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therealus "therealus" (Herts, UK)
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Price: £12.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Shame it has to end!, 6 July 2016
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This review is from: Perfection (Audio CD)
As a long-time follower of Geri Allen’s music the release of this record was a welcome event after three years waiting for the follow-up the Grand River Crossings. This is not, of course, a Geri Allen release, as such, but a trio. The trio I had been expecting included Esperanza Spalding on bass, given that she had been touring with Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington, but perhaps that is for the future. Instead we have the celebrated David Murray, so it’s not all bad news!

What is perhaps most striking about the record as a whole is its textural variety. It begins with Murray playing mildly abrasive tenor on Mirror Of Youth, but then slows to the silky Barbara Allen, dedicated to Charlie Haden.

Geri-Rigged raises the pace again, with some explosive drumming, spiky sax and thunderous keyboards. The fast-paced first phase of the tune gives way to a second, more sedate section; the piano then drops away and Carrington lays down a driving clatter as Murray lets rip. There is a short pause, then Allen rejoins, this time up front. The tempo is constantly changing. One of the best tracks in a collection of standout tracks!

The sixth track, Perfection, is a tune by Ornette Coleman which he never, himself, recorded. It is based upon a transcription given to David Murray, and is the only track featuring more than the trio, with the addition of bass, trombone and trumpet. Other acknowledgements of inspiration go to Marcus Belgrave (The Nurturer), Peter O’Brien (For Mr Peter O’Brien), an advocate of Mary Lou Williams, on which Murray switches to bass clarinet, and Wayne Shorter (Samsara).

The album closes with the Latin-tinged Cycles And Seasons. After repeated playings I have yet to accustom myself to this being the final track. It may be that it is not the sort of tune I expect to end a record, but I suspect it’s more likely it’s just that I don’t want it to finish.

Vivanco Schuko Travel Plug Set 7 Adapters for 150 Countries Black
Vivanco Schuko Travel Plug Set 7 Adapters for 150 Countries Black
Price: £16.87

2.0 out of 5 stars From drama to farce, 29 Jun. 2016
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I have to agree with Sharky’s comments on this product. From the description online it is not possible to discern that this is an adaptor for European, not UK, plugs.

In addition the abbreviations indicating which plugs are for which country are of little help. Is Chile CH or RCH? The latter, it appears, but I had to do more research than I wanted finding that out.

It may, as has been suggested, be possible to make this work for you by buying still more adaptors for the adaptor you just bought, but that just adds to the hardware you have to cart round with you on your journey and turns your drama into a farce.

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World)
by Robert Gordon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Unless somebody brings more beer, the party's over, 14 Jun. 2016
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Between 1870 and 1940 the lives of the vast majority of Americans had changed to an extent that would have been unimaginable previously. The impact of mechanisation, urbanisation, automation and “networking” – the provision of utilities including water and waste disposal, electricity, the postal service and telephony – freed Americans from much of the drudgery of their previous rural existence, gave them decent houses to live in with sanitary environments, shifted many into jobs which paid better but imposed less wear and tear on their bodies, gave them heat and light on demand thereby increasing the amount of time they had to pursue activities other than work, and enabled them to receive a cornucopia of consumer goods from mail order companies. Houses filled up with refrigerators, washing machines, televisions and other consumer electricals. Eating food was no longer one of the daily hazards they faced.

The years 1940 to 1970 were, if anything, even more spectacular. Wages increased even more as productivity boomed. Highways were built which enabled easy travel from all corners of the nation to all of the others. Driveways filled up with automobiles. Air travel became increasingly accessible to everyone, not just the financial elite. And on long hot humid summer days Americans could take refuge in their air conditioning.

Then, with the exception of a brief spurt between 1996 and 2004, the helter skelter growth slowed to an amble. A rust belt developed in areas previously frenetic with production of steel, cars and other goods. The ICT “revolution”, heralded as the bringer of new industrial and domestic advances on a par with those of electricity and the internal combustion engine, has so far failed to deliver in such a grand manner. There’s a limit to the extent to which cat videos and 140-character prattlings can improve the standard of living.

