The Rolling Stones – Five By Five (EP Review)

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The Rolling Stones – Five By Five (EP Review)

Many collectors, myself included, have a list of the records that we consider Holy Grails. Often, Discogs is the best database for such a collection, especially if looking for a rarity to pop up on the secondhand market. However, there are times when good old crate-digging uncovers that hidden gem. Yes, dear reader, I was fortunate enough to pick up The Rolling Stones EP and Got Live If You Want It (EP) from Matau Records in 2018. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Five By Five and I was to find out that while secondhand copies were plentiful, new copies were far more expensive than they should be, most likely because of not only supply and demand but also the artificial scarcity of them being Record Store Day releases. As longtime readers would note, I want to purchase new pressings, in order to make them my own, create my own memories, and ultimately pass them down to my son. As such it was either pay two to three times the value or hope that one day it would be reissued. Well, the good news is I didn’t have t wait for a reissue. 

A couple of weeks ago, my significant other had surprise ordered a different Holy Grail record for me; Elton John’s 17-11-70+. It is rather difficult to get, especially in Australia, and the only copy I had known to be still available was at Sydney Hi-Fi in Mona Vale. I had no intention of picking up any other records, but as all collectors would note, when you get into crate digging mode, your budget goes completely out the window. As I was perusing their shelves, my significant other pointed out the 7-inch reissues they had. I hadn’t thought much of it for I was in album buying mode, but then as I looked I saw Five By Five. Not just one copy, but two copies, at a very reasonable price. I was like a kid in a toy store. As much as I lusted after the Elton John record, this surprising find made my day and I’m still in awe that I now have a copy. 

Five By Five was released in 1964 and was The Rolling Stones second official EP. Unlike the raw, yet compelling Self-Titled EP, Five By Five has a much higher production quality, likely as a result of being recorded and release post their debut album, The Rolling Stones, resulting in it being an absolute pleasure to listen to. 

As with the Self-Titled EP, the reproduction of the artwork was exquisite with obvious differences that would likely drive purists to the brink of sanity. I’m just happy to have a facsimile that I can call my own. Plus, this time around, unlike the re-issue of the Self-Titled EP and Got Live If You Want It I have to get out my 45-rpm adapter. It’s a small thing, but it enhances the nostalgia element. 

Side One 

If You Need Me is a great song, originally recorded by Soul Music pioneer and legend Solomon Burke. His original is beyond reproach, but The Rolling Stones really adapted it well to their style. A live Rolling Stones recording exists on On Air, but it isn’t nearly as compelling as this studio recording. The Hep Stars also covered If You Need Me nicely and Tom Jones, with his baritone vocal, is not only perfectly suited for this song but I’d argue his is the very best rendition in existence. Nevertheless, If You Need Me is a great opener for this EP and an incredible recording in The Rolling Stones’ back catalogue. 

Empty Heart is a collaborative Stones original and you can certainly hear the brilliance that was to come with a tonality that would have arguably fit perfectly on Exile On Main St. had it been recorded during the Main St. sessions.

2120 South Michigan Avenue is another original composition and as an instrumental, it isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything to write home about. At least Jagger wasn’t standing around, providing a solid Harmonica to the mix.

Side Two

Confessin’ The Blues is a killer Blues tune and the live recording, as heard on On Air, while raw, is  musically pure and a valued addition to any Rolling Stones collection. 

Around And Around is a Chuck Berry masterpiece, but the Stones covered it perfectly and made it there own. It is the perfect way to close out this EP, ensuring that I’ll play it again and stay within The Rolling Stones’ extensive catalogue. The live recording from Top Gear in 1964, as heard on On Air is great but is quite noisy and distorted. If you’re interested in a stellar live recording, have a listen to the performance on Love You Live from 1977. Of course, whichever way you choose to enjoy Around And Around is up to you, but it is arguably one of the greatest blues-based rock and roll songs ever written and recorded. 

Overall, Five By Five is, in my opinion, the greatest EP that The Rolling Stones released. The songs are highly polished for the era and suit the band perfectly. If you don’t have a copy of Five By Five, I strongly suggest you track down one or at the very least add it to your digital library for it is short and sweet but never dull. 

Click here to read other Rolling Stones reviews by Subjective Sounds.

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The Rolling Stones – Self-Titled (EP Review)

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The Rolling Stones – Self-Titled (EP Review)

Originally released in 1964, The Rolling Stones is the debut EP that further introduced The Rolling Stones to audiences following their successful Lennon-McCartney/Beatles cover, I Wanna Be Your Man. The Stone’s version is arguably more rock and roll, a little rawer, and subsequently, I think, as much as it will disturb Beatles’ fans, the Stones version is superior. Nevertheless, The Rolling Stones EP would follow and see the band cover a selection of well-known tunes. While the recordings may not be of the highest quality, this EP is more than enjoyable when played. 

I’ve listened to the Apple Music edition countless times, I am also fortunate enough to own the 2014 Record Store Day Re-Issue. While the core mastering is identical, the distortion is much more reserved on the 7” 45RPM EP as compared to the Apple Music stream. Digital, with its clean sound, tends to amplify distortion whereas vinyl is arguably distorted to a certain extent already, hence that warm analogue sound, and therefore it doesn’t stand out as much unless listening via headphones. Overall, the 45 is about as good as you’re ever going to hear this early EP. 

The artwork is beautifully restored, albeit slightly different to the original pressings. Similarly, the UK pressing that I have doesn’t require the 45rpm adapter as it has the standard spindle hole. It isn’t a major deal, but it is a nice touch to have to get the adapter out to use with my turntable as it harks back to the era of the original release. Nevertheless, the EP is a solid pressing, with a thoroughly enjoyable sound, thereby making it essential to my Rolling Stones collection.

Side 1

Bye Bye Johnny is a great rock and roll tune and the original Chuck Berry recording is incredible, but The Rolling Stones not only covered this song masterfully, shame about the distortion in the chorus though, but they made it their own. The performance from Ladies & Gentlemen isn’t bad either and would have been better without Jagger’s introduction, but it’s a fun little tune nonetheless. 

Money is a great Motown original and incidentally was the first hit to come out of Hitsville U.S.A. The original Barrett Strong recording is incredible, as is the Beatles’ rendition. I don’t think it would be offending anyone to say the Beatle’s recording is likely the best. Plus, let’s not even discuss the atrocious Flying Lizards’ recording. Thankfully, The Rolling Stones didn’t stray too far from the original, thereby recording a fantastic rendition. If again, it didn’t suffer from distortion, I’d argue that it would have given the Beatles’ version a run for its money (pun unintended). 

