Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Recently I purchased this anime DVD issued over here by Manga and was really impressed with it not normally being taken to time travel stories as much as I enjoy sci-fi and anime.
The initial story goes back to the 1970's and has been tackled before but in the opinion of many never in quite the emotional depth of this adaptation and runs like this:

Makoto Konno, a high school girl in Tokyo's shitamachi, realizes she has the power to go back in time and re-do things (what is called a "time-leap") when she impossibly avoids a fatal accident at a train crossing one day.

Bewildered, she consults with her aunt throughout the film, who then implies that she is the protagonist from the original novel. At first, Makoto uses her power extravagantly to avoid being tardy and to get perfect grades on tests, and even relive a single karaoke session for about ten hours. It isn't long however that things begin to turn bad as she discovers how her actions can adversely affect others.

Makoto soon ends up using more of her leaps to recklessly prevent undesirable situations from happening, including an awkward confession of love from her best friend Chiaki Mamiya. Eventually she discovers a numbered tattoo on her arm that counts down with each leap. From this tattoo she realizes it indicates that she can only leap through time a limited number of times. With only a few time leaps left, she attempts to make things right for everyone, but impulsively she uses her final leap to prevent a phone call from Chiaki asking if she knows about time-leaping. As a result, she is unable to prevent her friend Kōsuke Tsuda and his girlfriend from being killed in the accident at the train crossing that Makoto was originally involved in. As Makoto watches the accident in horror, time suddenly stops.

Chiaki reveals that he is a traveller from the future and leapt through time in order to see a painting being restored by Makoto's aunt, as it has been destroyed in the future. While walking in the frozen city, Chiaki hints that his original era occurs after a world wide catastrophe decimates mankind. He then reveals that he has used his final leap to prevent Kōsuke's accident and has stopped time only to explain to Makoto what the consequences will be. Having revealed his origins and the source of the item that allowed Makoto to leap through time, and being unable to return to his time period, Chiaki must disappear. Makoto realizes too late that she loves him as well.

True to his words, Chiaki disappears when time begins again and Makoto is upset. As she tries to come to terms with losing him, she discovers that Chiaki's time-leap had inadvertently restored one time-leap to her: Chiaki had leapt back to before Makoto used her last leap. Makoto now leaps to the moment when she gained her powers, at which point Chiaki still has one remaining time-leap. She reveals everything that he told her in the future concerning his indentity, the ability to leap through time, and his reasons for extending his stay in her time frame. Shortly before returning to his time period, Chiaki says he will wait for her in the future and Makoto replies that she will run toward it.

What makes the film so enjoyable is the portrayal of each character having many layers which adds to the sense of being able to empathize with them throughout the story.
The story is very much bitter sweet because Makoto learns that this power has to be handled with responsibility- changing the past is not so straightforward - and that actions beget reactions as she uses it to make a new world for her friends

I found it very moving.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Saint-Saens at Christmas

Well the day is here, we've been out to lunch with family locally cos it saves Mom cooking for everyone and the cat's have been going crazy over the Turkey since it was put on overnight to cook for tonight.

In with my presents that included a couple of annuals was this compact disc of Cello Music by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens who wrote rather more music than's given credit for.

Most people know his Organ Symphony which I bought in the mid 80's a cd of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim recording from 1976 which I loved on record and of his Samson et Delila.
He wrote a number of pieces for the Cello such as a concerto for cello and this disc adds some marvellous performances recorded ten years ago by the master Cellist Mischa Maisky with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra extremely well recorded to my collection of French music. 

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas mail

Is that all you found in the mailbox then, My Melody?
Around this time of the year I'm busy writing out Christmas Cards for family and friends some of which do have to be mailed out and really this is last week one can rely upon them getting through with second class stamps as first is just way too expensive otherwise.
I'm also busy with wrapping up presents as the way that works with us is each house is a mini distribution depot for one or more others so that person takes all the presents for one with them rather than lots of individual journeys.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The onset of Winter

Today's has been like the last week over here cold and somewhat icy.

This would be fine except for the fact I'm not to good on my feet so it doesn't take much for me to lose my balance and fall over.
I had three attempts at falling over yesterday as even at 14:00 hours the ice had not melted in places.

