every single song. this cd is amazing in that the best songs arent just in the beginning, they are all throughout the cd. the cd starts with the huge hit Dancing Queen and ends with Waterloo. Waterloo was the song that made abba famous when abba won a competition with it and released a record "Waterloo" using the song as the theme song. Throughout the years, movies have used abba songs because they're funny and fun to listen to. In johnny english, does your mother know is one of the main jokes used throughout the movie. some of the most popular songs on this cd are mamma mia, dancing queen, does your mother know, thank you for the music, take a chance on me, and Voulez vous. this cd is truly gold

5-0 out of 5 stars ABBA - Gold: Greatest Hits
Abba is one the greatest rock bands of all time. They are up their with greats such as Depeche Mode, Beatles, Bee Gees and The Rolling Stones. The lyrics are very well written, the music is amazing and they have unfairly been called stupid disco music when it is in deed sublime. Highly Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Collection of Classic Hits
This disc has all of the essential ABBA classics. From the ever-popular "Dancing Queen" to the melodic "Fernando", this CD contains something for every ABBA fan, either the casual or the strong follower. Formed in the early 1970's, ABBA quickly took Europe by storm, but they had some problems establishing themselves in the United States. But with each successive album, ABBA began to develop a very distinct sound that lured listeners in and they quickly began to establish themselves as one of the first successful "prog rock" groups.

This fine CD contains all of the songs that people associate with the group. "Dancing Queen" was their most successful single, and it appropriately leads off the disc. And the classics keep coming with "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Take A Chance On Me", "S.O.S.", "Chiquita", "Fernando", and "Waterloo". Also included is "Does Your Mother Know", the only song where Benny and Bjorn sing lead vocals.

ABBA's trademark throughout the years has always been strong vocals and melodic insturmentals, and each of these qualities is readily evident on this CD. Frida and Agnetha shine on lead vocals, while Benny's and Bjorn's insturmentals and backing vocals give life to each song. I highly recommend this CD. If you are a casual ABBA fan such as myself, you'll get all of the essential tracks on one CD, but more loyal fans will enjoy it as well. ... Read more


7. Come On Get Happy!: The Very Best of the Partridge Family
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B00092992Y
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 455
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

It doesn't happen all the time, but occasionally kitsch burrows itself into the popular consciousness and stays put because it's timelessly, compellingly good. Such is the case with The Very Best of the Partridge Family, which at long last allows pop aficionados who have closeted their dirty-little-secret obsession with the fictitious TV group to come clean. Never mind the ruffles and dove-wing lapels—heartthrob hang-ups aside, David Cassidy can sing (skip "I Think I Love You" and check his soul chops on the raging "Roller Coaster" or his Elvis-like vocal nuances on "Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque" instead.) And it doesn't hurt that the material he crooned was penned by some of the era's top songwriters. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, for example, lent their graceful imagery to "Looking Through the Eyes of Love," and Gerry Goffin was behind "I'll Meet You Halfway." Add to that the band's layered-harmony-nailing background singers and a stash of sensational session players, and it can't be helped: You get happy. -Tammy La Gorce ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Partridge Family CD that's a response for their best fans
As other reviewers have noted, this CD is essential for Partridge Family fans simply for the inclusion of "Let The Good Times In" and "Together (Havin' A Ball)."Both of those songs are part of the spirit of the initial season of the show and would have fit comfortably on the group's first LP, "The Partridge Family Album."The producers of the CD, as other reviewers have indicated (what a smart lot!), missed a great opportunity to include the theme song from the television show's first season, "When We're Singing!" - which has NEVER been issued on any Partridge Family CD.Why this was NOT included is almost inexcusable - particulary when the CD's release coincided with the DVD release of the first season."C'mon, Get Happy," which opens this collection, has been available for years on multiple Partridge Family CD offerings.Still, I must give full praise to this compilation; the producers are clearly moving in the right direction with this release.I think a CD of outtakes, remaining unreleased songs, and song variations would be a great idea!I know I'm part of that market that would snatch it up!

5-0 out of 5 stars FINALLY!
There have been many "greatest hits" collections of the famed TV group -- but truly, this collection is "the very best" of the Partridge Family, and it includes several previously unreleased tracks.The pure joy of the two songs that were prominently featured in the premiere episode, LET THE GOOD TIMES IN (which is actually a revised, expanded version of the Love Generation's first version) and TOGETHER, is delightful to experience for this first time on this CD.And ROLLER COASTER, from the still-unreleased BULLETIN BOARD album, is an excellent example of how David Cassidy evolved into quite a rock stylist.Fun, fun, fun!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Those Were The Days
What a great CD!I remember taping the show's songs with my portable cassette recorder so I could listen to them when I went to sleep.This one sounds great and includes the two songs I loved the most when I was little, "Together" and "Let The Good Times In".All the other hits are here and are as fun as ever to listen to.While not a fanatic about the Partridge Family, it's great to introduce great Top 40 songs to my 10, 5, and 4 year olds.They think they are great...and you will too!

5-0 out of 5 stars THE VERY BEST OF THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY
Wow!Does this CD take me back.I remember watching the 1st episode when it first aired and hearing Together - Havin A Ball, & Let The Good Times In.Catchy tunes.Now, if you could only see me now; 35 years later, driving to work with my CD cranked up in my Ford Expedition singing these 2 songs on my way to work.Oh Yeah...Together! Havin A Ball and Let The Good Times In!

Guess I'm to old to pretend be Chris now.Banging away on boxes & coffee cans with Mom's chopsticks. The other kids using tennis racquetts at guitar & bass, my sister using the banana seat on my bike as keyboards and a frisbee for a tamborine.

TJ

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Best...but not all When We're Singin'
On the 35th Anniversary of The Partridge Family mania on TV and Music stores, comes the DVD of the first season with bonus extras including a wasted CD with 4 overused PF tracks (a false insentive). Coincidingwith the release of the DVD is this compilation titled appropriately Come On Get Happy: The Very Best Of The Partridge Family. One would think that all of the Best would be here. Most of the best is. What separates this compilation from the others is that it includes the previously unreleased material from the first season and episodes, Let The Good Times In (written by Carole Bayer Sager & Neil Sedaka), Together, Baby I Love, Love, I Love You and Stephanie (which, BTW was the same song as All Of The Things with different lyrics).

While most fans will be happy for these songs and the first time on CD release for Roller Coaster from Bulletin Board (their last LP), it also has at least 1 song from each LP they recorded (excluding the Christmas album for obvious reasons). Sunshine, from Crossword Puzzle, (another overlooked LP before Bulletin Board) is here. The other chart hits are here as well including the LP "should-have-been singles" hits, I Can Feel Your Heartbeat & Echo Valley 2-6809. 17 tracks in all, an odd number. Why not round it off to 20 and include the At Home With Their Greatest Hit top 40 cover hit of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do?
As well as the top 40 hit Am I Losing You and UK top 10 hit Walking In The Rain. OK..OK make it 21 and throw in their last charted hit Friend And A Lover! There...now THAT would be the Very Best Of.