Side 2

You Better Move On is a lovely rhythm and blues song, originally written and recorded by the incredible Arthur Alexander. The original is a masterpiece and The Rolling Stones didn’t disappoint when they recorded this rendition for it pays homage to the original and is perfectly suited to the band’s style. However, if you want to hear The Rolling Stones really perform this song well, check out the Blues In Rhythm / 1964 recording from On Air; sensational!

Poison Ivy is a great cover and the only one that I’ve heard which is on-par, if not surpassing The Rolling Stones edition, is the Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs recording from 1964. Nevertheless, Poison Ivy is the perfect closer for this EP and encourages me to play the entire EP again as it is simply that good!

Overall, if you’re a Rolling Stones fan and you’re interested in collecting their entire catalogue, then The Rolling Stones EP is an absolute must for your collection. For the casual listener, streaming the EP may be enough. Regardless, you simply must listen to The Rolling Stones EP at least once. Who knows, if you’re like me, you may enjoy it so much that you’ll play it over and over again. 

Click here to read other Rolling Stones reviews by Subjective Sounds.

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Eagles – Hell Freezes Over (Album Review)

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Eagles – Hell Freezes Over (Album Review)

The Eagles may have taken a 14-year vacation, but when they returned to the stage, one of their greatest releases would ensue. Predominately a live recording, for the 1994 MTV special, Hell Freezes Over also contained four new songs that nicely fill Side A of the double LP. While some may lament Hell Freezes Over not being presented as a complete album, I actually feel the EP-sized approach to the new recordings was ideal and as much as I adore the Eagles, their 2007 studio effort, Long Road Out Of Eden, was less than stellar when compared to their incredible back catalogue. Nevertheless, more Eagles is always a good thing and if you haven’t checked out Hell Freezes Over, join me as I take a look at the music, performance, and the 25th Anniversary vinyl re-issue. 

For years, Hell Freezes Over was a missing holy grail; my collection just wasn’t the same without it. Yes, I could have picked up the CD release, or the accompanying DVD, but I always felt that I wanted to own it in its purest form. I considered the K2HD CD, the XRCD CD, and the near impossible to get at a decent price, and certainly not brand new, DTS 5.1 surround sound CD. Reviews were mixed and the prices that some of these audiophile releases go for is simply too high when reviews aren’t universally glowing, although the DTS CD is generally well regarded. Subsequently, I was eager to get hold of a copy on vinyl but it had been out of print for years and while I acknowledge that I could have gotten a secondhand copy, I prefer brand new copies as I want to make them my own and ultimately pass them down to my son. I almost purchased the massive career-perspective 2018 vinyl box set, Legacy, just to get Hell Freezes Over, but that is one of the ugliest releases I’ve ever come across; the box artwork in particular. Hence, when in 2019 Hell Freezes Over was reissued separately, with the original artwork, it immediately went on my Wishlist and I’m incredibly grateful to my family for gifting this masterpiece to me for Father’s Day. 

The quality of the vinyl re-issue has blown my mind. It is amongst the very best sounding records in my collection and is lovely to hold in the hand. The artwork is meticulous in quality and presentation. You’ll most certainly be holding this record as you listen intently. Both records are presented in high quality printed inner sleeves and rather than a gatefold, the album is a slipcover design. Yes, I love gatefolds, but the slipcase design is far easier when getting records in and out of the sleeves. I know some collectors who remove the record from the sleeve, placing the inner sleeve and record on the outside of the album cover. It certainly makes it easier to access the album in question, but I worry that it will ultimately damage the sleeve with the pressure of the other albums on the shelf. Hence, it isn’t something I do, but I can certainly see the benefit. 

The pressing itself is flawless. The records are about as silent as vinyl can be and the dynamics are full, thereby presenting a soundstage that will completely envelop you. Yes, this record was recorded, mixed, and mastered with kid gloves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the vinyl pressing is going to be of equal quality. You’ll also get that warm analog sound that is often associated with vinyl. The bottom line is that it just sounds right.

Side A

Get Over It has a killer guitar intro and while the song is a little campy, I love it! You’ll be head-bopping and toe-tapping throughout. 

Love Will Keep Us Alive is the ballad-styled song that we’ve all come to adore from the Eagles. Timothy B. Schmit yet again proves just how masterful he is as a vocalist. I could quite happily listen to all his vocal recordings for an eternity. Yes, dear reader, I may have a man-crush for Schmit, but can you blame me. Interestingly, Love Will Keep Us Alive wasn’t written by the Eagles but the writers, Pete Vale, Jim Capaldi, and Paul Carrack, wrote a song that suited the Eagles perfectly and is, in my opinion, one of their best vocal ballads. 

The Girl From Yesterday is a lovely country-styled tune that is a welcome addition to the album but isn’t anything to write home about. 

Learn To Be Still is a thoroughly enjoyable song and the more I hear it, the more I appreciate it. It is as though there are layers of musicality that ensure that I never tire of this song.

Side B

Tequila Sunrise is the first live song on the album and Frey’s introduction is great. It is, as I’ve mentioned before, a beautiful song that is thoroughly relaxing and this is a stunning live performance. 

Hotel California has never sounded better. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I class this rendition to be the greatest I’ve ever heard. Because the vinyl edition is so smooth, there is absolutely no audible distortion and every musical element is present in the soundstage. I dare you to find a better live recording, by any artist. Sensational!

Wasted Time was the perfect choice to follow Hotel California as they are musically similar. It is, as I’ve mentioned before, one of my all-time favourite Eagles’ songs and while the composition of the song is very similar to the album version, that doesn’t matter for it is simply incredible. It is also Don Henley at his very best. 

Pretty Maids In A Row is a lovely song to close out Side B of this vinyl release. The backing harmonious vocal is thoroughly enjoyable and while I have a love/hate relationship with Joe Walsh’s vocal, he nails this performance. That isn’t to say that I dislike Walsh’s vocal style, just that I sometimes find it to be a little too jarring. 

Side C

I Can’t Tell You Why is an incredibly smooth tune and Schmit’s vocal delivery is simply magical, as is the musicality of this entire record. You’ll likely want to turn this song up because, again, you’ll hear absolutely no distortion as you toe-tap and head-bop rhythmically throughout the song. I Can’t Tell You Why is most certainly one of the Eagles’ greatest hits and it is also one of the best songs on Hell Freezes Over. 

