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Brian I Davidson

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The Best Of
The Best Of
Price: 9.47

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Derivative but Always Delightful, 15 April 2012
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This review is from: The Best Of (Audio CD)
I decided to buy this compilation after seeing Liverpool Express on Top Of The Pops '76/'77 of late.

The CD is over 50 minutes in duration and contains 16 songs .

It will be clear to anyone who is familiar with the music of The Beatles ,Wings/Paul McCartney and John Lennon that Liverpool Express have been massively influenced by these artists.They have made no secret of the influence of The Beatles upon their songs (EG their song 'John,George ,Ringo and Paul') but they are certainly more than a tribute act !

Paul McCartney has stated his personal admiration for 'You Are My Love' and the other songs on this CD are also really likeable .'Julian The Hooligan' is perhaps one of the most modern sounding songs here ;the riff is very akin to one that Blur would be proud of . I found myself grinning broadly as I listened to this CD for the first time because Liverpool Express have managed to use their Beatles influence intelligently and delightfully .'Margie' is a beautiful McCartneyesque piece whilst 'Take it Easy With My Heart' is a superb Lennon inspired song.

Mention must be given to Billy Kinsley's convincing vocals that really help to bring the tunes to life .I found the song 'So Here I Go Again' to be very similar to the 1968 Mary Hopkin hit 'Those Were The Days' whilst 'So What?'(1983) would not seem to be out of place on Christopher Cross 's early albums.These are observations rather than criticisms as I enjoy both of these songs. The last third of this compilation has a slight hint of a more transatlantic/ Soul quality to the music at certain times but there is no lessening of the standard set by the earlier work .

Let's face it many fine bands including ELO and 10cc have had huge success making use of their Beatles influences in their musical careers so why not Liverpool Express ? I have to say that I really enjoy listening to this CD and I am pleased that I decided to buy it !

Once Around The Sun
Once Around The Sun
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Music that Shines like the Sun!, 8 April 2012
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This review is from: Once Around The Sun (Audio CD)
I decided to buy this album on the strength of hearing only one piece of music ( August) recently on a late night radio station (Lyric FM's 'Blue of the Night').Prior to this I had no idea who Joby Talbot was.

The album contains 12 tracks ,each of which is a piece corresponding to an individual month of the year.Also included are 3 bonus tracks which actually pre date the main collection of songs.This totally instrumental album lasts roughly 72 minutes in total ,with the bonus tracks making up 25 minutes of this total.

There are informative notes included that detail Joby's particular inspirations for each piece as well as interesting details concerning the writing processes and circumstances linked to each piece of music.

Regarding the 12 tracks that make up the original album ,there are no weak links .My favourite pieces are 'March(seed capsule)' , 'May (cumulonimbus)' ,'June (transit of Venus) ' ,'August(cloudpark)'and 'December(polarisation)'.Let me tell you that the bonus tracks are every bit as excellent as the best of the main songs and are in a similar vein musically .

They also use similar instrumentation.All of the tracks were written by Joby and he plays piano throughout.The other instruments are violin(Everton Nelson),cello (Chris Worsey) ,percussion(Rob Farrer)and Harp(Manon Morris).I am pleased that I purchased this delightful album ,full of moods and changing atmospheres and sentiments, and I consider it to be a hidden gem . Why don't you give it a listen for yourself ?

Nordic Quartet
Nordic Quartet
Price: 14.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, Stark and Desolate but Compelling !, 4 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Nordic Quartet (Audio CD)
I found this album(recorded in Oslo in 1994) to be a mixed bag .It certainly is not without it's faults but there are also elements of ,dare I say it ,genius to be found herein .

All four musicians are obviously very accomplished;I believe that three are Norwegian with John Surman being English.Surman plays Saxophones and Clarinets and contributes his writing talents on six of the nine songs .Terji Rypdal is the guitarist (who contributes to the writing of three songs),Vigleik Storaas plays piano and he wrote/co-wrote two of the songs whilst Karin Krog is the vocalist and co-writer of four of the compositions.

Let me get the negatives off my chest first ! Too often the playing of Surman and ,to a slightly lesser degree, Rypdal appear to be too loud within the mix at inappropriate moments.This is illustrated from the beginning of the opening track 'Traces 'where Karin Korg's spoken intro is swamped by the guitar work of Rypdal.Another observation throughout the album is that it isn't particularly melodic in general(there I have said it !). But this may not be a criticism as such, as the music may appeal to other listeners who will appreciate work that puts an emphasis on other aspects such as sonic textures and experimental improvisation etc.

There are several instrumentals here and one that showcases the skilful and innovative electric guitar playing of Rypdal is 'Gone to the Dogs'. I think that Jeff Beck may have been influenced by Rypdal's playing .I can hear similarities to Terji Rypdal's sound and playing style on parts of Beck's 1999 album'Who Else?'and also to material (EG 'Suspension')from Jeff's 2001 album 'You Had It Coming'.

