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Old 02-12-2012, 09:19 AM   #881 (permalink)
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Around the next dream --- BBM --- 1994 (Capitol)


For those who don't know, BBM stands for Baker, Bruce, Moore, and was another side project for Gary which featured (anyone?) Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Gary. There was, again, only the one album, before Gary went on to release his “Blues for Greeny” tribute the next year and then on to “Dark days in Paradise”, but as supergroups go, it's not to be sniffed at. Unusually, Gary only writes two of the tracks himself, the rest being a collaborative effort with the other two, plus two cover versions.

With a very definite (whether intentional or not) Cream/Clapton sound to his guitar, “Waiting in the wings” opens the album on a good mid-paced rocky note, and I'd have to say that's Jack Bruce singing, as each of the trio are credited with vocals, and I know it's not Gary. I haven't heard too much Cream --- I know, shame on me! --- but what I have heard of their music leads me to recognise Bruce's voice, and I think that's him still on second track “City of gold”, with Gary ripping off another fine solo with the ease of a man totally in control. A nice semi-acoustic ballad then in “Where in the world”, with lovely soft keys from Tommy Eyre, and Gary on vocals. Nicely restrained with some insightful drumming from Ginger Baker.

Back to Gary's first love for “You can't fool the blues”, good swinging rocker with fine organ from Eyre, Gary staying behind the mike for this song, then it sounds like Jack is back for a cover of “High cost of loving”, with great honky-tonk piano from Tommy Eyre. Some vibrant trumpet from Morris Murphy on “Glory days”, a sort of hard rock/AOR tune which would have made a good single. Great guitar solo from Gary, then we're into the longest track by a way on the album, the nine-minute “Why does love (have to go wrong)?”. A slowburning blues ballad that gets hard and heavy in the middle and then goes back to its laidback tone before bursting into life again, I would have preferred it to have stayed in the one vein, but its constant dodging back and forth makes it hard to really pin down the song, though it is good, but not the standout I had expected.

Much better in fact is the first of only two Gary Moore-penned tracks, “Naked flame” sounding a little like “Gonna rain today”. Nice lazy melody with of course Gary at the mike, almost a solo effort by him, some really nice measured drumming from Ginger and the usual fine keyboard backing from Eyre. The second cover, a version of Albert King's “I wonder why (are you so mean to me)” rocks along with great pace and enthusiasm, just great fun, and the album closes on another of Gary's solo-penned songs, “Wrong side of town”.

A beautiful, broody, slow ballad in the best tradition of Gary Moore, it's got a certain lounge feeling about it, almost like a slow cabaret song, but quite sensational. His voice is smooth and deeply soulful on this, the closing track, and helped along on the back of Tommy Eyre's deep, sonorous keyboards.

Another fine collaboration, “Around the next dream” marks a particular period in Gary Moore's career, when he once again played with legends, well on the way to becoming one himself, and together they put together a fine album. Different paths beckoned however, and Ginger Baker went on to record six more solo albums, as well as working with Andy Summers and the Denver Jazz Quartet, while Jack Bruce sadly fell ill from liver cancer, which thankfully he recovered from, and is still recording and playing live. But just to hear the three of them play together, if only the once, was indeed a privilege.

TRACKLISTING

1. Waiting in the wings
2. City of gold
3. Where in the world
4. Can't fool the blues
5. High cost of loving
6. Glory days
7. Why does love (have to go wrong)?
8. Naked flame
9. I wonder why (are you so mean to me)
10. Wrong side of town
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:28 AM   #882 (permalink)
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Ah Eurovision. I've actually been looking through some of the preselection songs this year. Anyway with British songs I think the high point was the first half of the 80s, the weakest one for me probably being Bucks Fizz, ironic because it did the best and won. And with Brotherhoood of Man I actually prefer the very similar sounding My Sweet Rosalie.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:31 AM   #883 (permalink)
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And of course, how else would we close this week of tribute to Gary Moore than with the last studio album he ever recorded, the last one he left us to remember him by. No more big speeches: I've written my closing comments on Gary Moore Week already, but just once more thank you all for reading, thank you to those who ensured all my posts got, well, posted, and thank you Gary for leaving us such a wonderful legacy of fine music. May you rest in peace, and rock in Paradise.

