04th Jan2015

CD Review – Jim Murray: “This Love of Mine”

by rockchicago


On the local front, long time Chicago area drummer Jim Murray has released his first solo recording entitled “This Love of Mine”, a diverse mix of love songs and ballads that have become his own personal favorites over the many years. While handling his usual drums and percussion duties on the CD, Jim also steps out from behind his drum kit to front and center, with microphone in hand, and adeptly performs the lead vocals on all fourteen tracks. With a nod to the singer that made the Tommy Dorsey classic title track famous, Frank Sinatra, Jim did it his way.

Murray, known as the long time drummer for the Chicago based blues band “Skip Towne and the Greyhounds”, the Skip Towne off shoot “The Drunk Whisperers”, as well as “RPM” (Richardson, Peterson, Murray), has put together what could be best described as part personal anthology, part personal passion play, recruiting members of the bands mentioned above and others, such as Dave Onderdonk, whose crisp guitar strumming on the opening track, Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love”, would make Lindsey Buckingham proud. Florida’s Joann Togati joins Jim on track five for a pleasing rendition of The Phantom of the Opera’s “All I Ask of You”.

On the seventh track, Jim takes over vocals on the song “Mystery Train”, a tune in which he had previously recorded with Skip Towne. The song, which was made famous by other artists such as Elvis Presley and Paul Butterfield, has long time Chicago area lead vocalist Peter Quinn singing on the Skip Towne version. Quinn sits in on Jim’s rendition, playing harmonica. The aforementioned title track, “This Love of Mine”, slots in at number twelve, and, in the spirit of the song, you can find a picture of Jim recreating the famous fedora clad Sinatra cover from “In the Wee Small hours” on the back of the CD jacket. A live version of the classic Blues standard “Help the Poor” recorded live at the Shady Shores Resort in Sister Lakes, Michigan, closes out the disc.

Also joining Jim on the disc is John Rice, another Skip Towne alum. Rice, who assisted in orchestrating many of the song arrangements, is a long time Nashville first call session musician and multi instrumentalist. A very well produced and evenly balanced recording overall, “This Love of Mine” would make an enjoyable addition to anyone’s music listening pleasure for the upcoming holidays. For a complete track listing and more information on ordering the CD, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-love-of-mine/id939675176

Reviewed by Patrick Kinsella

18th Jan2013

DVD Review: Osada Vida: Where The Devils Live

by rockchicago


The band Osada Vida from Poland has a very interesting sound to them. I just got their new DVD Where the Devils Live, and I must say, I found something really funny. After watching and reviewing Believe’s live DVD Seeing is Believing, I noticed they were both recorded on the same exact stage with the same exact lighting setup.

Osasa Vida are a little harder rock than Believe. They remind me of a mix between Porcupine Tree and Riverside (also from Poland). Consisting of members Lukasz Lisiak on bass and vocals, Rafal Paluszek on keyboards, Bartlomiej Bereska on guitars and Adam Podzimski on drums, the band prove that they do this for a living and how well they blend together.

The concert started with the instrumental “Remember Your Name,” where each band member got to show off their instrument. The next song “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” featured Rafal with some nice keyboard solos throughout. It also featured Lukasz’s vocals. I do have to say that he’s not the best singer, and he has a really heavy accent when he’s singing. It seemed like he was very off-key for this song.

The rest of the concert seemed very bland, and they didn’t look energetic on stage at all. I felt they just filmed this DVD because they were paid to do so. I would definitely not see this band live. The singer just really irritates me, and I don’t know if I would be able to put up with him for a whole concert.

There were a couple other songs on the DVD that were ok which were “Bone (My Name is Bone, the Single Bone,” a very atmospheric song and “Is That Devil From Spain Too?,” a very latin jazz meets middle-eastern song.

Overall, I would not recommend this DVD because A) It’s just plain boring, B) The singer’s terrible and C) The music is very repetitive and bland.

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 1/5

18th Jan2013

DVD Review: Believe: Seeing is Believing

by rockchicago


From the moment this Seeing is Believing started, I liked what I saw. Karol Wroblewski came walking out onstage with a megaphone in hand, with his voice echoing through the theatre. I never had heard Believe before seeing this DVD. I also did not know the band was from Poland.

The first song “No Time Inside” reminded me an 80′s Genesis song. Especially with the effects on his voice. The second song “World is Round Part 2,” violinist Siromi shined through, and you can start to hear the Polish accent with Karol. I’m not sure how old Karol is, but he sure looks young and looks a little bit like actor Jerry O’Connell.