I hurt my arm which had been damaged over twenty years ago from a playground accident so had to rest it for several hours.

It's okay now .

Monday, 17 November 2008

Twofer mania!

Just when you all thought I'd got it all done I surprised a few with an outbreak of twofer mania this month. I blame antonkk and that Diana thread!!! He didn't realize not only did it have me searching the world for a decent copy of her 1980 project with the guys from Chic, I ended up chasing an early series of discs Motown issued in the 1980's. 

The scene was the purchase of the 1986 CD release, Diana coupled with her 1979 Ashford and Simpson project "The Boss" with hits such as "No One Gets The Prize". There is a basic and I insist real problem with the 1998 Kevin Reeves version of Diana namely distortion and dynamic squashing. I know some have said he didn't do this and he mastered it from the originals which were hard to reproduce on on Lp with a lot of bass and so required some filtering for LP pressings but it isn't unknown for stuff to happen to a mastering engineers work after he's done it. Anyway I bought this old disc and it, as much as it might well of been a generation down from the master, sounds much freer and expands beautifully. "

Spurred on this find, I after nearly twenty years waiting got the Commodores Natural High/Midnight Magic twofer CD from 1986 pressed in Japan for Europe. It is very hard to find. It use the single edits of Flying High and Three Times A Lady to fit both albums within the then 74 minute time restriction of a CD but sounds amazing!
I also got the Marvin Gaye What's Going On & Let's Get It On twofer cheaply which sounds more natural than the 1994/8 issues

I got Mary Wells Two Lovers coupled with My Guy from the States which is a great stereo disc and actually quite rare
In January 2010 I picked up very cheaply The Supremes Let The Sunshine In c/w Cream Of The Crop from 1986 which was pressed in Japan

Monday, 10 November 2008

A bedroom for Caro

To be quite honest most of the designs and pictures I see for bedrooms really do nor interest me at all.

You see in my regressed world since what happened in 2006/7 this is really the sort of bedroom I want a twenty-first century girls one, less austere than the one I was brought up with but completely free from anything adult so I can just sleep and play in it which is helping me recover right now.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Don Henley

The Eagles were a band who I followed in the nineteen-seventies until the ugly affairs of the Long Run tour of 1979/80 saw the the band effectively end and with remembers starting or in the case of Joe Walsh resuming solo careers.
In late 1984 Don Henley released Building The Perfect Beast on Geffen records which was the home to The Boys Of Summer, a top 5 hit, Sunset Grill and All She Wants To Do Is Dance.
In 1989, he released the Age Of Innocence album that didn't chart so  well but was acclaimed for tackling more mature themes than many in rock not least the disconnect between the governed and the governors.
Recently I was able to get these, the very best sounding versions of both titles on 24kt gold cd at an affordable price to replace my original cassette copies.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Fall edition (Tm)

Well it's that time of the year dont'cha think? Everything's going vivid before the onset of the snow.

Having recovered from a bad cold I've been out and about walking, and so took a few pictures with my digital pocket camera.

This is of a tree that's situated at the junction of our road. I had to wait a few days to get the right combination of colour change on the tree plus fairly subtle lighting to bring it out. I'm sure you'll agree it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

My Roxy Music collection

Current Roxy Music recordings:CD's:
For Your Pleasure EG/Virgin 1988 EGCD 8
Stranded EG/Virgin 1991 EGCD 10
Country Life EG/Virgin 1988 EGCD 16
Siren EG/Polydor 1984 823 020-2 (First issue)
Manifesto EG/Poydor 1983 800 031-2 (First issue)
Flesh and Blood 1984 Orange top EG/Polydor 800 019 -2
Avalon EG/Polydor 1983 800 032 -2 - the best there is and shares the same mastering as the WEA West Gemany for US 'Target' CD)
Compilations: Streetlife - 20 Great Hits 1986 EG/Polydor 829 136-2.
This has the best sounding Virginia Plain, Pyjamarama and Angel Eyes (single mix).

The Ultimate Collection Virgin 1988.
Includes Bryan Ferry solo material and has Hold Me the 1986 US single otherwise hard to find on CD.

