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Monday, June 1, 2009

GuestBook Post

The GuestBook Corner of Only Solitaire

Hello there. If you fell upon this blog from out of nowhere (for instance, having just typed "aretha franklin runnin' out of luck blogspot" in hopes of a free illegal download, you naughty person) and feel like learning more, the real place to go first is the regular Only Solitaire site. And if you feel like you have something to say in general, rather than comment on any of the reviews in particular, this is the right place to do it. From the "thank you for the music" bit to the "who do you think you are" bit, feel free to unload your heart.

George Starostin

Update: The contents of the blog should now be regularly syndicated to the Only Solitaire group in Facebook. If you want to quickly stay in touch, or have a chance to discuss something out there with me in person (although, as usual, I cannot guarantee immediate answers to everything), and are Facebook-savvy enough, feel free to join the group.

Update (04.26.2016): To avoid confusion, the current schedule for new reviews has been modified to the following:

Monday: "Older" artists from the 1920s to circa 1964-65
Tuesday: Artists from 1965-70 ("rock matures")
Wednesday: Artists from 1970-76 ("progressive etc." era)
Thursday: 1976-89 (New Wave and the Eighties)
Friday: 1989-2010 (Nineties and Noughties)
Saturday: New releases (recent releases from already reviewed artists, or, pending those, some fresh kids from the most recent years)
Sunday: Important Album Series


  1. First to comment, but just want to thank you for the reviews. =)

  2. George, you are making an awesome work as always! Just one tip, do you have to review the albums alphabetically?

    Btw, are you aware of portuguese music? If not, you could hear Fausto, José Mario Branco or Zeca Afonso. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks, Francisco. No, I don't HAVE to review the albums (or, rather, artists) alphabetically, but it sort of saves me from the maddening problem of who to review first/last. Even if I restrict myself to my favorite artists, there's so many of them already that the neglected ones will be haunting me at night.

    I know absolutely nothing about Portuguese music, I'm ashamed to say. I'm sure there must be good artists out there, but I just don't have enough ears and brains for everything. Bear with me.

  4. Os Mutantes sing in Portuguese. do they count?

  5. Although they sing in Portuguese, they are Brazilian.

  6. By the way, you might want to include your "Two Cents" page somewhere in the blog too. =)

  7. I've been reading all of your new reviews and trying to get ahold of as many of the albums in question in possible, and I must say I am eternally grateful to you for introducing me to so many great albums I might never have gotten around to acquiring otherwise. In fact, I feel sort of guily for not commenting on many of the albums, if only to say how great they are, but I guess I'll just leave this general remark instead.

    And personally, I am definitely positive towards you reviewing artists like B.B. and Aretha who aren't normally thought of in terms of albums. Sure, it results in you having review Aretha's post-classic period (horror! well, not that I'd know, I haven't been able to get my hands on any of those albums) but it has also introduced me to awesome stuff like 'To Know You Is To Love You', 'Young Gifted And Black', 'I Wanna Get Funky' and a bunch of other albums, so I certainly have no complaints.

  8. Oh yeah, before I forget again: Your 'Recent Developments' section is still labeled 1999-2009, even though you've clearly reviewed more recent albums than that.

  9. Hi George, I (usually) like your reviews and I'm in awe of the effort you put into this thing, I am a bit worried about your decision to do your reviews in alphabetical order, however understandable it may be. I'm afraid you'll never get past BB King and Aretha Franklin this way (all too often the same review with minor variations anyway, I regret to say.) Have you considered reviewing album titles alphabetically - that way at least you'll have some more variation in the artists you cover. Keep up the good work. (P.S. I'd send you my own cd, but as my nom de plume comes pretty late in the alphabet there's not much point. Just kidding.)

  10. Martijn , my cd is too. It's coming at 'S' letter. Hopefully it may happen for us around 2020. :)

  11. Hi Martin - that's a hilarious idea, but hardly executable (would disrupt all the sequencing, and artists' pages are, after all, chronologically structured). Don't worry, I'm way more than halfway through with AF and BB. But if I were to review "important" albums every day, that would be detrimental to my main job, so I'm using this completionism for recreational purposes as well.

  12. More than halfway thru BB and AF? That's a relief! :-)
    Your main job is linguistics, right? In that case I won't hesitate to tell you that my name actually is Martijn, the "ij" being a peculiar Dutch diphthong that's very hard to pronounce for non-Dutch speakers.
    @Cardiac Arrest: My band name starts with "P", so I wouldn't have to wait quite as long as you. ;-)

  13. Another alternate route that might work, could be reviewing an artist per letter. One A, then one B then one C ect and Repeat. that would keep the full artist profiles but also keep the bands less predictable.

  14. Martijn - I'm sorry, I didn't notice the -j- in your surname, nor did I identify the name Hover as a Dutch family name, which I'm still puzzled about (is it supposed to be related to "hoebe" or "heuvel" - "farmland" or "hump"?). Too bad I don't speak Dutch, although I have some good friends in Leiden.
    I checked out your Cameroon blog, by the way - very nicely done. My sole experience with the country is through working with its two hundred and eighty-six languages...

  15. Thanks for the kind comment on my blog, Georgiy.
    As for my family name, apparently it is related to the German name Huber. Although it may derive from the Swedish village Hovertorp, according to an American "Hover" that a relative of mine once met on a plane. Anyway, I look forward to your first "C"-review. :-)

  16. Francisco FernandesOctober 16, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    George, do you like Florence and the Machine?

  17. Hello George, I'm a long time fan from Argentina! :) I still read your old page and find your reviews so rich and entertaining. And enlightening too. I am in my eternal mission to augment my collection and am glad you turned to the more organized and easy-to-maintain blog format. See you around!

  18. Mr. Starostin, I absolutely love your site and blog. You've introduced me to some really great bands, and the whole "class and evaluation" system is interesting too.

    I couldn't help but notice, though, that "Parachute" is missing from your Pretty Things" page. Pity, because I think it's easily their best, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Anyway, awesome site. I can't wait to read the next series of reviews.

  19. Thank you. "Parachute" is a damn fine record, I just didn't have access to it when I was writing the page. The whole early Seventies period for the band is quite underrated - S.F.Sorrow did for them pretty much the same thing Tommy did for the Who.

  20. Hi George, great new reviews. I like the thumbs up/thumbs down format. More casual? I had mentioned Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, but before you started this blog. Worth a look, no? I really like their Black Dog: And then Plant has a new album that has at least two nice songs: and

  21. Hi Panos! Yes, the Plant/Krauss album was really good. It's a strange thing with Robert - from those early solo albums that never really struck a chord with me, he only seems to be getting better and better with age. Haven't heard the latest yet, though.

  22. George, I've been reading your reviews(old and new)now and then for about five years now and always wanted to thank you for the immense sense of humour and the quality of your writing. Your Kraftwerk reviews, for example, are probably the best I've read. You actually inspired me to go catch up with some of the albums/artists you've written about. Thanks a lot! / Maria Ushakova

  23. Thank you! Wonderful to know someone actually got into Kraftwerk through my reviews, after all the trashing they got from me. :)

  24. I dont really get it, what are you trying to do here, what's the goal? To review every album ever made; albums or artists you like, or random albums? I don't know. Seems a little like someone attempting to scribe the biggest number in the world. Lacks a little focus in organisation perhaps, a ship without a compass, which makes it feel a little irrelevant, which it probably isn't.

    Also, your writing is a little long. I detect you know that. I like long, I write long, but you need to be a little more concise, a little editing could do.

    Otherwise, your passion is obvious and you can describe quite well, for sure. You come across as a real person, with a knowledge of music, not some flip journo who thinks they can write about music. But give it a little more thought.

    Constructive criticism I hope you can see.


  25. Phil: A ship without a compass is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it may be better not to know exactly where you are going.

    The things I currently write are about as long as I want them to be, in contrast to past reviews (on the old version of the site) which did suffer from conscious, usually unnecessary, padding. I don't know if you are referring to the old stuff - on which I fully agree - or the current stuff, but, anyway, I wouldn't want to model myself after Christgau or Wilson & Alroy.

    I do see that the criticism is constructive, and I'm always grateful for constructive criticism.

  26. Hi, George. I've been following you since 2000 and I like very much your new reviews. Your opinion is as well expressed as in the old ones, but also they're, let's say, "fairer" as your tastes have broadened a lot since then. When I listen to an album I've not heard before I like to read a couple of reviews to go with it, and yours are always first pick, alongside maybe the ones from the All Music Guide (distant second). Many times I've read an old review for an album for which there is not a new review yet, and I catch myself thinking "now what would George say about this one now that he has a better appreciation of R&B and jazz"?

  27. I like the new site. I mean the old one surely was more organized but well, you already did that. Trying to review (or collect, for the case) every notorious group out there is quite impossible. The random thing is good: I would go further as not following the alphabet, but what the heck, it's always fun to read your stuff. PS: I hope you get to the "G"ene clark before I die, I have just discovered his great solo output. PS: About allmusic, have you noticed that the rating sometimes doesn't match the comment at all? Different reviewers? :)

  28. The thing that I like less from the AMG is that, for a site that strives to be comprehensive it is perhaps to American-centered. They have toned it down a bit but I still remembered when every music genre which was not sung in English was a subgenre of "World" (including Flamenco, Indian Classical Music, and many others of similar caliber) while having Country and Bluegrass as separate genres. An the last nugget of inconsistency plus Americentrism I found was in their biography of Iron Maiden, where they literally said "Iron Maiden has always been an underground act". Yep, tell that to all the metalheads from when I was in high school. An act that had several #1's and #2's in the UK albums *and* singles charts is "underground"... bah.

  29. Hey George,
    Just wanted to say, love the site and reviews.
    I have spent many manyhours wasting potentially productive time engrossed in reading your comments about my favourite artists, my least favourite artists and finding out about groups i've never even hear of, always with great pleasure.

    The most important thing I would say to anybody reading this message is to check out the reviews of Rory Gallagher on the old site. Rory was and always will be the greatest musician to pick up a 6 string guitar and make noise with it! As an Irishman i innocently assumed that all the world has had the same exposure to Rory that i have had, but lo, much of the world (funnily mostly the english speaking world) remains blissfully unaware of Rory, and when i saw that most all of his albums (even the taste ones) had been reviewed on this site, well i knew there was hope for the world yet. if you have achieved nothing else in life George, then spreading the good news about Rory to the world should leave you satisfied with your life's work!

    I would make similar sentiments about Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy, though perhaps they are a little better known. But as you point out, the first three albums in the Eric Bell era are the most satisfying yet hugely overlooked by most casual listeners.

    I think Phil and Rory both possess an uncanny ability to get right under your skin, even with the most throaway kind of song, there is a cry in the voice or an integrity in the lyrics which affects one in a way that makes music so fantastic, and probably makes the countless hours you spend listening and reviewing worthwhile when you come across an listening experience that makes the previous 500 rubbish records you listened to worth all the while!

    anyway, long story short, please keep up the great work!

    Ger, Ireland

  30. George,

    Truly amazed at what you have accomplished both here and on the old site. I have been following Only Solitaire since my mid-teens (2005 maybe?) and am thrilled at this fresh burst of output. The depth and insight of your writing only seems to be increasing. Exploring the old site when I was just beginning to approach the full scope of popular music was a journey in itself. Your work has certainly influenced the way I approach music and it has inspired me to attempt to gather my own thoughts on music in writing.

    Great to see you dive into the [ you must admit ;) ] diverse world of blues music as well as reassessing blues-based artists. Love the new Allman Brothers reviews! Fillmore East in particular was an emotional read.

