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Music Review: Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe, Earthworks, Keith Richards, Phil Varone, and Dan Mahar

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This week we have a nice collection of DVDs from my pile. They are all music based so that is alright, although I must confess the heaviness is rather missing from this batch. Then again with the Human Riff involved it isn't all mellow either.

DVD Reviews

Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe: An Evening of Yes Music Plus

This DVD was filmed during one of the Yes tiffs which saw this group touring and releasing under their own name. That does not mean its not a Yes gig; just not an official one. This is a quality DVD of material perfect for any Yes fan needing a bit of visual and audio entertainment. As with many live CDs, it's best if you don't actually watch it, lest you laugh at Anderson's naff outfit and messiah act. Great music, done well by some of the best in the prog business. 16 tracks of quality is pretty much all one needs.

Earthworks: Vol 1 & Vol II

Bruford drummer extraordinaire of the mighty prog machine that is Yes has a bit of a side band. The jazz/fusion outfit called Earthworks is represented on these two DVDs twenty-five tracks of goodness. Those in the know of the Jazz world, with a penchant for fusion, love this lot and kudos have duly arrived. Filmed in Germany, Japan, Sofia, New York, and Buenos Aires, it's clear this lot are global in their popularity. Liners notes are included for quite an impressive couple of DVDs. Just the collection that will put a smile on the face of your modern jazz fan's face this holiday season.

Keith Richards: Under Review

Part of the Under Review series this is a collection of interviews coupled with a history of the "Human Riff". Hardcore Stones fans probably know all about this; but it is an interesting insight into the most interesting of the Stones members. It's great to see the spotlight being shown on Keef for a change. Let's face it, his solo stuff is far more fun than Mick's lame attempts at pop (ie that awful track with Bowie). Richards just lets his music and talent do the talking.

Extras include Kris Needs telling the tale of when he first met Keith, a bugger of a quiz and bio on all the people involved in the project. If you ever wondered why Jack Sparrow was based on Keef then this CD will explain all. A fascinating insight into one of the greatest guitarists that has ever lived and one of life's great mysteries. Essential to anyone interested in rock's history.

Phil Varone: Waking up Dead

A cautionary tale of rock 'n' roll excess told in all its gory detail. Unlike most films of this nature; this one is actually told by the man himself, his shrink, and those that know him. Made up of home/tour video and interviews this is a no holds bar look at the downside to the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. You get to see the coke being done, the groupies doing their thing, and the morning after. Phil, who is attempting to sort his life out, admits that he was unwilling to show this to his older daughter until they had a "long chat".

His ex-wife features greatly in this DVD and comes across as a strong woman who cares for the man, despite what he has done or in this case not done, for her and her children. The ex-Saigon Kick and Skid Row man tells it like he has seen and done it. No gloss, glamour, or spin just the plain facts man. It makes for 90 minutes of compelling viewing.

CD Reviews

Dan Mahar: Long Stone's Throw

Imagine a combo of Robert Cray and Gary Moore at their best… a good estimation of what this guy can do. There is a tinge of country on here as well. Fourteen tracks of 100% pure blue rock glory; they have got all that you want… familiar but original. I delayed reviewing this CD one week so I could listen to it every day. It's just that good; oozing blues and classy talent. If you like your rockin' blues do yourself and get this album ASAP. It's rare I listen to a release that stuns me. Well, this is just one such CD. Absolute perfection from the kick-arse opener to "Ruthless" to end with ole style blues ode "Someday I'm gonna know." Sublime.

Well that is your lot. If you have recovered from swearing at the ticket system for the upcoming Led Zeppelin gig please head out and check out some good live music. There are guys like Dan Mahar that could use, nah, deserve you ears and eyes. Stay safe and keep rocking until next week.

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