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Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - 1980-12-31 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Title: 1980-12-31 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
Genre: Rock, Heartland Rock
Label: © Live Bruce Springsteen
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: live.brucespringsteen.net
Duration: 03:47:40
Recorded live at Nassau Coliseum, December 31, 1980 with Record Plant Remote by Toby Scott, assisted by David Bianco, Jim Scott

Official live download, soundboard and audience recordings. In March 2015 this show was the fourth in a series of archive shows to be officially released and made available for purchase and download at live.brucespringsteen.net. The recording was mixed from the multitrack reels in March 2015 at Thrill Hill by Toby Scott, assisted by Rob Lebret and mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering. It is available for download in various formats including 24 bit 192kHz high definition FLAC and MP3.
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Britten, Barber - Piano Concertos & Nocturnes - Elizabeth Joy Roe, London Symphony Orchestra, Emil Tabakov (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981)
Artist: Elizabeth Joy Roe, London Symphony Orchestra, Emil Tabakov
Title: Britten, Barber - Piano Concertos & Nocturnes
Genre: Classical
Label: © Decca is a Universal Music Company
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:14:23
Recorded: Cadogan Hall, London, September 20-22, 2013

This solo release, a unique coupling of two of the 20th Century’s greatest piano concertos marks Decca’s first-ever recording of the Barber concerto and the first of the Britten since the classic Richter account conducted by the composer in 1970.
Elizabeth Joy Roe has been performing both works since a student at Julliard and has written extensive booklet notes which detail the intriguing parallels between the two composers. Her New York concerto debut was in the Britten conducted by James Conlon at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and in 2003 she was invited to replace the Barber concerto’s dedicatee, John Browning, at a performance with the Delaware Symphony shortly after Browning’s death.
The album is completed with two solo piano nocturnes by each composer: Britten’s ‘Night Piece’ and Barber’s ‘Nocturne - Homage to John Field’, widely-considered the father of the nocturne.
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Blur - Blur (1997/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Blur
Title: Blur
Genre: Rock, Alternative, Lo-Fi, Punk, Post Rock, Poetry, Noise, Brit Pop
Label: © Parlophone Records
Release Date: 1997/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 56:59
Recorded: June–November 1996 at Stúdíó Grettisgat, Reykjavik, Iceland; Maison Rouge Studio, Mayfair Studios and Studio 13 in London, England

1997 saw Blur abandon English character song and look towards left-field American rock for inspiration. Recorded partly in Iceland, Britpop is shunned in favor of abstract experimentalism, abrasive guitars, held together with Damon Albarn’s instinctive knack for writing memorable tunes. The album features the band’s second UK number 1 single, “Beetlebum” and the casually anthemic "Song 2", the latter finally acquiring Blur transatlantic success.
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Billy Joel - The Bridge (1986/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Billy Joel
Title: The Bridge
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Piano Blues, Synth-pop, Ballad
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1986/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:40:13
Recorded: 1985-86, The Power Station, Chelsea Sound (North), RCA Studios, New York City and Evergreen Studios, Burbank, California.

Riding high on the blockbuster An Innocent Man and with a new jet-setting bride at his side, Billy Joel took full advantage of the high life, as is clear from The Bridge, an album that unwittingly celebrates the excesses of the Reagan years. While he hasn't quite settled into middle age, Joel is ready to take advantage of his wealth and status, recruiting a hero (Ray Charles) and a new wave kid (Cyndi Lauper) for duets, turning to Sting for inspiration ("Running on Ice"), fronting a big band ("Big Man on Mulberry Street"), writing a song for a movie ("Modern Woman"), and picking up the guitar ("A Matter of Trust"), just for the hell of it. You could say that it's eclectic, but it's scattershot, because it's just Joel showing off his musical skills. He's done this before, to great effect on Turnstiles, but this is all about hubris and, as such, it sounds exactly like its time. From its processed, distorted guitars to its hollow synthesizers, The Bridge sounds dated and it's his most uneven since Streetlife Serenade. Even on the hits, he sounds as if he's stretching -- "This Is the Time" is labored compared to "Just the Way You Are" (not to mention considerably more vulgar); "A Matter of Trust" never hits upon a solid riff like "Sometimes a Fantasy"; "Modern Woman" is catchy but fluffy; "Baby Grand" is weighed down by Joel's vocal affectations. In context of the album, they're fairly enjoyable, but they hint at the dry spell that was just around the corner. Nevertheless, Joel still has enough panache and is riding on so much exuberance that The Bridge remains an entertaining listen, especially if it's viewed as a Reagan-era artifact. It just doesn't compare to what came before. --Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Billy Joel - Storm Front (1989/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Billy Joel
Title: Storm Front
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1989/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 45:00
Recorded: 1988-1989 at The Hit Factory Times Square Studio, The Power Studio, and Right Track Recording in New York, NY; and The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, Canada.

