UPDATE:  The final update on this page details the resolution of the situation.

I’ve been a loyal customer to a software company that goes by the name Incansoft over the years. In fact, I’ve gone as far as purchasing every single software program that Incansoft has on their website which is dozens…

http://incansoft.com/Catalog.php

Do I have a use for all of the software? No, but I absolutely enjoy supporting home grown companies so I bought them all anyway.

Unfortuatnely, after doing so, I started digging into some of the software to use it and came in contact with three major problems…

  1. The software was completely dead and unusable out of the box.
  2. An update provided by Incansoft made the software completely unusable after deploying the update.
  3. The software is advertised as Vista/Windows 7 compatible but it’s not which the company has acknowledged – yet they continue to advertise it as compatible on their website.

Many of the software programs are “Bots” which allow you to automate business tasks such as posting to social media sites, listing your site in directories, pinging RSS feeds, etc. The Bots, which are sold under the Incansoft sub-brand of Traffic Mania, are a suite of 10 or so programs which automate various business tasks.

Unfortunately, the Traffic Mania software programs, while advertised on the websites as Windows 7 and Vista compatible, simply aren’t. They cannot properly function with the Windows 7 or Vista UAC system. I reported this years ago to them and they acknowledged that their software wasn’t compatible. Sadly, they have refused to fix it and continue to advertise it as compatible on their websites.

I went from one system which was running Vista, which was having these problems, to a now new system running Windows 7 in which the same problems exist.

These errors make the software completely unusable unless you dig around in the program files, run software as an administrator or do what Incansoft suggests, turn off the Windows UAC system which leaves your computer vulnerable to attacks! And these things don’t even guarantee that the software will work.  There are also numerous other errors which cannot be remedied by digging around in program files.

And if you have an existing database of accounts and submissions like I did (which was hundreds of entries deep), the backup function simply will not function on Vista or Windows 7.

I’ve been very patient with the company but finally started getting frustrated because I wanted to be able to use what I paid for. So 2 months ago I contacted them for support, yet again notifying them of the incompatability issues with Windows 7, Vista, and the UAC system in Windows.

A support tech named Mac sent me this message…

Chris,


You are right and I can start to elaborate in a lot of aspects but it won’t take us far. We are changing the way bots are being installed to create a folder in C and avoid problems like these.

We are trying to keep them updated as well and you know the story, and we are working on changes that are going to makes our bots compatible are amicable to put in perspective with Windows’ UAC.


Thanks
Mac

That reply was sent to me on September 21st and I never heard back with any update so that I could use the software. So a month and a half later, I still had never received a reply or update for these problems. Keep in mind, this is after being aware of the issue, as I previously reported, for years.

So I sent in these two e-mails on November 9th…

What’s the status a month and a half later? Are these programs still not compatible with windows 7?

Chris Elliott


PADBot still will not open, says there is an update, when you click update, takes me to a dead link on your site.

DirectoryBot still has the errors reported, will not open.

SocialBot & RSS Bot will not load my databases unless I run as administrator.

Please provide updates to remedy these problems.

Chris Elliott

Also, keep in mind that when I say “unless I run as administrator,” I actually have to go digging round in the program files to find the EXE file before I can run the file as an administrator.

Support technician Mac, responds with this message…

Chris,

Directory Bot is bein updated and should be completed by the end of the weekend.
I don’t know if I mentioned this to you before, I remember some exchange of communication between us not long ago, in any case wanted to share some information with you, in early 2011 we will dramatically change the way our Bot programs work, I can’t really disclose details but we have discovered a way for the bots to work regardless of changes in directories and also a totally different way on managing databases. A lot of exiting changes are ahead of us, stick around. I’m sure you will like them.

Kindest regards,

Mac

So there we go. Of all those errors, I get a promise, much like the previous ones, that says an update for *one* of the programs is coming! Next, he informs me that they are planning to fix the other problems next year. Unbelievable.

I then send this reply…

Does that mean that these programs aren’t going to work until next year? Very uncool. I’ve had these programs for a long time, a year or two, and a ton of them just don’t work.

Please escalate this to Mike. I think some sort of compensation is due for me being so patient, being a guinea pig on some of the software applications, having a bunch that don’t work, waiting months for solutions, etc. This isn’t professional, honest, or fair to someone who’s supported your company to the absolute maximum capacity in buying EVERY software and product you sell! Geez, I’ve recommended dozens and dozens of people to your site without an affiliate link too!

Please send this to Mike as I’m sure he has a fair solution. Also, don’t send any money to my old paypal account, I don’t have access to it any longer and will not get the money or be able to refund it.

Chris Elliott

Mac, then sends me this reply…

Chris,

Thanks for your support, we appreciate your business.
About your email, I never said that, I just thought it would be nice of me to share some information with projects we have, these are programs that will do the same as the ones you have only with different and improved performance. We want to evolve and bring our customers with us along the way.
For the record, Mike is aware of what I’m doing and I’m doing my job. If you believe you deserve some sort of compensation, then when you upgrade to the new version are you going to give us extra money? I’m not even asking you for that.


About the program’s performance, first as you know services change and we release updates. Second, I’ll be specific about your errors.

PadBot, no update, the program is calling a page that doesn’t exist. It’s a glitch with no update behind it, we are aware of it and it will be corrected for the next update as it doesn’t affect the program.
DirectoryBot will be updated soon, is almost ready.
Social and RSS seem to be having the problem you are familiar with (User Account Control), that can be solved by uninstalling the program and reinstalling it again outside the Program Files.

Also, personally, I don’t think calling something uncool is professional as well.

Regards,

Mac

Real professional, right? Mac tells me that I’m basically stuck. He says that I need to insecurely install the software for it to funtion properly. Wow, thanks. He also says “It’s a glitch with no update behind it, we are aware of it and it will be corrected for the next update as it doesn’t affect the program” which isn’t true. The software will not even open!  And “next update?” I’ve already been waiting months.

I then reply with this e-mail addressing specific parts of Mac’s e-mail (my responses are in bold)…

Mac,

You need to seriously check your tone there buddy.

I’ve been EXTREMELY patient.

And if you want to talk about professionalism, I e-mail you about getting fixes to errors a month and a half after reporting them and you provide nothing but “we are updating them in 2011.” Nothing about updates that I fully have a right to. You totally ignored the questions and purpose of my message!

Now, let’s go through your “so called” response in your previous e-mail…

PadBot, no update, the program is calling a page that doesn’t exist. It’s a glitch with no update behind it, we are aware of it and it will be corrected for the next update as it doesn’t affect the program.

It’s already been 2 months. When is this next update?

DirectoryBot will be updated soon, is almost ready.

When is soon? You indicated the same thing almost 2 months ago!

Social and RSS seem to be having the problem you are familiar with (User Account Control), that can be solved by uninstalling the program and reinstalling it again outside the Program Files.

And? How about a fix? How about fixing the problem? Telling me the error that I already reported to you is of no value.

Escalate this message to Mike immediately. I would hate to have to post your correspondence in the warrior forum, where Mike gets the majority of his customers while asking for help in getting in touch with him, in an effort to get him to respond because you refuse to pass on my messages to him. I also know Mike would want the message if I requested it be sent to him.

And as for this statement…

“If you believe you deserve some sort of compensation, then when you upgrade to the new version are you going to give us extra money?”

Very unprofessional and rude on your part. Yes, I do *expect* the upgrade for *free* as I was promised lifetime upgrades to all of the bot software I bought. I was also promised Windows 7 compatible software that functions which I have NOT received.

Chris Elliott

Now, John Rodgers, someone higher up responds. And you aren’t going to believe what he says when he does…

Look here Chris, you’re the one who needs to check your tone.

First, you do get free updates for life. When we release them, you get them. You haven’t ever paid more than $14.95 for a piece of software from us, and the majority of your purchases were for $7.77. Do you seriously think you aren’t getting your money’s worth?

Second, all of the bots have been tested and do work under Windows 7. If you want support to help work through the problems on your end, we will do that. But no one here is going to tolerate any more of your verbal abuse and rants.

Third, I’ll direct you to the Incansoft disclaimer at http://incansoft.com/TestSite/Disclaimer.html, in particular the final paragraph which reads
“We respect our customers and work hard to provide prompt, courteous support to them. Customers who submit threatening, abusive or harrassing support requests will immediately forfeit their right to Technical Support from Incansoft.” There is a link to that page on every one of our sales pages.

