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Roy Orbison's Many Moods
Roy Orbison's Many Moods
Price: £15.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Moods - A Classic Album, 29 Feb. 2016
Many Moods is one of Orbison's finest albums, albeit that only three Orbison originals are included. The three Orbison compositions are, nevertheless, superb. Walk On sees Orbison on familiar territory, imploring a former lover to ignore him if their paths should cross. The steady building of the song to a frenzied crescendo, in which Orbison unleashes his big voice, equals anything he produced in his career and deserves to be bracketed with Crying and Running Scared. Heartache is more erratic, demonstrating Orbison's weakness for including trite backing vocal arrangements that detract from the emotional impact of his message. However, Heartache is structured in such a way that it diverts from the standard mode of pop composition, and Orbison delivers a powerhouse performance that elevates the song beyond the intrusive rambling of the backing singers. Yesterday's Child is a mysterious song that seems to be a lament for a lost childhood. It has an enchanting quality that deviates from Orbison usual lyrical directness. The inclusion of such standards as Unchained Melody, What Now My Love and More gives the album an easy listening feel, although Orbison does infuse the songs with a freshness that justifies their appearance. He avoids the excessive arrangements, and vocal embellishments of other artists, giving the songs a simplicity that enhances their emotional content. Mick Newbury's Good Morning Dear is a gorgeous, multi-layered song that that captures the remorse felt for a lost love. A sedate, but enchanting, Try To Remember, rounds off a magical masterpiece that Orbison would not equal until Mystery Girl (1989).


There Is Only One Roy Orbison
There Is Only One Roy Orbison
Price: £9.13

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is Only One..., 11 Aug. 2013
Roy's first album for MGM had a more easy listening sound than his Monument predecessors. While songs such as Two Of A Kind and This Is Your Song are hardly poor, they lack the drive that defines the beat ballad sound that he originated. The other tracks compensate with songs like I'm in a Blue, Blue Mood - listen for the speaker cracking wail towards the end; If You Can't Say Something Nice and Afraid to Sleep displaying Orbison vocal prowess in all its glory. The opening track, Ride Away, which was released as a single, is one of Orbison's finest. Although its chart performance was disappointing on both sides of the Atlantic, it has a compelling narrative and a beautiful melody, as Orbison absconds on his motorbike from an errant lover, encouraged by whispering, but insistent, backing singers to 'ride away boy, ride, ride away'. There is rocking, base heavy, version of Claudette that rides roughshod over the sweet innocence of the Everlies' 1958 rendition. Taken as a whole, it was a promising start to Orbison's association with MGM. Subsequent releases would improve on this first effort, though this was never reflected in their chart performance as Orbison's sales underserved tumbled. The MGM recordings are due a reassessment - this is a good place to start.


Many Moods & The Big O
Many Moods & The Big O
Price: £7.07

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roy Orbison: Many Moods/Big O, 26 July 2009
This review is from: Many Moods & The Big O (Audio CD)
This double set is a fine audio embodiment of the cliché "from the sublime to the ridiculous". Many Moods is one of Orbison's finest albums, albeit that it demonstrates the decline in his song writing ability, with only three Orbison originals included. The three Orbison compositions are, nevertheless, superb. Walk On sees Orbison on familiar territory, imploring a former lover to ignore him if their paths should cross. The steady building of the song to a frenzied crescendo, in which Orbison unleashes his big voice, equals anything he produced in his career, and deserves to be bracketed with Crying and Running Scared. Heartache is more erratic, demonstrating Orbison's weakness for including trite backing vocal arrangements that detract from the emotional impact of his message. However, Heartache is structured in such a way that it diverts from the standard mode of pop composition, and Orbison delivers a powerhouse performance that elevates the song beyond the intrusive rambling of the backing singers. Yesterday's Child is a mysterious song that seems to be a lament for a lost childhood. It has an enchanting quality that deviates from Orbison usual lyrical directness. The inclusion of such standards as Unchained Melody, What Now My Love and More gives the album an easy listening feel, although Orbison does infuse the songs with a freshness that justifies their appearance. He avoids the excessive arrangements, and vocal embellishments of other artists, giving the songs a simplicity that enhances their emotional content. Mick Newbury's Good Morning Dear is a gorgeous, multi-layered song that that captures the remorse felt for a lost love. A sedate, but enchanting, Try To Remember, rounds off a magical masterpiece that Orbison would not equal until Mystery Girl (1989).

