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Carlo Matthews "carlo" (Been Moving Around)

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Lady Coryell
Lady Coryell

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Lady Coryell (Audio CD)
A cult has grown around Larry Coryell's first two albums, of which Lady is the first. Known for his virtuoso jazz fusion guitar playing, he has never sung again on a record. Sheer tragedy, believe me.

Few moments can match the sensation of the world screeching to a halt upon listening to something so powerful. It doesn't happen often, but it came full force with Lady Coryell. I've had this for two decades and still can't get enough. The impossible blend of hard acid blues, pointilist jazz, and heavy rock -- together with touches of delicate classical and even lilting country rythms -- are forever fresh. And that's not to mention the VOCALS. Oh my, those VOCALS. Shoot the man who told Larry to shut it. The torn, ragged, blatantly unschooled, and intimate singing is as effective as Larry's masterful handling of the axe. Listen to "Herman Wright" and try to stay standing -- it's so unassuming and unaffected you'll think all music should be this magical and real.

The follow-up, Coryell, is also brilliant, but 'the Lady' takes the prize. No wonder Larry was seen as Jimi's most serious contender at the time. Strangely, however, Coryell would appear to be dismissive of these two records as songs from them have never been visited on any of his live albums. Stylistically, they're miles away from the technique-driven cerebral free jazz he quickly branched out into, which hardly ever touched on anything remotely close to the spectacular, downright glorious worlds of Lady and the follow-up. To the detriment of Larry's career, too, if you ask me.

So, beam yourself up to a time when music became Technicolor, became everything we would want today: irreverent yet cultured, insanely technical yet unbound in its exploration, transgression, and discovery. Zero pose. Full imagination. Be transported.

As for the record company, go and give us the deluxe edition please. And then dig up a live one. Go on.

Somerset Maugham: A Life
Somerset Maugham: A Life
by Jeffrey Meyers
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars RUBBISH!, 2 Nov 2008
"Finally," I thought, "an updated bio on Maugham," some of whose works I love and have taught. I bought and read this shortly after it was published and still feel irked whenever I come across it at home. I'll just have to throw it away, Meyers.

Besides the toneless and hurried writing style which never rises above the perfunctory, the book is riddled with flaws exposing an alarming degree of incompetence. Much of the bio, for example, consists of mere summaries of Maugham's major and even not-so-major works. After reading a few of these -- one placed right after the other -- I realized that I had fallen for a scam. And then came confirmation. Meyers even gets the stories wrong!!! He hasn't read them, or finished them, or can't remember. Take your pick. In any case, the result is just as dire.

Forget any hint of analysis, serious research, history of criticisim, or anything besides the well-known facts of Maugham's life. Just a faceless cut'n'paste hack job. As the reviewer before me mentioned, Meyers has written many biographies, and I shudder to think how he butchered their subjects.

Shame on you Jeffrey Meyers.

The Last Judgement
The Last Judgement
by Iain Pears
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.53

1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Pits -- But Don't Take My Word For It, 5 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Last Judgement (Paperback)
I've got competent writer-friends who can't get their work published, who've been turned down despite innovative, professional, and quality work.

Now look what gets published (and bought) these days:

"HOWEVER flabby the conception, HOWEVER, the organizer was greatly beloved of Argyll[.]" (48)

"EVEN the body itself conformed to this pattern. Surprisingly, there was no horror; EVEN Argyll found it impossible to feel sick. The victim was fairly old, but evidently well preserved; EVEN dead - a sate which rarely brings out the best in people - he looked only in his sixties...There was not EVEN much blood to get the stomach-heaves about." (64)

"Rather lost the habit, in FACT. Quite apart from the FACT his written French was a bid dodgy." (51)

(The capitalizations are mine.)

I could go on for pages.

Don't mistake this for parallel structure. It's sheer rubbish.

If this is what you like, then don't pretend to be able to tell good from bad.

Chris Squire's Swiss Choir
Chris Squire's Swiss Choir

10 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Surely You Jest!, 6 Mar 2008
If I had been told 30 years ago that my counter-culture heroes, those leading the rock revolution with their visionary anti-establishment aesthetics and values, would be doing Christmas albums, I would have sent you packing. Wot, Yes-men (and lately Jethro Tull) paying homage to Western culture's most traditional and conservative celebration? No, I would've told you, in 30 years time these "ubermenschen" (Nietzche's supermen) will be cranking out stuff to rival Stravinsky, and they'll be matching the likes of Carmina Burana -- not playing bloody carols! You just watch. They would never descend to the level of covering the most predictable and commercial muzak our Great White/God Fearing society has produced and to pandering to the fickle masses for facile approval. They would never forsake their imagination because....they ARE The Imagination.

