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Smokey Joe "biglouis" (London)

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My Name Is Buddy
My Name Is Buddy
Price: 9.50

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buddy, can you spare the time?, 2 April 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Name Is Buddy (Audio CD)
I honestly do not understand the first review of this album. Anyone who does not understand the allegorical nature of "My Name Is Buddy" must be the kind of persion who thinks George Orwell's classic tale of Stalinist Russia, Animal Farm, is a poor kind of children's story.

Cooder can fairly claim to be the living guardian of dust-bowl Americana. This is a finely crafted album which takes us back to Cooder's acoustic roots. There is an authentic feel to the tracks with some very fine playing in Cooder's instantly recognisable style - be it on guitar, bajo sexto or mandolin. On many tracks Cooder collaborates with Flaco Jiminez (acordian) and one of the best drummers around, in my humble opinion, Jim Keltner. For those who are impressed by such things, Peter and Mike Seeger add some lovely banjo flourishes.

This is a story, from start to finish. You need to listen to it carefully and read the beautifully presented notes in order to truly benefit from the experience but if you only dip in and out of it you will still admire the stylish, tasteful music. Incidentally, do NOT buy this album via iTunes - you really, really need the CD package to enjoy this experience to its full and when you hold it in your hands you'll understand why you need it.

I think Ry Cooder must be on a mission to give something back to his loyal fan base. Both this album and his previous, Chavez Ravine, appear to have been made for the pure joy of reliving history and telling a story. They have also come with extensive liner notes and beautiful packaging. And at a fair price. Kinda makes you wonder exactly why many popular CDs come with nothing and cost double, doesn't it?

My personal recommendation, if you have young children in particlar, is buy this album and read the story from the liner notes to them while they listen to the music. Although it is not a children's story, what child could not resist the imaginative use of animals as a way of making history accessible? Perhaps only an adult who thinks Animal Farm is for kids?

Oh What A Lovely War: Special Edition [1969] [DVD]
Oh What A Lovely War: Special Edition [1969] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Laurence Olivier
Offered by 101Trading
Price: 6.99

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, oh, oh what a magnificent film, 31 Oct 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I just completed watching this film for the first time in at least 30 years. In a word this is a magnificent piece of cinema, one of the best 100, possibly best 10 films ever made. The basis of the film is the use of popular songs from the first world war to present the history.

I've seen Oh What A Lovely war as a stage play and I have to say that this film is one of the most imaginative transfers to screen I have ever seen. The film uses the highly original technique of blending theatre with live action, often cutting immediately from one to the other to create tremendous visual impact. The use of music hall and popular songs as a backdrop to the events creates a tremendous impact, as for example, when we watch one of the main characters live out his last moments in a field hospital while a beautiful rendition of "Keep The Home Fires Burning" plays in the background.

The real genius of the film is that after 138 minutes you feel as though you have been through 4 years of war. There is a real feeling of the passage of time as well as the passage of an era from the innocence of 1914 to the brutality of 1918.

This was Richard Attenborough's first attempt as a director and I have say probably his best. Apart from enrolling the leading British theatrical talent of the day (John Mills, Larry Oilivier, Dirk Bogarde, John Gieldgud, Jack Hawkinsand so on) he also chose complete unknowns for the parts of the soldiers, thereby underlining how it was the common man who bore the brunt of the war.

John Mills in particular turns in an outstanding performance as Field Marshall Haig. Maggie Smith also turns in a stunning cameo as a music hall songstress using her feminine wiles to encourage men to join up on stage.

The poignancy of this film is that the songs, the events and even the statements of the main characters are all historically accurate and it reminds us that nationalism can be used as an unscrupulous tool by the political elite. Sadly, the lessons of this film are as relevant today as they were when it was made 30 years ago. An education as well as an outstanding piece of filmatic entertainment.

This is London (This Is . . .)
This is London (This Is . . .)
by Miroslav Sasek
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 4.40

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable by all ages, 28 Oct 2006
I am so pleased that the "This Is" series of books by Miroslav Sasek are back in print. Elsewhere, the comments on Sasek's work have been "only good for children up to 3 years!" Well, I'm in my fifties and I intend to collect the ones I most enjoyed as a child, such as This Is San Francisco and This Is Rome. In an age of electronic wizardry Sasek's books stand out as a reminder of a time when books were the chief form of entertainment and education.

