Profile for A. P. G. Hawkey > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by A. P. G. Hawkey
Top Reviewer Ranking: 336,894
Helpful Votes: 10

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
A. P. G. Hawkey "TheCapedCruiser" (France)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Tangerine
Tangerine
Price: 23.28

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece from a vastly underrated artist, 3 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tangerine (Audio CD)
She's not exactly prolific, but Louise's occasional offerings are never less than rewarding: 2000's Written in Red, on Signature Sounds, for example, contains some of the loveliest songwriting you'll ever hear ... but with Tangerine she really excels herself. I suspect that becoming a prominent figure to rival her peers Roy Block or even Bonnie Raitt, both of whom are directly comparable in some respects, isn't high in her order of priorities, but given enough exposure, this 2012 offering could have been the one to break her through from well-kept-secret status. Her decades of experience, both as a musician and a liver of life to the full, shine through for all to hear, and her choice to keep it minimal - just her peerless voice and deft if unconventional guitar, backed only by the stunningly intuitive drum and percussion work of the legendary Jerry Marotta - serves only to enhance the overall feel, leaving nothing to clutter the space between the emotions of the songs and the listener. On love and loss there is no better songwriter - check Walk Five Miles and Love in the Dark - and boy, does she get funky on Morning Memphis! Peerless production values, courtesy of the sainted Peter Gallway, together with handsome packaging, complete the deal. Louise Taylor has paid her dues, and is worth investigating by anyone drawn to the fertile ground that lies between the blues, folk, and jazz ... her music has the power to heal, nourish and soothe. Arguably, Tangerine is her finest CD so far. Long may she thrive.


Too Close To Here
Too Close To Here
Price: 13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new old-fashioned singer-songwriter, 7 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Too Close To Here (Audio CD)
As an enthusiastic collector for many decades of singer-songwriter albums, this man's debut instantly attracted me, not least because it harks back to the golden period of the late 60s and early 70s ... as one reviewer has astutely observed, if he'd been active in that period, this album might well have been on the Elektra label, alongside the likes of Tim Buckley, Fred Neil, Paul Siebel et al. With its stripped-down first-take feel, it has all the freshness that marked albums of those days, where warts-and-all spontaneity was often rightly held to be more important than sterile over-polished perfection. Folke Thomas's voice has an engagingly wayward quality, but can often convey great tenderness - I'm really giving away my great age here, and I struggled for days to call up the artist whose voice his reminded me most of. In the end, it hit me: the UK's late and almost forgotten Gary Farr, especially on his Muscle Shoals-recorded masterpiece, Addressed to The Censors of Love. I've no idea if BFT has ever heard of Farr, still less listened to him, and it's probably only a coincidental similarity, but Farr was the same kind of freewheeling individual that I suspect BFT is, and their songs show a striking similarity, where romanticism and emotion are conveyed through the use of imaginative, poetic and occasionally risky wordplay.

A quote from the Guardian newspaper has been prominently attached to BFT for publicity purposes: he's described as 'standing out like Oliver Reed at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting'. I'd assumed that this was a striking metaphor dreamed up by the journalist concerned ... but it turns out to be based on fact: seems BFT was booked to appear as a support act, and on arriving at the gig decided unwisely to prepare for his performance by downing half a bottle of vodka, with shambolic consequences. Bad move. This young guy shows huge promise: he's a literate and inventive writer, possesses a most distinctive voice, and is a fabulous finger-picking guitarist (altho' the CD doesn't convey enough of that for my liking), and it's to be hoped he doesn't succumb too often to overdoing the stimulants (dear old Townes Van Zandt's downfall)... meanwhile, this CD is a big favourite in this household, and I really hope BFT is here to stay.


Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop
Old Rare New: The Independent Record Shop
by Emma Pettit
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but flawed ..., 6 Nov 2013
The style, design, feel, and appearance of this book give no cause for complaint, but it would have benefited from the attention of a competent proofreader. I was irritated by a number of careless errors that have seemingly been overlooked. Sadly, this is symptomatic of a falling-off in standards and a lack of attention to detail that's all too common in publishing these days - after all, the record-collecting obsessives (I'm one!) at which the book is presumably aimed are the kind of people to whom 'getting it right' is a high priority. Two quick examples: on p. 86 an illustration is wrongly captioned (wrong LP cover shown) and on p. 103 Yusef Lateef's forename is wrongly spelt as Yusuf. There are plenty more ... what a shame!


Plenty
Plenty
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant but unadventurous Americana, 21 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Plenty (Audio CD)
I bought, and loved, Wilkins's Vigil CD a few years ago, and was hoping that Plenty would be its equal ... but for me, it's not. On the positive side, Walt's voice is always companionable, the playing throughout is excellent, if occasionally loose, and the production values give no cause for complaint. The guy clearly has a (probably deserved) following among fans of the less demanding brand of Americana, and his connections with the likes of Sam Baker give him some kind of cachet, for sure. The overall vibe of the CD is mellow ... a suitable accompaniment for watching the sun go down on the back porch with a glass of wine or a smoke - Walt certainly looks like a guy whose lifestyle fits that template. But there's a sameness about proceedings that irks me slightly: the predominant contentment on offer is not very far off complacency, I feel, and the melodic structure of the songs makes use of the same four or five chords, in predictable order, again and again. I waited for a minor-key surprise, or lyrics with a little less comfort, a little more to contemplate: they didn't come. Ah, well ... three stars from me, for an album that's more for the background, in this house, than brain fodder.


