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G. Seabrook (Bristol)
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Today
Today
Price: £12.73

5.0 out of 5 stars A true blues genius, 27 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Today (Audio CD)
Mississippi John Hurt, just about the best finger picking bluesman the world hasn't heard about. But for the fact my colleague is a talented guitarist with an ear for good music I wouldn't have either. Mr Hurt has a good story and good music, but first the story........

John Hurt was a farmhand in the 1920s, and started to play guitar at the age of 9 (self taught). He made his first recordings in 1928 (aged 36), which bombed commercially. After this, as far as I can make out, he pretty much went to ground back to farm work. In the early 1960s he was `discovered' again, and the likes of Bob Dylan and his contemporaries took a keen interest. Between the years of 1963 and 1966 John Hurt made several recordings. He died at the age of 73 in 1966.

That's the story, here's the music. I'm no expert and was signposted to `Today' as a must have recording. This is a very, very good album. If you like your guitar finger picked and your music heartfelt blues, look no further. This is an album of timeless, breathless, class that will make you wish you'd seen the man perform. So, what do we have with this album? Twelve songs of utter genius is the answer. It's hard to review this album without repeating myself, so I'm going to pick out a favourite. `Make me a pallet on the floor' edges it, but only just. I could have picked any song on this album.

A true genius - tell your friends


The Descendants [DVD]
The Descendants [DVD]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional journey, 25 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Descendants [DVD] (DVD)
This is a warmly observed absolute peach of a film that will live long in the memory. I don't think George Clooney does bad films or, if he does, I have certainly not seen them. His performance in the Descendants is absolutely colossal. He plays Matt King, a successful land baron who has to come to terms with the fact his wife is in a coma after a recent motor boating accident. Matt has to rally his two daughters round him as he slowly comes to terms with what has happened.

To say this film has an emotional charge would be undercooking it something chronic. As Matt pulls together his own family in addition to his extended family, he has to wrestle with his conscience about a family land deal that could see extensive building development on his home of Hawaii, but bring him riches beyond his wildest dreams. During the midst of all this he slowly learns details about his wife's life that he never knew about.

The film is littered with outstanding performances, but those of Clooney and Shailene Woodley (playing one of Clooney's two daughters) are in another realm.

A straight down the middle ten out of ten - Absolutely brilliant


Hard Bargain
Hard Bargain
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Hard Bargain (Audio CD)
I have just been introduced to Emmylou Harris and it makes me ask the question `Have I been living off planet'? This album is absolutely superb. When albums as good as this are released, it makes you wonder just where in the pantheons of music a better collection of songs will appear.

`Hard Bargain' is country folk. It embraces this genre with aplomb, but never falling into that lame, middle ground territory that it seems all so easy to drop into. Emmylou Harris possesses a unique voice that in a heartbeat can change from engaging soulful to haunting beautiful.

A brilliant album and highly recommended.


The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking
Price: £4.54

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waters at his best, 1 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just rediscovered this album. One of the downfalls of having your vinyl collection (temporarily) non resident is that you can't play albums you absolutely pored over in your younger years.

I think I actually prefer this album the second time around. It is so rich in texture that, if it were a chocolate gateau, it would come with a health warning.

I wasn't ever the biggest Pink Floyd fan but, for me, it leaves everything Floyd did in its wake. Why? Because it has a structure, a story, that dictates a natural flow through the album. I know this is a concept album but the music, in some way, has a resonance with my own hitch hiking experiences. Now that I cannot explain. Maybe it's the (sometimes) craziness of the experience that is a very personal thing.

I think `The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking' represents a musical master class that underlines just what it takes to record an album of ambient beauty. Waters guitar playing and vocals have never sounded so haunting and engaging. Nudging, prodding, easing and ultimately leaving you in a better place. This album will leave you with an opinion, whether you love it or hate it. I don't think it lends itself to ambivalence.

I was trying to work out exactly why this is and ultimately I think it comes down to depth. This album has depth plus. This is perhaps best illustrated in the first 22 seconds of the album. It starts with the gentle ticking of a clock, followed by what (I think) sounds like something coming towards you at great speed. There is a collision, and then a gentle voice announces `wake up you're dreaming'. BANG, you're in. What follows is a 42 minute journey. AND that's the thing. I really do think this album should be listened to in its entirety.

Enough platitudes. Someone has very kindly uploaded the whole album onto you tube so check it out for yourselves.

Brilliant


Well Balanced
Well Balanced
Offered by MMT-UK
Price: £34.55

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Music, 22 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Well Balanced (Audio CD)
For me, there are two types of chill out album. Firstly, there are albums you can relax to. For example, in this category I would put Air's `Moon Safari'.

Then there are albums that take you to an ethereal place and make you want to do yoga, meditate or be consumed by a beautiful sunset. This album would be in the latter category. Oliver Shanti creates musicscapes. A musical world you can drift into whilst leaving the physical body firmly rooted on terra firma.

This album is an absolute colossus of relaxation. A true testament to the calming effect that music can have. I swear this country would be a more chilled place, if music like this was played on daytime radio.

An absolute must have


Work Harder & One Day You'll Find Her
Work Harder & One Day You'll Find Her

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 12 Oct. 2011
If you looked up Melancholic Genius in the dictionary, I suspect you'd find a picture of Barney Morse-Brown (Duotone) holding a copy of `Work Harder & One Day You'll Find Her'. He's the man behind this album. He's also the cello player in the folk group amalgam called Imagined Village.

This work is a piece of reflective genius. A journey into a dark place, that is not always comfortable listening. It's like hearing the subdued scream of a lost man. And that's what makes it so compelling. This is a tortured soul, committing himself to recorded output.