Sasek's art and wit are truly original and unique. He manages to take the reader on a journey through both the landmarks of his subject and the everday minutiae that makes up a country and its culture. Each book is a remarkable achievement.

It must be remembered that the chief driver for Sasek's success was the explosion of foreign travel for leisure during the 50s and 60s.

Do his books stand the test of time? Well, to be truthful the answer is no if you want up to date facts and figures. However, I cannot see how his quirky, funny pictures coupled with his subtle wit would not continue to amuse and educate children of all ages for generations to come.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2011 10:37 AM BST

Walking Down Rainhill
Walking Down Rainhill
Price: 16.59

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New age ukelele music, 9 Sep 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Walking Down Rainhill (Audio CD)
Before you can enjoy the brilliance of Jake Shimabakuru you have to be able to cast aside all preconceptions about ukelele music.

For me, the conditioning was broken by the circulation on the internet in recent months of Jake performing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" next to the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park. This is an oustanding performance and I'd describe Jake as the Paganini of the Ukelele.

Jake's approach to Ukelele is without bounds and completely outside the tradition of Hawaiian music. Instead he see the Ukelele as capable of leading multiple genres including new age, jazz, rock and pop, which are all present on this release.

A bonus of this particular CD is the video (on DVD) of Jake rehearsing and recording in the studio. This provides us with an important insight into the creative process at work. For musicians it also allows us a close up of Jake's technique which is well worth seeing.

Why only 4 stars? Personally, I found that in creating a virtuoso performance the approach sometimes sounds both clinical and derived. The music is not entirely melodious and in places appears to be ideas extended beyond their use. That aside, this is a remarkable album and provides great mood music of an unusual nature, I suspect it will grow on you over time and become a favourite of your collection.

Linksys SD2005-UK 5 Port Gigabit Switch with 5x 10/100/1000Mbps Ports
Linksys SD2005-UK 5 Port Gigabit Switch with 5x 10/100/1000Mbps Ports

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly as described, 9 Sep 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As an old techie I can't quite believe that you can now buy a gigabit switch for such a relatively small price. You may question the need for such fast connectivity on SoHo lans but at this price, hey, why not? It makes streaming video off a shared drive between computers faster and the switching technology is fully automated so mixed networks can benefit. Nice size (small), works straight out of the box (it dropped straight in as a replacement with almost zero downtime) and looks as if it will stand the test of time. At this price why bother with cheaper hubs especially if your PC has come with a 100/1000Mbps network interfaces as standard, which more and more are nowadays.

February 2013 - still working perfectly. How many electronic components can you say that about 7 years later?

A Flying Leap
A Flying Leap
Price: 13.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Turned out nice again", 9 Sep 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Flying Leap (Audio CD)
Damn James Hill! Ever since I bought this release I've had his infectious melodies buzzing through my head. Who'd have thunk it. I was bought up to associate the ukelele with George Formby and not to think of it as a serious musical instrument. All that has changed since listening to this release.

What is great about this album is the sheer variety of musical styles played with jaw-dropping virtuosity. Hill takes us on a journey which includes Hendrix ("Little Wing" - a very good rendition), Bluegrass ("Song for Cheri") and classical ("One Small Suite"). I was unprepared for how well Ukelele and Cello can be combined.

Hill is one of a new breed of musicians who are pushing the boundaries on what I now realise is a much overlooked musical instrument. He is taking the Ukelele into the mainstream and you will not be disappointed with this well crafted, thoughtful and highly infectious album.

The First Casualty
The First Casualty
by Ben Elton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If zero stars were possible....., 17 Aug 2006
This review is from: The First Casualty (Paperback)
I had high expectations of this book and but for the admission price of a paperback would have stopped reading it very early on. Instead, in order to bring my impressions to the wider public I decided to read on.

I guess the main casualty of this book is the historical inaccuracies mentioned by other reviewers. The central reason for the character's downfall from grace is completely false as I doubt a senior serving policeman would have been conscripted. The book descends into such a ridiculously improbable chain of events (and historical characters) that my confidence in Mr Elton's grasp of history and fact has been completely destroyed.