Bad for you baby --- 2008 (Eagle)


Sadly, the last album Gary recorded prior to his tragic death at the age of only fifty-eight, “Bad for you baby” doesn't sound like a last album, but then, I'm sure it wasn't meant to be. All those Moore songs we'll now never hear. Life is cruel. Still, at least we have almost twenty studio albums to remember him by, and cliché or not, his music will never die.

The title track starts us off on this final journey, a big striding boogie rocker, wherein it becomes clear the title is not “I'm bad for you baby”, as I thought, but “I got it bad for you baby”, though in fairness either could work. Gary hooks back up with keysman Vic Martin, who added so much to his previous album, “Close as you get”, and bassist Pete Reese, but there's a new guy on the drumstool, in the shape of Sam Kelly. He rocks out goodstyle on “Down the line”, which has an almost hoe-down feel about it, though a very heavy one. It certainly kicks up the tempo, which was not exactly slow to begin with!

Apart from the four covers on the album, Gary writes all the songs himself, and the first four are all his creations, with the blues cruncher “Umbrella man” next up, with a real Hendrix vibe and a slice of Clapton in there too. Things slow down for the first time with the easygoing, Smokey Robinson-like “Holding on”, with a nice relaxed melody, some good organ from Martin. Muddy Waters' “Walkin' through the park” gets a nice outing before the longest track on the album by quite a way hits in.

At ten and a half minutes, “I love you more than you'll ever know” is another cover, this time by Al Kooper. It forms something of the centrepiece of the album, a long, lazy, beautiful blues ballad that gives Gary the space to shine in what would sadly be his final performance, at least on CD, and he certainly wrings every last ounce of emotion and pathos out of the song. Back to short and fast blues rockers then for “Mojo boogie”, with another Muddy Waters standard covered in “Someday baby”, after which we're fittingly left to close on three Moore originals.

The first, “Did you ever feel lonely”, is a big blues ballad, the kind Gary became famous for and identified with, and which sounds like it could have come straight out of Memphis or Chicago or New Orleans. Great backing again on the organ by Vic Martin, and frenetic fretwork from Gary, then “Preacher man blues” is a blues shuffle with some pretty fine harmonica from Gary. I've spoken before of the unintentional prophetic nature of the closer, the lazy blues “Trouble ain't far behind”, and of course it's just a coincidence, but it's tragically interesting to note that this was, if not the last song Gary wrote, certainly the last he released. Three years later he would be taken from us. So sad, so painful.

As a closer you couldn't really ask for any better. It has drama, power, melancholia and slightly bitter anger all rolled up inside it, and a wonderful guitar solo from Gary alongside some very effective and emotional organ work from Vic Martin. As a swansong, a farewell and a final legacy, “Trouble ain't far behind” is as good as you could want, or hope for. While the album is far from perfect, and didn't even get into my top ten, it has some great tracks on it, and is a fitting end to a stellar career that spanned almost forty years and left us with some of the most amazing music, and certainly in my case anyway, a new appreciation for the blues.

TRACKLISTING

1. Bad for you baby
2. Down the line
3. Umbrella man
4. Holding on
5. Walkin' through the park
6. I love you more than you'll ever know
7. Mojo boogie
8. Someday baby
9. Did you ever feel lonely?
10. Preacher man blues
11. Trouble ain't far behind

Postscript: if it's not deemed disrespectful (which is of course not my intention) I'd just like to finish with two very witty and appropriate comments I saw online concerning Gary:

Justin Bieber: "God told me to bring music to the world".
Gary Moore: "I said no such thing!"


and

"I wish everyone would stop comparing Gary to God. I mean, come on! He's good and all, but he's no Gary Moore!"

Adios amigos...
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:47 PM   #884 (permalink)
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Bit of a soul/disco classic for you to start the week off, this is Donna Summer, with “On the radio”.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:50 PM   #885 (permalink)
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:34 AM   #886 (permalink)
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Tough it out --- FM --- 1989 (Epic)


Not to be confused with the Canadian progressive rock band of the same name (or indeed, the modulation frequency on radios!) FM have released eleven albums to date, but are mostly famous for their first two, of which this is the second. One of the main proponents of the late eighties AOR attack on radio and stage, FM had some minor chart success but are more revered and remembered for being like the Journey of the UK. Or something.