The Big O, despite including many popular songs, is a poorly produced affair in which Orbison seems to be going through the motions, rather than attempting to bring anything new to the material. Unlike Many Moods, Orbison interpretation of such standards as Only You and Scarlet Ribbons is pedestrian, significantly below his audience's expectations. These songs should be the ideal forum for his emotionally wrought voice; unfortunately, the mundane nature of his performance gives an air of pointlessness to the proceedings. Money, Break My Mind and Help Me Rhonda are better, but hardly starling. Land of a 1000 Dances, although seemingly a quirky choice, was a staple of Orbison's live act throughout the 70s, particularly noteworthy for a 30 second note hold that had the audience in raptures. The recording lacks this flamboyance, fitting-in with the general mediocrity of the other tracks. There are some redeeming features. Loving Touch is an up-tempo number that would have made for a great single release. The catchy chorus is compounded by Orbison's cat growl. When I Stop Dreaming is a moving ballad that Orbison performs with no ornamentation; it has a touching simplicity that exposes the contrived contortions of the other tacks. Sammy King's Penny Arcade, finds Orbison on unusual territory, celebrating the allure of slot machines, with an infectiousness that is difficult to resist. This atypical Orbison performance resulted in his biggest hit for three years, and remains a peculiar, but welcome, entry in the Orbison catalogue.


What Price Liberty?: How Freedom Was Won and Is Being Lost
What Price Liberty?: How Freedom Was Won and Is Being Lost
by Ben Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberty is Precious, 24 July 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wilson's "What Price Liberty?" is written in a highly transparent style - this lucidity should not disguise its scholarly nature; this is no journalistic diatribe, rather it is a meticulously researched work that has great relevance to modern times. Wilson's central concern is that liberties are being eroded, with such historical freedoms as habeas corpus being compromised by a creeping authoritarianism. However, it is not merely the denigration of actual liberties that poses a threat, but the absence of an idiom in which our liberties can be effectively discussed and defended. It is precisely because the "common idea of liberty has dissolved into mush" that freedom is imperilled. When confronting a crisis (the perceived threat of terrorist attack) historical liberties can be compromised because our concept of liberty is not sufficiently resilient to resist the clamour for restrictions. Wilson does not believe that there is unified, philosophically coherent, doctrine of liberty that be can be invoked to defend our freedom; rather there is a mode of thought furnished by historical development that needs to be recaptured and reapplied. Much of the work is an enthralling historical account of how liberty emerged from such events as English Civil War; the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the American Declaration of Independence. Wilson's account of these sparks with enthusiasm and erudition, sweeping the reader along. One of the key points to emerge from this is that liberty in Britain, although heavily theorised by such philosophical titans as Hobbes and Locke, was essentially a response to practical pressures motivated, not by elevated ideals, but naked self-interest. Although this generated the myth of British liberty (sanitised of its limitations and the often dubious interests of its proponents), the myth stimulated a mindset or spirit that was essential to the development of a more enriched concept of freedom that is still relevant to contemporary concerns.

Lenin's dictum that "liberty is precious, so precious that it must be rationed", does, despite its implications in the Soviet Union, highlight the central problem of politics: where do the boundaries of state lie, and to what extent can individuals exercise their "rights" without endangering the limitations, rule and regulations that allow a nation to function as a community. Wilson's work is a fascinating, predominately historical, contribution to this debate, and should be read in conjunction with other, more philosophically inclined, efforts such as Tim Gray's "Freedom" to provide a well grounded understanding of an essential moral and political value.


