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Wilf (Gloucester, England)

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New Orleans Street Talkin'
New Orleans Street Talkin'
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 12.96

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Orleans' Finest, 13 Jun 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fine CD, and Earl King is a very fine bluesman with a completely distinctive sound (in keeping with all the greatest bluesmen) which came, perhaps, to epitomise the 'New Orleans sound'.

Earl started out in the 50s, carving out a niche as an imitator of and sometime stand-in for Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones. Indeed, his early sound is almost indistinguishable from Slim's, although, even then, his guitar-playing was smoother and more refined than Slim's (which was often crude, but always exhilarating).

With Slim's tragically early demise in the late 50s (at the tender age of 32), this particular source of work and inspiration for Earl dried up and he was on his own, free to begin the formation of his own sound. Well, you can't keep a good man down, and Earl certainly did begin to plough his own groove. By the sixties, his music had evolved, with his signature records from this period being 'Come On' - covered and made famous by Jimi Hendrix - and 'Trick Bag'.

But his development didn't end there, and he continued to refine his sound, becoming more soulful, jazzy and funky. By the early 70s, he had recorded 'Street Parade', which IMO is one of the funkiest, jazziest, most brilliant modern blues records ever! To me, if there is one song that captures the New Orleans sound, it is this record.

His creative output culminated in 3 albums from the period 1986 to 1993. These albums are 'Glazed', 'Sexual Telepathy' and 'Hard River To Cross', and it is from material on these albums that this CD is compiled.

There is, perhaps, only one weak track on this CD (Everybody's Gotta Cry Sometime), but the rest are great. And on all of them, Earl's brilliant and very distinctive voice and singing style (by now, fully developed and perfected) are on full display. His guitar-playing is very elegant and unflashy, and his New Orleans brass section accompaniment is superb. From a very good selection of tracks, particular highlights are 'They All Went Down The Drain' 'Clairvoyent Lady' 'Medieval Days' 'Time For The Sun To Rise' 'No City Like New Orleans' and the especially brilliant 'Hard River To Cross'.

As a long-time blues fan, I can honestly say that, as my tastes have developed and evolved, Earl's later-period sound (which I really can only describe as 'funk-soul-jazz blues'!) has appealed to me more and more and more. And, as much as I love the blues in all its manifestations (esp accoustic early Delta), Earl King seems to me to represent the most sophisticated and highly-developed of all the blues sub-types.

That this most sophisticated blues sound should have emanated from a man born-and-bred in New Orleans, a man accompanied and influenced over a lifetime by a whole host of other Louisiana musicians is, I am sure, no coincidence. You may be able to take the man out of the city, but you sure can't take the city out of the man (especially if that city is New Orleans!).

Very highly recommended!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2011 12:44 PM GMT

The Essential Blue Archive: Nothin' But The Blues
The Essential Blue Archive: Nothin' But The Blues
Price: 6.90

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam's The Man, 9 Mar 2008
This CD is a totally representative sample of the great man's work, with his marvellous baritone and exquisite guitar-playing on show throughout.

Given the huge abundance of Hopkins recordings on the market, its difficult to make in-depth comparisons between different CDs and slightly different versions of individual tracks. Consequently, all I can really say is that if you like Lightnin' Hopkins, then this CD should go a long way towards satisfying your desire for a good dose of his particular brand of the blues.

If you're not already familiar with his work, then suffice it to say that Sam Hopkins is special, VERY special. He has a wonderful deep smokey voice that's capable of conveying the sweetest emotions, and is a truly brilliant guitarist, capable of the funkiest simple/complicated rythyms with the most exquisite and delicate touches. A great blues master of the very highest order.

Whilst this CD is on a par with the other 3 that I own (they're all brilliant and would get nothing less than 5 stars from me), particular highlights, IMO, include Let Me Play With Your Poodle, Tim Moore's Farm, Lightnin's Boogie, Jake Head Boogie, Gone With The Wind, and Lightnin's Special. And there are two brilliant tracks that I often put on 'Repeat' for half an hour or so (or longer!) - One Kind Favour and the instrumental Buck Dance Boogie. Both of these are flawless, simple, blues gems, and for me, justify the purchase price on their own. Of course, there are a few rather boring tracks, but this seems to be unavoidable with most compilation CDs, I'm afraid.