Consider this a warning. Any more nasty emails, any more threats, and you will receive NO technical support.

If you want to take a step back and proceed in a reasonable manner, we are here to help. It’s entirely up to you.

John Rogers

Especially important is John’s statement of “all of the bots have been tested and do work under Windows 7” which is both amusing and not true as admitted by their own employees years ago!

This image shows me reporting incompatability two months ago, then shows Mac acknolwedging the incompatability the same day while their website, 2 months later, still advertises these programs as compatible…

Incansoft

After getting this rude response trying everything from intimidation, bullying, and threats to get me to submit and just accept the fact that they’ve sold me non-functioning software, I send in this response (my responses are in bold)…

Look here Chris, you’re the one who needs to check your tone.

First, you do get free updates for life. When we release them, you get them. You haven’t ever paid more than $14.95 for a piece of software from us, and the majority of your purchases were for $7.77. Do you seriously think you aren’t getting your money’s worth?

The software is completely unusable so NO, I do not think I’m getting my “money’s worth.” And for you to imply that I got my “money’s worth” because I paid $14.95 and $7.77 each for the software is ridiculous. Integrity packed statements there John. Let me be clear, software that is completely useless is worth nothing. As for checking my tone, I’ve been waiting for months, I have every right to be frustrated, this stuff doesn’t work! I’m certainly keeping my tone professional and inline with the support you’ve offered up until now which has been non-existent.

Second, all of the bots have been tested and do work under Windows 7. If you want support to help work through the problems on your end, we will do that. But no one here is going to tolerate any more of your verbal abuse and rants.

I’ve been trying to get help “working through the problems” for months! What do you mean you’ll help me do that? As for verbal abuse and rants, I’ve been very professional with your company for a long, long time. Nearly every single software program that I go to use is either completely non-functional out of the box or becomes completely unusable from an update you provide. Beyond the two months involved in this situation, I’ve reported the Win 7 problems, which were acknowledged to exist long before that and they have NEVER been fixed even though they have been reported.

I’ve also have had issues with other programs prior to that, including web based scripts. I love the “verbal abuse” ploy, trying to play the victim to side-skirt your responsibility, providing completely unusable software. When this communication goes up on my blog, we both know my readers will clearly see the true nature of the Incansoft “support system.”

Consider this a warning. Any more nasty emails, any more threats, and you will receive NO technical support.

You mean the “NO technical support” that I’ve gotten up until now? The problems which make the software completely unusable that I reported months ago? You can take your warning and shove it, John.

Your character shines through brightly in this e-mail as does your dishonesty. I’ll be writing about this on my blog and including the correspondence along side the problems I’ve encountered with the software.

Your attitude and refusal to deliver what was paid for will be something that readers can see for themselves. We both know that this isn’t going to look very good on you, especially considering the fact that I’m a I’m a minister who is clearly honest and patient, specifically so in this situation.

If you want to take a step back and proceed in a reasonable manner, we are here to help. It’s entirely up to you.

No, I’m not going to sit back in what you’re referring to as a “reasonable manner” because it’s obvious that by “reasonable manner” you mean accepting the fact that you’re selling non-functioning software and refusing to fix it within reasonable time frames. We’re talking months here. I’m not just going to “sit back and take it” under the threat of you *officially* saying you’re not going to give me the support I’ve paid for when you’ve already offered no support for months! For you to threaten me by saying I will “receive NO technical support” when I’ve been patiently waiting for months now is real professional John. Refusing promised support would also fall under the grounds of illegal I would imagine.

For you to even think you have an inch of ground to stand on is complete lunacy. You’re selling defective, non-working, broken software which you are advertising as functioning and which have also been reported as non-functioning months prior! What part of that don’t you get? When I post screenshots of tons of the software I’ve purchased from you not functioning along with your rude, completely unhelpful responses and threats months after I reported them, how do you think that’s going to make you look? You certainly know the answer to that.

For some reason, Google seems to love my blog and ranks it highly for pretty much any keyword or key-phrase I target, so a post with all of the problems I’ve had with Incansoft software and correspondence I’ve received from you and Mac, would certainly generate substantial awareness of this situation.

Now if you want to apologize for both your rudeness and for leaving me holding the bag for months with non-functioning software, I’m a forgiving person, but I’m not going to be bullied and threatened after you’ve already left me hanging for months on purchases I’ve made in good faith with your company.

Thanks,
Chris Elliott

Their response? This one word message…

Goodbye.

The lesson here is that you should be VERY leary of supporting back alley software companies with rude people at the helm. Incansoft is owned by Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios. Diego Hernando is the programmer Mike hired to write the Windows software – The software being advertised as compatible as Windows Vista & Windows 7 compatible, which obviously is not compatible as you’ve seen admitted by their own company.

John Rogers is head support technician who is apparently authorized to treat customers like trash when they get frustrated at the non-working software they just purchased or ask for compensation as a result of the non-delivery for months on end.

There are also two support people named Brian and Mac which vary between completely useless when it comes to support, to flat out rude.

Here’s a list of Incansoft software so if you come in contact with any of them, you know to steer clear…

        • Llama Spin
        • RSS Gadgets
        • BlogBot (Blog Bot)
        • PADBot (PAD Bot)
        • GFX Video Writer
        • ArticleBot (Article Bot)
        • Incansoft Translator
        • EZ Content Manager
        • SocialBot (Social Bot)
        • PressBot (Press Bot)
        • Content Mania
        • EZ Niche Builder
        • EZ Testimonial Manager Pro
        • EZ Coupon Manager
        • Secure Digital Downloads
        • Web 2.0 Video Gadgets
        • EZ Comment Manager
        • DirectoryBot (Directory Bot)
        • Desktop Acquisition Manager
        • EZ Project Manager
        • RSSBot (RSS Bot)
        • EZ Lesson Manager
        • EZ Testimonial Manager Lite
        • GFX Writer V2.0 Header Creator
        • EbookBot (Ebook Bot)
        • VideoBot (Video Bot)
        • IncanBot (Incan Bot)
        • ForumBot (Forum Bot)
        • IndexBot (Index Bot)
        • AdBot (Ad Bot)
        • TweetyBot (Tweety Bot)
        • Incansoft Header Software
        • WP-PayMe (WP Pay Me)
        • EmailBot (Email Bot)
        • CommentBot (Comment Bot)
        • GuestBot (Guest Bot)
        • RSS2Facebook (RSS 2 Facebook)
        • RSS2Tweet (RSS 2 Tweet)
        • Niche Mania (NicheMania)
        • Domain Acquisition Manager
        • Press Release Magic (Kindle eBook)
        • Understanding CAN-SPAM (Kindle eBook)
        • Web 3.0: Semantic Search (Kindle eBook)
        • Digibilly.com (Digibilly Cloud Pay)

While it’s certainly illegal for a company to sell products with support and then refuse to offer support (as John threatened) without merit, legal action would be hard or impossible to pursue. Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios lives in Greece and runs Incansoft software business out of his house.

I’m not sure about jurisdiction or what costs would be associated with perusing litigation in Greece, but I’m sure that it would be astronomical and very unlikely to be able to collect on a judgement if one was obtained.

This is a cut and dry case of flat out fraud. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on this software and the majority of it doesn’t work. Michalis “BIG Mike” Kotzakolios, owner of Incansoft, has hired support people and given them permission to be rude and refuse escalation of unsatisfactorily handled support requests – Even if that includes a customer who has been sitting here for months on end with non-functioning software.

Take this as a lesson. If you are going to support home grown businesses, do so locally so you have some form of recourse when it comes to the business not delivering what they promised, making threats, and withholding updates or support.

As for Incansoft’s rating? Not a hard one to figure out here…

Zero Stars Chris Elliott Rated

UPDATE #1: Even after Mac promised, yet AGAIN, updates to the software by the end of last week, none have materialized.  However, they have managed to launch ANOTHER software program which is being falsely advertised as Windows 7 & Vista compatible!  How lovely.

UPDATE #2: John Rogers, head support person, removed me as a friend on FaceBook 🙂

UPDATE #3 (December 8th): Now Incansoft has graduated to full on theft and stealing! Mike Kotzakolios has deactivated all of the software I purchased so that it can’t even be installed or opened, and he kept all of my money (hundreds of dollars). Not that I was going to use it being that it’s defective but stealing is stealing. Stay far, far away from Incansoft, they absolutely will sell you defective/non-functioning software, treat you like garbage when you ask them why, and will steal your money.