Assorted Fire Events: Stories
Assorted Fire Events: Stories
by David Means
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Collection, 14 April 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The sheer scope of a novel allows authors to develop plots and craft three dimensional characters that can stimulate readers; the short story writer, denied this luxury, needs to be an exquisite artist to achieve audience engagement: David Means embodies this excellence in an astounding first collection of stories.

The title of this work, Assorted Fire Events, alludes to one of the pieces contained, although it can serve as a characterisation of the work as a whole, as many of the stories deal with those significant events in life, often destructive and dramatic, that define who we at that time, and, whatever our intentions, continue to intrude on our existence long after their occurrence. This sense of being imprisoned by the past is most effectively articulated in "Coitus" and "Sleeping Bear Lament", where characters engaged in everyday activities are suddenly hit by memories of traumatic events. In "Coitus" Means' skilful writing is able to establish from the onset a profound sense of unease even before we know anything of the characters or their situation, as he depicts a sex scene with factual detachment. Whilst the initial thought is of a relationship in decline, as the parties' robotic motions deprive the act of any intimacy, Means shows that it is the male characters guilt over two separate events, a past bereavement and betrayal, that leads to the sense of disengagement, although, with Means' subtle writing, the sense of a relationship doomed can be inferred. In the confines of this short piece the reader's curiosity can not be totally satisfied, as a tidy resolution is not forthcoming, but it is a testament to Means' abilities that in the space of 14 pages, the reader is stimulated to trace the permutations of the tale beyond the printed page.

"Sleeping Bear Lament", is a beautiful and moving reflection on a class outcast, Sam. Although set in America, the sense of a school pupil who is treat as pariah because he is impoverished, or in some senses different, is a universal experience that cannot fail to resonate with the reader. In this story the narrator is seeking redemption for some distance misdemeanours committed against the outcast, to try and purge himself of his past, and project this better, fully formed adult onto the present and seek "forgiveness" from Sam. Whilst the sentiments of the narrator can be appreciated, there is a feeling that his efforts will ultimately be futile, and his guilt will never be assuaged.

With the possible exception of "The Grip", an account of a man's pride of his physical endurance, and the comical "What I Hope For", which seems to parody tales of relentless loveliness, the stories are saturated with melancholy, with characters tormented, or confronted, by tragic events. "Railroad Incident, August 1995" is a disturbing depiction of urban brutality, where a once seemingly successful man collides with the dispossessed. "What They Did", is tale of corporate irresponsibility, where the feelings of victims are starkly contrasted with the emotional detachment of business organisations.

In short, this is an exquisite, beautifully crafted collection of stories, which deal with the tragedies and emotions that are a mark of human existence. Means, in economical, but profound, prose is able to establish characters and events that generate empathy, sympathy and sadness. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Means, if he can maintain this standard, should be in the pantheon of great American short story writers.


The Acquisitive Society
The Acquisitive Society
by R. H. Tawney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tawney - The Prophet of Social Purpose, 11 April 2009
The central argument of The Acquisitive Society (1921) is that Britain is infested with a false philosophy that prizes material accumulation over civilised values. This is not merely a modern occurrence, but one that can be traced back to the 17th century, with the gradual displacement of a body of ethics from the economic realm that affirmed our essential humanity by limiting exploitation and preserving communal ties.

Prior to the ascent of capitalism, economical activity was merely one compartment of existence, with its operation regulated, albeit imperfectly, by an overriding moral consensus; the retreat of the Church and the Christian Casuistry, allowed the market to be magnified to generate a monomaniacal society in which all aspects of life are subjugated by economic concerns. This materialism results in an atomised society in which social duties are subsumed by individual rights; where human beings are reduced from the ends of ethical consideration to mere tools of accumulation; where private property is sanctified to ensure that it is preserved to benefit a narrow section of the population, and society is scarred by class resentment and division.