Maybe they should have come out with a CD titled "When We're Singin'" and include all their previously unreleased material from all of the seasons, using the original theme as the openning track. Since this CD is doing so well on Amazon sales in the Top 100, maybe that thought might have made it to the Top 50!

In 35 more years I will hopefully be dead and wont be able to relive my youth as I have with this CD/DVD combo release. I appreciate what has been done, but wish it was complete. ... Read more


8. Alison Krauss & Union Station - Live
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00006LLLN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 105
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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This two-CD, 25-song set, recorded in Louisville on two nights in the spring of 2002, finds bluegrass's most celebrated crossover band at the top of its game. Krauss's warm, feathery vocals, capable of conveying complex emotions in a single note, appear more full-bodied than in studio recordings, yet lose none of their sensual appeal or dramatic tension. She's perfect, for example, as the melancholy temptress on "Let Me Touch You for Awhile," coming across as both savior and seductress, while Jerry Douglas's Dobro echoes the searing strains of passion and pain. With banjoist-guitarist Ron Block, bassist Barry Bales, and guest drummer Larry Atamanuik anchoring the rhythm, the ensemble deftly blends bluegrass with jazz, rock, and folk, combining lightning speed (though rushing through "Forget About It") with sophisticated chops, tangible emotion, and thrilling vocal blends. The crowd, more spellbound with every note, doesn't even breathe on "Ghost in This House" and nearly tears the place down on Dan Tyminski's voice-of-George Clooney showcase, "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow." But who could blame them? It's only one highlight on an album of uncommon artistry, a moving testament to how good live music can be in the hands of world-class players. --Alanna Nash ... Read more

Reviews (92)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a beautiful voice!
I have ordered the live CD set but have not yet received it. However, what prompted me to order it was seeing Alison and Union Station live on television a couple of weeks ago, performing these very songs. Nothing can compare with music played by true music-lovers. Folk musicians tend to perform, not for the money, but for the sheer love of the music. Alison Krauss and Union Station are definitely in that category. I loved the movie "O, Brother Where Art Thou?" and Alison's "Down to the River to Pray" was my favorite of all the songs on the soundtrack; that was my very first introduction to her lovely voice. I simply cannot wait to receive my CD's! I hope to introduce their wonderful music to my family and friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars talent and musicianship too great to rate
Like many other listeners, I first experienced Alison Krauss' ethereal voice in "O Brother, Where Art Thou." I promptly purchased the soundtrack, which incidentally still gets frequent playing time in my home. Honestly, I hadn't intended to purchase Alison Krauss' work until until I caught a clip of this very same LIVE performance on television. I was so impressed with her musicianship (live shows are good at separating 'studio' artists from the real ones), her poise, the immense talent of her band that I went out and ordered this CD shortly thereafter.

Hands down, it's one of the recordings I've heard EVER. With 99% of the albums I purchase, there are a select number of songs I like, and the rest is sort of filler material. There is NO filler on this album. Alison's simple, expressive, angel-like vocals (but boy can she hollar too, make no bones about that!) are reason enough to buy this album, but there are also very fine performances by her bandmates and one guest artist. All in all, a perfect package.

Take it from one whose musical collection consists of anything BUT bluegrass or country, and whose musical training is centered primarily around opera, you will wonder why you haven't bought anything of Alison Krauss' before and thank your lucky stars for finding her now.

If you're still reticent, listen to "Maybe" on Disc 2. Have your credit card ready.

5-0 out of 5 stars AK and Union Station Live
Even if you don't like Bluegrass, this two CD set rocks. Alison's voice is so crisp and pure. Couple that with her ability to inject the subtle emotion that makes up bluegrass music and she just rocks!! Finally, Alison allows the musical talent and vocal talent of Union Station to shine!! This CD set is a must!

5-0 out of 5 stars Alison Krauss & Union Station
I have 6 AKUS CD's & many other Bluegrass CD's & this is the nicest CD/DVD I have.
Monte

4-0 out of 5 stars Alison &Union Station
This is a great CD. It is a perfect mix of old and new, rock and bluegrass. The only thing that I did not like about the recording was what sounded like one obnoxious person, in the audience,that kept making loud noises and remarks. I still recommend it highly. ... Read more


9. Under My Skin
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B0001UL7RY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 27
Average Customer Review: 3.99 out of 5 stars
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With her breakthrough 2002 debut, Let Go, Avril Lavigne tried to market herself as the bona fide alternative to tarty teen queens, Britney and Christina. Her guitar-pop hits were irresistibly bratty but the whole "Complicated" teen pose was a little hard to swallow, especially since two songwriters called the Matrix--who had at least twenty years on the Canadian singer--fed her most of the material. Having had the chance to live a little, Lavigne returns to make good on her angsty image with Under My Skin, an album rippling with delightfully dour melodies and heartfelt lyrics about loneliness ("How Does It Feel") and fractured relationships ("Don't Tell Me"). Is it clichéd? Sure. Will it scare off her necktie and t-shirt wearing fans? Possibly. But there's nothing quite as satisfying as watching a teen-pop icon actually reveal her soul. --Jaan Uhelszki ... Read more

Reviews (601)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sophomore slump? What sophomore slump?
Much ado has been made about the fact that Avril Lavigne dumped The Matrix --- the songwriting team behind "Let Go" --- for her follow-up, "Under My Skin". Apparently a lot of critics are uncomfortable with a teenage girl singing anything besides lightweight, radio-friendly pop. But as someone who's heard both "Let Go" and "Under My Skin", I have to say that Lavigne made an excellent decision. "Skin" is darker and angstier than its predecessor, mercifully free of bouncy ear candy like "Complicated", "My World", and the abominable "Sk8r Boi". The closest the new album comes to that sound is "He Wasn't", a driving yet danceable piece that recalls the early Go-Go's (before the sugar-coated horror that was "Vacation"). The rest of the album is decidedly edgier and more mature; Lavigne sounds so much like Alanis Morrisette on several songs you almost expect to see Morrisette's name in the credits.

Of course, not every song on the album is a winner. "Don't Tell Me", the track inexplicably chosen to be "Skin"'s first single, is a rather lackluster power ballad that doesn't quite live up to its fury-of-a-woman-scorned lyrics; when Lavigne warns her ex-boyfriend to respect her or she'll "kick your a**", she sounds mildly miffed instead of righteously angry. "Slipped Away", which as far as I can tell is about a dead friend, is melancholy but unremarkable, and "Freak Out" veers dangerously back to the familiar territory from the first album. Still, nine out of twelve isn't bad, since the rest of "Skin" has strong numbers like "My Happy Ending", "Forgotten", and the aforementioned "He Wasn't". "Under My Skin" is a great look at an artist maturing. Add this one to your collection!

2-0 out of 5 stars Good beat, poor lyrics
I neither love or hate Avril Lavigne. I thought the songs Complicated, I'm With You and Sk8er Boi from her last album were good but sadly not the rest. So when I heard this album was much better, I decided to give it a listen.

Frankly, I have to say that I was quite dissapointed. I mean the music (guitars, bass, drums and all) sound great. Avril's voice even sounds good but the lyrics are just plain awful. It's not that they don't rhyme, or that they don't have meaning. It's just that they aren't catchy and there's no deeper meaning that goes beyond the usual teen drama. Therefore making it forgettable.