Well, wasn't I wrong!

I've listened to this laughable album and just have to wonder where and when it all went so horribly awry. Maybe it's me. And maybe the punks were right in calling these guys "old f_rts" once they're juices dried up. Maybe I should accept the idea that complacency, condescension, and a distinct lack of ambition and creativity are the nature of mature men. Maybe you're not mature UNTIL you've betrayed your values. In other words, Chris, "Close to the Edge" and the rest of your work was leading up to THIS?

Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2014 7:19 PM BST

Definitive Collection [Us Import]
Definitive Collection [Us Import]
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £27.98

8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yet Again?!?!, 30 Jan 2008
This is Townshend's 4th 'best of' -- really. Are we going to get a 5th and 6th in the next couple of years? Can't wait. In fact, if he keeps it up, he'll have more `best ofs' than albums of original material. Go Pete go!

Besides the scam move, here's a collection to avoid. The beginning itself is lackluster, with the unremarkable "Pure and Easy" and the utterly forgettable "Sheraton Gibson" (which has shown up in all `best ofs' -- does anyone advise the guy?). The thing with Townshend is this. He's either great or merely ordinary, and most of the first can be found on Who albums. With a solo career that seldom rose above the average (Empty Glass being the major exception and Iron Man the great blemish), it is difficult to find justification for these collections which, to top it off, retread the same ground, same tracks again and again. This doesn't look good on anyone, especially an individual as boastful as Townshend. The question, of course, is why doesn't he spend the energy on writing and releasing new stuff? Regardless of how bad it is, it would not only be more honest, but it could even generate interest and some respect.

As a member of the buying public, I find it disgraceful to see 'major artistes' (read wealthy) peddling the same product time and time again, treating as dolts those interested in their material. Get some new ideas Townshend - cuz that's the real problem here -- or just put a lid on it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 30, 2012 10:45 PM BST

Lewis: Series 1 [DVD] [2006]
Lewis: Series 1 [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Colin Starkey
Price: £9.50

7 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Far Cry + A New Note, 15 Jan 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lewis: Series 1 [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
There's a good reason why Whatley was a sidekick to Thaw -- as an actor, he doesn't have the presence, resourcefulness, and worldly charm of the old man. Throughout the four episodes in the box, Whatley is desperately trying to find an identity, a persona. For the most part, he resorts to stock attitudes and personality traits (the grouch, working-class cynicism, a disgruntled widower, or a fumbling combination of these). Whatever he chooses, Whatley cannot appropriate the character, make it his own -- the lines take over and he becomes as flat as the pages they were written on. Any worse, and he'd be reciting his way through the series.

Sorry, but Whatley is just not up to taking on the Inspector part in a series of such high repute. If you need a specific example, check out the first episode, where Lewis's sidekick Hathaway (not much of character to begin with) steals the show completely, even taking over the plot! Thereafter, we see Whatley trying on different hats, changing character with every new investigation. You have it all wrong Whatley -- you make the hat yourself!

As for the storylines, well, I never thought anything related to Morse would drag, but these cases meander, nearly reaching a standstill in the middle of a couple of episodes. And then you have the remaining characters, the Superintendent and the Pathologist, both cookie-cut with the same languishing creativity. In fact, Inspector Lewis is beginning to remind me of dreadful and crude productions like McBride on Hallmark channel (god forbid!).

A shame that Morse should have to end this way.

30 Oct. 2009:
Many moons and negative and reviews later, namely last night, I watched yet another "Lewis", the Shakesperean episode where his wife's killer is captured. I was even more unimpressed. Here's an episode we've all wanted to see, yetthe 'killer' storyline takes on a mere secondary role, deflating my expectations totally. Also, by this point, it is quite clear that the actor playing Hathaway, the sidekick, is by far the superior one, again stealing the show when it's Whatley who should be shining. The more I watched, the more minimal the character and plot development in spite of the gravity of the chages in Lewis' life. What were the writers thinking? And let me add a note about these writer chaps and the Superintendent. While she's portrayed as trying to genuinely help in Lewis' time of difficulty, the lines she's given are nearly ridiculous, making the character lose credibility. Also, before closing, has anybody noticed how the photography of Oxford has become 2nd rate compared to the sweeping camera work in Morse episodes?

17 Oct. 2013:
For anyone who vaguely doubted the quality of this series, check out Endeavor (the young Morse), it blows "Lewis" out of the water. It's on another planet altogether.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 20, 2012 9:53 PM GMT

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