New York Minute was originally a Don Henley solo effort, being first released on The End Of Innocence. It’s a great tune and works incredibly well for the Eagles, making me wonder how the song would have sounded had it been an original Eagles composition. Nevertheless, it is a welcome addition to Hell Freezes Over as it’s one of Henley’s best solo recordings. 

The Last Resort is a solid song from Hotel California but I’ve always had mixed emotions when listening to The Last Resort. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but something is missing. I’ve often wondered if it is simply too long, but I thoroughly enjoy the musicality. Perhaps it is Henley’s somewhat dry vocal on this particular tune that leaves me feeling a little disjointed. Either way, this performance is solid and doesn’t detract from the album but given their extensive catalogue of music, I may have selected a different song to perform on this occasion. 

Side D

Take It Easy is a little jarring, as a result of the guitar tuning, on Hell Freezes Over. Unfortunately, I have to turn the volume down to enjoy it; a shame considering just how good it is. 

In The City is bloody brilliant and is one of my all-time favourite Walsh-sung songs. 

Life In The Fast Lane will get you moving; I know I can’t sit still when listening to it, it is that good!

Desperado is beautiful and is arguably a perfect closer for Hell Freezes Over, encouraging me to listen to the album again and remain within the Eagle’s catalog of music. 

Overall, Hell Freezes Over is one of the greatest Eagles releases. I consider it my go-to album as it’s not only a live album with four new tracks but a compilation that doesn’t feature a bad song. It has a little of everything and the 25th Anniversary vinyl re-issue is nothing short of pure perfection; you won’t be disappointed. Let’s just hope that they keep this edition in print, I’m going to eventually need to get another copy as I play this album frequently. 

This 25th Anniversary remaster of Hell Freezes Over is also available on CD and Apple Music

Click here to read other Eagles reviews by Subjective Sounds.

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Chris Young – A.M. (Album Review)

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Chris Young – A.M. (Album Review)

If you’re like me, you may have a love/hate relationship with Country Music. It’s an interesting contrast as I literally detest some Country Music styles and simply adore others. The rock-based style is one that I thoroughly enjoy; a style which Chris Young has mastered. A.M. is Young’s third album and is recorded, mixed, and mastered with pure perfection. The song selection, many co-written by Young, are also perfectly suited to each other, flowing seamlessly as the album progresses. 

Aw Naw is a killer country rock and roll tune. You’ll be turning the volume up and toe-tapping to a song that is likely to become a classic as a result of its addictive rhythm and catchy tune. 

The music video is a solid accompaniment to the song, but I feel the editing style is a little too slow for the musicality, thereby being less impactful as it could have been.  

Hold You To It is a little slower, but flows perfectly from Aw Naw. It’s a solid tune, works well within the album context, but is nothing to write home about. 

Lonely Eyes has incredible rhythm. Young’s vocal pace, and overall delivery, is utterly perfect. An exceptional song!

The music video is serviceable but ultimately uninspiring. 

Goodbye is stunning! Close your eyes and enjoy the musicality and Young’s smooth baritone vocal. 

A.M. is a bloody brilliant country rock and roll tune. It will likely give you an earworm, but it is so good that it is worth it. 

Nothin’ But The Cooler Left is perfectly suited to the album, but as a song, on its own, it’s a little lacklustre, predictable, and campy. Nevertheless, A.M. wouldn’t be the same without it. 

Who I Am With You has some exceptional guitar work and Young’s vocal is again, right on point. Simply beautiful!

The music video is incredible. The storytelling, mixed with live and backstage elements, is utterly perfect and amplifies the song to a new level of appreciation that you really need to check out. 

Text Me Texas is a lovely ballad-styled country song that showcases just how well this album is recorded, mixed, and mastered. If you close your eyes, you’d swear Young and the band are in the room with you. 

We’re Gonna Find It Tonight is toe-tapping and head-bopping gold. A great tune!

Forgiveness is slow but rhythmically magical. It is, without a doubt, one of the best songs on the album. 

Lighters In The Air is an excellent song to close the album with, ensuring that you’ll listen to the album again, especially considering its modest 37-minute runtime leaves you wanting more. 

Overall, A.M. is an incredible album from start to finish and if you’re at all interested in Country Music, you’re bound to love A.M. and should have a copy in your collection. Now, if only Sony would issue A.M. on vinyl, I’d be happy. Until then, the Apple Music (Apple Digital Master) stream is stunning and has captured the performances perfectly.  

Chris Young’s A.M. is also available on CD.

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Motörhead - Motörhead (Album Review)

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Motörhead - Motörhead (Album Review)

There are imitators, but there is only one Motörhead; there will never be another. Whether it is the sex, drugs, and rock and roll persona that came naturally to Lemmy, and his musical counterparts, or their musical talent that was beyond reproach, there is little doubt that Motörhead changed rock and roll forever, starting with this eponymous debut.

While Motörhead was not technically the first Motörhead album, it was the first released to the public with the earlier effort, On Parole being shelved until 1979. This review is based on the original 8-track release from 1977. While an expanded 40th Anniversary Edition is also available, I’m somewhat of a purist and while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with extended releases, there is something special about the original 33-minute release. It leaves you wanting more and I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I feel that is a good thing.

The artwork is also iconic and debuted the War Pig mascot that would become as recognisable as Iron Maiden’s Eddie, AC/DC’s lightning logo, and Metallica’s Ninja Star-inspired logo. 

Motörhead is a killer opener that was originally recorded by Hawkwind, when Lemmy was a member, and by Motörhead for the On Parole album. The Hawkwind original is, as you’d expect, more psychedelic but is, in my opinion, a superb recording with a killer violin solo. It was also the last song Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind. The On Parole recording is rather raw, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the motorcycle revving introduction is incredible. This version, by comparison, is a perfect evolution of the song, even though I’ve always felt Philthy’s drum track, while sensational, was compromised. When listening via speakers, it isn’t as apparent, but when using headphones, there is a flat wallop sound to the drums. Look, Motörhead was never going to win any audiophile awards, but it just doesn’t sound right as it is a little concealed; of course, that could be part of the song’s and album’s appeal as it has most certainly stood the test of time. 

Vibrator is an old-school rock and roll tune that I simply adore and the drums on this recording are significantly better than Motörhead when listening on headphones. There are some killer musical riffs to be heard here and if you haven’t already, may I suggest you turn the volume up. This version is more rock and roll than the original found on On Parole and perhaps the most appealing aspect is Lemmy’s deeper, whiskey-soaked, vocal delivery as Larry Wallis’ original vocal on the On Parole version is piss-weak. 

