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Og Oggilby "Og Oggilby" (North London)
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200 One Pot Meals: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: 200 One Pot Recipes
200 One Pot Meals: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook: 200 One Pot Recipes
by Joanna Farrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Concise and clear recipe book, 25 Jan 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This handy-sized recipe book is chock full of tasty recipes, which don't demand great skill. It's remarkable what good meals you an construct from the most basic of ingredients. I've cooked several of the meals in here, and am impressed, and will make more. Inexpensive, colourful and very recommended for those cooks who just want to make fuss-free, nutritional and mouth-watering dinners!


Ten Commitments
Ten Commitments
Price: £11.05

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars For Ten Commitments, 7 Oct 2011
This review is from: Ten Commitments (Audio CD)
Another great album from Steve Ellis, who may not make many albums, but what he does put out is nonetheless of top quality. 'Ten Commitments' offers up yet more fine examples of why Steve is so highly regarded as a vocalist by the likes of Roger Daltrey and Paul Weller. As well as some excellent self-penned material, Steve also weighs in with some equally fine covers - such as his version of The Beatles' 'Please Please Me', and the Buffalo Springfield opus 'On The Way Home', and delivers them with honest-to-goodness flair and blue-eyed soul power. Steve is no museum piece, 60's relic trading off past glories; he's as vital and driven as ever, and 'Ten Commitments' shows that time simply hasn't laid a glove on his golden vocals. Give it a go - it will bring many rewards in the cold winter nights ahead!


The Castrato and His Wife
The Castrato and His Wife
by Helen Berry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.59

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating..., 28 Sep 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The sound of the Castrato is one which is now lost to us. Apparently, the castrato sound was utterly unlike anything we can now here - not like a woman's voice, or a man's, but somehow inbetween. The only recording of a castrato was made in the very earliest days of recorded technology, and apparently he wasn't one of the best. This book, which concerns the castrato Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci and his bride Dorothea Maunsell allows a peek into the world of Georgian Society, and sheds some light on the kind of 'pop star' life that Tenducci inhabited at the time. Helen Berry writes in a lucid and clear style, that's very easy to read, and yet does manage to convey some of the weight, colour and shade of this unlikely tale. Contemporaries thought that castrati could not have sexual relationships; this book shows that that was not the case. The relationship between the two main characters is explored deftly and revealingly, and all in all, this an absorbing and illuminating read.


The Open Mind of...
The Open Mind of...

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb album from underrated singer-songwriter, 4 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Open Mind of... (Audio CD)
This album is sometimes labelled as 'John D Loudermilk Goes Pyschedelic', which is a real misnomer. Whilst lyrically Loudermilk addresses then contemporary issues such as the Viet Nam War and student unrest (this was 1968, after all), mostly it's not that different to his other albums. Loudermilk is a really underrated talent. He had a great knack for being able to write simple, but not stupid lyrics, on an interesting variety of subjects, and set them to equally simple but melodic and catchy music. He must've earned a fortune from the publishing royalties on songs such as 'Tobacco Road', and perhaps that stopped Loudermilk from being the most prolific of recording artists. He might have a relatively small body of work, but what there is is of very high quality indeed. This reissue of 'The Open Mind' is considerably enhanced with numerous bonus cuts, including his versions of 'Tobacco Road', 'The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian' and 'Ma Baker's Little Acre', all covered successfully by numerous artists. On 'The Open Mind' itself, Loudermilk tackles issues such as racism ('Brown Girl'), but instead of making a grand polemical statement, he couches the strong sentiment in a more measured, wistfully humorous way, that makes the sentiment all the more poignant and powerful as a result. 'The Jones' tackles the issue of the growing influence of TV on people's lives. 'To Hell With Love' is another witty lyrical excursion, wherein he plays a character whose girl friend is into 'Free Love', and he isn't. 'No Playing In The Snow Today' sounds like a very twee Christmas flavoured song, whose theme is actually that of a post nuclear holocaust world! 'Geraldine' is a kind of barbershop item (vocal backing by The Jordanaires), with a sumptuous melody. Cutting a long story short, this is a fine, fine album, beuatifully packaged and hats off to Omni Records of Australia for making this available.