Highly recommended. (The only thing I would mention that detracts from this CD is the fact that it comes in just a cardboard sleeve).

Stanley 93 Cab.Makers Rebate Plane   1 12 093
Stanley 93 Cab.Makers Rebate Plane 1 12 093

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Tool, 28 Nov 2007
A superb tool, indeed! But, strictly speaking, it isn't a REBATE plane, it's a SHOULDER plane (a rebate plane is a somewhat different tool with a depth gauge and a guiding fence). It also serves as a chisel plane when you remove the front part.

I am a professional cabinet maker, and it is nothing less than the truth to say that my Stanley 93 is absolutely one of my favourite tools. And it is also the single most useful of all my planes - of course, they're all indispensible, but the 93 can be used for so many small useful jobs that it gets used twice as often as the next most useful - cleaning up tenons and rebates, chamfering, grooving, fitting cabinet doors, and all manner of trimming, tweaking and twiddling.

This is true of all shoulder planes, but why pay twice as much or more for a Clico, Clifton or Lie-Neilson when the end result will be no better than with the 93? After all, of all the great plane-makers, Stanley is the Grandfather of the rest! (While on the subject of price, I feel duty bound to point out that you could buy a 93 from other retailers at more than a tenner cheaper, and that there are other Stanley shoulder planes -no.s 90 & 92- which are smaller and cheaper).

A beautiful tool, very well made, easy to adjust and use, and very pleasant in the hand - truly a tool for the amateur and professional user.

Devotional Songs
Devotional Songs
Offered by BookFozz
Price: 16.70

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words fail me ........., 3 Sep 2007
This review is from: Devotional Songs (Audio CD)
If you would like to truly experience the transcendent power of rythm, harmony and the human voice, and to explore some of the deeper recesses of the human spirit at the same time, then you really MUST listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his group.

I first experienced Nusrat some 10 years or so ago on Channel 4 while late-night channel surfing. In an instant I was rooted to my chair, my remote-control hand frozen in mid-air. NEVER had I heard anything so utterly and literally entrancing. Indeed, without understanding a word of what was being sung, I involuntarily found myself on my feet, eyes closed, arms up, swaying and shuffling to the music. It was only when I fell over the coffee table that I came to my senses enough to scribble 'Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan' on a piece of paper.

This was music I had been waiting my entire life to hear. So it seemed to me then, and so it does still. This really is so much more than music. Truly, truly, listening to this incredible human being is a spiritual experience. If your ears and your brain are susceptible to such things, it will enrapture you, transporting you with pleasure to another plane of experience. Which, of course, is precisely what Qawwali music has been crafted to do, over the course of eight centuries or so.

This CD was the first one I acquired (a complete stab in the dark) and it turned out to be a superb choice. For me, the track highlights are Allah Hoo, Ali Maula, Ni Main Jogi and, particularly, Ali Haq, which has the most exquisite slow-building lead-in you'll ever hear.

If you're looking for an introduction to the work of the great man and his group, I can think of no better choice than this CD (I now own 5 Nusrat CDs), and for existing fans who have not yet heard these versions of the above mentioned tracks, I would urge you to try them.

This music will change your life! Very very highly recommended.

"Nusrat is a God to me" - Jeff Buckley

Live At Woodstock
Live At Woodstock
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: 28.37

4.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Had Been There., 26 Aug 2007
This review is from: Live At Woodstock (Audio CD)
I borrowed a video of this concert from a friend and had to replace it with this CD when he made me give it back (in a distinctly more worn condition than when he gave it to me!).

This concert also introduced me to Jimi's post-Experience work. A life-changing moment.