Lost Johnny is a solid rock tune. It isn’t anything to write home about, but it is a perfect addition to the album with a killer guitar solo by Fast Eddie. This version is so similar to that as heard on On Parole that I’m torn as to which I prefer. Of course, Lost Johnny’s origins go further back as the song was originally written by Lemmy for Hawkwind and I adore that version, feeling it is much stronger than the subsequent Motörhead re-recordings.

Iron Horse / Born To Lose is one of the coolest, no, it has to be the coolest, song on the album. Lemmy was, without a doubt, one of the greatest bass players to have ever recorded a tune. He had incredible rhythm. Bloody brilliant! If you haven’t checked out the original, while very similar to  this re-recording, it simply must be heard as it’s equally impressive. 

White Line Fever is another rhythmic masterpiece, but Lemmy sounds a little too far back in the mix. It isn’t a mood killer, but I would have loved to have heard his vocal more prominent in the mix.

Keep Us On The Road is a song you can groove to. A killer tune! 

The Watcher has incredible rhythm and is yet another song, from the Motorhead collection, where you’ll need your air guitar to fully enjoy it. It is, thankfully, significantly stronger than the version from On Parole. Although, as with a few of the original Motorhead songs, The Watcher was originally written by Lemmy for Hawkwind and that psychedelic acoustically-styled rendition is simply magical.

The Train Kept A Rollin’ is a classic song that’s been covered by a who’s who of rock and roll with Aerosmith probably championing it most throughout their career with the song being featured on Get Your Wings. Nevertheless, the bass-heavy groove that Lemmy throws into the song really works well and while I remain unconvinced that The Train Kept A Rollin’ was the perfect closer for this eponymous debut, I find that it still compels me enough to listen to the album again.

Motörhead may not have been the first set of studio recordings from Motörhead, but the album showcased a band that was highly polished as a result of extensive touring; especially considering the album was recorded in 48 hours*. Is Motörhead subjectively a stronger album than On Parole? Yes, I believe it is, but On Parole is definitely one album you should check out as it is arguably the true origin of Motorhead and this debut is merely a more polished re-recording of many of the original tracks. If you’re at all interested in Motörhead, then this eponymous debut is essential for your collection. It is raw, full of energy, and is pure rock and roll. 

Motörhead is available to own on Vinyl and CD. 

Motörhead 40th Anniversary Edition is also available on CD and Apple Music.

*Lemmy: The Definitive Biography - By Mick Wall (pg. 129)

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KISS – August 24, 2019 – Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Concert Review)

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KISS – August 24, 2019 – Saratoga Performing Arts Center (Concert Review)

When I was in high school KISS was playing at a local venue. I was planning on going with a group of girls, but as usual, my mother said no. She wouldn’t let me go to concerts, and she especially wasn’t letting me see KISS, even though the venue was about five miles away and parents volunteered to bring us both ways.

Flash forward to late 2003. KISS is touring with Aerosmith. I’m excited-I had never seen Aerosmith, either. My husband can only tolerate so much, and this was one concert he refused to attend. So I did the next best thing: I brought my two oldest kids, who were both in high school. Yes, I’m the cool mom!

Which brings us to August 2019. Still the cool mom, my oldest son and I were in the front row balcony when KISS brought their tour to my neck of the woods. Thousands of fans packed the amphitheater and lawn, some in face paint, many in KISS t-shirts from this tour and tours from years ago. The “KISS Army,” as the die-hard fans are called, were in full force.

“You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world…KISS!!” The curtain dropped, and descending from the ceiling were Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and Tommy Thayer, playing the opening licks to “Detroit Rock City.” Drummer Eric Singer was on an elevated platform at the back of the stage. Fireworks and fire were prevalent throughout the concert; I could feel the heat of the fire from the balcony!

KISS played the hits you would expect at one of their concerts: “Shout It Out Loud,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “Deuce,” and “Lick It Up.” KISS doesn’t simply sing their songs, they perform their songs. With the exception of “Beth,” beautifully sung by Eric Singer while playing the piano alone on the stage during the encore, every song had pyrotechnics, lasers, lights, rising platforms-more like a show within a show. And the crowd ate it up.

Paul Stanley, at 67 years old, is just as enthusiastic and happy to be on stage as he was when KISS was in their heyday during the 1970s. His schtick was obviously rehearsed and a bit insincere: “we will never, ever forget this night.” But that can be forgiven as he was relating to the crowd and showing appreciation. As a concert fan, I would rather hear that than have the artist ignore the fans.

A highlight of the show was “I Was Made For Loving You,” where Stanley was zip lined to the back of the amphitheater to a second stage. 

Before finishing the encore Stanley lead the crowd in singing happy birthday to Gene Simmons, whose birthday was the next day. Simmons proudly told the fans he was 70 *bleep bleep* years old. You’d never know it as he stood there in full leather and platform boots.

The just over two-hour concert ended with arguably their most popular and well-known song, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” complete with KISS balloons dropped into the crowd and enough confetti to keep the maintenance team busy for days. 

KISS isn't just a concert, it’s an experience. The fans, ranging in age from grade school kids to senior citizens collecting social security, were looking for a good time that night and they got their money’s worth. It was loud, gawdy, sometimes silly, even cartoonish-and the fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

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ABBA – Gold (Greatest Hits Compilation Vinyl Review)

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ABBA – Gold (Greatest Hits Compilation Vinyl Review)

ABBA’s Gold is without a doubt one of the greatest compilations ever released. I can listen to it continuously without necessarily wanting more as there isn’t a lacklustre song to be heard on this exceptional release. However, that hasn’t stopped the Swedish juggernaut from reissuing the Gold collection countless times and adding to it with More ABBA Gold and a 40th Anniversary Edition that also includes additional B-sides not previously released on the aforementioned titles.

This review, however, will focus on the original ABBA Gold; specifically the 2014 vinyl reissue. However, as a lifelong ABBA fan, I’ll most likely review the additional releases, in the future, so check back regularly. 