    For Ger from Ireland >> Rory Gallagher was one of my biggest finds through George's site! He is the definition of resonance as far as I'm concerned.

    I try not to look too far forward but can't wait till you hit Jeff Beck. Is it possible you've found some resonance? The original Jeff Beck Group plumbed the depths of the blues as far as just about any of their contemporaries - but more effectively in a live setting (shame there hasn't been a single proper live release from this era) and recently Jeff seems to be playing with more conviction than ever.

    There is something to savor in each review, whether i have heard (or care to hear) the particular album or not. Each one is a treat.
    You can count me as a lifelong follower.

    All the best,


  31. Jaime: The AMG's greatest flaw has constantly stayed the same - lots of reviewers with entirely different backgrounds, tastes, and writing styles. Which certainly explains the discrepancies between reviews and ratings, but does not make the experience any less frustrating.

    Zach: I've scooped up Jeff's latest live DVD recently and will watch it soon, then we'll see on the resonance issue. He's got a cute (and tremendously dexterous) girl player on bass, there HAS to be some resonance in between the two of them at least. :)

  32. Hi G.S.
    What about Guns N' Roses ? i didn't found anything about them in your blogs . Do you dismiss them as just another stupid hair-metal band or do you find any merit in them ? Do you appreciate "Appetite for destruction" ?

  33. Hi Israeli boy: I don't even dismiss ALL stupid hair-metal bands. Some stupid hair-metal bands have cool aspects to them. Guns'n'Roses have cool aspects, too. Don't worry, I appreciate "Appetite for destruction".

  34. George, what are the hair-metal bands (or glam-metal/80-es hard rock stuff) you appreciate the most ? Or, putting it in another way, which of them have the most of/the strongest of that cool aspects you mention ? Hope you don't mind giving some names, please!

  35. Extreme's Pornograffitti is a near-ideal hair-metal album. I'd say there's nothing wrong with hair-metal when the melodies are flshed out and the pomp is balanced with wit and humor. Even power ballads can be okay: Cooper's 'Love's A Loaded Gun' is a fabulous thing (well, perhaps it's not really a 'ballad' in the proper sense).

    Actually, I think every musical genre can be thought of that way, no?

  36. I love "Pornograffitti" a lot. the only "hair"-metal album I like more is their "III Sides To Every Story" but of course by that point they'd largely left the genre behind for something more ambitious and (as far as I'm concerned) better.

  37. Thanks, George. Yes, it is. I've used to say - it's not the genre, it's the talent.
    "Pornograffitti" is great, and Ken is really stealing my thoughts - "III Sides" is even greater (but it's a serious step away). I do think you gonna love some early King's X records, too (1988-1994). But that's more like Beatles + Sabbath + "hair" marriage. :)

    Back to glam-metal - i do think W.A.S.P (yeah, give me your tomatoes) had a great record with "Crimson Idol" album (concept, that kinda sounded like "The Who" rock-opera meets "Iron Maiden", but at the same time they had enough brains/talent not to make an unintentional
    "Spinal Tap" thing out of it... and it worked), and also a decent one with "Headless Children" album.

  38. It seems you're finally running out of B.B. King's an Aretha's albums. I can't wait till you get to B-52, Echo And The Bunnymen, Dead Kennedys or Bauhaus, which must be nearing.

  39. Gamaliel said...

    Hey! First of all i want to say that your work on this site and the old one is brilliant, it's evident a real love for music!...I was wondering if you are planing to review some of the Smashing Pumpkins music, i'm a big fan of the band and i would really love to know what you think about them

  40. I understand the advantages of this new blog format, and have no problem with that, but the old site was so much better! Number ratings are so much more interesting than this thumbs up or thumbs down system. I do enjoy actually reading what you have to say, but sometimes i do get lazy and would just like a 1 to 10. Also it would be very cool if the two sites were consolidated into one. I guess this isn't really how blogs work, but i loved the old site.

  41. Hi! So glad you enjoyed "Mr Time" - Alan Parsons. The song was written as as far back as 1990 so it seems to have stood the test of time it seems from your review - thank you! I have posted another three of The Dreamfield's songs from that same album on my youtube channel - 1angeloctober - purely from sentiment.
    very best wishes
    Jacqui Copland

  42. Hey George, I just had a question about your old site, a bit trivial, but the song names you highlight in red seem to be your favorites, and the blue ones the stinkers... but there are cases when you have chosen a "best song" as one which wasn't highlighted in red, when others were. Why is this? I'm thinking maybe you changed your song choices at some point perhaps, and also the ratings of albums because sometimes the rating will be different when you scroll through the Chronology section than it is on a given artist's page (for example it says Adrian Belew's "Young Lions" has an 11 on the chron page but a 12 on his artist page). I suppose you don't edit the old site anymore but I thought I'd point that out.

    Anyway I like the new site, while it is a bit less organized, it's also more fair with the reviewing style in a sense; the thumbs up vs. down approach is more general and hence brings more attention to the review than the rating. Keep up the good work, I may start up a music site of my own, partially because of your writing.

    - Michael Porter

  43. Hi, I read your reviews fairly regularly, and I see that you're going to review many classic bands by alphabetical order, I wonder if I'll still by alive by the time you get to the likes of Pulp ... ;) Anyway, keep the spirit!

  44. Hello, I was wondering if you have any thoughts about The Beau Brummels? It seems they did not make it during these alphabetical review. They released some great albums and I think they would fit in nicely with the other sixties bands you have reviewed on 'Only Solitaire'.

    I love your reviews. Have a Merry Christmas.

  45. Hey George, I have a question about your Animals review. I noticed that on the Animals page on your old site, the discography gaps section lists a few albums that you didn't review for the blog. Will you ever get around to reviewing them?
    Merry Christmas.

  46. Thanks for all the recent comments, guys, and Merry Christmas to you all as well. A few quick answers:

    Kurtis: If your time is limited, then instead of the ratings game, here's another one - try and guess my opinion on an album by simply reading the first phrase of the review. More often than not, it's possible!

    Jacqui: Thanks for commenting - nice to see a real professional come by and visit!

    Michael: When you run so much stuff all by yourself on a limited time basis, you're almost guaranteed to fuck up in at least minor ways from time to time. Don't look for any hidden messages in those inconsistencies.

    Anonymous: The Beau Brummels would probably belong in Section B (early 1960s), in which I haven't gotten around to B yet.

    Jared: No. I've reviewed the Sonny Boy album, and most of the US "Animalism" is now appended to the UK edition as bonus tracks. "Eric Is Here" is really solo Burdon, and "Roadrunners!" is pretty much a bootleg. I'll review more Animals if they get some important official archive release.

  47. Hate to be a pain in the ass here, but the bonus tracks to the UK "Animalisms" are actually from the US "Animalization" whilst the US "Animalism" seems to consist entirely of otherwise unavailable material, including a Zappa collaboration and a Donovan cover.
    No idea if it's any good, altough the All-Music Guide gave it 5 stars (yeah yeah, I know).

  48. You're right. Well, in any case, I'm no longer in the mood for Animals.

  49. Your site is a fun read everyday, whether it's old or new groups. It's like the only newspaper I would read :) Happy Xmas, George!

  50. I'm looking forward to the reviews of the Zombies :(

  51. Hi George. I stumbled upon the original site from the "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" analysis. It was a very good read! Since then I've spent a fair bit of time on some bands' catalogs, such as Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits,.. (no Beatles, sorry!)

    Anyhow, I think it'll take quite a while for me to go through all the stuff you've written (as if I didn't have enough music related things to read). And while I may not agree with your opinions on a lot of things, I still really enjoy the site/blog. Hope you keep providing us with insightful reviews in the future. Also, you should write more essays/song analysis, I would love to see them coming

    Also, I wish you and your family a (belated) happy new year!

  52. George, it's great to see you're back at reviewing. It's nice to see your opinion on current artists, not just the classics.

    Have a happy year!

  53. Hi, George.

    I yesterday had the good fortune to incidentally discover Your astonishing reviews, which proved to be a very endearing reading throughout (well, obviously I didn't read them ALL since yesterday, but many, many more than I originally had planed, and for shure I'll come back for even more...).

    Especially interesting to me is that we (partially - Your horizon is wider than mine...) are fond of the same bands/artists, but often like/dislike the opposite tracks, or elements. Now, what I like about that is that You're usually at the opposite opinion in such an intelligent, funny, sometimes even charming way that it's very amusing, stimulatiing and sometimes - in a way - even enlightening to me.

    I imagine it must be great fun to have a long extended discussion with You about millions of different albums (to some extend, this discussion actually takes place in my mind since yesterday... ;-)

    Now, this was the compliment part of my comment (an important part to me, as I really want to point out that finding Your reviews is a great discovery for me...).

    Then - I also like to ask You for a favour (quiet a strange one, I think...).

    I'm a musician, and I'd like to invite You to review one of my albums.
    What's strange about that, You might think (I guess, musicians do ask You every now and then...).

    Now, to be more precise:
    I'd like You to slate one of my albums - or at least that's what You obviously will do, if You will do it at all (most probably You won't - why waste 70 minutes of Your precious lifetime and even more by writing about that annoying experience...).

    Then - why do I ask at all? I have a couple of reasons, actually I would tell You at length about them, if You like to get into dialog with me. For now and here, it would be just too much...

    It perhaps sums up to:
    I believe it has to be done, and You're the one who would be best qualified :-)

    If You're curious, You can contact me under this adress:

    Peace + good wishes,

  54. I overlooked Alice Cooper for years as bland and tasteless, what a narrow view! Thanks to your reviews I had the oportunitiy to see alice with other eyes and now I love it! I even have most of the albums on vinyl. Mr Fournier's music is such a Pandora's box!

  55. Dear George
    Great reviews.
    It's only an opinion but yours are uncannily good.
    John Etkin-Bell

  56. Basically, your site is tops. I've been reading your Only Solitaire pages since 2007, and I sometimes love reading your reviews over and over again. They're well-written, informative, and nicely formatted.

    Oh, and they've inspired me to begin my own music-reviewing blog here ->

    I might quote you a lot in it, so heads up.

    And thanks again for telling me what to listen to. Turns out you're usually right. : )

  57. Knock - knock - knock...

    Good evening (good whateverning!) George!

    It's me again (after much batteling with myself whether it would be worth a.) trying at all and b.) humiliating myself a second time. Then again, life is short and gets shorter every second...).

    I'm the same strange guy whose weird comment You were vigilant enough to delete two or three weeks ago. No doubt You will deal with this one in the same way (and of course it's Your undisputed right to do so...).
    Then again, reading through several dozens of Your excellent reviews (I mean it!) somehow suggested that You suffer from occasional fits of softheartedness, so for the microscopic chance to catch You in the right mood I beg the high court for the grace to state my case.

    For that end I really, really would prefer a thought exchange via E-Mail. In the first line because it just doesn't belong here and is of no interest for anyone, except me and - maybe (hopefully) Yourself.
    The only reason why I write this comment is because it's the only technical possibility I found to get in touch with You.
    Otherwise I don't want to spoil this page, or misuse it for personal promotion or anything (just in case that's what You thought...).

    Well, last time I left my E-Mail to give You a possibility to get in touch with me. Maybe that seemed suspicious to You...

    Anyway, I won't do it again.
    And I won't bother You a third time (in case You worry...).

    But it would be nice (polite, actually...) if I could get just an oh so tiny answer.
    So I'll have look some day or another (here, I mean...).