The album opens on tinkly keyboards and then thumping drums as the title track gets underway with a typical chorus of ”Whoa-oh-oh-oh!” and then the guitars cut in and we're into the sort of territory prowled by the likes of Survivor and Night Ranger in the US. Singer Steve Overland has the sort of voice you expect to hear at a Bon Jovi concert, while keysman Didge Digital (what a great name: not his real one, of course!) certainly knows how to pepper the melody laid down by Steve's brother Chris on guitar. It's typical American rock, though with an English flavour.

Most of the songs are written by the Overland brothers (at least, I assume they're brothers, otherwise that's a hell of a coincidence. I mean, it's not like their surname is Smith or anything...) with some input on one or two by star songwriter and producer Desmond Child, who was mostly responsible for the mega-success of Bon Jovi's third album, which broke them commercially and finally established them as a force in rock, and a bankable commodity. Here, however, he doesn't seem to have had the same magic touch that he had with “Slippery when wet”, and the album comes across as pretty generic really.

“Don't stop” is another hard rocker, but with the tagline ”Don't stop, I'm lovin' every minute!” it comes too close for me to Loverboy's song of the same name from four years previous, and it's a little hard to take it seriously, even though the melody is nothing near the same. Child adds his midas touch to the next track, and “Bad luck” shows it, with a very Bon Jovi-style melody and close-harmony singing from the Overlands, squealing guitars and a rising keyboard line not a million miles removed from “Livin' on a prayer.” It is a much better track than the previous too, though, with a cool little solo from Chris Overland. But can it last through the album?

Well, Child has no input into the next two tracks, nor do any of the band members, so they could very well be covers, but I don't recognise any of the writers, nor the songs themselves. But “Someday (you'll come running)” has a great hook and some powerful backing vocals from The Abrasive Brothers (don't ask!) and Robin Beck, of all people. It's a strong, gutsy AOR anthem, and whether it's a good choice of a cover or it's a song written for them, this is far better than at any rate the opening two tracks, a lot more cohesive and with much more heart. If things continue on like this, I may change my opinion about this album indeed.

And to be fair, “Everytime I think of you” continues this resurgence in quality, with a big booming drum opening and bright keyboards before it settles down into a mid-paced ballad with Steve Overland in fine form on vocals. This is great AOR, and I can begin to see now why this album is so highly regarded among aficionados of this era. Child has his hand again in the hard-rockin' “Burning down my heart” --- and if there was ever a title for a Bon Jovi track, there it is! --- with screeching guitars, close chorus vocals and a real down-and-dirty rhythm. Oh yeah, we're back on track for sure. Great keyboard stabs a la Huey Lewis just add to the appeal of this song.

And it only gets better. “The dream that died” is another great pomp rocker, with twinkly (I know, I know: I keep making up words. So sue me...) keyboards and gnarly (that one's real, well, as real as it gets) guitars while Overland has a real rasp in his voice, but it's the vocal harmonies allied to the powerful keyboard melody that really makes this song, one of the best so far on the album in my opinion. Slight dip in quality then for “Obsession”, a no-frills rocker, the second penned by the other three members of FM, without the input pf Child or either of the Overlands. In fairness, it's miles better than the other effort by Merv Goldsworthy, Pete Jupp and Didge Digital, the derivative “Don't stop”, but it does show that the finesse and craft on FM's songs comes from the two brothers.

Speaking of the Overlands, they take control of the last three tracks on the album, and doesn't it show? “Can you hear me calling” is a lovely little rock ballad, with organ and crunchy guitar, sparkly keyboards with good vocal harmonies and a hook any butcher would be proud to call their own. “Does it feel like love” gets things rocking again with a great stomper with yet another great hook in the chorus, and some really impressive keyboard work from our man Didge, the album closing on a powerful, triumphant flourish with “Feels so good”, more fluid keys from Mr. Digital, great snappy guitars from Overland C and passionate, raunchy vocals from Overland S to take the album to an air-punching finale.