When originally released in 1992, I was in awe. I swear I wore that cassette tape out as I played it that much. For me, it was new and fresh as I was only a teenager at the time and Abba Gold would ultimately cement my interest in the band following my admiration of Arrival. It was, therefore, a triumphant moment the reissue was announced and released. Although, something was not quite right. Looking up the history of the album, I was able to find out that he edition of Abba Gold that I had become smitten with was in-fact the Australian release, with three different songs that were hugely popular down under. The 2014 vinyl re-issue was in-fact the International edition of Abba Gold and I would lament the fact that I sold the cassette so many years ago when MP3s were taking the world by storm. Nevertheless, it only took a few spins on the turntable for me to connect with the International tracking of the album and since then I have been content with the varied song selection.  

The records themselves are presented in a slide-out design that I appreciate for its simplicity. A gatefold would have been nice, but I’m sure I’m not alone when I lament the challenges of getting records in and out of gatefolds at times. No, they aren’t a deal-breaker, but they do require a little more fiddling. Nevertheless, the inner sleeves are adorned with photographs and a thoroughly enjoyable essay, penned by British rock music journalist John Tobler.  

The records feature the stunning red Polydor label and are pressed and mastered well, with consistent quality. While I wouldn’t say this or any ABBA release is necessarily audiophile-grade, many of the included songs sound significantly better than they do on ABBA’s other vinyl reissues. That said, this release isn’t perfect and as much as it pains me to admit it, the Apple Music/iTunes (Apple Digital Master) edition of Abba Gold and ABBA’s broader back catalogue, sound remarkably good and arguably better than any ABBA vinyl or CD release I have in my collection. 

Nevertheless, while the records are flat, there is a little more surface noise than I would generally like. It isn’t necessarily distracting unless you find yourself listening to your record collection via headphones. Also, and this is an obvious pressing error, when Dancing Queen starts, you hear the song softly through the left channel before the stereo tracking comes in. It isn’t that the tracks are offset from each other, just that when it was pressed, the left channel was prematurely pressed. Thankfully, once the stereo track kicks in, Dancing Queen plays perfectly with no audible distortion or apparent timing issues. It is a surprising error, given the status and cultural importance of ABBA, but it hasn’t been the first, or last time, that their vinyl pressings have raised eyebrows amongst music lovers. Overall, however, ABBA’s Gold 2014 vinyl reissue sounds very good and is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. 

Side One

Dancing Queen, as mentioned earlier, has a dual-ghosting introduction that, while initially distracting, fades into the song perfectly allowing one to turn up the volume, sing along, and dance to one of ABBA’s very best tunes. 

Knowing Me, Knowing You is sonically beautiful. I’ve always enjoyed audio panning and Knowing Me, Knowing You uses this technique perfectly. Perhaps the most enjoyable element of this song is the tempo. Have you ever noticed how it is a slow song, yet also a fast song? This dichotomy is intriguing and I feel it’s part of the reason why the song is so good as it has an organic sound that is neither perfect or erroneous, but equally both. Sensational!

Take A Chance On Me is another ABBA classic that encourages the body to move to the groove. Seriously, try and sit still when listening to this song, it is almost impossible. 

Mamma Mia is an absolute masterpiece and the karaoke song for the budding amateur singer. Yes, this middle-aged man thoroughly enjoys singing along to Mamma Mia. It is simply, that good! 

Lay All Your Love On Me has quite a bit of noise and a little inner groove distortion, despite the record being cleaned and run on a well balanced Pro-ject Debut Carbon turntable with an Ortofon OM20 needle. A shame considering just how good this song is. Nevertheless, it is a perfect song to close out Side One. 

Side Two

Super Trouper is one of my all-time favourite ABBA songs. The harmonious intertwining of the vocals is pure gold and the musicality is delivered at just the perfect tempo. Pure perfection!

I Have A Dream is a great song, but I’ve never been convinced that it follows on well from Super Trouper. It is, of course, a slower song and I think I would have preferred it to be presented at the beginning of side three. Nevertheless, it is placed where it is and once I get over my objection to its placement, I can thoroughly enjoy this ballad/folk tune that is pure ABBA.

The Winner Takes It All is a beautiful story-driven song. Agnetha‘s vocal is absolutely beautiful but my only criticism is the shrillness of the vocal and piano in the high end as it can be a little jarring if the volume is turned up too loud.

Money, Money, Money is a killer ABBA tune. 

S.O.S is simply magnificent!

Side Three

Chiquitita is beautiful, although when the song enters it’s upbeat tempo, with a substantial volume boost, it can be a little jarring on the senses. 

Fernando is superb and while I don’t have a favourite ABBA song, Fernando for me is only bested by Eagle. Both are so relaxing and sonically pleasing that I could listen to either on repeat for an eternity. 

Voulez-Vous removes me from my relaxed state and wants to get me on the dance floor, singing along, as if it’s the most natural thing to do. The chorus is exceptional as is the rhythm and the vocal harmony. It’s such a great song!

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) is one of my favourite ABBA songs and yes, this heterosexual man sings this song loud and proud. The orchestral introduction is epic and it is arguably the pinnacle of disco-based music, although there are so many sensational examples to choose from. Regardless, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) is one of the greatest disco-based songs of the era and has remained timeless, still feeling fresh in the modern era.

Side Four

Does Your Mother Know has one of the best intros for any ABBA song, doesn’t it? Does Your Mother Know is a killer pop/rock tune that you can sing along to, dance to, and turn the volume up to so that you’ll irritate your neighbours. Surely, ticking all those boxes is the sign of a good song, yes?

One Of Us is an earworm waiting to happen. You’ve been warned! However, I would still recommend it as One Of Us is magnificent; much like most of ABBA’s final studio album, The Visitors, is. 

The Name Of The Game is perhaps the only song on Gold that I question its worthiness for inclusion. Is it a great song? Absolutely. Do I enjoy it when it comes on? You bet. Yet, I still don’t feel it is worthy of this compilation. Instead, if I had selected the tracks to be included on this release, I would have opted for Eagle and would have ensured The Name Of The Game made it to More Abba Gold

Thank You For The Music is a little campy but every time it comes on, it reminds me of how thankful we should be for the music we know and love and even the music that doesn’t appeal to our subjective selves, for it will give joy to another music lover. And, yes, thank you ABBA for the music!

Waterloo is, as I’ve mentioned before, a fun song. I don’t know about you, but I feel it is the perfect closing song for this compilation as it simultaneously encourages me to listen to the album again as well as setting it aside and allowing Waterloo to be a repetitive earworm for the rest of the day. 