The next song, “This Bread Is Mine,” Karol surprised me by pulling an Ian Anderson by pulling out his flute. Great song, great vocals. I’m not sure who I can categorize this band with sound-wise. They have their own unique style. Starting with the brooding sound of violin from Siromi, “And All the Road” sounded like a Pink Floyd-ish style song then sounded like a Jethro Tull songs with Karol pulling out the flute again.

With Karol dancing around the stage, “What They Want (Is My Life)” is a fantastic fun song. Especially with the mix of the keyboards, the violin and guitar, it sounded like a mini-orchestra. With the lasers shining from the stage, “Lay Down Forever” sounded very repetitive until the guitar shines through. “AA” reminded me a lot of Porcupine Tree, opening up with just acoustic guitar and acoustic piano. This is probably one of my favorites on the DVD.

“Guru” was a bit bland. The only good part of the song was the Doors-y blend with the organ and drums. “New Hands” is a nice relaxing song that was really beautiful. You can tell with everysong on this DVD, Karol puts a lot of emotion into their lyrics.

“Cut Me Paste Me” reminded me a lot of In Absentia-era Porcupine Tree mixed with Pain of Salvation. Nice hard rock phone, especially with the cool megaphone effect. “Poor Kin of Sun/Return” started out with a pounding drum solo. With a middle-eastern feel, this song reminded me a little of Pain of Salvation mixed with Alice in Chains. The last song, “Silence,” sounded a lot like a Marillion song.

Overall, Believe is a great progressive rock band from Poland with their own unique sound. This DVD Seeing is Believing, truly shows off their mastery in concert and prove what a good show they put on. I just heard they will be playing the U.S. Come Fall of 2013. Check out more info about them here: http://www.believe.com.pl

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 5/5

30th Nov2012

DVD Review: The Beach Boys Live in Concert: 50th Anniversary

by rockchicago


The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour kicked off  April 24th in Tucson, AZ and ended in Wembley Arena in London after 75 dates. The concert filmed for the DVD took place on July 7th in Phoenix, AZ at Grand Canyon University and features 21 tracks including 2 songs from their 2012 release “That’s Why God Made The Radio.” This concert is packed with many classics and hits from The Beach Boys vast catalog. The 50th anniversary tour was the first time that Brian Wilson has toured with the band since 1965. The show began with “Do It Again,” included a medley of “409,” “Shut Down,” and “I Get Around,”and closed with “Fun Fun Fun.” From That’s Why God Made The Radio, they played “Isn’t It Time,” and the title track. If you haven’t heard either song, they’re definitely worth a listen as well as the whole album. The band traded off lead vocals on each song. Brian Wilson sounded great on “Sail On Sailor,” which was originally sung by Blondie Chaplin. For those who saw the Beach Boys live on their 50th anniversary it is a great way to relive the experience. For those who did not get to see the Beach Boys live this is as close as you’ll get. It was great seeing Mike Love and Brian Wilson together on the same stage again. I also enjoyed seeing David Marks back with the group and playing lead guitar. Over the years The Beach Boys have had a large touring band, but their backing band for the 50th anniversary tour was probably the largest. It consisted of members from Brian Wilson’s band and The Mike Love Beach Boys touring band. What was nice about the large band was they were able to do what they did in studio on songs like “Good Vibrations,” and “Kokomo.” This DVD is a must have for any Beach Boys fan young, old, and new or long times fans.

Here is the complete list of sings performed in The Beach Boys: Live in  Concert:

“Do It Again”

“Catch a Wave”



“Isn’t It  Time”

“Little Deuce Coupe”


“Shut Down”

“I Get  Around”

“Heroes and Villains”

“Sloop John B”

“Wouldn’t It Be  Nice”

“All This Is That”

“That’s Why God Made the Radio”

“Sail On,  Sailor”

“Good Vibrations”

“California Girls”

“Help Me Rhonda”

“Rock  and Roll Music”


“Fun, Fun, Fun”


Reviewed by Alex Kluft

16th Aug2012

DVD Review: The Zombies: Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London

by rockchicago

The Zombies featuring Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent:Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London was such a joy to watch. Having already seen The Zombies in Chicago at Viper Alley, it was such a treat to almost relive that experience with this DVD.