    Well. You know how it is. Once You buy a lot You hope until next saturday that You'll win the jackpot, even if You know that Your chances are 80 Million to one...

    Now, enough of that.
    Excuse me if I caused You any inconvenience.

    Peace + good wishes,
    Michael (Brückner, actually, yes, I am German, what can I do...)

  58. Mr. Starostin:

    I regret resorting to this, but I must ask this rather annoying question in order to (hopefully) preserve my sanity. You see, I've been listening to a lot of Ramones lately, and upon hearing the opening riff of "Don't Come Close," I noticed that that riff sounds a lot like the chorus of a completely different song, the title or artist of which I cannot remember. The singer (at least as well as I can remember him) sounds like Jeff Lynne, but I don't think it's him.

    So can you help me out? I'm going on three days of mental torment here, and I believe your musical expertise may help me sort things out.

  59. This riff sounds like the ones in 'Do Ya' by ELO and 'If You Can't Beat Them' by Queen. Same chords, same scale (D Major), slightly different rhythms. Maybe this helps.

  60. No, neither of those is it. The difficult thing is, the vocal melody in the chorus of the unknown song is nearly the same as the guitar riff in "Don't Come Close." The mystery song has the same kind of soaring power chorus you'd expect from a song like "Do Ya," though.

  61. Hi George,

    I love your reviews!

    However I have problems navigating down the alphabet - after the years and single entries on the right I can only see A to B - how do I select other letters?

    Cheers brett

  62. Those are the only reviews

  63. Dear George, thank you so very much for introducing me to lots of wonderful music. Your reviews have been my everyday reading for years. Waiting for your take on Black Francis a.k.a Frank Black catalogue. You have already ventured into a B-letter territory several times, so I dare to hope it shouldn't be long)

  64. Hi George,

    Might be hard to believe, but you got me into The Beatles! I'm from India, and was never too serious about the music I listened to (mostly just metal and whatever pop hits were playing on TV). But once I stumbled onto your site and read your reviews, I just HAD to check them out! Of course, I wasn't disappointed :)

    After that, I have discovered a number of albums and artists (The Stones, Kinks, Alice Cooper etc) through your reviews and recommendations (I discovered Mark Prindle through your site too :)


  65. Found your site looking interviews with Christian Vander and am vastly impressed with your ears and your insights! Great stuff. Quick question- I'm an experimental singer-songwriter/finger-style guitarist from Boston and have just released a new record that I think would be right up your alley. Any way to submit a copy for possible review? Would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to drop a line at if you're interested. Thanks!

  66. Hello there, i have a proposal and something to offer you, please send an email to so that we can talk about it. Great blog! All the best.

  67. Hi George,

    I love your reviews especially on the old site - I frequently refer to it for guidance and judgement!

    However (although I'm sure it's already been mentioned a million times before) I miss both the artist biography and the old rating system. While I can see the former being unfeasible as you are talking about so many different bands, the latter is infinitely superior to this thumbs up/thumbs down system. It gives the reader a much better perspective on your views on the band as a whole and obviously the specific album.

    Anyway, these are little gripes and I love your writing style and am constantly impressed at the breadth of albums you cover. Keep going - I can't wait till you get to The Beatles!


    P.S - Listened to 'Live At The Isle Of Wight' by The Who and I thought it was terrible! I can't disagree with the intensity or the playing but the sound quality is appalling and really puts you off listening to it. It just sounds too raw. I think I'll just stick to my nice quiet Live At Leeds disc instead.

  68. Thanks Harry!

    I actually thought that it was the writing that gave the reader a better perspective rather than a brief number. But then again, you may be right and I might be a much better number-assigner than writer.

    Somehow I just managed to get sick of ratings quicker than of writing. Unfortunate!


  69. Heh. If you're still doing this 20 years from now, you just know people will still be asking about what happened to the ratings!

  70. Well I believe music as any piece of art is subjective (though some albums are quite generally accepted as objective crap :)). And I understand that you got sick of numbers.. It is VERY difficult to assign a sensible score specially when you put all albums together. In short, I think that numbers are good for anxious consumers, but on reading your reviews I get a lot of fun and some directions. Reading about artists which I'll most probably never listen to is quite interesting as well.

  71. Hi George,
    I've been reading your reviews for several years now, and they've been an incredible source of insights for me. I've discovered many new artists because of you and also delved deeper into old favourites upon reading your analyses.
    I think the one artist that is hugely worthy of your review is John Martyn. He's not straight-forward at all, so I'd be very interested to hear your take on him.

    p.s. I agree with Harry: I miss the old rating system. It's all subjective so I always would allow for +/- a few numbers on the rating, but did give a good quick introduction to the best and the good albums, and which ones to avoid. Thumbs up / thumbs down doesn't help much when exploring a new artist and trying to decide which album to start with. But hey, you do what you want! Just keep writing, please! :)

  72. Hello George, I really like all the work you've done with the website and now this blog. I just have a question about a review. I'm actually listenning to the stunning collection "Children of nuggets" released on 2005. I wonder if we'd have a chance one day to read your 'track-by-track" review about this compilation ?

    Thank u and Keep music alive ! Greetings

  73. Hi George,

    Would you like to review this band
    They were from Yugoslavia.

  74. Hey George, I think you'd enjoy David Francey's music, it'd be interesting to see you review some of his material, mainly his first three albums. I'd feel unsafe posting any download links for you to pirate his music, so here are some songs I found on youtube.

  75. Hi George, I'm interested in commenting your by now rather ancient reviews on Queen. Since the solicitation for comments are closed on your old site, I'm forced to to burden some space on your Blog here. To be sure, I'm delving into the Queen catalog as a late-comer, after having sampled most of the "established pioneers of pop-rock-blues" - aka those falling under, but not limited to, your "A class" groups.

    One common dismissal about Queen I find interesting, is equating their artistic substance and worth to the presumably limited scope of formative experience and early rite-of-passage of their adolescent fans. Ironically, the historical result of this suggests just the opposite of the claim that Queen mostly appeals to dumb teens: both Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose - whether one rates their musical output or not, given their cultural imprints during their respective careers - have credited their early exposure to Queen that ignited and FOSTERED their interest in the variety of style and genre in music.

    If we are to be educators interested in nurturing future generations beyond securing "legacy" & "legitimacy" within the ivory tower, do we not usually value the introductory, gateway experience that seduces with excitement, and inspires interest and unbounded imagination about a chosen discipline (in this case, pop music), that would hopefully go on to shape a student-novice's attitude and approach as they continue their life-long journey of continuous study and improvement in themselves and for their chosen discipline? The list of bands and musical acts Queen has influenced is staggering (and I assure you are far less "disposable" than the trends of corporate-packaged contenders to "the next King of Pop", truth be told), not to mention folks in "higher places" like Montserrat Caballe, Jeff Beck, Roger Waters etc. giving their nods in Queen's direction. (continued)

  76. (continued - 2 of 3:)
    Since there's too much grounds to cover, I just wish to say much of your reviews are interesting because YOU yourself convey a textual character that has strong opinions and likes and dislikes, quite colorfully spontaneous reactions to how a piece of music affects you. That that in itself seldom broadens my appreciation and understanding of Queen's music (or not), becomes moot because much of musical criticism not painstakingly taking apart songform and lyrical content vis-a-vis the actual delivery and interpretation in a given performance, is ultimately about the critic-as-personality -- much like their oft-targeted pop/rock star-as-personality - how amusing, isn't it?

    I emphasize particularly the performance interpretation, because it is the single, biggest and glaring omission from your reviews. You liken "Under Pressure" collaboration with Bowie as an Abba-retread, yet seldom can such example in Abba: where Bowie's intellectual cynicism with a biting structure on which the song's musical abstractions are staked, and those more abstract moments are taken over by Mercury's impulse/passion-driven counterpoint: i.e. the whole song is about 2 dueling perspectives dueling vocally, on whether giving a damn in having "love" for your fellow humankind, still matters in the bitter end where containment of society-wide pressure is reaching a breaking point. If one relies strictly on once-over type of quick impressions, such nuance is unlikely to register beyond past a deja vu of "Hey didn't Abba do this already?" Well, how many songs did Abba contain this tension-fraught pairing of a structured cynic (Bowie), and the playful whimsy of a dreamer (Mercury) scat-singing over everything - yet the two eventually come into a climactic confrontation, one with an impassioned plea/rally (as "public celebration/inciting" is Mercury's knack), and a sobering deflation of dreamy-eyed Utopian plans (as Bowie often famously achieves, e.g. crapping on the dream gone awry in "Young America" - which is so effective it even ended up in Lars Von Trier's "diatribe" of Dogville '04?)

  77. (continued - 3 of 3:)
    Finally, much of Queen must be understood in terms of a Twain-like humorist approach to music (e.g. Bicycle Race which you simply dash off as one of the few attempts at creativity that worked without truly unpacking "why/how", actually is perversely political in its seeming embrace of apolitical petulance by refusing participation in pop cultural cornerstone/craze of its times -- and guess what, it later became a flashmob performance installation of a Belgian poverty-advocacy group. The song's inherent tone of public rally/celebration of DEFIANCE, had been reappropriated per their needs, just as personal experiences of a band coming up the ranks or private growth/journey in We are The Champions/Don't Stop Me Now, had been reappropriated by public rituals OUTSIDE/BEYOND of Queen's control!)

    Another note of relevance, is Brian May often citing the idea of "musical joke within a joke" common in Queen's work. Obviously without "credible" musical styles, such penchant can easily relegate one to a 2-bit clown-prankster leeching on musical fad du jour, or at best a Weird Al-type career. But Queen with their skills (yes that they have in order to have tackled a variety of genres *indiscriminately* rather than the traditional pack mentality fraught with sociopolitical implications of cultural superiority or gated communities/ghettos - to the point Black Americans thought Queen were a Black group, Maurice Bejart likened Queen's inspiration for creating on par with Mozart albeit in different genre, and prominent "A-group" figures like Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Caballe, Elton John, Bowie, McCartney et al giving them their dues? Not to mention younger generation from Nine Inch Nails to pre-Thriller MJ, Metallica to Celin Dion, Garth Brooks, Sonic Youth, and Beck?)

    P.S. Just a quick minder of "Melancholy Blues": it appears you prefer a "positive space" rendition of "sincere feelings" in music, when Mercury rather conceived a singer interpreting songs as an actor taking on roles. The masks aren't so much impersonal bombast, as they are a way to access and build constructions that at best can be a 2way mirror of relevance both to performer and audience. In short, if you don't "feel" a song, it's neither your or the song/performer's "fault", but you simply didn't connect in that instance, which shouldn't objectively render the song a failure especially when it DOES appeal to others' sensibilities. "MB" in particular is a laconic diva - think Garbo's disaffected detachment to shield from pain as jilted lover, which IS the lyrics' gist - licking over her wounds in a lonely spot after the party/smoke have evaporated, and she's left alone with only her piano. Yes, Mercury needs to be thought of as a diva with strong male sexual characteristics he wielded to his performer's advantage - thereafter all his crooning makes more sense.

    Also, YES, The Prophet Song's vocal cannon IS recreated live to spectacular results (look up Boston '76 on youtube.)

  78. (part 1 of 3: oddly it wasn't posted sequentially - apologies!)
    Hi George, I'm interested in commenting your by now rather ancient reviews on Queen. Since the solicitation for comments are closed on your old site, I'm forced to to burden some space on your Blog here. To be sure, I'm delving into the Queen catalog as a late-comer, after having sampled most of the "established pioneers of pop-rock-blues" - aka those falling under, but not limited to, your "A class" groups.