Tawney's solution is for the creation of a Functional Society, which is socialistic in all but name. This new society will be animated by the principle of social purpose, with all actions directed to the fulfilment of obligations to the community, rather than self aggrandisement. Although Tawney is primarily concerned to identify the broad philosophical contours of this society, he does offer practical prescriptions. First, the commanding heights of the economy should be brought into public ownership, with transport, arms production and energy deemed too important to be left to the market. Tawney, as distinct from other notable socialists, cautions against elevating nationalisation to an end in itself; rather it is a means to deliver beneficial social outcomes to be judged according to this criterion. Second, private ownership of productive property is acceptable providing that its meets social objectives and its owners are motivated by the principle of social service. Third, that within public and private organisations, powers are devolved to the workers, primarily through trade unions, to play an active role in running organisations, with parliamentary oversight ensuring that producer power does not encroach on the interests of the consumer.

The Acquisitive Society is remarkably prescient in its principles, whilst being anachronistic in its prescriptions. In the current climate of economic turbulence, free market fundamentalism is under a sustained assault for the very reasons outlined in Tawney's work. There is an emerging consensus that the market has over reached itself, not merely because of its failure to generate sustainable growth, but because it has encouraged forms of human behaviour, like greed and selfishness, that are morally and socially unacceptable. Within this discourse of social and economic decay, Tawney's appeal for a more humane society focussed on collective social concerns does resonant. In terms of his prescriptions, the period since the publication of The Acquisitive Society provides little evidence that public ownership or workers co-operatives have been particularly successful in delivering social objectives, let alone sustaining themselves as efficient economic organisations. Tawney's faith in these socialistic ideas reflects the tenor of the times in which he wrote, when capitalism was perceived to be imperilled and doctrines like guild socialism were flourishing. Although governments are once more employing nationalisation, it is being adopted as an emergency measure, rather than as a long term tool of socialist renewal.

At times of capitalist crisis, it is Marx, with his doctrine of the inevitability of collapse, that marauds round the pages of our newspapers as the Prophet, only to return to the dustbin of history as capitalism re-emerges renewed and reformed. When we emerge from the tumult, rather than substituting one fundamentalism for another, it is to figures like Tawney that we should look to for inspiration in reconstituting our society. In The Acquisitive Society, and the superior Equality, Tawney, does not provide a systematic theory that is devoid of errors and misconceptions, but he does outline a broad philosophical disposition that is striking in its humanity, and salutary in its promotion of social purpose.


The Classic Roy
The Classic Roy
Price: £19.20

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Roy Orbison, 18 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Classic Roy (Audio CD)
"The Classic Roy Orbison" is an erratic collection that perhaps reflects the crisis in Orbison's career. By 1966, the signs of commercial decline were apparent, particularly in the United States. Whilst managing a top ten hit in Britain with "Too Soon To Know", Orbison's MGM recordings had failed to reach the popularity of the Monument hits with which he is primarily identied. The quality of the MGM recordings are generally very good, and it was perhaps the changing nature of the music scene, rather than anything intrinsic to Orbison's performances, that ensured his declining sales. The Classic Orbison does not break new ground, following the standard Orbison template of beat ballads, mixed with uptemo rock and roll. Amongst the choice tracks is "City Life", a vigorous rocker that includes some of Orbison's finest lyrics; the surreal "Pantomime", which displays shades of hedonistic revelry and the atmospheric "Wait" that conveys the frustration of an illicit affair. On the negative side is the unintentionally comedic "Twinkle Toes". How this dire tale of the tribulations of a Go - Go Dancer was deemed worthy of a single release is a mystery. "Never Love Again", is a beautiful ballad that Orbison would normally sing to perfection, however, his nasal delivery means this constitutes one of the worst vocal performances of his entire career. Of the remaining tracks, the multi layered "Growing Up" and the falsetto rich "Where Is Tomorrow" are the most satisfying. "Going Back To Gloria" is familiar Orbison territory, full of remorse for a lost love. It possesses a rich arrangement: the perfect backgroud for Orbison's soaring voice. Generally, "The Classic Roy Orbison" is a mixed bag that veers from brilliance to banality