Strange Faith And Practice
Strange Faith And Practice
Price: 10.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet gem from a Renaissance man, 8 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, I have to declare a bias - Jeb's a chum of mine: our musical tastes coincide, for starters, and we share a passion for our ever-fluctuating collections of obscure vinyl (Jeb has, of course, curated the two essential Country Got Soul CDs, as well as masterminding the fabulous Country Soul Revue CD, with Dan Penn, Larry Jon Wilson et al.). He's something of a Renaissance man: his insanely remote Welsh mountain hideout is a hive of creativity, and he's not only a musician, but also a novelist, painter, and print-maker. His CD output is prolific, and he approaches each one as he would an exhibition of his artwork, in which each element is skilfully related to the next. Strange Faith and Practice is, for me, perhaps his most satisfying album. On the face of it, the mix of soulful downbeat acoustic singer-songwriter with the cream of the London jazz young Turks ought not to work ... but it emphatically does. This album is a work of intelligence and integrity, distinguished by some fabulous playing and immaculate production values, and Jeb has a knack of penning songs that really get under your skin. He's a true one-off - no one else makes music like his, but if your tastes encompass diverse genres - soul, country, blues, jazz, reggae, even hip-hop - and artists as seemingly unrelated as Townes Van Zandt, Ben Sidran, Tony Joe White, Doug Sahm, David Blue, Mose Allison, and Donnie Fritts, you really need to discover Jeb Loy Nichols, and join his dedicated cult following ... and this is a fine place to start, albeit it's at the jazziest end of his spectrum. A firm 4 star rating from me - I'm reserving the full five for his masterpiece, which he's probably in the course of creating as you read this review!


A Fire Somewhere
A Fire Somewhere
Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: 8.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardly a classic, but a grower ..., 8 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Fire Somewhere (Audio CD)
I took a flyer on this one, on the basis of a number of favourable music-press reviews. Initial disappointment has turned to a mild liking, after repeated plays ... altho' it works better as background music in this household. Singer-songwriter Stinnett lacks a defined style/genre, but the same applies to many equivalent albums from those distant days. In the end, it comes as no surprise that A&M elected not to release it at the time - like most major labels, they'd already shown a tendency to release one-off LPs by unknown artists, some worthy (Steve Young, Ron Davies), some dreadful (John Braden). Still, it does no harm to have Ray's CD on the shelf, especially when, like me, your pulse quickens at the prospect of running another undeservedly overlooked album to earth. Light In The Attic have packaged this beautifully, as is their habit, but this reissue doesn't hold a candle to their release of Jim Sullivan's brief but astonishing UFO.


Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
by Rob Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.49

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and controversial - either you'll 'get it' or you won't ..., 9 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A previous reviewer speaks of hurling his copy across the room, infuriated by Rob Young's error in assigning a particular Donovan song to the wrong album. People with that sort of collector's anal mind-set are not really the kind of people who should bother to read this amazing book. They just won't 'get it' ... What Rob Young has achieved here is something far more important, a unique, pioneering and healthily opinionated thesis that bridges folk music's history from horizon to horizon, from its genesis in the distant, edenic past, to its current multifaceted state ... Young's conclusion that the visionary musical baton has been passed to the likes of Kate Bush and Talk Talk has ruffled a few feathers, but it's characteristic of the book's refreshing lack of encyclopedic academic rigour, and his conclusion is nothing if not a candidate for healthy argument - my impression is that Young's up for target practice from some pedantic quarters, but he seems pretty well-equipped to fight his corner. The historical sweep that Young weaves is staggering; his enthusiasm bubbles over into frequent diversions, some of them seemingly unrelated, but all of which are soon revealed as relevant to the author's explanatory textual pattern. His personal enthusiasms are all too clear: any folk afficianado will want more, or less, on certain artists: for me, there was more than I needed to know about the somewhat over-rated Heron, while a brave case is made for the relevance to the genre of the iconoclastic Bill Fay, but there's no detailed discussion of the extraordinary long-lost Shelagh Macdonald ... but every reader will be eagerly scanning the index before diving in, to see if their particular obsession is included. In the end, this is a terrific read, thought-provoking and stimulating, and for all the small shortcomings that other readers will find (which can surely be ironed out in a revised edition), it's a book that's likely to remain the definitive reference point in its field. It's a must-read, but be prepared to take issue ... it's worth remembering that for all the intellectual skill that Rob Young deploys in the construction of his thesis, if (like me!) you're a long-term lover of the music, and an incurable collector of the records where it lives, then Young is just another one of us ... the only difference being that he's had the energy and the imagination to write a brilliant and controversial book about it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2010 7:27 AM GMT


Page: 1