All you have to do is look at the songs that have stood the test of time such as "Master of Puppets", "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", "No More Tears", "Another Day in Paradise" and so forth. Whether or not you like these songs or the artists is another issue, the point is these songs stand the test of time because the music and the lyrics run across the ages. It is something a lot of people can relate to.

Sure, crying about how your boyfriend betrayed you and left you is something anyone can do, in fact Alanis Morissette has already done it a million times. It's nothing new, very dull and gets boring very, very quickly.

4-0 out of 5 stars Avril? Yes or no?
Avril lavigne impressed everyone with her first album, "LET GO". After that it seemed though she had fallen off the planet. Till a couple years later. Avril came back and had a chalenge to win everyone back who thought she was gone forever. But even though her first album was super great, her seconde CD is just as great, maybe a little less great then the first one (Cause it was unbeatable). Her seconde album is called "UNDER MY SKIN". Her new CD has ton's of great song's, like, the ever so popular song you hear on the radio all the time: My Happy Endding, Her less popular radio song: Don't Tell me. Then there are alot more awsome ones like my personal favorites: Freak out let it go, Together and A brand new day. It totally rock's! Avril hasn't let her fan's down. If your an Avril fan I suggest, buy the CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!
I LOVE this CD is Awesome, at first I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but like I said I love it. Avril has a beautiful voice and all her songs are great.

5-0 out of 5 stars i love this cd!!!!!!!
i absolutely love this cd!!!!!! it is soooooo great. i think that it is better than let go. she has more of a vocal range on this one. i don't understand why people are'nt buying it as much as let go. ... Read more


10. At Last...The Duets Album
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00064K2RQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 147
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11. Dino: The Essential Dean Martin
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B00021LPIS
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 239
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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The revisionist take on the Rat Pack's razor-witted King of Cool reveals a Dean Martin who was considerably more complex than the Titan of Tipplers legend; a man who would just as soon retire to his room with a tumbler of milk to watch a TV Western than prowl the Strip with his famous cohorts. That sublime, preternatural indifference is both underscored and belied with dizzying regularity on this good 30-track overview of Martin's singing career. The breezy hits "That's Amore" and "Volare" underscored his public staying power when many counted him out in the face of a surging 1950s youth market. He repeated the feat again with trademark effortlessness a decade later to knock no less than the Beatles off the top of the charts with the unlikely, if inviting schmaltz of "Everybody Loves Somebody."Ever informed by his warm, deceptive vocal ease, Martin's rich signature tunes are well-represented here. But the collection also spans enough lovable kitsch ("Mambo Italiano," "Little Old Wine Drinker Me") and unabashed romantic yearning ("Innamorata," "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On") to deepen the compelling mystery of one of pop music's most enduring ciphers. --Jerry McCulley ... Read more

Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
When I saw the cover of this cd advertised I jumped for joy. But then I took a look closer and noticed that 2/3 of the 30 tracks are the SAME Dean Martin songs we are always given. If you're a huge fan, you'll get this for the rare unrecycled tracks that slide through. I certaintly may get this at a later time. But not right now. Cause the last "definite" Dean Martin collection I got was 1998's Greatest Hits: King of Cool, which really isn't that far off. The moment I get this one there could be another hits album released. So I don't know. Rating: 4 1/2 on content. 3 on necessity,

5-0 out of 5 stars If you only buy one Dean Martin CD-this is it!
The"Essential Dean Martin" is for someone who knows and loves the smooth voice of Dean Martin, or to initiate someone who might only know a couple of his numerous hits.
This CD is filled to the brim-literally. It has 30 tracks with over 78 minutes of music. The songs cover twenty years of his recording career (1949-1969) and include several top 10's. In fact, 27 of the 30 tracks were charted either here or in the U.K.

The majority of cuts are from the Capitol Records period, and though they are not arranged chronically, they are mixed nicely between uptempo and romantic sides. Chart toppers like "That's Amore", "Memories Are Made Of This", "Sway", "Volare" and others are represented, as well as some sides that don't usually get much play (but should)-"I'll Always Love You", "Mambo Italiano", and "Kiss" to cite a few.

The last ten sides are from the Reprise period, and all were charted hits. They include the #1 Everybody Loves Somebody and "Hot 100" top ten hits "I Will" and "Door is Still Open To My Heart". Additionally, they include two #1's from the Billboard Adult Chart "In the Chapel in the Moonligh" and "In the Misty Moonlight". Rounding out the CD is 1969's cover of "Gentle On My Mind" which went to #2 in the U.K.

All in all a great Father's Day gift or a gift for one's self that you will play and play again. It really is "essential" for any CD collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Everybody Loves Dean Martin Sometime"
For more than 50 years the world has had the very great privilege of being entertained by the one and only Dean Martin. Fans of all ages have enjoyed Dean's undeniable charm and cool wit, and his place in American pop culture is undisputed. He was part of one of the most successful comedy teams ever, made numerous movies including comedies, dramas, and westerns, had a TV show that was highly rated and ran for almost two decades, performed live in concert to millions of adoring fans, and was a cornerstone of one of the most hip and talented group of men the world has ever seen, The Rat Pack! All that said, it was Dean's elegant voice and easy phrasing and style that was the common thread that ran through all of his many outstanding accomplishments.

This CD, "Dino: The Essential Dean Martin", is a wonderful gathering of tunes that represent Dean's many years as a recording artist and bring back memories of a time when his velvety tones and suave ways enchanted listeners everywhere. There is something on this CD for everyone. Songs like "That's Amore" and "Standing On The Corner" reflect the fun, joyous side of Dean, while his versions of "Return to Me" and "Volare" epitomize the deep passion and yearning we all feel when were in love. If you like to swing, look no further than "Ain't That a Kick in the Head", my favorite Dean Martin song. "Memories Are Made of This", "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You", and his signature song "Everybody Loves Somebody" are also great tunes, and Dean's treatments are truly unforgettable. Young and old alike enjoy and treasure Dean Martin's music for good reason, it is truly timeless. If you are already a Dean Martin fan, I guess all of this is old news and I am just preaching to the choir, but if you're not a Dean Martin fan yet, then this excellent representation of his musical career is the perfect beginning to your Dean Martin music collection.

If you enjoy listening to crooners and Big Band Swing, I would also suggest Monte Procopio "Swingin' With Style" CD. His 13-piece band really swings and deserves a listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars As usual Dino gives us only the best music, 5 stars.
There are not enough adjectives to explain just how great this cd is. Do yourself a favor and get this cd today. You will have many enjoyable hours of listening to the beautiful voice of Dean Martin. Give a copy to someone you love and share a gift of music that they are sure to enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music
I'm only 21 but I appreciate Dino. Having only some of his Rat Pack stuff, i looked forward to this and was not unimpressed. There are some incredible songs on here, "standing on the Corner" is somehow just funny. But to help enhance your Dean Martin collection I also recommend "Ee-O-Eleven" the best of the rat pack and "Italian love Songs." These two other collections will allow you to collect the songs "When your Smiling" and "On an evening in Roma", which are not found on here, but still great songs. ... Read more


12. Destiny Fulfilled
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000643A5M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 35
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Some thought it would never happen, but after solo successes and a three-year hiatus the ladies of Destiny's Child have reunited for the eagerly-anticipated Destiny Fulfilled. The Houston-based trio of Kelly, Michelle and some girl named Beyonce follow up their mega successful Survivor with another album full of infectious dance grooves and melancholy tales of women done wrong. Lead single "Lose My Breath" is their first offering of the former. Backed by a kinetic marching band sample, they sing with an urgency that bolsters the Rodney Jerkins-produced track. Current single "Soldier" is more of the same. Featuring T.I. and Lil' Wayne, the song allows the trio to sing the praises of the kind of men they like.