The concert took place in the small Metropolis Studios in London in front of a crowd of about 100. They played 19 of their famous hits including many notable ones. Judging from seeing them in concert for the first time, then watching this, this DVD mostly reflected what I saw. After talking with Rod Argent for about an hour and a half after their show, he was probably one of the most interesting and fun people to talk to. Colin Blunstone was as well.

The boys started off the show with “I Love You.” From there, they went through a lot of their older material from their album Odessey & Oracle. The concert was a real delight with key members of the band showing off what they do best including Colin Blunstone incredibly singing his way through, Rod Argent on vocals and playing amazing keyboards, former Kinks and Argent bassist Jim Rodford, Jim’s son, Steve Rodford on drums, and the great Tom Toomey on guitar.

Some of the standout signature songs they performed included: “Care of Cell 44,” “This Will Be Our Year,” “Time of the Season,” “Tell Her No,” “Hold Your Head Up,” “She’s Not There” and “Summertime.”

Overall, this concert was another great experience of The Zombies at their best. I highly recommend this.

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 5/5

02nd Aug2012

DVD Review: Van Der Graaf Generator Live at Metropolis Studios, London

by rockchicago

Van Der Graaf Generator: Recorded Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London was a great treat to watch for any progressive rock fan and any Van Der Graaf Generator fan.

Starting out the concert with the haunting “Interference Patterns” from their 2008 album Trisector, lead singer Peter Hammill proves he still has it after all these years. He actually seems like a fun guy to talk to. They transitioned into their next track “Nutter Alert” from their 2005 album Present.

Van Der Graaf Generator are “giants” in the progressive rock world, and in 2010, according to the CD/DVD package, fans braved a blizzard to travel to West London’s Metropolis Studios to take in a rare UK appearance by Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans.

The boys next played 3 new songs. The first one was “Your Time Starts Now,” from the 2011 album A Grounding in Numbers. This was a fantastic song, soft and moody. It sort of reminded me of early Procol Harum. The next song wasn’t actually a new song at all, “Lemmings” from their 1971 album Pawn Hearts. This song features their signature style that everyone is used to.

The third song “Lifetime” was from their 2008 album Trisector. I was not the biggest fan of this song musically, but lyrically it was very well done. Then there was the harder rocker “Bunsho” from their 2011 album A Grounding in Numbers. The band then went into a rare gem and one of my favorites “Childlike Faith” from their 1976 album Still Life.

Next up was another track off their 2011 album A Grounding in Numbers called “Mr. Sands,” which was a funny disclaimer to the audience about a fictional character named Mr. Sands. I liked this one second best. The next song “Over the Hill,” was ok. The problem was it moved really slow, and was very repetitive. It was from their 2008 album Trisector. The second to last song was “We Are Not Here” again from their 2008 album Trisector. I didn’t like this one either because it was again very repetitive.

The band actually saved their best for last. With “Man-Erg” from their 1971 album Pawn Hearts, this song was an epic in proportion. Both the music and lyrics are the strongest in this song. What a way to end the show!

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 4/5

01st Aug2012

DVD Review: Bill Nelson and the Gentlemen Rocketeers

by rockchicago

Bill Nelson and the Gentlemen Rocketeers: Live in Concert at Metropolis Studio, London is a nice, intimate concert performed at the Metropolis Studios in front of only about 100 people. For people that know Bill Nelson, they would remember him from his band Be-Bop Deluxe and his long solo career.

Here, Bill shines through early Be-Bop Deluxe hits like “Panic in the World” from the album Drastic Plastic, “Maid in Heaven” and “Sister Seagull” from the album Futurama, and “Night Creatures” and “Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape” from their debut album Axe Victim.

“Night Creatures” was personally one of my favorites. On some of his solo hits, I heard reminisces of Pink Floyd on tracks like “God Man Slain” and “Contemplation,” which featured some really cool sax parts.

Looking like a mix between Paul Carrack and Elvis Costello, Bill showcased his talented songwriting with other standout songs like the new wavy “Furniture Music,” “Ships in the Night,” the Floyd-ian “Lovers Are Mortal,” and “Wonder of the Moment.”

You can tell Nelson’s music is from the 80’s from the instrumentation he uses on the songs. Overall, though, it was a very enjoyable concert. I wouldn’t say he’s a favorite of mine, but his music was really nice to sit back and listen to. One thing I really loved was Theo Travis was on saxes. He’s one of the best sax players around.

With this combo pack you also get 2 CDs along with the DVD of the entire concert, so you can travel on the road with it!

