Showing posts with label Classic Rock Album Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classic Rock Album Reviews. Show all posts

Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream - Review

Album: The Ragpicker´s Dream         -    Mark Knopfler                 2002

Producers: Chuck Ainlay and Mark Knopfler. 

Label: Mercury 

The Players:
Mark Knopfler: Guitars, Vocals
Richard Bennett: Guitars
Jim Cox: Piano,Organ
Guy Fletcher: Keyboards,Backing Vocals
Glenn Worf: Bass
Chad Cromwell: Drums

Guest Stars: 
Glenn Duncan: Violin
Paul Franklin: Pedal Steel
Mike Henderson: Harmonica
Jimmy Nail: Backing Vocals
Tim Heal: Backing Vocals

Songs: Why Aye Man, Devil Baby, Hill Farmer’s Blues, A Place Where We Used To Live, Quality Shoe, Fare Thee Well Northumberland, Marbletown, You Don’t Know You’re Born, Coyote, The Ragpicker´s Dream, Daddy’s Gone To Knoxville, Old Pigweed. 

Best Song:  You Don’t Know You’re Born   

Type of Music: Folk/Rock


The Ragpicker´s Dream definitively marks the beginning of Knopfler´s career as a solo-artist. It’s true that he already made two solo albums but they were still thoroughly influenced by his Dire Straits past. Gone as well are the prominent guests that starred on Sailing To Philadelphia. 

Finally he’s on his own and I guess that’s what he always wanted. He is The Loner that Neil Young wrote about. And he writes for the loners among us, the castaways, the hobos, the homeless and the unemployed. The Ragpicker´s Dream is a real Beggar’s Banquet and Mark is the King of the Road. (Quality Shoe).     

And the King travels. From the North East of England via the pubs in Germany to Marbletown and Knoxville in the USA. His understated use of folk, country and blues makes it all sound very authentic. Not in the least also thanks to the excellent musicians, basically the same crew as on the last album.

The lyrics are quite strong as well and paint a very accurate picture of  those who lost job, love and home. It’s a very moody record most of the time. A bit too moody maybe and it doesn’t hold your attention as easily as Sailing To Philadelphia. Still, not a bad choice for a rainy day!   

The package also contains a Bonus CD that includes an enhanced video of Why Aye Man and an additional four live audio tracks. Why Aye Man and Quality Shoe were recorded at Shepherd Bush Empire, while Sailing To Philadelphia and Brothers In Arms were recorded at the Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. On the first two songs Mark and the band are in great shape and the songs easily match the studio versions. Not so in Toronto though. Mark is either not feeling quite well or is trying to save his voice for other reasons. Fortunately his guitar playing is okay. Still there must be better Live versions of Brothers in Arms around.    

Bonus CD: Why Aye Man, Quality Shoe, Sailing To Philadelphia, Brothers In Arms, Why Aye Man (Enhanced Video). 

Rating:                                                  Maximum Points                          

Average Song Quality5,90*                           10
Production/Sound Quality: 7,50
Do I want to hear it again soon: 6,00

* The songs on the Bonus CD are not included in the rating.  

Who should buy this Record: Mostly for the true Mark Knopfler Fans. However, if you like JJ Cale and/or Chris Isaak you might give this one a try as well.  

Neil Young - Ragged Glory Review

Album : Ragged Glory  
Artist: Neil Young
Released: 1990
Producer: Neil Young and David Briggs
Label: Reprise

Crazy Horse:
Frank Sampedro: Guitar, Vocals
Billy Talbot: Bass, Vocals
Ralph Molina: Drums, Vocals

Songs: Country Home, White Line, Fuckin´ Up, Over and Over, Love to Burn, Farmer John, Mansion on the Hill, Days that Used to Be, Love and Only Love, Mother Earth (Natural Anthem). 

Type of Music: Grunge


It’s not easy to be a Neil Young Fan. One year earlier he added some slightly distorted guitars to the songs on Freedom and it worked nicely in a couple of songs. 
In 1990 however, Neil probably went to Seattle, discovered Grunge Music, thought it would sell quite good and called his good old friends from Crazy Horse who already played that kind of music long before it was known as such. Everybody went to the studio, completely distorted their guitars and rapidly recorded an album that was called Ragged Glory.  

The first thought that came to my mind when listening to the album was: Hey, this sounds like an industrial version of Tonight’s the Night! Same distorted guitars, same voice that sings slightly out of tune. There are quite some differences though. On Ragged Glory I miss quality songs, I miss a clear production and, most of all, I miss a sentiment. Where Tonight’s the Night reminded me of a backstreet little bar in New Orleans before the flood, Ragged Glory reminds me of a visit I once brought to a steel mill.  