Despite this one-two uptempo punch, DC does do ballads. They go old-school on the moving "If." Michelle, who has several impressive solos throughout, and Beyonce trade lines about finding and holding on to love. However, on "Bad Habit" the trio goes for the paint-by-numbers woman finding her inner-strength theme. Other highlights include the 9th Wonder and Beyonce-produced "Girl" and the midtempo gem "Free." --Rashaun Hall ... Read more


13. Live at 25
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0007Z9RAW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 672
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Huey Lewis and his clan of good-time San Francisco-based pop-rockers had a long run of scaling the charts in the '80s and '90s with unforgettable radio hits. Fusing '60s R&B, U.K. bar band vigor, and classic rock 'n' roll, their spirited sound netted a pair of #1 albums anda slew of signature songs. A quarter century after they formed, they're still going strong, and many of their biggest tracks get the band's always crowd-pleasing send-up on this cookin' live album recorded in concert on their Northern California home turf in December 2004. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars I'm not happy to be stuck with this...
I'm not ashamed to admit that like most children of the '80s, Huey Lewis was an important part of my life's soundtrack and every time he, Sean, Bill and Johnny (it's not The News without Chris Hayes and Mario Cipollina and I'll never deal with it!) and their backing band put out a new CD, I'm on it like an Ethiopian on a Big Mac (another '80s reference), and when I saw that they were FINALLY putting out a live album, I thought, "FANTASTIC!"

Then I played it.

I hoped Huey threw on some unlisted bonus tracks (i.e. the DVD bonus songs) as it's hard to imagine a live CD without "Walkin' on a Thin Line," "Jacob's Ladder," "Couple Days Off," maybe some of the covers off Four Chords like "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash" or INSERT SONG FROM BACK CATALOGUE HERE, AS LONG AS IT ISN'T "STUCK WITH YOU"!This should have been as well-endowed songwise as Huey is, allegedly.Why this wasn't a double CD, I guess they figured lack of interest.They are a people's band, though, right up there with NRBQ and The Saw Doctors, and despite there being a slightly reasonable amount of decent tracks on it for a single disc, it's hard not to feel like you got the fries, but the server forgot your burger.

All I want is a couple more tracks!
Signed,
epsteinsmutha

5-0 out of 5 stars Here For A Good Time
So, what have Huey Lewis & the News been up to since their heyday - the days of their back to back monster albums Sports & Fore? (Sports & Fore! produced many of the band's most recognizable hits, including "Heart & Soul", "The Heart of Rock & Roll", "I Want A New Drug", "Stuck With You", "Jacob's Ladder", and "Hip To Be Square", among others.)

Huey & company have continued to produce quality music based in the great traditions of American rock and R & B, releasing fine albums like "Hard At Play", "Four Chords & Several Years Ago", and most recently, "Plan B". The News has shifted their style over the years away from great rock with a great hook to great R & B with a great hook. And that shift, along with the passing of time, has pushed the band away from the mainstream, appealing primarily now to a large core of die hards.

Huey Lewis has said for years that he has always wanted to release a live concert album, and for the first time today, he and the band have come through with a live CD spanning songs from their 25 year career.

The CD is stuffed with 16 tracks and the set list won't surprise the die-hard NewsHeads. The tracks are a well-chosen sample of the News' albums through the years. Following the band's live performances since 1983, one can tell there are certain songs that Huey likes, despite the fact that they are not commercially popular. Huey included a track from their self-titled debut and three songs from "Plan B", which were never heard by most listeners on commercial radio. And the songs that didn't make the cut include "Stuck With You", Huey's biggest hit ever (3 weeks at number 1) and "Jacob's Ladder", another top 5 smash. Like he has said in concert, so many hits, so little time...

The disc really captures the pacing and energy of a typical Huey Lewis show. Light on banter with the crowd, he begins with "The Heart of Rock & Roll", and starts to unwind a bit when introducing Johnny Colla's sax solo mid-song. And he really loosens up toward the end of the underappreciated soulful second song, "So Little Kindness", extending the end of the song well beyond the recorded version, begging, pleading for just a little kindness. At this point, he and the band are hitting their groove and the night is still very young.

After a smooth and soulful "Thank You #19", Huey & the boys kick into a traditional highlight, the guitar-driven "I Want A New Drug". In recent years, Huey has taken to jamming a shorter version of "Drug" and rolling into "Small World", which features some snappy riffs from the News Brothers horn section and nice keyboard work by Sean Hopper. It definitely works here.


A by-the-books version of "If This Is It" makes way for a rocking "Power of Love", featuring Stef Burns on guitar. A deftly reworked version of their first big hit, "Do You Believe In Love", is a pleasure and could hit the Adult Contemporary charts today if recorded in studio.

After the traditional accapella break, the band hits the accelerator and doesn't look back. The crowd-pleasing segment kicks off with a News classic, "Heart And Soul", jumps to the foot-stomping "But It's Alright", and spins into the slightly reworked crowd-pleaser "(Too) Hip To Be Square". Huey & the News don't let up here, kicking into their out-of-the-box classic from "Plan B", "We're Not Here For A Long Time", and finishing the hand-clapping set with a long-overlooked staple, "Back In Time". To finish the disc, Huey ends with one of his greatest sing-a-longs, "Doing It All For My Baby".

Throughout the show, Huey's voice retained it's patented gravelly quality, rough around the edges, for sure, but hasn't it always been that way? The band was tight as ever, the crowd was cheering and dancing, and a great American rock and roll band was captured doing what they do best. This is what they call "feel good" music. My only regret was that the disc had to end at 16 songs. So many hits, so little time, indeed...

5-0 out of 5 stars So many hits, so little time . . .
Boom-boom boom-boom boom-boom boom-boom . . . and there you are, in the heart of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Huey Lewis has always been an upbeat force, but live is a separate dimension. Buy this record, crank it up, and experience the News in a whole new and always catchy way.

Good call on the "Drug/Small World" mix and a special edition of "Do You Believe In Love." And, really, is there any better closer than "Back In Time"? I don't think so. The band is in its usual snappy groove, and Mr. Lewis belts and purrs his sonic trademark straight into your soul. Yes, Huey, we're still with you.

Rilke wrote, "Music is closer to us, then; it streams toward us; we stand in its way, but then it goes right through us. It is almost like a higher air, we draw it into the lungs of spirit and it gives us a greater blood in the secret circulation." Breathe this record in, and curry favor by buying an extra copy for someone you like.

