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W. Bustard (N Ireland)

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Soprano in Hollywood - Lesley Garrett
Soprano in Hollywood - Lesley Garrett
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £1.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some issues!, 12 Nov. 2013
I think I picked this up in a "bargain basket" (perhaps at the demise of Brittania?) as I would not have paid full price for something like this.

There is a great set of songs from the movies - 56 minutes - with excellent orchestration and production.
Ms Garrett sings with clear diction and hits her notes very well.

Why only 2 stars?? Listening over a period one has a growing sense of a slightly "nasal" quality to Ms Garrett's singing (as if she had a cold) that eventually becomes rather irritating and spoils the show! (I don't know her work well enough to know if this is normal in her recordings)

Offered by Direct Entertainment UK
Price: £3.77

4.0 out of 5 stars SHame about the finale..., 12 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Premiere (Audio CD)
This is certainly an impressive debut with some lovely songs beautifully performed - just so long as you remember to stop before the last song Cwm Rhondda/Bread of Heaven. This track is backed by every orchestra and military band that could be found for the occasion and is - in my opinion - ridiculous. What a shame!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Well done Harold!, 4 Feb. 2013
I very much enjoyed this story, as several late bedtimes confirm. What I most loved is the sense of possibilities that one might learn and change in later years - hope for me yet? The exploration of loss and failure is very powerful.

One thing that undermined the realism of what has to be an eccentric tale is that in the very last stage of the pilgrimage Harold seems to have forgotten that only a couple of days earlier he was clearly on the very edge of survival - mentally and physically within a whisker of complete breakdown, and without his spectacles - but then he arrives apparently in good shape, and with a little TLC from his wife is as good as new. The author can't have missed this - was it a case of clumsy editing?

Otherwise brilliant.

The Best of The Proclaimers
The Best of The Proclaimers
Price: £8.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great songs, raw energy, & fantastic value, 10 Jun. 2010
I just love this album. Every song is brilliant - and they are packed in! About 20 tracks - well over an hour. Unusually for a "Best of" collection the notes include all the lyrics and other notes, which is great.

The best known [500 miles, Letter from America, etc] are here, but beauties like "Let's get married" & "Act of Remembrance" soon become favourites.

I heard them play in Belfast soon after I bought this and what a treat that was - they didn't pause for breath - the audience was almost as exhausted as they were by the end.

If you want an introduction to fantastic pop/rock/folk music, written and sung without apology by a great band from Scotland, this is a brilliant introduction that you'll return to many times.

Jayber Crow
Jayber Crow
by Wendell Berry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.22

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and engaging, 26 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Jayber Crow (Paperback)
My first novel by Wendell Berry, who is something of a "prophetic voice" in areas like community and sustainable living. I bought the book having heard Berry interviewed on the BBC, and found him a most interesting character - apparently swimming upstream against the flood of mainstream culture. (And God knows we need intelligent people who can and will do that!)

Jayber Crow's life is very different to mine (UK/Ireland) but I thoroughly enjoyed the story which is very well written and with engaging characters. There is an interesting episode of conversion/enlightenment where Jayber changes his ways, but not in a heavily religious way that might "put off" many readers.

If you like stories that get inside the character's mind and explore important issues of love and loyalty then you may well engage with this one, even though it is set in a small town of little significance beyond the lives of its residents.

The House Of The Spirits
The House Of The Spirits
by Isabel Allende
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling, 26 Nov. 2009
This is far from my normal taste in fiction, but it is strangely compelling. This is partly because many of the characters are characatures - weird and wonderful and wacky aristicrats in Latin America, over a few generations, swept through social, political and economic seasons of prosperity and loss. All the "cast" tend to be weird and wonderful/terrible - and then a lot more so - like a cartoon story. If he's good, he's a saint; if bad, a devil!

What kept me with the book was often extended passages of prose that sweep one along - congratulations to the trasnslator! Much of the storyline is bordering ridiculous, but nonetheless if you can suspend normal critical faculties for an hour at bedtime, it's often good fun, informative, and enjoyable. One gets a flavour of how Peru or wherever has changed over the last few generations.

One recurring theme is what we might call "the sins of the fathers re-visiting the children", as violence and domination come around in following generations, and it is worth reading for this sobering message if nothing else. (But then there's always "history" for that...)

Songs Without Words
Songs Without Words
Price: £10.78

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!, 26 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Songs Without Words (Audio CD)
I've listened to this so often and it is always a joy. And if I'm stuck for a modest gift, it's always very well received - we must have given away 8 - 10 copies!

People Have Names
People Have Names

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Golden" is not an over-statement, 25 May 2009
This review is from: People Have Names (Audio CD)
I have several of Juliet's albums and have heard her live a few times. This album is genuinely excellent, and I would say the best yet, with lovely/challenging/clever lyrics, some a little tongue-in-cheek, others sincere and thought-provoking. There's also great mucic, which is melodic and interesting but never over-done, and some brilliant backing vocals. And JT's clear and true voice, carrying her County Tyrone (Ulster/Northern Ireland) accent that she doesn't try to disguise.
"Elder of the Tribe" or "People have names" are worth the album price alone.
I'd recommend to anyone who likes original singer-songwriter collections, especially from a very talented woman who sings and writes about things that matter - life, love, justice...

Bach - Partitas Nos 1, 3 and 6
Bach - Partitas Nos 1, 3 and 6
Price: £36.50

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite delightful, 1 Jan. 2008
This music is clearly technically difficult/demanding, but it is melodic and lovely, and played with great dexterity by Mr Goode. No 3, #4 Sarabande is a favourite.

I play this CD often and recommend it highly. (I'm not a musician, so that's all I can say)

Together: The Complete Studio Recordings
Together: The Complete Studio Recordings
Price: £6.83

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 17 Jan. 2006
I heard the last track - Concerto De Aranjuez - played late one night on Lyric FM (Irish clasical/jazz station) and they helped me trace this album. This track is 20 minutes of bliss, building from "almost nothing" and weaving through the melodies - definitely going to my desert island. Lock the door, unplug the phone, brew some tea/uncork a bottle (according to taste) and get lost in the magic! The other tracks are terrific too, although I like the vocal track least. I hope you enjoy as much as me.

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