I think the worst aspect of the book is that it takes until page 223 of 443 for our hero to get anywhere even close to the frontline. To say the story builds slower than the new Wembley stadium is an understatement.

If I am being unfair it is because I expect to hold Ben Elton to a far higher standard than most of his contempories. That standard is not found here and having read none of his other books I now feel disinclined to do so.

Richard Thompson: 1000 Years of Popular Music  [DVD + 2CD] [2006] [NTSC]
Richard Thompson: 1000 Years of Popular Music [DVD + 2CD] [2006] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Richard Thompson

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not essential but certainly enjoyable, 13 Aug 2006
If you are one of the millions of hardcore Thompson fans then any release is going to meet with a reflex purchase. So, I assume if you are reading the reviews for this item then you have some reservations about this DVD.

If I had to do it again, I'd probably rent this DVD rather than purchase it. My main reason for feeling this way is that Thompson takes us on a very worthy but at times arduous trawl through 1000 years of popular music. Nothing can be faulted in his performance but I did find myself scanning the (excellent) liner notes and counting how many more tracks I had to get through before the end of the DVD, not exactly a strong recommendation on my part.

Thompson is a fantastic musician (in the widest sense of the word) and his translation of orchestral pieces to the guitar, for example a Gilbert and Sullivan piece, is nothing short of astonishing. But is it entertainment? You will probably be impressed but I wonder how often you'll want to sit down and watch the concert again.

It is much to Thompson's credit that I cannot think of another musician alive who could possibly attempt this highly ambitious task. Much better as edutainment than entertainment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2012 10:18 AM BST

Live At Montreux 2005
Live At Montreux 2005
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: 3.79

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars just ain't enough, 10 Aug 2006
This review is from: Live At Montreux 2005 (Audio CD)
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to see Steve Earle, solo, in an intimate evening of music at the Barbican centre in London. It should come as no surprise to any Earle fan that sans band Earle is as interesting, perhaps more so, than when backed by the Dukes.

If like me you think Earle is one of the greatest living song writers then you'll already be reaching for the One-Click and to cut to the chase you will not be at all disappointed by this immensely satisfying collection.

These 14 tracks provide a comprehensive history of Earle through the 3 periods of his musical career, new-kid on the Block, on-the-edge drug addict and thankfully his renaissance dating from after his incarceration.

Earle's bare to the core, transparent lyrics are what does it for me. Whether summarising the middle east conflict ("And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham

Will lay down their swords")or evoking the desperate payback of a disillusioned Vietnam vet ("I learned a thing from Charlie don't ya know, you'd better stay away from Copperhead Road!") Earle never fails to cause the listener to think - a reaction missing in so much 'music' these days.

Paring back his performance to the man, his guitar and his songs is highly effective and I suspect that this will become a regular platter on your CD/MP3 player.

If this is your first Earle purchase I'd seriously start elsewhere in his vast catalogue first but if Earle is already in your collection you cannot miss out on this gem. 5 stars just ain't enough.

Ultimate Force: Series 1-3 [DVD]
Ultimate Force: Series 1-3 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ross Kemp
Offered by aladinscave
Price: 19.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure, unadultered, escapist action, 24 Jun 2006
Women! Buy this totally un-politically correct, action packed series for your blokes and enjoy hours of free time to do what ever you want while he slavishly watches each testosterone fuelled episode unfold.

This is escapism at its most blatant and to be fair to the makers they make absolutely no claims other than this. It also helps that this is British action drama at its best - which is often the best in world. The set piece action is better than most Bond films and done on a budget which is less than a day's catering on most Hollywood block busters. It shows what can be achieved with typical British inventiveness if the money is tight.

Although the acting may be hammy, the action never is and I think this is what suspends our belief and critical faculties. The cast is stronger in the first two series and I feel the whole shine of the show tails off by the third. Having said that, my order is already in for the 4th series DVD.

There are thought provoking moments. If you want to look for a meaning, ask yourself whether we are right to have a regiment whose sole purpose is to deliver lethal force? You'll have to make your own mind up on that one but fortunately you'll be distracted enough by the action to avoid too much introspection.

The whole package is very nicely presented - with real booklets containing interesting production notes of a reasonable length -plus documentaries and interviews on the DVDs.

All round, if this is your cuppa then pay up and enjoy drinking deep.

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