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Kevin "Doctor Magic"

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Magic. 1400s-1950s
Magic. 1400s-1950s
by Jim Steinmeyer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £44.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful buy, 16 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Magic. 1400s-1950s (Hardcover)
When this book first came out it was larger format but nearly £100. This new edition is a smaller format BUT STILL BIG! It is a wonderfully produced book full of great information and at the price Amazon is charging at the time this review was written (under £30) really good value. Highly recommended to those who are interested in the history of the craft of magic. Well researched and written by authors who definitely know their stuff and a superb selection of posters and prints reproduced largely from their own collections. A book to dip in and out of for many years.

Borgia - Complete Season One [DVD]
Borgia - Complete Season One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Isolda Dychauk
Price: £13.50

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Careful - many of the reviews are the wrong product!, 16 Jun. 2013
There are many reviews on this product about "The Borgias" with Jeremy Irons. The trouble is, this DVD is NOT "The Borgias" with Jeremy Irons. It is "Borgia"; a completely different series made by a different company with a different cast. Whether the reviewers have made an error or Amazon has linked the reviews to the wrong product, I do not know. Buyer beware - you might not get the product you want!

Remember You're A Womble
Remember You're A Womble
Price: £9.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Remembering How To Womble, 22 July 2011
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This was the second of four studio albums released from The Wombles between 1973 and 1975 and after the success of the first one of "general songs" composer (arranger, producer and singer) Mike Batt cleverly decided to go for parodies of recognised genres in his sequel released just six months later.

Some general songs include probably the most successul Womble Song of all time, the title track "Remember You're A Womble" which is still a great party song today, as well as the slower tempo and rather sad "Wombling In The Rain", the fun "Wellington Goes To Waterloo" which is about young Wellington Womble's train-spotting exploits and the quite beautiful instrumental "Wimbledon Sunset".

Who, of a certain age, will not remember the Wombles doing Mozart? Yes, Great Uncle Bulgaria's "Minuetto Allegretto" is from this album and what a thoroughly enjoyable piece it is, too. Genre stereotyping, or parodies, include the West-Indian "Banana Rock", the country Boston-style "The Return Of Cousin Yellowstone" which goes straight into "The Womble Square Dance" and "The Womble Burrow Boogie" which is not really boogie woogie at all!

But I have left my favourite to last! The Beach Boys or The Mamas and Papas would have been proud of this west-coast surfin' summer sound: "Non-Stop Wombling Summer Party" is just great. "The blue refreshing waters cool the sleepy L.A. shores, and you feel so free with Californian sand beneath your paws" and "The candy stalls are pretty, it's an all-American dream, but the hardest job in the U.S.A. is to keep the beaches clean."

With excellent quality sound - I am delighted to hear this album through again. Inside is a booklet which reproduces the original album sleeve on the outside (ah! memories) and all the song lyrics inside. Thanks Dramatico for another great release at a superb price.

Price: £9.70

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Super Wombles' Album!, 22 July 2011
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This review is from: Superwombling (Audio CD)
The last of the four The Wombles studio albums released in just two years sees Batt well and truly understanding the science and art of the parody! One of my all-time favourite Wombles tracks, and with quality far beyond what you would expect from a chidren's album, "The Myths And Legends Of King Merton Womble And His Journey To The Centre Of The Earth" is a brilliant affectionate poke at Rick Wakeman with full orchestra and choral backing rating the production values higher and higher. Just marvellous. This track alone is worth the very modest price Dramatico have placed on their releases of the Wombles albums.

Then, of course, there is the title track "Superwomble" which I remember exciting children of the day as a single release and the other major single from this album "Wombling White Tie And Tails" pleasing the adults with it's hugely amusing observations on Hollywood musicals in general and Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers in particular.

Other clever parodies include "The Womble Shuffle", "Down At The Barbershop (Singing In Harmony)", "Miss Adelaide"; pop reggae, "Wombles On Parade"; brass band march and the guitar pickin' "Nashville Wombles".

One of my favourite's, though, has to be the blues "woke up this morning" track; "The Empty Tidy Bag Blues" which includes the lyrics "I wrote myself a letter, I put it in the post, it said 'Dear Orinoco, you are lazier than most.' I opened up the letter, I knew that it was true, so I went back to sleep again, it seemed the thing to do."