I saw Duotone play in a Bristol pub (Leftbank 29 September 2011) to around 20 people. Morse-Brown looped the cello, sang and played guitar like the room was full. At the time I didn't realise what I was hearing - I bought this CD on the night and, my gosh, do I realise now.

These are songs that really do deserve to be heard. Aside from the musical arrangements, this album is a man talking through his instruments. He's obviously talented, but what sets this album aside is its melancholic beauty and heart wrenching sadness.

Compulsive listening.


The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada [DVD]
The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada [DVD]
Dvd ~ Barry Pepper
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Classic, 1 Aug. 2011
This film begs the question - has Tommy Lee Jones been in a bad film? I'm no expert, and maybe I've just seen the good ones! However, it's a credit to his acting skills that he has an eclectic film history, from sci-fi comedy `Men in Black' to brutal thriller `No Country for Old Men'. 'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada' is something different again. A brooding, modern day, Western.

The central theme of the film is the relationship between Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) and Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cesar Cedillo). Pete is a cattle ranch foreman who works with, and forms a bond with, Melquiades after he illegally enters the United States from Mexico. After Melquiades is murdered, Pete attempts to find the culprit and fulfil a wish his good friend has asked of him. This brings him into contact with the local police force and, in particular, a border control policeman called Mike Norton (Barry Pepper). The local police aren't interested in solving the case, and so Pete undertakes some unique detective work of his own, leading to the culpability of the aforementioned Mike Norton.

I don't want to give anything away. This is a subtle film driven by the detailed attention to nuances in a few central characters. It won Tommy Lee Jones a Best Actor award (he also directed) at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, and rightly so. It's worth saying that Barry Pepper's performance as Officer Mike Norton is quite brilliant, and a perfect foil for the hardened ranchman played by Tommy Lee Jones.

An unexpected classic.


Hunky Dory
Hunky Dory
Price: £6.25

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands the test of time, 11 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hunky Dory (Audio CD)
I guess the test of true song writing ability is when songs can sound as good today as when they were released 40 years ago (Hunky Dory was released in 1971). What can I say? One look at the track listing is enough to see how many classic Bowie songs are here - `Changes', `Oh! You pretty things', `Life on Mars?', `Kooks', `Andy Warhol', `Queen Bitch'. This is not to say the other songs aren't classics, but anyone who embraced Bowie whilst they were growing up will be as familiar with these tracks as the alphabet.

So what does `Hunky Dory' Remastered (released in 1999) give us that's new? To be honest, I'm not sure! I'm familiar with Bowie probably most on record and tape. That probably gives me an age of 100 or something. What's my point? Well, you obviously don't get the scratches and hiss of the aforementioned medium, but you still get the same songs. Classics. If that makes me a heathen then I'm guilty as charged.

`Hunky Dory' is a listening delight, remastered or otherwise. Stand out tracks? I'm going to pick out one amongst the many. This probably changes on a daily basis, but with a gun to my head I'd have to say `Queen Bitch'. It's got a killer riff, with a rock staccato feel that leaves you bouncing off the walls.

Enjoy folks.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 10, 2012 9:34 PM BST


Balibo [DVD]
Balibo [DVD]
Dvd ~ Anthony La Paglia
Offered by Springwood Media
Price: £3.75

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Stuff, 5 July 2011
This review is from: Balibo [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very, very good film. When films as good as this are released it makes you wonder why there's so much dirge around. I have to confess I was not even aware of the story, and happened upon the film by accident. I'm glad I did.

The film's storyline is based upon the disappearance of 5 Australian journalists in East Timor just before the Indonesian Invasion in 1975. Their disappearance is brought to the attention of another Australian journalist - Roger East, and he heads to East Timor to find them. It's important to reiterate, the action is set just before the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia. That is to say, The Indonesian Military are already amassed on the border and awaiting the nod to invade. This lends itself to some very tense action and brutal moments.

As the world stood by and watched, the Indonesian Military effectively walked into and occupied East Timor in December 1975 (it only formally regained its independence again in 2002). But for the bravery of Roger East, and the preceding 5 Australian Journalists, we would not have learnt as much detail about the early (and bloody) invasion of East Timor.

This is compulsive viewing at its very best. We are watching a story with historical significance that has taken over 30 years to emerge. You have to wonder why this is.

An excellent film and highly recommended.


Party (Jpn)
Party (Jpn)
Price: £42.98

5.0 out of 5 stars As only Iggy could.........., 5 July 2011
This review is from: Party (Jpn) (Audio CD)
I love this album. It's definitely up there with my favourite Iggy Pop recordings.

The cover is deceptive - it has a relatively sane looking Iggy staring out from a mass of multi coloured bubbles. This is not the image of the man known for on stage self mutilation, or from someone who re-invented the consummate energetic stage performance. This might be a nod towards my (over) reliance on aesthetics, or a show of how album covers can be misleading. Whatever the case, this album, like the cover itself, draws you in.

Sixth song in `Pumpin for Jill' is a fantastic song - bubbling and brooding and hinting at the explosive energy this man can deliver in a heartbeat. We also have a couple of rock/pop classics in `Happy Man' and `Bang Bang'. Upbeat and well delivered feel good songs. Moving through the spectrum, we have a beautifully delivered 'Sea of Love'. Although this is a cover version, Iggy delivers a love song in a way that old time crooners could only hope to. Beautiful.

And so it goes on. There's not a bad song on this album. It is a blend of tempos and moods that is a listening delight. 'Party' is an absolute gem delivered for fans and newcomers alike.


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