Rather than reiterate much of what has already been written about this concert, I would simply like to draw attention to three particular tracks (I'm a bit surprised that no one has mentioned them yet, although I have seen references to them in reviews on other CDs):

Message To Love - this, in my opinion, must be the all-time greatest festival song ever performed! The superb riff, the pounding, driving rythm, the "come alive" refrain, the usual mind-bending guitar work. For the surviving swamp-dwellers at Woodstock, this must have been the perfect rallying cry and the most exquisite reward for their endurance and faith! To me, this song sounds totally contemporary and very reminiscent of modern blues of the garage- or basement- variety, by artists such as T Model Ford or Paul 'Wine' Jones (although with the benefit of having been performed by a virtuoso!).

Izabella - this was the only song that the band had fully rehearsed before the show, and is clearly one of the most orderly and structured of the entire set. IMO, it also happens to be one of the most brilliant guitar riffs ever, and is without question one of my favourite Hendrix numbers. Given that this was the only song that Jimi felt entirely happy with prior to the performance, I like to think that this song represents the essence of the musical shift that he was making by leaving The Experience and by hooking up with his old army buddy, Billy Cox (on bass).

(More significantly, I think that these two tracks reveal, unambiguously, that the shift that Jimi was making was away from the melody-based material of the JHE, and towards a much more rythm-based sound - more in keeping with Jimi's true love, the blues.)

Hear My Train A Comin' - I think Jimi had a deep lonely streak in him, (arising from his difficult childhood and the death of his mother while he was still only a wee lad) and that this lonliness left him with the ability to feel and communicate powerful emotions through his music. Hear My Train is a beautiful, emotion-drenched, classic blues song, that, IMO, epitomises the true genius of Jimi Hendrix and the priceless gift that he left us, ie. the combination of traditional and pyschedelic blues, with virtuoso guitar-playing, deep deep feeling, and great great soul.

"Music is Magic, Magic is Life" -JH-

Pucker Up Buttercup
Pucker Up Buttercup
Price: 11.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough, Ragged and Refreshing, 9 May 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pucker Up Buttercup (Audio CD)
As a long-time fan of the blues in all its many manifestations, I was delighted, a couple of years ago, to stumble upon the magnificent sounds and talents of a marvellous modern Mississippian, Mr T Model Ford. Then, having realised that the blues was still alive and evolving in the old heartland of Mississippi, I was inspired to delve further into the scene and to see what other obscure gems might turn up.

It didn't take long to discover the record label, Fat Possum (bless 'em) and, through them, a new world was revealed!

Once my eyes had adjusted to the new scenery, they settled pretty quickly on (amongst others) Paul "Wine" Jones. I've always liked music with a raw edge to it, so the available samples instantly struck a chord.

Two albums later (I've also got "Mule" - just as good as this one), I can sincerely attest to the pleasure that this music gives me. It aint smooth, refined, cultured or sober, but it is gritty, raw, sincere and a bit rude. And funky, tuneful and well executed - while not indulging in any guitar flourishes or anything remotely complicated, Jones is an excellent craftsman with a fine ear, a good rough smoky voice and great, up-tempo rythm (ably assisted on drums by his buddy, Pickle).

What a shame he's no longer with us.

If you genuinely like the blues, and are up for some exploration away from the mainstream, then I would highly recommend Jones's music to you. Buy it, play it loud and settle in for a laid-back pounding!!

Pee-Wee Get My Gun
Pee-Wee Get My Gun
Price: 11.68

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cantankerous Old B*stard Blues, 7 May 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pee-Wee Get My Gun (Audio CD)
Yep. He sure is one bad-tempered bad-mouthed old git. God bless him! And his guitar-playing is as mean as he is!

This ol' boy is about the same age as BB King, but the similarities end there! There aint nothing clean, sweet or delicate about THIS music, as is the case, I suspect, with the man himself! In keeping with a great blues tradition, he too has served time behind bars for homicide.

The sounds and rythms produced by just him and his buddy, Spam, on drums, are fantastic - totally contemporary! Best described, perhaps, as basement or garage-blues. Or grunge-blues. And he sure gives poor Spam a hard time, even though Spam's drumming is excellent - on one track you can hear him say "Spam!! I'm gonna put ma shoes in your heeed"!!

