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Mr. C. J. Iredale (London)

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Making Waves
Making Waves
Price: 11.85

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best album I have heard for several years!, 12 Jan 2012
This review is from: Making Waves (Audio CD)
I got this album suggested to me as something I may like. I subconciously went 'ho hum, ok', and then promptly forgot all about it. I came across it in HMV and this re-jigged my memory and I went home to do a bit of research (in these hard times, I can't afford to buy things on spec anymore). I was really very pleasantly suprised, thought the clips of her I found on YouTube were very complimentary and I decided to part with my hard-earned cash. It has since not been out of the CD player! I can't remember when I bought such a well balanced and well produced album, it really is a treat to the ears.

Megan is classes as 'folk', but this is chiefly because she plays a very nice acoustic guitar on the tracks, which are accompanied by double bass, violin etc. But instruments do not a genre make, and her writing style tiptoes lightly into many different music styles. It is similar to saying Nick Drake was folk. Not really, but he too played an acoustic guitar.

The tracks here range from excellent to drop-dead gorgeous Megan has a knack for writing lyrics that mean somethign without ever hectoring or being cheesey (a fair trick in itself!) and her voice is something else! The more I listen to it, the more I love it, as it effortlessly goes from low to high and never grates or is out of place.

Whoever produced the album did a masterful job; there is lots of room to breathe and the tracks have space and perspective. Just wonderful stuff. Oh, and the drumming is mostly by Barrie Barlow, the only rock drummer to have been labelled by John Bonham (late of Led Zeppelin) to be 'Rocsk's greatest drummer'. His work is always wonderful, and he is on form here.

If you buy one album this year, make it this one, it is a wonderful record with many moods and hangs together nicely as a whole piece of work. Ms. Henwood should be both pleased with the results of her hard work, and be also thinking about a follow up as soon as possible. Pleeeeeease!

Sandy Denny: Reflections on Her Music
Sandy Denny: Reflections on Her Music
by Philip Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book on Sandy so far, 21 Dec 2011
For many years now, the only book we had to read on Sandy Denny was Clinton Heylin's No more sad refrains - The life of Sandy Denny, which was re-published recently. This book scores again and again of Heylin's conceited work by not being nauseously opinionated, and reads in a much more academic way. But, in a good way. It considers different areas of Sandy Denny as a subject, such as her life, her writing, recordings made by her, her contemporaries etc. It reads well and Philip Ward doesn't have this arrogance that Heylin's book unfortunately slips into again and again.

Sandy Denny, as a subject to analyse and discuss, is one that has not caught on in the same way that say, Nick Drake has; this is a shame as her work at it's best is certainly an equal, and her life story, sad though it was, also is interesting and draws us in. This book is to my mind the best (so far), and if you like her music, you will find this a light and balanced read. It also has some wonderful photos, many of which I have not seen before. It has some stills from the 1975 London Weekend performance with Fairport of which only 30 seconds is currently on YouTube; the stills here suggests there is more out there.

I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in Sandy Denny.

No More Sad Refrains: The Life of Sandy Denny
No More Sad Refrains: The Life of Sandy Denny
by Clinton Heylin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.96

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Troubling..., 10 Sep 2011
Firstly, the book seems to be full of the author's weird conceited thoughts. Secondly, the cover is wrong, Amazon. Interesting read, if written by someone who seems bonkers and full of bile. What would Sandy say? Probably go for a drink and a cry on a shoulder. Anyway, until a better version shows up, this will do. I think history will look on this book unfavourably. We shall see...

Beyond and Before
Beyond and Before
by Paul Hegarty
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.79

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last! A really good book on progressive rock..., 19 Aug 2011
This review is from: Beyond and Before (Paperback)
Progressive or 'prog' is a style of music that was immensely popular in the early 70s, and some wonderful music was produced by bands such as Genesis, Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blue etc. Fashions change (quite rightly), and the desire to listen to long, complex songs disappeared and was replaced, certainly in the media, with back-to-basics punk. What prog rock failed to do is to be acknowledged by the generation that replaced the myopic journalists of the late 70s, who's mantra was 'prog is rubbish' that, like all types of music, there is good, mediocre and poor. Prog is no different, so to have a book written to the standard of this tome that takes time to discuss this is all the more welcome.

The writing style is analytical, almost academic, but always clear and interesting. I found a mistake in the first few minutes of picking the book up (Fairport Convention's 'Matty Groves' does not feature a character called Lord Donald, but Lord Darnell, itself a mishearing of Lord Arnold), but some get hot under the collar about such things. Personally, I am more excited about this books existence to let a lack of editorial effort spoil my day.

It goes into detail on many albums of the 70s, and I particularly liked the work covering Genesis, a personal fave of mine from this period; I feel they took advantage of the prog rule book (i.e. there wasn't one!) and produced wonderful tuneful music free of ego or pretension. The authors seem to know their onions and even die hard lovers of this genre will more than likely come away from this book with more than they did when they came to it.

I can heartily recommend. If you like a bit of prog (and this include stuff like Radiohead - why? Because they are so clearly prog; listen to Paranoid Android on OK Computer, a finer example of prog I have yet to hear!), and get a kick out of mellotron, flutes and bonkers time sigs, then this book is for you.
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