Overall, there was no need for More ABBA Gold as this core release covers ABBA’s illustrious career perfectly. I’m certain some may disagree with me, you may be one of them, but I would say that ABBA’s entire catalogue is so strong that it would have been far better for casual or new fans, coming into the ABBA universe post-ABBA Gold, to explore ABBA’s entire back catalogue. I say that because ultimately, ABBA has more gold-worthy songs than any single compilation could ever hope to deliver. 

ABBA’s Gold is worth owning for casual and hardcore fans alike. Often, when I just want to listen to ABBA, but I’m not sure what album I’d like to listen to, I’ll put on ABBA Gold and the desire to listen to one of my all-time favourite bands will be met. Compilations may get a bad wrap, but there are times when quality releases, such as this, remind me just how important an artist-based compilation is. 

ABBA’s Gold is available on Vinyl, CD, and Apple Music.

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Wilco – A.M. (Album Review)

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Wilco – A.M. (Album Review)

Each time I play A.M. I need to remind myself that this was Wilco’s debut release from 1995 and that it isn’t of the same, highly polished, style that is A Ghost Is Born and Schmilco; two of my favourite Wilco albums. That isn’t to say that A.M. is flawed, as it has some killer tunes and plenty of hidden gems that have stood the test of time, but it is an acknowledgement of their sonic shift on subsequent albums. 

I Must Be High isn’t a bad way to open this alternative country-rock album. A solid song, with a solid rhythm. What more could one ask for? 

Casino Queen has a killer blues-rock meets country rock feel that I swear would be a perfect song for The Rolling Stones to cover. Casino Queen is, without a doubt, one of my favourite songs on A.M. and is one of the best songs Wilco has ever recorded; I also consider it to be one of the very best rock tunes of the 20th Century. 

Box Full Of Letters isn’t the greatest. The musicality is too alternative and too campy. Plus, the rhythm is all over the place, thereby making it difficult to sync in with a particular groove. I also find Jeff Tweedy’s vocal on this song to be lacklustre. The guitar solo is its only saviour.

Shouldn’t Be Ashamed has everything Box Full Of Letters didn’t. It’s a brilliant song that is thoroughly enjoyable and compels me to move my body subconsciously to the rhythm. Perhaps the only flaw in Shouldn’t Be Ashamed is there is a little too much distortion in the guitar tracking. 

Pick Up The Change isn’t a bad toe-tapping song, but it isn’t anything to write home about either. A solid B-Side with some nice blues-based guitar work.

I Thought I Held You is a great tune that incorporates an interesting mix of the banjo with the steel guitar. It works incredibly well and gives the song a level of depth that ensures you become enveloped by the soundstage, especially during the final minute of the song. 

That’s Not The Issue is another chaotic rhythmic mess. It is akin to noise, rather than music. A shame as it breaks up the flow of the album considerably. 

It’s Just That Simple is a thoroughly enjoyable alternative country-rock tune and the creaminess of the instrumental interlude mid-song is absolutely marvellous. 

Should’ve Been In Love is an enjoyable B-side. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Passenger Side is fantastic, with a perfect mix between all sonic elements. I love it!

Dash 7 isn’t a bad B-side, but it is a little left of the centre. That may appeal to you, dear reader, or it may result in a confusing musical piece of art that will make you question if the song is good, bad, or merely adequate. 

Blue Eyed Soul is a song I adore. The tempo and progression of the song are perfect. I must admit, I do like Wilco’s slower rhythms as they suit the band perfectly.

Too Far Apart is an excellent track to close the album on with a rhythm and blues-based influence that will appeal to anyone interested in this style of music. There is no doubt in my mind that Too Far Apart is the perfect song to encourage me to play the album again and stay within Wilco’s catalogue of music. While an expanded Deluxe Edition has also been released, I’ve never felt the urge to listen to it as I feel the original 13-track, 45 minute, release is perfect for enjoying A.M. and I must be honest when I say that if a song didn’t make it to the original album, then it likely wasn’t good enough in the first place. Of course, your opinion may differ and if so, please let us know in the comments what song from the Deluxe Edition makes it a compelling alternative. 

Overall, A.M. is an excellent debut with some obvious flaws. The flaws, however, don’t detract from the album thereby ensuring that fans will appreciate this release along with newcomers who are after a somewhat raw country-rock sound with an alternative twist. 

A.M. is available on Vinyl, CD, and the iTunes Store

The Deluxe Edition of A.M. is available on Vinyl, CD, iTunes, and Apple Music

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Paul Kelly – The A To Z Recordings (Compilation Review)

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Paul Kelly – The A To Z Recordings (Compilation Review)

While I’ve often considered Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits – Songs From The South, Vols. 1 & 2 to be amongst the finest compilation for any music lover’s collection, could the epic 105 song, 6-hour, A To Z Recordings eclipse it? 

Yes, I believe so. Of course, I’m a fan of the man who is rightfully regarded by many as one of Australia’s greatest singer-songwriters The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock And Pop.

I guess the real question we must ask ourselves, dear reader, is if there is such a thing as too much Paul Kelly? 

No, I don’t believe so!

Often when we think of albums, even compilations and live performances, incredible care has been taken when selecting tracks and their placement in order to make a coherent piece of audible art. However, Kelly has thrown the playbook out the window and between 2004 and 2010 was performing a four-part live performance, over four nights, that lined up much of his back catalog in alphabetical order. The concept is basic, yet extraordinary. Now, I know you may be wondering about the flow, given the songs are from different eras of Kelly’s celebrated career, but you need not be concerned for the flow of music is so compelling that you won’t want to stop listening until you reach the final song. Even then, I find myself playing the compilation again. It is astonishingly good.

The live performances, even though they were recorded in various locations, over several years, are perfectly matched sonically and are mixed and mastered beautifully. Kelly is incredible in the studio, but you really feel as though you’re experiencing the performance live on these recordings and thankfully the audience interaction has been kept to a minimum, thereby enhancing Kelly’s performance. 

My only criticism is the cover art. Seriously, I couldn’t think of a worse cover for such an incredible compilation and artist. Actually, no, I can, but that is hardly the point as it fails to convey the musicality of this master musician, unlike Post, Wanted Man, or Greatest Hits – Songs From The South, Vols. 1 & 2 does.

Adelaide is a great song and even though this collection is presented in alphabetical order, Adelaide is a fantastic opening song that sets the tone for the entire compilation. 

After The Show has a fantastic rhythm. I love it!

Anastasia Changes Her Mind isn’t fundamentally bad, but I have a love/hate relationship with semi-spoken word songs. That said, there are elements here, where Kelly begins to sing the lyrics, that are really enjoyable, but it isn’t enough to fully captivate me. 