I received an e-mail last week from someone wishing to remain anonymous, who informed me that Mike Kotzakolios is very vindictive and that he would deactivate my software, steal my money, and try to destroy my website and it looks like the games have begun. Watch out everyone. Incansoft WILL do damage to your business!

Mike, I also know you’re reading this…You’re the one offering up a public display of threats, fraud, and theft my friend. Everything you do is going to be updated and displayed here for the world to see.

UPDATE #4: John Rogers & Michalis “Big Mike” Kotzakolios, are attempting to have my posts explaining this horror story deleted from a forum online. I know the forum owner so I’ll be in contact with him 😉 Add attempted fraudulent censorship to Incansoft’s roster of illegal activities.

UPDATE #5 (December 16): Someone posted 5 separate comments on my blog under different names and e-mail addresses. However, they were posted with the same IP address which means they’re from the same computer. Hmmm, I wonder who it could be? 🙂 The messages proceeded to call me a clown, a fool, and arrogant. And my favorite cut down, “I can’t imagine who would ever employ you,” in reference to my being a writer.

Mike, here’s a note: You, your employees, affiliates, or friends attempts to fraudulently post mean, degrading, and foul comments under fake names will be thwarted.

UPDATE #6 (January 7th):  Michalis “Big Mike” Kotzakolios has now turned my software licenses back on.  Truly unbelievable, the actions of this guy.  Unfortunately, turning of software licenses for software products that don’t work doesn’t give me what I paid for.  Nor does it change the fact that you turned off my software and kept my money.  If you walk into someones house and steal their wallet, then come back and return it a few weeks later, does that mean you didn’t steal it in the first place?  Not to mention the fact that I would be crazy to use this software after what Incansoft has put me through!  Keep your eyes on this post everyone, this is going to get very interesting.

UPDATE #7 (January 12th): Someone posted a link to this blog post on a popular forum and Michalis “Big Mike” Kotzakolios is trying to get that post deleted on the grounds that there is “pending legal action” against me.  I replied to the post and let him know that I look forward to any litigation proceedings as he’s claiming defamation which is a hilarious claim.  What a truly peachy business –  Sell me software that doesn’t work, refuse to offer timely fixes, threaten me, turn off my software and keep my money, and to top it all off say you’re going to sue me?  Are the actions of Michalis “Big Mike” Kotzakolios and Incansoft those of a business you’d want to give your money to?

UPDATE #8 (May 16th): Just got word of another person, Lisa Gergets, who Michalis “Big Mike” Kotzakolios ripped off.  Shockingly, his theft from me was only a couple hundred bucks – this time, the theft is in the form of business fraud, which will amount to well over $10,000 in stolen income!  It’s a sad (and frighting) story which you can read for yourself here.  It’s truly scary to know there’s a person like this hiding out in Greece, who really taking it to people in the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia via continuous fraud, lies, and theft.  The good news is that more and more people are outing this guys illegal activities, which will eventually result in his downfall.  This thief and bully will not be able to profitably operate forever.

UPDATE #9 (May 23rd): Jay Vasdewani, is yet another victim of BIG Mike.  You’ve heard my story, a ripped off customer; You’ve heard the story of Lisa Gergets (Update #8), a ripped off business partner; Now hear the story of Jay Vasdewani, a ripped off programmer here.  Mike Kotzakolios of Incansoft is truly willing to steal, lie, and cheat anyone in any situation, which his documented business history exposes.  The easily demonstrable pattern of extremely aggressive, albeit hollow, legal threats is also appalling.  I’ve had multiple private messages telling me about BIG Mike threatening them with legal action in addition the the comments on this blog and his documented legal threats reported on other blogs.

UPDATE #10 (May 25th): I waited to post this information until I properly sat down with my attorney and had a discussion with him – A few months ago, Mike (Michalis) Kotzakolios of Incansoft, had a form letter sent to me threatening to sue me.  My research showed that the attorney he employed was likely part of some “pre-paid” or “a la carte” legal type of service where Mike paid a bargain basement price to have a an attorney try to intimidate me.  The letter was full of lies and threats claiming defamation, which were actually pretty hilarious as they were so “out there.”  This guy is pretty bold in that he’ll lie, cheat, and steal right out in the open and then try to sue YOU after he’s done it, in an attempt to intimidate you into keeping quiet!  Of course, Mike and I both know that if he would like to actually pursue this in court, he’d be in for a world shame when I started producing additional evidence.- As if the evidence provided in this post wasn’t already enough.  I can’t say I wouldn’t find it amusing to take this case to court.  More free publicity for Mike and his illegal activities?  Sure, thanks – Some local TV coverage would also be a great video supplement to add to this blog post.  Defamation?  Hilarious.

UPDATE #11 (May 31st): Mike (Michalis) Kotzakolios of Incansoft, has taken this to the next level – He has actually threatened not only me, but my wife and children.  He has also made clear his intention to do financial harm to my family.  I have to take these threats as statements that he will ultimately carry out.  There will be more information on this as I confer with legal counsel.

UPDATE #12 (July 20th): A week ago, this blog post officially received it’s 100th comment – Half of them are mine replying to other people but that means we have over 50 comments from other people outing the underhanded business practices of Mike (Michalis) Kotzakolios and Incansoft.  Not only is 100 comments big, but it also marks the 100 comment anniversary of the end of Big Mike’s ability to silence people who he’s ripped off.  Because all of his customers come from from the Warrior Forum, where he’s also a moderator, and where he also has a financial relationship with the owner, he would instantly have any posts reporting bugs, incompatibility, or dis-satisfaction with his software deleted.  After my coming out with my story, several other people have gone public with even more of his dirty tactics.  But that’s not all, there’s yet another blog post by another witness to Mike’s aggressive and abusive antics, which you can read by clicking here.  I also recommend you visit Lisa Gergets blog post again and read the updated comments, which point out Mike’s sexist, and verbally abusive tone towards women – In his own words, from his own website.  I can only hope and pray that Mike will see the light and want to stop these atrocities towards others, and truly want to right his wrongs.

UPDATE #13 (January 13th, 2013): A quick update.  Today someone from the Dominican Republic attempted to hack the Google account that I used to submit press releases related to the situation in this blog post.  After further analyzing the account, I found that someone had also added a Sony LT26i smartphone to the account in October of 2012.  Luckily, the idiot that did so didn’t realize the IMEI number on the phone was also registered in my account, and a look-up provided not only the location (Europe) of the phone, but also the make and model of the phone.  I’ve contacted authorities providing the uniquely identifying IMEI number, which is capable of providing the exact location of the phone, just like an IP address on a computer.  To be clear, I don’t have definitive proof of who is responsible for the attempted hacking of my Google account today, or the adding of a cell phone to my account in October.  I also don’t know who the owner of the phone is, yet.  I won’t guess at who it is or speculate until I get definitive confirmation of who it is.

UPDATE #14 (February 7th, 2014): Yet another e-mail address I used exclusively for Incansoft software products has had a hacking attempt.  This time the attack came from Russia.  Fishy to say the least.  There have been developments in the previous hacking attempt but I’m waiting on more information before posting anything further.  My communications with foreign authorities on the previous hacking attempt have been productive, but slow.  I’ll continue monitoring all Incansoft related accounts and reporting hacking attempts to local authorities with as much gusto as possible.  Nothing definitive on this Russian based hacking attempt yet, but I’ll keep this post updated.

UPDATE #15 (May 27th, 2015): Resolution!  Good news regarding Incansoft.  Former Incansoft employee Diego Hernando has informed me that he has taken over ownership of Incansoft and that Big Mike is no longer affiliated in any way with the company.  He deeply apologized to me for how I was treated, agreed that it was unacceptable, and told me that it was out of his hands as Big Mike ran the show.  His apology was sincere and he even refunded all of the money that I spent on the Incansoft software out of his own pocket as a show of good faith.  He has informed me that he is rebuilding the company and software from scratch and that quality and compatibility are priority number one at the new Incansoft.  I have accepted his apology and believe his commitment to quality software and customer service is genuine.  I am considering this case resolved, unless any further hacking attempts or issues arise, in which, I will update this page.

Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on October 11th, 2010

This post is going to demonstrate how Best Buy is selling defective products and refusing to refund customers while also stating that “it’s the law that we make customers keep defective merchandise.”Best Buy Scam

On September 23rd, 2010 I purchased the CD “Playlist Your Way” by Sublime at Best Buy Store #235 in Corpus Christi, Texas.  This package comes in two parts; the first is the cover being a card which is redeemed to get either 6 tracks of your choice or a Sublime album of your choice via download.  The second part of the package is the greatest hits disc.

I was initially excited to get this package to get the extra tracks until I got home and took the card out of the cover only to find that the website to claim the tracks was completely out of business.  I had to hunt for an hour to find e-mail addresses to contact Universal Records, Skunk Records, and Amplified.

After e-mailing all of them, Amplified was the only to respond more than a week after messaging them, telling me that they stopped offering those packages and downloads two years ago because customer demand was low and that the CD’s should not have been being sold in Best Buy stores.  This was surprising considering these downloads were part of a paid package.

So on October 7th, I went to Best Buy to return the CD and received no problems.  The employee apologized for the inconvenience and returned my money.  All is good, right?  So I thought.

I buy a lot of CD’s in Best Buy and have also purchased multiple computers, printers, DVDs, and other various electronics.  After getting my money back, I went right back to the CD’s and noticed another CD I wanted, “Trill O.G.” by Bun B so I picked it up and purchased it.

I was happy to get this version because the Best Buy version has 4 bonus tracks and a DVD which cannot be obtained elsewhere.  Unfortunately, after listening to it, I noticed that not only did all 4 bonus tracks have digital pops in them, so did the last regular song for a total of 5 defective songs.  I noticed this when listening to the CD loudly on a new and recently purchased speaker system when hearing a pop that sounded like it was going to damage my speakers.

Of course I wanted to be thorough so I tested it on a separate speaker system as well as in my car speakers and heard the same popping.  No problem I thought, I can exchange it for a copy that works or get a refund, right?  Wrong.

On October 11th, I took the CD back to the store and told them I wanted the CD but needed one without the defect.

I spent nearly an hour and a half going and getting CD’s one at a time and going out to my car to see if it had the defect.  Three additional discs had the same defect.  I had to come in after finding this on each CD and do another return.  Very miserable considering I was playing ping pong between the store and my car with my four year old daughter with me on a hot day.

When I went in the last time I told them they only had one of the discs left and that it was most likely defective.  Next, a girl who I had dealt with earlier said “we can’t find the pop” which I was actually happy to hear because I said “take me to where you’re playing it and I’ll show you exactly where and when the pops are happening” and she brought a laptop up to the counter.  I showed her and the gentlemen who appeared to be a manager the pops which they heard.   It was at this time, the gentleman who appeared to be a manager, identifying himself as Mike said “well, sorry, we’re not going to be able to give you a refund.  We can only give you the same CD” to which I replied “If you can give me one that isn’t defective, I’d be happy to take it, I do want the CD but you don’t have one” and he said “It’s against the law for us to take back a CD” which is obviously a lie considering the item was defective AND I returned a defective CD a couple of weeks earlier for a cash refund.  When I told him I had received a cash refund he shrugged his shoulders.

It was at this point that Mike, who was about 20 years old, was basically stone walling me that I identified myself as being a minister and that I didn’t appreciate the way I was being treated.  After hearing the pops and realizing that I was obviously telling the truth he still said “well, I can’t give you your money back.  I’ll give you a store credit.”  Not wanting to continue being put through the wringer or talked to like an idiot and wanting to get my four year old daughter away from this obvious negative situation, I went and picked out a different CD and left.

The bottom line is that Best Buy has joined the ranks of companies that just don’t care about customers to the point where they’ll flat out rip off a customer without a single bit of remorse even when directly shown that a product is defective.

The bonus tracks that you get on some CD’s at Best Buy aren’t worth the risk of being stuck with a defective product and ripped off & lied to.  Also, if they will someone off on something as miniscule as a $18 CD, I can only imagine what they would do if you tried to return something else they wanted to stonewall you on.  I can only pray that the two computers and other products I have purchased at Best Buy hold up and don’t need service from them.

Stay far away from them everyone.

I will no longer be purchasing CDs, DVDs, computers, or other electronics at this store and I suggest you also avoid Best Buy.  There is a very good chance Best Buy will rip you off too if you ever need to return something.

UPDATE (December 8th): I was contacted by Vincent S. Xiong at corporate who offered me a $25 gift card for my trouble.  However, while the gesture seemed nice on the surface, he also basically restated that their policy was to not take back a defective CD for a refund, even if they did not have a non-defective one to offer.  I was given a $25 gift card while they continued to state that they were not going to make it right when they sold a defective product to someone which proves they knew they were wrong.  Mike Quintanilla, the local store manager at the store I was treated horribly i, e-mailed me which I could tell was by force from corporate, because I replied and he refused to write back again.  My recommendation?  Steer clear of Best Buy!

Best Buy Rating…

Best Buy Rip Off

Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on September 12th, 2010

Well, I’ve been waiting this information for a long time.  The tracklist for the West Coast Seattle Boy – The Jimi Hendrix Anthology release!

West Coast Seattle Boy The Jimi Hendrix Anthology

OFFICIAL ALBUM ART

UPDATE:  I’ve updated the cover art as well as added some commentary throughout about this release.

Also, I’ve seen several sites on the Internet that have track-listings up for this album which are not accurate. Amazon.com even has errors in their listing.  The track-lists you see below have been confirmed by Experience Hendrix and are accurate.

You’re seeing it here first everyone!

West Coast Seattle Boy – The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (4 CD’s & 1 DVD)

The first disc in the set covers Jimi’s humble beginnings as a R&B sideman playing for greats such as The Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and The Icemen.  While I don’t thing Jimi does any singing beyond occasional background vocals on any of these songs, this does showcase his starting point as a guitarist.

Disc: 1
1. The Isley Brothers: Testify
2. Don Covay: Mercy, Mercy
3. Don Covay: Can t Stay Away
4. Rosa Lee Brooks: My Diary
5. Rosa Lee Brooks: Utee
6. Little Richard: I Don t Know What You Got But It s Got Me
7. Little Richard: Dancing All Around The World
8. Frank Howard & The Commanders: I m So Glad
9. The Isley Brothers: Move Over And Let Me Dance
10. The Isley Brothers: Have You Ever Been Disappointed
11. Ray Sharpe: Help Me (Get The Feeling) Part One
12. The Icemen: (My Girl) She s A Fox
13. Jimmy Norman: That Little Old Groove Maker
14. Billy Lamont: Sweet Thang
15. King Curtis: Instant Groove

The second disc enters Jimi’s break into the mainstream while getting his start with The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  This is a collection of alternate recordings of songs that most of us are familiar with with a few new nuggets sprinkled throughout.

Disc: 2
1. Fire (previously unreleased alternate recording)
2. Are You Experienced? (previously unreleased recording)
3. May This Be Love (previously unreleased alternate recording)
4. Can You See Me (previously unreleased alternate recording)
5. Love Or Confusion (previously unreleased alternate recording)
6. Little One (previously unreleased recording)
7. Mr. Bad Luck (previously unreleased alternate recording)
8. Cat Talking To Me (previously unreleased alternate recording)
09. Castles Made Of Sand (previously unreleased recording)
10. Tears Of Rage (previously unreleased recording)
11. Hear My Train A Comin (previously unreleased recording)
12. 1983 (A Merman I Shall Turn To Be) (previously unreleased recording)
13. Long Hot Summer Night (previously unreleased recording)
14. My Friend (previously unreleased recording)
15. Angel (previously unreleased recording)
16. Calling All The Devil s Children (previously unreleased alternate recording)
17. New Rising Sun ( previously unreleased alternate recording)

The third disc showcases a collection of live material as well as studio recordings that Jimi worked on in 1968-69.  There appear to be some promising tracks sprinkled on this disc.