Robert J Gordon’s story of this great unfurling of the American dream is captivating in two ways: first in showing how the meteoric rise and subsequent plateauing (it’s overdramatic to characterise it as a fall, really) came about, using some of the same old sources, though in slightly different ways, maybe, and also drawing on resources such as back-issues of the Sears catalogue to trace the way in which American households advanced from home-made everything, including virtually all clothes, to the ability to order everything – clothes, white goods, musical instruments (the number of musicians who made their start on Sears catalogue instruments, which Gordon doesn’t go into, is phenomenal), and so on – via the postman.

But he also tracks how things have stagnated: with all of the waiting around at airports and all the other attendant hassles of flying it now takes longer by jet to fly New York-LA than it did in the day of propeller-driven aeroplanes, and with all the little extras, like paying for luggage to be carried and food on the flight, both of which used to be included in the fare, it’s more expensive too.

Gordon is not, however, blaming anyone or anything in particular. The problem is, he suggests, that all the good stuff has been done, and everything now is just new ways of doing those things (emails for letters, online orders for mail orders, incremental improvements in TV picture definition, DVDs or Netflix for videos or the cinema, and so on). Likewise with productivity: ICT may be able to achieve improvements, but the potential is nowhere near as striking as that for advances of previous industrial revolutions.

In his final chapter, then, he advances proposals not so much for kick-starting a productivity revival as for alleviating the fallout of its demise. Like Thomas Piketty, whom he makes a point of acknowledging and citing, he recognises the enormous chasm that has opened up between top and bottom of American society. In a particularly poignant chart he shows how between 1945 and 1975 – the years of the “great compression” - incomes advanced at similar rates across American society, and how since then the top 10% have continued to enjoy steady growth (those at the very top, as Piketty pointed out, have enjoyed obscene growth in their wealth in comparative terms) whilst those at the bottom have suffered ongoing contraction.

In all, I would rate this book, as a piece of economic history, almost on a par with the works of Landes (The Unbound Prometheus and The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations), as a research piece at least in the same ball park as Piketty’s Capital (yes, I have read it), and as a piece to dip into alongside Porter’s three best-known works (yep, I read them too; I didn’t just look at the pictures).

Nevertheless, like all of those publications, it also deserves, demands even, critical appraisal. For starters, I find the central thesis too alarmist, like the head of the US Patent Office at the turn of the 20th Century believing he could close it down as everything had already been invented. There are many reasons for guarded optimism. The Economist recently ran a Special Report outlining some of the many potential productivity improvements in Agriculture in the pipeline (if only we could get past the Frankenfoods pitchforks and torches in the dark mentality some of them may one day get used). Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing to most of us) has only just begun to find its role, so far in specific niches, but plenty of work is being done on breaking loose of that straitjacket. And who knows, somewhere within ICT there is that killer app like the motor car or electric lighting waiting to be found (I don’t think the so-called “internet of everything” is it, though; I don’t need my fridge to tell me I’m out of milk, thanks).

Secondly, Gordon appears to dismiss out of hand the role of government in revitalisation, but as Mariana Mazzucato and Carla Perez, among others, have pointed out, without government there would be no internet, no ICT revolution, no (shock horror) iPhone. In The Entrepreneurial State, Mazzucato advanced the idea that government could be doing far more for the development of alternative energy.

Furthermore, without the government-built network of Interstate Highways, what would Americans do with all those cars?

Thirdly, Gordon gives a very confusing account of the benefits of immigration. First he assigns responsibility to immigration for bringing down wages in some sectors, then seems to be saying that it is really only the wages of immigrants that are affected. He partly credits immigration control in the US after the second world war for rising wages, but makes no mention of the many Mexicans who moved, under the Programa Bracero, to the US during the period covered by that war and the one in Korea in order to fill in for the Americans serving in the armed forces, which saw the Mexican population in the US double to five million. And he proposes a points system for permitting immigrants to enter the US, making the classic economist’s mistake of commodifying people, in the belief that a price can be put on everything.

And finally, at least for this review, there is Gordon’s US-centricity, almost to the exception of everywhere else. One of the great strengths of Piketty’s work was that whilst it spoke of “Les Trente Glorieuses”, it did so in an international context. Gordon’s “Great Leap Forward” only applies to the US. There is nothing in Gordon about how improving economies in the rest of the world may benefit the US. The rest of the world more or less doesn’t exist in the bubble he constructs.