When he went for a masterpiece on The Nylon Curtain, Billy Joel worked with his band and producer Phil Ramone, crafting a Beatlesque song suite that was perfectly in step with Turnstiles. For Storm Front, he decided it was time to change things. He fired Ramone. He fired everyone in his band, save longtime drummer Liberty DeVito. He hired Mick Jones, the architect behind Foreigner's big AOR sound, to man the boards. He wrote a set of sober, somber songs, save "That's Not Her Style," a weirdly defensive song about his model wife, Christie Brinkley. He was left with an album that is singularly joyless. Joel makes no bones about his ambitions for Storm Front -- when you lead with a history lesson as your first single (the monotonous chant "We Didn't Start the Fire"), it's clear that you're not interested in fun. That wouldn't have been a problem if his melodic skills weren't in decline. Joel packed all the strongest numbers into the first half of Storm Front, from the rocking "That's Not Her Style" and "I Go to Extremes" to the fisherman's plight "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" and the power ballad "Shameless," which Garth Brooks later made a standard. Compared to the murky second side, which perks up only mildly with "Leningrad" and "And So It Goes," it's upbeat, varied, melodic, and effective, but when it's compared to his catalog -- not only such high-water marks as The Stranger or Glass Houses, but with a record as uneven as The Bridge -- it pales musically and lyrically. The five singles ("Fire," "Style," "Extremes," "'Alexa'," "Goes") were catchy enough on the radio to propel the album to multi-platinum status, but in retrospect, Storm Front sounds like the beginning of the end. --Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Billy Joel - River Of Dreams (1993/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Billy Joel
Title: River Of Dreams
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1993/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:49:12
Recorded: 1993, The Boathouse at the Island Boatyard, Shelter Island, NY; Cove City Sound Studios, Glen Cove, NY; The Hit Factory, New York, NY.

Billy Joel had never taken as much time to record an album as he did with River of Dreams, and its troubled birth is clear upon the first listen. Never before had he recorded an album that sounded so labored, as if it was a struggle for him to write and record the songs. With River of Dreams, he's surrounded himself with ace studio musicians and star producer Danny Kortchmar, all of whom have the effect of deadening an already self-consciously serious set of songs. There are no light moments on the album, either lyrically or musically -- all the songs are filled with middle-age dread, even the two best moments, the gospel-inflected title track and his song to his daughter, "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)." Those two songs have the strongest melodies, but they're not as natural as his best material. Everywhere he tries too hard -- the metaphors of "The Great Wall of China," the bizarre vocal intro to "Shades of Grey," minor-key melodies all over the place. He may be trying different things, but he doesn't sound comfortable with his detours, and by the end of the record, he sounds as exhausted as the listener feels. By that point, the closing track, "Famous Last Words," seems prophetic -- River of Dreams feels like a sad close to an otherwise strong career, and from all indications he's given in the press, Joel claims it is indeed the last pop album he'll ever make. It's an unworthy way to depart. --Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Billy Joel - Greatest Hits - Volume I & Volume II (1985/2007) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Billy Joel
Title: Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Vocal, Ballad
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1985/2007
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: acousticsounds.com
Duration: 01:53:12
Recorded: 1973–1985

Although it's missing a few important (not to mention big) hits, Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 is an excellent retrospective of the first half of Billy Joel's career. Beginning with "Piano Man," the first disc runs through a number of early songs before arriving at the hit-making days of the late '70s; some of these songs, including "Captain Jack" and "New York State of Mind," weren't strictly hits, but were popular numbers within his stage show and became radio hits. Once the songs from The Stranger arrive halfway through the first disc, there's no stopping the hits (although "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," an album track from The Stranger, manages its way onto the collection). In fact, over the next disc and a half, there's so many hits, it's inevitable that some are left off -- to be specific, "Honesty," "Sometimes a Fantasy," "An Innocent Man," "Leave a Tender Moment," and "Keeping the Faith" aren't included. But all the other hits -- including "Just the Way You Are," "Only the Good Die Young," "My Life," "You May Be Right," "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," "Don't Ask Me Why," "Allentown," "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl," among many others -- are present and accounted for, as are two new songs ("You're Only Human (Second Wind)," "The Night Is Still Young") that became hits as well. In short, Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 does its job perfectly, encapsulating exactly why Billy Joel was one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the late '70s and early '80s. --Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Vol. III (1997/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Billy Joel
Title: Greatest Hits Vol. III
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Vocal, Ballad
Label: © Columbia Records
Release Date: 1997/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: acousticsounds.com
Duration: 01:16:12
Recorded: 1983–1997

Perhaps it was inevitable that Billy Joel's Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 would pale next to its double-disc predecessor. Greatest Hits, Vols. 1 & 2 covered nine albums (it ignored Cold Spring Harbor), a period during which Joel had 26 Top 100 hits. If it had picked up where the first collection left off, Vol. 3 would have covered three studio albums, which produced 11 hits. That alone would have made a respectable hits collection, and it would have made sense, since The Bridge marked the beginning of a new phase of Joel's career. Instead, the 17-song Vol. 3 begins with a pair of songs from An Innocent Man ("Keeping the Faith," "An Innocent Man") that sound entirely different from the material that follows, which finds Joel delving into mechanized, slickly produced adult contemporary pop. The remaining songs don't strictly adhere to his charting hits, substituting such album tracks as "Leningrad," "Shameless" and "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" for hits like "Modern Woman," "That's Not Her Style" and his non-LP cover of Elvis' "All Shook Up." Even with those missing hits, Greatest Hits, Vol. 3 does summarize Joel's latter career quite well, culling most of his best songs from the time. However, the album ends on a down note, as it adds three new songs, all covers, that are limply produced and colorlessly played. Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love" -- which Joel decided to perform as if it was a slow, sanitized Blonde on Blonde outtake -- is the best of the trio, but none of them qualify as Joel classics, and they are an inauspicious way to end this chapter of his career. --Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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