Be Careful What You Pray For is a killer moody tune. 

Beautiful Promise is, pardon the pun, beautiful!

Before Too Long is one of Kelly’s most recognisable songs and is always sensational. 

Beggar On The Street Of Love is a great song, but I feel the mix isn’t quite right as Kelly’s vocal is just a little too forward for my liking. A shame, considering how much I genuinely love this song.

Behind The Bowler’s Arm is toe-tapping, head-bopping, gold. Magnificent!

Big Fine Girl has an incredible rhythm that will get your entire body moving. 

Blues For Skip is an incredible lo-fi tune, from a musical perspective, that allows Kelly’s vocal to shine.  

Bradman isn’t a bad homage to the legendary Australian cricketer. As a song, however, I have mixed feelings. It works, really well, but isn’t necessarily a song from Kelly’s catalog that I would seek out.

(The) Cake And The Candle is an incredible song and comes through with such transparency that you’d swear Kelly was in the same room as you. Music, especially live performances, that reach this sense of realism are difficult to find but are well worth it as your stereo system will never sound better.

Careless is an incredible song and this is one stunning performance. 

Change Your Mind is incredible!

Charlie Owen’s Slide Guitar is a solid tune, perhaps nothing to write home about, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Cities Of Texas is, for lack of a better term, a B-side. It works well in the flow of The A To Z Recordings, but as a song on its own, somewhat misses the mark. 

Coma is smooth, yet rough and ready. The contrast makes the song compelling and is a toe-tapper’s delight.  

Cradle Of Love is simply beautiful. 

Deeper Water is a good song, but I feel there are too many musical layers in this particular recording and, as such, my mind finds it difficult to connect with a specific rhythm. 

Desdemona is absolutely brilliant. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’d love to hear Neil Young cover this classic. 

Difficult Woman is magnificently moody. One of Kelly’s best without a doubt. 

Don’t Explain is fantastic. 

Don’t Harm The Messenger is a solid song and really comes into its own during the chorus and the final minute of the song. 

Don’t Stand So Close To The Window is a catchy tune that is thoroughly enjoyable.

Don’t Start Me Talking isn’t bad, but it isn’t a standout song either. 

Down To My Soul is utterly amazing and a hidden gem.

Dumb Things is one of my all-time favourite Paul Kelly songs. I first heard it when I saw the Yahoo Serious film Young Einstein and I haven’t forgotten it since. A great Aussie film with an exceptional soundtrack. This rendition retains everything that made the studio recording perfect and is beyond reproach.   

Emotional is simply stunning! 

Every F*****g City is average at best, but if this is a low in Kelly’s catalog, then he has absolutely nothing to worry about.

Everybody Wants To Touch Me is mediocre and it’s a shame because I’d enjoy the song more if the musicality was presented in a lower register. 

Everything’s Turning To White is another song in Kelly’s catalog that I’m not a fan of. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, of course, just that it doesn’t appeal to me and that I wouldn’t seek it out to listen to independently.

(The) Foggy Fields Of France is a fun little toe-tapping song. 

Foggy Highway is utterly brilliant with a great, but simple, rhythm that allows the music lover to immediately connect with the song. 

Forty Miles To Saturday Night is enjoyable but I feel the mix is a little out as I would have liked the instrumental elements to be boosted, perhaps by a decibel, as it almost sounds as though two different songs are struggling for the attention of the listener. 

Forty-Eight Angels has a compelling vocal delivery that I’ve always adored. Such a great tune!

From Little Things Big Things Grow is a song that everyone in Australia has heard, even if they didn’t know it was a Paul Kelly tune, for the song was used for a major marketing campaign for Industry Superfunds Australia (ISA). Subsequently, as much as I love this protest song, sometimes I am reminded of the advertisement; the aim of the marketing campaign of course, but I would much prefer to simply enjoy the song and reflect on the initial intent of the song. It’s interesting that Kelly gave ISA permission to use the song as I perceive no correlation. Nevertheless, if it brings about greater awareness, then one can suggest it isn’t a bad thing and even if you don’t listen to music for its literal interpretation, From Little Things Big Things Grow is one of the greatest songs ever written, by anyone, anywhere in the world. 

From St Kilda To Kings Cross is beautiful. 

Gathering Storm is short and sweet; so very sweet. I love it!

God Told Me To has an incredible twang but unlike Forty Miles To Saturday Night, I feel the instrumental element is a little too loud thereby taking away from Kelly’s incredible vocal delivery. 

(The) Gift That Keeps On Giving could have been the perfect title for this compilation. As a song on its own, (The) Gift That Keeps On Giving is an excellent composition and is thoroughly enjoyable.

Glory Be To God is sonically splendid. I could listen to Glory Be To God on repeat for an eternity. 

Going About My Father’s Business is yet another great song. There really isn’t a bad song in Kelly’s catalog, just ones that I connect with more than others.

How To Make Gravy is an excellent song that reminds me of Bob Dylan. Yes, there are many correlations between the two artists, but this is the one song that Kelly performs that instantly reminds me of Dylan. Not a bad thing, just an observation. 

I Can’t Believe We Were Married is a great tune.

I Close My Eyes And Think Of You is one of the most beautiful songs Kelly has ever penned and sung. No wonder he is a legend! 

I Don’t Know Anything Anymore is hypnotic. What’s not to like? I Don’t Know Anything Anymore Is one of the most relaxing songs you’ll ever listen to and my only complaint is that it is too short; although it’s perfect!

I Keep On Coming Back For More will get your body moving as the groove and vocal delivery is spectacular.

I’d Rather Go Blind is utterly brilliant and an absolute favourite of mine. 

If I Could Start Today Again is a lovely song that has flowed incredibly well, despite the alphabetical order, from the previous several songs proving just how consistently good Paul Kelly is as a songwriter and musician. 

I Wasted Time is solid, but isn’t anything to write home about. 

I Won’t Be Your Dog is stunning. You’ll want to turn up the volume and close your eyes while listening to this song. The slight echo in Kelly’s vocal really sets the song apart from the others on this compilation and while it is most likely unintentional and a result of the recording space, I find it adds a sense of depth that makes you sit up and take notice. 

Jandamarra/Pigeon is okay, but is ultimately a B-side from my perspective. 

Jump To Love is a great tune. Another one to play continuously on repeat? I think so!

Just About The Break is such a low, smooth, delicate song that it’s simply beautiful. 