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating 3/5

01st Aug2012

DVD Review: Electric Garden: Progressive Rock Festival 2011

by rockchicago


Electric Garden: Progressive Rock Festival 2011 isn’t everything it seems. Out of 12 acts that performed, 3 were my favorites. Spanning 3 days, the festival gave a showcase of the UK’s top prog musicians.

Starting off the night was Matt Stevens with 3 of his own songs. With only an acoustic guitar, I only wished there was more instruments added to it, which made his set dull for me.

Next up was a band from UK called Also Eden. Also Eden is a fantastic prog band. The lead singer reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel, but the band is really contemporary. The guys nailed through the only 2 songs they performed “Think of the Children” and “A Widows Eyes.” Often compared to IQ, Genesis, Marillion.

Credo from the UK was next. With the lead singer sounding a little like Phil Collins, the band sounded like early Genesis. This video unfortunately only documented one song from them “Round & Round.”

Starting off the second set was a band called Dropshard. With a music style similar to Genesis, Porcupine Tree and Riverside, these 3 gentlemen proved to establish themselves as a new up-and-coming progressive rock band. The band played 3 of their songs “A Cold Morning,” “Again” and “Changing Colors.” I highly recommend this band.

The next band was Nerve Toy Trio. Formed in late February 2010, Nerve Toy Trio is guitarist Tony Harn, bassist David Jones and druHenry Rogers. Tony Harn is a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/composer from the Northwest of England. To date he has released 5 solo albums, collaborated with Tim Bowness of No-Man and recorded as part of the duo Resindust. February 2010 saw the formation of Nerve Toy Trio with bassist David Jones and drummer Henry Rogers. They will be playing live and recording throughout the coming months. Henry Rogers is also the drummer for well-known prog outfit Touchstone, Sort Code, Final Conflict and DeeExpus.

To end the second day was the fantastic band The Watch from Italy. Almost replicating early Gabriel-era Genesis to a tee, the lead singer sounded just like Peter Gabriel. Performing a couple songs “Medley Sirence” and “One Day,” these guys should’ve been featured more since they were the best band on this DVD so far! Apparently from what I read up on this festival, The Watch actually performed Genesis’ classic album Selling England by the Pound in its entirety that night. Now THAT would have been a sight to see!

Starting off the third and final day was a UK band called Earthling Society. The band was formed in January 2004. The band was inspired by CAN/FUNKADELIC/ASH RA TEMPEL/13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS/AMON DUUL2 AND SYD BARRETT, E-SOCIETY. Lyrically inspired by WILLIAM BLAKE, PHILIP K. DICK, GUSTAV MEYRINK and ARTHUR MACHEN, E-S recorded their 7-track debut ‘ALBION’ for their sole satisfaction but the album started to garner further interest. Championed by arch-druid JULIAN COPE in their early days, E-S have now released 4 albums to critical acclaim in the underground press. They only performed one song on the DVD which was very well done called “Child of the Harvest.” They could’ve been featured more as well.

Next up was a YES tribute band from the UK called SeYes which were not that bad. The instrumentalists were great. The singer wasn’t. He went flat throughout the song, and didn’t sound like Jon Anderson. The guys singing with YES now can sing better than this guy. Thank goodness they only sang one song “Close to the Edge.”

The band after was called Godsticks, and I have to say they were terrible. They all sounded like they couldn’t keep up with each other. Again, thank goodness they only performed one song “Put Seven in Bold.” There were only 3 more bands left.

IT was the next band. With me being a huge fan of Porcupine Tree, I personally loved this band. This is another great band that is in the up-and-coming prog scene. It just sucks that they only performed two songs, “Killing Me” and “Stay Tuned.” I would pay to see this band in concert.

Second to last was the band Abel Ganz from the UK. This is another great band I wish I would’ve heard more from performing only one song “Rain Again.” With influences being drawn from Genesis and Yes, you can hear the originality in this group’s music.

Lastly were one of the great bands in prog The Tangent. Formed by Andy Tillison, Guy Manning and Sam Baine of PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES as well as half of THE FLOWER KINGS including Jonas Reingold, Zoltan Csorsz and guitar virtuoso and former KAIPA member Roine Stolt. Again, only performing one song, the lengthy “Where Are They Now?” you wish you could hear more, but alas, it isn’t so.

Overall, for prog lovers, this is a great DVD featuring a vast variety of different prog bands from the UK. Like I said throughout the review, I do wish some bands here had more stage time on the DVD, but that’s how they wanted to film it. My favorite bands on here I would recommend overall are The Tangent, IT, The Watch, Dropshard, Credo and Also Eden.