The Remarkable Michael Reeves: His Short and Tragic Life
The Remarkable Michael Reeves: His Short and Tragic Life
by John B. Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Overdue Biography of a Talented Film-Maker, 4 Sep 2011
I first became familiar with the work of Michael Reeves care of a late-night TV screening of the brilliant movie 'Witchfinder General'. As a child, I can vaguely recall the controversy caused by the film, and one of my brothers seeing it at the cinema and raving about it. It's very rarely shown on TV these days, although easily obtainable on DVD, and it is still a vivid and startling piece of film, even if somewhat bleak in its worldview. All the more remarkable in that it stars Vincent Price, who, for the most part, resists his usual tendency to lapse into rank ham acting. This overdue biography of Michael Reeves, 'Witchfinder's' director, is a very illuminating and useful exploration of his tragically brief life, but it is not without its faults. Principally, it is the author John B Murray's tautological lapses that can sometimes lead to the writing getting occasionally bogged down. At times he rather monotonously bangs on about how much Michael Reeves was totally immersed in all aspects of film, how he could reel off lists of the personnel on any given movie, and how Reeves would show a 16mm print of Don Siegel's 'The Killers' at his house when people paid a visit. He restates these facts over and over again, and although this serves to ram home the point of Reeves' utter dedication to his craft, it just makes for a frustrating read. Also, and the author is honest about this from the outset, he makes little or no attempt to apply any critical analysis to Reeves' three movies ('Revenge of the Blood Beast' (renamed 'She Beast in the USA, and available under that title on DVD through Amazon), She Beast [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] 'The Sorcerers'The Sorcerers [DVD], 'Witchfinder General' Witchfinder General [Blu-Ray] [1968]), preferring to write a basic linear biography of Reeves' life and times. As such it is an excellent work, even if could've used a good editor, and is very welcome.

As the years go by, and those that knew Reeves reasonably well, both personally and professionally pass on or simply forget details of events, the importance in a book such as this grows. Like the occasional revivals in interest in forgotten authors or musicians, successive generations of cineastes will no doubt turn on to Reeves work, and Murray's book will be a fine primer for those who want to get under Reeves' skin, as it were. Despite my (slight) critique of his prose style, I still heartily recommend this title for anyone who wants to know more about the wayward genius behind 'Witchfinder General'.


Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns (Deluxe)
Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns (Deluxe)
Price: £15.38

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His Best in too, too long, 9 Aug 2011
Being a John Hiatt fan can often be a frustrating exercise. His album from last year, 'The Open Road' was a three-star record that promised more than it ultimately delivered. However, in what amounts to almost a rush-release, 'Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns' sees Hiatt back in full posession of mojo and with a bit of that ol' righteous indignation that once used to permeate the fabric of his records and had been absent for a while. The opening track, 'Damn This Town', sees Hiatt cast himslef as a fifty-eight year old still living at home with his mother, and boy is he unhappy about it. The fact that the lyric is lashed to one of Hiatt's grittiest tunes helps, and his vocal howl adds to the ire beautifully. He also shuffles his pack of styles and moods brilliantly, too, with songs such as 'Till I Get My Lovin' Back', a haunting country waltz ballad that again sees Hiatt in imperious lovelorn vocal form. Then you can go to the desperate 'Down Around My Place', a desolate piece that presses hard on the mordant pedal. 'Detroit Made' is a paean to a car (one of Hiatt's petrolhead anthems), and there's humour in here too, and a bit of wistful on the 'Adios to California'. 'When New York Had Her Heart Broke' is a song about the 9/11 events of ten years ago, a sensitive and stirring, but never mawkish closer that rounds out a simply superb album. Hats off to producer Kevin Shirley, who made his name producing the likes of Aerosmith. He enshrines Hiatt's best bunch of songs in a long while with a sympathetic sound palette that can be big and broad as well as soft and subtle. This album gets better and better with each listen, and I heartily recommend that you invest in this immediately. It gets five stars,'cause I can't give it six.


Jazzin Up Your Guitar With Paul Pigat [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Jazzin Up Your Guitar With Paul Pigat [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Paul Pigat

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guitar tutorial form a fine player, 2 Aug 2011
Being a guitar player who wants to add different playing styles into his musical palette, I saw Paul Pigat go through a couple of lessons on You Tube, and sought out his tutorial DVDs. I managed to pick this up for twenty-odd quid, and it is very good. Some tutorial DVDs by more well-known names sometimes don't work, because sometimes the player in question is not necessarily adpet at explaining how they do the things they do. Pigat does so in an unfussy, clear way, demonstrates the techniques in a very straightforward way that demystifies the process very well. He may not be a big name, but he's good at what he does. Well worth picking up, if you can get it at a reasonable price, that is.


