Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Amazon Reviews: The Rolling Stones "Grrr!"

Every Generation gets its Stones compilation.
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Just as 40 Licks was released to cover the Rolling Stones' 40th anniversary, it's time for a 50th Birthday set. "Grrr!" states the story of The Stones in multiple formats: you can purchase this album in 2, 3 or 5 disc sets. Way to market yourselves, guys.

That doesn't take away from the power of The Stones and their often ingenious singles. The first CD alone is a primer for rock and roll history, with "Satisfaction," "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Sympathy for The Devil" alone being the kind of songs bands would chew their hind legs off to compose...or even come up with a guitar lick as memorable. You'll also get a trio of the early, greasy Stones with "Come On," a cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" and Mick and Keith laying down some early blues with "Little Red Rooster." It's the kind of early material most compilations tend to skip over.

Disc two contains plenty of latter classics, like "Miss You," "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up." But it also reminds you why the band once titled one of their single disc sets "Sucking In The Seventies." It makes you stuck with weaker material like "Angie" or "Emotional Rescue," along with the 80's material that was the band turning into a polished hit machine. Some of these songs hold up surprisingly well, like "Undercover of The Night," but "Anybody Seen My Baby" could have been left off and I don't think I'd have noticed.

Of the new songs, "Doom and Gloom" has serious swagger while "One More Shot" runs on fumes, really. But that still makes a whole batch of Jagger/Richards composition (along with a couple covers, like the aforementioned Buddy Holly song and "Harlem Shuffle." And no-one keeps a beat like Charlie Watts. Like all Stones collections, you can't always get what you want (She's So Cold"), but sometimes you get what you need. Or depending on which set, what you pay for.


Monday, February 25, 2013

New Book! Finally Available!

It's taken me several years and a lot of prodding, but my newest collection of short stories is now available via Amazon. "Bounty Hunters and Kick Ass Cops" wraps up seven white hot kinky stories from the sexual underground. Everything from Cops behaving very badly to soldiers captured for particularly intense interrogations.

I'll let my friend and fellow author Alex Ironrod do my bragging for me:"Tim Brough is at it again with more than half a dozen stories of fierce man-sex, spiritual adventures and sadistic revenge. His writing is as graphic, as detailed, as elegant as ever. There’s Officer Malloy, the bad-ass in his tight blue uniform and tall Dehner boots tying up and flogging a new virgin victim in his private dungeon, and then mashing it up with Luke and Frank, two tough bounty hunters, playing for revenge and a sack full of money with guns barking and whips biting into naked flesh. “Android Police” offers a futuristic world of renegade PS9400s battling sadistic humans. “Code Name Swuffy” is a totally today tale of US intelligence gathering and depraved torture in the Middle East, while other stories deal with human sexual redemption through violence and deep male submission at the end of a single-tail whip. If you haven’t read anything new from Tim recently, let me tell you he sure as hell hasn’t lost his devilish touch to stir your darker imagination and to stimulate your one-handed reading with Bounty Hunters And Kick Ass Cops. Let’s have some more soon.

Click through the cover for more information. PS: It goes without saying that this is a volume of material for adults only. Not Safe For Work reading.

My Amazon Reviews: Queen "A Kind Of Magic"

There Can Be Only One!
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Queen had just come off their triumphant Live Aid appearance when they headed back into the studio to record "A Kind of Magic." The band was also approached with the plum job of writing songs for the film Highlander, giving them even more inspiration to compose material up to their high standards. This album, probably the best of the latter part of their career, was the result.

"A Kind of Magic" contained the Live Aid inspired "One Vision" (which also ended up in the cult movie "Iron Eagle"). Better known as the "fried chicken song," "One Vision" is one of Queen's great arena rockers. Both "Gimme The Prize" and "Don't Lose Your Head" rocked the "Highlander" movie, with Freddie Mercury's mighty wails atop Brian May's usual guitar pyrotechnics.

May, however, contributed one of my favorite Queen ballads to this album, the heartbreaking "Who Wants To Live Forever." Along with the delicious pop of the title track, these were both massive hits around the world (and unforgivably ignored in the USA). The video of a cartoon Queen dancing to "Magic" is also one of the most clever things that the band's ever done. John Deacon put in the beautiful "One Year Of Love," also a worldwide hit.