However, to reemphasise my earlier point, notwithstanding a few quibbles I consider this book to be of extraordinary value: a record of spectacular progress and how it was achieved, and a warning that, unless somebody brings more beer, the party’s over.

Price: £13.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric. One to watch, 7 Jun. 2016
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This review is from: Shift (Audio CD)
This is a fine, all-round performance by all of the musicians featured. Richardson’s sax is beautiful throughout and is well-complemented by his distinguished bandmates. The music is atmospheric and restrained. The pace rarely exceeds a canter, and the tone is laid back, the only exceptions being on Locked Out Of Heaven, when Metheney experiments a little with the possibilities of his guitar strings, and the very short In Between, where Moran briefly takes to assaulting his keyboard without much attempt at a tune.

Throughout the playing holds the attention. The control and lack of shouting demonstrate a well-earned confidence in both the material and its delivery. I’ll speculate that if they ever do decide to just let go that would be an experience-and-a-half. One to watch, I think.

By the way, for the record, as it were, I think this is only the second record I have featuring Pat Metheny, and while I think his sound here is really valuable his absence would not be an impediment to my buying further records by Richardson.

Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music
by Rob Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable insight, 6 Jun. 2016
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Rob Young’s sprawling, erudite Electric Eden takes the long road around the history of British folk music since the early 20th Century, tracing it from the likes of Cecil Sharp, Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughan Williams through to more recent aficionados like David Sylvian and Julian Cope and on into a panoply of names which may or may not be familiar to his readers.

En route he takes in Ewan McColl, Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Steeleye Span, The incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Marc Bolan, and Yes, the incidental introduction of which, due to a personal experience, allows him to segue into the challenge of punk (and the tale of how in 1977 Sid Vicious insulted John Martyn during a poker game, for which Martyn took him outside and gave him a duffing).

He has a sharp eye for the ridiculous, such as when he notes the criticisms by “traditionalists” of the use of electric guitars (by, inter alia, Bob Dylan), but that they nevertheless accept the use of concertinas and melodeons, which were themselves barely a century old at the time of the infamous “Judas” moment.

Usefully for me, he also delves into the obsessions of various folkies with Tolkien. While I enjoyed the films, I never got my head around this particular predilection, and tended to distance myself from those who took it seriously, sometimes to the point where they treated it as real history.

Another interesting sideroad takes him into an account of how outdoor music festivals such as the Isle of Wight, Windsor and Glastonbury (with further explorations of English mythology and legend) got started. In the case of the latter, it appears, through the hard work of a descendant of Winston Churchill.

At times, admittedly, Young gets it wrong. The Angel pub, former Fairport Convention HQ, is in Little Hadham, not Ware (on a wicked dogleg bend which, when you see it, helps you understand how a truck could crash into it). When I visited Camber Sands, which is in East Sussex, not Kent, earlier this year they must have temporarily moved the cliffs he mentions. He has a rather frazzled view of the chronology of some events at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival: he treats the intervention of an audience member on-stage as separate from Joni Mitchell’s performance, when in fact it was at the root of Mitchell’s distress. And The Strawbs’ Part Of The Union was emphatically not a celebration of union power, but a satire of it: in an interview at the time Dave Cousins explained it stemmed from his frustrations working in a unionised factory due to the restrictions the union placed on him, which he saw as destructive, hence “the rise of the company’s fall.”

These are minor points though in the scheme of things. This is an excellent book, constantly holding the interest with both its subject matter and the author’s extrovert style, and providing a valuable insight into British music and culture of the past hundred or so years.

1606: Shakespeare and the Year of Lear
1606: Shakespeare and the Year of Lear
by James Shapiro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing stuff, 31 May 2016
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Having established, in Contested Will, that a man called William Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s plays, James Shapiro shifts his attention to one particular year in the bard’s life to examine the social, political and circumstantial environment in which he was operating at the time. Crucially, he reminds us that Shakespeare, as well as being an Elizabethan playwright, was a Jacobean too.

