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Magna Carta - Seasons
(Universal UICY-9299 Jap-03 175:-)

Magna Carta's second LP was dominated by the 22-minute, nine-part suite "Seasons," which took up all of side one. "Seasons" was indeed a grand conceptual work inspired by the changing of the seasons.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Magna Carta - Songs from Wasties Orchard
(Universal UICY-9300 Jap-03 175:-)

Magna Carta's third album was the first with guitarist Davey Johnstone on board, one reason for its subsequent immortality in collecting circles. For anybody familiar with the group's first two albums, Magna Carta's own style remained constant, a collection of beautifully stylized folk ballads sung and gently strummed with a warmth and versatility that saw the group endure constant comparisons to mid-period Simon & Garfunkel.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Mainhorse - same
(Arcángelo ARC-7155 Jap-9? 250:-)

The history of Mainhorse started in '68 but unfortunately, it's not very well documented. The prime mover was Patrick Moraz, a very talented, Swiss born keyboardplayer. Other members were Peter Lockett (lead guitar, violin and vocals), Jean Ristori (bass, cello and vocals) and Bryson Graham (drums and percussion). In 1970 the band signed a contract with Polydor, a year later their eponymous debut-album was released. The album opens with the song "Introduction": fluent 'heavy progressive' with floods of Hammond organ and fiery electric guitarplay, the sound has echoes from Atomic Rooster, The Nice and early Deep Purple.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Matthews Southern Comfort - same
(Universal UICY-94118 Jap-09 250:-)

This is a transitional album for Ian Matthews. Having recently exited Fairport Convention, this record pays tribute to that period of his career in both material ("A Castle Far") and in the choice of musicians who back him (many of them from Fairport Convention). At the same time, songs like "A Commercial Proposition" indicate where Matthews is headed on 1971's "Later That Same Year".

SHM-CD Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 1 Bonus Track
McCartney, Paul - Band on the Run
(DCC Compact Classics GZS-1030 US-93 275:-)

If Paul will be remembered for anything post-Beatles, it's this album. Even though he had to go all over creation to record it, the trip was obviously worthwhile, bringing forth gems like "Helen Wheels," "Jet," and the title track. Everything was in place, the melodies, the pop smarts, and a real studio production. The amazement was that Wings actually consisted of Paul and Linda with guitarist Denny Laine; Paul played most everything on the record. Regardless, it was his return--finally--to greatness.

24K Gold Remastered DCC Compact Classics Edition in Slipcase.
McCartney, Paul - Wings at the Speed of Sound
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65506 Jap-99 225:-)

It's widely accepted that McCartney was never the serious artiste that Lennon was; he never claimed to be, and more importantly (as this album bears out) never needed to be. This 1976 recording found McCartney and Wings at their peak. It's full of glimmering pop gems more concerned with infectious hooks and unforgettable melodies than social relevance.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Metallica - Death Magnetic
(Universal UICR-9028 Jap-08 250:-)

In the five years between two releases, Metallica seem to have gotten back in touch with the raw power of their classic period, with a little help from legendary producer Rick Rubin. One listen to the 10-minute epic "Suicide & Redemption" with its mix of raw rock ferocity and complex musical development should tell you the old Metallica's back in business. Long tracks with complex structures and intricate, speedy riffs abound. Most appealing for longtime fans may be the return to the frenzied guitar solos of yore. Rubin seems to have assisted the band on a path that successfully combines power, melodicism, and pure, unadulterated metal mania, over a sonic statement that definitively proves there's nothing over-the-hill about middle-aged metal.

SHM-CD Digipak.
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