But the parody I have left to last has stood the test of time so well. Mike Batt should be asked to write the theme to a James Bond film as he shows with his humour how well he understands the genre. "To Wimbledon With Love" is just brilliant - just brilliant.

Once again a booklet inside reproduces the album sleeve outside and all the lyrics inside. Another fantastic set of songs which show just how talented and versatile Mike Batt is. Thank you Dramatico for releasing this album.

Keep On Wombling
Keep On Wombling
Price: £9.07

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We kept on Wombling, 22 July 2011
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This review is from: Keep On Wombling (Audio CD)
This was the third studio album of Wombling songs and I remember when I heard it over 36 years ago I was not disappointed - and I am still not to this day.

Mike Batt was the writer, arranger, producer and singer on all four of The Wombles studio albums and clearly he was having a good time producing them all!

By this album Batt was firmly in parody mode with "The Orinoco Kid"; a cowboy song, "The Wombling Twist", and "Wipe Those Wombling Tears From Your Eyes"; a country ballad all being good enough to please fans of the various genres. Then a Space-age track "Womble Of The Universe" (the stars are in my eyes - the captain of the skies), a big orchestral composition "Underground Overture" which leads into an almost note for note rendition of the Grieg classic renamed, subtly, "Hall Of The Mountain Womble", an atmospheric rainforest track "The Jungle Is Jumping" and a fun chance to meet the Chinese Wombles when we get an "Invitation To The Ping-Pong Ball" continue the parody themes. There is also a rather quirky track "Tobermory's Music Machine".

Bearing in mind this album was released in December 1974, it is hardly surprising that the biggest hit single from it was the brilliant both parody and also highly original Christmas song "Wombling Merry Christmas" which to my mind is up there as a top seventies Christmas classic alongside Slade's "Merry Xmas Ev'rybody" and Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day".

An excellent recording of this great Batt album. Thanks Dramatico.

Wombling Songs
Wombling Songs
Offered by roundMediaUK
Price: £12.62

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Wombling Wonderful!, 22 July 2011
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This review is from: Wombling Songs (Audio CD)
Good ol' Mike Batt and Dramatico Entertainment. They have released all the Wombles albums from the seventies in their entirity - and at highly affordable prices.

Although marketed for children, the quality of the writing of Wombles' songs is far too good to be restricted only to under 11s. Batt's writing was already very high class and some of his later parodies were both clever and amusing.

I am listening to the album as I type this review and what a joy to behold. It transports me back over 37 years in one leap! I am particularly pleased to listen to this album, the first album of the four studio recordings. This one gives me the most pleasure as the only previous releases on CD have been compilation albums which have included very few tracks from this album. So much so that I transferred a very scratchy and worn vinyl copy of my own on to CD complete with hisses, pops, clicks and fuzzes as it was so well played in my childhood/youth. The reason, apparently, is that Mike Batt does not rate most tracks on Wombling Songs as highly as the later work. How wrong he is about his own work!

Of course "The Wombling Song" is on this album - both the original tv theme and the extended single version and the classic "Madame Cholet" features. "Dreaming In The Sun" (not on complilation albums) is one of my favourite Wombling songs and should have had higher listening potential than the purchasers of this album. I remember "Exercise Is Good For You (Laziness Is Not)" being a dance routine for The Second Generation (choreographed by the legendary Dougie Squires) on Seaside Special the BBC hugely successful Saturday Night variety show (they don't make 'em like that anymore) and the original appears on this album. And as a boy I just loved "Bungo's Birthday".

It's not a long album - they weren't in those days - but it is here complete with a booklet inside reproducing the original album sleeve on its front and back cover and all the song lyrics inside. Not that I needed them - I found I remembered all the lyrics word for word from 1973! This was the album that introduced me to the musical talents of Mike Batt and I remain a fan today. How wonderful to hear it again crackle and click free. Thanks Dramatico.