Geoff Cronin
Boston
... Read more


14. Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0001AP0OU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 365
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars DON'T leave yesterday behind..LET'S have yesterday once more
I too, would like to have the original studio cuts of the songs, on a nice collection or compilation CD. It's not that the re-mixed versions are bad, it's just that you want the original songs instead of the original songs remixed. Richard gives interesting commentary in the liner notes. Like how "The Karen Carpenter Story" which he produced and directed, is fictitious and false. And he calls his involvement with the tv-movie "a mistake". 40 songs on a CD is a plus. That's one of the best things about this CD. "Those Good Old Dreams" should have been included with this CD.

RAINBOW CONNECTION - better then the Kenny Loggins version and the kermit the frog version. This song is beautiful, & Karen is at her best here.

LEAVE YESTERDAY BEHIND - it sounds like a bad version of "For All We Know". The beginning of the song sounds identical to "For All We Know". This song STINKS!

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN - Some of the background instuments sound scratchy, and it's inferior to the classic MaMa's & PaPa's version. But Karen's voice sounds great. Richard notes that Karen sang one of the lyrics wrong. This song STINKS too!

A & M finally included a non-love song from the Carpenters called "Mr. Guder". This is one of my favorites. The best songs are: superstar- rainy days- top of the world- jambalaya- rainbow connection- masquerade- yesterday once more- make believe it's your first time- i just fall in love again- for all we know- i won't last a day without u- a song for you.

I highly recommend this CD.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mixed Emotions
A great deal for the money, no doubt about that, and the second best Carpenters collection out there (look for the out of print "1969-1973" greatest hits, which has twelve classic songs and no filler at all).

Several issues: Richard Carpenter has remixed the songs, and while there's nothing wrong with them, they won't all sound exactly like you remember. A minor quibble, but worth mentioning. Richard's liner notes, are excellent, however, and well worth your time--you'll find his comments about the TV movie made after Karen's death very interesting.

There are three previously unreleased tracks, including a so-so "California Dreamin'," with vocals recorded way back in 1967 and musical backing added several years ago. There are some interesting covers, including "Rainbow Connection," (yes, the Muppets hit the Top 40 with the same song), and Barry Manilow's "Tryin' To Get The Feeling." Karen sounds tremendous on Leon Russell's "This Masquerade" as well.

Diehard fans will have their own quibbles about a song here and there which was left out, but this set is packed with not only the all-time classics but lesser-known singles and the oft-played "Merry Christmas Darling." This is very close to a five-star package, but while there are no noticeable drops in song quality, the later years for the band didn't yield music quite as powerful and enduring as their first few years. But this one is strongly recommended, especially at this bargain basement price--you can't be without "Close To You," "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays" and all the rest of their timeless hits.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yesteryear Once More
This cd's only flaw is that it's not done chronologically, as it would have helped new Carpenters fans find it easier to trace the group's legacy. But when one overlook that one major mistake, what's here is 2 great cds of timeless music from the greatest duo in pop music history (in my opinion).

Disc 1 is easily the more intriguing of the two discs. While it features a few big hits like "Superstar", "Rainy Days And Mondays" and "Top Of The World", it mostly features obscure tracks and previously unreleased material. Among the goodies are a 1967 recording of "California Dreamin' featuring a haunting vocal by Karen, the "Star Wars" - inspired "Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem Of World Contact Day)", and the stirring "Your Baby Doesn't Love You Anymore" (from the 1983 posthumous release "Voice Of The Heart"). My favorite song on this disc is the 1976 hit "There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)". This version easily buries Herman's Hermits' original version. And am I the only one who tears up when I hear "We've Only Just Begun"?

Disc 2 contains all of the big hits. Here's where you'll find "Yesterday Once More", "Hurting Each Other", "Sing", "Goodbye To Love" and, of course, "(They Long To Be) Close To You". Also included a few more obscure numbers that I enjoyd just as much like "All You Get From Love Is A Love Song", "I Need To Be In Love" (Karen's favorite) and "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" (their version buries the top 10 hit version by Barry Manilow, who had the lyrics altered for his recording). Also included the stirring instrumental "Karen's Theme", from the 1989 tv movie "The Karen Carpenter Story", as well as a track on his 1997 solo album "Pianist, Arranger, Composer, Conductor". What's best about these cds is that aside from continuing show that Karen was the best female singer of her era, it shows that she was an amazing drummer, a talent of hers that remains underrated (that and her dazzling beauty).

This set leaves nothing out (there a are few low - charting latterday singles like "Goofus" and "Beachwood 4 - 195789" missing, but they are not that important). Also, Richard Carpenter provides For good, old - fashioned pop music that will surely brighten your day, pick this cd up today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clearer, Cleaner, & Fresher - Remixed is better
This is the greatest and largest Carpenters greatest hits album so far! As usual, Karen's voice is haunting and beautiful and very pleasing to the ear. She sounds so wonderful. The song selection is great too. All of the hits and 3 new Carpenters songs. "Rainbow Connection" & "Leave Yesterday Behind" are lovely ballads, that Karen sings perfectly. "California Dreamin" is a 17-year old Karen!

"Tryin' To Get the Feeling Again" is a beautiful Carpenter ballad, that is way better than Barry Manilow's version. "I Need To Be In Love" & "I Won't Last A Day Without You" are the only two songs that Karen sings with soul and sadness. She believes and really feels what she is singing, with these two songs. "Yesterday Once More" and "Make Believe It's Your First Time" are two of Richard's best songs that he arranged. His creativity and arrangements on those two songs, combined with Karen's voice is magic. The Carpenters making more adult and mature music like "Make Believe It's Your First Time" and "Touch Me When We're Dancing" was a good shift and change in their music. For future greatest hits CDs, I hope to see "One Love" and "Because We Are In Love (The Wedding Song)", on future greatest hits compilations.

People criticize Richard's remixing the Carpenters songs. But if you ever listen to the original version of the Carpenters songs (especially the early ones), you should hear how old and phonically bad, they sound. The remixed songs on this CD, sound updated and brand new, as if they were just recorded on brand new state-of-the-art recording equipment. When I compare the remixed and original versions of "Yesterday Once More", there is very minor, almost no instrument or orchestration difference between the two, but the remixed version sounds clearer and cleaner, and the original version sounds as if you are listening to a vinyl record on a turntable. And I compared "Yesterday Once More" with the "Now & Then" studio album on CD and not vinyl!