In general I have to say of the earlier CD issues the Polydor 823 ***-2 series sound thin and bass light. 
This is an example of the  disc top of that series of cds:

What we gain in dynamics, sadly squashed on the HDCD's from 1999 we lose in sheer 'drive'. I find the 1988/1991 EG/Virgins to be a better balence. For the 1979/82 albums the Polydors have the edge over the 1988/1991 Virgins.

LP's. I traded many of these in during the late 1980's- didn't we all? - and so am re-stocking.
Greatest Hits Polydor UK 1977 2302 073
This is a compilation of singles and album tracks from 1972-75. Marvellous sound

Manifesto Atco/EG 1979 US SD 32-114 (GP in the deadwax)
Flesh And Blood Atco/EG 1980 US SD32-102. This cut by Robert Ludwig (RL in the deadwax) is amazing!
Avalon WEA/EG 1982 US 9 23686-1(Masterdisk in the deadwax)
The High Road WEA/EG US 1983 9 23808-1Live Mini LP Recorded in Glasgow and NOT on cd.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


Bach is a composer I'm slowly making my way through in building up a sizable selection  of his compositions and recently I bought this 96/24bit transfer of the 1980 recording of the Goldberg Variations and the 1976 Italian Concerto for Harpsichord performed by Trevor Pinnock who normally conducts.
I love this account of Bach's Cello Sonatas that originally came out in 1985

This account of the Brandenburg Concertos originally came out to great acclaim in 1992 on EMI Eminence but four years ago was reissued by Classics For Pleasure in a slim double cd form.
 This is the later 1991 re-issue of the recording by violinists Anne-Sophie Mutter and Salvatore Accardo with the English Chamber Orchestra made in 1983 I bought on phase on of replacing my records and tapes with cds.
Bach wrote rather a lot for the organ and so at some point you are wanting a recording of his Organ works such as the Toccata and Fugue and this a re-release of a two cd set originally issued in 1992/3 by Peter Hurford a distinguished organist fits the bill.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Ludwig's re-masters

Robert Ludwig was one of finest mastering engineers of the vinyl era but without wishing to appear as if if I'm personally attacking him, I have to say I find his more recent CD work in the re-mastering field less than impressive.
One can't fault him for finding good clean sounding tapes but there appears to be something almost automated about what happens next.
His processing of the recordings seem to leave them with a harsh frozen edginess.
This is very evident in his current Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry re-mastering for Virgin Records.
He also seems to favour limiting the dynamics to make these re-masters sound louder compared to what is actually on the masters.
I personally find it hard to listen to Sister Morphine by the Rolling Stones where the track just fails to expand as Charlie's drums kick in. It is a very strange state of affairs when even my ancient pre-recorded 8 track has a bigger difference between the quiet and loud portions of this track.
Another is the introduction to the first track on Roxy Music's Manifesto which starts at too high a level.
He compounds this by adding extra low and high frequencies to this track resulting in earache as you trying listening to this at a loudish level. Many of us have been replacing these titles on cd lately. For the Rolling Stones generally the 1987 CBS issues made in the States and Europe sound much more like the lp's. With Roxy Music you can get either the 1984 EG/Polydor issues or the otherwise perfectly fine 1988/1991 EG/Virgins issued in the UK that sound more natural (the catalogue numbers have EGCD** on the spines).
For Avalon, you can't beat the Polydor/EG issue catalogue number 800 032-2.

See the next entry for my collection.

Monday, 1 September 2008


Although I sometimes talk about technical things, I am not about technical things at all so much as they are things I use on a regular basis in my life as ways of dealing with things such as my anxiety and confidence issues because it helps and so maintaining them myself matters.

In a lot of ways I'm a stereotypical girl or perhaps legally adult-child in that I love arts and crafts even if my co-ordination is kinda rubbish because I love taking art in making things probably because stimulating activity really helps even if I need help doing them.
I'm also a very much a dressy kind of girl, not liking really ornate fussy dresses and separates but easy put on dresses with simple print motifs or patterned fabrics and I love cute things round me.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Converting CD's for your digital music player.

I have done for this several years using such programs as Audiograbber but would like to talk about one I'm currently using.
It is called dbPowerAMP.