    One common dismissal about Queen I find interesting, is equating their artistic substance and worth to the presumably limited scope of formative experience and early rite-of-passage of their adolescent fans. Ironically, the historical result of this suggests just the opposite of the claim that Queen mostly appeals to dumb teens: both Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose - whether one rates their musical output or not, given their cultural imprints during their respective careers - have credited their early exposure to Queen that ignited and FOSTERED their interest in the variety of style and genre in music.

    If we are to be educators interested in nurturing future generations beyond securing "legacy" & "legitimacy" within the ivory tower, do we not usually value the introductory, gateway experience that seduces with excitement, and inspires interest and unbounded imagination about a chosen discipline (in this case, pop music), that would hopefully go on to shape a student-novice's attitude and approach as they continue their life-long journey of continuous study and improvement in themselves and for their chosen discipline? The list of bands and musical acts Queen has influenced is staggering (and I assure you are far less "disposable" than the trends of corporate-packaged contenders to "the next King of Pop", truth be told), not to mention folks in "higher places" like Montserrat Caballe, Jeff Beck, Roger Waters etc. giving their nods in Queen's direction.

  79. Hi George!
    I discovered your site circa 2005, and was (and still is) a source of endless reading pleasure, insight and good humor, and helped me broaden my musical horizons and to discover many bands. Only yesterday I stumbled upon your blog, and I'm delighted to know you are back at it and with a more interactive approach.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion so generously; I look forward to many more musical discoveries.
    I would like to have the Red Hot Chilli Peppers reviewed by you. I had only a cursory knowledge of their music (Californication album) until my daughter came up with "Snow" from Stadium Arcadium. After that I became acquainted with more RHCP work and really liked it, except is early output, before Blood, Sugar...
    Warm regards, and keep the good work!

  80. After reading a bunch of your reviews, I sort of gleaned that you rather dislike Weird Al. Any particular reason why? It's easy to dismiss him as a novelty act, of course, but he's been around for 30 years now.

    Besides, you don't seem like the sort of person to dismiss him as a joke solely based on "Eat It".

  81. Hi guys!

    Quick responses to the latest notes:

    Azra from Yugoslavia: no, I won't be reviewing them, sorry. Too many A's remaining to cover.

    "Children of Nuggets" - well, if I ever return to a song-by-song basis, writing about it is possible, but not highly likely at the time being.

    Anonymous on Queen: you are simply a much bigger fan of the band than I am, and are willing to dig deeper into the meaning of their art, which is your legitimate right. I don't necessarily disagree. Those Queen reviews need revision anyway, and many of them were written from the highly emotional point of view of someone who's seriously fed up with the disproportional adoration for this band.

    Ezequiel: Red Hot Chili Peppers won't be coming up any time soon, I'm afraid, but I'm sure this fact will not diminish your love for them.

    Anonymous: Do I really dislike Weird Al? Whatever gave that impression? I certainly do not worship the guy (very few people manage to be simultaneously smart and funny all of the time, and he's no exception), but I'm always ready to give him his due. Not that he hasn't been a 30-year-long novelty act (which is one reason why I probably will never review his records), but there's always room for that, too.

  82. P.S.: By the way, the reason some comments do not get published immediately probably lies in Blogger's spam filter. If you are posting a comment in several sections, you have to wait some time before submitting the next. Or something.

  83. Hi George, thanks for your fast, though a little enigmatic answer. When you say that reviews about RHCP "won't be coming any time soon" do you mean it because they are pretty far on an alphabetical order, or because you don't consider them worth reviewing?
    Warm regards,

  84. Ezequiel: Alphabetical, of course. I do consider them worth reviewing, although I've never been a major fan. (I actually liked the latest Frusciante solo album more than any RHCP record I've heard, believe it or not).

    1. Hello, George.
      Thank you for all good work you keep doing, been a fan of it for about 4 years by now.

      I reply in this thread 'cause I was curious what LP exactly do you mean by his latest - The Empyrean or his work with Omar Rodriguez Lopez, and btw, is The Mars Volta on your list?

  85. Alright, fair enough-- I just find that a lot of people seem to dismiss Al as a novelty act incapable of doing anything other than Michael Jackson parodies and songs about food without giving the guy his due.

    Speaking of artists that you don't appear to hold in high regard-- do you intend to do any Billy Joel reviews? If not, I would like to hear your opinion on him-- he seems to be held in contempt by a lot of people for reasons I can't comprehend.

  86. Hello George,
    You've been doing this blog for two years now and you've still not progressed beyond the A's and B's. I'm afraid we'll never get to knmow what you think of ZZ Top at this rate! I would like to repeat my request for you to reconsider your decision to do your reviews in alphabetical order. They're still fun to read, though.

  87. Hello George,
    I can relate to your opinion about Frusciante. I think he played a major part in the RHCP going past the rapping funky freaks status and into real melodies, and hope his departure is not a major loss for the band. I could not find "The Empyrean" in Paraguay (not even pirated ;-) nor Argentina, but taking into account that the "F" is not so far ahead, maybe I'll wait for your review to order it from Amazon.
    Warm regards

  88. Hi George,

    Just like everybody else I'd like to compliment you on your work, glad you're back on track, although I miss the old points system dearly!

    I'm wondering, since you're already mid-way through B's (or so it seems to me), whether you won't redo Beatles reviews, and whether you're planning to review Belle & Sebastian. Hope you can clear this up ;)

    Finally, as I am from Italy, I'm wondering if you had ever heard of a guy called Lucio Battisti, who's possibly the biggest artist we have ever had. Chances you might have heard of him are limited, even though PFM was his backing band for one album and he also had one album in English in the late seventies (which was awful and does not even slightly represent his catalogue). Oh and he wrote a couple of hits for English/American bands at the beginning of his career (namely The Grass Roots' "Bella Linda" and Amen Corner's "If Paradise Is Half As Nice"). Look him up if you have the time, I assure you won't be disappointed (at least I hope so!).

    Take care,


  89. Hi guys!

    Iannu: Yes and yes. I will be redoing all the reviews, and, obviously, now that I've done Arab Strap, I cannot do without Belle & Sebastian. I don't know anything about Lucio Battisti, I will look him up, although normally I dread Italian pop about as much as I dread Russian pop.

    Martijn: My old ZZ Top reviews are still there on the old site, I don't think there have been any serious opinion changes since then. I think your problem is not so much with chronological order as it is with completism. But completism is, surprisingly enough, my only means of getting on with it these days, because I cannot allow myself to write a long, meaningful, original review every day.

  90. Hi G.S.

    Man, i really enjoy your reviews, and i'm thankful for that, keep on the good work :)
    But c'mon!!! When are you going to review the last Dylan albums?...soon i guess

    Sincerly grateful, George from La Paz-Bolivia

  91. Hi George, I really want to thank you for churning out your reviews at the rate that you are. My name's Ben, and I'm a 19 year-old from Singapore (about to go to college in the US), and over here I have nobody to share my love for music of artistic value with (even older folks here only seem to like the BeeGees and ABBA, since the government censored many important artists during their 60's heydays), so your two Only Solitaire sites keep me sane.

    Anyway, I like the fact that you've been reviewing some artists from the British post-punk revival scene (Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, in this case), because they're the most 'artistic' groups that a select few of the people my age here are into... and I do like them quite a bit (I'm in a band, and we've made forays into that style). But I want to ask, what do you think of the prospects that whole scene's 'sound' has? Because to me, groups like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand (and the Libertines, before they imploded) just seem to be squeezing everything they can from their 70's punk and post-punk influences, and they'll be scraping the bottom of the barrel pretty soon. I'm just interested in your opinion as to whether that scene will wither up in due course(the way grunge and the punk revival gave way to *cough* Nickelback and Avril Lavigne), or whether it might be able to maintain a certain degree of innovation?

    **By the way, I love your work so much that I actually used your essay 'The Endless Battle of Subject vs. Object' and your old criteria (listenability, resonance, adequacy, diversity, originality) as significant reference points for an A' level paper I wrote on Aesthetics(needless to say, I referenced you properly in my footnotes)

  92. "Anonymous on Queen: many of (those Queen reviews) were written from the highly emotional point of view of someone who's seriously fed up with the disproportional adoration for this band."

    Amen. Somehow I think if Freddy were still alive interest would have waned. My biggest problem with them was not the bombast so much as the ability to play coupled with so little time spent on songwriting. So many throwaways on every album, sadly.

  93. I don't think they spent too little time on songwriting. Queen's main problem was that they were so democratic they had to have contributions by every member on every album even if those contributions sucked. Too much compromising can be a bad thing sometimes.

  94. Hello,

    I am surprised you have done so much since changing your site, which even if I do not agree with all of it I still have great respect for! The reviews of Adam Ant and Ani DiFranco are surprisingly complete even though I have not really got into either.

    Regarding Ani, I wonder if you are ever going to review her predecessors Joan Armatrading and Buffy Sainte-Marie? I had thought of them as major omissions from your older site.

  95. Before I forget (although it a little to late to do it where I live), happy birthday George. Here's to another year and another 700-odd reviews.

  96. Jpbenney: Thank you. Joan Armatrading, yes, Buffy, probably not.

    Jared: Thank you, too! 700 reviews should be a pinch.

  97. Hey George!

    I first gotta say that I love your site and thank you for getting me into Bob Dylan, King Crimson, the Ramones, and recently, the Adolescents and Anthrax.

    After listening to the Ramones, I started buying other punk records and I noticed that the old site didn't have many punk reviews. I would like to know if you will be reviewing other punk artists like the Bad Brains, Black Flag, the Misfits, or the Minutemen. You seriously do a great job and I'd like to know your opinion on those artists.

  98. Hey George,

    You run an incredible website. I can tell your reviews are from the heart, even if your head resides there. Too many paid reviewers review in order to sound smart or clever, not to actually provide substantive reviews of music. So thanks more making your page enjoyable, opinionated and informational.

    It's funny because I agree with most of your artist ratings and your qualifications for these ratings, but there are several songs that you select to be the best on a number of given albums that I disagree with. Likewise, there are several songs you dislike that surprise me. It doesn't matter because your opinions are so well informed and your personality shines in the writing.

    I was actually so impressed by your old website that I googled you because I almost never read reviews that are as unpretentious and fluently written as yours. It was no real shock that you are an esteemed professor. Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is this: Keep writing and we'll keep enjoying what you have to say.

  99. Chuck: Yes, I plan to do all these bands. The B-ones I even hope to get around to during THIS lifetime.

    Danny: Thanks! Tastes are tastes - much of it is just our personal genetics. Of all your compliments, I'd like the most to agree with "unpretentious", but I couldn't, because that would make my response pretentious. Logical trap!

  100. Hi George!

    Thanks for your great reviews! I am wondering have you ever heard from Italian prog-band called Banco del Mutuo Soccorso? Their first 3 albums are all worth listening. If you have time, check them out!
    Keep up the great work!


  101. Hi,

    Thanks for your priceless contribution to, etc.
    My current vinyl compulsion would be far less enlightened without you.
    (this is kinda brief, I know, but utterly sincere)

    I'm sure this question has been asked many a time, but as I'm to lazy to find the answer, here it goes.

    Is there a way / a plan to integrate the newer blog reviews with the old site? I can't imagine a better way to organize (and access) the info. I'm still plenty happy to browse the archive and lose myself in it through spontaneous cross reference, but I often have this nagging doubt that an group or artist page could be more complete with an intro or some album reviews released after you closed the old shop.