In some respects this involved a continuation of some of the aspects of the Elizabethan period, in particular the ongoing struggle of a minority of Catholics, some sponsored by overseas powers, to overthrow the Protestant monarchy and install a Catholic on the throne. In others there were new circumstances, especially the fact that there was now an attempt, driven by King James himself, to establish a more British mindset in the place of the English one prevailing under Elizabeth.

The most significant event relating to the Catholic insurgency was the Gunpowder Plot of the year before which, as Shapiro says, would have had catastrophic effects on Britain had it succeeded. This ensured that the already fraught atmosphere of the time became even more so, and that is reflected sometimes not so much in what appears in the plays as what does not as, Shapiro speculates, when not one but two Scottish kings are slain in Macbeth, but off stage, where previously the action would likely have been on stage. Similarly, the preoccupation with Jesuitical equivocation at the time provides Shakespeare with abundant material, some dark, as in the weird sisters’ prophecies at the beginning of the play, some just dark humour, as in the Porter’s scene.

There are various ways in which the theme of Britishness arises, but in its simplest form it does so in Lear in Shakespeare’s first ever use of the word “British”, where previously his focus had been on England and the English identity, something which in so doing he had helped to create.

Other influences Shapiro discusses include the plague, the implications of old age for Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ careers, King James’s preoccupation with the occult and, related to this, demonic possession. This latter leads Shapiro to a work by a chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Harsnett, who exposed as a fraud Anne Gunter, whose claims of possession had captured the interest of James. Harsnett’s work, Shapiro shows, formed the basis for Edgar’s feigned madness in King Lear. Further, he provides a list of words used by Shakespeare only in Lear that appear in Harsnett.

This is one of several revelations regarding Shakespeare’s usage of other sources, including a detailed comparison between Lear and its prototype, King Leir, published in 1605, although the name of the playwright is lost. Shapiro delves into Shakespeare’s adaptation of Leir to show how he developed its potential and created one of the greatest plays in the English language. Similarly he does the same for the third masterwork of 1606, Antony and Cleopatra. He admits, and documents to what extent, Shakespeare stole shamelessly from North’s version of Plutarch’s Life of Antony in, for example, his use of many of the words North used in his description of Cleopatra. Similarly the structure and content are heavily determined by Plutarch’s approach, hence the lack of soliloquies in the early parts of the play and the unprecedented cascade of scenes. Yet Shakespeare also made meaningful the role of Enobarbus, little more than a footnote in Plutarch, and endowed the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra with a sympathy that had previously been missing, the norm having been to portray it as no more than debauchery.

However, Shakespeare’s work, it appears, was a fluid entity itself. In an early account of Macbeth, for example, there is no mention of the two scenes featuring Hecate that have come down to us, and the ending of Lear is very different in the 1608 quarto from that in the 1623 folio.

Intriguing stuff, then. Plenty for both students of Shakespeare and for people who enjoy Shakespeare for its own sake. As with all the best books on the subject, this one will add substantially to your enjoyment and appreciation of Shakespeare’s plays, and also leave you with more questions, though they’ll likely be smarter.

Nihil Novi
Nihil Novi
Price: £15.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed, I'm afraid, 17 May 2016
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This review is from: Nihil Novi (Audio CD)
My original draft review for this album was, I have to admit, somewhat over-acerbic. I’ve listened a few more times and my view has mellowed a little, but not sufficiently to make me change my mind on specific points.

In places the music is good, without setting the heart racing too much. The vocals, though, definitely don’t do much for me. The singer has a good r’n’b voice, but it doesn’t fit here, it’s a little too smooth, and the lyrics are bland. On a couple of the tracks there are spoken words, but they cut across rather than complement the music, and after a few listens become an irritant.

I bought this record, amongst others, as an attempt to broaden my musical horizons, to try something new, But it made me think maybe my comfort zone isn’t so bad after all.

Tokyo 1973
Tokyo 1973
Price: £9.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Rubia indulges me again, 18 April 2016
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This review is from: Tokyo 1973 (Audio CD)
The postie delivers the package whilst La Rubia, my long suffering significant other, is out, but I come clean anyway. She’s accustomed to the deliveries of Miles recordings and appears to have abandoned any hope of rescuing me from blowing my life savings on them.

