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Dave Leeke (Orwell River Delta)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not brilliant!, 18 Sept. 2009
This broke the third time I used it. Not much fun when you're a thousand miles away from home and know that you're not going to be able to listen to your own music on the plane home - or hanging around the airport.

There was no problem from the company, they reimbursed me quickly with no hassle at all.

Personally, I'll buy an official Apple charger instead!

My Name Is Buddy
My Name Is Buddy
Price: £16.34

38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raise your glasses, ladies and gentlemen., 9 Mar. 2007
This review is from: My Name Is Buddy (Audio CD)
Imagine, if you will dear reader, a conversation in heaven. John Steinbeck is handing back to Woody Guthrie, a copy of "The Wind In The Willows" that the latter had lent him and, as they swill the ice around in their glasses of bourbon, then chink the glasses together and say, "cheers/bottoms up/whatever". As the sun sets (which also rises - sorry, literary joke) over the distant clouds, they agree that maybe a musical based on it would be a good idea. But they're not Brits, so an American take on the whole idea seems like a good idea at the time.

And indeed, it is.

A story that for many of us seems familiar (all you who have taken GCE/GCSE English Lit over the last 25 years may have found its themes familiar), Steinbeck and, indeed, Woody Guthrie were concerned with the (whisper it, socialist) view of America that has been criticised by so many opponents, needs telling again. Nowadays, how many will admit to having read "The Grapes of Wrath" or "In Dubious Battle" (go on, put your hand up if you've actually even heard of it, besides READ it)? But, here we have Cooder writing that very story steeped in that particular mythology.

Should you have grown up listening to Cooder's work in the mid-70s, then I'm sure you won't need to be told to go and listen to this - it's like a missing album from 1975. If you listen to it in the car (it's not a driving album) then it'll sound like those wonderful pre-"Bop" albums. If you try to listen to it at home, it's not quite what you were hoping for. Don't get me wrong, I love his work. But after "Bop" and "Borderline", wasn't "The Slide Area" a disappointment? This is a great return to form, and you'll find loads of echoes of Danville Girl, Rally 'Round the Flag and tons of others of your favourites; great guitar work and familiar tunes. You'll get fed up with the J Edgar Hoover song, but you'll love the electric slide and the humorous wry (pun intended) voice.

Yeah, go on, go out and get it. Enjoy. Let's hope he'll finally get out on the road again. The album may seem a bit silly to some of you, but the message is bang on the money. It's not a starting place for you youngsters, but it's better than waiting around for yet another film soundtrack - oh and one of the previous reviewers wanted to know what they should listen to next. If you want more of the same, try "Into The Purple Valley", "Paradise and Lunch" and "Boomer's Story". Then when you think you've got a handle on it, listen to "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine" from "Bop 'Til You Drop". Try not to cry. Then wonder why the last time I went to see Cooder live, I was sitting next to Eric Clapton. Well, we all revere our masters.

So, I'll raise a glass of JD or Jim Beam, and chink it against John or Woody's glass and we'll all agree that Ry IS the man.


We Shall Overcome The Seeger Sessions [CD + DVD]
We Shall Overcome The Seeger Sessions [CD + DVD]

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is that the banjo player's Porsche outside?, 28 April 2006
Springsteen counts the band in and away they go. The sheer exuberance of this large collection of acoustic musicians seems to push Springsteen into a belting performance. Banjos, trombones and accordions, along with lots of other "folk" instruments blast out a full sounding backing for Springsteen to bellow out these old folk songs in his usual declamatory style. It is a bit odd to hear him getting those hoarse vocals around "Froggie Went A-Courting" or the "too-rye-aye" chorus of "Mrs McGrath" - for me, the least successful song here (although "Shenandoah" is a little ropey). But overall, it works well. The DVD is a brief documentary of the musicians performing with Springsteen at his home. Even his house isn't quite big enough to get them all in the same room! The horn section are out in the hallway while Springsteen hollers in the front room with the guitars and fiddles.