You can download this from the website dBpoweramp Music Converter
It is available on a free monthly trail basis after which you need to register it at which point you pay either$ 24 for the basic program or $36 for some extras including a CD burner.
This is a very simple program to use. You can either copy a single track or do batch ripping - ideal for albums - which also gives you track titles added from a database. That saves you typing them!
You have a choice of what sort of files to make - you can have the evergreen Mp3 which can be set for really good sound - or WMA or Flac by downloading the appropriate 'codec' from the site and selecting from the drop down menu before 'converting' (Ripping').

I mainly use the Mp3 option and have set it so it rips slowly for the best quality sound and set the file speed at 320kilobits per second (Kbps) which produces a nice sounding file.
This is the best sounding program I've ever used for one it's almost as good as the actual CD.
What you need to do before 'converting' is make a folder for the files and copy and past this to where it asks for the output path. I make a folder in 'My Documents' and use that.

To burn it off for a MP3 CD, just open up a burning program like Nero, select 'make an audio CD - MP3'. From ADD menu select the file from My Documents and double left click and it will load into it and follow up with selecting Burn following the prompts.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Dancing On The Valentine

Yes, it was 25 years ago that I bought this VHS EP video of Duran Duran performing three songs from the Seven and the Ragged Tiger album. This was video, issued by Picture Music International/EMI, was one of first to be done in stereo.
I still have my original copy in excellent condition. I guess everyone has a videotape collection and this is a part of my 'legacy' collection.

My Duran Duran VHS video collection

The track list for this videoalbum first issued in April 1983 on VHS and Betamax is as follows:


Planet earth

Lonely in your nightmare

Careless memories

My own way

Hungry like the wolf


Girls on film (Night version)

Save a prayer

The chauffeur

Is there something I should know

The videos for Lonely In Your Nightmare and The Chauffeur aren't available on DVD plus the version of Girls On Film is the 18 CERT (US NG-17 version) which has been re-edited for later issues including the DVD's. This is a tape you sure need to hang on to!

This Video came out on VHS and Betamax and is a EP meaning it has only 3 videos on it but retailed for much less than a full video back then.
Issued in 1984 it has the videos for The Reflex, Union Of The Snake and New Moon On Monday. These titles are available om THE GREATEST HITS dvd.

This came out in 1989 and has the videos from the singles issued from Notorious and Big Thing albums. A big thing at the time was the the audio was Digitally Mastered on this release and it sounds amazing on my Hifi stereo VHS machine!

This video is of a live concert from 1989 part of the "Skin Trade" tour and is highly recommended.VHS only release!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Alice Rose

Here's Alice Rose in red and yellow livery. Again notice the floral decor.
Caught just after the passengers had disembarked to stock up on food and other provisions.

Final picture of Alice Rose for ya taken toward the next bridge on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
In the background you can just see the local Public House. 
A great place to relax after spending several hours afloat.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tchaikovsky the Karajan way

One character that loomed large in my childhood discovery of classical music was the conductor Herbert von Karajan who rather like André Previn during that era were superstars, always recording and performing and promoted by record companies more than most.

During that period I acquired a number of  his Tchaikovsky recordings on record, listened to more thanks to the municipal library and the radio who'd have show playing recordings and even live concerts.
Recently I bought this 8 cd set that has many of his stereo recordings made for DG of Tchaikovsky's works that included a good number from those I owned but what is so good about this set is the six symphonies have a separate disc each to which overtures and other shorter pieces are added rather than being put together that often leads to two of them being split between cds which is a pain.
The 1972 disc of the Sleeping Beauty and Swan lake ballet suites that original came in their memorable silver foil lp jacket are joined by the 1967 Nutcracker Suite that originally coupled with Serenade For Strings as a single cd. 
Talking of which in this set they don't use that Serenade for Strings but the 1981 digital remake which is odd but it's very similar so the only real difference is improved inner detail.
The final disc has Christian Ferras's 1965 account of the violin concerto which is rather sentimental but one I loved at the time and the 'about-face' 1963 Richter performance of the piano concerto which always gave me the impression pianist and conductor were at odds with each other about how to play this piece.
The re-mastering for cd is completely new unlike some previous cd issues in the past with the sound in the 1812 Overture with the Don Cossack choir sung introduction sounding fuller.
While my tastes have moved on, this set is highly enjoyable for the performances and also for bringing back those childhood memories.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Inland Waterways

