Who am I? (And why are you doing this?)

Updated February 2022

So, what exactly is this web page?

This is a page dedicated to my reviews of many of my favorite bands and their catalogs of music. I am a self professed music geek. I love music, and I love to talk music. By creating this web page, this allows me the freedom to talk music, so to speak. Other people have blogs where they talk about whatever they fancy, whereas I write music reviews. I'm not a professional journalist. I think that will be well apparent as you read through these reviews. I hope you will forgive the massive amount of grammatical errors etc. that you will discover. Again, I don't try too hard to make sure my English is perfect. I had to do that enough in English class back in high school. Although I do confess that I go back and read what I have written from time to time, and change things up to make it...well...sound better.

Several years ago, I thought it would be kind of cool to learn how to design web pages, so I bought a book and learned a few things. This was before all of the programs became available that essentially did all the hard work for you and essentially let you plug in a few elements where the program that you used made everything look pretty. Again, it's just a weird hobby that I have. I've often heard artists state that they don't create art to please anyone but themselves. If it does please others, then that, in itself, has rewards. But true artists make things that are pleasing and therapeutic for them, not anyone else. Again, that's my main goal here. I do confess, though, that I'm often pleased when someone stumbles across my site and gives me pleasant feedback. I can only hope that some can use the information to make educated decisions as to why to purchase a piece of music, and why they may like or dislike something out there.

There's an awful lot of CDs here that you've reviewed. Do you actually own all of this music?

The majority of the music that is reviewed I own. With the advent of streaming websites such as Apple Music, I'm able to listen and review music that I might not necessarily own. You can see by my picture here (that was actually taken about fifteen years ago), that I do, in fact, own a lot of music. Before I started using streaming services, I used an iPod, and had over seventeen thousand songs (that's thousands not hundreds).


That seems like an awful lot of money to spend on music...

Well, as I mentioned, most of the time these days, I listen to Apple Music, which I find is well worth the $14.99 monthly fee. Also, for about thirteen years (from 1992 - 2005), I worked in the music industry as a liaison between record labels and retailers. What this essentially meant was that most of the compact discs in my possession were given to me free of charge as "promotional" copies.

I don't buy physical CDs anymore (who does?), but back in the day, my collection was larger then most. The same thing could be said about my record collection in the seventies and eighties.

What kind of music do you like?

That's probably apparent by the type of artists that I review here. Mostly I listen to classic rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s. I must say that I only review artists that I like. Unlike other people that have web pages like this, I don't waste my time writing about artists that don't appeal to me. There are some artists that I don't like certain phases of their career, but overall, if the artist is here, that means I'm a fan. I do listen to a lot of newer artists these days. I plan to talk about that on a blog that I will feature on this website soon. Hopefully I will include reviews of said music at some point in the future.

Are their other artists that you really like other than what is here?

That would be a resounding "Yes". I'm constantly updating this site, but I only update it after I have reviewed the artists complete catalog. I just review a particular artist when the mood hits me. Often times, I'll go back and listen again to the band's catalog to have a fresh perspective. As of this writing, I have 34 artists featured. I intend to do more at some point, so this is definitely a work in progress.

So of the band's catalog, do you review everything by the artist?

Well, the short answer is again "yes", but I have to expand on this one a bit. With very rare exceptions, I review all releases of what I call "legitimate" collections of new music by artists. Anytime an artist has a release of new music, I'll include it here. I also try to include greatest hits and best of packages. Now, here is where it gets a bit fuzzy. Probably around the beginning of the 21st century, the record industry started a downhill slope in terms of sales (the labels were very resistant to people getting music off the internet, even if done legally, so they fought a hard, stupid battle). Because of this, record labels realized that they could make a lot more money by repackaging greatest hits albums by artists and giving the packages new pictures, new names and slightly different songs. So what you see by your favorite artists would be multiple packages with the monickers "Greatest Hits", "The Best Of", "Essential", "The Very Best Of", "The Definitive Greatest Hits", etc. etc. I firmly believe this is nothing other than a rip off, so I've stayed away from reviewing many of these collections. If I do review it, you'll probably notice some sarcastic comments by me around the release. Basically, though, I've included the legitimate "best of" packages, so if you see it reviewed here, you're safe to trust it. If you don't, then buy at your own risk.

Some artists (or their record labels, most likely) have really milked the collection thing for every nickel they can, and it's, quite frankly, disgusting. Bands like Fleetwood Mac, for example, probably have about 100 compilations out there that feature their earliest work (before they really became popular) under different names and different monickers in attempt to dupe the consumer. I don't include any of those releases here either. Also, streaming music has allowed many artists to release a plethora of live albums for tours of years past. I think this is great, but I simply cannot review them all. If you have a streaming service such as Apple Music, you will find dozens of live recordings from Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, and Yes (all artists featured in my reviews). I'm not even sure if all of these recordings are even released in physical format, but regardless, I tend to not review these as I simply don't have the time. Maybe someday I'll inlcude an addendum to the page devoted to the artist or something.

Also, I live in the United States, so if there are any imports out there of these artists, those won't be here either. There are some instances when CDs get released in another country with a "bonus" track or two to spur record sales, and most of the time, I'll stick to the U.S. version. If an artist is going to tack on a "bonus track" to an album, that probably means that they probably didn't have much faith in the song to begin with, so I don't really think it's worth it.

Then there are some instances, particularly from artists back in the 1960's (The Beatles and The Rolling Stones come to mind), where different albums were released on either side of the Atlantic. So the records you bought in England in the sixties weren't available in the U.S. and vice versa. What this essentially means is that when artists were repackaging their old songs in the compact disc format twenty five years later, only one of the "groups" made the transition to compact disc. So what this essentially means is that if you owned a Beatles album that you bought in the states back in 1963, it might not be available in compact disc format. Unless, of course, more greed is involved. Which is exactly what happened in The Beatles' case. Even though every song was available on CD, someone got the clever idea to release all the "American" albums together in a couple of box sets at very hefty prices. All of this to say that if this is the case, I'm not going to waste my money - so you won't find those reviews here.

About how many albums are actually reviewed on your site?

Last I checked, close to 900. I'm always adding to that total, however.

Do you review bootlegs?

No. There are simply too many out there and most are sub-par quality. I figure if an artist didn't want it to be released "legitimately", then I shouldn't review it. To be honest, I don't have that many, and the ones that I do have, I might like for very different reasons than others. In an attempt to spur sales, some labels re-released cds with multiple discs. The extra discs contained demos, alternate takes, and live versions of the song (Fleetwood Mac did this with their releases from 1975-1988, for example). While this can be rewarding for the hardcore fan, I must admit that the novelty has worn rather thin for me. It may have been really cool to listen to a bootleg back in the 1970s, but with so much of the stuff floating around the internet, it just doesn't really appeal to me much.

How does your rating system work?

The simple answer is that I use a "star" method in half-star increments. I go from 0 stars for the absolute worst, all the way up to 5 stars. Here's the best way I can summarize each star rating:

- a classic. The best of the best. My favorite pieces of the artist's work get this distinction. These are my "desert island" cds.

- a very strong, solid effort. May have a few flaws, but overall minor and they don't take away from the overall quality of the record.

- Good. Not great. Some good things, some forgettable things.

- Overall, weak. There might be some good tracks scattered about, but these may be better purchased, if possible, on a "hits" compilation.

- awful. Probably a release that should be avoided at all costs.

0 stars - yes, there are a few of these. Usually these are the blatant rip off CDs that are not only awful, but a lame attempt to somehow get you to spend money that you wouldn't normally spend.

Are there other sites out there like yours?

Yes, there are a plethora of them. My favorite is George Starostin's site. His puts mine to shame. If you thought my 900 reviews were a lot..... His tastes are much more eclectic than mine, so his reviews are all over the spectrum. He actually stopped reviewing compact discs several years ago, and then started up again in the form of a blog page. His wit is amazing as well, and I try hard not to steal from his prose :)

John McFerrin also has a very nice site. Maybe I'm just saying that since I like his tastes. Although I confess that I never really understood his rating system.

The best "professional" site out there is allmusic.com. Stephen Thomas Earlwhite is my fav among the many critics on the site.

Of course, there's always Wikipedia.

So do you actually listen to all of this music?

I get asked this question all the time, and my favorite snappy answer is "Well, not all at once." Seriously, though, I listen to music whenever and however I can. Part of the reason I can devote so much time to listening to music is that I absolutely hate watching television and/or movies. I'm definitely not a visual arts person. I find that just about everything else that I would want to do can be aided by listening to music (apart from, you know, having a conversation with someone or something). So I listen to music whenever I can.

Do you ever go back and change your reviews?

Not often, but, yes, sometimes. For whatever reason, my feelings toward some music can change over time. So if I find myself liking an album that I hated thirty years ago, I'll go back and redo it - along with probably a comment as to why I'm doing so.

What are your thoughts around the MP3 versus Vinyl controversy?

I'm fine with MP3s. My ears can't tell a difference, although I'm sure maybe vinyl does sound more "pure" or whatever. I don't like vinyl because of all the scratches and pops throughout the songs, so this is an area that I'm definitely not nostalgic about. Plus, when you have 17,000 songs, it's so much easier to store them all on a device that's about the size of a deck of cards as opposed to filling up an entire wall on one (or two) side(s) of my living room.

What about illegal downloading?

Illegal is just that - illegal. It's illegal for a reason. Unless an artist is working independently from a record label, you have no right downloading their music for free. Fortunately, there are masses of means available now that allow you to listen to whatever music that you want free. If you want to buy only the song and not the whole album, most of the time that's now possible thanks to Steve Jobs and iTunes. Bottom line, artists and the record labels should be paid to do their jobs - even if they did royally screw the customer for decades up to the late 1990s.