Disc: 3
1. Hear My Freedom (previously unreleased recording)
2. Room Full Of Mirrors (previously unreleased recording)
3. Shame, Shame, Shame (previously unreleased recording)
4. Messenger (previously unreleased recording)
5. Hound Dog Blues(previously unreleased recording)
6. Untitled Basic Track (previously unreleased recording)
7. Star Spangled Banner [LIVE] (previously unreleased original mix)
8. Purple Haze [LIVE] (previously unreleased original mix)
9. Young/Hendrix (previously unreleased alternate recording)
10. Mastermind (previously unreleased recording)
11. Message To Love (previously unreleased alternate recording)
12. Fire [LIVE] (previously unreleased recording)
13. Foxey Lady [LIVE] (previously unreleased recording)

Disc four covers the last year of Jimi’s life and the directions he was heading in during that time.  On this disc are several tracks of interest such as Bolero and Suddenly November Morning which have not been released.  A few of the tracks including live songs and tracks such as Burning Desire, Freedom, and Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) have been released on other Hendrix releases but could be alternate versions.

Disc: 4
1. Stone Free [LIVE] (previously unreleased recording)
2. Burning Desire (previously unreleased recording)
3. Lonely Avenue (previously unreleased recording)
4. Everlasting First (previously unreleased alternate recording)
5. Freedom (previously unreleased recording)
6. Peter Gunn/Catastrophe (previously unreleased alternate recording)
7. In From The Storm (previously unreleased alternate recording)
8. All God s Children (previously unreleased recording)
9. Red House [LIVE] (previously unreleased recording)
10. Play That Riff (previously unreleased recording)
11. Bolero (previously unreleased recording)
12. Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) (previously unreleased alternate recording)
13. Suddenly November Morning (previously unreleased recording)

Disc: 5
And then of course there is the documentary DVD that goes with this set which is complete as I caught most of it in an exclusive viewing on the BIO channel a couple of weeks ago.

I have to admit that I’m a bit underwhelmed at the track-listing for this release.  When compared with the other 4 disc boxed set Experience Hendrix released, it doesn’t appear to offer any better of a selection of rarities.  The first disc, while interesting, doesn’t really contain any breakout Jimi material, but material of R&B bands to which he backed up guitar.  Ultimately, I’ll be purchasing the album and making my final decision on what I think then.  What it comes down to is this…

Will there be any killer new tunes included in the handful of new tracks made available on this album?  The answer to that question really holds the value of this collection as a few new songs that rock could make this set worth it for me.

Looks like this thing is going to be ready to roll of the presses on November 16th.

I will add more info to this post as it comes into me.

You can pick up the album at amazon here…



Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on August 7th, 2010

UPDATE: This issue has been resolved so I’ve grayed out the image and text of the original complaint.  You are free to read it if you so desire but the details of the final outcome, which I’m satisfied with,  are at the end in normal black text.

Okay everyone,Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

Not sure if you’ve dealt with Guitar Center but I’ve been a loyal customer (a big one at that) for several years, but this situation has certainly changed that.

I have recently been looking to buy a Tascam DP-008 Digital Portastudio and checked out Amazon.com for their pricing. They had it listed at $212.03. Being a loyal Guitar Center customer, I checked Guitar Center and the same unit was listed for the price of $299.

I thought, no problem, Guitar Center has a lowest price guarantee in which they will match a lower price along with a 10% discount of the difference when an authorized dealer, Amazon.com in this case,  has a lower price.  Their guarantee can be seen on their website here…

http://gc.guitarcenter.com/financing/30_30.cfm

This price match and discount should have brought the price down to $203.33. So I e-mailed the store through the website letting them know about the lower price and linking directly to the page on Amazon.com so they could verify it.

The next day I get the following e-mail back from Guitar Center store manager Barrett Zenger…

Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

Mr. Zenger ohh so politely, tells me that if I order from Amazon.com that I will have to wait a week or two to receive the item and then tells me how much next day shipping would cost.  Completley irrelevant considering I don’t mind waiting a week or two to get a good deal and standard shipping is FREE at Amazon.

Next up, Barrett ignores my request for the price match guarantee which I specifically asked for and offers me a ridiculous 15% coupon with some Sony headphones that I don’t want or need.

After this I sent the following e-mail to Barrett…

Guitar Center Lowest Price Guarantee Scam

In his e-mail, Barrett Zenger also says that I can call Guitar Center here in Corpus Christi, Texas and speak to him about this, so in addition to sending him the e-mail asking about the discount again, I called.  I actually called twice and Barrett was not available either time.  I left a message both times and even made sure that the person on the phone wrote down my name, my number, and that this was in regards to our e-mail communication regarding the lowest price match guarantee.

Barrett Zenger never returned my e-mails or either of my phone calls or messages.

Of course I just went and ordered the unit from Amazon.com rather than dealing with an obviously dishonest company.

After spending a fortune in Guitar Centers over the last few years by purchasing nearly all my gear in their stores while building a studio here in my home, I’m now done doing business with them.  The first time I have any contact with the staff besides handing them my debit card, they lie, refuse to honor their own guarantee, and then eventually refuse to even respond to any communication.  Never again.

If this is how Guitar Center wants to treat long time customers like myself, or new ones for that matter, during a down economy when customers are being much more discerning in their shopping choices, it’s only going to hurt them.

I recommend that if you have any music needs, go with a different store.  Try Amazon.com or a local music store to find what you need.

NOTE:  I’ve been informed that Guitar Center also owns MusiciansFriend.com so steer clear of that site as well.

UPDATE:  I reported this to corporate and they (Justin Lawrence) laughingly tried to offer me a 15% off coupon after the whole 15% off coupon fiasco with Barrett Zenger at the local Guitar Center here in Corpus Christi.  After I said that wasn’t acceptable, I was offered a $25 coupon, which would be less than the 15% off coupon based on my spending history.  In lieu of both of those, I was offered a cheap guitar cable.  Pretty ridiculous considering I’ve purchased several thousand dollars in gear in the place in the last couple of years.  Looks like corporate is following suit with the local store.  Take your business elsewhere everyone.

Update & Final Conclusion – As you can see in the comments below, Jeremy Cole, the Customer Service Manager for Guitar Center Retail responded to this situation after it going through a couple of levels of unsatisfactory handling.

Jeremy was nice and wanted to make sure that I was made whole and that something like this didn’t happen again.  Jeremy put me in contact with Parker Bradley, the District Manager, who was scheduled to be in the Corpus Christi store the next day.

The end result was me meeting up with Parker Bradley as well as Barrett Zenger, the store manager, in the Corpus Christi Guitar Center location.  Barrett apologized for the situation, as did Parker and we talked for a minute about how I did not want to stop shopping there as I liked the store.  Parker said that he appreciated my business and the tone was friendly.

I was given a Blue Snowball USB microphone as compensation for the way that I was treated and am happy with that resolution.  Christmas is coming up and I will be making a trip there for a few Christmas presents, as I have a few small ones in mind for certain people.

I believe this entire situation was certainly unintentional and was an honest mistake and will once again be shopping in Guitar Center (and MusiciansFriend.com)  for many of my music needs.  I also feel comfortable telling you, my reader, to do the same.

Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on July 21st, 2010

A poem that I wrote today…


Rain


No Rhyme Or…


If I shed a tear and have no reason,

A queen of drama ‘tis the season

If I smile large upon a rock,

Schizophrenic, over the top

If I yell aloud with no provocation,

Obnoxious knocker with no patience

If I believe the rain while feeling no drops,

Peaceful contempt, confidence in thought




Until next time,
Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 18th, 2010

There are literally thousands of books, DVDs, courses, coaching programs, etc. on the subject of personal development and self help. The last 40 years has seen the dramatic growth of the self help industry and billions of people have been taken advantage of as a result.  I should know, I have $20,000 of this crap on several 7 foot bookshelves in my home.

These courses promise everything from effortless success, automatic wealth, amazingly easy attainment of your goals, no hard work, guaranteed success, instant results, etc.  I’m going to go over the scam that is the self help and personal development industry as well as a real way that you can achieve all of your goals, but first we need to talk about the 2 big scams…

Scam #1 – Hollywood Self Help & Theoretical SpectaclesSelf Help Personal Development Arrow

Nearly all of the personal development information out there is just flat out made up drivel. The writer is just that, a writer. They “create” what seems on the surface to be a book or course filled with great ideas, great insights, and what they love to refer to as “tools.”  What they are really doing is making this stuff up on the spot. It’s theoretical information that has never been proven or tested in any kind of measurable situation.

You might also notice that much of this writing seems exciting and you really “feel” like you are getting something out of it. This is because the writer creates flashy prose using buzzwords and emotional triggers that stir up your emotions. While you may notice that you get a boost out of the material, you have probably also noticed that “boost” disappearing shortly after digesting the self help material.  Anything that lasts longer than a week is rare.