    All best,


  102. Simon: Yes, I have all of their output.

    Alain-Nicolas: Probably not. The old site is closed for good; it is written in an entirely different style and features lots of outdated opinions. In any case, as you can see, whenever I am "completing" a formerly reviewed artist, I always go through the entire output and write everything anew, so there is really little sense to merging the old site with the new one.

  103. Great reviews George. I have been following you for a few years now. I would never have known which Can albums to get into first and you helped me to get into Beefheart. All the very best for the future.

  104. Paul F. EtcheverryJuly 21, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Just gave your music reviews a big fat plug on "Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog".

  105. Hey George,

    So I noticed that you said you retired the old site because your opinions and your writing style have changed. I was wondering if you have re-reviewed your collections of albums by the "category A" artists such as The Beatles, Stones, Who etc in order to provide criticisms that reflect your current tastes? I would be interested to see if you have changed your opinions of songs such as "I've Got The Blues," by the Stones or "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," by "The Beatles." I'm just curious because I can't for the life of me understand how somebody could hate "I've Got The Blues." Likewise, as one of the biggest McCartney advocates on the planet, I do not know how anybody could support the inclusion of "Maxwell's" on the otherwise near perfect "Abbey Road" album.

    - Danny

  106. Hi again George,

    Well, your answer is really interesting. So, if I understand correctly, you're doing it all over, name by name. See, let's take an example, randomly. You're kind of a great rock critic, and, totally randomly... Paul McCartney is kind of a great musician. Now, let us ponder the concept of outdatedness. Put yourself in my shoes: I'm having a ball losing myself in your past work, handily handed to me in an autonomous, eminently browsable format... And you ask (no you don't, just a manner of speaking) of me to hang tight while you alphabetically, i.e. thoroughly arbitrarly, reconstitute a Solitaire 2.0. Huh. Yes, I had a comparison going. McCartney. 60's or 70's? Both have merit.
    Goddam internet. I understand your logic. Just, the old site is a trove and a treat, keep it safe. I'll be sure to check the blog once I've sucked it completely dry. But by then, you might have scraped it to start a new one. Sigh.
    OK, I wrote this au fil de la plume, which can be dangerous, so please know: the main thread of it all is gratitude.


    Last records heard: Never a dull moment (on your cue), Plastic Ono band (great review, by you), Welcome to the canteen (not to shabby).

  107. Re Danny:
    You know, people have said the exact same thing as you except pertaining to Octopuses Garden. People seem to despise either MSH or OG but never both even though their reasons for not liking one or the other are pretty much the same.
    But I prefer to look on the bright side and dig em both since they're excellent songs at any rate.

  108. Danny:
    Yes, of course, I have re-evaluated lots of opinions on individual songs and albums, although, unfortunately, I am still not a big fan of 'I've Got The Blues'. There is really only one kind of music which I dislike on a visceral level, and that is when I feel that the artist acts on the presumption of the idiocy of his audience. 'I've Got The Blues' has only a tiny whiff of that, inside Mick's vocal performance, but it still bugs me the wrong way. Maybe I'll expand more on that if I ever get to re-reviewing SF.
    'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', on the other hand, is so stupid in itself that it assumes nothing, so it's just plain fun.

    Alain-Nicolas: I'm not saying the old stuff is "worthless", I'm just saying it's "outdated", in the sense that I don't feel like updating it in the same manner, and the new reviews would clash with the old ones uncomfortably. But I am certainly not retiring it, nor am I ashamed of it - it's just the way I used to be some time ago.

  109. Now you really have my interest. What do you mean when you say, "the artist acts on the presumption of the idiocy of his audience?" Is there something about his intonation or delivery that strikes a false note to you? Are the lyrics insincere? Almost everything that Mick Jagger sings is false or insincere at an emotional level. His cheekiness, swagger and bravado define his style, imo. But again, I love your reviews, so I'm just wondering what you mean, exactly. For the record, Ken, I love "Octopus's Garden," but probably not because of Ringo. I'm guessing the composer was Harrison because it has all those arpeggios and fluent guitar licks that he was churning out so well in the late 60's/early 70's.

    In my opinion, George Harrison was writing better pop songs than any of his contemporaries, L&M included, from about 68-71. To me, "Here Comes the Sun," is once of the most beautiful and organic sounding songs of all time - a perfect marriage of melody, lyrics and guitar. So, anyways, that's why "Octopus's Garden" is unimpeachable as well.

    "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is just too singsongy and cute. To me, the lyrics to that song fit the description of an artist, "act[ing] on the presumption of the idiocy of his audience." It's almost like McCartney is pleading, "excuse the cloying melody as it's meant to be an ironic commentary on the lyrics." Except the melody isn't syrupy enough, the structure of the song is still too conventional and the lyrics are still just gag inducing.

    Anyways, on a lighter note, saw him play Yankee stadium last week and, as always, a hell of a show and a highlight of my year. No matter how gruff and gravely his voice gets, he will still put to shame the "rockers" that are fifty years his junior.

  110. Mr. Starostin:

    As a fellow Beatles fan who just happened to grow up in the '90s when animation enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, I had the good fortune of seeing a Powerpuff Girls episode based entirely on Beatles references. Back then, of course, I only caught a handful of them, but now I enjoy it so much I feel obligated to share it with the person who has turned me on to so many great bands, including the greatest of all.

  111. George,

    I used to follow your Only Solitaire site for years. I even sent a few comments here and there as DwarfNebula / SpaceClown / Blue Turk, depending on what year it was (aka the rabid Zappa fanatic who used to bitch at you in defense of The Grand Wazoo). Seriously though, I've always loved your reviews, and even when I didn't agree with them I was always intrigued by them. I haven't read much of this new site until recently. It's quite different, most noticably because your reviews seem far less harsh and a bit more contemplative (a perfect example being your take on Aerosmith then and now ... man, you used to HATE Aerosmith). :-)

    I like the new reviews fine, although I admit I do miss your old vitriol sometimes. What I've always found most useful was how you delved into the history of the bands and gave me a comprehensive timeline of what they did and when they did it. I've bought CDs based solely on your descriptions of the type of music a band was doing at that point, and your helpful inclusion of the year of release, and this has helped me to gauge the better releases of a hit-or-miss band and avoid the crappier ones. One thing I'll always owe you for is getting me into The Stooges -- I knew they were Iggy Pop's old band, but I only ever heard "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and a couple of Iggy's solo pieces. So I liked them but wasn't overly interested in looking further based on what I'd heard. It was your Stooges reviews that inspired me to buy Funhouse, which I now consider to be perhaps the greatest album of all time. Among many other great but obscure releases you turned me on to. So a thousand times thanks.

    I know you never liked people bugging you with "Hey you really gotta hear so-and-so" but please indulge me a moment, because you're already almost past the Bs and you apparently haven't heard of one of the greatest bands of the early / mid 70s : BE BOP DELUXE. They originally only had five studio albums and one live album, but they forever changed the way I listened to music. Their founder Bill Nelson is one of rock music's unsung geniuses. His "Honeymoon on Mars" ranks up with Dear Prudence and Watermelon In Easter Hay as one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful and utterly perfect pieces of music ever created. Seriously. I usually don't give plugs for specific bands -- I know you can't cover them all -- but seriously, check out Be Bop Deluxe. Their albums Futurama (1975) and especially Modern Music (1976) belong in the list of the 50 greatest rock albums of all time. Your reviews always helped me see familiar music from a different perspective, so I'm really curious as to what you'd make of them. Based on what I've read of your specific tastes in 70s music, I think you'd like them a lot. They're sort of post-glam, pre-new wave Art Rock with an emphasis on guitar pyrotechnics, and they rely heavily on both futuristic scenarios and traditional romance themes. They're noticably Bowie-influenced, but Bill Nelson is far more sincere than Bowie ever was. They're hard to describe though. You'd have to hear them to really get what they were about.

    Anyway thanks for continuing to review all these albums. It's nice to have something to turn to that's smarter than the damn AMG.

    Best wishes,
    A.J. -- aka Blue Turk,

  112. Although this wasn't the initial purpose of this comment, I'd like to second his recommendation of doing Bebop Deluxe reviews. Those guys were incredible.

    So, here's the question: on your old site's creed page you say you "might try out reviewing the Beastie Boys some day anyway. Why not?"

    So... why not? You're going to need to review a rap group some day, and there's no better emissary to rap than the Beastie Boys.

  113. George, please dont ever take your original site down. its one of the treasures of the internet.

  114. Hi George,
    First of all thanks for your work, which has afforded me many hours of happy procrastination. I'm writing to "raise a concern": as a PC-drenched humanities major, my contract says that I have to be annoyed by the sort of initiatives that blatantly propound X-centric biases such as Rolling Stone's Greatest 500 Songs, 499 of which happened to be in English (plus "La Bamba"). Now, it's not quite like that on your blog, and indeed I have no particular qualms about your choices on what to review and what not to review, but I've just thought that perhaps, coming as you do from a non-English-speaking country, you may feel that this aspect may be worth problematising, and so I wonder if you could be persuaded to write something down, along the lines of your essays in your old website, to explain the kind of rationale you use to decide what gets a review and what doesn't.


  115. Ummm... I would think George simply decides to review bands and artists that he likes and/or thinks it would be interesting to give his take on. I don't think he really takes a band's nation of origin into consideration.
    As for why he hasn't reviewed any Nigerian rock bands... well, are there really any great Nigerian rock bands? As in, really. Not just a competent band or anything, but a seriously good band that actually contributes something to the grander world of rock besides simply coming from an "exotic" country? I'm not saying there isn't, and personally I would love to hear a Nigerian Steely Dan or Wilco or Kate Bush or whatever, but I haven't heard 'em yet.
    When I do, or rather when George does, I'm sure he'd be very happy to review them.
    Let's not forget that rock music is after all (despite combining elements from other cultures) a construct of the western world. You wouldn't go to South Korea if you were looking for great flamenco right? And I wouldn't look up some dorky NYC art-school dropouts if I were looking for great authentic aboriginal music, no matter how much those dorks may love that music and try to emulate it on their own.

  116. Hello Andrea!

    I don't think it's an aspect worth problematizing as long as we can give clear definitions. Obviously, if a list is entitled "Greatest 500 Songs" without further specification, non-Anglo-Saxon nations and peoples have a right to be puzzled or even offended. But if it's "Greatest 500 Songs Written Within The Rock'n'Roll Tradition", it's a whole different story.

    I am primarily interested in the line of music that stems from early blues and jazz, then goes on to become rhythm&blues and so on. So, naturally, that line of music tends to be dominated by first American, and then British / American artists. It's also natural that other countries are at a disadvantage for this particular line of work, but many have broken the wall all the same, from Krautrock artists to the Scandinavian metal scene.

    I make no commitment to necessarily "finding great music all around the world", of which there is plenty - being just a regular rock'n'roll guy at heart. So it's probably not even worth a lengthy essay, because I have no plans to engage in detailed rants on how the blues tradition is inherently greater than everything else or any such rubbish. I just like it more, that's all.

  117. Mr. Starostin,

    If introducing me to Al Kooper is the only thing your reviews ever accomplish then, to me, reading through every single one will be worth it. Thanks for writing in such a way that even a very conservative music lover (like me) can say "I think I'll try this guy out" and not at all being disappointed.

    - Ben

  118. George,

    Thanks for all the enjoyment you've given me through your reviews and write-ups over the years. I've referred many friends to this blog or your old website. Until I read you many years ago, I was unaware of how closed-minded I was about what counts as good and respectable rock music. I remember wanting Robert Christgau to agree with me about a particular band or artist and then worrying that I was wrong if he didn't! Can you imagine? I didn't even know what he was talking about three-quarters of the time!