As a long time fan of the blues in all its manifestations, I can't describe what a huge kick it gave me to discover that the genre was very much alive and wriggling, and sounding so fresh and modern. And, indeed, that the old Mississippi heartland should still be the well-spring of this marvellous new growth.

This is a brilliant CD that has become a great favourite and has favourably impressed numerous friends and acquaintances. I will be acquiring his other CDs in due course. Very highly recommended.

To Win A War: 1918, the Year of Victory (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
To Win A War: 1918, the Year of Victory (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by John Terraine
Edition: Paperback

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting, 7 May 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very interesting indeed! Very satisfying to read a book on the last year of the war that correctly apportions credit where it's due - namely, to the fearsome war-machine that was the British Army of 1918.

Who do you suppose taught Blitzkrieg to the Germans? It wasn't the French. It wasn't the Americans. And it sure as hell wasn't the Russians. Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig and his army of experts were the ones who (eventually) came up with a formula that enabled them to rain a series of combined-arms hammer-blows on to the Germans, knocking them down and then out.

Of course, without the earlier great battles of attrition (Verdun, the Somme and Passchendaele), the war could not have been won in 1918. And one cannot overlook the significant activities of the French and Americans. Nevertheless, it was the British Army who delivered the coup de grace and finally broke the back of German resistance in the field - having already withstood the main part of the great German spring offensives of that year.

This achievement by the British Army has been disgracefully under-valued, pretty much since the war. There's a case to be made that this came about as a result of significant re-writing of the situation by those with the most to gain by doing so - Lloyd George, for example.

Altogether, a very readable, well-written, very informative and interesting book that helps to cast a proper perspective on the events of the last year of The Great War. Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2011 10:15 AM BST

Outlaws - Windows 95
Outlaws - Windows 95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic........and tragic....., 30 April 2007
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Outlaws - Windows 95 (Video Game)
.....the tragedy being how this game has almost completely disappeared, with scarcely a ripple left on the surface. Well, I, for one, will always remember it, and will dearly cherish those memories.

How sad to see it here, with so few reviews and so few readers of those reviews. How sad to see that the only copies available for purchase are second-hand. Not even a budget copy by White Label or SoldOut. What a perfect, peerless, gem most of the world has missed by never discovering this game. What would I give to know that a polished, modern, graphically-stunning sequel, with all the same ingredients as the original, was in development?

Not that I expect anyone will ever read this, but, as a labour of love, here are a few of my favourite memories:

Playing on a LAN with two mates - one, playing as Sanchez (the 'orrible little Mexican bandito), being blown out of an upstairs window and landing on his back in the dusty town square (managed to keep his sombrero on!); the other, playing as tall, lanky gunslinger in long coat, chasing me into a building - he paused to light a stick of dynamite, but I looked round the corner, fired my shotgun at him, and hit the dynamite in his hand - blew him back down the stairs and out into the yard! Another time, I had just jumped onto a crate when a stick of dynamite hit me and blew me clean over the outer wall of the fort!

And the missions were absolutely brilliant! So much atmosphere and such beautiful, striking landscapes. Those soaring cliffs and cavernous canyons, the raging rivers and precarious precipices! The howling of wind and wolves and faint cries from eagles, high high in the turquoise sky! Aaah, what pleasure, what humour, what character! What FUN!!

I remember the small, scruffy, dust-blown, wooden, one-horse towns, the remote ranches, the labyrinthine Indian cliff-dwellings! The abandoned mine, the water-treatment plant, the sawmill, the rattling train, the old fort! And I remember all the cunning little puzzles and posers, and the multitude of secrets and alternative routes that were out there in the landscape, just waiting to be stumbled upon.

And the weapons! Having to reload for the first time! Each weapon definitely had its own role, although the number of shotgun variants was unnecessary. Six-shooters! Dynamite! Throwing-knives! Gatling guns! Rifles! Telescopic rifle-sights! True long-distance sniping for the first time! Vanishing cream!!