The writers of this information create their information based products with the tact of a sleazy late night infomercial so that you feel excited while consuming it. Think about any infomercial product you’ve purchased in the past; have they performed like the amazing television miracle you saw when you made the purchase?  Of course not.

Most self help authors have absolutely no experience with self help.  They create this theoretical “system” with shiny plastic wrapping.  In fact, the majority of self help and personal development product creators and authors didn’t achieve ANY success, until people started buying their products on how to achieve success!  That’s insanity!  Do you want to be learning how to achieve your goals from someone writer who couldn’t even do it themselves?

Many would be self help authors also love to read other books on personal development and put that information in their own words.  Also known as “the great rehash.”  How helpful, right?

Scam #2 – Rehashing The Rehashes Of Personal Development

Another favorite way to create self help and personal development products and books is to rehash material from a bunch of other self help books.  The way this works is some guy or gal buys 20 books on how to achieve success, he or she reads them all, then he or she writes a book rehashing all of the information that they just read on how to achieve success.Success Failure Sign

What’s crazy about this is that the books they read were most likely the Hollywood Self Help type of books that we previously addressed.  So not only are you getting garbage theoretical content that doesn’t even work, you are also getting it rehashed in some unoriginal jerks own words!  What a bargain!

For The Naysayers – “But This Book Helped Me,” “Not All Of Them Are Bad”

Look, I know that not all of the content out there is bad, only the majority.  I would agree that there are certainly dozens, upon dozens of excellent books and courses out there created by reputable, real world people with the necessary experience to create such an information product.  Like I said previously, I’ve purchased well over $20,000 in personal development and self help courses myself.  Sadly, what is actually helpful is only a small percentage of what I own.  I will most likely be covering my favorites in separate reviews on this blog in the future.

But remember, while you may get some benefit out of a course or book created theoretically, it was most likely an accident which resulted out of shot in the dark, theoretical information that was tested on you!

What It Really Takes To Achieve Your Goals

I can hear some of you saying “Okay smarty, if all of the self help information out there is a crock, how do I achieve success?”  I’ll share that in blunt, realistic form…

1) Organization – This means making to do lists of your short term and long term goals.  This also mans placing concrete dates on those goals and transferring them to some kind of calendar so that you have deadlines on certain things to take action on.  To do lists are the items that most self help “gurus” love to say “If you’re using to do lists, you’re never going to achieve your goals” about right before they launch you into their theoretical disaster of a product.  Think $0.50 spiral notebook for creating to do lists.  Think $8 planner from Wal-Mart for your calendar.

2) “I Done Its” – This is real world, “I made it” information from people who have really achieved success.  And no, I’m not talking about self help or personal development products or books.  I can sum up where to find the “I Done Its” type of information in one word; biographies.  Get out of the personal development and self help sections of the bookstore and get into the biography section.  Get the biographies of people who have *really* achieved the success that you want to and do what they did.Hard Work Sign

3) Hard Work – Here it is folks.  What no one wants to hear.  For decades now, self help authors and personal development gurus have downplayed the number one ingredient in achieving any goal; hard work.  There is no easy alternative for hard work.  There is no magic, secret, undiscovered trick that can do your work for you despite what many authors say in an effort to get you to buy their book.  In fact, this step alone will get you to your goals without the other three I outline.  However, the other three will make your hard work pay off faster.

4) Faith – It goes without saying that faith is a byproduct of hard work.  After all, you’re not going to be working hard towards a goal if you don’t have faith of your achieving it, now are you?  Keeping that end result in mind will keep you focused on the prize and help push you through the hard work.

There it is.  What it really take to achieve success.  How do I know?  Out of all the self help and personal development literature that I’ve read, these 4 steps are the ones that have consistently produced real results.

Well Chris, What If YOUR 4 Steps Fail?

Great question.  That’s the beauty of these 4 steps, they cannot fail.  If you are committed to working hard, you will eventually achieve your goals.  If you “think” you failed, you’ve stopped working you’re not really working hard.

Final Word

If you’ve been looking for the perfect time to start working hard, it’s important for you to know that there is no perfect time.  It always takes a certain level of mental toughness to spring forward and take the first step in doing hard work to achieve your goals.  Be very careful how much “success” literature that you buy as most of it is complete garbage.  Yes, there are some excellent books out there on personal development but you’d be more likely to win at the roulette wheel in Vegas, putting your money on double zero, than finding a quality self help book.

Here are three books (biographies) which will show you exactly how to go from nothing to achieving the success you desire…

NOTE: Amazon.com kicks me back a few cents if you buy through these links.

Until next time,

Chris Elliott Signature

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Chris Elliott on June 4th, 2010

Now I normally don’t do this, but today I am passing the keyboard to a guest blogger.

The guest is my beautiful dog Bella.  She has an extremely important message for you…

Cindabella Dandelion Elliott

Hi.  I’m Cindabella Dandelion Elliott, Bella for short.  I’m a beautiful Lab mix and I’m also playful, loving, and great with kids.

I was lonely before I was adopted because I didn’t have my own human to love me, play with me, and give me attention.  It’s hard to live in a place with 400 other dogs because the people who work there only have so much time.

Around Christmas time, a big burly man came in and started playing with me.  He told me he was looking for a good dog to come home with him.  He also said I would have two human sisters named Madison Rose and Kelsey Lynn as well as a mommy named Wendy which I thought was great!

I was adopted before Christmas by Chris Elliott and his family from the Corpus Christi Humane Society.  I went to my new home and was given my own cool kennel with my own bed.  I also got my own shiny dishes to eat and drink out of and some toys I love.

My family really loves me.  The bond we have is very special because I didn’t have a family and I was lonely.  Now I’m part of a family who loves me and who I can love with all my heart.

I love running around and getting away from my dad outside sometimes to make him mad which I find hilarious.  I also love taking over my dads ottoman and eating the food off of his chair side table when he walks away from time to time.  I’m pretty cute so I can get away with this stuff 🙂

I love jumping on my oldest sister and playing fetch with my youngest sister.  I also try to bark the words “I love you” and have the syllables down.  I can sit, lay down, shake, high five, and dance because my dad taught me how.

I firmly believe in adoption.  I have a motto that goes “don’t buy a dog privately and let one of us homeless dogs *stay* homeless.”  Us homeless dogs really appreciate when people adopt us and make us a part of their family.  We’re really loving and we need people like you!

I really believe in the mission of the Corpus Christi Humane Society because they have a no kill policy, and they spay/neuter us dogs before sending us home with our new family.  This is an excellent way to stop more of us dogs from becoming homeless.

If you would like the companionship of a dog who can be a great, loving friend to you, please go see my friends at your local Humane Society or local dog shelter.  There are hundreds of other dogs just like me there and they really need your help!

Also, if you want to help the great people who took care of me and made sure that I found a great home, you can donate food, supplies, and monetary help here…

http://www.gchscc.org/helpout/donations.html

Adoption Rules!
Cindabella Dandelion Elliott – “Bella”

P.S.  My dad recently changed my food from Purina Dog Chow to Member’s Mark Bites & Bones from Sams Club because he heard it was healthier.  After adjusting to it for about a week, my little digestive system is used to it and I have more energy and a shinier coat.  Thanks dad!

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Chris Elliott on May 11th, 2010

This album was released the same year that the First Rays Of The New Rising Sun album came out in 1997.  It represents a variety of unreleased and alternate tracks spanning Jimi Hendrix’ entire career.