I must admit, I had my doubts, but after the first two tracks were behind me, this album really came alive and it never really looked back after that. Whether it was the influence of Desmond Child or not --- he only helped write two of the eleven songs here, but did he have any effect on the others? --- the album shifted totally and changed from a fairly mediocre, by-the-numbers AOR effort into something really quite special. I guess the rewards really are worth it if you tough it out to the end!

TRACKLISTING

1. Tough it out
2. Don't stop
3. Bad luck
4. Someday (you'll come running)
5. Everytime I think of you
6. Burning down my heart
7. The dream that died
8. Obsession
9. Can you hear me calling?
10. Does it feel like love
11. Feels so good
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:57 PM   #887 (permalink)
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It's been fourteen years since Van Halen last released a studio album, and in that time a whole lot has changed. Eddie's son Wolfgang is all grown up now, twenty-one years old and now occupies the bass slot left vacant by Michael Anthony: so now there are three Van Halens in the band. More to the point, after several albums with Sammy Hagar, it's back to basics for the band as Dave Lee Roth joins them again, after a hiatus of nearly thirty years, and although you can argue back and forth for the “Sammy was best/Dave was best” camp, whichever side you're in, it doesn't matter. Fish ain't gonna rejoin Marillion and Roger Waters won't be getting back with Pink Floyd just because we preferred it that way. What's done is done, and things have come full circle for Van Halen.

In more than one way really, as the new album features mostly material written by the guys in the seventies, but never used, so it's almost completely back to basics, albeit with a twenty-first century upgrade. It'll either work beautifully or crash like Rick Santorum's presidential hopes, so let's see which it turns out to be.


A different kind of truth --- Van Halen --- 2012 (Interscope)


It opens with “Tattoo”, which was the lead single, with a big, heavy rockin' sound with dashes of AOR too, Dave Lee Roth's three decades away from the band not seeming to have affected his voice nor his rapport with the Van Halens, and it's almost 1984 again. Good backing vocals, and Eddie certainly hasn't lost it on the guitar, slapping in a fine solo here. Solid bass from the young lad; we'll see as the album goes on if he distinguishes himself or stands out in any way but for now it's a respectable bassline maintained by Wolfgang Van Halen.

My problem with DLR has always been his overacting, his larger-than-life ego and his “mischevious child” way of going on, which always seemed to relegate the band to the status of clowns when they can in fact rock, and here they certainly do. I haven't seen any videos, so I don't know if our Dave has grown up any, but have to admit his voice is still strong and powerful, well able to reach the highest notes or drop as required. “She's the woman” is another hard rocker, Eddie really breaking out the guitar licks as Alex hammers away on the skins, and yes, there is a certain sense of the seventies about these songs, though they've obviously been updated for 2012.

Now I should point out I'm not a huge VH fan. Like most people, I've heard the singles, and one or two albums, but I'm certainly not qualified to decide which of the two vocalists (well, three, but then Gary Cherone only featured on one album, the one before this, and it's always been a tug-of-war, opinionwise, between Dave Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar) is the better, but I always felt that Hagar was the more “serious” of the two. That said, I'm sure DLR can have his moments, and here he certainly does not seem to be fooling around. Great solo in “You and your blues”, with Roth in fine, raunchy form, then there's a blistering opening to “China town”, which just takes off on rocketrails from Alex as Eddie keeps up, the fastest track on the album so far. I would have to say this track is the closest Van Halen come to heavy metal rather than heavy rock, and we're only four tracks in!