My favourite songs on the album are 'Watching Shadows' and 'Wild Bird'.Concerning 'Watching Shadows' let me say that this song contains ,what are for me ,the two strongest elements throughout the album I.E the combination of Storaas's piano and Korg's singing.This is a fine song indeed ! 'Wild Bird' is my other favourite song on the album .

On 'Wild Bird ' the musicians gel together brilliantly .Every now and then one hears a piece of music and realizes that it is very special ;'Wild Bird' falls into this category !This song of brooding atmosphere is quite unique and makes the album worth purchasing all on it's own !

The inner group photograph of the musicians shows a smiling ,happy bunch of people but what they have created here is dark, brooding and even ,at times, menacing music . There is a certain desolate atmosphere about this album that Radiohead often strive for . On this album Nordic Quartet have captured an altogether eerie and .at times, affecting piece of work .

As I said at the beginning of this review it can be patchy and inconsistent but the attributes contained herein make this a piece of work that is unique and definitely well worth investigating !

Belle And Sebastien - The Complete First Series [1967] [DVD]
Belle And Sebastien - The Complete First Series [1967] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Edmond Beauchamp
Price: 8.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful TV Series to Cherish !, 12 Feb 2012
This excellent 2x DVD has a running time of 325minutes approx' and is presented over 13 wonderful episodes in B/W .It was first broadcast on the BBC from October 2nd to December 26th 1967 but I remember, with great fondness, watching this series as a child in the early/mid 1970's.

The show is set in the French Alps close to the border with Italy.All of the actors play memorable characters brilliantly but the stars of the show are 8 years old Sebastian who is played by Medhi ( and is the son of the late actress and author Cecile Aubry , whose books were adapted to create the series).And ,of course ,Belle the magnificent Pyrenean Mountain Dog. According to a book entitled 'TV Heaven' by Jim Sangster and Paul Condon, Cecile Aubry also directed episodes ,but her name is not credited as having directed any of these episodes from this first series on the DVD set case.Perhaps she directed episodes from the follow-up series,'Belle ,Sebastian and the Horses' which the aforementioned book claims was shown on UK screens the year after the first series was shown.I must admit that I cannot remember watching any other but this first series ,although I know that a second series ,with this name ,exists .One note of caution concerning the book 'TV Heaven' is that it refers to Cecile Aubry as being male! She was ,of course, a beautiful ,feminine looking ,blonde actress !

The dog's real name is announced ,(at the end of the cast list,during the introduction) as what sounds like "Klonke" .I wonder if the female narrator is actually saying "Blanche"(with an accent over the letter 'e') ? In this case the name would possibly translate into English as "Whitey" in reference to the colour of the dog's coat . A French chap once informed me that the dog's actual name was in fact 'Joker' , so who knows ? Whatever the case may be ,this impressive looking dog is one of the finest that I have ever seen !

The series has the option of either listening to voices dubbed into English (with mild French accents ) or the original French dialogue .I have watched these DVDs several times over the last few years and, even as an adult, I have greatly enjoyed the experience.This has definitely stood the test of time and contains a strong and engaging story line.

The theme tune(written by Daniel White and sang by Medhi )is absolutely superb. It has to be one of the best theme songs from a children's(or any other) TV show ever.I rate the theme song to be right up there with the themes to 'White Horses'(sang so well by the legendary Jacky Lee),'The Lightning Tree ' which is the theme song to 'Follyfoot'( performed by the much under- rated band, The Settlers)and the theme tune to the 'Robinson Crusoe'TV series.

I have often wondered what happened to the actors and actresses (E.G Paloma Matta,who played "pretty" Angelina) in the years after Belle and Sebastian.Another thing that occurs to me is the question of the elderly actress who plays the part of the doctor's cantankerous housekeeper in the series .Could her distinctive character have been the inspiration for the Scottish TV soap opera, 'Take the High Road's character Mrs Mac ? Just a thought ! I would recommend 'Belle and Sebastian' to people ,of any generation, who have either never watched it previously or who have fond memories of the show from years gone by . It will certainly always have a special place in my affections !

The Ship of Seven Murders: A True Story of Madness and Murder
The Ship of Seven Murders: A True Story of Madness and Murder
by Alannah Hopkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.62

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic, True Story Revealed from the Mists of History, 5 Feb 2012
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This book held my attention from the first page to the last page.The writing style is very accessible ,unpretentious and engaging throughout.The story seems to have been researched very well considering how long ago the events happened.There are also some B/W photographs(although not glossy!) included to illustrate the subject matter .The authors,Alannah Hopkin and Kathy Bunney deserve credit for their achievement in bringing this almost forgotten,tragic (but compelling) episode to the attention of readers today in such an informed , engrossing and gripping style.Recommended !

The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty
by Caroline Alexander
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wrong Put Right !, 29 Jan 2012
Having enjoyed reading Caroline Alexander's earlier superb book ,'Endurance' I was keen to read 'The Bounty'.

This book is honourable in it's attempt to tell the true story of what happened concerning the events on The Bounty and, in my opinion, it succeeds in it's aim.It is detailed and comprehensive (being 410 pages + in length) yet easy to read and digest.

