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oldhasbeen (England)
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Joy Mining
Joy Mining
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good - even for non-folkies., 7 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Joy Mining (Audio CD)
Very unlike Iain Matthew's other albums, this is nearer Steely Dan than Fairport convention. It has a wonderful, dreamy quality about it, with some great songs and backing. I dare say it won't appeal to all Matthews fans but it's great that someone who's been around for 40+ years can successfully make something so radically different from his previous work. I have a couple of reservations about it - one or two of the tracks ramble on too long and some of the sax solos aren't at all melodic to my ears - but still, a fine album


Live From Around the World
Live From Around the World
Offered by Bully-Boy-Music
Price: £12.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing live album, 7 Mar. 2011
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There are a few good tracks on this album, but it suffers from problems common to too many live albums, especially far too much talking and a feeling that some of these songs would be better done in the studio. I gave this one away after 3 plays.


Greatest Hits: The Story So Far
Greatest Hits: The Story So Far
Price: £17.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good compilation, 7 Mar. 2011
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Covers a wide range of Paul Carrack's music, both in bands and solo, and he's in great voice throughout. A few of the 1980s tracks are too heavy on the clattering percussion for my tastes, but that apart I've no complaints.


The Fallout: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence
The Fallout: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence
by Andrew Anthony
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 7 Mar. 2011
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... especially if you're a "dried-out" former soggy liberal. Superbly written and often engrossing, it covers a lot in its 300 pages. Recommended.


In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality, 1939-45
In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality, 1939-45
by Robert Fisk
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read, but worth the effort, 2 Mar. 2011
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This is serious, detailed history about a neglected aspect of UK / Irish history. I've read a lot of WW2 history and Irish history, but the majority of this book was new to me.

As other reviewers have noted, none of the main protagonists come out of the book unscathed. To simplify, de Valera was frequently devious and obsessive, Churchill bombastic, the Northern Unionists manipulative and the Germans incredibly naive and ill-informed.

De Valera's government certainly made their mistakes, especially the crass decision to pay a visit to the German embassy to pay their respects after Hitler's death, but was their strategy wrong? The Irish state in 1945 was relatively unscathed, even if without Northern Ireland. If they had joined the Allies, would a united Ireland have resulted after an Allied victory? I'm not convinced, and there was a very high probability that doing this would have started something near another civil war.

One irony of this period is that the agreement to hand back the Treaty Ports probably strengthened the hand of the northern Unionists by increasing Britain's dependence on their ports.The Unionists exploited this to the hilt both during and after the war, projecting a picture of "Loyal Ulster" that really doesn't ring true - their contribution to the was effort was very poor, with the exception of providing the ports (which they didn't have much choice about.) Another irony is that the northern Unionists gained so much politically (e.g. the late 40s declaration the the British government that there would be no change without the consent of the majority of Northern Ireland's population) despite its government during the war being staggeringly incompetent, especially in dealing with German air raids.

This book is very relevant to post-war Irish history, even up to today.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 18, 2016 6:04 PM GMT


Small Change: A Life of Tom Waits
Small Change: A Life of Tom Waits
by Patrick Humphries
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good, 7 Feb. 2011
"More a collection of the author's opinions than a bio" one previous reviewer commented - that about sums this book up. There are some great quotes but few insights into the man or his music and the author comes across as an opinionated bore.


The Glory Game: The New Edition of the British Football Classic (Mainstream Sport)
The Glory Game: The New Edition of the British Football Classic (Mainstream Sport)
by Hunter Davies
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best football book ever written?, 3 Jan. 2011
For once the cliche of a "warts and all" picture is spot on. A wonderfully vivid picture of early 70s football, footballers, managers, board, fans, reporters - the lot. This makes nearly all football books of recent years seem very pallid.

You don't need to be a Spurs fan to enjoy this - I'm not!


1918: A Very British Victory - abridged audio cd
1918: A Very British Victory - abridged audio cd
by Peter Hart
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top rate milatary history, 27 Dec. 2010
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This is a top-rate book about a period of the First World War all too often ignored, i.e. that leading up to the final Allied victory. There must be 50 books / documentaries on the Somme or Ypres for every one on the great victories of 1918.

It's not just a narrative of events, but analysis too, very strong on how the German generals over-stretched their forces and in reality were often all tactics and no strategy (and in the case of Ludendorf in the later stages of 1918, mentally imbalanced too.) Highly recommended.


Michael Collins's Intelligence War: The Struggle Between the British and the IRA 1919-1921
Michael Collins's Intelligence War: The Struggle Between the British and the IRA 1919-1921
by Michael Foy
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, detailed history, 24 Dec. 2010
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This book is very good on the events & characters involved, and gives the reader a good understanding of the "why" as well as the "what happened". It doesn't pull punches - this was a brutal struggle, there were certainly no Queensbury rules obsereved by either side. It certainly doesn't romanticise any of the characters involved (it's interesting to contrast this book with the film "Michael Collins.")

The question of why the IRA won this battle - at least in the sense of convincing the British government to negotiate and concede rule in most of Ireland - isn't the core of the book but it does offer some pointers. One key factor, which recurs throughout, is that British policy was muddled & inconsistent (often alternating between brutal repression & olive branches) and inhibited by turf wars between its main players (both politically & militarily.) The IRA leadership was far more consistent and united in its aims.

My only criticisms are that the editing of chapters is a bit uneven - a couple of chapters could have benefitted form some pruning - and a "cast of characters" at the start of the book would have been useful as it's sometimes difficult to remmber who's who.


Tell Me What You Say [Us Import]
Tell Me What You Say [Us Import]
Offered by marvelio-uk
Price: £9.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Great contemporary blues - four and a half stars, 22 Dec. 2010
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This isn't your average "woke up this morning" blues stuff - mostly acoustic, very varied and with some great lyrics.

A couple of tracks are, for me, below par i.e. the opening acapella track and "You Are My Sunshine", but the rest is truly excellent. I'll be investing in further CDs by Mr Jackson, and hope he'll play soem gigs in England soon


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