Cry Softly Lonely One
Cry Softly Lonely One
Price: £12.89

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roy Orbison at his peak, 4 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Cry Softly Lonely One (Audio CD)
"Cry Softly Lonely One", opens with the beautiful ballad, "She", in which Orbison's shimmering and soaring vibrato recalls his late wife, who had died the previous year. The poignant lyrics and lush delivery combine to produce an emotional performance comparable to anything recorded during the Monument years. "Communication Breakdown", deals with a tormented relationship stricken by the materialistic demands of modern life. The title track bears a striking resemblance to "Only the Lonely", with Orbison's gorgeous falsetto complimented by angelic background vocals. These attributes and the simplicity of the arrangements may be somewhat anachronistic, but the affect is stunning. "Only Alive", depicts a man hopelessly enchanted by a former lover and condemned to a lonely life without the attention of his obsession. Next to these sublime ballads, the album contains a number of up-tempo numbers, which demonstrate Orbison's versatility. "Girl like Mine", is a jaunty rocker complete with Hammond organ and building female backing chorus. The song oozes cool and should have been issued as a single. "That's a No No", is a woefully sexist ditty, in which Orbison instructs his female possession how to behave. While we will not share Orbison's sentiments, the song rates highly as an example of sheer 1960s male cheek. Memories is a moving song that contains some of Orbison's most poignant lyrics. The inclusion of the Don Gibson cover "Just One Time", which was excluded from the orginial American release in 1967, is eccentric. Whilst it is not a bad song by any means, it does not quite cohere with the other tracks, and would have been better on the Gibson tribute album Orbison recorded the previous year. Overall, this is probably Orbison's finest album of the entire decade, capturing him at the peak of his vocal powers. The arrangements and production is superior to his previous MGM efforts. It may have been a commercial flop, but it remains a stunning artistic representation of pop's foremost beat balladeer.


Roy Orbison Sings 1965-1973 Vol.4: Many Moods/the Big O
Roy Orbison Sings 1965-1973 Vol.4: Many Moods/the Big O
Offered by soulsearchingplus
Price: £28.75

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Many Moods of the BIg O, 25 July 2006
This double set is a fine audio embodiment of the cliché "from the sublime to the ridiculous". Many Moods is one of Orbison's finest albums, albeit that it demonstrates the decline in his song writing ability, with only three Orbison originals included. The three Orbison compositions are, nevertheless, superb. Walk On sees Orbison on familiar territory, imploring a former lover to ignore him if their paths should cross. The steady building of the song to a frenzied crescendo, in which Orbison unleashes his big voice, equals anything he produced in his career, and deserves to be bracketed with Crying and Running Scared. Heartache is more erratic, demonstrating Orbison's weakness for including trite backing vocal arrangements that detract from the emotional impact of his message. However, Heartache is structured in such a way that it diverts from the standard mode of pop composition, and Orbison delivers a powerhouse performance that elevates the song beyond the intrusive rambling of the backing singers. Yesterday's Child is a mysterious song that seems to be a lament for a lost childhood. It has an enchanting quality that deviates from Orbison usual lyrical directness. The inclusion of such standards as Unchained Melody, What Now My Love and More gives the album an easy listening feel, although Orbison does infuse the songs with a freshness that justifies their appearance. He avoids the excessive arrangements, and vocal embellishments of other artists, giving the songs a simplicity that enhances their emotional content. Mick Newbury's Good Morning Dear is a gorgeous, multi-layered song that that captures the remorse felt for a lost love. A sedate, but enchanting, Try To Remember, rounds off a magical masterpiece that Orbison would not equal until Mystery Girl (1989).