I was interested to read about the sequence of events (in the form of earlier, biased writings ,the Hollywood film etc )that fuelled the myth that Fletcher Christian was a hero(who had been badly wronged) and the lies that Lieutenant Bligh was a brutish tyrant.

There are glossy pages of illustrations,paintings and old photographs (colour and B/W)of people,places and items of interest to the story .I particularly enjoyed looking at the pictures of the Isle Of Man ( one from 1795 and the other from 1804).

The author has succeeded in giving us a fine ,historical account that hopefully will go some way to putting a seriously untruthful (previously promoted) account right and I say that she should be commended for doing so !

Light and Death: One Doctor's Fascinating Account of Near-death Experiences
Light and Death: One Doctor's Fascinating Account of Near-death Experiences
by Michael B. Sabom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.84

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Scientific Study of Near-Death-Experiences, 22 Jan 2012
Written by a cardiologist, who is a Christian,this book is a sincere and honest investigation into the Near-Death-Experience.The detailed account of Pam Reynold's experience is extremely compelling and convincing.I was also interested to read how some other authors and commentators on N.D.E's have changed their stories as time has passed.This book ,to me however, seems to be quite comprehensive and I get the impression that it's author has managed to give us a study of integrity and truth in contrast to the fodder that clutters this subject.

The Boy in the Attic: The Chilling, Real-Life Story of a Satanic Murder and the Truth that Haunts
The Boy in the Attic: The Chilling, Real-Life Story of a Satanic Murder and the Truth that Haunts
by David Malone
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.18

4.0 out of 5 stars The Satanic Murder of an Innocent Child (Ireland,1973), 22 Jan 2012
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This telling of the true story of a heinous ,evil, child murder in a small village in Dublin in 1973 makes for a gripping read.David Malone sets the story within the context of the influence of the Catholic church on Irish society at this point in history.I found the book to be very easy to read ,interesting, and one that grabbed my attention page after page.I did ,however ,find that the book lost some of it's momentum just past the half way point due to a section about legal matters.This was soon rectified and my interest was revived in the book and it then proceeded to finish on a strong note .Overall I would rate this book as being very good and definitely worth reading .

The Album
The Album
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 6.81

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect ABBA ?, 12 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Album (Audio CD)
A near perfect album here from Abba that is possibly their very best !This album is well rounded with real musical depth and no really weak efforts are present to spoil the party .

The superb 'Eagle '( largely sang by Frida and Agnetha in unison)is the opening track and, in my opinion, is probably Abba's most under-rated song.Next is the classic 'Take a Chance on Me 'which ,of course, never disappoints .The third track is a hidden gem in the Abba catalogue called 'One Man, One Woman'which is followed by 'The Name of The Game'(featuring heartfelt vocals from Agnetha).This song will always be in my top three ,personal favourite, Abba songs.'Eagle' and 'Take A Chance On Me' are also in my top 10 Abba list (5th and 8th respectively).After this incredibly strong start comes 'Move On' ,another fine song (where Frida's vocals are warm and relaxed) that definitely deserves it's place amongst the group's lesser known,quality songs.'Hole in Your Soul' is not one of my favourite Abba songs, although it is catchy and proved to be a live favourite and many other fans love it.

Finally we come to a "mini musical" called 'The Girl With The Golden Hair' featuring Agnetha as it's focus.Here we have one of the best and most interesting songs/projects/experiments in the group's career.'The Girl With The Golden Hair' consists of three parts .The first of these is the wonderful 'Thank you For The Music'.The middle section is a contemplative song called 'I Wonder (Departure)and the third, and final, part is a dramatic and exciting ,yet strangely melancholic song entitled 'I'm A Marionette'.

If you are new to their music and you are wondering which Abba album to buy first then you cannot go wrong in choosing 'The Album' . And ,of course, every fan of the group will usually end up (as I have done)seeking out ,and purchasing, all of their brilliant work.

50 Words for Snow
50 Words for Snow
Price: 8.85

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate's Brilliantly Evocative Winter Delight !, 10 Jan 2012
This review is from: 50 Words for Snow (Audio CD)
This is Kate's first album of original songs since Aerial.I must admit that I generally prefer her earlier work but this album is ,in my opinion ,definitely right up there with those early gems.

Of course it is different and unique in it's own right.In general the music here is in the same vein as 'A Coral Room'from Aerial in terms of feel and pace. I rate 50 Words' as better than Aerial.In fact,it sits comfortably alongside The Dreaming and The Hounds of Love without seeming to look inferior in the company of these two amazing albums.

It holds together extremely well as a rounded and cohesive musical statement sounding warm and intimate and rich in atmosphere .Some have criticised the contributions of Stephen Fry and Elton John but they both do a wonderful job here . Elton John produces the most committed and passionate vocals and they definitely do the song real justice.Stephen Fry appears on the title track where Kate's vocals sound fresh and exciting;bringing to my mind her vocals from the superb climatic section on Aerial's 'Nocturn';great stuff !

Many previous reviews have covered the album in terms of each individual song.I have deliberately avoided doing the same thing but I will finish by stating that my personal favourite song is Snowflake.
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