King Of Fools is a solid song, but is nothing to write home about. 

Lately has a swing to it that could have easily come out of the 1930s or 1940s. It’s a great tune. 

Leaps And Bounds is a sonic wonderland. 

Little Boy, Don’t Lose Your Balls is a great song with a wit that is brilliant.

Love Is The Law is a little too campy for my liking. As with all other songs on this compilation, it isn’t bad, but if it were not part of this collection, I wouldn’t play it as a song on its own. 

Love Never Runs On Time has a killer harmonica and is overall a good tune. Nothing spectacular, but nothing offensive either. 

Luck is a solid tune. 

Maralinga (Rainy Land) is one of Kelly’s greatest songs. Sensational!

Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air is an a cappella song and is beautiful.

Midnight Rain has an incredible instrumental backing that enhances Kelly’s vocal perfectly.

My Way Is To You compels me to close my eyes as the musicality and Kelly’s vocal takes me on a sonic journey that has to be experienced to be fully understood. 

No You offers nothing to write home about, but isn’t fundamentally bad. No You just doesn’t stand out from the crowd, which is an issue in a compilation as broad as The A To Z Recordings.

Nothing But A Dream is an incredible song and that higher-pitched choral approach is so enjoyable and makes me think that this is a Paul Kelly song that would be perfect for Crowded House or Neil Finn, in particular, to cover. 

(The) Oldest Story In The Book has a catchy tune and chorus line that ensures it’s memorable. It’s another song that is amongst Kelly’s greatest. 

One More Tune is lovely. 

Other People’s Houses is a great song. Even though I’m not an overzealous fan of spoken word lyrics, Other People’s Houses is perfectly balanced and simply sounds right. I couldn’t imagine this song any other way and I’m glad it exists as it does. My only problem is that I can’t decide if I prefer this edition or the original studio release. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter as both are exceptional!

Our Sunshine has an old-west feel with a country twang. I love it!

Please Myself has a stellar vocal shift and distortion throughout. Add a simple rhythm and Please Myself most certainly pleases this fan. 

Pretty Place is a solid tune, but ultimately a B-side. 

(The Ballad Of) Queenie And Rover is, as Pretty Place is, a B-side for this listener. 

Rally Round The Drum is a great, meat and potatoes, tune. Sometimes that is all you need. 

Randwick Bells is a solid track, but nothing to write home about. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I have a love/hate relationship with semi-spoken songs. I find them compelling but then at the same time, I’d much prefer to have a little more rhythm to toe-tap and head-bop to as well as sing along to. That said, the closing minute largely negates this thought.

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning is a great tune. It’s time to get that acoustic air guitar out, for I adore that guitar strumming and the tuning of the instrument on this track.  

Shane Warne is largely unforgettable but is a rather cool and humorous homage to the Australian cricketer. 

Smoke Under The Bridge is a lovely, hypnotic, tune. It is, as many of Kelly’s songs are, incredibly relaxing. 

Somebody’s Forgetting Somebody is a solid song, but not a standout. Although, that harmonica is a pure pleasure to listen to. 

Somewhere In The City is magnificent!

South Of Germany as a vocal-only song is spectacular and showcases just how incredible Kelly’s vocal prowess is and how much control he has over it. 

Standing On The Street Of Early Sorrows is a song that I wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards when thinking of Paul Kelly, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it every time I hear it as the vocal delivery and backing is glorious. 

Stolen Apples is a great tune and while Crowded House write their own songs, I’d love to hear them cover this one.  

Stories Of Me is an incredible, multi-layered, acoustic tune.

Stupid Song is anything but stupid. I love it! 

Summer Rain is average at best. Yes, it works well within the compilation but as a song on its own, I just don’t find it compelling. 

Sweet Guy is incredible and Kelly’s vocal delivery is the definition of perfection.  

Sydney From A 747 isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything to write home about. Although, the intermingling guitars make this one enjoyable song. 

They Thought I Was Asleep is an incredible story-based song. 

Thoughts In The Middle Of The Night is stunning. The music will envelop you and Kelly is most certainly in the room with you when you listen to this track. An exceptional song and a stunning recording. 

To Her Door is a well-known masterpiece. One of Kelly’s most recognisable recordings and arguably one of his very best. 

Until Death Do Them Part isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. It simply exists and sometimes that is good enough. I wouldn’t, however, hold up Until Death Do Them Part as a defining moment in Kelly’s recording career. 

When I First Met Your Ma is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish and is, in my opinion, a hidden gem. I love it!

Winter Coat is a great tune. I adore Kelly’s vocal on this recording and his control over his vocal is most certainly impressive. 

Won’t You Come Around? has a great rhythm that will get your body moving and once again that harmonica steals the stage. 

Would You Be My Friend? is astonishingly good and sounds as though Kelly is singing to you, in a private concert. Sensational!

You Broke A Beautiful Thing is, pun intended, a beautiful thing! 

You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed isn’t a bad song, but it isn’t anything to write home about either. 

You Can’t Take It With You is such a good song with a sensational rhythm and a fantastic lyrical meaning. 

Your Little Sister Is A Big Girl Now has a killer intermingling guitar track; such an enjoyable song! 

Young Lovers is one of Kelly’s most beautiful songs. It isn’t necessarily the story he tells via the song, but it is the way he performs it that makes Young Lovers one very special song indeed.

You’re 39, You’re Beautiful And You’re Mine is a lovely tune. 

Your Loving Is On My Mind has always been one of my favourite Paul Kelly tracks and leaves me somewhat speechless; it is that good! 

Zoe is a solid song and while it may have taken over 6 hours to get to this stage, if you’re like me, you’re likely going to go back to Adelaide and listen to this masterpiece again. 

Whether you’re going on a road trip, going about your daily routine, or sitting intently absorbing every element of Kelly’s performances, you’re bound to adore this collection of songs for it is some of the finest singer-songwriter music you’re ever likely to hear, anywhere, by anyone.  

If you’d be more content with an abridged version, a Best Of The A To Z Recordings (2LP vinyl release) is available. 

A Deluxe Edition including Kelly’s memoir, How To Make Gravy, is also available as well as the standard 8-CD release, and a digital release on iTunes

If you’re remotely interested in Paul Kelly, then this compilation is a must-own. While it isn’t as concise as Greatest Hits – Songs From The South, Vols. 1 & 2, it will give you hours of bliss and a deeper view into the wonder that is Paul Kelly.  

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