The Big O, despite including many popular songs, is a poorly produced affair in which Orbison seems to be going through the motions, rather than attempting to bring anything new to the material. Unlike Many Moods, Orbison interpretation of such standards as Only You and Scarlet Ribbons is pedestrian, significantly below his audience's expectations. These songs should be the ideal forum for his emotionally wrought voice; unfortunately, the mundane nature of his performance gives an air of pointlessness to the proceedings. Money, Break My Mind and Help Me Rhonda are better, but hardly starling. Land of a 1000 Dances, although seemingly a quirky choice, was a staple of Orbison's live act throughout the 70s, particularly noteworthy for a 30 second note hold that had the audience in raptures. The recording lacks this flamboyance, fitting-in with the general mediocrity of the other tracks. There are some redeeming features. Loving Touch is an up-tempo number that would have made for a great single release. The catchy chorus is compounded by Orbison's cat growl. When I Stop Dreaming is a moving ballad that Orbison performs with no ornamentation; it has a touching simplicity that exposes the contrived contortions of the other tacks. Sammy King's Penny Arcade, finds Orbison on unusual territory, celebrating the allure of slot machines, with an infectiousness that is difficult to resist. This atypical Orbison performance resulted in his biggest hit for three years, and remains a peculiar, but welcome, entry in the Orbison catalogue.


The Classic Roy Orbison/ Cry Softly, Lonely One
The Classic Roy Orbison/ Cry Softly, Lonely One
Offered by rwl-123
Price: £39.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sublime Big O, 1 Sept. 2004
These albums were originally issued during Orbison's wilderness years, a period in which his record sales collapsed and his personal life was scarred by tragedy. This decline is widely attributed to a decline in the quality of Orbison's output, this collection corrects this misconception.
"Cry Softly Lonely One", opens with the beautiful ballad, "She", in which Orbison's shimmering and soaring vibrato recalls his late wife, who had died the previous year. The poignant lyrics and lush delivery combine to produce an emotional performance comparable to anything recorded during the Monument years. "Communication Breakdown", deals with a tormented relationship stricken by the materialistic demands of modern life. The title track bears a striking resemblance to "Only the Lonely", with Orbison's gorgeous falsetto complimented by angelic background vocals. These attributes and the simplicity of the arrangements may be somewhat anachronistic, but the affect is stunning. "Only Alive", depicts a man hopelessly enchanted by a former lover and condemned to a lonely life without the attention of his obsession. Next to these sublime ballads, the album contains a number of up-tempo numbers, which demonstrate Orbison's versatility. "Girl like Mine", is a jaunty rocker complete with Hammond organ and building female backing chorus. The song oozes cool and should have been issued as a single. "That's a No No", is a woefully sexiest little ditty, in which Orbison instructs his female possession how to behave. While we will not share Orbison's sentiments, the song rates highly as an example of sheer 1960s male cheek. Overall, this is probably Orbison's finest album of the entire decade, capturing him at the peak of his vocal powers. It may have been a commercial flop, but it remains a stunning artistic representation of pop's foremost beat balladeer.
"The Classic Roy Orbison" is a more erratic collection that perhaps reflects the crisis in Orbison's career. Amongst the choice tracks is "City Life", a vigorous rocker that includes some of Orbison's finest lyrics; the surreal "Pantomime", which displays shades of hedonistic revelry and the atmospheric "Wait" that conveys the frustration of an illicit affair. On the negative side is the unintentionally comedic "Twinkle Toes". How this dire tale of the tribulations of a Go - Go Dancer was deemed worthy of a single release is mystery beyond the wit of Miss Marple. "Never Love Again", is a beautiful ballad that Orbison would normally sing to perfection, however, his nasal delivery means this constitutes one of the worst vocal performances of his entire career. Of the remaining tracks, the multi layered "Growing Up" and the falsetto rich "Where Is Tomorrow" are the most satisfying. Generally, "The Classic Roy Orbison" is a mixed bag that veers from brilliance to banality.


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