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Calum Galleitch "u38cg" (Limbo, Nowhere)

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Alex Salmond: My Part in His Downfall - The Cochrane Diaries
Alex Salmond: My Part in His Downfall - The Cochrane Diaries
by Alan Cochrane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it appears to be, 12 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Billed as an account of the Scottish Referendum, this is in fact a rather poorly done satire of the diaries of the late Alan Clark. The first clue is the author's initials, which of course are shared with the great man. As if that wasn't enough, he adopts Clark's light, breezy tone while attempting to give an air of erudition throughout. This is where the cracks start to appear; unlike Clark who was despite his faults a genuinely intelligent and knowledgeable man, "Cochrane" wears his learning heavily. No passing piece of thought or culture is allowed to escape without a pithy judgement. Fiona Hyslop is, we learn, unable to judge anything that does not involve accordion or fiddle. Perhaps, or perhaps not, but even at this early stage we begin to suspect that our narrator is in fact without clothes himself.

Like Clark, our hero dreams of glory, and itches to be the man with his thumb on the scaleweight of history. Such achievements! Midway through the book, he throws a strop with some poor presser from CCHQ and - such is his power - the object of his derision does not contact him for several weeks. From time to time he has a conversation with a politician. Mostly he gossips with other hacks, while scribbling insults in his diary. He shows no sign of learning or regret at his mistakes; early in the narrative, he saves the Scottish regiments. When it transpires later that they are in fact not in any way saved he witters endlessly about names and capbadges without any sense of personal embarrassment.

Whoever the brave satirist behind this book is, he or she has made an excellent stab at capturing Clark's sparkling prose; however, it ultimately falls flat, as it quickly becomes clear that nobody could really be as deluded, foolish, and arrogant as our putative narrator pretends to be.


Modern Times [CD + DVD]
Modern Times [CD + DVD]
Offered by msales-8
Price: £9.69

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great music, dodgy package, 16 Sept. 2006
This review is from: Modern Times [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
The music is excellent, and I suspect we'll see a lot of these in live performance in the future. His live habit of jumping the octave at the end of the phrase makes an occasional appearance here (although it is used more sparingly than on stage). But many of these are songs made for performing.

Four stars, because the tight package the CD/DVD combo comes in has already scratched my CD to the point where it skips. Probably many of the reviewers here haven't put it away yet so they haven't noticed! But this for me means returning the package and getting hold of the CD only version, which comes with a much more protective standard case.

As others note, the DVD is nice, but short, more an advertisement for some of his other 90s albums than anything else. No doubt YouTube would serve equally well. And it's scratched too.


Long Journey South
Long Journey South

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique look at a misunderstood talent, 13 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Long Journey South (Audio CD)
Some try to claim "This is not a review!" I will claim that this is not an album.
If you don't know anything more of Roy Williamson than that he wrote Flower of Scotland, and that every folkie on the planet seems to consider him a sellout, it's time you saw more of the man behind the legend. Roy was a fearsome talent, with a multi-instrumental skill that he layered in the studio, creating richly textured pieces that are nothing like standard Corries fare. Perhaps the closest album they did to this album was their Peat Fire Flame, also a studio album which called for heavy layered arrangements. A mixed success, it was not an experiment they pursued, but Roy continued to work in this fashion in the studio, never intending to create anything for public consumption.
This album contains two sides, if I might use that term. It starts with the title piece 'The Long Journey South,' a piece inspired by whale song. This is a complex piece, filled with whale calls, some incredible instrumentation - the background chord layer is fingerpicked at a speed that seems simply unreal to this reviewer. Four songs succeed this piece, with varying degrees of artistic merit - the crowning piece has to be a magnificent working of Peggy Gordon, closely followed by Laggan Love, a song filled out by the combolins wielded with long years of experience. A throwaway version of the Skye Boat Song, redeemed by Roys gift for harmonic invention, and a relaxed rendering of Donald Og round up the songs.
Next in line are three big instrumental pieces, where Roy's gift for arrangement is brought to the fore. Nicky's Theme, written for Roy's second wife, is an attractive melody, developed with the artist's sure touch. Number One is an intricate piece of work, underpinned by Roy's sure touch with the guitar, and is swiftly followed by Tuscan, a fascinating piece which might be said to dangerously resemble art. The cover notes that it represents the conflict between old and young, as played out in rural Tuscany, and the interplay between high and low guitars certainly brings out the sense of interplay between the generations. The album concludes with a reprise of the whales of The Long Journey South.
As I said, this is not an album. I can't imagine Roy, famously a perfectionist, being remotely happy with what is on this album. It's not an artist's album, it's not a finished concept, like Jack Orion or Peat Fire Flame or The Pentangle were. It is a deeply illuminating glimpse inside the very private world of a musical genius. Some of it is magnificent, some of it misses the mark, all of it throws light on the character of Roy Williamson, musician.