And the baddies were all great characters, with the level bosses being very different from each other and each of them a deadly opponent requiring a particular strategy to kill.

The music too, was superb, and would have been entirely worthy of one of the classic Westerns!

I know that cliches abound in reviews of things much loved by the reviewer, but, all I can say in conclusion about this magic game is that, of all the games I have played and loved the most, this game probably stands alone in my affections. For pure, simple gameplay, character, humour, imagination, soul and replayability, this venerable-yet-timeless jewel will become not only a lost work-of-art, but a lost Masterpiece. My heart bleeds for what might have been.

The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Penguin History)
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Penguin History)
by Alistair Horne
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Historical Writing, 29 April 2007
Without question this is one of the best, most informative, most readable, most thorough and most moving books on an aspect of The Great War, that I have read so far. And I have probably read more books on The Great War than on any other subject.

As I was reading the book I found myself continually struck by the extent of the research that lay behind it, and the total mastery of the author over his subject.

For the first time, I really began to understand what the war meant to the different participating nations and, indeed, the differing psychology behind each participant's approach to the whole thing (the whole war, not just Verdun). In fact, I now understand how sentiment (national and individual) lay at the very heart of the entire, ghastly, episode:

How Eric von Falkenhayn intended to 'bleed the French Army white', having correctly assumed that French sentiment would never allow them to accept the loss of Verdun;

How French feelings towards the disaster of The Franco-Prussian War would lead to them adopting the horrifically costly attitude of 'attaque a outtrance', where 'cold steel' was everything and how the ferocity of the bayonet-charge would deal with German machine-guns;

How the differing personalities amongst the commanders of each side would directly affect the experiences of the men 'on the ground' - eg. how the presence of General von Knobelsdorf continually hampered Crown Prince Wilhelm ("Little Willy") in his efforts to bring the fighting to an end, or how the defensively-minded Petain was given command of the French forces involved, thereby quelling the early panic, stabilising the situation, restoring morale and establishing the system necessary to maintain the French position;

How French sentiment prevented them from fighting a slow, tactical withdrawal across the many hills and ridges of the area, drawing the Germans onto powerful, prepared defensive positions and making them pay dearly for every yard gained;

How the two sides differed in their approach to the deployment of units. The French rotated units periodically, whereas the Germans kept the same units in the line from start to finish, maintaining numbers by way of drafts. The differing effects of this are plain - whilst the French could almost always look forward to eventual reprieve, their German counterparts could only find reprieve in death or incapacity, and, over time, the essential comradeship between members of the same unit would dwindle to nothing as old friends were killed or wounded. There is a case to be made that this approach would have been impossible in either the British or French armies - as it was, French morale subsequently collapsed when the Nivelle Offensive failed, and the army mutinied.

Etc, etc.

Frankly, the reviewer below me who has written-off Alastair Horne's masterly account simply because he objects to an attempt to quantify the differing national characters of the participants is either trying to be provocative or is an intellectual dwarf with no notion of what he's talking about. For myself, I think the word 'militaristic' is entirely appropriate when applied to the nation that invaded several of its neighbours, waged war on others and utterly disregarded the neutrality of Belgium. Germany was dominated by Prussia, was under a Prussian King, had an officer corps dominated by Prussians, and had an army built on Prussian lines. Can anyone dispute the description of Prussia as 'militaristic'? German society was heavily geared towards military endeavour (industrially and socially)- national service had been in place for many, many years and all able-bodied men remained on the Reserve into their forties.

This really is a very, very good book that I have now read several times, and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Anyone who is interested in the history of The Great War, or in the history of France (the Battle of Verdun occupies a unique place in French hearts) will be fascinated, mesmerised and horrified by this extraordinary account of the longest and, quite possibly nastiest, battle in history.

If you remain in any doubt as to the esteem in which Mr Horne's book is held, then I believe I am correct in stating that France herself has honoured him for this notable work. And, when the book was translated into German, it found favour amongst many German veterans of the battle.

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