All of a Sudden
All of a Sudden
Price: £8.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Songs Hamstrung By Clunky 80's Production, 27 July 2011
This review is from: All of a Sudden (Audio CD)
This was John Hiatt's first album for Geffen Records, released in 1982, and came after two albums for Columbia, and two for MCA. There was a bit of a pattern emerging here; no-one doubted Hiatt's talents as a writer - even by 1982, he'd had many notable artists covering his songs - but as a solo singer-songwriter, his success had been middling at best. His at times brutally frank, often painfully honest songs seemed best interpreted by others, and Hiatt had yet to define his style. I don't think that he really came up with a cogent approach until the 'Bring The Family' album in 1987, justly lauded as probably the finest in his career. 'All Of A Sudden' is in some ways, typical of much of Hiatt's recorded works - a third of the album's top notch, a third is good, and a third not very. The best stuff on here is stuff like 'Doll Hospital', a rollicking rockabilly flavoured workout, the jokey 'Marianne', and ballads like 'Forever Yours' and 'My Edge Of The Razor'. His voice is in good shape, and he's not over-straining. Other tracks are just over-worked, and suffer from clattery drums and arrangements that could do with a bit of air being let into them. That being said, Hiatt at not-quite his best still knocks spots off most of his peers. Worth it for under a tenner.


The Very Best Of Chris Spedding
The Very Best Of Chris Spedding
Price: £5.46

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shame He Can't Sing As Well As He Plays Guitar..., 21 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Chris Spedding made his name really as one of the British Music Industry's great guitars-for-hire of the 1970s. Few musicians could include records from ex-Velvet Underground founder John Cale and The Wombles on their musical CV, but that's just two of Spedding's many clients in his time. As a soloist, he recorded three albums for the Harvest label in the early 1970s (including the very rare 'Songs Without Words'), and in the mid-70s signed to Mickie Most's RAK label, home of Mud, Suzi Quatro and Hot Chocolate. Spedding was also one of the very few elder statesmen musicians who gave Punk any kind of positive recognition, and produced the very first Sex Pistols demo recordings. He had a top twenty solo hit with 'Motor Bikin', which he never really followed up, but did release four pretty decent albums for RAK, the best of which are included here. Snag with Spedding though, is that he was never a great singer, and his somewhat thin and characterless voice never matches his guitar playing skill. However, this tidy, inexpensive compilation has some wonderful moments, where his sizzling guitar work really takes off. Spedding still makes albums, and if you're a guitar player like me, there's always something worthwhile to listen to, even if it's not his voice!


Le Chat Bleu
Le Chat Bleu
Price: £12.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of De Ville's Best, if not THE best..., 8 Jun 2011
This review is from: Le Chat Bleu (Audio CD)
When Mink De Ville emerged from the New York scene in the mid-1970s, he was (like rockabilly singer Robert Gordon) a real anomaly. He had little in common with bands like Taking Heads, Patti Smith and Television, and harked back to a pre-Beatles rock and roll era, in many ways. By the time of this album, 'Le Chat Bleu', he had just about jettisoned most of his original backing band, and conspired, with Pop veteran Doc Pomus, to produce an album with sometimes lavish production values, with a bunch of songs that displayed an attractive Latino romanticism. It was as far removed from New York Punk and New Wave as it could get, but shows that De Ville was possessed of a musical vision that made him him unique at the time. Songs like 'You Just Keep Holding On' wears its heart very much on its sleeve, with De Ville crooning harmoniously against a rich, sweeping orchestral backing. Elsewhere, he toys with other styles, such as a sleazy, smokey take on Louis Prima's 'Bad Boy', and 'Mazurka', a fun zydeco romp. He can still rock out a little - 'Lipstick Traces' and 'Savoir Faire' recall some of the Mink De Ville of the 'Cabretta' era, for example, but it's the big, Atlantic Records, Drifters style ballads like 'Just To Walk That Little Girl Home' that give this album its winning edge.

Willy De Ville would inhabit some different stylistic genres between the 1980 release of 'Le Chat Bleu' and his death a couple of years back, especially with his fertile 'New Orleans' era of the 1990s, and make equally fine albums, but 'Le Chat Bleu' served notice that De Ville was a genuine talent, if in something of a commercial wilderness. The bonus tracks are nice to have on this reissue, but the core original album still glitters like a precious jewel, thirty-odd years later. An album I can only heartily recommend to the discerning listener.
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