Richard tells us that doing these compilation CDs are "bittersweet", but he says he owes it to Karen. I thank and appreciate Richard for writing the liner notes and producing this CD and releasing more unreleased Carpenters songs.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Guiltiest Of All Pleasures
I can't stand it when haters rag on the Carpenters. Say what you will, but no one can deny the beauty and simplicity of Karen Carpenter's voice. This collection is a great representation of the many hits that the Carpenters churned out in the the 70's. You get the tracks that they're the most known for ("Superstar" *my fave*, "We've only Just Begun", "Close To You", etc.) the covers ("Rainbow Connection", "California Dreamin", "Ticket To Ride", etc.) and some of the lesser known tracks. I can't help but marvel at the innocense and simplicity that this music represesnts. So it had no substance....who really cares? Music nowadays lacks the innosence that the Carpenters portrayed and it's rather sad how the times have changed. I'd trade hip hop for the 70's any day. ... Read more


15. Highlights From The Phantom Of The Opera: The Original Cast Recording (1986 London Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001FLQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 577
Average Customer Review: 4.76 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Highlight versions of cast recordings are by definition a compromise, and this reduction of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera is no exception. Weighing in at 59 minutes, it's over 40 minutes shorter than the two-disc version, excising many musical scenes that convey the flow and impact of the show (which include, admittedly, a lot of patter and screaming). On the other hand, all the hits are here--"Think of Me," "Angel of Music," the title tune, "The Music of the Night," "All I Ask of You," "Masquerade," and "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again"--and Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman are still on hand to make their distinctive contributions to the original London cast. So if you're looking for a convenient, inexpensive single disc that will let you enjoy Lloyd Webber's scrumptious melodies without having to immerse yourself in the action, this just might be for you.--David Horiuchi ... Read more

Reviews (67)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Terrific, not to mention terrifying!
I have yet to buy the complete CD version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's haunting musical version of the classic love story The Phantom of the Opera, but my copy of 'Highlights' is nearly ten years old...and I still love it.
Michael Crawford was not only the first man to play the title character but in my opinion he must be the best. Surely, it's impossible for anyone to be better than him. His voice is magnificent, his cackling laugh keeps me up at night and even on a recording his sorrow and anger seem so real.
Although I've heard she's not much of an actress, vocally Sarah Brightman is amazing as Christine, a talented opera singer and the object of the phantom's desire.
Steve Barton sings the part of Raoul, Christine's old friend and love interest. He's very good which is why it's a shame his career didn't get more of a boost out of his performance.
In fact the whole cast is simply amazing. In songs like 'Masquerade' it becomes very clear to even be in the chorus of this spine-tingling musical you have to be very, very good.
Some will appreciate this CD more after having seen it live, but in my opinion every single person should own a copy of this tremendously good recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars One Phantastic Soundtrack
I saw The Phantom of the Opera nearly three years ago, and I remember it like I just saw it yesterday. The acting is superbe and the music is magnificent!! The entire soundtrack (it's a double cd) is great, but if you are just looking for the "main" songs, then the Highlights CD is just as good. Every time I listen to this CD, the play vividly comes to life, and I feel exactly what all of the characters are feeling....especially the Phantom. The play is wonderful...the music is even better!! You will definitely not be sorry that you bought this soundtrack.

5-0 out of 5 stars This started my Crawford Kick!!!!
I never heard of Mike before hearing this in 6th grade....

I was absolutely memorized by this man's voice--and boy
if i was the only one in the classromm, i would have started crying...his singing was so cystyalized- seems like he puts
all genuine emotion in his voice and it shows....

I love when he sings with the music box in the last song....
that's better than a full orchestra...

Or Michael with that haunting piano in song 6..that'll
do it to me....

I now have joined the Michael Crawford International
Fan Club Association (well not yet, i plan to!!)--

I saw the Phantom 2wice in my life.... with Ted Keegan
and Colm Wilkonson in the lead roles respectively---

Just holds no candle to Mike.....

5-0 out of 5 stars The Abriged Phantom of the Opera
Highlight versions of cast recordings can be convient -- nice price, one disc, shorter runtime, and all of the big numbers. I originally bought this highlights version a couple months before seeing the show because I didn't have the money for the two-disc complete recording, and it is a decent purchase. All the standout songs are here -- Think of Me, the title song, Angel of Music, All I Ask of You, Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, and others -- and for the curious who may never see the show but want a sample of it anyway, this is likely more than enough. But I made a mistake buying this over the complete set, because as soon as you see the show you'll be dying to have it all. Yes, the big ones are here, but there's so much wonderful stuff that you miss with this one, especially little things connecting the big numbers. Notes and Magical Lasso are perticularly missed here. It may not be important to you now but once you've seen the show you'll want it. So my advice is skip this version and save up a little more money for the complete double-disc album. You'll be glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Audiophile friendly
I agree with the other many positive reviews. In adition if you have a high end system, the recording reproduces the soundstage and imaging of the performance. As an example in the last piece you can follow the performers moving across the stage providing a "you are (almost) there" experience. ... Read more


16. Pure
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002HJF34
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 748
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The man who made R&B safe for smooth-jazz saxophonists has another possible Soul Train award winner featuring slick vocal excursions by Debi Nova and Dwele. There's also a real groove-a-thon with Bilal titled "Better with Time" that, like the lyrics state, is like an old soul record. Keyboards also stand out among these 10 tracks. Joe Sample delivers one of his patented short piano solos on the aptly titled "Stone Groove," and while Billy Preston's organ and Bobby Lyle's piano are not out front on "You Don't Have to Go Home," the aural picture they frame for the artist is masterful. James, who produced this album, has developed into a very solid contemporary jazz composer, adding spicy horn arrangements throughout that really showcase his growth in that area--particularly on "Here She Comes," which has an Incognito horn-section vibe to it. It all adds up to James's most rewarding album since 1998's Sweet Thing. --Mark Ruffin ... Read more


17. Thankful
list price: $18.98
our price: $9.99
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Asin: B00007GUIO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 395
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Kelly Clarkson, the toothsome winner of Fox TV's first American Idol competition shows that her prime-time win was no fluke. She blithely skipsthrough octaves and genres like a seasoned pro, belting out power ballads like hooky "Low" and the Diane Warren-penned "Some Kind of Miracle," with the aplomb of Pat Benatar in her prime. Clarkson tackles the neo-gospel "Anytime" without flinching, then shows some dirty street cred as she growls through "Miss Independent," a song she penned with Christina Aguilera. But Miss Independent would be a gross misnomer; despite the fact Clarkson co-wrote four of the album's tunes. Clarkson not only had uber record exec/executive producer Clive Davis at her disposal, but an arsenal of producers and songwriters to make sure she didn't make a creative misstep. Despite Clarkson's sublime vocal talents, excessive gloss at times overwhelms the quirky charm and personality she displayed on Idol. --Jaan Uhelszki ... Read more

Reviews (952)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best CD I've Ever Heard!!!
I wasn't a huge fan of American Idol last summer, but always loved Kelly. She has amazed me to an extreme point. Her album is absolutely the best CD in my collection, which includes over 300 CDs of every type of music.

The Trouble With Love Is - Extremely meaningful lyrics, gracefully sung

Miss Independent - You've all heard this on the radio, co - written by Christina Aguilera, it really gets you going!

Low - Sounds like a Faith Hill song, the second single and is terrific

Some Kind Of Miracle - Diane Warren penned this for Kelly, and Kelly has officially made the top of classic Warren singers

What's Up Lonely - Very Catchy song that will stay with you for a long time after listening to it

Just Missed The Train - My favorite song on the CD. It's such a great song, amazing vocals and great background music. Bravo!

