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Holy Bible: English Standard Version
Holy Bible: English Standard Version
by Collins Anglicised ESV Bibles
Edition: Imitation Leather
Price: 11.99

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not actually leather, but it is a decent Bible, 27 Feb 2011
This is advertised as being leather, but I would confidently suggest that it is actually faux leather, and not a particularly luxuriant one at that. However, this is in no way a negative review, as this is the best release yet of the British version of the ESV text (admittedly there is not a lot of competition).

So, what we get here, at last, is a decent-sized font issue WITHOUT the distracting cross-references which appeared in Collins' first set of 'anglicized' ESVs, released several years ago.

The translation is good - basically it's the old RSV modernised from an evangelical perspective. It makes a good choice for close study, although, in truth, I still prefer the RSV, despite its age.

There is a release which is identical, save for having a slightly nicer (in my opinion) cover, described as 'Midnight Blue', but looking more like black: ISBN-10 0007360665. On both the inner-binding cracks rapidly.

It's a shame that Harper Collins do not do more to push the British text of the ESV. If you don't mind reading the US text then Crossway Books (and now others too) produce a plethora of better-bound releases.

To sum up. Good translation, passable binding, excellent value.

Station To Station
Station To Station

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very valuable release, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: Station To Station (Audio CD)
Very much a 'fans' favourite' album, David Bowie's 1976 release, Station To Station, has been released on Compact Disc three times before (four if you include Ryko's AU20 release as separate to their standard silver CD issue). Disc One of this 3CD set sees it get a fourth remastering and, in my opinion, it's the best of the lot. Previously the original 80s RCA CD was considered by many to have the best sonics, but I find this new mastering preferable: warmer, better bass definition, free of the odd flaws in the RCA version, such as the missing second from the beginning of Word On A Wing. I always found the 1991 Ryko (EMI in the UK) release to sound thin and harsh, like most of those Ryko remasterings from that series, and the 1999 EMI release was excessively loud ('brickwalled') and made all-too-much use of noise-reduction technology. This new version sounds really nice: if only all modern remasterings were done like this.

The remaining two discs of this set feature the much bootlegged Nassau show from March 1976, originally recorded for an FM radio broadcast. I have, shall we say, 'heard' two of these bootleg releases and, like many, always found it to be one of the most thrilling live recordings of Bowie in concert. This official release is long overdue. In many ways the new mix makes the audio sound slightly sanitised compared to the visceral energy of the bootlegs(the opening track seems to suffer most in this regard), but it is certainly a less anodyne sound than that on the Ryko release of Stay and Word On A Wing which appeared as bonus tracks on their re-release of the album. This new release is also complete, featuring Queen Bitch (briefly available on the semi-official RarestOneBowie release) and also Life On Mars and Five Years. These last two tracks seem to be from an inferior source than the rest of the recording, but not so bad that it detracts from one's enjoyment of them.

All in all a valuable release: The best sounding CD release of one of Bowie's best albums, combined with a decent sounding and complete issue of Bowie at his live peak. As for reviewing the actual album itself: you mean you haven't heard it yet? Now's the time.

Christmas Gift Bible (Bible Niv)
Christmas Gift Bible (Bible Niv)
by International Bible Society
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 22.64

5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem, 7 July 2008
Ostensibly released as a 'Christmas Gift Bible', there is actually nothing 'Christmassy' about this Bible, aside from the snowflake motif on the dust-jacket. It is actually somewhat regrettable that this release has been marketed as something of a niche gift Bible, as it actually represents one of the finest, and best value-for-money releases of the NIV (certainly in its anglicised format) that I have encountered.

This Bible is thick (over 3 inches), due to the fact that it is printed on thick, opaque paper, unlike the usual thin india or 'bible' paper invariably used in bible production. The font is also larger than the norm, whilst not being of the 'giant' type used in bibles for those will eyesight problems. Because of the thick paper used, there is virtually NO bleed-through: rare indeed in modern bibles.

The text is the standard British format of the 1984 NIV. Personally I think it is still the best modern English translation of the Bible. If you want a copy of it with thick paper, clear font, and well-bound, this could be a good option. It is a bit too heavy to carry around easily (for example taking to church), but this makes an excellent choice for home reading.

