Neil Young – Freedom

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Artist: Neil Young
Genere: Rock
Title: Freedom
Released:1989
Label:Reprise
Format: CD
Musicians:Neil Young – vocals; acoustic guitar; electric guitar; harmonica; piano, Chad Cromwell – drums, Rick “The Bass Player” Rosas – bass, Frank “Poncho” Sampedro – guitar, keyboards, mandolin, vocals, Ben Keith – alto saxophone; pedal steel guitar; keyboards, vocals, Additional personnel:Linda Ronstadt – vocals on 4, 6, Tony Marsico – bass on 10, Steve Lawrence – tenor saxophone on 2, 7, Larry Cragg – baritone saxophone on 2, 7, Claude Cailliet – trombone on 2, 7, John Fumo – trumpet on 2, 7, Tom Bray – trumpet on 2, 7
Producer: Neil Young & Niko Bolas
Recording Engineer:Niko Bolas
Mixing Engineer: Neil Youg & Niko Bolas
Digital Engineer: Tim Mulligan
Mastering Engineer: Doug Sax

Freedom is the eighteenth studio album by Canadian rock musician Neil Young. Freedom effectively relaunched Young’s career after a largely unsuccessful decade. After many arguments (and a lawsuit), Young left Geffen Records in 1988 and returned to his original label, Reprise, with This Note’s for You. Freedom, however, brought about a new, critical and commercially successful album. This album was released in the United States as an LP record and a CD in 1989. I have the CD version, I know, shame on me for having Neil Young on CD instead of vinyl. Well, I do have many of his LPs on vinyl and this CD is a bit of a standout to other CDs. It really was done well, somehow with the mastery of the great Doug Sax the sound retained much of its natural feel on the CD. Somebody did something right. Continue reading

Verve – A Storm In Heaven (Vernon Yard Recordings)

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Artist: The Verve
Genre: Post -rock, Shoegaze, Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Brit Pop
Title: A Storm In Heaven (Vernon Yard Recordings)
Released:1993
Label: Hut Records
Format:CD
Musicians: Richard Ashcroft – vocals, bass, guitars, percussion, Nick McCabe – guitars, piano, Peter Salisbury – drums, percussion, Simon Jones – bass, backing vocals,
Additional musicians:Simon Clarke – solo flute, horn arrangements, Kick Horns – trumpets, saxophones, Yvette Lacey – chorus flute, Roddy Lorimer – horn arrangements
Producer: John Leckie
Engineer: John Cornfield
Mix Engineer: John Leckie

The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date.

Beginning with a psychedelic sound, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and four albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits, you know, the usual stuff. The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history.  Soon after their commercial peak, the Verve broke up in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. The group’s rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics”. The band’s original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single “Love Is Noise”. Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the second time in 2009.

1993’s A Storm in Heaven was the band’s full-length debut, produced by record producer John Leckie (of Simple Minds, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, XTC and The Fall fame). During this period the band played a number of gigs with Oasis who, at the time, were relatively unknown. The band then played on the travelling U.S. alternative rock festival, Lollapalooza, in the summer of 1994. The tour became notorious for the events of 11 July – Ashcroft was hospitalised for dehydration after a massive session of drinking and Salisbury was arrested for destroying a hotel room in Kansas in a drug-fuelled delirium. However, the band were performing again the very next day. Ashcroft later recalled: “At the start, it was an adventure, but America nearly killed us.”
You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Verve

A Storm in Heaven originated during the band’s four-week stay outside of Llandudno, Wales. According to producer John Leckie, the band worked until “4 a.m. every night…they were quite a nocturnal band…they didn’t get much sleep. They smoked a lot of dope.” Drummer Pete Salisbury’s percussion was inspired by Dr. John, the Night Tripper’s Gris-Gris album, while the brass section from the Kick Horns on “The Sun, The Sea” and “Butterfly” was influenced by Fun House (The Stooges album). Like the band’s prior EPs and singles, most of the songs on this album are bathed in heavy layers of delay (echo) and reverb, used on both the guitars and the vocals, to give a disorienting psychedelic overall effect.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Storm_in_Heaven

The problem is that this CD  is slightly thin sounding, but more than that , the guitars are clipped in several spots and the vocals get lost occasionally.

1. “Star Sail”- The timing of this tune is similar to Jane’s Addiction only a bit slower. This makes sense seeing that the Verve’s first American gig was at Lallapalooza with Jane’s Addiction. Unfortunately the vocals get lost at points.
2. “Slide Away” – This is one of my favorites on the album. I just like the structure and the lyrics are great.
3. “Already There” – This song sounds almost shoegaze flavored, but with positive lyrics. The energy picks up about half way through with power choruses, but sadly, this song was poorly recorded in my opinion. Guitars are clipped.
4. “Beautiful Mind” – This tune is definitely psychedelic, but a bit over-done on the echo making it hard to follow and the lyrics unintelligible. One of my least favorite tracks.
5. “The Sun, The Sea” – This has the hard rock, Verve sound familiar from the time of Urban Hymns. I like the bridge of this song, not that it is anything special, but just very appropriate in my opinion. Again, the guitars sound clipped here.
6. “Virtual World” – This tune is more post-rock than anything else and more mellow, but the singing is annoying in my opinion and the instrumentation is not notable either.
7. “Make It ‘Til Monday” – This sounds like filler material to me and rather messy.
8. “Blue” – This is a straight psychedelic rock sound with a nice drive to it. Good tune in my opinion.
9. “Butterfly” – To me this song sounds like psychedelic rock meets delta blues. It’s kind of interesting and I’m not sure what to make of it exactly, but I don’t dislike it. The lyrics pertain directly to the so-called butterfly effect.
10. “See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)” – To me, this is just an OK ballad. The song is built on a subdued piano motif played by McCabe and atmospheric acoustic guitars played by vocalist Richard Ashcroft.

It’s too bad the production on this CD is not that great.

MUSIC:
SOUND:

The Sun And The Sea: https://youtu.be/lmeJPGjOqI0

Blue Man Group – Audio

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This is not a CD available in stores. It was only sold at the shows back in 1999 to note the particular one I saw.

Instead of writing a review about this album, I decided that it might be a bit too dry, so instead I will talk about how i got it and the show I saw.
Yes, I know this was 14 years ago, but some things get etched in one’s mind and one of these shows will do that.
I was gifted tickets to the Blue Man Group show in Vegas back in 2003 I think and to my surprise, they were not the cheap seats. I’m a percussionist, well, a non-active one now. Anyway, I love me some drums and I have my mentors. This is a bit different, this is also about invention and I love what these guys come up with. Anyway, this show was when they were at the Luxor and for me the show started before we even got to the theater doors because we had to walk down a hall full of big statues of Anubis lining both sides and I’m into Egyptology too, so I knew this was going to be a party, I just didn’t know how intense a party.
So we were escorted down to our seats, further down and further down we went until we reached the fourth row from the front, (oh dear)! Hey, don’t these guys use a lot of paint and other wet stuff in their shows that ends up flying all over the place? I started to question if the fourth row was such a hot thing or not. (Turned out fine).  Continue reading