Beautiful Disaster - Very soothing song

You Thought Wrong - Duet with Tamyra Gray. My other favorite song. It's an amazing song which should definitely become a single, because it would go straight to number one!

Thankful - Sweet song about what she's thankful for

Anytime - The most beautiful slow song ever written (along with Def Leppard's "Long Long Way To Go"), and Kelly's vocals will wow anyone who listens

A Moment Like This - This rerecorded version is even better than the original she recorded in September last year

Before Your Love - This song still gets to me, it's so beautiful

The entire album is spectacular, and every song is a potential single, particularly "Just Missed The Train", "You Thought Wrong", and "Anytime." I highly recommend this, you won't be sorry! I hope to hear much more in the future from Ms. Clarkson, truly the most talented singer on the planet.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surpassed my expectations! -- an honest and accurate review
Speaking from the view of someone who hadn't watched the first American Idol season, I was expecting this album to flop. I gave it a listen, and was I ever surprised!

Kelly Clarkson has one of the best and most unique voices in today's pop music. She has a remarkable range, she has the strength and power of a professional, and her vibrato is rich without being excessive.

One of the strengths of this album is that it crosses so many genres -- from flat-out pop ("Miss Independent") to alternative ("Beautiful Disaster") to blues ("The Trouble With Love Is").

Clarkson shows her talents in the power ballads "Anytime" and the smash hit "A Moment Like This", easily two of the best songs on the album. Other good songs are the girl-power dance hit "Miss Independent", the midtempo "Low" and the wistful "Just Missed the Train".

The lowest point is probably the track "You Thought Wrong", featuring Tamyra Gray of the first season. It was supposed to echo the Grammy-winning Brandy and Monica duet "The Boy Is Mine" but lacks the clear and unique lyrics and is too fast to enjoy. Also, Clarkson's and Gray's voices are too similar to make it a memorable song.

Overall, I give Kelly Clarkson praise for putting out an album that mixes musical talent with clever songs to showcase her in the best way. Whether you're an Idol fan or not, buy this album. You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars PUTS HILLARY TO SHAME!
This cd is truly amazing, Kelly has an amazing voice that even Simon would love. The question is is it better than hillarys? OMG yeah! And trust me ppl it's not just because I don't like hillary! This is a must have cd and I mean it I love all her albums trust me it's a must have just like everything else she dose!!

5-0 out of 5 stars I am Thankful for Kelly
This is, in all honesty, my favorite CD of all time. Kelly has the most beautiful voice of any other female singer I have evr heard, and her fame is success is well-deserved. All I can say to anyone who is reading this, BUY THIS CD! I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Many of the songs that haven't even made fame yet are excellent. "Just Missed The Train" and "Beautiful Disaster" are fantastic, along with all her other songs that have been released as singles. This CD is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates marvelous songs with awesome vocals.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome cd!
I never watched American Idol until mid way this season to watch Diana DeGarmo, but I do have to say that I bought this cd along with Ruben's and then Clay's. I love it ! Kelly has a knock em dead voice that she can make whatever she wants whenever she wants it. I like the fact that her pitch changes a lot, this makes the songs energetic, and exciting. I love the fast songs and I love the sad songs as well, to me its like she relates to you personally and to me thats a real singer... Great album! I can't wait for second one - Ive heard Breakaway, so I can't wait for that to be released too... ... Read more


18. The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast)
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000001M1B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 369
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

An Oscar win might suggest a score that would need a miracle to be bettered--but this colorful stage adaptation of Disney's The Lion King does so with flair. Composers Mark Mancina and Lebo M worked closely together to fuse the movie's many disparate elements. Where there was a veritable army exercising creative influences for the animated tale, this brings it all under the wings of a like-minded few. This is genuinely apparent as one track flows into the next. The African rhythms--both vocal and in instrumentation--come across as authentic and original all at once. No doubt this is largely through Mancina's passion for peculiar instruments and the possibilities suggested from nightly live performances. "Grasslands Chant" is a good place to hear this. The hit favorites are here of course, but both "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" are pleasingly unrecognizable with chorus and shifting beats. Better still is the likelihood they will now be eclipsed by some of the new numbers. Mancina's own "He Lives in You" being a strong contender. With a sound mix as crisp as you'd hope to find, this is rousing stuff. --Paul Tonks ... Read more

Reviews (102)

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative Theatre Meets Family Entertainment
First of all, to address some of the other reviewers who didn't believe "The Lion King" deserved the Tony: What the American Theatre Wing recognized is an historic and important step in theatre history. "The Lion King" on Broadway didn't attempt to merely transfer the cartoon images of the movie onto the stage (a la Beauty and the Beast). Instead, through the guidance of genius director and designer Julie Taymor, the glorious story was lifted and transformed through mask, puppetry, and dance into a multi-disciplinary wonder. I'm a professional puppeteer, and the response of the puppetry community to this show is staggering. Curriculums are being reworked, new parterships are forming, and a puppetry renaissance has begun.

Now, onto this CD: I can understand that if you haven't seen the staged version, you wouldn't expect to hear the changes that have been made to the soundtrack. Fortunately, I was given the CD "Rhythm of the Pridelands" before seeing the show. Many of the new songs are from that album, which was new music inspired by the movie "Lion King" and written by Lebo M, the talented African artist whose voice you hear in the movie version of "Circle of Life." This soundtrack is a unique and exciting blending of the original soundtrack and "Pridelands," and has an organic and harmonious feel to it. The new African chants serve to balance the more cutesy tunes from the movie. In the end, there is something for everyone. Listen without prejudice, and discover the beauty of the music.

5-0 out of 5 stars FOLLOWING A BAD TREND, BUT JERKING THE TEARS
If you're thinking of not buying this CD because you already have the movie soundtrack, HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Not only does the Original Broadway Cast Recording have more songs than there are in the movie, but the original songs have been adapted and, in some cases, lengthened quite a lot. To be honest, there are a few poor attempts of "filler" and trying to add something with a rock edge, but the beautiful, rhythmic african chants and additions such as "Shadowland" and "Endless Night" bring tears to my eyes. They're worth paying for the entire thing. This CD gives you more of an emotional look at all of the characters and their despair. Disney followed the same trend they did with BEAUTY by adding a dozen songs with only a couple worth listening to, but they're tear jerkers and if you just sit back and listen to the chants and ballads, they're sure to touch your heart as they did mine... just skip the stuff in between. But it's a MUST HAVE for anyone even SLIGHTLY interested. Cuz I'm not even a Lion King Movie fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL SINCE EVITA!
AS YOU SEE, THERE ARE A LOT OF BROADWAY SHOWS ON BROADWAY NOW. YOU KNOW, YOU GOT MAMA MIA, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, AVENUE Q AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. YOU KNOW WHAT'S THE BEST? THE LION KING OF COURSE! AND THIS CD SPOTLIGHTS ALL THE CLASSIC CAST LIKE JOHN VICERY, [THE MAN I USED TO LOOK UP TO.] JASON RAIZE, [HE DIED A FEW MONTHS AGO. I MISS HIM SOOOOOO MUCH.] AND THE REST! IF YOU HAVE TO BUY ONE BROADWAY SOUNDTRACK, BUY THIS ONE! IT ROCKS! AND THEN GO SEE THE MUSICAL! SURE, IT'S ABOUT 200 DOLLORS...BELIVE ME,IT'S SO WORTH IT. THIS CD HAS AN AWSOME BOOKLET INCLUDING SOME PICTURES IN THE BACKROUND, LYRICS, AND SO MUCH MORE. AND IF THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, I DON'T KNOE WHAT TO TELL YA.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Really Good CD
I bought this because because I wanted a soundtrack for the Lion King and I was tempted just to buy the Disney one, but I thought this might be more interesting. I was paticuarly interested in the fact that there was more African music. It was really great. Even stuff like Circle of Life had a slightly different sound to it, and the whole thing had a much better atmosphere than Disney gave the film. What I love about it is that it isn't just another Disney soundtrack, but it really has it's own interesting sound. Go buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
The Lion King (1997 Original Broadway Cast) soundtrack is amazing. When I went to the play, I knew I wanted to buy the CD. I loved the music live and from the CD. I listen to it everyday. The people singing are wonderful. They sound great. I think any and everybody should buy this CD. You'll love it! ... Read more