A Level Film Studies
A Level Film Studies
by Tanya Jones
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE: No Updated Edition Yet, 4 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: A Level Film Studies (Paperback)
This is a very well written and comprehensive text to accompany WJEC Film Studies - and highly readable. This was my favoured text when it first came out. Since the publicaton of this book in 2005, though, the Exam Board has changed the structure of the examination. It used to be that the AS Level comprised three modules (FS1, FS2 and FS3) and then a further three modules were taken to make it up to A2 Level (FS4, FS5 and FS6).

Since 2008 the exam structure has changed (though the overall content is largely unchanged) so that now the AS Level requires only two completely revised modules (FM1 and FM2) and the A2 requires two more (FM3 and FM4). The category of films to study has changed somewhat and there is less restriction on specific films that needed to be studied (for example, no deep study into one film from a prescribed list).

It is a shame that the authors have not revised this book as the alternative, "AS Film Studies:The Essential Introduction" by Sarah Casey Benyahia, Freddie Gaffney and John White from Routledge (2008), is not as reader-friendly but is more up to date.

This book is NOT now ideal for the course and must be read with the exam Spcification at hand and frequently referred to. Having said that, it is a very good book for reference.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2013 12:03 AM BST

The Hunting Of The Snark From The Mike Batt Archive Series (CD+DVD Set)
The Hunting Of The Snark From The Mike Batt Archive Series (CD+DVD Set)
Price: £14.37

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to Hunt the Snark again, 10 Nov. 2010
Yes it is finally back after years of promise. This is a fabulous star-studded concept album. There are two discs in this set. Dramatico have finally re-released the original album but now bundled with a DVD of the concert. The first disc is the CD of the wonderful, wonderful concept album narrated by Sir John Guilgud and John Hurt and featuring great vocal performances by Roger Daltrey, Art Garfunkel, Julian Lennon, Cliff Richard, Mike Batt, Captain Sensible, Denice Williams and Maggie Reilly and instrumental performances from Stephane Grappelli (violin), George Harrison (guitar) and Chris Spedding (guitar). What a cast! I cannot recommend this CD too much!! And then, to top that, the second disc is a DVD of the hour long TV Concert version of the album at The Royal Albert Hall featuring many of the artists from the original album, with some replaced by Billy Connolly, Justin Hayward and Midge Ure. BRILLIANT.

I saw the shortlived full length London West End theatre show (not the hour long concert version) which was prematurely closed due to idiot critics who don't know a great thing when they see it. I asked at the box office for the best single seat they had and found myself sat next to the master, Mike Batt himself. I was so in awe, I was unable to strike up an appreciative conversation - something I regret to this day. A great show - and a great album. I have the concert on video already which I recorded off the tv when broadcast by the BBC. If only the full length show were available (Mike Batt has said he wants to record the full length show which has more songs and a tighter plot - one day) but this album/concert bundle is certainly worth having.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2011 7:12 PM GMT

Between Today and Yesterday
Between Today and Yesterday

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Price at his best, 4 Jun. 2010
If you remember the music of Alan Price of the past then this is his strongest period. This is Alan Price at his very best. When this album originally came out (on vinyl) the first side was "Yesterday" - typical Price looking back at his roots in the North-East. Featured, naturally, was Price's biggest solo hit; "Jarrow Song". The second side was "today" (but, of course, "today" was the seventies!) and was supposed to be a contemporary look at life. This, and the soundtrack Price wrote to and performed in Lindsay Anderson's movie "O Lucky Man", was top quality. Good, strong (with some "social comment") music with some witty lyrics. Although Price is still writing and performing good stuff now, this remains his golden period. Highly recommended.

Red Back Book
Red Back Book
Price: £19.69

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scott Joplin with a little bit ore, 3 May 2010
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This review is from: Red Back Book (Audio CD)
Like many people, I was introduced to the ragtime music of Scott Joplin through the 1973 film "The Sting". All those years ago I bought the soundtrack album and enjoyed it. The subsequent purchase of an album of pianist Joshua Rifkin performing Scott Joplin songs was disappointing as I had liked the orchestral versions of his piano rags that were in the movie. This album is great. It has many orchestrated arrangements similar to those few from the Marvin Hamlisch film score and is great fun to listen to.

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