Totally in contrast then, “Blood and fire” opens on gentle, introspective guitar and turns into a mid-paced rocker, which I have to admit I thought originally was going to be a ballad, but would definitely make a good follow-up single. Very radio friendly, while still retaining the core of rock that is intrinsic to Van Halen. Things rock back along then for “Bullethead”, which contains the title, though there is actually no title track. Some pretty furious fretwork from Eddie, good to see him back in the game, then “As is” comes in on a big drum intro somewhat reminiscent of Phil Collins before Eddie joins the attack and the tempo picks right up, though I have to say “Honeybabysweetiedoll” is something of a mess, and a fast mess at that. Not really sure what they were going for here, but they seem to have missed it.
(Unfortunately it would appear VH's label will not allow any content from the new album to be published on YT. This is the “official” clips video they graciously allowed be put online, so it'll have to do. Personally, I don't think you're missing anything...)
I find the same thing with “The trouble with never”: sort of confused, a bit all over the place. Decent solo but it's kind of hurting my head... “Outta space” is better, pure mad rock but “Stay frosty” breaks the mould considerably, with a jangly, almost acoustic and quite country-style bopper, very catchy and it's followed by “Big river”, a great powerful rocker which puts me in mind of the best of Creedence Clearwater Revival, then closer “Beats workin'” (great title, though I think Dire Straits said it first, if not in so many words) has a huge guitar and drum intro, hard and heavy, probably how the album should have started, instead of finishing, still it closes strongly so that can't be bad.

Serious critics, should they ever read my reviews, will probably think I'm a right gobsh1te, as again, like others I've reviewed and not liked, or rated highly, “A different kind of truth” has got rave reviews most places, but personally although it's not a bad album, I don't see anything that great about it. Certainly nothing worth waiting fourteen years for. It's good, in places it's quite good, but though it starts off well and ends well, the middle section really undoes the good work in my opinion.

As I said, I'm not a huge Van Halen fan, and though there is a lot to enthuse over on this album --- Eddie's work is flawless and powerful, as ever, and Dave's voice is almost that of a man ten years younger --- it doesn't knock me out as I had hoped/expected it to. In ways, it seems like, even after all this time, the lads thought they could just turn up and churn out another album and that would do. Well, I don't see anything on this to get excited about, and “Stay frosty” aside, nothing is going to stay in my head once it's over, so I would have to class this as a failure, in my opinion.

Worth waiting a teenager's life for? Not by a long shot.

TRACKLISTING

1. Tattoo
2. She's the woman
3. You and your blues
4. China town
5. Blood and fire
6. Bullethead
7. As is
8. Honeysweetiebabydoll
9. The trouble with never
10. Outta space
11. Stay frosty
12. Big river
13. Beats workin'
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:26 PM   #888 (permalink)
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Love is in the air... so they tell me, anyway.

Tomorrow is February 14th, as you all know, that time of year when we guys go all romantic and buy expensive pressies for the ladies (or guys) in our lives, and desperately hope we'll get a shag in gratitude. Yes, it's Valentine's Day once again. Beloved of the card companies, the sellers of flowers and chocolates, and purveyors of cute soft toys. It's a girl's day, and after much badgering and fluttering of her eyelashes, I've agreed to allow Stacey-Lynn to take over the journal for one day.

Tomorrow, she'll be featuring her hundred favourite love songs, split over the course of the day into four sections. Not arranged, I believe, in any order, there's nevertheless bound to be something there that will remind you of that magical day or night you met your loved one --- or else it'll embitter you so much you'll want to punch my face!

Non-romantics and cynics join me down the pub, and beware, steer clear: tomorrow is most definitely for the ladies only! Unless you like that sort of thing, of course.

Nah really, she'd kill me if I told you to avoid her shot at the big time, so drop in and see what she's selected for your listening pleasure. Me, I'll be catching up on my “Sopranos” episodes. Nice to finally have a break...

See you all on Wednesday, when normal service will resume. Until then, Happy Valentines and may you score like Wayne Rooney tomorrow night!
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:50 AM   #889 (permalink)
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Hi everyone and welcome to Valentine's Day on the Playlist of Life! Not being much of a romantic at heart (and happy to get a well-earned break), Trollheart finally gave in to my constantly bugging him to allow me to take over the journal for this most romantic day, and so here I am with my favourite hundred love songs for you to enjoy.

Obviously, that's a lot of songs, so I'll be posting them over the course of the day in four sections of twenty-five each. Some you'll know, some you won't, but hopefully some or indeed all of them will put you in the mood for “lurv” tonight! Some may have been featured before by Trollheart, maybe in his “Tunnel of Love”, or as part of album reviews, or other sections, but these are my hundred favourite love songs, so apologies if any are repeated. Believe me, they're all good enough to bear hearing twice!