Next to the farewell of Innuendo, the best of the second phase of Queen's career. As an Queen album, it's on a par with Jazz and A Day At The Races. The triumph of Live Aid and the inspirational feel of this album led Queen to embark on the Live Magic tour, their last live trek before Mercury's declining health ended their 20th Century touring.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Amazon Reviews: Heart "Little Queen"

If the real thing don't do the trick?
4 Out of 5 Stars

After the dynamite debut of their "Dreamboat Annie" album (and the unofficial "Magazine," Heart went for the bulls eye on "Little Queen." From the explosive opener "Barracuda," you'd be thinking they had pulled it off. With a riff so distinctive (there was a guitar pedal named after the downbending sound in the opening chords), the band's proclamation that they were somewhere between Led Zepplin and a folk act seemed to be coming true.

Well, almost. Despite the cover of "Stairway To Heaven (Live)" as a bonus track, Heart was still feeling out their potential. As a rocker, "Kick it Out" is about halfway there, but the folkie plucking of "Love Alive" captures the band at a high point. "Little Queen" also contains some of Heart's better compositions, like the title track and "Dream Of The Archer." Ann's voice is powerful and guitarist Roger Fisher (who co-wrote most of the songs) has that Jimmy Page thing down pat.

"Little Queen" may not be Heart's best (IMHO, that goes to "Dog and Butterfly") but it is a must have for fans of the band, along with "Dreamboat Annie." This is still the raucous Heart, before the 90's polished them up and laid in the synthesizers for "Heart" (featuring "Alone").


Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Amazon Reviews: John Gorka "So Dark You See"

A Night So Dark
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Folk artist John Gorka has been offering great music since the late 80's, but has not broken out of the folk circuit. "So Dark You See" is an example of singer-songwriters at their peak, yet few will hear this. That's a darn shame, because this CD measures up to his best works.

The songs on "So Dark You See" are emotionally packed. "Where No Monuments Stand" is an anti-war song in a world where few exist because artists fear it will quash their commercial viability. "The Dutchman" paints a touching story of a wife who must care for her ailing, Alzheimer's riddled husband. Gorka also explores social strata on "Ignorance And Poverty." But ha can also be a happy camper as he exalts in "Trouble In Mind," where it's just John and his guitar.

The playing is a strong part of "So Dark You See." Both "Fret One" and "Fret Not" are little instrumental bridges that serve theit purposes as bridges into other songs, while his warm baritone glides atop the songs. Sometimes with full band treatments or just Gorka alone with his guitar telling stories, "So Dark You See" is a strong record. For readers of my reviews of Slaid Cleaves, John Gorka is in the same league.


Friday, February 22, 2013

My Amazon Reviews: James Taylor "One Man Dog"

Puppy Love
4 Out Of 5 Stars

With "One Man Dog," James Taylor continued his strong run of self-confessional albums that mixed his singer songwriter roots with some soul, a little rock and rolling and his resonant voice. The second half of the album takes it's inspiration from side two of The Beatles' "Abbey Road" with a batch on mini-songs that tie together. The whole album has a loose feel, with many of the songs clocking in at under two minutes. A good album by singer-songwriter standards and another forward step in Taylor's career, spawning the top 20 single "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight."

The first album recorded in Taylor's home studio, it could have easily been credited to James Taylor and friends. Future wife Carly Simon makes an appearance and Linda Ronstadt performs a lovely duet on "One Morning In May." Alex, Hugh, and Kate Taylor are all on board to help out, and the mini-suite contains everything from musical saws and chainsaws running through wood to good effect. Overall, a decent album if a little disappointing after the full-on classics "Sweet Baby James" and "Mud Slide Slim."


Monday, February 18, 2013

My Amazon Reviews: Grateful Dead "Shakedown Street"

This town ain't got no heart
3 Out Of 5 Stars

Despie having an empathic producer in Little Feat's Lowell George, "Shakedown Street" is a mediocre Grateful Dead album. There are pointless instrumentals, a pointless attempt at a danceable hit in the title track, and the emergence of Donna Godchaux as a lead vocalist. There are good songs buried in the murk, like concert staples to come "I Need a Miracle" and "Fire On The Mountain." "Shakedown Street" also gets of to a rousing start with a cover of The Rascals' "Good Loving."

But when you mix in the flavorless Godchaux composition "From The Heart Of Me" and some other lackluster material ("France," "Serengetti") or the 'why'd ya bother" Hunter/Garcia rewrite of the saga of "Stagger Lee," you wonder how much pressure the band was under to deliver a hit album versus a Dead album. They'd make up for this with "Go To Heaven" and they'd eventually get that hit single when "Touch Of Grey" finally charted, but about half of "Shakedown Street" sounds bloodless to the modern ear.