This one is interesting in following quite close on the release of a recording from a Miles concert two years later, also in Tokyo, which itself complemented two other live releases from the same 1975 tour on Columbia, Agharta and Pangaea.

The recording commences with the ever-urgent Turnaroundphrase, the wah-wah pedals on the guitars working overtime. This melds into Tune In 5, which comes to an abrupt end after about nine minutes, colliding with applause: it appears, at least, that the end of the piece was not recorded and that what was is spliced into applause preceding Right Off, another tune played full tilt.

The applause at the end of Right Off seems to be in a more natural place, and possibly marks the end of the first set. Ife follows, its signature bass line overlaid by the percussion and Miles’s horn. There’s some excellent guitar on Agharta Prelude (although the title is misspelled), a piece which moved on quite a bit over the two years to its appearance on the album Agharta. Similarly Zimbabwe is hardly recognisable in comparison with the version on Pangaea, although on that album the track actually began with Turnaroundphrase at a time when the individual components of the longer tracks weren’t being identified on record covers.

As ever with Miles, and the reason why La Rubia is so indulgent with my purchases, the titles are only a rough guide to the content. You’ll recognise a riff here, a phrase there, even some of the banging and clattering that’s going on, but this recording is different enough from the recordings from later in the year, for example Live In Vienna (on Gambit, from which the cover photo, which has been reproduced in reverse, appears to have been taken), to justify owning both, and it’s intriguing for an aficionado like me to note the way the music developed over the years, months, and even days.

The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War
The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War
by Don H. Doyle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.36

5.0 out of 5 stars A conflict with continuing relevance, 29 Mar. 2016
As world economies and polities became increasingly interdependent during the nineteenth century, largely because of trade, and accelerated by improving communications between continents, so conflicts which began as local affairs began to assume increasingly internationalised significance. In The Cause Of all Nations, Don H Doyle shows how that principle applies to the American Civil War between the aggressively pro-slavery, secessionist Confederacy and the initially timidly anti-slavery Union. A vital factor within that struggle was the two sides’ bid for legitimacy on an international stage: the Confederacy’s efforts to gain recognition of its sovereignty from the Great Powers of Europe, in particular Britain and France but also Germany and Russia, and the corresponding efforts of the Union to maintain recognition of its sovereignty over all of the states in contention.

In the early stages of the war, a key barrier to widespread adoption of the Union cause was the very timidity it demonstrated in its opposition to slavery. In part this was due to the presence of slavery advocates in its own ranks. Generals such as McLellan were fighting for Union, not emancipation, and there were fears of alienating what were perceived as vital components in the Union machine. This factor has been well explored by authors such as Schama (The American Future) and Blackburn (The American Crucible) but not, unfortunately, by Doyle. In order to understand Union policy, at least as it manifested itself in public statements, it is important to understand the dynamics of the political struggle within Union ranks, which deserves more than a cursory mention.

Other authors have not, however, given adequate attention to the aspect which most concerns Doyle, how other nations were affected by the conflict, and how they in turn affected and could have affected it, and in particular how a strong statement in favour of emancipation could have gained the Union cause early support abroad, although Amanda Foreman extensively addresses the question as it applies to Britain in A World On Fire.

Doyle’s opening, in keeping with his international theme, begins not in America but in Italy, with the Union attempt to recruit the revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi to lead its army. Garibaldi’s hesitancy in accepting this offer is due to his doubts as to the Union’s sincerity regarding emancipation. Without a commitment to that cause, his view, and that of many others, is that the conflict is just another civil war over power and territory. This sets the tone for much of the remainder of the book, and acts as a pivotal piece of evidence in Doyle’s thesis that, had Lincoln been as bold in his quest for emancipation as in that for reunification, the battle lines would have been brought into much sharper focus and public opinion would have been decisive in swinging the major European powers towards recognition of the Union and repudiation of the Confederacy.

Without that public opinion, the European powers’ concern was with winners, and in that respect the Confederacy’s early victories on the battlefield made recognition of their cause seem quite likely. The last thing anyone with a ruthlessly economic focus wanted was to alienate people who had the power to restrict access to vital commodities.