Live (X-Cert)
Live (X-Cert)
Price: 6.62

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated classic, 10 April 2006
This review is from: Live (X-Cert) (Audio CD)
As far as I am concerned, this is The Stranglers finest release. I find these live renditions of their early punk repertoire far more exciting than their often puny-sounding studio counterparts. Highlights include a superb 'Curfew', 'Do You Wanna?' and 'Hanging Around'. Certainly any lover of punk/new-wave ought to enjoy this CD. The bonus tracks are well-suited and most welcome.

Lucia Di Lammermoor (Serafin, Maggio Musicale, Callas)
Lucia Di Lammermoor (Serafin, Maggio Musicale, Callas)
Price: 11.03

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative performance. Skillful and loving re-mastering., 28 Feb 2005
This Naxos re-mastering of EMI's legendary 1953 recording of this opera is of serious worth to the collector. Naxos's recent habit of taking recordings which have passed their 50-year copyright limit and transferring them on to CD from original LPs has brought some pleasing results, although it must be said that the process has its limitations. However, in the case of this opera, the very limitations in the dynamic range of the original LPs is beneficial, because the original master-tapes have such serious defects (mainly overloading and distortion). This has resulted in EMI's own CD releases revealing these inherent weaknesses all too clearly. The warmer 'vinyl-like' sound is to be preferred in this case.
The actual performance cannot be missed, if only for Callas's supreme interpretation of the heroine's role. Gobbi is a characterful Enrico; Di Stefano hardly perfectly cast as Edgardo, but earnest enough. Serafin's direction is secure, but of course, as was the habit in the 1950s, huge cuts are made in the score. Still, at this price, the opera-lover is very much recommended to buy this CD.

The New Testament: Authorized King James Version (Everyman's Library Classics)
The New Testament: Authorized King James Version (Everyman's Library Classics)
by John Drury
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.99

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice edition of an obvious classic, 28 Feb 2005
There is much to be said for this edition of the Authorized (or King James) Version of the New Testament. Firstly, it is printed on good quality standard book paper, as opposed to the often flimsy and see-through paper often used in Bibles.

Secondly, the lay-out is very clear: each verse being on a new line. Yes, I know the verse divisions are artificial anyway, but it does aid clarity to have them set-out in this manner.

There is a page ribbon and the binding is good (if a little tight in some copies). The introductory essay by John Drury is informative rather than devotional. This edition also includes the King James translators original preface to their work, which, despite the archaic and very 'learned' tone, is very interesting, and may be of particular interest to the more simplistic and crude of the 'King James Only' brigade.

The excellence of this translation need not be repeated here. It has stood the test of time as the foremost translation of the Scriptures into English, and also took its place as one of the towering achievements of English literature. The reader will find no cross references, annotations or other distractions in this Everyman issue, and I can recommend it whole-heartedly. Interested readers may care to note that a companion Old Testament Everyman edition is also available.

Price: 7.96

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A most interesting recording., 20 Feb 2004
This review is from: Trans (Audio CD)
This 1982 album can be seen as Neil Young's response to the electronic experiments of synthesizer ensembles during the preceeding 5 years or so (especially those of Kraftwerk). The very fact that Young should attempt such an album is testament to a spirit of adventure which he is seldom given credit for.
It must be noted from the outset that this is Young's most impressive (in my opinion) album of the 1980s, before he entered a period of artistic stagnation which produced some truly excrutating, at times unfathomably bad albums. "Trans" is far from such subsequent works. Indeed, although it will no doubt be seen as a form of "blasphemy" to say so, in many ways Young's utilization of new technology, within the traditional popular music framework, is in many ways more skilfully done than most of Kraftwerk's efforts. It could be argued that Krafwerk attempted no such mere aural facelift of pop, but the fact remains that their music IS (in the later albums at least) bound by the forms of pop music, and Young, to my ears, handles the synthesis better.
What it shares with the best of Kraftwerk's records, and what exalts it to a position above that of merely rock'n'roll played on synthesizers, is a genuine attempt to portray an artistic idea (that of the alienating effects of modern technology) by means of popular music. Hence the ambience of the majority of the songs on this collection is one of an ascetic beauty. The vocoder use is particularly effective in creating an atmosphere of other-worldliness, as is the sparse accompaniment.
In short, I urge readers to at least sample this release. It is true that it will not appeal to everyone who loves Young's better-known fare ("Harvest", "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" etc.) but it is an extremely beautiful record, which represents an era which was just coming to a realisation of the early computerization of the society around it, very well. Lovers of early-80s retro may find themselves greatly enamoured to it, also.
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