There are some good song ideas to be found in this puddle of mud. Best song on the album by far is Mansion on the Hill. The Crazy Horse background vocals turn it into a catchy pop song. The song is literally followed by two honest sounding grunge-ballads Days that Used to Be and Love and Only Love. And both Over and Over and Love to Burn are basically nice songs that deserve a different kind of treatment.

In the good old sixties we had the EP or Extended Play, a single with three or four songs on it. In my humble opinion, Ragged Glory would have been an excellent EP.

Green: Great Songs - Black: Good Songs - Red: Could Be Better

Rating: Scale 0-10                        
Average Song Quality: 5,10
Production/Sound Quality: 5,00
Do I want to hear it again soon: 3,50

Who should buy this Record: Only for Die Hard Neil Young Fans

Beatles - Revolver - Review

Album : Revolver  
Artist: Beatles
Released: 1966
Producer: George Martin
Label: Parlophone/Apple

Songs:  Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, I´m Only Sleeping, Love You Too, Here There and Everywhere, Yellow Submarine, She Said She Said, Good Day Sunshine, And Your Bird Can Sing, For No One, Doctor Robert, I Want to Tell You, Got to Get You into My life, Tomorrow Never Knows.

Type of Music: Mid Sixties Quality Pop with Psychedelic Influences.


Fans can spend months trying to decide what would be their favourite Beatles Album. And I´m sure that lots of them would give that price to Revolver. It´s true that Rubber Soul has more great songs on an individual basis. But Revolver is the most consistent Album so far and forms a perfect marriage between first rate pop songs and a new, often adventurous, production. 
There are 14 songs on Revolver and I only consider Doctor Robert to be a weak track. John & Paul wrote most of the songs while George delivers 3 of them. One of them, the opener Taxman is great while the Indian Chant Love You Too and I Want to Tell You are good. 
Psychedelic Drug induced influences are all over the place in songs like I´m Only Sleeping, She Said She Said, Tomorrow Never Knows and the already mentioned Love You Too. 
Paul is great in more conventional ballads like Here There and Everywhere and For No One. I simply love this perfect description of a love lost forever:

And in her eyes, you see nothing
No sign of life behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

The Album also contains one of the most happy Beatles moments Good Day Sunshine next to one of their most sad sounding songs, the superb Eleanor Rigby. 
I almost forgot to mention Yellow Submarine sung by Ringo. There are a lot of people who consider this to be a childish sounding song. Sorry Ringo!!!! Maybe so. But let me tell you that it is probably the most intelligent childish sounding song ever written. 
And that's Revolver. A record you want to hear over and over again. 
Sure it's influenced by Drugs and Gurus. But here that works out just fine. 

Rating: Maximum Points                          

Average  Song Quality                          6,60               10
Production/Sound Quality                     6,00               10
Do I want to hear it again soon?           7,50                10    

Who should buy this Record:  Everyone . Be sure to get a Remastered Version. 

Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House - Review

Today I would like to present to you an Album from Fleetwood Mac recorded in 1970. Not because it's such a great Album but because of its title Kiln House. No better way than to combine Classic Rock and Whisky. As you know the Kiln is used to dry the soaking wet and germinating barley. Today most distilleries use hot air to dry the barley but distilleries on a/o Islay, the Orkney Isles and in Northern Scotland still use traditional peat and coal fires to dry the malt and get the peat flavour in the whisky. Drying goes on until the barley, now called Malt,  has reached the ideal temperature for grounding.
So that's the Kiln House in a nutshell. Here's the Album:

Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House - 1970

Songs: This is the Rock, Station Man, Blood on the Floor, Hi Ho Silver, Jewel Eyed Judy, Buddy´s Song, Earl Gray, One Together, Tell Me All The Things You Do, Mission Bell.       

Type of Music: Early Seventies Eh…….. Music, I suppose.

This was the first album without founding member Peter Green who joined a religious cult. So we have the rhythm section Fleetwood/Mc Vie and guitarists Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer. And we have some backing vocals from Christine McVie who would join the band right after the release of Kiln House. But it´s basically Jeremy who leads the way on this Album. But where does the road go to one wonders? We have a Carl Perkins pastiche called This is the Rock, a hilarious Elvis imitation in the country song Blood on the Floor and a Buddy Holly tribute called Buddy´s Song. Then there is some country-rock a la The Band in Station Man and, Oops we almost forgot we were a blues band, there is the Blues Rock of Tell Me All The Things You Do. Even an instrumental called Earl Gray which is not really my cup of tea but it´s not bad either.
Two insignificant songs are called One Together and Mission Bell. And all that remains is Jewel Eyed Judy. Hey, wait a minute! Now that´s a good song! Watch for those guitars. Best song on the Album without a shadow of a doubt.
So what´s the point of all the above. None I guess, the guys were just having fun!

Rating: ***** (5 out of 10)

Black = Good Songs
Green = Great Songs
Red = Could Be Better

Who should buy this Album: Well, nobody I suppose unless you’re a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac!