Andrew Hopson – Put A Little R & B In Your Christmas (1996)

FrontCover1Here is a really bizarre Christmas album …

The album was recorded by Andrew Hospon.

I have no idea who this Andrew Hopson is … but this album has little to do with R&B.

On this album we can hear various Christmas classics, mostly with synthesizer with a beepy sound. and a drum machine.

I think there are 10,000 better Christmas albums …

And his version of “Jingle Bells” is the worstversion I have ever heard !

This album is only for people with a very special sense of humour.


Andrew Hospon (all instruments, vocals)
unknown female vocals

Christmas Kitsch

01. Jingle Bells (Beal/Boothe) 3.06
02. Deck The Halls (Traditional) 3.03
03. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.10
04. Joy To The World (Traditional/Mason) 2.37
05. Santa Baby (Javitz/Springer) 2.40
06. O Christmas Tree (Traditional) 2.12
07. The First Noel (Traditional) 2.58
08. Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria) (Traditional/Chadwick) 2.39
09. Silent Night (Gruber) 3.06
10. Little Drummer Boy (Simeone/Davis/Onorati) 3.10
11. Away In Manger (Murray) 2.24
12. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) (Traditional/Wade) 2.37
13. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditinal) 2.07
14. Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Mendelssohn/Wesley/Whiefield) 2.19
15. What Child Is This (Traditional/Dix) 2.29
16. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (Pola/Wyle) 3.27



The Snowdeer Singers – All The Trimmings For Christmas (1996)

FrontCover1And now I want to ring in the Advent and Christmas season, like every year …

Here´a low budget production …

Unfortunately, I have no information about this group.

But I know that this CD contains wonderful gospel interpretations of classic Christmas songs.

It is all the more annoying that one does not know about these singers.

And so we only have the music and it’s really atmospheric and a good start to the 2022 Christmas season.



First Noel

01. The Christmas Song 3.04
02. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear 2.17
03. O Come All Ye Faithful 2.48
04. We Wish You A Merry Christmas 2.17
05. O Christmas Tree 2.12
06. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing 2.18
07. Away In A Manger 3.46
08. Do You Hear What I Hear 3.41
09. Angels We Have Heard On High 2.38
10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 3.06
11. Deck The Halls 2.28
12. Joy To The World 1.58
13. Merry Christmas, Darling 3.39
14. Silent Night 3.28
15. What Child Is This 2.25
16. The First Noel 2.56



Luciano Pavarotti & Friends – For War Child (1996)

FrontCover1Pavarotti & Friends was a series of benefit concerts hosted by Italian operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti between 1992 and 2003 in his home town of Modena, Italy. Proceeds from the events were donated to humanitarian causes including the international aid agency War Child and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The concerts featured Pavarotti performing with special musical guests and each concert was released as a compilation album and DVD under London Records/Decca Records.

The Pavarotti & Friends for War Child concert was held on 20 June 1996. Proceeds from the concert were donated to the international aid agency, War Child, specifically in aid of children in Bosnia. The concert featured guest performances by Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Liza Minnelli and Joan Osborne. The compilation arrived at position 19 in Danish Chart. (wikipedia)


Eclecticism, rendered with more good nature than real accomplishment, is the key characteristic of this mixed bag of performers gathering together in Modena, Italy, Luciano Pavarotti’s hometown, for a benefit concert for Bosnian children. Actually, the pop stars, notably Eric Clapton and Elton John, come off better than the host. Sheryl Crow doesn’t embarrass herself duetting on Mozart with Pavarotti nearly as much as Pavarotti does duetting with Liza Minnelli on “New York, New York.” With plenty of Italian pop and competent but unexceptional Anglo-American hits to accompany the classical musings, there’s something here to bore nearly everyone, though the idea, of course, is to have something to intrigue everyone enough to buy a copy and help the charity. (by William Ruhlmann)


Eric Clapton – Luciano Pavarotti – Joan Osborne – Elton John – Liza Minnelli – Zucchero – Sheryl Crow – Ligabue – Jon Secada – The Kelly Family – Litfiba – Solis String Quartet – Paco De Lucia,  Al Di Meola & John McLaughlin
Orchestra conducted by Rob Mathes (on 01. + 16.)
Orchestra conducted by José Molina (on 02,, 05.)
Orchestra conducted by Anne Dudley (on 17.)
East London Gospel Choir (on 01. + 16.)


01. Eric Clapton & Luciano Pavarotti: Holy Mother (Clapton/Bishop) 5.38
02. Joan Osborne: Saint Teresa (Bazilian/Osborne/Chertoff/Hyman) 5.41
03. Elton John: I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues (Johnstone/John/Taupin) 4.39
04. Liza Minnelli & Luciano Pavarotti: New York, New York (Kander/Ebb) 3.53
05. Zucchero: My Love (Il Volo) (Fornaciari/Palladino/MacDonald) 5.37
06. Sheryl Crow & Eric Clapton: Run, Baby, Run (Bottrell/Baerwald/Crow) 6.09
07. Ligabue & Luciano Pavarotti: Certe Notti (Ligabue) 4.18
08. Jon Secada: Angel (Secada/Morejon) 4.53
09. The Kelly Family & Luciano Pavarotti: Ave Maria (Gounod/Bach) 2.24
10. Litfiba: Spirito (Renzulli/Pelù) 4.48
11. Eric Clapton: Third Degree (Boyd/Dixon) 4.49
12. Sheryl Crow & Luciano Pavarotti: Là Ci Darem La Mano (Don Giovanni) (Da Ponte/ Mozart) 3.13
13. Edoardo Bennato & Solis String Quartet: Le Regazze Fanno Grandi Sogni (Bennato) 3.17
14. Jon Secada & Luciano Pavarotti: Grenada (Lara) 3.18
15. Paco De Lucia,  Al Di Meola & John McLaughlin: Mediterranean Sundance (Di Meola) .4.14
16. Joan Osborne & Luciano Pavarotti: Gesù Bambino (Martens/Yon) 3.51
17. Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti & Ensemble: Live Like Horses (John/Taupin) 4.59





More from Luciano Pavarotti:

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Southern Knights (1996)

FrontCover1Lynyrd Skynyrd  is an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida. The group originally formed as My Backyard in 1964 and comprised Ronnie Van Zant (lead vocalist), Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom (bass guitar) and Bob Burns (drums). The band spent five years touring small venues under various names and with several lineup changes before deciding on “Lynyrd Skynyrd” in 1969. The band released its first album in 1973, having settled on a lineup that included bassist Leon Wilkeson, keyboardist Billy Powell and guitarist Ed King. Burns left and was replaced by Artimus Pyle in 1974. King left in 1975 and was replaced by Steve Gaines in 1976. At the height of their fame in the 1970s, the band popularized the Southern rock genre with songs such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”. After releasing five studio albums and one live album, the band’s career was abruptly halted on October 20, 1977, when their chartered airplane crashed, killing Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines, and seriously injuring the rest of the band.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd reformed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie’s brother Johnny Van Zant as lead vocalist. They continue to tour and record with co-founder Rossington (the band’s sole continuous member), Johnny Van Zant, and Rickey Medlocke, who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 before his return in 1996. In January 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced its farewell tour, and continues touring as of October 2019. Members are also working on their fifteenth album.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lynyrd Skynyrd No. 95 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. Lynyrd Skynyrd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. To date, the band has sold more than 28 million records in the United States. (wikipedia)


And here´s another fine live album:

Lynyrd Skynyrd are the kings of Southern Rock and one of the biggest constants in rock scene. Despite the tragic plane crash, when in ’77 killed almost half the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd have sweetened millions of people with their straight, soulful songs the gray everyday life. Southern Knights, recorded in various locations throughout the mid 90s in the United States, includes “Workin ‘For MCA,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Free Bird,” the key skynyrd discography essentials, as well as some lesser known numbers , which should provide also with inveterate fans for the necessary change before the domestic plant.


The beautiful three-dimensional sound leaves no questions unanswered, as the Southern Rock compulsory long guitar solos always remain within the acceptable range, and power tube Johnny Van Zant proves to be a worthy successor to his deceased brother Ronnie. If you would like to get to know handmade rock from its very down-to-earth side, you can buy this double CD as an introduction to the Skynyrd world with a clear conscience. (by oparin 1954)


Mike Estes (guitar)
Owen Hale (drums)
Ed King (guitar)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Leon Wilkinson (bass)
Johnny van Zant (vocals)
background vocals:
Debbie Davis-Estes – Dale Krantz-Rossington



CD 1:
01. Workin’ For MCA (King, R. van Zant) 5.24
02. I Ain’t The One (Rossington/R. van Zant) 4.11
03. Saturday Night Special (KIng/R. van Zant) 5.46
04. Down South Jukin’ (Rossington/R. van Zant) 2.46
05. Double Trouble (R. van Zant/Collins) 4.19
06. Devil In The Bottle (Rossington/Krantz-Rossington) 3.56
07. T For Texas (Rodgers) 8.39
08. What’s Your Name (Rossington, R. van Zant) 4.05
09. That Smell (R. van Zant/Collins) 7.26

CD 2:
01. Simple Man (Rossington/R. van Zant) 7.55
02. Gimme Three Steps (R. van Zant/Collins) 6.17
03. Sweet Home Alabama (King/Rossington/R. van Zant) 7.49
04. Freebird (Collins/R. van Zant) 13.45





More from Lynyrd Skynyrd:

The official website:

Chris Isaak – Baja Sessions (1996)

FrontCover1Christopher Joseph Isaak (born June 26, 1956) is an American musician and occasional actor. He is widely known for his hit “Wicked Game”, as well as the songs “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” and “Somebody’s Crying”. He is known for his signature 1950s rock & roll style and crooner sound, as well as his falsetto and reverb-laden music. He is closely associated with film director David Lynch, who has used his music in numerous films and gave him a role in the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. His songs generally focus on the themes of love, loss, and heartbreak. With a career spanning four decades, he has released a total of 12 studio albums, toured, and received numerous award nominations. He has been called the Roy Orbison of the 1990s and is also often compared to Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and Duane Eddy.


Baja Sessions is the sixth studio album by Chris Isaak, released in 1996, featuring largely acoustic arrangements. The album contains a large number of covers, many of which are classic songs (such as the Hawaiian-tinged “Sweet Leilani” and “South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)”) which refer to, or are styled to suggest, tropical, laid-back settings. Though its title refers to Baja California, the album was recorded at San Francisco’s Coast Recorders.

A 58-minute documentary was released featuring Isaak performing the songs as well as making amusing asides, surfing and generally mucking around. (wikipedia)


Isaak’s well-known surfing fixation had been referenced here and there on past album art before, but Baja Sessions gives him a chance not only to bring that out in the open but to consciously aim for a much more relaxed, gentle follow-up to the harrowing Forever Blue. Returning to the calmer but still potent romantic angst and celebration familiar from his earlier records, Isaak and his core band, with new recruit Hershel Yatovitz on lead guitar, tackle a slew of cover songs, some re-recordings of older material and a few new songs as well. It’s a much more relaxed outing in comparison to his previous work, by no means raw or rough, though — Erik Jacobsen, Isaak’s producer from start to end, or so it seems, keeps the focused, sweet sadness of Isaak’s singing and music as pure as one could ever want it. The emphasis is on mostly acoustic performances with soft drumming from Johnson, usually with brushes.


The calm, gentle flow of the band’s work here means the new versions of older Isaak cuts like “Back On Your Side” and “Two Hearts” sound especially lovely, having a serene, relaxed sparkle to them. The cover choices are a fun range, everything from bona-fide rock & roll classics to nods to country and other sources. The old Gene Autry singing cowboy number “South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)” not only fits the theme of the album but seems tailor-made for Isaak’s singing style, while Hawaiian standard “Sweet Leilani” gets the right touch of steel guitar twang to suit the song and then some. If there’s a winner, though, it’s the all-debts-paid cover of one of Isaak’s obvious heroes — Roy Orbison, whose majestic “Only the Lonely” gets a low-key but still appropriately dramatic revamp. (by Ned Raggett)


Chris Isaak (vocals, guitar)
Kenney Dale Johnson (drums)
Rowland Salley (bass, vocals)
Hershel Yatovitz (guitar)

01.Pretty Girls Don’t Cry (Isaak) 3.08
02. Back On Your Side (Isaak) 3.03
03. Only The Lonely (Orbison/Melson) 2.53
04. South Of The Border (Down Mexico Way) (Kennedy/Carr) 3.10
05. I Wonder (Isaak) 2.55
06. Wrong To Love You (Isaak) 3.54
07. Waiting For My Lucky Day (Isaak) 2.38
08. Yellow Bird (Luboff/Bergman) 2.29
09. Two Hearts (Isaak) 3.19
10. Return To Me (Lombardo/DiMinno) 2.17
11. Dancin’ (Isaak) 3.57
12. Sweet Leilani (Owens) 2.17
13. Think Of Tomorrow (Isaak) 2.58




The official website:

The Beautiful South – Blue Is The Colour (1996)

FrontCover1The Beautiful South were an English pop rock group formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, two former members of the Hull group The Housemartins, both of whom performed lead and backing vocals. Other members throughout the band’s existence were former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch (bass), Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar). The band’s original material was written by Heaton and Rotheray.

After the band’s first album, Welcome to the Beautiful South (1989, recorded as a quintet), they were joined by a succession of female vocalists. All of the following artists performed lead and backing vocals alongside Heaton and Hemingway – Briana Corrigan for albums two and three after appearing as a guest vocalist on one, followed by Jacqui Abbott for the fourth to seventh albums, and finally Alison Wheeler for the final three Beautiful South albums.

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The group were known for their wry and socially observant lyrics. They broke up in January 2007, claiming the split was due to “musical similarities”, having sold around 15 million records worldwide.

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Blue Is the Colour is the fifth studio album from English band The Beautiful South, released in October 1996 through Go! Discs and in America through Ark 21 Records. The album was released following the two singles “Pretenders to the Throne” and “Dream a Little Dream”, which never featured on any album until the release of the second greatest hits Solid Bronze in 2001.

The album continued the melancholic tone of its predecessor Miaow, and is generally considered to be the band’s darkest effort, reflecting Heaton’s life at the time. This comes across in songs such as “Liars’ Bar” (about alcoholism), “The Sound of North America” (a sarcastic look at capitalism), “Mirror” (Prostitution), “Blackbird on the Wire”, “Have Fun” (which Heaton has cited as his saddest song), and the self-explanatory “Alone”.


The album spawned 4 singles, the first being “Rotterdam”, which peaked at No. 5 in the charts in September 1996. The follow ups were “Don’t Marry Her” which reached No. 8 in December, “Blackbird on the Wire”, which got to No. 23 in March 1997 and finally the single “Liar’s Bar” which just missed the Top 40 in June. On “Liars’ Bar”, Paul Heaton’s vocal consciously imitates the style of Tom Waits, while in “Alone” the bass line serves as another allusion to him. The album itself topped the album charts on 2 November 1996. (wikipedia)


“Don’t marry her… f**k me.” Light, dreamy pop that includes lines like this may knock the listener over. An added feature is the various ways vocal duties are shared by Jacqueline Abbot, Dave Hemingway, and Paul Heaton. Finely produced, it should be noted that the knob-twiddler here was Jon Kelly (Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Tori Amos, Kate Bush). Beautiful South reminds one of the blunt simplicity of some of the Ann Magnuson-sung Bongwater, but much more accessible. Dulcet harmonies with casual bar talk rewritten as poetry. “Have fun/And if you can’t have fun/Have someone else’s fun.” The songs here transform spite and hurt into tuneful gems. “The whole place is pickled/The people are pickles for sure/And no one knows if they’ve done more here/Than they would do in a jar.” Yes, yes, yes. Next time your significant other does you significant pain, just put Blue Is the Colour on for a few spins. It will be more healing than a public drunk and save you any day-after embarrassment. (by Tom Schulte)


Jacqui Abbott (vocals)
Paul Heaton (vocals)
Dave Hemingway (vocals)
Dave Rotheray (guitar)
Dave Stead (drums)
Sean Welch (bass)
Damon Butcher –(keyboards, programming)
Martin Ditcham (percussion)
Andy Duncan (percussion, programming)


01. Don’t Marry Her 3.23
02. Little Blue 3.17
03. Mirror 4.05
04. Blackbird On The Wire 4.57
05. The Sound Of North America 4.02
06. Have Fun 4.45
07. Liars’ Bar 5.53
08. Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) 3.37
09. Foundations 2.45
10. Artificial Flowers 3.58
11. One God 4.12
12. Alone 4.59

All songs written by Paul Heaton & Dave Rotheray
except 10., written by Sheldon Harnick & Jerry Bock




More from The Beautiful South:

Tom Lehrer – Songs & More Songs (1997)

FrontCover1Tom Lehrer was one of comedy’s great paradoxes — a respected Harvard mathematics professor by day, he also ranked among the foremost song satirists of the postwar era, recording vicious, twisted parodies of popular musical trends which proved highly influential on the “sick comedy” revolution of the ’60s. Despite an aversion to the press and a relatively small recorded output, Lehrer became a star, although he remained an enigma to even his most ardent fans; he rarely toured, never allowed his photo to adorn album jackets, and essentially retired from performing in 1965, leaving behind a cult following which only continued to grow in his absence from the limelight.

Lehrer was born April 9, 1928; even as a child, he frequently parodied popular songs of the day, and also learned to play piano. In 1944, he left New York City to study math at Harvard, earning his master’s degree within three years and remaining as a graduate student through 1953. During his student years Lehrer wrote The Physical Revue, a collection of academic song satires staged on campus in January, 1951; an updated performance followed in May of the next year. He also sang his parodies at coffeehouses and student gatherings throughout the Cambridge, MA area; as demand for an album of his songs increased, he spent $15 on studio time to cut Songs by Tom Lehrer, a 10″ record privately pressed in an edition of 400 copies.

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The record sold out its entire run, and as the Harvard student body dispersed across the country for Christmas vacation, the disc spread (“like herpes,” Lehrer joked) far beyond its intended local audience. Soon Lehrer was inundated with requests for copies from across the nation; after several re-pressings, Songs by Tom Lehrer sold an astounding 350,000 copies on the strength of tracks like “I Hold Your Hand in Mine” (about a man who cut off his girlfriend’s hand in order to nibble on her fingertips), “Irish Ballad” (a buoyant romp about a killing spree), and “My Home Town” (concerning a place where murderers teach school and old perverts operate the candy store).

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In 1955, Lehrer was inducted to serve in the Army, and was honorably discharged two years later. Finally, in 1959 he recorded a follow-up, More of Tom Lehrer, featuring “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and “The Masochism Tango”; the same collection of songs were also recorded during a live performance at Harvard, and issued simultaneously as An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. A tour of Europe followed, resulting in another concert collection, Tom Lehrer Revisited, which constituted live renditions of the tracks from the debut LP. However, controversial reactions to his “sick” comedy during a series of Australian performances prompted Lehrer to retire, and he returned full-time to his first love, teaching.

In early 1964, he resurfaced as a songwriter for the NBC news satire That Was the Week That Was. After the show’s demise a year later, Lehrer recorded the material written for the program on an LP also titled That Was the Week That Was; the album, which featured his controversial “Vatican Rag,” was the first in his contract with the Reprise label, which also agreed to reissue his earlier, self-released records. After re-recording Songs by Tom Lehrer to improve on the original master’s poor fidelity, he again retired from show business to return to academia; however, his songs were played regularly on the Dr. Demento radio show beginning in the ’70s, and he became the program’s second most requested artist of all time (behind Weird Al Yankovic).

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Lehrer’s subsequent returns to show business were brief — in 1972 he wrote a dozen tunes for the children’s program The Electric Company, updated older material for a 1980 musical stage show dubbed Tomfoolery (produced by Cameron Mackintosh of Cats fame), and some years later, agreed to write occasionally for Garrison Keillor. Lehrer continued to teach mathematics at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and at age 72 witnessed Rhino Records’ 2000 reissue of his complete recorded works in the form of a three-CD box set titled The Remains of Tom Lehrer. (by Jason Ankeny)

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Tom Lehrer recorded rather sporadically starting in the 1950s then abruptly retired in the mid-’60s from his unique solo musical comedy act. He’s a competent pianist with a voice that is perfect for his original material. This compilation combines both of his records that were originally pressed and sold privately on the Lehrer label, which he later re-recorded with improved sound for Reprise as Songs by Tom Lehrer and the live concert An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. While the differences between this CD and the Reprise versions are minimal, other than a little more muffled piano sound on these earlier recordings, it’s fun to hear hilarious works like “The Irish Ballad,” the creative “Oedipus Rex,” and his satire of military life in “It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier.” Several favorites, including “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” and “The Masochism Tango” are heard in orchestrated versions as well as by Lehrer alone. And Lehrer finally got around to recording “I Got It from Agnes,” which implies how venereal disease is spread (in an amusing fashion, if that’s possible) without ever coming out and saying it directly. This CD is a must for Lehrer fanatics. (by Ken Dryden)


Tom Lehrer (vocals, piano)



Songs By Tom Lehrer (1953):
01. Fight Fiercely, Harvard 1.25
02. The Old Dope Peddler 1.27
03. Be Prepared 1.32
04. The Wild West Is Where I Want To Be 2.03
05. I Wanna Go Back To Dixie 1.54
06. Lobachevsky 3.11
07. The Irish Ballad 3.01
08. The Hunting Song 1.19
09. My Home Town 2.39
Three Love Songs:
10. When You Are Old And Gray 1.52
11. I Hold Your Hand In Mine 1.28
12. The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz 1.56

More Of Tom Lehrer (1959)
13. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park 2.13
14. Bright College Days 2.06
15. A Christmas Carol 1.43
16. The Elements 1.26
17. Oedipus Rex 1.40
18. In Old Mexico 4.08
19. Clementine 4.18
20. It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier 2.40
21. She’s My Girl 1.49
22. The Masochism Tango 3.03
23. We Will All Go Together When We Go 3.29

Orchestrated Editions (1960):
24. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park 2.08
25. The Masochism Tango 2.55
26. The Hunting Song 1.50
27. We Will All Go Together When We Go (previously unreleased) 2.42

And As If That’s Not Bad Enough:
28 I Got It From Agnes (previously unreleased) (1996) 1.45



More from Tom Lehrer:

Mark Knopfler – Golden Heart (1996)

FrontCover1Mark Freuder Knopfler OBE (born 12 August 1949) is a British singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He became known as the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of the rock band Dire Straits. He pursued a solo career after the band first dissolved in 1988. Dire Straits reunited in 1990, but dissolved again in 1995. He is now an independent solo artist.

Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and raised in Blyth, near Newcastle in England, from the age of seven. After graduating from the University of Leeds and working for three years as a college lecturer, Knopfler co-founded Dire Straits with his younger brother, David Knopfler. The band recorded six albums, including Brothers in Arms (1985), one of the best-selling albums in history. After they disbanded in 1995, Knopfler began a solo career, and has produced nine solo albums. He has composed and produced film scores for nine films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), Wag the Dog (1997) and Altamira (2016). He has produced albums for Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Randy Newman.

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Described by Classic Rock as a virtuoso, Knopfler is a fingerstyle guitarist and was ranked 27th on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. As of 2009, he and Dire Straits had sold more than 120 million records. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Knopfler is the recipient of the Edison Award, the Steiger Award and the Ivor Novello Award, as well as holding three honorary doctorate degrees in music from universities in the United Kingdom. Knopfler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Dire Straits in 2018.

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Golden Heart is the debut solo studio album by British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler, released on 26 March 1996 by Vertigo Records internationally and Warner Bros. Records in the United States. Following a successful career leading British rock band Dire Straits and composing a string of critically acclaimed film soundtrack albums, Knopfler recorded his first solo album, drawing upon the various musical influences he’d engaged since emerging as a major recording artist in 1978. The album reached the top-10 position on charts in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album peaked at 105 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.


Following the release of Dire Straits’ final studio album, On Every Street, and a grueling 15-month world tour of Europe, North America and Australia—a tour seen by 7.1 million people that ended in October 1992—Knopfler quietly dissolved the popular British rock band that had become one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of more than 120 million. He would later recall, “I put the thing to bed because I wanted to get back to some kind of reality. It’s self-protection, a survival thing. That kind of scale is dehumanizing.” He spent two years recovering from the experience, which had taken a toll on his creative and personal lives. In 1994, he began work on what would become his first solo album. (wikipedia)


Mark Knopfler’s debut non-soundtrack solo album, Golden Heart, was, in effect, the follow-up to the last Dire Straits studio album, On Every Street (1991). But it was also a compendium of the various musical endeavors in which Knopfler had engaged since emerging as a major figure in 1978. “Imelda” was cast in the mold of “Money for Nothing,” with its trademark electric guitar riff and sardonic lyrics about Imelda Marcos, and other songs resembled Dire Straits songs, notably “Cannibals,” which recalled “Walk of Life.” But “A Night in Summer Long Ago” was presented in a Scots/Irish traditional folk style, complete with a lyric about a knight and a queen and would have fit nicely on Knopfler’s soundtrack for The Princess Bride, and “Are We in Trouble Now” was a country ballad featuring pedal steel guitar and the piano playing of Nashville session ace Hargus “Pig” Robbins that would have been appropriate for Knopfler’s duo album with Chet Atkins.


For all that, there was little on the album that was new or striking, and Knopfler seemed to fall back on familiar guitar techniques while intoning often obscure lyrics. You get the feeling that there was a story behind each song, but except in the cases of “Rudiger,” a character study of an autograph hunter, and “Done with Bonaparte,” the lament of a 19th century French soldier on the retreat from Moscow, you might have to read Knopfler’s interviews to find out what the songs were actually about. Knopfler hadn’t used the opportunity of a solo album to challenge himself, and at the same time he had lost the group identity (however illusory) provided by the Dire Straits name. The result was listenable but secondhand. (by William Ruhlmann)


When I ask others if they know Mark Knopfler (founder, lead singer, and main composer for the group Dire Straits), and get a negative response, my heart feels a little dejected…. and, then I feel immense sympathy for them. The media falls all over Clapton (still haven’t figured that out….I suspect deep-seated nepotism), whilst this gifted musician is roundly ignored. Yet, Knopfler’s compositions demonstrate authentic genius at play; his guitar playing and singing are closely married and are both heavily nuanced, smoky, mellow, articulate (his composition style is in fact a new language introduced to the human race).

Not a bad track here. This collection is amazingly varied and each track refreshingly timeless. This music simply cannot be ushered into a niche, or conveniently shown a pigeon-hole; because, simply put, it is the magnificent expression of one man’s soul.

Mark Knopfler03

How can one assemble 14 tracks without a dog or two in attendance -when some are only able to provide a memorable tune or two in the midst of a kennel of woofers? [Keep in mind, this is not a “Best of” compilation – but, a release of newly original music.] Genius can be the only answer. Knopfler tells stories about people and places as an intimate, sensual experience. His melodies, once heard, will haunt the psyche (sometimes out of the clear blue….love that). Few musicians have the ability, with their story-telling finesse, to make me smile, bring tears, and an occasional chill in quite the same way. (Tim Faulkner)


Eddie Bayers (drums on 01., 05., 09., 10. – 12., 14.)
Barry Beckett (piano on 09. + 12.)
Derek Bell (irish harp on 01.)
Richard Bennett (guitar, tiplé on 10.)
Paul Brady (whistle on 01.,076. + 13.)
Robbie Casserly (drums on 13.)
Steve Conn (accordion on 10.)
Chad Cromwell (drums on 02. – 04., 06. + 08.)
Danny Cummings (percussion, background vocals)
Bill Cuomo (organ on 06.)
Michael Doucet (fiddle on 10.)
Guy Fletcher (keyboards on 03., 04., 08. + 12., background vocals)
Paul Franklin (pedal steel-guitar on 01., 09., 11., 12. + 14.)
Seán Keane (violin on 01., 07. + 13.)
Mark Knopfler (guitar, vocals)
Sonny Landreth (national steel guitar , background vocals on 10.)
Dónal Lunny (bouzouki on 01., 07, + 13.)
Terry McMillan (djembe on 05.)
Paul Moore (bass on 07. + 13.)
Steve Nathan (keyboards)
Liam O’Flynn (uilleann pipes on 07. + 13.)
Máirtín O’Connor (accordion on 01., 07. + 13.)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano on 14.)
Don Potter (guitar on 14.)
Michael Rhodes (bass on 01., 05., 09 ´. – 12. + 14.)
Matt Rollings (piano on 01., 05. + 11.)
Jo-El Sonnier (accordion on 08.)
Billy Ware (triangle on 10.)
Glenn Worf (bass on 02., 03, 04., 06. + 08.)
background vocals:
Brendan Croker – Vince Gill


01. Darling Pretty 4.31
02. Imelda 5.26
03. Golden Heart 5.01
04. No Can Do 4.54
05. Vic And Ray 4.36
06. Don’t You Get It? 5.16
07. A Night In Summer Long Ago 4.43
08. Cannibals 3.41
09. I’m The Fool 4.28
10. Je Suis Désolé 5.14
11. Rüdiger 6.03
12. Nobody’s Got The Gun 5.25
13. Done With Bonaparte 5.06
14. Are We In Trouble Now 5.54

All songs are written by Mark Knopfler




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Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice – Evita- The Complete Motion Picture Music Soundtrack (1996)

FrontCover1Evita is a 1996 American musical historical drama film based on the 1976 concept album of the same name produced by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, which also inspired a 1978 musical. The film depicts the life of Eva Perón, detailing her beginnings, rise to fame, political career and death at the age of 33. Directed by Alan Parker, and written by Parker and Oliver Stone, Evita stars Madonna as Eva, Jonathan Pryce as Eva’s husband Juan Perón, and Antonio Banderas as Ché, an everyman who acts as the film’s narrator.

Following the release of the 1976 album, a film adaptation of the musical became mired in development hell for more than fifteen years, as the rights were passed on to several major studios, and various directors and actors considered. In 1993, producer Robert Stigwood sold the rights to Andrew G. Vajna, who agreed to finance the film through his production company Cinergi Pictures, with Buena Vista Pictures distributing the film through Hollywood Pictures.


After Stone stepped down from the project in 1994, Parker agreed to write and direct the film. Recording sessions for the songs and soundtrack took place at CTS Studios in London, England, roughly four months before filming. Parker worked with Rice and Lloyd Webber to compose the soundtrack, reworking the original songs by creating the music first and then the lyrics. They also wrote a new song, “You Must Love Me”, for the film. Principal photography commenced in February 1996 with a budget of $55 million, and concluded in May of that year. Filming took place on locations in Buenos Aires and Budapest, and on soundstages at Shepperton Studios. The film’s production in Argentina was met with controversy, as the cast and crew faced protests over fears that the project would tarnish Eva’s image.


Evita premiered at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, on December 14, 1996. Hollywood Pictures gave the film a platform release, which involved releasing it in select cities before expanding distribution in the following weeks. The film had a limited release on December 25, 1996, before opening nationwide on January 10, 1997. It grossed over $141 million worldwide. The film received a mixed critical response; reviewers praised Madonna’s performance, the music, costume designs and cinematography, while criticism was aimed at the pacing and direction. Evita received many awards and nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song (“You Must Love Me”), and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Original Song (“You Must Love Me”) and Best Actress – Comedy or Musical (Madonna).


Evita is the soundtrack album to the 1996 musical film of the same name, performed mostly by American singer Madonna. It was released by Warner Bros. Records on November 12, 1996. Directed by Alan Parker, the film was based on Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 musical Evita about First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, portrayed by Madonna. The soundtrack consists of reworked songs from its original 1976 concept album as well as a new song, “You Must Love Me”. Additional performers on the soundtrack include Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce and Jimmy Nail.


After securing the title role in Evita, Madonna underwent vocal training in order to enhance her singing abilities. The actors were tense during the recording sessions for Evita, since they were from a non-musical background. The musical style for Evita differed from Madonna’s previous works and she was not comfortable in recording her vocals inside the studio alongside the orchestra. After an emergency meeting with the principal personnel, it was decided she would record in a separate location. It took almost four months for the soundtrack to be finished. Rice and Lloyd Webber had employed the classical technique while creating the music, taking the central theme, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, and tweaking it to cater to a variety of settings. Through the songs, the soundtrack tells the story of Eva Perón’s beginnings, her rise to fame, political career and gradually her death.


Recording sessions began in September 1995, and took place at the CTS Studios in London, with Madonna and co-actors Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. Engineer David Reitzas performed the mixing of the track at Larrabee North Studios, utilizing their Solid State Logic 9000 J series consoles for the mix. For the first day’s sessions, music supervisor David Caddick suggested to record “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” with the 84 piece orchestra backing Madonna’s vocals. However, Lloyd Webber was critical of the recording arrangements done in the studio. The cast was also nervous. Flick noted that Banderas found the experience “scary” while Madonna was “petrified” when it came to recording the songs. “I had to sing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber … I was a complete mess and was sobbing afterwards. I thought I had done a terrible job”, the singer recalled. Conductor John Mauceri remembered another challenge the production faced was adapting the stage numbers into a feature film; “On film, it’s different than being on stage because the person on the screen in front of you is never farther than someone on the pillow in bed next to you”. Parker declared the first day of recording as “Black Monday”, since it was “filled with trepidation and nerves … All of us came from very different worlds—from popular music, from movies, and from musical theater—and so we were very apprehensive”.


According to producer Nigel Wright, the lead actors would first sing the numbers backed by a band and orchestra, “then they would go off with Alan and David in a more intimate recording environment and perfect their vocals”. However, more trouble arose as Madonna was not comfortable with laying down a “guide vocal” simultaneously with an 84 piece orchestra inside the studio. Also, unlike her previous soundtrack releases, she had little to no control over the project; “I’m used to writing my own songs and I go into a studio, choose the musicians and say what sounds good or doesn’t … To work on 46 songs with everyone involved and not have a big say was a big adjustment”, she recalled.


An emergency meeting was held between Parker, Lloyd Webber and Madonna where it was decided that the singer would record her part at Whitfield Street, a contemporary studio, while the orchestration would take place somewhere else. She also had alternate days off from the recording to save and strengthen her voice. Recording the soundtrack was a slow process and took almost four months before it was completed. But Parker noticed at the end of recording that they did not have the new song in place. Recalling in his The Making of Evita essay:

Finally, while I was visiting Andrew at his country estate in Berkshire to play him the tracks we had recorded, he suddenly sat down at the piano and played the most beautiful melody, which he suggested could be our new song. Needless to say, I grabbed it. However, we still needed lyrics and Tim dutifully began to put words to the music. The vast majority of the original Evita score had been done this way: music first, lyrics afterwards. After many weeks of nail biting, Tim was finally cajoled into writing the lyrics that now accompany the music to “You Must Love Me”. (wikipedia)


Madonna staked much of her career on Evita, gambling that it would establish her as a proper movie star and a respected actress, as well as reviving her slumping musical career. Both the film and the soundtrack, while worthy efforts, fall just short of their goals, despite their numerous strong points. The double-disc soundtrack to Evita — which essentially is an audio document of the entire film, since there is no dialogue in the movie — is an exquisitely produced and expertly rendered version of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock-inspired musical, yet it remains curiously unengaging.


Part of the reason is Madonna’s performance. While she gives a startlingly accomplished and nuanced performance — her voice actually sounds like it matures over the course of the album — it is impossible to listen to her without getting the impression that she is trying really hard to be credible, which makes it difficult to connect with her. It doesn’t help that her supporting cast of Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas are only fitfully successful; Banderas’ performance, in particular, suffers from being removed from the visuals. Even with the faults, Evita has its merits, including the written-for-film ballad “You Must Love Me,” and is worth investigating. It just isn’t the definitive work that it wishes to be. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)






CD 1:
01. A Cinema in Buenos Aires, July 26, 1952 1.19
02. Requiem For Evita 4.16
03. Oh What A Circus (Antonio Banderas, Madonna) 5.45
04. On This Night Of A Thousand Stars (Jimmy Nail) 2.24
05. Eva And Magaldi / Eva Beware Of he City (Madonna, Jimmy Nail, Antonio Banderas, Julian Littman) 5.20
06. Buenos Aires (Madonna) 4.09
07. Another Suitcase In Another Hall (Madonna) 3:33
08. Goodnight And Thank You (Madonna, Antonio Banderas) 4.18
09. The Lady’s Got Potential (Antonio Banderas) 4.25
10. Charity Concert / The Art Of The Possible (Jimmy Nail, Jonathan Pryce, Antonio Banderas, Madonna) 2.33
I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You (Madonna, Jonathan Pryce) 4.19
12. Hello And Goodbye (Madonna, Andrea Corr, Jonathan Pryce) 1.47
13. Peron’s Latest Flame (Antonio Banderas, Madonna) 5.17
14. A New Argentina (Madonna, Jonathan Pryce, Antonio Banderas) 8.13

CD 2:
01. On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada (Part 1) (Jonathan Pryce) 1.28
02. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Madonna) 5.31
03. On the Balcony Of The Casa Rosada (Part 2) (Madonna) 2.00
04. High Flying, Adored (Antonio Banderas, Madonna) 3.32
05. Rainbow High (Madonna) 2.27
06. And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) (Antonio Banderas) 3.53
07. Partido Feminista (Madonna) 1.40
08. She Is A Diamond (Jonathan Pryce) 1.40
09. Santa Evita 2.31
10.Waltz For Eva And Che (Madonna, Antonio Banderas) 4.12
11.Your Little Body’s Slowly Breaking Down (Madonna, Jonathan Pryce) 1.25
12. You Must Love Me (Madonna) 2.51
13. Eva’s Final Broadcast (Madonna) 3.05
14.Latin Chant 2.11
15. Lament (Madonna, Antonio Banderas) 5.14

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Tim Rice





Sara K. – Hobo (1996)

FrontCover1Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Sara (Sara Katherine Wooldridge) recalls having heard music constantly from an early age: “Everyone in my family sang as a hobby. My dad had a deep bass voice and used to sing in a barbershop quartet, while my mom was in a church choir. I was 15 when I started to play guitar, although my instrument is a bit different. I took the strings off a flamenco guitar and put on four bass strings, which makes the notes deeper than on a regular guitar, but not as low as a standard bass. When I was 17, I started playing in local clubs and bars and I received a good response; I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do. There was a lull in acoustic solo acts during the late 1970s, but I stayed with it, doing studio work and putting together a band of my own. I also did backup work in Dallas for country music and local jingles.”

After spending time in New Mexico and Los Angeles as leader of Sara K. and The Boys Without Sleep between 1978-83, Sara hooked up with country recording artist Gary Nunn, and toured with him for over two years. “It was great fun and a valuable experience,” says Sara, “but my heart was really in writing and performing my own songs. So after I moved to Santa Fe, I met some good musicians and put out Gypsy Alley on Mesa/Bluemoon Records.”


Gypsy Alley teamed Sara with Bruce Dunlap, a guitarist from Santa Fe who has recorded two releases of his own with Chesky Records and helped bring her to the label. Sara, who still makes her home in New Mexico, was the proud recipient of the New Mexico Music Industry Coalition’s Best Album Award for Gypsy Alley. After being signed to Chesky, she recorded four critically acclaimed albums: Closer Than They Appear, Play On Words, Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’, and Hobo. In 1997, she completed a nearly sold-out tour of Germany with guitarist/arranger Hui Cox and worked on the soundtrack to the Kevin Costner movie The Postman. (press release Chesky Records)

SaraK03She recorded six albums for Chesky.

She toured Europe and planned to moved to San Francisco but remained where she was. At the end of her contract with Chesky, she felt she had “been ripped off in many directions by labels and touring companies”.

On her last tour through Germany under the Chesky contract, the owner of the German label Stockfisch Records, Günter Pauler, was called to be her sound specialist. He gave her a tour of his studio and offered her a contract and the prospect of having guitarist Chris Jones as a guest musician.[3] Her first Stockfisch album, Water Falls (2001), was followed by a tour, which provided material for a live DVD and the album Live in Concert (2003). She won the Hi-Fi Music Award in 2003 from the German magazine Audio/Steoreoplay.

Her album Hell or High Water (2006) again featured Chris Jones on guitar and dobro. Jones died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma shortly after recording, before the album was released. Her fourth album for Stockfisch, Made in the Shade, came out in 2009, with new versions of songs from her debut album.


After the release of this album, she announced that she was going to quit the music business. In a note to her fans on her label’s website, she stated, “After many years on the road and writing music, I’ve decided to stop touring and recording. It’s hard to explain why but I hope you will understand. I had a good run but I think it’s over. It’s just too much for too little these days. Made in the Shade explains it as best as I know how.”

In 2015, Stockfisch published a live album called Horse I Used to Ride based on the recording of a solo concert in Sülbeck, Germany, on April 6, 2001. Out of habit, Günter Pauler, head of Stockfisch, had brought his mobile recording equipment to this concert. He asked Sara K. if he could record the concert, and she agreed. After that concert, Chris Jones added dobro guitar solos to these tracks in the studio. When Pauler sent the recordings to Sara K., she was thrilled. (wikipedia)


The music is ok, but the sound quality stinks. It reminds me of the sound we got when taping our choir in the local church with an mp3 recorder. (by Bruce)

Bruce’s opinion and approval are obscure at least. I’ve listen HOBO from net at first time, and purchase CD, it sounds much better. Cheskys 96Khz/24bit recordings are true audiophylle. Pro fully music delights, it’s required quality equipments and there are no mistakes. Great old songs like “Brickhouse” and “Oh Well” are amazing. Accoustic guitar, harmonica, retiring bass and percussions offers a straight live sensations. If you have an affection for naturaly sound, sans mixing, dubbing, electronics etc, your ears will be captured for a best award.
P.S. I’m a owner of ALL Saras recordings, and that’s most pleasurablly in my collection certainly. (by Vlada Neron)

Booklet03I’ve only just recently discovered Sara k, The reason I have, is due to the the fact that I have a reference audio system and always on the look out for new quality sounds to play. Despite other reviews here I found the recording excellent with a great sound stage and a rich and realistic recording of some beautifully played acoustic instruments. I have another Sara cd and although I find some of her songs rather bland this CD. Contains some tracks that are a little more inventive especially tracks 1 & 7 which utilize diverse percussive sections to create a dynamic and absorbing experience, they are my current favorites from a collection of over 450 cd’s. Even if other tracks are not quite to my personal taste in their composition, the quality of the musicians performances and the recording itself make this CD a pleasure to listen to time after time. Listen, you wont regret it especially if you have a quality sound system. This leaves me confused as to one review here complaining about sound quality I can only imagine he/she has a problem with her/his equipment or the CD was not a genuine Chesky product. What ever the reason I would 100% disagree with his/her review.. (by Amatrix)


Hui Cox (guitar)
Bruce Dunlap (guitar)
William Galison (harmonica)
Randy Landau (bass)
Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)
Matthew Andrae (guitar, vocals on 09.)


01. Me Missin` You (Wooldridge) 5.18
02. If I Don`t See You Later (Wooldridge) 3.48
03. Brick House (Richie/Williams/La Pread/McClary/Orange/King) 5.59
04. I Really Do (Wooldridge) 4.06
05. Written In Stone (Wooldridge) 3.35
06. You`ll Never Walk Alone (Hammerstein II/Rodgers) 3.11
07. Oh Well (Green) 2.37
08. Hobo (Wooldridge) 3.31
09. Oughtta Be Happy By Now (Andrae/Wooldridge) 5.06
10. I Couldn`t Change Your Mind 4.08
11. Sizzlin` (Wooldridge) 3.51
12. Moving Big Picture (Wooldridge) 4.40




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