19. Wild Card
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007XBMF2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 220
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

2-0 out of 5 stars only so much wine in the bottle
There just doesn't seem to be much hope for more Rippingtons material.Take this CD and listen to it 10 times through then try to remember one melody.You can't.Now take one of the CD's from the Rippington's heyday like "Welcome to the St. James Club" or "Tourist In Paradise", listen to them one time through and I'll bet you can remember the melodies.The trouble with this new record isn't in the production (which gets 5 stars), it's in the weak writing.The hooks are there but there's no real melodies.The players seem to be held at bay as well.A guy like Eric Marienthal can play his butt off, but you'd never know that from this record where he is forced to play simple riff-oriented songs.If you're looking for background music, you may be satisfied but the Rippingtons and Russ are "Miles Away" from their best material.

1-0 out of 5 stars Another Disappointment!
The last few Ripps cd's have been major disappointments to me, a life long Ripps fan. This is no exception.
This one is the worse. I enjoy Latin flavored music but not as a major dose from Russ and the group.

4-0 out of 5 stars Russ is back...kinda...
This is probably the best release from rippingtons since black diamond.I have been listening to these guys for years.Following the music etc...and have written many reviews on here.I understand the evolution of a sound or a band, so with that I say this to russ :( i know he reads this stuff )

Your on to something... finding your roots maybe.Its nice finally to hear you play electric guitar again like you have in the past.You so good at it.. and the latin acoustic thing is great.I miss the days of hearing crickets and bugs in your music... remember how your music would kinda set a mood?You felt like you were in the congo etc..Your music was so enviromental.It took you there.Keep on mixing it up.. different musicians etc.. surround yourself with diversity or tastes and mix it up... dont copy yourself or old rippingtons sounds, its obvious.Just be like you were...creating a mood/sound and pushing the envelope with it.Dont try to follow current sounds or trends. (metheny still sounds like he did 20 years ago..that why we like him) (I remember on kilamangaro, when you had a real drummer on that one...(forgot the name, he is the drummer for sting at times).. but what a sound it made!!

Get boney james on a sax.. bob mamet on keyboards ( yes bob mamet )..You on guitar..or even borrow lyle mays....even get kenny G back...but make sure he plays old school..we dont want to hear his wimpy lulliby sax playing..old school I mean duotones and back ...that style... he was a jazz cat master at one time..now he is a pop icon...sad.

Ive said enough.. good job on this one russ....

1-0 out of 5 stars Wild Card? Nothing "Wild" about it...
I have been a fan since their "Moonlighting" album (I have them all), but after hearing the "Let It Ripp" disaster, I figured they would come back strong. I was sadly mistaken. The latin flavor is OK, but it seems to have consumed their focus, making all their music sound exactly the same. I used to buy their albums sight unseen, but those days are over. This will be the first Rippingtons CD I will not buy. I heard it one time and thought "Man, I've heard this before - it's called "Let It Ripp", and I refuse to get "ripped" again!"

5-0 out of 5 stars The Rippingtons are back with a vengence.
After several mediocre past efforts, the Rippingtons are back with a vengence with this new CD, "Wild Card." In fact, after listening to the samples on my computer, I was not going to buy this CD because it sounded awful through the small speakers on my laptop. But, I read a review on this site indicating this CD contains real drums rather than a drum machine so I took a chance, and now I'm glad I did so. What stands out about this CD is that not only are the compositions refreshing and creative, but the recording quality is outstanding. In the past, the Rippington's horn section would dominate the sound in such a way that it was irritating to listen to. However, on this CD, the horn section sounds noticably balanced, and the overall tonal quality of the sound is ear candy. If I were an audio salesman, this would be one of the CDs I'd use to demo equipment. On a personal note, I have never heard my own audio system sound better, and a couple of compositions were so well recorded you could experience transcendental moments while listening to it. The Rippingtons definitely paid close attention to the recording quality, and the second time I played this CD, it sounded even better. I was beginning to think the Rippingtons were finished as Smooth Jazz artist, and also that smooth jazz was a dying genre of music. But, with this effort, the Rippingtons have shown a bright future for themselves as well as the smooth jazz genre. If you have an affinity for smooth jazz oriented music, you need to add this one to your collection. ... Read more


20. Smile
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002LI11M
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 38
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The Greatest Album That Never Was finally is. The Beach Boys' uncompleted 1967 album Smile has remained the elusive touchstone of Brian Wilson's brilliant, star-crossed career for decades. Artistic Holy Grail and troubling professional Waterloo for Wilson, a tantalizing prism of unfulfilled promise to his loyal cadre of fans, its story has become pop music's Rashomon. Finally completed via spring 2004 recordings with his stellar, longtime touring band (none of the original '60s sessions were used, though they've been recreated here with often stunning authenticity), it's arguably as alien to contemporary pop as it might have seemed in its intended '67 context--even to ears freshly primed by the glories of Pet Sounds.

Collaborator Van Dyke Parks's impressionistic, often mischievous lyrics conjure a collage of arcane 19th century Americana that's equal parts artful ellipse and aloof nostalgia. But wed to Wilson's innovative composition and recording techniques (echoing beat author William Burroughs's fabled cut 'n' paste methodology and exemplified by the modular "Good Vibrations"), the resulting semisuite confections challenge the boundaries of both song and album form, but with an insouciant charm that's as different from Pet Sounds as that landmark was from "I Get Around." Turns out those hypothetical comparisons to Sgt. Pepper's weren't so far off the mark. --Jerry McCulley


Smiling with Brian
Amazon.com Music Editor Peter Hilgendorf called Brian Wilson to congratulate him on the release of Smile, and to talk about the recording and some of the history behind this highly anticipated release. Listen now.


Catch Up with Brian Wilson and the Legend of Smile:
Here are a few lists to help unravel the stories and sounds of Smile.

  • Essential Brian Wilson CDs
  • Essential Brian Wilson DVDs
  • Essential Brian Wilson books
... Read more

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