This scene is a typical one near Caroline's home.
It is the summer and in this part of England, people travel sections of inland waterways called Canals in a set pattern. The section of canal is called the Trent and Mersey linking the Midlands to Lancashire
This particular vessel is registered at Whixall, Shropshire in the Midlands and often is seen where she is hired from travelling from Audlem in the South to Runcorn in the North of Cheshire, a district with close links to Liverpool and the Wirral.
The people will typically stop overnight having used local shops, the Post Office and Public Houses before travelling toward Middlewich for the next leg.
Continuing with last months theme here are a few new pictures for you.

Sloe Motion. What a name, eh? This one is registered nearby at Northwich.
It has traditional flower and brass fittings.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

R.I.P. The Family Album

While recovering from getting drenched this afternoon in the rain and lightning I did start thinking about something that's been on my mind ever since digital photography became mainstream.
In the past, we took pictures on film with most of us making up photo albums usually based on a theme such as "My hiking holiday 1996" or something a bit like that with perhaps the odd memento such as a rail ticket added to the package that we shared with friends or kept as a reminder of past events ourselves.
While looking in Smiths, I saw what are called "Digital photoframes" a display device usually with some memory to store pictures and this one had limited sound options so say with a picture of your children you could have say a sound file with them saying something.
I wonder how many people actually have these at home as I've never seen them whenever I've visited people on shelves or fireplaces where in the past people would put family pictures in their homes?
Is it that either people leave them on the digital cameras on computers or do they use image sharing sites to which they may post links to albums for family and friends?
Are we in danger of just being takers of images that never see light of day with the posibility of gaping holes in our family albums?
What do you think?

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Bobby Vee

I've always had a soft spot for the music that came out immediately before the arrival of the Beatles and recently a new compilation by one of my favourite artists of that period, Bobby Vee, has been issued by EMI UK. Entitled the very best of this is a generous 27 track issue running for approx 1 Hour and two minutes having all his hits together with some choice cuts from his albums issued back then. It sounds a bit bright but does respond to turning the high notes down slightly.
Track list:
1.Rubber Ball
2.More Than I Can Say
3.Take Good Care Of My Baby
4.The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
5.Stayin' In
6.Run To Him
7.How Many Tears
8.Please Don't Ask About Barbara
9.Sharing You
10.A Forever Kind Of Love
11.Bobby Tomorrow
12.What Do You Want
13.Devil Or Angel
15.Come Back When You Grow Up
16.My Girl / Hey Girl
17.Tears On My Pillow
18.Raining In My Heart
19.Baby Face
20.Summertime Blues
21.Oh, Boy!
22.Sweet Little Sixteen
24.True Love Ways
25.It Might As Well Rain Until September
26.Will You Love Me Tomorrow
27.Poetry In Motion

This is a great introduction to the man.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


Having returned from my vacation, I thought I'd share these pictures of Conway harbour, North Wales, with you all.
The weather forecast was grim - strong winds and heavy showers - but actually it was really sunny and only on he Wednesday was there a one hour shower mid afternoon.
All pictures taken on Olympus OM10 film slr with 35 and 50mm marque lenses.
While there I saw an exclusive interview in a newspaper by that rising young soul star Duffy, who comes from this area. Her album is available on LP and CD.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Flower festival on the Trent and Mersey canal

Yesterday I attended part of a series of community events here on our local Inland waterway
Lindsey, a British Waterways narrow-boat, was being used as floating flower garden that forms part of the 2008 Cheshire Years of Gardens event.
This event took place on the Trent and Mersey canal at Rode Heath. Shad arrived at half past two in the afternoon having made an unscheduled stop at Church Lawton first.
Shad was decked out with flower displays sponsored by local groups such as the local Scouts, playgroups, WI's etc.
She was greeted by children and staff from the Infants of Rode Heath community school who had spent this term learning about inland waterways and narrow boats that formed a large part of the industrial and social heritage of this area when they were used to transport Brine (salt) and Pottery from North Staffordshire to Runcorn and Liverpool.
At Three-thirty, we were treated to a half hour brass band concert from the Juniors who performed in a tent.
Many locals attended coupled with visitors who had arrived by narrowboat enroute to Middlewich for the Boat and Folk festival at the weekend.
In the evening people were treated to a Dancing Troupe, the Rheema church choir and a two hour concert by Rode Hall silver band, one of the finest in the North West of England.
At the left is an image of her sister boat, Shad.