    It seems silly now, but you helped change that for me. So thanks.

    And if this guestbook is a request line, I do hope you'll get around to Built to Spill while you're still in the B's.

  119. Hey G.S. I like your reviews (even though I frequently disagree with them - I'm way too generous to make a good music critic), so I decided to come here and read some more of them.

    I have a quick question: Have you ever heard of Sparklehorse?

  120. Ben, Brent, Michael: Thank you guys.

    Built To Spill are on the list. So is Sparklehorse, but, clearly, the former has more chances of being reviewed soon than the latter.

  121. Sounds like you have a mammoth task ahead of you. Best of luck!

  122. Good Job George, you're reviews and insight is as interesting as always. I know a guy down there mentioned the Beau Brummels...I can't wait until you start doing them. :)

  123. Hi George, great blog. I hope you will review soon Paul McCartney´s post Chaos in Creation... studio albums: Memory Almost Full and Electric Arguments.

  124. It has probably been said a thousand times before:

    The blog would be much more valueable if the reviews did not appear in alphabetical order but in order of "importance" (whatever that may be). As it is now it will take years until the blog is as valuable as the old site.

    Still great work.

  125. Hey George, will you be reviewing the new Anthrax album? Also, what is your opinion of "The Greater of Two Evils" re-recordings that they did with John Bush?

    Keep up the great reviews!

  126. I've been following your site for a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw that your blog had metal(Amorphis/Agalloch!!)/mainstream pop(Adele)/hardcore punk (Agnostic Front!) reviews. You will always remain the "Classic/Roots rock" guy to me though.

    I hate the fact that you are going alphabetically, but that's your thing I guess. Btw, what happens if you encounter an artist starting with a letter you are already done with? (for example if you suddenly go on a "At the Gates" kick)

    Keep Goin' man.

    -Baba T

  127. Hello Staro,

    Please don't mind the nickname, it's on my brouwer's shortcut list and I punch it just like that, nearly daily. (Gosh, what a suck-up.)
    Anyway, I'm sure you know about Gainsbourg. What's your take, I wonder? Alphabetical maniac that you are, you might have him stacked for future reviews... But really, the guy is a big chunk. Oh, oh, and also: John Mayall. And, while I'm here, we should have a talk about Cohen.
    Also, do you sometimes listen to LPs? One of these days, your insight on playback philosophy could be interesting. (Gosh.)

    All best, and, what Baba said.


  128. Hey G. S, I've got another couple of questions for you (in addition to the several hundred you've already received, heh). Firstly about the old site: I'm a bit confused about your definitions of "Listenability" and "Adequacy". Sorry, but they're such general terms I can't quite figure out what you mean by them!

    Secondly, do you have a favourite song?

  129. Hi George, any chance of getting your attention towards Anthrax newest CD... "Worship Music", with Belladona... and get this, they actually nail it. Regards, -CS

  130. Hey George,
    are you a fan of prefab sprout?

  131. George, please review Aztec Camera. This is the best 80s band no one's heard of. I'll love them if you don't know them already.

  132. Hi George! I just wanted to say that I really love your reviews!

    Once I'd got started on my journey through classic rock, it was really your website that guided me through the good and the bad stuff, and without it, I doubt I would've given a listen to as much great stuff as I have. And apart from Classic Rock, I almost certainly would have never even heard of Ween if it hadn't been for you, so thank you.

    I only recently realised you had a blog, but it seems good so far. I am glad you continue to review.

    I have a few questions, but firstly, what do you think of the new 40th Anniversary Aqualung remix? And on that note, why do you have such a love-hate relationship with Jethro Tull? On one review, you said that one of their songs 'could be called the ultimate rock experience' and yet you seem to be reluctant to rate them highly even when you said that you judge bands by their best. Just wondering.

    I have a few more questions, but they can wait until later. For now, all the best, and continue doing what you love!


  133. Hey George, big fan. I was just wondering if you intended to finish off Springsteen's catalog? I know it would probably be painful for you, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on 'Magic', 'Working on a Dream', and most importantly, one of his really GOOD live albums.

  134. George, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your years of great reviews, and for being one of the major inspirations to start a blog of my own. I discovered your site back in 2006, when I was in the midst of my "music snob" phase, for lack of a better term. When I found your site, it opened a whole new world of music to me, and led me to take my first tentative steps out of my comfort zone and into the larger world of great rock and pop music out there.

    I do have a question: have you heard of Jellyfish? They were a fantastic power-pop band from the early 90's, introduced to me by Ken (who you probably know best for posting comments on your Beach Boys reviews). I realize it'll be a while before you get to the J's, but I'd love to see you review them when you get there.

    Here's a link to the newborn blog you (along with John, Don Ignacio, and several others) helped inspire me to create:

    Thank you again.

  135. Hey, George. I've been reading you all this years like most of the rest in here. I've just started a spanish album review blog this year. What advices and encourages can you give me with your experience to improve the writing?
    Sincerly from Uruguay, Agustín.

  136. Hi George, I keep enojoying your reviews, a great guide for any serious rock fan/collector. Always the statistics guy, though, is there a chance you could add some category to "filter" only your reviews with "thumbs up" for example? That "star rating" trick would be interesting too so people would give their own rating to records. I know you did the full rating thing the past, don't want to get you into that again :) just a quick way to be able to separate "preferred albums" would be appreciated. Thanks!

    1. I could, but since there are only two parameters (up and down), that wouldn't be much of an advantage. Besides, my preferred albums won't necessarily be your preferred albums.

  137. Discovered your old blog a half year ago. Thanks forever for discovering elemental sixties - seventies rock.

  138. 2011 (365)
    2010 (365)

    Mr. Starostin, you are a BEAST at this reviewing game. I hope we both live a many good years, just so I can witness your re-enjoyment of, like, The Who. Maybe Zappa even, if we're lucky?

    For real, though, your reviews over the years have greatly increased the richness of my musical consumption, and in fact I feel quite properly oriented in the world of popular music having used The Old Site as my initial guidebook.

    Here's to a lovely 2012 (365)! Or whichever parenthesized number you wish ;)

    1. Thanks, William! May we all live forever.

  139. I never thought of Gutenburg and Thomas Edison as the same but your reviews are so good I realize that a recording and a book,though both disposable, represent an artist expressing himself through technology. We benefit because we get to listen or read it. I have been reading books and listening to music since I was six years old. They were amazing inventions. When are you going to review the Walt Disney records?

  140. Hi George!
    Do you plan to review these Bob Dylan's LPs?
    1)Knocked Out Loaded (1986)
    2)Modern Times (2006)
    3)Together Through Life (2009)
    4)Christmas in the Heart (2009)

    Would be nice if you would "complete" Dylan's reviews)

    1. Yes, naturally, I plan to complete all of these and more. Besides, Bob's a B, so we might get around to that relatively (relatively!) soon.

    2. Very good news. I've just made a little book (for myself) (fb2/epub) for reading called "History Of Rock Music In Albums". And the first volume is (Beatles & Bob)kinda missing some Bob's reviews and maybe (Let It Be Naked & Love).

  141. Just want to say, being a Beatles fan all of my life, and after discovering this site, I've been introduced to so much of my favorite music today. Simon and Garfunkel, (early) Yes, The Doors, Hendrix. Before your site, I knew of none of these bands. So I thank you.

  142. Hey George. Great reviews and great site and it has completely changed my outlook over music

    Right now I'm trying to learn more about the development of rock music and the evolution of various genres and subgenres of rock music.

    I'm just wondering whether you have any good recommendations on any books, websites, videos etc finding information about that. I'm always very curious when you write reviews in the old site where you boldly declare an album to be revolutionary and the first band to do things (such as first rock and roll band, first concept album, first rock opera, first prog rock album, first punk album etc). I wonder where you get the sources from about these objective historical components of rock music and whether there is a good book that gives a good overview over the development of rock music.

    Right now I'm not entirely convince whether originality should be an important criteria in assessing rock music. However I realize that this could be due to my own ignorance and the fact that I'm incapable of assessing the originality of a rock song. Whether i choose to assess music via its originality or not, I don't feel like I should ignore originality due to my ignorance.

    My only real knowledge about what album is a landmark revolution album in rock music is the stuff I read from your site and from other reviewers like John McFerrin and I'm wondering if you got any suggestion where I can dig deeper.

    Anyway, good luck with your reviews

    1. Well, actually, I do not know of any single book or website that has an exhaustive overview. For me, these things just come from gradual accumulation of experience - and, furthermore, a lot of times, I have been proven to be wrong.

      You can dig deeper everywhere, from Wikipedia to the All-Music Guide to other review sites to biographies of whatever artists you like best. Honestly, I have never managed to fall upon any single "History of Rock Music" that would give a well-balanced perspective on everything - it always reflects its author's personal biases and preferences. But that is sort of natural.

      As for originality, obviously, this criterion becomes more important as you start listening to more music. When you have fifty bands that all sound the same, you sort of start wondering why exactly do you need to listen to all of them.

    2. thanks anyway, looks like it involves reading diverse amount of material.

      In any case about the originality. I kind of agree with you there that the band needs to have some degree of uniqueness to stand out from the pack.

      That's why I generally used originality as a competency (minimum standard) rather than as a gradient (the more original the better). The only thing I expect from a band is that they don't plagiarize and there is a certain uniqueness from it. Sort of if you rip off one artist you are derivative but if you rip off many different artist and create unique combinations out of the artist you rip off then you are unique and original. After you have a unique identity and pass the minimum standard of originality, I judge the music purely by songwriting and judge it on an even footing as someone who has invented a genre of music.

      I guess the idea of listening to the song. Then systematically comparing that song across the history of rock and roll before deciding to like it seems to take the fun out of music to me. Sometimes it feels like an "original" song is a song that rips off a song that you never heard of before. I hate the idea of having to downgrade a song I previously like just because I heard another artist on a later date done the same idea before earlier.

      It also seems to me that from one perspective, a song is original, from another perspective the song is obsolete and I can sympathise with the latter thought of view even if I don't completely agree with it. Because someone may develop a certain style but later artist may took that style and developed it further and combined it with better songwriting and may add different innovations over the top of that. The original innovator can sometimes seems obsolete/dated in comparison.

  143. Hello George,
    Just to say I love the site and the reviews.
    I would ask you for some reviews from Van Morrison a singer I like very much, especialy Astral Weeks, Veedon Fleece, Moondance etc.
    I guess you know him yet, if not I recomend to you very hard.
    Thank you very much for you hard work.

  144. Hello George,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now, particularly your previous website. For a die-hard fan of certain bands, I find it hard to agree with some of your reviews, though your skill as an reviewer are undeniable (I refer in particular to 2 of my favourite bands, Traffic and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac). I've been meaning to clarify a couple of points concerning the aforementioned bands.
    1. Regarding both Steve Winwood and Peter Green's vocal abilities (and I'm aware it's just a matter of taste), I'd like you to point out just who in the British Blues/Rock scene can sing more soulfully than either of them? (Of course, excluding the excellent Steve Marriott, whom I consider to be on a par with Winwood).
    2. This has been annoying me for a while now, it's Steve Winwood, and not Dave Mason who plays guitar on both Dear Mr. Fantasy and Pearly Queen, along with many others.