The turning point in both respects, of intent and ability, came at Antietam in 1862. The Union’s success – victory is perhaps too strong a word – on that occasion gave Lincoln the ability to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and thus bring the battle lines into sharper focus. He was able to be more confident in that act by the way in which the aforementioned McLellan, the commander in the field at Antietam, through his hesitancy had first almost brought further defeat upon the Union, and then had failed to press home his advantage against fleeing Confederate troops. With friends like that, who needed enemies? Hence McLellan was replaced and his point of view overlooked. This would later be underlined by his defeat as presidential candidate against Lincoln.

Doyle shows how the Emancipation Proclamation galvanised support for the Union: from cotton workers in Manchester, among those most affected by the embargo on southern cotton, to refugees from the 1848 revolution in Germany full of unfulfilled republican ambition, through to the Italians who queued at the Union’s Turin consulate to enlist in the army and, of course, Garibaldi himself.

It would, of course, require a further three years of bloodletting to bring the war to an end, and the diplomatic intrigues never really ended until up to that point. Significantly, however, the success of the Union inspired republican movements across the world, so that by the end of the 1860s there were no monarchies in the Americas, Garibaldi’s forces had taken Rome – albeit with indirect help from Bismarck – and pro-democracy demonstrators in Britain had won an extension of voting rights in the country.

Throughout, Doyle’s principal interest is political. Little blood is spilt on the pages in comparison to, say, Foreman’s work, which features extensive first-hand accounts of the fighting and suffering. It is also less concerned with biographical detail, although this is not completely absent. Instead he focuses on the behind-scenes schemes and public propaganda campaigns mounted by the Union and the Confederacy abroad, how they were shaped by outside opinion and how they in turn shaped outside opinion. As such it adds an important dimension to our understanding of the American Civil War and its consequences, one which has continuing relevance to the world as it is today.

The Art of Flamenco
The Art of Flamenco
by Donald Brosnac
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.41

5.0 out of 5 stars Takes some beating, 22 Mar. 2016
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This review is from: The Art of Flamenco (Paperback)
Like The Lives And Legends Of Flamenco, also by Donn Pohren, this is an intensely fascinating account of the distinctive music of Andalucía , in this case concentrating far more on the culture, history and techniques of the art than the biographies of the individual artistes.

In that sense yet again this is a book that takes some beating on its subject, being thorough in its treatment and giving the impression at least of having been written by an insider of sorts, though as Pohren readily hints, there are many layers of insiderdom in flamenco, and to be a true insider one has to have been born into it: the land, the culture and the music.

Pohren begins with an account of a visit to a village where a gypsy wedding is taking place, moves on to report on a juerga, a private flamenco party, and delves into the history of the gypsy journey to and presence in Andalucía , their oppression and marginalisation, and the way in which they, together with the many other cultural groups within the region, went on to adopt and adapt the musical traditions they possessed and came into contact with.

In three separate sections he explains the dance, song and playing of flamenco, giving a great deal of technical detail (though perhaps strangely not mentioning its modal forms). Within these sections he nominates the most celebrated and accomplished exponents, although in fact in the section on the Baile he comments that none of the dancers practising at the time of writing were actually worth mentioning (not even, it seems, his wife Luisa Maravilla).

He rounds off in the Appendices with sections on the flamenco palos, key recordings, the juerga, festivals and contests, flamenco tuition and, finally, the flamenco guitar itself.

Throughout Pohren is quite open in his disdain for commercialisation and the oversophisticated tricks associated with it. He is also, as in Lives And Legends, rather contemptuous of the way women’s performances were evolving at the time (around 1984 at the last revision), sometimes likely with justification, sometimes in a manner that at times verges on the contemptible in its own right. Likely most modern readers will have the faculties to distinguish between the two and will be able to see beyond the flaws and extract the abundant valuable content.

As with Lives And Legends, the writing style is stiff and at times irritating but, as with some of the unreconstructed paternalism, it is worth suspending critical faculties somewhat in that respect. Moreover, some of the malapropisms are entertaining in their own right, as for example with “Pakistanian”, “gaier” and “identifical”.

As I said of the former book, however, the typos and other quirks give The Art Of Flamenco the feel of a fanzine, which proffers it with an endearing quality which earns it a measure of forgiveness.

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