Next to the title of each song, you will find a parentheses that states the song type whether it be an unreleased song, an unreleased instrumental, or an alternate version to an already released song for easy identification of the contents of this album.
Jimi Hendrix South Saturn Delta

This review is on the 1997 release…

  1. Look Over Yonder (Unreleased Song) – The song starts with Jimi’s high pitched humming.  The guitar riff is loud and owns the song.  Jimi’s vocals are solid and rockin’.  Jimi’s solo work throughout is excellent, screeching at times.  Half way through the song, the pace slows down and Jimi’s vocals take on a soulful style followed by a jump back into the normal pace of the song.  The song ends with feedback and whammy work on Jimi’s guitar.
  2. Little Wing (Alternate Instrumental Version) – This song immediately shows you where Jack Johnson got his guitar style.  With muted stops along with ballad like guitar playing to start the song, this song shines.  The drums are strong and stand out from the track.  Jimi’s guitar is upbeat and bright.
  3. Here He Comes (Lover Man) (Unreleased Song) – The song starts with Jimi talking about how he’s going to approach the song.  The engineer says “what’s it called Jimi” and Jimi replies “Here He Comes.”  The song starts out with fast guitar work by Jimi alone and then transitions to the catchy main riff of the song with drums following.  Jimi’s vocals are lower than usual.  The guitar is fast and skips across the song.  The drums are excellent and perfectly match Jimi’s journey with his guitar.  The solo work by Jimi is fast and shows him at his best with plenty of solo work in this song.  Jimi hums and sings harmonies with his guitar work which adds an excellent effect to the song.
  4. South Saturn Delta (Unreleased Instrumental) – The song starts off with a mysterious, funky guitar riff accompanied by shooting horns.  The horns and Jimi’s guitar work meld well together.  The drums are guiding and set the foundation for the song.  The horn work is top notch.  Jimi uses a muted string strum to keep a rhythm for himself which sounds great.  Jimi takes advantage of spaces in between the horn work and adds excellent guitar.  Toward the end, the horns and Jimi’s guitar take turns standing out front.
  5. Power Of Soul (Studio Version) – The studio version of the song performed on the Band Of Gypsys album.  Jimi’s guitar almost talks with his signature wha wha effect on the guitar.  His vocals are soul filled.  The drums are on que and in the perfect volume range to compliment the song.  Jimi’s guitar is the clear star of the show here.  Gospel like background vocals give the song a deeper, more religious/mysterious effect.  A short solo halfway through the songs sets the stage for the main vocals to start.  The background vocals perfectly accentuate Jimi’s vocals and give them more strength.  The song ends with Jimi and the background singers exchanging harmonies.  A welcome release which certainly stands on its own as a studio version even compared to the live Band Of Gyspys version.
  6. Message To The Universe (Message To Love) (Studio Version) – The song starts with a count off by Jimi.  His guitar work sets the mood and then is immediately joined by the drums and bass work.  Jimi’s guitar has a slight but maintained squealing quality.  The drums are crisp but not overbearing.  Jimi’s vocals are loose and raw.  Jimi’s guitar work is smooth and his solos squeal and sing at the same time.  In classic Jimi style, he hums along with his guitar work in an emotional style which adds one of his many unique touches to the song.  The song ends in a flurry of drum blasts, bass fills and shredding guitar work by Jimi.
  7. Tax Free (Unreleased Instrumental) – A well structured song with a slightly muffled and searing guitar sound.  The drums are clear.  Excellent use of light distortion in parts of the song by Jimi.  Jimi’s lead guitar riff has an exotic kind of sound reminiscent of hints of Asian music.  The baseline is simple yet effective at adding depth to the song.  Jimi’s guitar work is superb.  Two thirds of the way through the song, the pace momentarily slows down before speeding up dramatically for a final climax before the song comes to an end.
  8. All Along The Watchtower (Alternate Version) – A song we all know that is incredible every time you hear it.  Jimi’s vocals are perfect and on que.  The rhythm of his guitar make this song really shine.  The drums are present but sit well in the back of the song.  Some of Jimi’s solo work here seems a bit thin at times.  The bass is also hidden in the background through much of the song.  The song ends with Jimi’s searing solo work along with him talking in the background.
  9. The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice (Unreleased Song) – An early recording by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  The vocals are distant but present.  Jimi’s guitar work tears through the song and is incredible.  Implanted crowd noises give the song a live feel.  The drums have a garage style sound but are right on par with the rest of the song.  The drums and Jimi’s guitar work drown out much of the bass work by Noel Redding but it can be deciphered in places.  This song was originally released as a b-side but finding that record is seemingly impossible now and the CD quality version released on South Saturn Delta is much needed.  Much of the song is Jimi’s blazing solo guitar work in which he also talks throughout, interestingly enough.
  10. Midnight (Unreleased Instrumental) – A guitar driven instrumental with searing guitar work by Jimi.  Jimi’s solo work starts right from the beginning of the song and guides the rest of the track.  The bass guitar by Noel Redding is funky and stands out more than usual.  The drums are a touch behind the bass and guitar here.  About half way through the song a panning effect can be heard on Jimi’s guitar and his solo work compliments the sound.  This track is an obvious guitar exploration with Jimi experimenting with what his guitar is capable of.
  11. Sweet Angel (Angel) (Alternate Version) – The song starts already in progress.  Jimi’s vocals are soft and demo like.  Jimi’s guitar work sounds excellent.  Time is kept with a simple high hat tap throughout the song.  A song about love.  The song maintains a fast pace while also being a perfect love ballad.  Jimi’s solo work is petite and soft.  The bass guitar has an R&B style to it.  Jimi’s good hearted laughs can be heard in many parts of the song.  The song ends with a very clean and emotion filled guitar sequence.
  12. Bleeding Heart (Unreleased Song) – A fast paced song that jumps right into a shredding main guitar riff.  Jimi’s vocals show his blues and soul roots.  Jimi’s solo work is in perfect form and shines.  Billy Cox provides excellent bass work which is loaded with funk.  The drums play their part mostly in the background.  A song about emotional pain through a bleeding heart.  An excellent song with mainstream appeal written all over it.
  13. Pali Gap (Unreleased Instrumental) – This is one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix songs of all time despite the fact that it has no vocals on it.  Just a beautiful, mesmerizing piece that really showcases Jimi’s emotional infatuation with his instrument.  I take issue with the fact that that track was initially titled “Slow Part” by Jimi and changed to Pali Gap after his death to help facilitate the release of the dis-functional and since deleted Rainbow Bridge album.  The song starts extremely slow before building up steam and setting the stage with an excellent foundational bass riff.  Jimi’s guitar sings, cries and yells in this emotion ripping guitar song.  The drums are consistent, medium paced and show plenty of life.  The obvious main attraction here is Jimi’s dancing guitar.  A song you can really lose yourself in by closing your eyes, relaxing, and escaping to a groove filled land of mystery.  Jimi’s finger rolls work full time in this song.  Probably one of the best summer time cruising songs out there.
  14. Drifter’s Escape (Unreleased Song) – Screaming guitar work and lively drums get this song off to a rockin’ start.  Jimi’s vocals are slightly behind the music but well structured.  Jimi’s guitar moves all over the track as he sings.  The bass guitar is fast moving and decorates the song in excellent fashion.  Ever present is Jimi’s lead guitar shredding.  A fast moving song.  The song ends with shots of Jimi’s solo work and distortion.
  15. Midnight Lightning (Unreleased Song) – The opening to the song has a bluesy, almost southern sound to it.  Jimi’s vocals follow suit with a southern blues style.  Jimi’s guitar is raw and laced with minor distortion.  Jimi sits alone on this song; no drums, no bass which adds to the blues framework.  Jimi shows his comfort with his blues roots in this song.  A perfect conclusion to the album.

This album is a mix-up of a variety of unreleased or alternate material and amazingly, is an excellent compilation.  My favorite track on the album is Pali Gap which is also one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix recordings of all time.  The studio versions of songs from Band Of Gypsys are excellent as is the already in progress song Sweet Angel.  Bleeding Heart is also a welcome addition to the Hendrix library.  This album is certainly a welcome addition to the Jimi Hendrix catalog and I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

4.5 Stars Chris Elliott Rated

This is another of the easy to get and cheap CD’s by Jimi Hendrix.  You can grab it at the Amazon link below and they will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,

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Chris Elliott on May 10th, 2010

The last album that Jimi authorized prior to his death, Band Of Gypsys, is also an album of much controversy.  Recorded to satisfty a recording contract that Jimi signed prior to meeting Chas Chandler and forming The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Buddy Miles replaces Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox replaces Noel Redding on bass guitar.Jimi Hendrix Band Of Gypsys

This review is done on the German import version of the album which has 3 bonus tracks I love…