"Pay Me My Money Down" is great. A sea shanty that really forces you to sing along. They wobble through "We Shall Overcome" before the fun of "Froggie" and it's all over. Springsteen does, as I say, tend to shout his way through these - maybe he's trying to be heard over the sheer noise level of the rather large band he's using. The album is successful but those who prefer Springsteen's usual music may be dismayed at the direction he's been taking recently. The sound of the album is full and very busy. The calibre of musicianship is obviously high. To me it sounds as if they're all having great fun, although watching the DVD does make me wonder at times if his heart is truly in it. He doesn't always seem that comfortable singing some of the songs, or talking to some of these people. The clips where they keep getting dragged out to stand on the grass out back with Springsteen busking, shows several of them looking a bit uncomfortable with it all. However, it's good fun and reminds us that there are hundreds of great songs out there expressing fear, joy, love, hatred and, in some cases, sheer lunacy.

Some critics have been comparing this to The Band. The sepia tones of the cover (and the digitally washed DVD film) help give this impression. It seems a little bit of a lazy comparison, really. It's like a big session - maybe Springsteen's been getting into The Oyster Band lately!

Mona Bone Jakon
Mona Bone Jakon
Price: £5.99

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depressing? Cathartic!, 25 Jun. 2001
This review is from: Mona Bone Jakon (Audio CD)
The problem with being an old fart who was around when this album was first released is that I find the previous reviewer's comments about it being "depressing" hard to take. I remember my sister singing along to "I Love My Dog" etc, but I also remember watching the Simon Dee show when Cat was introduced as having not been around for awhile. Not only had he reinvented himself, but he almost single-handedly kick-started the British singer/songwriter movement. Cat had been in hospital after contracting Pneumonia/TB and had had his (first) near-death experience.
The music born out of this was astonishing to my 14 year-old ears. Here was an attractive male role model who took acoustic music to another realm. The ladies loved him and many lads probably thought they did too. Lyrically this is a very strong set and melodically it is too. The simple acoustic setting kept us listening to what was being said and he had obviously spent a hell of a lot of time thinking in hospital. I teach classes of kids of my age when I first heard this album and am constantly upset by how little kids want to say - or are able to - but Cat Stevens opened us up to some very deep feelings and gave us the tools to express ourselves.
No, I'm sorry this is NOT depressing, this is the sound of a man who thought he was going to die and then decided to not play the pop star game anymore - and became phenomenally even more successful by doing it. This works as an album of cathartic songs for me. The well known songs like "Lady D'Arbanville" are great to hear again, but my own favourite "Maybe You're Right" is the ultimate end-of-the-affair song. Del Newman's strings are always worth the price of admission (listen to Nick Drake or Ian Matthews) but the sparse arrangements of acoustic guitars, bass and percussion are a superb backdrop to a lovely collection of songs that - naive as they may be - I find more important than the following few albums.
Oh, and Peter Gabriel played flute on it, too.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 15, 2013 7:22 PM BST

Tea for the Tillerman
Tea for the Tillerman
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £4.33

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic singer/songwriter fare, 25 Jun. 2001
This review is from: Tea for the Tillerman (Audio CD)
This album is a high watermark for early 1970s singer/songwriters. Always a popular one with the cheesecloth wearing fraternity - and not just the ladies - Cat Stevens seemed to hold many of us in his spell for a few years. This is technically better than "Mona Bone Jakon" but the songs on that previous album, for me, are superior. It must have been the (first) near-death experience. However, having bought this recently on CD has allowed me to drive along singing along happily. There are not that many albums from 1970 that I can more-or-less remember all the words to! Maybe that shows how strong the songs are. I don't actually think that the songs are too airy-fairy or hippy. Some of the songs such as the opener "Where Do The children Play?" stand up well today with its anti-pollution lyrics. I was also struck by the amount of mentions of the "Good Book" (sic) and the lyrics to "Miles From Nowhere" mention, "Lord my body has been a good friend, but I won't need it when I reach the end", I guess he wasn't quite so convinced as the seventh wave approached.
It's great to have an absolute classic on CD all sparky bright and sounding great (lending vinyl out in the early 70s was a dangerous hobby)and songs like "Father and Son" and "Wild World" are worth a lot in these days of trite Beatles rehashes. However, I think that if you enjoy this you should explore "Moan Bone Jakon" too.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2011 8:45 AM BST

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