    However, I do thoroughly enjoy your reviews and even agree with many of your views (particularly concerning CCR). Thanks for your time and your reviews

    1. Hi Rob!

      1. You know, most people's understanding of "soulful" varies greatly. Some think Joe Lynn Turner is the most soulful singer ever. I have never denied the soulfulness of both Green and Winwood, though.
      2. Good point. I need to redo these Traffic reviews sometime anyway.

  145. Ya know I had an idea to make a blog in which I review music I listen to throughout the week....and then I found your site haha. I definitely enjoy the site and I'm sure I'll find some new music from your reviews.

    I do have to ask though...where is Wishbone Ash???!!!

    1. Thanks a lot! As for the question - last I heard, they were still touring.

  146. Hello George,

    This is re: your review of Flaming Pie on your old review site.

    You call Calico Skies as 'having a banal acoustic melody or none at all and being one of 'the worst offenders, all atmosphere, no hooks in sight whatsoever'(paraphrasing) I realize that the review is old and that you may have changed your mind. If not, I simply cannot believe how you can call a song as exquisite as Calico Skies as banal. The melody is right up there or even better than Blackbird, Mother Nature's Son etc. and the lyrics are some of the most touching he's ever come up with. I would rank Calico skies to be a song that is, in fact prime Beatle quality and would not be out of place on the White Album or Revolver. Anyhow I realize that your opinion is yours but I cannot agree with this. I would appreciate a response :)

    Anyway, thank you for your reviews. I always have fun reading them and I love your writing style :)

    1. Dear Karthikeyan,

      I may have changed my mind about the appropriate words to describe the song, but I certainly have not changed it enough to agree that the melody of 'Calico Skies' could, in any way, even begin to approach 'Blackbird' or 'Mother Nature's Son'; and I am unable to be touched by lyrics like "I'll hold you for as long as you like, I'll hold you for the rest of my life" - they might have been good enough in 1963, but in 1997, you usually expect something more. The song is definitely a conscious attempt at recapturing some of that old acoustic vibe, but this is where the failure lies - in 1968, the man did not need to consciously "recapture" anything. Hope that helps to see the point more clearly.

  147. Hey George, will you be reviewing the Adolescents's new album "The Fastest Kid Alive"? Prindle didn't review it before he retired, and it doesn't look like Allmusic is interested in reviewing it.

  148. George, you're not planning to review Audioslave? It fits in the 7th category, and you're already on the B's. I know is an offshot of both Soundgarden and Rage Against The Machine, BUT... you're reviewing Asia before Yes, Crimson, ELP & Buggles, aren't you?

  149. Pursuant to the A-B-C arrangement Matiball has mentioned above, is there any chance Blue Cheer may soon be rearing their screaming mastodontic bulk on the shores of Lake Solitaire? :-)

  150. I'd assume that you are pretty tired of these questions, but I have been reading your site for 3 years now. And I just now found out about this blog. And I would love to see you reviewing After Crying. So, do you have any plans on reviewing them? They are one of the rare good "modern" prog acts.

  151. Hi George,

    just today I was made aware of your blog,
    so checked it out.

    I find it very informative, highly opinionated,
    intensely thought provoking, ridiculously well informed and immensely enjoyable.
    Excellent read!
    Keep up the good work.

    Looking forward for more


  152. Hey George

    I've been reading your reviews for a year or two, and the quality/quantity of your reviews is OVERKILL.You have really strong altruism gene.Owing to you I've discovered loads of great music, thanks. I also wanted to ask if you are planing to review some Russian music too (maybe you've done it already but I haven't noticed it). I would certainly like to read your opinion on Akvarium or Kino.


    1. Thanks, Alvis! No, I have no plans on reviewing Russian bands in the near future. Eventually, maybe.

  153. Hi George

    Love the old site and the blog. I've been reading both for about a year now.

    If it wasn't for your reviews I would never have become properly acquainted (or in some cases reacquainted) with the following:

    Al Kooper
    The Moody Blues
    The Move / Roy Wood
    Tyrannosaurus Rex/T. Rex
    Electric Light Orchestra
    Patti Smith
    Steely Dan
    The Cure

    An odd mix I know.

    As a meagre repayment I recommend an album few have heard of, and my favourite album from last year, Witchazel by Matt Berry. If nothing else check out the cover - it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

    Thanks again

    Tim M

  154. Hey George,

    First discovered your old site back in about 2008, when my adoration for '70s prog rock was just budding (namely Genesis), and have been a huge fan of your reviews ever since. The effort and thought you put into music is really remarkable and something I wholly relate to-- I've always been the annoying guy who looks way deeper into music than is necessary and asks someone *why* they dislike If You're Feeling Sinister (seriously, why would you?)-- and aspire to implement (plagiarize, some might say... *cough*) into my own reviews. Anyway, I figured after reading for all these years I should write a little something. So I wrote a little something. End o' story./forcedfargoreference

    Think I'll drop an invite request to the Facebook group, now that I've found it.

    Matt B.

  155. Hi George,

    While you're down around the start of the alphabet it would be very interesting to read your thoughts on Allan Clarke of The Hollies solo albums, there are only about 6 of them! He's generally under-reviewed and under-appreciated.


  156. I think Mr. Moonlight was an attempt at parody. It has a kind of Latino, Cuban, Desi Arnaze vibe to me. Isn't that goofy drum between the verses a Latin instrument? I think this song shows what the White Album would have sounded like if they had recorded it in 1964!

  157. Hello George,

    I know the last thing you want to listen to is probably another Uriah Heep album, especially an unofficial one, but have you heard of the "Five Miles" demos? It was supposedly the lost fourth album with John Lawton that never got released due to Lawton and Kerslake leaving the band at around the same time soon after it was recorded. It's 11 songs, and while obviously nothing ground-breaking, it's also not unpleasant to the ears either. The songs are as follows:

    1. Let It Ride
    2. Life Is A Dream
    3. Feelings
    4. You And I
    5. That's How I Am
    6. I'll Never Forget
    7. Your Love
    8. Tonight
    9. Fools
    10. Been Hurt
    11. I Won't Change

    Some of those songs are of course on the Conquest album, but the Lawton versions are much better than the Sloman ones. The songs are actually available on an unofficial release called Ten Miles High that includes other bonus tracks from other Lawton recording sessions, but also all the songs are uploaded on YouTube if you want a free illegal listen. If you can review 12 Uriah Heep studio albums you mostly don't like on your site, what's one more? I'd like to read your opinion of this "lost" Uriah Heep album.

  158. Hi George,
    Your lastest reviews are interesting as usual. Even though i might disagree with some of your statements, i recognize they are well founded. Sometimes you even make me doubt about my own judgement.

    I wanted to make you a listening suggestion. I believe you may find interesting to listen to this band called "Soda Stereo". You probably never heard about it, but it's the most sucessful rock band in spanish-speaking world, where critics praise them as the best latin american band.

    Their sound is very anglo-saxon like. You'll easily recognize the influences of bands such as The Police, The Cure. You'll also notice they borrow influences from many different genres (they tend to reinvent themselves after each album).

    The most popular album they've ever recorded was "Canción Animal" (rock). I have to warn you: their first album was a rip off of The Police. I believe Rex Mix, Languis and Sueño Stereo are their weakest and least influential records, i wouldn't bother listening to them.

    I would really enjoy to read a review of yours about this band, if you ever plan to do so in the future.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

  159. Are you going to review Britney Spears and Bon Jovi? Would be quite a change from reviewing the Beatles!

  160. Hello George,
    Are you aware of ADMIRAL FALLOW?
    I'm aware your list is already set, so I won't be begging for a review.
    However - If you haven't already heard Admiral Fallow, I suggest that you might seriously enjoy them. They are an orchestral-indie-folk-pop group from Glasgow, with intelligent and poetic lyrics. The music is well orchestrated and you can actually make out all the individual instruments.
    Well worth a listen.
    Thanks for keeping solitaire alive!

  161. Hi George. I was wondering if you were going to review Steve Winwood's solo career?

  162. I was 14 in the summer of 1966. I didn't like Rubber Soul. It was too lovey dovey. Sitting on a rug drinking wine biding time? Michelle? Girl? In my Life? NO WAY! My sister got her drivers license that summer in 1966. She was 16. She needed to drive into town and I went with her. It was the first time I got to ride in a car not driven by an adult. My sister was a pro with a pushbutton radio. You think cell phones are bad? She was constantly pushing those buttons looking for a song she liked. We didn't have to listen to the aweful music mom and dad liked anymore. The DJ announced the latest song by The Beatles. It was this very weird song about a submarine. It was interrupted in the middle with a newsflash about a guy shooting students from a tower at the University of Texas. REVOLVER was the first album that you had to listen to a few times before you got to like it. Many albums followed that were like that. The Stones, The Who,Bob Dylan. Revolver was the first. We didn't know much about Bob Dylan back then. I thought Peter Paul and Mary wrote Blowin in the wind.

  163. I was an altar boy around that time. The images were weird. We thought the lyric..If you try to sit we will tax your seat mean't we will tax your ass..For those of you about to die declare the pennies on your eyes. I was at a lot of funerals but I didn't understand that one. A friend told me about that. Father Mackenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave. No one was saved...A really dark image. I never knew a priest who had to dig a grave. Wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Scary image! My sister told me it was just make up! I hope she was right! I know what it's like to be dead. I know what it's like to be sad. Where did they get this stuff? Good Album!!


    It's wonderful!

  165. In the summer of 1966 a guy lent my sister his copy of Revolver. I liked listening to that record by still could not forgive the Beatles for the lovey dovey Rubber Soul. I was 15 in the summer of 1967. I was hanging out with a buddy of mine because school was out. We were talking about record albums. All we could do is talk. We didn't have any money. His list of records he wanted was Pet Sounds and Paul Revere and the Raiders Greatest Hits. We went to the record store to look at them and dream of owning them. There was a new Beatle record in the racks. Another totally weird record. Sgt. Pepper. We didn't understand this one at all. Not one song on it that we heard on the radio. All words to the songs were printed on the back cover. No way would we ever waste our time and money on this one. By the end of the summer it was the best album we had ever heard. My sister had a copy of it and we wore it out. The Beatles were back on my list and I forgave them for Rubber Soul.

  166. I think your review of Magical Mystery Tour is excellent. Thank you. Magical Mystery Tour was the first Beatle record to be available only in stereo. I was a sophomore in highschool and we were having a Christmas party before the holiday's. One of the guy's brought his stereo and his records. It was a really nice sounding stereo and Magical Mystery Tour took full advantage of it's capabilities. I had never heard anything so fantastic. 45's on plastic turntables would never be tolerated after that!

  167. Hello George, i follow your Reviews long time ago. Maybe 5 years. Thanks, by the way, for introducing me the music of Gong: CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE is one of the best record I ever heard.

    But i have a question: will review movie soundtracks someday?

    And if so, i I highly, seriously, highly recommended you the music of Seiji Yokoyama: this guy made, maybe, one of the best of Rock Music mixtures with elements of classical music.
    If you love Lloyd Webber in is first Masterpiece; If you liked Procol Harum (Exotic birds and fruit and Grand Hotel period), and love hooks set with ravishing melodious voices, give a try on this.

    Rock :
    1 - Burn Cosmos
    2 - Legendary God Warriors

    Melodic Vocal:
    1 - Mermaid's Calling
    2 - Athena's Death
    3 - Deukalion's Big Floods

    1: Legend of Poseidon
    2:Seven Generals

    ... the guy had a lot strong compositions, gift when do melodic hooks and goes very when experimenting with others genres, especially jazz and progressive.
    Give it a chance, you will not regret.

    Greetings and thanks.
    leonardo, from Mexico.