History of Shad, the narrowboat.

Shad, a motor narrow boat, was built in 1936 for Fellows, Morton and Clayton Ltd (FMC). For nearly 30 years, she worked on the canals between Wolverhampton, Ellesmere Port, Manchester and Nottingham, transporting up to 25 ton loads of general cargo. Her cargoes ranged from tea, sugar and flour to industrial raw materials and products such as coal, sand and metal ingots.
During this time, she was also home to a family of boat people. Despite the very small living area, the family would have been permanently resident on the boat and in fact, William and Emmie Grimes gave birth to their daughter aboard the boat on 15th January 1941.
Over the years, Shad had a succession of owners. In August 1950, when Shad was inspected as an accommodation unit, the Master was named as Mrs Shaw and the boat was registered for 3 adults in the aft cabin. By 1952 the Atkins family were living on her and by 1954, she had changed hands once more and her Master was listed as G Brookes.
Since 1949, when FMC went into liquidation, Shad had been part of the British Waterways North West Division's Carrying Fleet. British Waterways stopped carrying by boat in the 1960s and Shad was then leased to a number of different companies, undertaking a variety of carrying contacts. Eventually the speed of the lorry literally overtook the use of boats for carrying cargo and Shad was written off by British Waterways on 9th August 1976.
Retired to Hayhurst yard in Northwich, Shad proceeded to fill with rainwater and sink. In 1981 she transferred to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port where she was completely restored and for a number of years she fulfilled the role of museum trip boat.
Today Shad still plays an important part in the national waterways collection and can usually be found on display at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port (formerly the Boat Museum).

Friday, 6 June 2008

National dress


Scottish traditional dress has always fascinated me and here's a picture of a young girl in full traditional costume taking part ion a procession.

 One of my strongest recollections from the first time I ever set foot in Wales is seeing outside buildings and sometimes inside them to ladies dressed in traditional Welsh dress like this.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Kiss - Music from The Elder

A favourite heavy rock album of mine is Music from “the Elder” by Kiss which
was released on November 27 1981 on Casablanca Records 6302 163/NBLP 7261(US).
It was a puzzling release for a group well known for straight ahead rock songs to issue
a concept album (for crying out loud!) based around a story.
The album was a poor seller at the time and since then has been disowned by the group as
a mistake in that period where Ace Frehley's issues were causing difficulties and they felt
they'd lost direction.
However, recently a number of Kiss fans have spoken on forums of their love for this
– the most untypical Kiss album – and why the feel a re-appraisal is due. 

Original Track listing (Europe/North America)
A1. The Oath                         (4:32) - Stanley/Ezrin/Powers
A2. Fanfare                          (1:22) - Ezrin/Stanley
A3. Just A Boy                       (2:30) - Stanley/Ezrin
A4. Dark Light                       (4:12) - Frehley/Fig/Reed/Simmons
A5. Only You                         (4:19) - Simmons
A6. Under The Rose                   (4:49) - Carr/Simmons
B1. A World Without Heroes           (2:40) - Stanley/Ezrin/Reed/Simmons
B2. Mr. Blackwell                    (4:53) - Simmons/Reed
B3. Escape From The Island           (2:50) - Frehley/Ezrin/Carr
B4. Odyssey                          (5:36) - Powers
B5. I                                (3:52) - Simmons/Ezrin

Paul Stanley -
Eric Carr - Drums on 1-10 / back-up vocals
Gene Simmons - Bass
Ace Frehley - Lead Guitar
Bob Ezrin - Bass on B2.
Allan Schwartzberg - Drums on B4, B5.

