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Brian Davidson

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Bella Donna
Bella Donna
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £5.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Debut Solo Album From Stevie, 20 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Bella Donna (Audio CD)
Having owned 'Wild Heart' (which is the second of Stevie's solo albums), for many years , I eventually purchased 'Bella Donna' . There seems to be a discussion as to which of these fine albums is the greater. Personally I have a slight preference for 'Wild Heart' but I have to say that ' Bella Donna' is without doubt also a fine piece of work It also happens to include one of my favourite songs ever in ' Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' .
Other standout tracks for me include ' Edge of Seventeen' , 'Kind of Woman' and also ' Outside The Rain'

There is a strong country flavour to some of the songs here and 'After the Glitter Fades' is very similar both musically and lyrically to what would become a typical Nanci Griffith piece .

The production , courtesy of Jimmy Levine , is really superb as is the strong influence of the excellent musicians who contribute here such as Tom Petty and his band member colleagues in particular .

All in all I have no hesitation in recommending this superior album to anyone with an appreciation for strong compositions , played and produced to virtual perfection and sang with heart and soul by the very unique Ms Nicks ...


Naomi's Room
Naomi's Room
by Jonathan Aycliffe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Different Writing Styles are Evident, 25 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Naomi's Room (Paperback)
The vast bulk of this book is appealing for the following reasons...

The story is immediately easy to engage with as well as being very easy to read and to follow. I really enjoyed most of the book but unfortunately my appreciation began to quickly evaporate during the last third of the book.

The reason for my disappointment in the latter stage of the book is simply because the whole approach changes from the earlier classic , atmospheric ghost story style into a rather boringly salacious ,modern treatment full of unwanted sexual deviancy and blood and gore. The author should have stuck with the style, content and approach that is evident throughout the bulk of the book. Instead I feel that the author has essentially diminished the integrity of the whole novel because of the failings of the last part of the book .


Lost in the Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Adventure and Survival
Lost in the Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Adventure and Survival
by Yossi Ghinsberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Slow Beginning but a Stronger Conclusion, 25 Feb. 2014
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I found that this book was initially difficult to engage with . The characters ( as they are portrayed here ) weren't particularly likeable and I certainly wasn't in the least bit impressed by their immature, cavalier attitude to exploration and adventure. The thing that I hated most was the seeming glorification and often wanton killing of wildlife and the macho attitude of 'the hunter' that was often graphically portrayed .However...

The book really took off as it progressed into the second half . I would encourage readers to stick with the book because the conclusion ( even considering the fact that some things remained unresolved) is strong ,powerful and quite affecting.


Edge Of Time
Edge Of Time
Price: £11.91

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold,Free and Expressive Jazz Statement, 29 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Edge Of Time (Audio CD)
Released originally in 1972 , this album is full of unabridged experimentation and wild creative musical expression , particularly from Norma herself .It is difficult to choose particular favourites because the whole collection of songs work so successfully as a cohesive whole. I highly recommend this unique piece of work to any lover of bold , risk-taking free Jazz .


2 For 1: Outlandos D'Amour / Regatta De Blanc
2 For 1: Outlandos D'Amour / Regatta De Blanc
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £7.15

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Police's Two Best Albums, 1 Jan. 2014
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'Outlandos D'Amour' and 'Regatta De Blanc' are the first two of The Police's album releases and they are also their two greatest albums in my opinion. The subsequent albums obviously also contained several big hits each but these first two albums are generally stronger in terms of depth of interesting material ,experimentation , attitude , energy and overall musical (and often lyrical) interest.

The sound quality on both of the discs is excellent .

The Police really brought something unique and very special to the music scene and the musicianship ,particularly from Copeland (drums) and Summers (guitar), is so exciting and essential. These factors combined with Sting's unique vocal style and creative song-writing assured the massive success that they achieved . It should also be noted that Stewart Copeland also contributed his writing skills very effectively to both of the albums in question.


Into Africa: The Epic Adventures Of Stanley And Livingstone
Into Africa: The Epic Adventures Of Stanley And Livingstone
by Martin Dugard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An Engrossing Book, 24 Nov. 2013
This book , written by Martin Dugard, retells the legendary story of Livingstone and Stanley .

The book contains 316 pages ( with the addition of extra pages of acknowledgements and notes to follow).I have now read this particular book twice and I can report that I found it to be engrossing and exhilarating .

The various trials and tribulations of both men are given to us in great detail ( in relation to their overall lives and personal histories and also to their experiences within Africa itself) .The book also takes a 'warts'n'all' approach when describing the personalities and behaviour of these two men .I felt that I was really getting to know what made each man tick the more that I progressed further into the story.