    (I do not speak English fluently, so I apologize if it bothers reading)

  168. I was 16 in 1968. Psychedelic dungeons were popping up on every street. I bought a newspaper at one of them called Rolling Stone. There was an article about an album recorded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono called Two Virgins. The cover was a photograph of John and Yoko nude. The album was going to be sold in a blank wrapper. When I first saw The White Album in the record store, I thought it was Two Virgins. The White Album was the only Beatle album I never owned. It was expensive back then and FM radio started playing it late at night.I would borrow it from friends. Everyone had a copy of it.

  169. Hey! It's me again.Yellow Submarine was a cut out. In the late sixties they would re-release records that didn't sell with a chopped off corner or a punched hole in the cover. They were really cheap. 2 dollars. I got Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, Beggars Banquet, Who Sellout, Some crummy Animals records, The Velvet Underground Banana. They sold them in cardboard boxes at big outlet stores like Woolco or Kmart.OH Yes THEIR SATANIC MAGISTIES REQUEST in full 3D for 1.99!

  170. 1970. I was graduating from Highschool. I told my sister I wanted "Let it Bleed." She hated that record but she bought it for me anyway. A buddy of mine bought me the second CHICAGO album. I liked that one too. When Let it Be came out it was a dollar more than the Macca album. I bought Pauls album. I liked it. Let it Be was eventually a cut out. I first heard it in 1972. I liked it. Most guys tried to play I got a feeling but I was still trying to understand The White Album. Then they released the Red and Blue albums.

  171. Hi George, I've been reading your reviews couple of years since the times from the original Only Solitaire site. Here is some bands I hope you have time to review for your new site: Asteroids Galaxy Tour,Beck, Bob Marley. Cheers, Rasmus.

  172. Hello George! I've reading your review sites since 2007 and I congratulate you for your great work. Yeah!

    Thanks to Only Solitaire I've discovered great bands (for example Kinks or Procol Harum) that are really obscure an unknown here where I live.

    Well, I know this could be pretty common among people who sens comments to you. I want to recommend you a 70's canadian band (with only 3 studio albums) called Harmonium . In reality, is their second album (from 1975) that matters absolutely, called ''Si On Avait Besoin d'une Cinquième Saison''. I'ts an incredible piece of prog/art/folk, and for better, not so complex as beautiful, melodic and delicate.

    Tracks like 'Dixie', 'Vert' or 'Histoires Sans Paroles' are a must to hear if one is interested in art rock. The album, as I said, privileges the beauty of the melody and the atmosphere, maybe some parts are pointless but on the overall is a must to hear. A lost jewel. One of those obscure albums that everyone shoulda know, now!. I state.

    And that's that!


  173. This is my take on Abbey Road. I think George was a great influence. It has the same concept as Wonderwall. George and John alway's got along. George and Ringo got along. Paul was working on his solo album. George Martin had everybody's respect. Billy Preston was there too. It was a great creative atmosphere and the album reflects that.

  174. Allo, George. Commented on your old site's ELO marathon review back in 2006. Glad to see you're still kicking.

  175. Hi George,
    As with many others here, your old site was my main source of music recommendations when i was 14-17 and i'd like to thank you for all the great bands you've introduced me to (I should have gone to a Ween show when i had the chance ;_;) Anyway, just discovered this and delighted to see you're still going strong, i'm looking forward to your future reviews. Hope you review 'Boris' while you're still at 'B', a very diverse band from Japan.

    - George (also)

  176. Konnichi-wa George

    What a massive treasure trove you've created! Just happened upon your site just a few days ago (after searching for reviews of Traffic - I quite like their album the Low Spark - and I so much go along with your set of what do you call them? Prejudices? Superstitions? I really look forward to using your material (and that of your informed commenters to search out new sounds [e.g. Boris from Japan - previous comment, and Zelda an all-girl Japanese group from the 80s another comment elsewhere].
    Agree with your judgement of all the 5 rated groups. Will have to try listening to Dylan again to try and appreciate his work. But I'm starting to ramble. Something that you never do, my friend ;-)
    A big sloppy arigato from this Kiwi in Japan.

  177. Hello George, on your old site in the review of Live in Japan by George Harrison, you say that "on 'Cloud 9' Eric soars like he's rarely done in the past fifteen years" while saying that George's guitar playing is merely competent.
    Just wanted to point out that George is the one playing lead on a huge part of the album, and in fact he is the one playing lead guitar (slide guitar actually) on 'Cloud 9', most of the show (real live footage) can be found on YouTube, and I think it shows what an amazing and underrated guitarist George really was. Check out 'Cloud 9' and 'Cheer Down'.

  178. Have read the blog and the old site with much enjoyment over the last few years....going to get going myself:


  179. How about you review some UFO albums? Especially the ones with Michael Schenker.

  180. Hi George, I read your Essay #1 on the old site while I was at work and then I moped around depressed for a couple hours. Then I realized that your appreciation of music is fundamentally different from my appreciation of music and indeed the appreciation of most people in the world, in a way that I believe merits discussion.

    I think you are much more concerned with chronology than the vast majority of humans. Many people consider music a primarily social activity and so as long as they can find a rock band performing somewhere in town, rock music is not dead. As an aspiring musician I consider music as a very large space of possible sounds that can occasionally be configured in such a way that they release happy chemicals in my brain when I hear them. But the arrangements only work a few times. I probably haven't heard Quadrophenia more than eight times in my life but the magic is already gone. Fortunately, there's an exponentially increasing amount of music available that'll release just as many happy chemicals, with more coming out every year even if we restrict consideration to music in the rock idiom. And in fact every year there can only be more expertise, and more variety. So rock music for me is not dead.

    Given how many bands there have been since the Beatles broke up, there's probably been a more talented band that produced better written songs with more variety, it's just not a band we can all agree on because while the Beatles snagged all the low-hanging fruit this better band was working in the shadow of other great bands and so wasn't as critically revered. I call this band... Kansas. Just kidding. I do really like Kansas though, much better than Genesis or Yes... You don't need to be innovative to create quality music, and it is my strong belief that when rating music *quality* (not historic importance) the chronology should be disregarded as much as possible. Somebody That I Used To Know won't be remembered by history nearly as well as Love Me Do, but it's a better song nonetheless. John Williams may frequently sound exactly like Gustav Holst or Igor Stravinsky but he is still a musical genius.

    I think in the long run quality stands the test of time better than innovation; Schubert isn't known for any great advances in classical music as far as I'm aware, but rather for writing very good melodies and then putting them in pieces that sounded almost the same as Beethoven (that's what his symphonies are like, anyway).

    One more thing: The well may be running dry for "pure music" in the rock vein, and I would probably argue that the vast majority of "pure"
    musical ideas that sound pleasing to the seven tone western musical ear have been explored, but as soon as you tie the music to something else, such as: lyrics, the space increases by many orders of magnitude and it also increases every year as our civilization develops at a faster and faster rate. We'll never run out of novels or films or tv shows, so why would we run out of songs?

    Patrick Plonski

    1. Btw I should note that I am a big fan of your work and in general your analytical search for objective quality in music is a noble aim. Keep on rockin!

      Also, on a completely different note, are you familiar with the band Alabama 3? M.O.R. is a pretty legitimate blues/gospel/funk sort of album.


    2. Patrick - I agree with much of what you say, and you are absolutely right about the "chronology" vs. "spur-of-the-moment social activity" dichotomy. In a sense, rock music is never dead as long as there is a decent rock band performing in your local bar. That whole essay was lamenting the lack of mind-blowing creativity in today's music rather than "sheer quality" building up on the walls of vessels already cast.

      You are right that quality matters more than innovation, but when we are talking "genius quality" rather than "technical craftsmanship", the two things still tend to go hand in hand more often than not. The Beatles are an excellent example of a perfect balance between melodicity and innovation, where most of their contemporaries would tip that balance to either one or the other side. It is getting harder and harder to find that balance in modern music.

    3. I don't like the statistical argument of implying that there must be more musical geniuses at work today than in the past. Music is not about talent or genius, it's about being at the right place at the right time.

    4. re: Anonymous

      "I don't like the statistical argument of implying that there must be more musical geniuses at work today than in the past. Music is not about talent or genius, it's about being at the right place at the right time."

      ^ This assumes that "talent or genius" can't partly be the result of "being at the right place at the right time".

      (Nature plus nurture, etc, etc, etc.)

    5. re: Patrick

      "Then I realized that your appreciation of music is fundamentally different from my appreciation of music and indeed the appreciation of most people in the world, in a way that I believe merits discussion."

      George has one kind of appreciation, and you and 'most people in the world' have another?

      If anything, it seems to be the other way around. You yourself acknowledge that more people are going to remember "Love Me Do" than "Somebody That I Used To Know". (Incidentally, I say "Love Me Do" is the better song - which is not to say that quality and public recognition necessarily go together.)

      "Schubert isn't known for any great advances in classical music as far as I'm aware, but rather for writing very good melodies and then putting them in pieces that sounded almost the same as Beethoven (that's what his symphonies are like, anyway)..."

      "John Williams may frequently sound exactly like Gustav Holst or Igor Stravinsky but he is still a musical genius..."

      Schubert is known for great advances in classical music - for going further than any other composer up to that point in developing the possibilities of the song as serious classical genre in its own right (as opposed to a kind of light music, or a small scale imitation of opera). And his pieces have little in common with Beethoven. For most of his career, his longer compositions are in the loosely structured "post-classical" style of Hummel, Carl Maria von Weber, and so on - a style that Beethoven turned away from early in his career, in favor of a modified version of the tighter structures of Haydn and Mozart. And as Schubert began to write more efficient compositions at the very end of his life (e.g. the "Great" symphony), it was in his own idiosyncratic way.

      If you want a composer who's known for being a melodic idiot savante - for writing great tunes and inserting them into prefabricated structures - then Tchaikovsky is closer to what you're looking for; though even he actually deserves a better reputation than that. (He pioneered new ways of using music for dramatic purposes in the context of ballet, for one thing.)

      Anyway, even writing great melodies is an "advance" - adding to the world great melodies that hadn't previously existed.

      As for John Williams, the problem is not that he "sounds exactly like Gustav Holst or Igor Stravinsky". The reason classical musicians and scholars generally don't take him very seriously is because he doesn't do much more than come up with some 'more interesting than average' tunes and instrumental effects (e.g. the string sounding like bicycle wheels in the flying scene in E.T.). He then repeats them, or slight variations of them, according to the kind of "This theme goes with this character" scheme that people call Wagnerian leitmotif but isn't. (Except in Wagner's least imaginative moments.)

      If the tunes themselves were something really spectacular, that would be different, but they aren't. Richard Rodgers he's not.

      Granted, there are limits to what you can do in the context of a film score, but then, nobody cares about Williams' non-film score work. And even within the limitations of film music, other composers have done more interesting things than Williams. (Bernard Hermann, Toru Takemitsu, Ennio Morricone, even Erich Wolfgang Korngold - who, much more than Mahler, Stravinsky, or any other non-film composer, is the model for Williams' own work.)

    6. I guess I view musical quality as highly dependent on the freshness of the approach taken. Usually the first few years of a genre are the most fruitful and I think it's partly because there are a lot of aspects to it that have to be fleshed out, something that can be filled in by the musicians of the era. Later records will just accept the standards of the genre and might end up nothing more than imitations that don't understand the context in which the standards were created. In that sense, the path you used to arrive at the final result, that's to say, the set of decisions and such you made, I think can be just as relevant to one's enjoyment of the music. (sorry, posted as anonymous)