  1. Who Knows – Jimi takes lead vocals and Buddy Miles provides excellent harmonies. Jimi’s guitar work is raw and perfect. Jimi’s solo work is right on que and one can only imagine how incredible it would have been to hear this song live. The song has an up-tempo, raw rock vibe and Jimi’s signature guitar effects make the song awesome. Buddy’s vocals are clear and perfect in pitch and timing adding to the songs vibe. This song clocks in at nine and a half minutes which works well for the songs format.  Jimi’s guitar is constant throughout and towards the end he lets out some searing solo work.  The bass guitar here is not very noticeable.
  2. Machine Gun –  Jimi starts the song with “Happy new year first of all” and a bit more dialog to the audience.  The opening riff is just packed with emotion and is incredible.  Jimi’s finger rolls are in perfect form.  Buddy Miles contributes the signature Machine Gun style drums which are excellent.  Jimi’s guitar work is smooth.  His vocals are bluesy and follow the guitar riff well.  The drums accent the guitar riff and Jimi’s vocals perfectly.  Jimi alternates from blues vocals where he’s almost talking to outright emotional yells.  Jimi lets his guitar effects skill show throughout the song trying to recreate a sound indicative of a Vietnamese war atmosphere.  The longest song on the album at over twelve minutes doesn’t get boring or bland.  Billy Cox provides a thumping baseline that accentuates the Machine Gun style drums provided by Buddy Miles.  A combination of an excellent song and an experimental guitar workout make this one of Jimi’s most unique compositions.  The song ends with Jimi’s distortion and sound effects creating the sound of a helicopter taking off.
  3. Them Changes – A classic Buddy Miles penned song.  Jimi provides light hearted guitar via his signature finger rolls as Buddy provides out front drums and lead vocals.  Buddy’s lead vocals are beautiful and perfectly on key.  Billy Cox provides a solid foundation for the song with his bass work.  Buddy’s vocals remind you of old soul filled Motown vocals at times.  Jimi provides excellent guitar solo work which moves fast and almost has  a talkative effect on the song.  A little over halfway through the song, it comes to a crawl and them slowly gains more steam when the the crowds clap brings the song back to its final climax.  Jimi provides backup vocals to Buddy.
  4. Power Of Love – This song is a guitar driven track which starts off with Jimi’s guitar solo work skipping across the fretboard.  Buddy’s drums are crisp and perfect with the track.  Jimi’s guitar and Buddy’s drums stand out front on this track overtaking Jimi’s vocals a bit.  However, Jimi’s vocals are on que and harmonious.  Jimi’s guitar solo’s sing and scream throughout the song letting the listener witness his greatness as a guitarist.  Talkative vocals at times also follow Jimi’s guitar licks throughout the track.  Buddy Miles provides excellent background vocals and exchanges harmonies with Jimi toward the end of the song.
  5. Message To Love – A classic rock riff with excellent vocals by Jimi.  Billy Cox provides a guiding and funky baseline throughout the song.  Jimi’s guitar work is upbeat and his solos throughout transition well.  Buddy Miles provides well structured drums with strength.  Buddy’s background vocals accent Jimi’s lead vocals perfectly in a way that Noel Redding just couldn’t do.  Jimi’s solo work is slower than you may have heard on other songs but is still searing with a light hearted sound.
  6. We Gotta Live Together – Another Buddy Miles penned song.  Billy Cox gets the crowd into the song by saying “we’d like you to clap your hands one more time and sing with us” which provokes the crowd to instantly start clapping.  Buddy Miles vocals start out with an diverse R&B/rock sound which creates a unique sound on the track.  Although Buddy’s vocals seem to be a bit distant possibly do the misplacement of the mic because of him obviously not being the main vocalist in this concert.  However, Buddy’s vocals are excellent.  Jimi’s guitar licks throughout are mellow and ballad like in sound.  Jimi provides sparse backup vocals where needed.  Buddy’s drums pick up about halfway through the song to back Jimi’s searing guitar solo which rips through the track with Buddy still singing in the background.
  7. Hear My Train (German Import Bonus Track) – This song’s actual title is Hear My Train A Comin’ but was probably truncated to fit on the back CD cover on this import.  However Jimi says “we can call it Lonesome Train for right now”  in the introduction.  The song starts off in incredible blues fashion with Jimi’s blues guitar skill showing boldly.  Jimi’s vocals are blues ridden and mellow while also being overtaken by the drums and guitar at times.  The chorus shows Jimi’s vocals riding the lead guitar riff and then breaking into an incredible solo.  Jimi’s guitar work slows down in parts and lets off big displays of funk interlaced with the blues nature of the song. Buddy miles helps close the song out with background vocals.
  8. Foxy Lady (German Import Bonus Track) – One of Jimi’s all time classics here and this live version is awesome.  This guitar work is gritty and filled with Jimi’s signature distortion and finger rolls.  Jimi’s vocals are a bit drowned out by the instruments but they still work well.  Buddy Miles Machine Gun style drums are evident in this song and provide a new perspective on the drum work originally provided by Mitch Mitchell.  Probably the longest version of this song out there.  Jimi’s guitar solos are expanded versus the original which is a real treat.  The track ends with turbo speed finger rolls on the guitar by Jimi and machine gun style drum punches by Buddy Miles.
  9. Stop (German Import Bonus Track) – Another Buddy Miles penned song.  The song starts with a fast paced shot of guitar work by Jimi with Buddy and Jimi exchanging harmonies.  Jimi then drops into a funky guitar riff and solo.  Buddy Miles takes on lead vocals with Jimi offering background vocals at times.  Buddy’s vocals are loud and powerful.  Jimi’s solo work is medium paced and offers an excellent compliment to the song.  The song seems to cut off at the end with very little fade.

This album was the last one authorized by Jimi Hendrix and certainly came out excellent.  Machine Gun is the shining moment of the album and even at around 12 minutes, doesn’t seem too long.  Even as a live album, this song really stands out as a gem in the Jimi Hendrix catalog.  In all honesty, I might give the 6 track standard album 4 or 4.5 stars as a rating but with the 3 bonus tracks on the German import, this album gets 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

Versions…

I actually own this album two times.  One is the German import which has the 3 bonus tracks and one is a 2010 re-master that was released in the UK which has an expanded booklet with a long editorial by John McDermott of Experience Hendrix which this album has always lacked.

If you want to find the German import, you can check out eBay through this link and they will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

If you want to find the UK version, Amazon has it at a pretty affordable price.  Again, you can grab it at the Amazon link below and they will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful.

Lastly, if you just want to get the standard album without the bonus tracks or expanded bookelt, Amazon has it for around 10 bucks and it certainly still rocks.  Grab it through the link below and I’ll get a few cents from Amazon if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,

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Chris Elliott on May 10th, 2010

Christmas music from Jimi Hendrix? Yep, it’s true. I was in shock when I found out about this CD years ago and it doesn’t disappoint. Although it’s more a single rather than an album. There are two tracks with a third track representing an extended version of one of these.Jimi Hendrix Merry Christmas And Happy New Year

  1. Little Drummer Boy / Silent Night / Auld Lang Syne – An excellent mish mash of holiday tunes that Jimi put together. This track was recorded with the Band Of Gypsies; Billy Cox on bass & Buddy Miles on drums. The drums aren’t too flashy but keep the track in rhythm. Jimi’s guitar has his signature sound and shines perfectly. This is an instrumental track and Jimi’s guitar shines as a result.
  2. Three Little Bears – The opening riff is extremely catchy. Jimi’s vocals are unplanned and seems like an unrehearsed first take Jimi didn’t want to take any further. He can be heard saying “It’s so silly man” and “Man, I don’t feel like going through with this, this is really silly” but continues through the track anyway.  However, Jimi’s guitar solo tears into the song and is awesome. The quality of the track is excellent and the drums are lively. At the end of the song, Jimi sings “la la la” harmonies with the riff in a high pitched voice which is pretty cool and then goes into another solo.
  3. Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne (Extended Version) – The extended version of the first track starts out a bit slower with more of an introduction building up the the fuller, more lively track. Some of the additional parts are more murky with more distortion than the trimmed down version. However, this is a beautiful seven and a half minutes of Christmas cheer to enjoy on the big day.

You can’t really go wrong when you have some Christmas tunes to rock by the big man Jimi Hendrix.  This short, but excellent quality handful of track are excellent for that taste of rock during the holidays.  I give this CD 5 out of 5 solid stars and will certainly be playing it this Christmas…

5 Star Chris Elliott Rated

Amazon has this CD for peanuts.  If you would like to grab a copy, you can click the Amazon link below and they will kick me back a few cents if you found this review helpful…

Until the next review,
Chris Elliott Signature

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