Gogo Droch
Gogo Droch

5.0 out of 5 stars A showcase of Breton Bagad music accesible to all, 9 Jan. 2001
This review is from: Gogo Droch (Audio CD)
This CD showcases the Bagad Brieg at their very best. Occupying the same rebel position as the likes of the Vale of Atholl in Scottish pipe band circles, Brieg fuse Brittany's most ancient traditions with concert feel pieces. One of the most striking aspects of the music is the driving harmony, more innovative than many traditional musicians, and in particular pipers, may be used to. Chords such as augmented and dimished fifths and sevenths are regular parts of any piece. The use of themes recurring throughout the CD give it a coherent feel.
Despite using instruments of the same type and compass as the Highland bagpipe, these musicians break the mold with innovative pieces. One of the most interesting features is the inclusion of their competition sets live from the competition. As Highland pipers well know, this is something unavailable to Scottish pipe bands, and means that undertaking a recording is more fraught with difficulty than it is for Brieg and other Breton bands.
The mix of live and studio pieces throughout the recording, along with the audience response that outstrips anything I have ever seen at a Scottish pipe band concert, makes this CD my favourite release of last year.
The only minor point is that sometimes, the quality of piping is not what one might expect from a pipe band at the top of their field. It mainly comes through in the solo moments, when we hear movements that aren't as clear and precise as we might expect. This in no way detracts from the attractiveness of the CD, and if you are inexperienced with Breton music, this CD must be your first port of call.


The World's Room
The World's Room
Price: £13.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb fusion from some very talented artists, 9 Dec. 2000
This review is from: The World's Room (Audio CD)
This album should be an example to all musicians of how individual experts in their field can blend their talents to create a coherent whole. All too often, bands which contain a line-up of individually magnificent players can end up producing a soup of noise, which although impressive, does not let the full potential of the band be heard.
On The World's Room, Old Blind Dogs continue their sojourn through the highways and byways of North-Eastern traditional music, and add some of their own music that is indistinguishable from the tradition. Jim Malcolm's vocals are as searingly vivid as ever, and Rory Campbell stays away from his Highland pipes, concentrating on Border pipes and whistles. There are a few tracks on here worthy of special mention, but the best are the vocal tracks. Tae the Beggin', their opening tune, is done with energy and the joy of a man with freedom in his grasp, the two soldiering songs provide two opposing viewpoints, and some of their ballad renderings are done with real respect and feel for the tradition.
The outstanding track on this CD, with its poetry full of imagery and sensitive accompaniment is the Battle of Waterloo, telling the story of one North East man who went to war with Boney and met his end at Waterloo. Perhaps there is a little irony here, for their North East audience are sure to know the history of the Gordon Highlanders, in which this soldier would have served, and how proudly Waterloo stands in that regiment's history.
The World's room is the best album this dynamic, fluid group have produced for some time, and many of it's tracks, I am sure, will be remembered for a long time to come.


The World's Room
The World's Room
Price: £13.13

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb fusion from some very talented artists, 9 Dec. 2000
This review is from: The World's Room (Audio CD)
This album should be an example to all musicians of how individual experts in their field can blend their talents to create a coherent whole. All too often, bands which contain a line-up of individually magnificent players can end up producing a soup of noise, which although impressive, does not let the full potential of the band be heard.
On The World's Room, Old Blind Dogs continue their sojourn through the highways and byways of North-Eastern traditional music, and add some of their own music that is indistinguishable from the tradition. Jim Malcolm's vocals are as searingly vivid as ever, and Rory Campbell stays away from his Highland pipes, concentrating on Border pipes and whistles. There are a few tracks on here worthy of special mention, but the best are the vocal tracks. Tae the Beggin', their opening tune, is done with energy and the joy of a man with freedom in his grasp, the two soldiering songs provide two opposing viewpoints, and some of their ballad renderings are done with real respect and feel for the tradition.
The outstanding track on this CD, with its poetry full of imagery and sensitive accompaniment is the Battle of Waterloo, telling the story of one North East man who went to war with Boney and met his end at Waterloo. Perhaps there is a little irony here, for their North East audience are sure to know the history of the Gordon Highlanders, in which this soldier would have served, and how proudly Waterloo stands in that regiment's history.
The World's room is the best album this dynamic, fluid group have produced for some time, and many of it's tracks, I am sure, will be remembered for a long time to come.


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