This book seems to be very comprehensive and it's account is told in a gripping fashion that avoids ever being either overly sentimental or (on the other extreme) boringly academic. In summary this book is a riveting and exciting work which is also very educational .


Transparence
Transparence
Price: £12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Accessible Jazz Guitar Album, 23 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Transparence (Audio CD)
Listening to this particular album reminds one of the reason why none other than Jazz giant Charles Mingus gave Philip Catherine the nick-name 'Young Django' in reference to the similarity in terms of guitar playing style/musicianship to the legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt . Praise for a guitarist's worth doesn't get any higher than this !

This is a completely instrumental album recorded on Nov'24th and 25th 1986. The musicians are Philip Catherine- guitar
, Hain Van de Geyn- Acoustic bass and Aldo Romano- Drums. These three musicians make up the 'Philip Catherine Trio' and here they are joined by Michel Herr- Synthesizers and Diederick Wissels- Acoustic piano.

The album lasts a total of 51+ minutes and Philip wrote 8 out of the 10 compositions .I actually enjoy the songs written by Philip the most on the album . My favourite songs here are 'Transparence', 'L'eternal Desire', 'Father Christmas' ( which is noteworthy because it contains beautiful piano ) and 'April Blue' which has a big band swing feel ( and which also concludes the album).

This collection of full of melodic compositions and demonstrates wonderfully accomplished musicianship from all concerned. Philip's playing really shines here with the combination of lyricism, joyous melody and a great sense of conveying freedom .All these qualities are combined with his technical command of the guitar .This album never sounds stuffy or boring and one of the things that I personally like most about it is the fact that it is a really accessible and easy album to get into.


Plays Chopin
Plays Chopin
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Joy Of Chopin, 17 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Plays Chopin (Audio CD)
This cd lasts for a total of 67+ minutes and contains expert musicianship courtesy of noted Chopin specialist Alicja Fiderkiewicz. She treats Chopin's music with an integrity of understanding that never hints at over-sentimentality or of any hint of blandness.

The sound production quality is very clear and articulate and the music has been recorded in a manner which often makes me think that I am occupying the same room as the player ! The sound is warm, full, rich and ambient but yet it does not lack detail in the least .

The two atmospheric Op48 Nocturnes are amongst my own personal favourites to be included here .The Mazurkas are also enjoyable (even if they are not quite as appealing to my own tastes) and the collection finishes with a real highlight in the form of A flat Polonaise, Op.61. Here again, Fiderkiewicz really demonstrates her wonderful talent both as a player and also as a superb interpreter of Chopin . This particular piece of music lasts for almost 14 minutes in duration .

This album has grown on me since I purchased it several years ago at the time of it's original release .I definitely recommend it for all admirers of superior piano playing applied to the music of Chopin.


Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £6.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Genius ?, 15 Nov. 2013
I remember hearing this album at the time of it's release .It was unlike anything I had encountered previously and it made a strong impression upon me. Others who were raving about this album (and this group) at that time were none other than Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and also Radiohead .

The album combines gentle, melancholic acoustic sounds with sometimes savage, distorted guitar and also with tortured ,surreal lyrical content. These sonic considerations are played out on several extremely melodic / catchy tunes throughout the course of the album.

'Genius' is an over-used word these days and so, has become cheapened as a result within the minds of those who hear it mentioned .This particular album , however, is a rare example where the word 'genius' is probably justified when we consider the unique and brilliantly original inventiveness and musical vision that are evident here.


This House Is Haunted
This House Is Haunted
by John Boyne
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Ghostly Tale told in a Classic Style, 19 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: This House Is Haunted (Paperback)
This novel should definitely appeal to those of us who have also read 'The Woman in Black' by Susan Hill . The style is similarly easy to engage with although it should be noted that 'This House is Haunted' is a slightly longer book containing a total of 297 pages. Another positive aspect common to both novels , in my opinion, is the absence of gratuitous swear words ( or in fact , any swearing) .

A negative aspect to this book is that it can tend to be slightly clichéd and predictable at times. This is all too aptly illustrated when the heroine of the book goes into an overtly anti-biblical/ anti-Christian rant when conversing with a vicar who (surprise , surprise) is rendered impotent to give a satisfactory answer to objections to the Christian faith that she had expressed. It actually seemed to me that this was most probably the author's own personal (typically modern, trendy ) view being showcased through the character instead of what the heroine would most likely have thought herself when one considers the context of the time in which the book is set .

This unfortunate section aside , I did quite enjoy reading the rest of the novel and I liked the style in which it has been written but I have a slight preference for 'The Woman in Black' overall.


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