Produced by Bob Ezrin. Associate Producer Brian Christian. Recorded at Ace In The Hole Studio, CT, March - July 1981, A & R Studios, NYC, NY, May 1981, Record Plant Studios, NYC,NY, May, July - September 1981, Ezrin Farm Studio & Sounds Interchange, Toronto, Canada, March & May 1981, by Brian Christian, Rick Hart, Robert Hrycyna and David Brown. Additional Engineering by Rob Freeman, Corky Stasiak and Kevin Doyle. Mixed at Manta Sound Studio, Toronto, Canada.

Recently fellow bone and member Craig and I held a internet listening session where we discussed this album.

Craig: “The Oath is definitely the best opener.
Caroline:(referring to the revised track order on the re-mastered CD) “Can't picture it anywhere else personally but someone thought better.”

Just A Boy is a thoughtful song which revealed just how good the range on Paul Stanley's voice really was.
Caroline:”Paul's singing was never bettered “
Referring to the guitar playing, Craig said ”LOVE the guitar shimmer on this one...
This album is full of GREAT guitar solos - all short and to the point. “
Under The Rose is the cinematic side ender
Caroline:”The vocal harmonies are cool - you don't get much of that in hard rock.”
Craig:(Quoting the lyric) “in every age
in every time
a hero is born
as if by a grand design”
and the "Just A Boy" motif comes back .
Caroline:”That was a clever touch in the arrangement “.
Craig:”Love the keyboard triplet riffs on Under The Rose I remember this chorus scaring me as a kid.
Guitar solo coming up - the doubling on the second half is blissful.”

A World Without Heroes is a slow thoughtful piece that opens up what was the second side of the LP and was released in the UK and US in February 1982 as 18cm (7”) single.
Caroline: “Just imagine a World without Heroes? “
Craig: ”One of my faves ever. I played it end on end as a kid. “
Mr. Blackwell:
Caroline: ”(Quoting the lyric)“Do what I want
I don't give a damn! “ - Very Gene!
Craig:Ya know, it's not that I don't like this song. I don't know if I like it in the context of the album - but it's better than I give credit for. “
Caroline:“It's a dark lyric but it makes sense in the context of the 'story'. It used to make me feel ill at ease at the time but I really like it now. “
Escape from the Island is unique in the Kiss catalogue being a percussion driven instrumental which made many of kiss fans aware for the first time of the late Eric Carr's true abilities. He was more than capable of playing Jazz.
Caroline:”Every beat is why I miss Eric. Damn fine playing here. “
Craig:”Agreed. And no Gene or Paul on this one. “(mimics the beat)”chugga chugga chugga “
Referring to Odyssey Craig's response was”ODYSSEY! My favourite I think. Just so epic... “
KILLER guitar solo!!! “”Love the breakdown. “
The song I concludes the original LP and shows of Paul and Gene's combined vocal abilities.
Craig:”Always loved the sharing vocals - was VERY happy to hear then do this on God Gave Rock And Roll To You II. It had been too long! “
Referring to the ending which quoted Kiss's first hit single Craig added “Sly little "I wanna rock and roll all nite" at the end! “

Thursday, 15 May 2008

A Walkin' Miracle!


YouTube - limmie & family cookin' - walking miracle - totp ...

This isn't the story of my life although that could be regarded as an apt description but the name of a song I really loved back in '74 by this popular soul group originally from Ohio.
The were so popular in the UK the moved on over here!

(Hugo Peretti / Adam Levy / Luigi Creatore / George David Weiss)

Trio Essex

(Ooh, ooh)
(Ooh, ooh)

Did you ever see starlight come rushing from the sky
Heading for home in the stars in someone's eyes?
Uh-huh-huh, That's my baby, talkin' 'bout my baby,
And I love him - He's a walkin' miracle.
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh, ooh)

Did you ever see sunshine come pourin' out of space
Just to be part of the smile on someone's face?
Uh-huh-huh, That's my baby, talkin' 'bout my baby,
And I love him - He's a walkin' miracle.
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh, ooh)

And you should see cherries do flips, oh yeah
When they're picked to be the taste on his lips, oh yeah
And I know how happy his clothes must be,
'Cause that's how I feel when he's close to me
(Close to me)

Did you ever see lovin' that really rings a bell,
Kooky and crazy like Romeo himself
Uh-huh-huh, that's my baby, Talkin' 'bout my baby,
And I love him - He's a walkin' miracle.
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh, ooh)