Part One

Starting off with one of my all-time favourites, this is John Paul Young, with “Love is in the air”.


Classic from 10cc now, this is “I'm not in love”.


Nice one from Hot Chocolate, it's called “I'll put you together again”.


Very appropriate song from the Boss, this is from “Tunnel of love” (also very apt!) and it's called “Valentine's Day”.


Love this one from the Cutting Crew, it's “I've been in love before”.


Love the imagery in this one from Oleta Adams...


One of Troll's favourites, this is, and I have to say one of mine too. It's Sarah McLachlan, with the lovely “Angel”.


Great classic from Journey, this is “Who's crying now?”


One from the late Laura Branigan, this is “Ti amo” (means “I love you”, in case your Spanish isn't up to scratch!)


Whatever happened to Terence Trent D'Arby? Here he is, with “Sign your name”.


Nice one from Foreigner, this is “Waiting for a girl like you”.


Jim Steinman can always be relied upon to write a powerful love song. Here's one he wrote for Air Supply, called “Making love out of nothing at all”.


Nice song from the Pointer Sisters now, this is “Slow hand”.


Bread have had some great ballads, but this is from David Gates solo, a great song called “Goodbye girl”.


And here he is with Bread, with their classic “If”.


This is Debbie Gibson now, great song from her called “Lost in your eyes”.


Lovely song from Toto, from the album “IV” this is “I won't hold you back”.


The stunningly powerful and sexy voice of Sam Brown, with “I'll be in love”.


Popular theme from that movie, it's still a great song from Wet Wet Wet...


Could have chosen several from Ms. Estefan, but I really like this one.


Late of supergroup ABBA, this is Agnetha Faltskog, with “If you need somebody tonight”.


Another appropriately-titled song, this is Ten, with the greatest love song no-one knows, “Valentine”.


There are many ballads I could have chosen from a-ha too, but this one seems a good choice. This is “You'll never get over me”.


And a great song from Amy Grant, “Saved by love”.


And to finish this first section of my hundred favourite love songs, this is Bad English, with “When I see you smile”. See you later for part two!
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:27 AM   #890 (permalink)
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Part Two

Getting us underway for the second part, here's Bob Seger, with “Always in my heart”.


And how about some Bon Jovi?


Keeping it (vaguely) rocky, here's Bryan Adams...


From an album reviewed by Trollheart recently, this is Carole King, with “Someone who believes in you”.


Classic from Chicago, this is “You're the inspiration”.


And a great song from the Climax Blues Band, this is simply titled “I love you”.


Gorgeous song from the late Dan Fogelberg, this is called “Sketches”.


One of Bowie's best ballads, often a little overlooked, it's “Wild is the wind”.


Track from Don Henley's “End of the innocence” album, hopefully, for those of you who have yet to find that special someone, this may indeed be “The last worthless evening”.


What's Valentine's Day without something from Dr. Hook?


And Elkie Brooks can certainly sing, can't she? This is “Our love”.


A classic that always pops up at this time of year, it's England Dan and John Ford Coley, with their timeless hit “I'd really love to see you”.


And if you want to talk classics...


… and...


Some of my own personal favourites from my youth now. This is Joe Esposito, with “Lady lady lady”.


And Kenny Rogers' wonderful “She believes in me”.


Nice one from Faith Hill, this is “Breathe”


Delicate, fragile and sweet, it's Fleetwood Mac with Christine McVie on vocals and piano, the lovely “Songbird”.


George Michael has had a nice few ballads in his time. This is my favourite of those --- well, one of them anyway. It's “Kissing a fool”.


Nice song from Glenn Frey, this is “True love”.


Powerful and emotional performance from the Big Man, Joe Cocker sings “When a woman cries”.


The late, lamented, incomparable John Martyn, with “Please fall in love with me”.


There have been many cover versions of “You raise me up”, but I've always agreed with Troll that Josh Groban's is the best.


Although we know Judie Tzuke is much more than this one hit song, it seems the most appropriate to a selection like this, so here is her most well-known work, “Stay with me till dawn”.


And to bring part two to a close, here's the sexy Kylie, with the equally sexy and sensual “Slow”. See you a bit later for part three. Bye for now.
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