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating 4/5

01st Aug2012

DVD Review: ROCKWELL: A Night of Legendary Collaborations

by rockchicago


Rockwell: A Night of Legendary Collaborations. There’s a big problem with that title since this DVD features 6 artists and only 2 collaborations. This is a very interesting concert filmed at the O2 Arena in London. The concert features Razorlight, Robert Plant, Joss Stone, Tom Jones, and David Gray & Escala.

The concert starts off with a young band called Razorlight performing 3 original songs. With their alternative style, they sounded like every other young alternative band that I’ve heard. I didn’t see anything unique in their performances at all.

Next up was the legendary Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant doing 2 classic Led Zeppelin songs “Black Dog,” and “Whole Lotta Love,” and a solo hit of his “Fixing to Die.” I wish we could’ve seen more of Plant as he is the biggest star in this concert. For “Black Dog,” it was a very unique arrangement as he slows the song down a bit and makes it lower for him to sing. As we all now, Plant doesn’t have the voice like he used to, but he’s a legend and he can still knock them out. “Whole Lotta Love” was done in the same fashion as well and was far better than “Black Dog.” “Fixing to Die” was a very bluesy upbeat song, and actually was the best of the three. For only making an appearance at this show, I think the audience even wanted more of Plant.

Joss Stone was up next singing two of her singles “Free Me” and “Super Duper.” I think she’s a great soul vocalist, almost reminding me of Janis Joplin at times, but she is her own self. Her songs were good with horns blazing in the back. She seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage and with the audience. Really wasn’t my cup of tea though.

The next legend of the night was Tom Jones. He is a real entertainer. He was having a lot of fun with the crowd, and he still has it vocally after all these years. Again, with Jones, I wish he wouldn’t sang more of his hits like “What’s New Pussycat” and “Delilah,” but alas he only sang his signature hit “It’s Not Unusual” and “Sex Bomb.” He then “collaborated” with Joss Stone for the soulful “It’s Your Thing.”

Lastly, David Gray stepped up on stage with Escala to perform his hit song “Babylon.” The song is a pretty song, and I liked this acoustic arrangement of it. I didn’t like his last song “Fugitive.” I think giving Gray more time on stage would’ve been better than the earlier band Razorlight.

The last song in the concert was The Beatles classic “Let it Be” sung by all the artists. It was a great song choice to leave the concert with. Overall, it’s an ok concert. For only 60 minutes, I just wish Plant and Jones would’ve been onstage more. Also, this was NOT a night of legendary collaborations. A legendary collaboration with this concert would’ve been Robert Plant “collaborating” with Tom Jones.

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 2/5

19th Apr2012

DVD Review: Lake – Live! 12/28/2005

by rockchicago


LAKE is a great band from the 70s that didn’t get as much exposure as they should have. Originally from Germany, they didn’t release that many records. When frontman James Hopkins-Harrison passed away in 1991, LAKE broke up. In 2003, original member Alex Conti, one of the best German guitarists around, decided to reform the band. Since then, they have played over 200 gigs, performing new songs from their 2005 comeback release The Blast of Silence and mixing in old time faves. The German Prog-pop band released a DVD in 2005 entitled Live! 12/28/2005 and what a great DVD it is!

Always changing lineups, the lineup for this DVD included Alex Conti, Mike Starrs, Adrian Askew, Mickie Stickdorn and Michael “Bexi” Becker. Listening to these guys growing up, I heard the first 3 albums of theirs, LAKE, LAKE II, and Paradise Island. In this concert, the band does some new songs, but some classics and a couple covers as well.

Some standouts included the new song “You Know How I Feel,” “On the Run,” “Jesus Came Down,” “Angel in Disguise,” “Glad to Be Here” and “See Them Glow.” There were also 2 Steely Dan covers, “Black Friday” and “Josie,” which were very, very good.

Overall, this DVD shows how these guys can really rock, and if you’re into German Prog-Pop, you’ll love these guys! Definitely a buy!


  1. Night on the Town
  2. Let’s Go to China
  3. Here We Go Again
  4. On the Run
  5. Driving With Your Eyes Closed
  6. Black Friday
  7. See Them Glow
  8. Glad to Be Here
  9. Angel in Disguise
  10. Dancin’ With Steve
  11. You Know How I Feel
  12. Josie
  13. Jesus Came Down
  14. Say You Will


Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

Rating: 5/5