And you should see cherries do flips, oh yeah
When they're picked to be the taste on his lips, oh yeah
And I know how happy his clothes must be,
'Cause that's how I feel when he's close to me
(Close to me)

Did you ever see lovin' that really rings a bell,
Kooky and crazy like Romeo himself
Uh-huh-huh, that's my baby, Talkin' 'bout my baby,
And I love him - He's a walkin' miracle.
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh, ooh)
He's a walkin' miracle
(Ooh ooh)

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Pinafore dresses


The spring fashions here have been interesting not least the popularity of Pinafore Dresses in a variety of differing lengths and materials. Here's one I recently bought which has a cotton/elastene top part (the Pinafore), the lower is portion is jersey in a just above the knee length.
It ties up at the back.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


....And now for something different! Let's say I've always had a soft spot for things like Hello Kitty, the cultish Japanese iconic character but this un-official pose is one I truly adore. If it wasn't for the 'Gun Talk' rules on a certain website, I'd have it as my avatar. To me it kind of symbolizes the mixture of the innocent with the knowing - the bit that just might have to use force or weapons.

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Beatles - Great sounding vinyl Part 2 1964 - 1966

As you may recall from the first of this series of posts I have always like the music of the Beatles growing up with it and as I got older buying their records eventually forming an important part of my collection because they make me feel happy and I find the lyrics quite interesting.
From this period there is increasingly less difference in terms of overall sound quality between the North American and UK based LP's although there are many issues with the UK based CD issues that makes investigation desirable for beatle fans.
Continuing with 1964 the beatles recorded a series of tracks up to October of that year the majority of which were issued on LP format at some point.
Beatles For Sale is the home for most of these tracks but as the current LP is in sludgy mono we need to look at the alternatives.
Beatles For Sale has always been available in stereo and generally sounds much more open compared to it's mono counterpart.

The North American version is Beatles '65 which is what I grew up with. Side one follows the UK running order for the first 6 tracks and it just adds I Feel Fine, She's A Woman and I'll Be Back (on UK Hard day's Night LP).
I much prefer this running order although I Feel Fine doesn't sound good in duophonic (fake stereo).
I have compared recently a UK Beatles For Sale with my Canadian early 1980's Rainbow rim pressed at CBS and found that was a tidbit better actually!
(I Feel Fine sounds better on the analogue 1962-1966 RED album).
If you get Beatles For Sale you can skip the next entry.
Beatles VI
So called as Capitol counted this as their sixth Capitol LP is a gem and my Canadian Early 80's Rainbow Rim sounds fantastic!
It has the remainder of the Beatles For Sale tracks plus three early tracks that ended up on the UK help album. Two tracks, Dizzy Miss Lizzie and Bad Boy were specially recorded for this album in a 10 hour session.
See the separate blog entry for more.
The difference is the UK had an album of all beatle tunes and in North America we had a soundtrack album containing the instrumentals.
For sound quality nothing quite compares to the original UK stereo LP but the current copy is digitally re-mixed with added digital echo so you need to go back and get the original.
Fortunately copies can be had of the late 70's, early 80's fairly cheaply. I never got on with side two as the material is all over the place stylistically.
Rubber Soul.
The albums have the same title and 10 songs in common that follow the same order.
The Capitol version has a more 'folk-rock' feel with I've Just Seen a Face and It's Only Love from UK Help in there; the UK adds Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, If I Needed Someone and What Goes On? that appear on another Capitol album.
Take your pick - my Canadian purple label is very good and a genuine UK should be fine but a 1973 copy made for the UK in France under contract sounded very weak to my ears.
Yesterday and Today: The between Capitol album having Yesterday, Act Naturally, We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper.
This is a favourite of mine and later pressings do sound good - strike lucky and you'll get the all true stereo edition as Capitol were in a rush to release this album having three sons that saw in slightly different versions their UK appearance on Revolver.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Mikado for the Otaku!

At long last this is being marketed in England!

Cute looking Japanese chocolate on a biscuit stick with a small portion uncoated to make handling a less sticky affair.
Now if we get the fruit flavoured Pokey more readily available here it would be great.